The Meaning of Roses: Each Color Rose’s Properties and Magick
When I was a little girl, walking through my grandmother’s garden was one of my favorite pastimes. Not only was there a patch of tulips hidden in the woods behind her house, but there was a section of beautiful roses. And maybe my memory serves me wrong, but I swore there were roses of nearly every color. At least that’s the imprint on my mind – magic and beauty growing in a patch of earth next to grandma’s house. And even then, to me, there was an inevitable true meaning of roses.
First, Some Amazing Facts About Roses
The rose plant, or Rosa, is one of the most popular flowers in the world. It gained popularity in Victorian times, when the language of flowers was all the rage. But its origins are so old, we aren’t sure where it originates. Some scholars believe in Ancient Persia. We have archaeological evidence of roses from nearly thirty million years ago! The Rosa plant is also called the Queen of Flowers. From Victoria Zak’s 20,000 Secrets of Tea, “according to a Christmas legend, the moment the Christ Child was born, every rose in the world bloomed.” There are at least ten thousand different cultivars of roses in the world today. Roses can be as tiny as 0.5 inches or as large as 7 inches! Most have a beautiful fragrance, but ALL are beautiful and unique. This is why we’ve attached attributes to the meaning of roses.
The Language of Flowers and the Meaning of Roses
The Language of Flowers is a system of symbolism assigned to each type of flower. One that was all the rage in the Victorian Era. If you loved a lady and wanted to show it, you’d send her flowers. If you had a friend who was ill, you’d send them a certain flower to show your concern. The language of flowers became a way of sending messages when you couldn’t be there physically. A way to brighten someone’s day with beauty (mostly, as there were some flowers that brought a more sinister message). Roses were probably one of the most popular flowers in the Victorian Era, and surprisingly, they’ve kept their popularity alive all these years. So let’s learn the actual meaning of roses in the language of flowers and modern times!
What is the Meaning of Roses? Broken Down By Color
What the meaning of roses is to you might be completely different than the symbolism I’ve personally assigned to these gorgeous flowers. And different from the next person. Our understanding of what things mean symbolically is mostly based off our own personal experiences. With that being said, here’s Otherworldly Oracle’s beliefs in the meaning of roses by color:
1. Red Rose Meaning: True Love, Beauty, and Mourning
Most people today know if you receive a dozen red roses, it means someone loves you in a romantic way. Love comes in many forms, but RED = true love. The love that stands the test of time – just like the red rose’s meaning has all these years. The language of flowers breaks red roses down even further by shade:
- Deep red: the sender is bashful or thinks you are bashful; alternatively, deep red rose means someone is in mourning.
- Burgundy: you aren’t aware how beautiful you are
- True red: you are beautiful; a heartfelt congratulations; a “job well done”; passion; protection
2. The White Rose’s Meaning: Purity, Youth, and Secret Love
There’s something otherworldly about a white rose. Maybe it reminds us of Alice in Wonderland. The white rose’s meaning to a witch or mystic might mean purity and cleansing. And interestingly, the language of flowers says the white rose could mean “exorcism”. But also charm, heavenly looks and temperament, innocence, youthfulness, love in secret, as well as a lover who pines away for another. I find the meaning or roses in lighter shades to be inextricably linked to spirits of the newly departed, as well.
3. Yellow Rose’s Symbolism: Friendship and Happiness (But Also Dying Love?)
When I was a teenager, my mom used to say receiving yellow roses from a boyfriend wasn’t a good thing. So I remember thinking, I hope my boyfriend never sends me yellow roses! In magick, yellow means self confidence, joy, and vitality. But in the language of flowers, the yellow rose means dying love or that the sender is apologizing to you for something he/she did. However, if you send a yellow rose to a friend, it shows a strong friendship. And otherwise could mean good memories and a welcome back.
4. Black Rose Meaning: Death and Beauty
Have you ever seen a black rose? They are rather exquisite. To the typical goth, a black rose is something of beauty. And in the language of flowers, black roses also mean beauty. But they can have a more somber meaning, as well including: death, farewell, and hatred. Though, I’m not sure why anyone would take their time and money sending black roses to someone else just to prove their hatred towards them.
5. Peach Rose’s Symbolism: Closing Deals and Appreciation
I guess I should start keeping peach rose petals on hand for money spells. This color rose could mean the “closing of a deal”. Something we think about often in our house since my husband is in sales! In addition, the peach rose means appreciation and invites the recipient to a get-together. Particularly if it’s someone you haven’t seen in a long time.
6. Pink Rose Meaning: Grace and Self Love
Pink roses are a perfect color flower to give to a daughter, sister or friend. They symbolize grace and sweetness, but also friendship and happiness. This color in the metaphysical world means self love and femininity. This may be my favorite color of rose.
7. Orange Rose Symbolism: Creativity and Enthusiasm
Again if we look at the color orange in metaphysics, it means creativity, life force, and health. In the language of flowers, the orange rose means someone desires you. But also enthusiasm, pride and wonder.
8. Blue Rose Meanings: Attaining the Impossible and Healing
I always enjoy coming across a blue rose. They are rare but attention-grabbing. If you want to attain someone who seems unattainable, send them a dozen blue roses. The blue rose means making the impossible possible. If you go with the magical meaning, blue could also represent healing, peace, emotions, and intuition.
