Today's topic of discussion will be based on longevity and its relationship with subject matter.
When someone is deciding that they would like to acquire a tattoo, or in extension any other form of artwork, there are many factors that may be identified. These factors commonly dive inside of the subconscious of the human psyche, influences ranging from personal experience or relationship with a subject matter, observed symbolism in the exoteric, mystique/esotericism, power, beauty, classicism, innovation, and many more harder to quantify factors.
Images which the mind and the individual may be drawn to seem to be attached to society and the larger collective subconscious, images which speak to the visual language of the society in which one has been raised, and images which speak to the societies in which they develop an interest. Commonly these images also have a relationship whether direct or indirect with the mythology and religiosity of their respective societies of origin.
An image may draw in its potential wearer for a multiplicity of reasons, perhaps they have a direct and conscious understanding of their relationship with an image or subject matter, or perhaps their relationship with an image has been acquired from parts unknown. Throughout the course of one's life they will have a great deal of things happen to them, encountering a great deal of these experiences and those experiences in one form or another seem to be one of the primary sources for the determination of taste and interest in subject matter with which they may acquire a tattoo or piece of artwork of its depiction.
Perhaps an image gains its attraction through the societal context within which an image resides, we shall here dissect the visual symbolism of one commonly seen image which is very popular within creative realms. Although the scope of our dissection is limited here to a single subject, the principles which will be applied spread throughout all images which may be turned into a piece of creative work.
Here we shall look into the visual history of the rose and examine the reasons as to why and where this image became important within the creative world.
Interestingly enough the relationship that mankind has with the rose is one of the oldest and most complicated of the floral world. This makes it an obvious choice for a subject matter which has a deep subconscious relationship with the collective conscious of our society. One of the earliest spaces in which the rose was documented was in the land that in the modern era is known as Iraq in the year 2000 BC. It is likely though not proven that the original symbolism of the “tudor rose” was established here by the zoroastrian faith which was present in the area around 900 years after the earliest documentation of the rose in Iraq. Zoroastrian religion is one of the earliest forms of monotheistic religion, a key feature of which being the singular source of existence itself. The symbolism of the rose continued outwardly from this point as being a symbol of progenation, a creative center point with which a receptacle of symbolism was breathed outward.
From its initial endowment with meaning it was eventually spread through human curiosity and conquest to China in approximately the year 500 bc when the well known silk road was established. When it was brought to Rome it became entangled with the symbolism of Aphrodite as well as the goddess ISIS who was also passed over from the middle eastern shamanistic faiths and later the Zoroastrain and Egyptian belief systems. In the Egyptian faiths ISIS was known as the divine mother of the Pharaoh as well as a user of divine healing spells. This relationship is also handed down into the Roman pagan mythos within the Iliad where Aphrodite protects Hector using the “immortal oil of the rose” similar to the way that ISIS protects Lucius using the petals of roses taken from the crown of roses worn by a priest.
This life-giving property was later attributed with the Virgin Mary once the Roman empire converted to Christianity. Within the mythos of the early Christian faith the Virgin Mary distributes roses to her worshippers. Again representing the relationship between the “life giving force” and the rose.
The life giving force also became a subject of fascination with the occultist movement within the 16-19th centuries and beyond, as Mankind continued the search for an explanation to its own existence it began to uncover the synthesis between religion and mathematics: Alchemy, a system of understanding which eventually became science as we know it today. The pursuit of this hidden knowledge was commonly persecuted by the established ruling classes and as a result it took on an esoteric nature to avoid the destruction of those who practiced it. To these people the pursuit of science was towards the goals of finding the source of creation in a physical means, in objects such as the fabled philosopher's stone. The stone is also esoterically pictographically represented in the image of the geometrical rose, or “Tudor rose”.
This among many other factors in later years lead to the rose becoming a symbol of resistance against oppression from a ruling class as a means of regaining life which has been lost from the starvation of the people by a system which is opposed by the general population. A symbol of gaining life through hard times.
This same working class was also particular to the use of the rose as a symbol of affection in times of war, particularly popular during the eras of World War 1 and World War 2 which still echo in the halls of our subconscious to this very day. Lovers would present cards adorned with roses which were passing down this symbolism from time immemorial, couched in their subconscious as the most prominent symbol of their love for one another. A symbol which had been so widely used and so timelessly cherished as a method of proclaiming the life-giving force of the existence of this universe itself.
When one looks at a symbol they recognize it is very rarely a symbol as shallow as their awareness may be, upon investigation the symbolic language we constantly surround ourselves with is rooted deeply in our history and it only takes a small amount of research to begin to reveal how far these threads of time may unravel.
As we have investigated just one object of fascination here today I encourage anyone reading these words to investigate their own objects of fascination with the same rigour so they may truly appreciate both where it is they and the world around them came from, and where it is this existence is heading. With a greater clarity of perception of our existence we may more accurately guide this world forward into a better future.