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Friday, March 20, 2009

Roses--A Thorny Subject

The rose is perhaps the most significant of all flowers in terms of the superstitions attached to it. it is the flower of love, and in Victorian times specific interpretations were placed by lovers upon gifts of roses and certain colors. For example: a red rose symbolized passion while a white rose meant true love. This association with lovers and with the communication of secret passions also made the rose the emblem of discretion and silence. It’s image therefore is often found set into the ceilings of council chambers and other meeting places as a reminder that what is discussed there should remain private or ‘sub rosa’ – ‘under the rose’.

The red rose is said to have got its color either from the spilt blood of Christ, Venus or Adonis or, according to Islam, from the sweat of Mohammed’s brow. In ancient Roman times, roses were traditionally planted at gravesides in the belief that they had the power to protect the dead from evil. Over the centuries white rose, symbolic of innocence, have often been planted at the graves of virgins, while red roses have been planted on the graves of lovers or of philanthropists renowned for the love they showed their fellow men.

This association with death probably lies at the root of the body of generally pessimistic traditions now linked to the flower. Superstition warns that if a rose drops its petals while someone is holding it this is an omen that the person is soon to die. Roses that bloom out of season, meanwhile, are also disliked, as they are supposed to presage misfortune in the year to come.

Dreaming of roses may be interpreted as a prediction of success in love, but if they are white misfortune lies in store. The wild dog-rose is also reputed to be to be unlucky. It is thought to be unwise to make any plans in its vicinity, as its influence will blight the proposed undertaking.

One a more cheerful note, girls may use roses to identify their husband-to-be by wrapping a rose in white paper on Mid-summer’s Eve and keeping it until Christmas. Then it is unwrapped and, if still fresh, worn by the girl on her dress. The first man to admire the rose or remove it is destined to marry her. To determine how sincerely one is loved, a person has only to snap the stem of a rose—the louder the noise produced, the stronger the passion.

The rose has various uses in folk medicine, too. In England in the eighteenth century it was alleged that it could promote fertility, and women who wanted to bear children wore red roses in small bags around their necks. The gall of the rose (an abnormal growth caused by insects, fungi, bacteria or injury) was thought to be an effective cure for whooping cough and toothache if worn around the neck, and would combat insomnia if placed beneath the sufferer’s pillow.

There is a modern day saying that ‘Life is a bed of roses’. I’m certain people think that because rose petals are velvety to the touch and that roses have soothing aromas that the saying means that life is wonderful or that life is easy. However, consider that rose bushes bear thorns. Now apply that same saying to life. Rose thorns prick the flesh and bring pain. Therefore, with all of life’s beauty it also brings heartache. So given all the above information about roses, which analogy do you think is appropriate to life – pleasure or pain?


Celia Yeary said...

Loretta--Life is certainly not just a bed of roses. That's a given. But without some pain, there is no life at all.We must endure pain to enjoy life. Aren't we happier about some little thing, if it happens after an episode of pain? I can think of all kinds of examples--I'm sure you can too.
I love the looks of this blog--it's so pretty. I've been studying blogs a long time, and deep down want my own--so I can do what I want--but then I think--who would want to know anything I'd write? I don't know. Still thinking.
Also, I see I'm the first here today, and I have an interview up on Skyhe's Ramblings, posted about it on all the sites, but not one taker. I can usually get a good response. Then I noticed, every site is slow--plus Yahoo is holding so much up today--and yesterday--it's frustrating. So, I'm going to find something else to do for the day.
Very nice post--Celia

Loretta said...

Thanks for your comment, Celia. I always appreciate your dropping by for a visit. Thanks for the compliment about the looks of our blog. I can't take credit it for it. We have some ladies who are so much more techno savvy that I'll ever be. Thank goodness for them.

Coming June 2009 - McKenna's Woman in the Lawmen and Outlaw's Anthology print edition.

Mary Ricksen said...

Remind me not to hold a rose in my hand if at all possible.
But I do love the smell of roses, they are so fresh and sweet. One of my favorite scents.

Sarah Simas said...

I would agree that life is like a rose. Pleasure and pain coexist in an going circle- just like how a rose grows from bud to bloom over and over.
Wonderful blog- both in thoughts and looks!

Donna Hatch said...

Given that I'm a hopeless romantic, I must say I think of roses as pleasurable. The scent is so sweet and lovely and the blooms themselves are incredibly intricate. Their symbolism for me will always be romance. Yes, there are thorns, but any relationship worth saving will ride out the hard times, so even the thorns are symbolic of a couple's struggle to achieve and maintain all that is good. In my Regency, the Stranger She Married, my hero and heroine had to overcome a lot of thorns before they could get to the sweet bloom of everlasting love. And that is always worth the fight.