The rose has been a symbol of secrecy for millennia. The ancient Romans wore rose garlands on special occasions and when these were hung above important meeting places, the conversations that took place beneath were considered sub rosa, or ‘under the rose.’ It was understood that things said ‘under the rose’ would be kept secret and not repeated. There’s also an image of the ancient Egyptian God Horus sitting with a rose and holding his finger to his lips, symbolizing silence about the deep mysteries.
The phrase sub rosa may have its origins in ancient Greece, where in 477 bc a secret negotiation took place in a building attached to the temple of Minerva (seen on this card). On the building’s roof was a rose garden, hence sub rosa. Another, otherworldly, theory of the phrase’s origin is linked to Eros, who is said to have bribed Harpocrates, the Greek God of silence and secrecy, with a rose to persuade him to remain silent on the affairs of the gods.
Card of the day from The Rose Oracle
This card represents the great mysteries that are available for us to uncover and remember. Secrets that are waiting to be found, teachings that your soul might be ready to learn. Look beyond what your eyes can see and dig a little deeper. You’re here to uncover lost wisdom, ancient secrets, and deep mysteries. Are you being called to study the great mysteries, to live the great questions and step into your role as a teacher, guide, or mystic? Are you being called to question things and unearth the truths unknown?
What are you being called to study, learn more about or unearth?