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  • Writer's pictureMandira Antar

Tattoo symbols / The rose

Updated: Oct 13, 2018

One of the most common tattoo designs are roses. You might thing that they are chosen just because they look so beautiful but the truth is that the rose carries an additional deep and wonderful meaning that is worth exploring.

Interpretations about the rose symbol can take place in a spiritual, religious or energy level.

What is your first feeling when you picture a rose? For some it is it's aroma, for others it's colour or it's thorns. The truth is that every part of the rose has a different symbolism and every colour as well.

Rose is considered to be the queen of flowers. People offer it to each other as a symbol of love, passion, commitment, tenderness, friendship, beauty... you name it!

It's essential oil is used against depression and anxiety, it heals wounds, sedates inflammation, boosts libido, treats acne... Not bad ah?

Dr Edward Bach in his remedies uses wild and rock rose to heal extreme stress and panic, as well as apathy and luck of interest for life!

The sacred rose in Alchemy represents an advanced state of consciousness and is used in initiations and ceremonies to enhance and symbolise the raise of energy vibration. It is one of the reasons roses stand for the feminine energy of receptiveness and acceptance. In Christianity Virgin Mary is referred as the mystic rose.

Many consider the rose the equivalent western symbol of the lotus on eastern cultures and religions which stands for the openness and receptiveness of the human heart and soul.

Roses are mentioned in mythology of every civilisation with many stories about how it became red as a result of a wounded heart that was bleeding or it's creation during a love between a God and a human. It is related with Isis, Greek goddess Aphrodite, Roman Goddess Flora and Venus, the love of Psyche and Eros the blood of Christ and the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. In medieval times, roses became a symbol of power.

Did you know?

Rose water is mentioned as one of the oldest beauty secrets of women. Cleopatra was said to love roses so much that she covered her palace floors and luxurious bed chamber with its petals.

Roses and Colours

One of the most important aspects in tattoo symbolism is their colour. We combined some of the most important meanings by colour on the table below.

Tattoos and Roses

In tattoo art the roses were widely used since the '30's. Sailors used to ink them in order to honour their wife or sweetheart and have them with them along their journeys. Nowadays they are combined with mandalas, faces, gems, butterflies and very commonly skulls. The combination of skulls which represent death, immortality, rebirth and the dark side of life, with roses symbolises the duality of life. The death of the old in order to have a new beginning, the necessary transformation we have to go through in order to fulfil our purpose.

The butterfly and rose tattoo enhances the transformation in the quality that represents the colour of the roses. e.g. a butterfly on a red rose stands for new love in our lives.

If you are making a choice for decorative purposes it is obvious you should choose a part of your body that you show of frequently, even if you show it to your partner only! It is a wonderful choice for a realistic design!

Roses tattoos are not feminine business only. As mentioned above, many men choose a rose to symbolise their love for someone or something, or the love for life in general. Don't forget that roses are also a symbol of strength!

Another significant part of your choice is the number of petals. They say that the number of petals is associated to numerology and the energy the number carries. e.g. in alchemy a rose with seven petals is equivalent to balance and universal understanding. Eight petals symbolise rebirth.

Will you have the thorns on your tattoo or not? Thorns represent a wonderful quality of the rose. Everything that is so beautiful and tender is mandatory to have a difficulty as well. You cannot grasp anything worthwhile in this life without the risk of getting hurt. Some say the thorns symbolise the sacrifice we have to make for love. But in my opinion, it is not a sacrifice but a great risk and adventure to dive into the unknown realms of love.

The rose's rarest essence lives in the thorns - Rumi

In conclusion there is a rose design tattoo for anyone that wants a classic and elegant tattoo. You will find a rose in old-school, neo-traditional, realistic, watercolour, geometry... any genre of tattoo designs.

The rose will fill you with it's aroma and sweet energy, it will remind you of the beauty that surrounds us all, it will portray your femininity and compassion.

Tattoo designs from the web:

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Check out my tattoo page and message me for a custom design that we co-create with love and enthusiasm! Like our facebook page to stay in touch!


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