The Queen of Flowers
The Rose is the flower of choice when we want to say something really special to one another. Displaying opulence and simplicity in colour, texture and fragrance, language becomes unnecessary the world over. But how did the Rose become so virtuous above all others? A flower so seductive that a single Rose given at the right time, at the right place, in the right way, can influence the course our emotions.
We give flowers to say thank you or to say we’re sorry, as a symbol of gratitude, celebration or sympathy and compassion, as an invitation. However, when we want to make sure our intensions are taken really seriously, we give roses, red roses.
In Greek mythology, Chloris, Goddess of all flowers created the Rose by breathing onto Aphrodite, the daughter of Zeus and goddess of love would add beauty, Dionysus a son of Zeus and god of the fertility of nature added the intoxicating aroma. Another son of Zeus, Apollo directed the sun to cast down warming rays to nurish the flower and show it in all its glory. Daughters of Zeus, The Three Graces of charity Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia representing youthful beauty, mirth and elegance bestowed the flower charm, joy and splendor. Finally, Aphrodite dedicated the Rose to her son Eros, the god of love and called it the ‘Queen of all Flowers’.
Although greek dieties have a slight disregard when it comes to documenting the facts for mortal posterity. Another account by Sappho – A Greek Poet c. 630 – 570 BC wrote
‘For Zeus chose us a King of the flowers in his mirth,
He would call to the rose, and would royally crown it;
For the rose, ho, the rose! is the grace of the earth,
Is the light of the plants that are growing upon it!’
Other stories involve Ouranus hatred towards his Titan son Chronos, a brutal act resulting in the birth of Aphrodite and white roses. Later turning red from the blood of Aphrodtie as she scratches herself on the thorns. Thorns and blood play a rather significant role in Christianity too, beginning with the thorns created as part of the punishment for Adams sins in the Garden of Eden, thought to be the origin of the Damask Rose.
For centuries writers, poets, artists and musicians have used the rose as a metephore for love, passion, romance and death. No other flower in history has been given such symbolism and importance that I can see. Except one, in more contemporary times we see the red popy, shouldering the bereavement and loss caused by more than a century of modern warfare.
The Rose became a symbol of love, romance, lust, beauty, devotion and sincerity, created by the gods themselves.
So on valentines day, don’t buy single use plastic gimmicks, what kind of cheap message of devotion is that? Be sincere and buy the flower of gods, even better give a living rose plant. A symbol of love to preserve and protect for years to come.
Got more to say with flowers? Check out my article on The Meaning of Rose Colours. Enjoy.