A Rose By Any Other Name
I spent most of today struggling with a German translation, so my only contact with the outside world consisted of gazing through my study window. Not that there was much to see. Same old drab, chilly, wet weather. I forget who once said that February is to the year what Sunday is to the week, but he was spot on. And if it's February and a Sunday at the same time, the blahs can move in with a vengeance.
All of that got me thinking about how I look forward to the spring, to the emergence of new life, and to flowers in particular. And the one I look forward to most is the rose, my personal favourite. That in turn led me to wonder about the origins of human fascination with this gorgeous plant, and - as aways - the internet turned up an interesting snippet of information (from Sheila Pickles in The Language of Flowers).
"The rose is one of the oldest flowers known to man, and still one of the most popular. Nebuchadnezzar used them to adorn his palace and in Persia, where they were grown for their perfume oil, the petals were used to fill the Sultan's mattress. In Kashmir the Moghul emperors cultivated beautiful rose gardens and roses were strewn in the river to welcome them on their return home. Roses later became synonymous with the worst excesses of the Roman Empire - the peasants were reduced to growing roses instead of food crops in order to satisfy the demands of their rulers. The emperors filled their swimming baths and fountains with rose-water and sat on carpets of of rose petals for their feasts and orgies. Heliogabalus used to enjoy showering his guests with rose petals which tumbled down from the ceiling during the festivities.
The Rose is the flower of love. It was created by Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, but of a lifeless body of a nymph which she found one day in a clearing in the woods. She asked the help of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave her beauty; Dionysus, the god of wine, added nectar to give her a sweet scent, and the three Graces gave her charm, brightness and joy. Then Zephyr, the West Wind, blew away the clouds so that Apollo, the sun god, could shine and make the flower bloom. And so the Rose was."
Roses are also attributed with magical, mystical qualities, and have been the subject of poetry and prose throughout the ages. I love to photograph them, and sometimes use the images in designs for my online shop.
Please click on Mystical Rose if you'd like to see the design on a number of products.
Here in the Netherlands it's now nearly midnight, the witching hour. Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, my mattress isn't filled with rose petals, but it's mighty inviting just the same. (-:
It's been a long day.