For millennia the wild rose and the myriad of her cultivated offspring to follow, have bore witness to the complexity of human life--soothing our souls, elevating our spirit, and marking rites of passage. Speaking to the proud as well as the humble, white roses are the very essence of purity, innocence and light; they also crown the victor and pay homage to the martyr. They have symbolized royal blood and nations. Above all rose is love in all its heavenly and earthy tones. The white rose represents the Virgin Mary known as the Mystical Rose of Heaven, is sacred to Venus (it is said all roses were white until Venus pricked her finger and drew blood, bringing red roses into the world) and celebrated by artists. Famously Botticelli depicted the zephyrs gently drying Venus as she is birthed from the ocean, with warm breath scented with roses.
Devotees of the Phrygian Cybele (mother of the gods and primal nature goddess) honored her by “shadow[ing] the Mother and her retinue with a snow of roses” (Lucretius Carus, 2.627). Humorously in Apuleius's work The Golden Ass roses are the antidote for magic-gone-awry and restore the hero Lucius from a donkey back to human form. The roses he required were always just out of reach until a procession for the Egyptian goddess Isis made them available, who then called Lucius to priestly duty. Many scholars posit his novel is a partial self-portrait of the author and is valuable for its description of the ancient religious mysteries and that Apuleius himself had been initiated into that cult. Including sharing with us the role of roses. The concept of sub rosa (under the rose) is an alchemical concept involving the entire process of psychic transformation that occurs in the silence of self-containment, as silence is required to enter the womb or ‘rose,’ and within these hallowed folded petals the Self is secretly conceived.
Let us not forget we can use the rose to show love and affection to another, in the Victorian era, suitors sent bouquets of white roses to those they intended on pursuing to signify the beginning of a courtship. Perhaps the white rose herself allowed each individuals heart to warm and open and be ready to enter into courtship and seek pure love.