1. Religion & Spirituality

Sacred Roses: The Spiritual Symbolism of the Rose

Rose Meanings That Relate to God's Angels and Miracles

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Hiroshi Higuchi / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

Since ancient times, roses have symbolized God at work in whatever situation they appear. The intricate and elegant rose offers a glimpse of a masterful Creator's active presence in creation. As this popular flower blossoms, its buds gradually open to reveal blossoms with lovely layers -- an illustration of how spiritual wisdom unfolds in people's lives. The strong, sweet scent of a rose brings to mind the powerful sweetness of love, which is the essence of God. So it's not surprising that many miracles and encounters with angels throughout history have involved roses.

Roses and Angels

People regularly report smelling the fragrance of roses while communicating with angels in prayer or meditation. Angels use rose scents as physical signs of their spiritual presence with people, since roses have powerful energy fields that vibrate at a high electrical frequency -- the highest of any flower on Earth -- and since angelic energy also vibrates at a high rate, angels can connect easier with roses than with other flowers that have lower vibrational rates. Rose essential oil vibrates at a rate of 320 megahertz of electrical energy. In comparison, essential oil from lavender (one of the next highest frequency flowers) vibrates at a rate of 118 megahertz, and a healthy human brain usually vibrates between 71 and 90 megahertz.

Barachiel, the archangel of blessings, is usually shown in art with either a rose or rose petals, which symbolize God's blessings that Barachiel helps deliver to people.

Roses and Miracles

Roses appear in accounts from all of the world's major religions as a symbol of miraculous love at work in the world. In ancient mythology, roses symbolized eternal love in stories of how gods interacted with each other and human beings. Pagans use roses as decorations to represent their hearts. Muslims view roses as symbols of the human soul, so smelling the scent of roses reminds them of their spirituality. Hindus and Buddhists see roses and other flowers as expressions of spiritual joy. Christians view roses as reminders of the Garden of Eden, a paradise in a world that reflected God's design before sin corrupted it.

The "Mystic Rose"

Roses, which have long served as symbols of the Virgin Mary, have shown up in some of the miraculous Marian apparitions that people worldwide have reported. Mary is known as the "mystic rose" or the "rose without thorns" among some Christians, because of her role as the mother of Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe is the world's savior. Before sin entered the world and corrupted it, tradition says that the Garden of Eden featured roses with no thorns, and thorns appeared after humanity sinned. Since Mary played a vital role in God's plan to redeem the fallen world, Mary became associated with the original purity of the uncorrupted beauty of the roses God originally designed for the Garden of Eden.

The most famous Virgin Mary miracle involving roses was the Our Lady of Guadalupe event from 1531, when believers say Mary arranged roses in an intricate pattern inside the poncho of a man named Juan Diego to form a supernaturally imprinted image on his poncho. The image, which depicted Mary and an angel, symbolically illustrated the Gospel message to illiterate Aztec people, leading millions to come to faith in Jesus Christ.

The Rosary Prayer

Since Mary is so closely associated with roses, a traditional prayer that people pray to her while reflecting on the earthly life of her son, Jesus Christ, is called the Rosary. Mary has encouraged people to pray the Rosary during some of her apparitions worldwide (such as Fatima) people have reported.

The Rosary, which means "crown of roses," involves offering a group of prayers to Mary like a spiritual bouquet. People hold or wear a beaded necklace (which itself is called a "rosary") and use the beads as physical tools to focus their minds on 20 different spiritual mysteries from the time Jesus Christ spent on Earth. During some of Mary's apparitions, she has promised rewards for those who faithfully pray the Rosary -- from protection from evil during people's lives on Earth to rewards in heaven after they die.

The prayer tradition of the Rosary dates back to 1204 AD, when Saint Dominic said that Mary described it to him during an apparition in Toulouse, France. Prior to that time, some other ancient people had been using tangible objects to pray groups of prayers. Orthodox Christians carried ropes with them when they prayed; after saying each prayer, they tied a knot in the ropes. Hindu monks carried strings of beads around with them to keep track of their prayers.

Rose Color Meanings

All roses symbolize God's love at work in the world, but different colors of roses also symbolize different spiritual concepts. White roses mean purity and holiness. Red roses mean passion and sacrifice. Yellow roses mean wisdom and joy. Pink roses mean gratitude and peace. Purple or lavender roses mean wonder, awe, and change for the better.

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