By Frater Paracelsus
“Tis known that the rose was an emblem of old.
Whose leaves, by their closeness, taut secrets to hold.
And ’twas thence it was painted so oft
As a warning, lest, when with frankness men scoft
At their neighbors, their lord, their fat priest, or their nation.
Some among ’em next day should betray conversation.”
The ancients regarded the rose as the symbol of secrecy and silence. The confessionals in old churches have the symbolic rose carved upon them; the vaulted ceiling of the council chamber bears it, and the lodge room of medieval masonry is decorated with it. What occurred there was sub rosa, not to be divulged.
The pentagram, so easily seen in the rose, was the secret shibboleth of the Pythagoreans; and the Celtic Druids adorned their priestly robes with it. The Christians considered it even a more powerful sign than the cross for banning the evil one; it is found in many windows of the fine old munsters and cathedrals.
Take a rose; observe the positions of the five sepals as shown in Figure 14. Two of them are fringed on both sides (Nos. 1 & 2); one has a fringe only on one side (No.3); and two have none (Nos. 4 & 5).
A riddle, famous three hundred years ago, asked:-
What was it?
“Five brothers on the same day were born;
Two only full great whiskers have;
Two never have any need to shave.
While the third has one side shorn.”
Connecting the centers of the sepals by straight lines in the order of the numbers given, we obtain the mystic pentagram.