By Veronica Boscia
The rose, with its soft petals and hard stem covered in thorns, is not only a powerful symbol for love, but it also represents new beginnings, strength, and hope. Here, we discuss the power of this “Queen of Flowers” and ways to use rose in love magick spells.
When we think of the rose, we often overlook its one defining feature: its thorns. Not only do they protect the rose from predators, but they also anchor the plant onto others as it grows. Just as the petals represent the sensual and soft aspects of love, the thorns symbolize boundaries – both of which are necessary to cultivate balance and happiness in matters of the heart.
Associated with Aphrodite (or Venus in the Roman tradition), Goddess of Love, Beauty, and Fertility, the rose represents love in all aspects and the ability to see beauty in all things. According to Ancient Greek mythology, Aphrodite was born from the wild, fertile ocean and when the seafoam of her birth met the shoreline, white roses sprang from the earth.
At the moment her lover Adonis (a young man with “remarkable beauty”) was killed, Aphrodite pricked her foot on a thorn and her blood changed the color of the rose to red. The same flower that appeared at her hopeful birth was now altered to represent her agonizing pain and loss. This is the way of the rose: It symbolizes the balance between birth, death, love, and loss.
Roses are often associated with mother energy and the Divine Feminine. The Blessed Mother Mary (in the Catholic tradition) and Guan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion in Buddhism) are also associated with the rose. One thing these Mother archetypes all have in common are their messages of love and compassion and seeing the light in dark times.
In the Tarot, the rose is also associated with balance, new beginnings, hope, and passion. It’s no surprise the rose is featured on the Strength card (which depicts a woman soothing or taming a lion), representing the balance of both serenity and strength. She demonstrates compassion while using her inner strength to calm an otherwise ferocious beast. She has tamed the lion with her loving, grounded energy.
The word chakra is Sanskrit for the “wheel of energy” that runs down our bodies, connecting our physical, mental, and spiritual. The origin of chakras dates back to 800 BCE in India, when they were first mentioned in the sacred texts known as the Upanishads. The heart chakra (or Ahahata) is located near the physical heart and helps us with self-love and love for others. As an energy center, it's also associated with the rose. Meditating on unblocking or clearing the heart chakra can help release feelings of “being stuck” and depression.
Here are some practical tips for how you can use rose in your magickal rituals at home...
Promote calm, loving home vibes.
Sprinkling rose petals around the house can calm you down and “de-stress” and release static energy in your household. Sprinkle rose around your bed for peaceful and loving dreams.
Use rosebuds or leaves for divination.
Phyllorhodomancy is essentially divination through roses or rose leaves. As a kid, we would play the game “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not,” using rose, which is also a form of divination. If you want to choose between suitors, author Scott Cunningham recommends writing the name of each person on a green leaf (e.g. 3 suitors equals 3 leaves). The leaf that held its color the longest was said to contain the name of the one they were to be with.
Make yourself a cup of rose tea.
Add a teaspoon of dried rose petals (make sure they’re food grade) per cup of water. You can serve rose tea either hot or cold. For hot tea, steep petals for about 5-10 minutes. For cold brew, steep petals overnight. Sweeten with honey or other herbs to enhance flavor.
Whenever you are making herbal infusions it’s important to make sure you are using only ingestible plants. I like to add marigold (known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as strengthening your heart) to my rose tea blends. Drinking rose tea can also help brighten your skin, alleviate menstrual cramps, and even boost your immune system.
Drink rose tea before bed to regulate your sleep cycle.
Rose also has the potential of aiding in lucid and or prophetic dreams, as well as astral travel, so you might want to keep a notebook near your bed. Enhance your potion by adding other herbs associated with divination and/or psychic enhancement, like yarrow, marigold, lemon or mint.
Indulge in a rose petal bath.
Taking a bath in rose petals is not only the epitome of self-love and luxury, but you can also distill rose water or add petals to the bath for any love ritual you see fit. Not only will you make Aphrodite/Venus very proud, but roses can be very good for your skin! You could add rose oil or light some incense.
Try a water-based Love Oracle.
Fill a basin with rose water. Write the name of a potential suitor on a bay leaf and add to the rose water. The bay leaf that remains floating is your answer. (Spell taken from Divination for Beginners)
“Yes or No” answer rose spell.
Gather three fresh roses and place each one in its own vase. Label the vases (left to right) with “Yes,” “No”, and “No Answer.” Your question should be about a specific situation or person. The “No Answer” means that it’s not the right time to ask or that you’re asking the wrong question or for the wrong reason. The flower that remains – and lives the longest – is your answer.
“A life filled with love, must have some thorns, but a life empty of love will have no roses.” -Heinz Duthel
For practical rituals to invoke self-love during hard times, check out this story.