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Rose: Rosaceae; Rosa... The rose has been celebrated since antiquity, representing such classical goddesses as Isis and Aphrodite. It is venerated as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment in many Western mystical traditions. Dante's Paradisio envisions the highest point of heaven as being a white rose. Religious traditions, such as Rosicrucianism, have taken their name from the rose, as have certain sacred tools and practices, such as the Rosary. Most wild roses have five sepals and petals, which Christians have associated with the five wounds of Christ. Modern Pagans often associate the five pointed rose with the five points of the pentacle. Mystic poets, such as Rumi, Blake and many others have praised the virtues of the rose, most often linking it to our most divine emotion--love. The Victorian Language of Flowers offers several meanings for rose, each depending on the coloring of its petals.

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Edited by Chas Bogan

Prior to the genetic engineering that has given us something akin to the long fabled blue rose, the color purple did not exist naturally among roses in the strict sense that true purple is the midpoint between blue and red. However, in the early eighteen hundreds European hybriders were introduced to roses from China, and were able to produce roses that were a silvery mauve, which to the naked eye appears as a pastel purple.

Purveyors of the language of flowers varied in their interpretation of this rose. Some gave it meaning similar to that of the long sought after blue rose, so that it represented mystery and enchantment. Others wrote that it spoke of love at first sight, although that was a meaning common to so many other flowers as to be redundant. Among homosexuals, those indulging in the love that dared not speak its name, the lavender colored rose served as a statement of what could not otherwise be said; giving a nod to a same sex suitor, or letting a suitor of the opposite sex know not to further pursue a relationship. These days it is more openly celebrated in the wedding bouquets of many gay couples.

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