My Wedding Rosary…

Roses have played an important role in art, religion and commerce, from the time of ancient Crete almost four thousand years ago, although their use as symbols is not recorded with any significance until the texts of classic Athenian literature. In the Iliad, an 8th Century BC epic poem, Homer tells us how Hector’s body was anointed with Rose oil after his death at the hands of Achilles…

Since antiquity the Rose has been associated with the love God Eros and his ally Aphrodite, as its aroma excites erotic desires. According to the poet Anacreon, the seafoam dripping from the body of Aphrodite as she is born turns into white Roses, representing her purity and innocence. When she is trying to help Adonis, her wounded lover, Aphrodite sheds a few drops of blood onto a white Rose and changes it to red; representing her desire and passion for him…

Cleopatra had a passion for Roses. To seduce Mark Antony, she had the palace floors carpeted with Rose petals and her chamber filled with two feet deep with red Rose petals and fountains filled with Rose water. In 11th century Sufi poetry, the Rose was held up as the symbol of life, a representation of perfection, with its thorns symbolizing the difficulties that must be overcome to achieve that perfection. The Germanic people consecrated the hedge Rose to Frigga, the wife of their Father God, Odin. The red rose hips held thunderstorms at bay. Rosewater has become an agent of purification, and Rose amulets are worn to protect against the “evil eye”…

In Greek and Roman funerary symbolism, rosettes and Roses were carved onto tombstones, in recognition of Spring and rebirth beyond the grave. The chothonic significance is present in Celtic symbolism also – A triad of roses, often accompanied by ravens is found in carvings of the time, and several Celtic deities are associated with the Rose, either as a reflection of a chthonic aspect to their cults or because of the sun-like shape of the symbol…

I could go on, and on about the symbolism of the Rose, by that isn’t the point of this post…

To this day, Roses are traditionally worn at weddings in the belief they will bring love, happiness and security. So what better to wear than a necklace made of Rose petals for our vow renewal? Legend has it that centuries ago, when knighthood was reportedly in flower, noblewomen made fragrant beads of petals plucked from castle Rose gardens. Strung together into rosaries (from the Latin rosarium, meaning garland of Roses or Rose garden), the beads assisted the devout in saying their prayers. Indeed, many believed that the lovely perfume, released into the air as the beads were handled and worn, wafted to heaven and disposed God to listen kindly to all entreaties…

So before the Gods I will wear a garland of Roses for their blessings on our bond once again…

And the reason for this post is, I’ve had a few people ask how I’m going to make these…

I use traditional ingredients such as red Rose petals, Rosewater & Rose essential oil, and a fixative such as a Myrrh or Frankincense, but I can never leave a recipe as I find it… I love to tweek, so I also use a pinch of ground Cinnamon, powdered Dragon’s Blood and will add few drops of blood from both Jason and I…

So here is a wee guide to making your own Rose Petal Beads, feel free to tweek where you feel appropriate…

  • First take many, many handfuls of rose petals, trimming of the white part at the bottom of the petal. This part is tougher than the rest of the petal and doesn’t reduce down as well as the rest. You can cut these petals up, smoosh them in a pestle and mortar, or buzz them in a grinder for a few seconds, but you want them to be fairly small pieces before you add them to your pot…
  • Add  about 1/4 cup of Rosewater for every 2 cups of petals.
  • Now you can heat the Rose pulp in a saucepan over medium heat. The traditional recipe says to use a cast iron pot if you want your beads to turn black (The iron oxidizes, and thereby darkens, the pulp). However, my beads made from both red and pink petals turn a dark, dark red without any special help…
  • Simmer for an hour. Turn it off and let it cool. Simmer for another hour. Turn it off. Do this several times and the petals will lose all resistance and turn into a soft gloopy mess. I then cook the pulp until it is the consistency of dough. This fills the house with the gorgeous smell of roses… What a surprise!
  • Next I take the rose pulp and squishing  the petals against a fine mesh sieve to remove as much water as possible…
  • The next thing I do is knead in my other ingredients: A pinch of powdered Cinnamon, a pinch of powdered Dragon’s Blood, a pinch of Frankincense to help bind the beads together, a few drops of rose essential oil… This is the point where The Wolf and I will prick our fingers and add a few drops of our blood to the mix…
  • You can then pinch off a bit of a piece and squish and roll it into a ball. The contraction ratio during drying is about 50% by the way, so a marble sized ball at this stage is not too big…
  • The next thing you’ll want to do is pierce your beads now, very gently! I string them straight away so that the hole doesn’t get too small during the drying process…
  • The drying process can take anywhere between 3 days and 3 weeks, but usually a week is enough time, if left in a warm, dry place…

I will then restring these onto delicate red silk ribbon, and I’m ready to go…

And there you have it! Your rose petal necklace!

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4 responses to “My Wedding Rosary…

  1. Awesome! I’ve saved your recipe!

  2. I love your writing style lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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