9. Purple Roses Symbolize New Love & Magic
Depending on the shade of purple, purple roses mean different things. In the metaphysical world, purple is automatically associated with all things magick: spiritual healing, witchcraft, and metaphysics overall.
- Light Purple or Lavender Roses Mean: love at first sight, new love, and enchantment
- Dark Purple Roses mean beauty and witchcraft
WARNING: the rose’s leaves and green parts are not recommended for internal use, but the petals and the Wild Dog Rosehips are generally safe.
Rose Magick: Properties and Uses
In addition to learning and using the meaning of roses in gifting flowers to loved ones, the rose is also a powerful magical and medicinal plant. The rose is one of my favorite witchy plants, actually. It’s versatile and can be used for many intentions. Various parts of the plant are powerful when used in spells, healing, even in food. Here we look at the rose’s medicinal and magical properties. PLUS how to use roses in your magick.
Roses as Medicine
There are typically two parts of the rose plant that are edible and used to make herbal tea: the rosebuds and the hips. Rosehips are “reddish-colored coverings that grow around the real fruits for protection, and for this reason they are often called false-fruits” (Victoria Zak, pg. 192). But most of us think of rosehips as a fruit. They have a tart, sweetish flavor and are frequently added as an ingredient in mass-produced teas like Celestial Seasonings and Tazo. Rosehips come from the Wild Dog Rose species, which was named thousands of years ago because of its use to treat wild dog bites. The meaning of roses, medicinally speaking, come alive and give us vitality in rosehips:
- Rosehips are high in nutrients that support the immune system and anti-aging including Vitamins A, D, B-complex, C-citric, malic, and ascorbic acids, as well as Vitamins E and K. They are also high in calcium, iron, selenium, magnesium and fiber. Drinking a rosehip tea provides these nutrients to your body, which in turn aids your body in fighting off colds and viruses
- Rosehip tea also acts as a cleansing agent to the respiratory tract, as a tonic to provide the body energy, and is great for your skin and organs overall!
Rose’s Magical Properties
The rose is one of those magical plants that can be used in so many ways. We’ve already talked about its medicine, but how about the rose’s magical properties? As we’ve mentioned before, the Rosa plant is SUPER versatile:
- Gender: Feminine
- Planet: Venus
- Element: Water
- Rose petals magical properties include: beauty, love, passion, lust, peace, purification, loving memories, harmony in the household, divination, ancestral work, funerary rites and healing (keep in mind, these will vary depending on the COLOR of the rose too! See the meanings of each rose color above)
- Rosehips magical properties: beauty, love, healing, psychic powers, luck, and divination
- Rose thorns magical properties: protection, banishment, blood magic, working with one’s maternal ancestors, otherworldly intuition, underworld connection, faery magic and psychic powers
According to Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, the rose plant is also linked to deities like Hathor, Hulda, Eros, Cupid, Demeter, Isis, Adonis, Aurora and Harpocrates. But truly, the rose is a favorite plant of many deities and spirits.
Ways to Use the Meaning of Roses in Your MAGICK
The way in which you practice magic, healing, and metaphysics will depend on your preferences and lifestyle. I see the ENTIRE rose plant as useful in my magical practice. The petals, buds, hips, thorns, branches, leaves and even the roots. Here are some ways to use the rose and its meaning in your magick:
- In beauty rituals: sprinkle the petals in the bathtub for a ritual bath, make rose water and use as a tonic on the face and skin, drink rosehip tea to encourage beauty from the inside out
- For purification: add roses to smoke-cleansing bundles and burn to purify one’s home, sacred space or aura, add to ritual cleansing baths, purifying floor sweeps and washes, front door washes, etc.
- In drawing love to oneself (love spells): the meaning or roses when it comes to love is potent magic. Harness the rose’s loving energy by adding the rose to potions, soaps, baths, body oils, and more to draw love to yourself. Stringing rosehips to a necklace and worn will attract romantic love. The dried rosehips can also be used in divination rituals to determine when a new lover will show up.
- Roses are powerful faery plants: when grown in the garden, they attract flower faeries of various kinds. According to Cunningham, roses grow best when “stolen”, though we aren’t recommending anyone to steal anything! Bake with rose petals and provide cakes with roses as offerings to the fae.
- Use roses in your offerings to deities: as mentioned above in the magical properties section, the rose plant is linked to many gods and goddesses. I’ve found that most goddesses appreciate roses as offerings in a vase, in oils, perfumes, and more
- In maternal ancestor work: the meaning of roses, I’ve found, is woven into our connection to our maternal ancestors (our mother’s bloodline – particularly your mother, your mother’s mother, your mother’s mother’s mother, and on it goes). Sleep with roses under your pillow and ask to meet your maternal ancestors in your dreams. Drink a rosehip tea before meditation or journeying to meet your ancestors. Offer roses, rosehip tea, rose water, etc. to your ancestors by placing it on their altar. Wearing roses in any form solidifies your link to your ancestors. The scent of roses in the air often means your ancestors are present
MORE Herbal Magic Resources:
- Herbs for Protection: 20 of our Favorites
- 4 Poisonous Herbs Used in Western Medicine: A Wakeup Call
- 20 MUST-HAVE Herbs for the Witch’s Cabinet