Stepping into the gardening store, the choice of roses can be overwhelming for a Rose-Lover – David Austin English roses, Floribunda roses, Hybrid roses, Hybrid Musk and Tea roses, Landscape roses. The list goes on. Forever. One is more beautiful than the other, and many have better aroma than expensive perfumes. And, in addition to their variety and beauty, roses are surrounded with rich symbolism and many legends.
Rose, just like the lily and the lotus, is one of the most important flower symbols in the world. Since roses are most widely known as a symbol of love, it is a flower of Venus and Aphrodite. According to a Greek poet Anakreon, rose was born from a white foam that surrounded Aphrodite when she returned from her swim in the sea. An Indian legend speaks how the goddess of beauty, Lakshmi, was born of a rose that consisted of 108 rose petals. God Vishnu fell in love and married Lakshmi, and the rose became a sign of a godly secret, and sacred flower of the Eastern world.
In different cultures rose stands for youth, purity, perfection, love, marriage or rebirth. The different colors of roses also have specific meaning. For instance, white is for purity, red is for passion and sacrifice, yellow means joy and compassion, and pink is for peace, friendship, and gratitude. Rose is a paradox, at the same time representing life and death, heavenly perfection and worldly desires, chastity and fertility.
Similarly to the lotus, rose refers to the triumph of spirit over matter, for its beautiful form grows out from the muddy earth. And, just like it is with the lotus, the number of rose petals has significance. For instance, the original wild rose had 5 petals, that balances the female 2 with male 3, symoblizing marriage, and the union of opposites. As the lotus is the flower of the goddess Tara in Buddhism, the rose is a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
Roses have often signified miraculous and Godly love in all the world's major religions. The aroma of roses has been associated with angels. Some believe that angels use rose scents as physical signs of their spiritual presence with people. This is because roses have very strong energy fields that vibrate at a high electrical frequency (the highest of any other flower). Therfore, since angelic energy also has high vibration, angels can connect easier with roses than with other flowers that have lower vibrational rates.
So now the Rose-Lover steps out of the gardening store, has a smile on her face, an empty wallet, and – instead of the intended 1 or 2 roses – a car full of roses. Few pinks for peace and gratitude, some reds for love and passion, some whites for purity, and yellow for joy. And, barely seeing anything through the car’s back window, the Rose-Lover drives away with a vision of a garden full of fragrant roses and angels walking in between the flowerbeds.
Jaansoo, Puusepp, Kaur. „Maagilised taimed ja taimemaagia.“
Tibetan Buddhism is an intersting mix of the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, Tibetan Bon religion, and the Hindu Tantric buddhism with its diverse rituals and magic. Out of the two main buddhist schools, Theravada (“The Teaching of the Elders“) and Mahayana („The Great Vehicle“), the latter has been more innovative, and more popular among ordinary people. One of the differences of the Theravada and Mahayana school of thought (see Comparative Study of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism) is the interpretation of the bodhisattva concept. The Theravada followers see bodhisattva as someone focused on their own personal liberation. The Mahayana buddhists, on the other hand, strive towards the ideal of a bodhisattva who delays their enlightenment to help others on their spiritual path. As the result of these different influences, the Tibetan Buddhism has a rich tradition of spiritual methods (mantras, rituals, mandala creation, ceremonies, etc.) as well as many mystical beings, deities, and bodhisattvas.
The most popular female deity in Tibet (and Tibetan communities in exile in Northern India) is the bodhisattva Tara. Regardless of wether she is considered a deity, Goddess or a bodhisattva, Tara is also much loved in Mongolia, Nepal, Bhutan, and is worshipped in most Buddhist communities all over the world. The bodhisattva Tara (in Tibetan: Dolma) symbolizes universal compassion and loving-kindness. Tara’s popularity in Tibet is often attributed to Indian teacher named Atisha who travelled to Tibet during 11th century. According to a legend, the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara had wept for all suffering people, and out of his tears grew a beautiful lotus. From this lotus flower, Tara was born with a mission to help and save all beings. The elements and hand gestures of Tara symbolize protection, fearlessness, wisdom , blessings, virtue, and quick compassionate action.
The Tibetan Tara has also been compared to the Christian Virgin Mary as they both represent love and compassion. More importantly, the bodhisattva Tara has even been considered as a feminist, since she has positively affected the inclusion of women in male dominated buddhism.
