Weekend healing? I like the sound of that! Different weeks call for different kinds of healing. For me, healing can mean sleeping in, going to my favorite Italian restaurant for a hearty bowl of pasta, or sipping on a very large glass of wine. Sometimes, healing means stopping to smell the roses. Literally. The Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park, the most pleasantly fragrant place in the city, is my favorite place to do this.
When I was a young girl, one of my favorite weekend activities was going to the Rose Garden with my friends to bounce around the garden, completely enchanted by all the bright colors and unique shapes of the different blooms. We’d smell each one, compare their scents and discuss our thoughts with one another. One of my friends once told me in her soft, sweet voice, “Adriana, smelling the roses is nice, but I like to taste the roses.” What a new world that opened up for me! This didn’t mean picking the petals and munching on them, it meant taking a deep breath and inhaling the scent through my mouth. If a rose smelled peachy, I could also taste its peachiness! Completely thrilled by this new way of sensing a rose, I’d go around “tasting” each one. Little did I know, this simple activity would become an important meditative and therapeutic practice for me one day.
Now that I have earned a few years of experience since the initial “tasting” introduction, I am not only childishly enchanted with beautiful roses, but I am also grateful for the even deeper affect they have on me. While I am definitely a strong consumer of rose products, remedies, and goods, I am also a true believer in the healing they can do just with a quick visit to the Rose Garden. Stopping to smell (and taste!) the roses is one of my favorite rose treatments. With my senses completely entertained through smell, taste and sight, the Rose Garden has a way of distracting me from the outside world and the tensions brought about by work and the bustle of the city. I feel a new balance, a clear mind, and a new sense of purpose, inspiration, and creative drive.
Roses have been used for healing purposes for thousands of years. Rose oil and rose water can be used for soothing inflammation, easing irritation, curing sore throats, relaxing the liver, calming anxiety, supplementing Vitamin C deficiencies and much more. It is also commonly used in the beauty industry and can be found in many creams and perfumes for its moisturizing and soothing effects and its captivating fragrance. It is said that even Cleopatra would bathe in rose petals in preparation for the arrival of her love, Antony.
Roses also have a long history of symbolism and cultural significance. It is commonly seen in Christian tradition associated with the Virgin Mary to signify purity and love. In ancient Greece, the rose was related to the goddess Aphrodite. In the The Iliad, Aphrodite uses the "immortal oil of the rose" to protect Hector. Roses always seem to be linked to expression of emotions, passions and notions of healing and balancing. The rose's symbolism must be the reason that the it appears on four Tarot cards as a symbol of balance, promise and new beginnings. It is seen on the Fool’s card, as a reminder to cleanse the mind, encouraging purity and balance. And, from a clear mind, wisdom can unfold.
Roses and flowers in general have a natural effect on one’s mood. Perhaps the presence of roses has an effect on us that is a combination of physical healing benefits and symbolic history. Similar to the way rose oil hydrates and relieves my skin, enjoying the presents of a rose quenches an inward thirst of mind and relieves the tension that builds up from a long week. Just like rose water can clean wounds and relive stress, the beautiful natural scent of a rose can have the same effect on my emotions.
A visit to the Rose Garden is like a dose of natural medicine, a remedy. I arrive at the garden as a stressed out 25-year-old convinced that the “quarter life crisis” is a real thing and instantly lose 20 years in the presence of the big beautiful blooms. The Rose Garden is a place where I can feel like a child again and dance between rose beds to rediscover the bright, unique colors, scents and tastes. It is the perfect place to regain balance, calm nerves, and restore happiness. It can clean the soul, making room for new creativity, inspiration and purposefulness. I leave the garden feeling different. I feel the beauty of Cleopatra, the purity of Mary, and the passion of Aphrodite. Now, is that healing or what?
Now, if the kind of healing you’re looking for this weekend involves relaxing, pampering, and a little retail therapy, then here are a few rose products that will do just the thing!