The Rose Tattoo Meaning. The Rose is a complex and ambivalent symbol, it is both heavenly perfection and earthly passion.

It is among the most known and cultivated flowers since ancient times. The rose as we know it today is the result of the hybridisation of some Chinese roses imported into Europe.

Strange flower, the rose: delicate, fragrant, with velvety petals that hides the thorns that hurt between its glossy leaves.
Because of these characteristics, the rose takes on strongly contrasting meanings: passion and death, glory and resurrection. In other words, eternal life.

In the Classical Culture the rose is the western correspondent of the eastern lotus flower, both associated by form with the Wheel. An important esoteric symbol that indicates perfection, the rose is associated with the circle by the arrangement of the petals which, like a Mandala, represent the infinite, the passage of time and the paradigm of eternity.

Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose Tattoo by Lukas Adams

Rose Tattoo Meaning

The Rose and It’s Historical Meaning

In Alchemy, the Rose becomes the representation of the Philosopher’s Stone. The white and red roses are considered the primordial elements of which the existing matter is considered to be: the first as a “volatile” substance and the second as a “combustion” ingredient.

Crowns of roses adorned the statues of the God Dionysus and were also worn around the necks of his followers. Garlands of roses encircled those who attended banquets in honour of this divinity, precisely because it was believed that this flower was able to keep away the negative effects, such as headaches, that an abuse of wine could cause. Roses helped drunken followers not to reveal the secrets they knew about.
A symbol of confidentiality that was also taken up by the Christians who carve five-petalled roses in the confessional wood with the motto “Sub Rosa“, to indicate the pledge of secrecy of the sacrament of Confession.

In the Medieval Mentality, illness was a consequence of sin. The rose becomes a powerful talisman against evil.

During the Plagues the doctors wore roses as a garrison and amulet against the risk of infection. With the rose petals the air was purified and the clothing was disinfected.
At that time, prostitutes, priestesses of profane love, were obliged to wear a rose at the breast, so much so that in France they were simply called “roses“.

Symbolism of the Rose

The enigmatic “Sanguis Rosaceus“, the blood with the same color of the rose, is the blood of redemption, a symbolic blood that re-unites and re-integrates, the individual as the multitudes, always in the sign of the Rose.

In Freemasonry the rose is of fundamental importance; during the funeral of a “brother” three roses of different colours are thrown into the tomb, called Roses of Saint John which signify love, light and life.

In the field of heraldry, roses are usually depicted in a stylised manner, with five, six or eight petals. Among the emblems are those of the Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose) and Tudor (pink with white petals streaked red) families. It appears in the coat of arms of Southampton (one red rose and two white) and Yorkshire.

White Rose

Armor Gantlet Design by Vokun Tattoo

Rose Tattoo Meaning

In the Chinese world the rose is associated with youth, in any case it is never associated with love.

The Rose with four petals represents the division into as many parts of the cosmos (earth, water, fire and sky), in other words the elements that in ancient times some philosophers considered primordial and from which all creation originated. The rose with five petals represents the microcosm.

Red Rose Meaning

Red Rose by Ignis Ink

Rose Tattoo Meaning

Different Colours, Different Meanings

The Red Rose means desire, passion, joy, beauty and sex.

The White Rose is the flower of light; symbolises innocence, virginity, spiritual development and charm.

The White and Red Rose together represent the union of fire and water, a union of opposites.

The Blue Rose is the symbol of the impossible.

The Rose in the Tattoo World, often accompanies several other symbols and subjects such as animals and objects.

If the Rose is placed next to an inanimate object, as a key might be, it can often represent the family, the union or the memory of a person we lost. The transitory beauty of the rose and its fragility in this case denote the fleeting life.

The Rose next to a Skull is a symbol of duality, meaning life and death, the decline of beauty. It also symbolizes immortality. The Romans offered roses to the deads, so much so that a rose garden was for a long time synonymous with cemetery.

The Rose pierced by a Dagger or accompanied by one has different meanings, it can means perfection or loss of passion. You can read more about this on our Dagger Tattoo Meaning article.

Snake wrapped around a rose is blinding passion, temptation that lead to corruption. More about the snake and the rose together on our article about the Snake Tattoo Meaning.

Compass Rose Tattoo Meaning

The Compass Rose or Rose of the Winds is depicted in the form of a circle enclosing a double cross indicating the four cardinal directions and the intermediate directions; in it the symbols of the circle, of the center, of the cross of the rays of the solar wheel are present at the same time.

Compass Rose Tattoo Meaning

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