Rose alchemy for Epiphany

The rose is an ancient symbol of pure love. It is the flower said to be sent from Venus, that inspires poets, lovers, even battles for power (I’m thinking the War of the Roses). The rose is a healing flower of great beauty, it’s essential oil is one of the most expensive and is the basis of one of my favourite scents.

For me, the rose conjures images of Tristan and Iseult in secret trysts in the walled garden on top of Tintagel under a new moon. (I’d walked that garden in September, another story...). It reminds me too of other tales: of Snow White and Rose Red, of tales from ancient Persia where the flower is connected to the nightingale.

The rose, a flower of myth, and legend. A flower of the gods. A flower of nobility. A flower of love. A flower for everyone.

The rose forms part of my core offering in Runes n Roses. The beautiful rose oracle I use in my readings was created by Sandy Humby, who is based in the heart of the New Forest, that magical ancient woodland in Hampshire. In summer 2018 Sandy was sending her rose vibrations from her stall at a conference hosted at the University of Sussex Business School, up into my office that was directly above. I was immediately attracted to the card deck; the images reminded me of a set of rose photos from an old 1950s gardening manual which I’d used to decorate a jewelry box I’d made thirty years before. The roses she’d photographed on her travels around the world really spoke to me.

They also spoke of my mother, who passed at the end of 2017. Diana had tended the most wonderful scented roses in her front garden in Old Portsmouth, until she could tend them no more, as the thorns would break her paper skin and make her Warfarin thin blood bleed profusely. So she sadly had them dug up. We had once gone on a road trip around Normandy, and stayed in an old Chateaux, where the chatelaine kept the most incredible walled rose garden of many varieties. My mother and I spent a long afternoon bathed in summer sunshine walking through the garden stopping to smell the wonderful rose perfume of each rose bush. I felt she was urging me to work with the rose cards.

Unfolding the Rose Bagua

It was synchronicity again that meant I’d found, at the last minute, the final place on the Epiphany workshop hosted by Sandy in the New Forest. The workshop was to create a Rose Bagua map for the year ahead. By booking my place, I completed the circle of eight. Eight is a number of abundance, and is a significant number representing the divine feminine. Eight woman had come together to form a rose circle, work with the rose cards, and build our Bagua maps for 2019.

On my morning journey,  a golden goose flew right across my path as I drove over the bridge crossing the River Hamble, where my father had moored our family yacht Tuloa, and the river where I learned to sail. There I spent many afternoons playing amongst the house boats in the mud,making dens out of upturned hull moulds in Deacons Boatyard, and rowing over to the Jolly Sailor (made famous in Howards Way, that long running BBC TV drama in the 1980s). As I entered the New Forest a wild pony greeted me, the power of the horse. It was to be a day of strength as we birthed golden eggs of transformation through the heart power of the rose bagua.

The bagua are eight symbols used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken", respectively representing yin or yang. Another possible source of bagua is the following, attributed to King Wen of Zhou Dynasty: "When the world began, there was heaven and earth. Heaven mated with the earth and gave birth to everything in the world. Heaven is Qian-gua, and the Earth is Kun-gua. The remaining six guas are their sons and daughters".

Sandy gave us our rose bagua template and grid axis to create our maps. We were also working with crystals that had been charged overnight under the new moon. As we settled around the roaring fire, we began to work intuitively. Drawing cards for each axis line, putting questions to the rose cards, and then seeing what unfolded for us when we meditated on the rose and which crystals wanted to compliment each card. Interestingly, I noted that certain cards (out of a possible 45 in the set) kept coming up within the circle as we created our maps through the day.  I could also start to see further patterns within the bagua that relate to the runes.

I left the New Forest with several epiphanies, and a real sense of excitement; of rose heart opening, of rosy well being, and a feeling that 2019 is definitely going to be about the unfolding of RunesnRoses.

For more information about the Rose Oracle, and Sandy’s workshops, visit her website