"There is a true feminist movement in Buddhism that relates to the goddess Tara. Following her cultivation of bodhicitta, the bodhisattva's motivation, she looked upon the situation of those striving towards full awakening and she felt that there were too few people who attained Buddhahood as women. So she vowed, 'I have developed bodhicitta as a woman. For all my lifetimes along the path I vow to be born as a woman, and in my final lifetime when I attain Buddhahood, then, too, I will be a woman.'" (Dalai Lama, 1989)
Tara Mantra is Om tare tuttare ture svaha/soha, and the Tibetans believe that reciting this mantra has the power to increase our ability to receive and give loving energy, eliminate fear, diseases, bring peace, fulfil wishes, and overcome obstacles.
There is a variety of different information available on zodiac and birthstones. This is natural as the beliefs related to stones emerge from different cultural contexts. It is known that the gems were highly valued by many old cultures, such as Greeks, Incas, Egyptians, Romans, Persians, Tibetans, and Indians. Sources indicate that the systems of zodiac and birthstones go all the way back to the Babylonians. These ancient people were attuned to the influence of the stars and planets, and incorporated their centuries-long stories of stones with scientific knowledge. Therefore, the history of gems also includes the astrological aspect. For instance, talisman was a desirable magical stone thought to embody magical powers derived from the heavens. The Indian and Babylonian systems of linking planets with their corresponding gems became the basis for the modern zodiac system.
Through history, this fascination with stones brought about the creation of several different zodiac stone systems, all slightly different in their focus. For instance, Tibetan system was inclined towards the mystical aspects of gems, Ayurvedic birthstones from India had stronger associations with healing and medicine, and zodiac birthstone system (related to 12 signs of zodiac) believed in planetary influences.
The western zodiac and birthstone beliefs are connected to biblical sources. The first high priest Aaron of Jerusalem, who lived in 1200 B.C., was the first high priest to wear the breastplate adorned with 12 stones. The stones were mounted in gold, and embedded according to the way prescribed by the Book of Exodus in the Bible. Each gem was given a name of the twelve tribes of Israel. In addition, there is a connection to the twelve months of the year, and twelve signs of Zodiac.
The most well known medieval lapidary (a book of stones) – De Lapidibus – was composed in c.1090 by Marbod of Rennes. This is a very comprehensive book giving detailed accounts in verse of the various qualities of sixty gems and minerals. It is clear that Marbod is a big believer in stone power. For instance, he indicates that gems can also be used to frighten off demons and create enchantments. The author also listed the medicinal qualities of many stones including diamond, topaz, sapphire or lapis lazuli, and coral. In his book Marbod writes of the wonderful characteristics of emerald or smargardus to increase wealth, coral to protect against lightning or tempests, and the power of diamonds to drive away nightmares and cure insanity. Hmm…all of these stones would be quite handy, wouldn't they?
However, the Christian Church did not like any hocus-pocus, and condemned anything with a hint of magic. The church was very selective about using the sources of the classical period. For example, it tried to ban the magical talisman, on the other hand encouraging the study of medicinal properties of stones. During the 13th century Christian thinkers tried to root out any pagan material, and began to compose their own symbolic lapidaries based on the stones in the Bible. This resulted in numerous lapidaries focusing on the twelve stones of Aaron's breastplate or on the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse.
It was not until the 18th century in Poland, that there is any documentation of people wearing zodiac and birthstones. During earlier periods the gems were mostly valued for their healing and medicinal properties. Also, at first there was no formal classification of gemstones, and gems were assigned to zodiac signs based on their color. The color was believed to be something that draws out the power associated with a certain stone.
Eventually poems were developed naming the stones for each month according to the Gregorian calendar. This became the basis for the traditional birthstone system used by most English-speaking societies. In 1912, in an effort to standardize birthstones, the American National Association of Jewelers officially adopted a list were more stones were added to some months.
And to make it all even more interesting, there are also corresponding gemstones assigned to planets, chakras, elements, and for each week day.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Welcome! :) My name is Monika. I am interested in crystals, different cultures, and good stories. As a linguist I have always been fascinated with semiotics and symbols, and how people of different cultures interpret them.