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The Tudor Rose, Sub Rosa, and Tarot

In my tarot readings, I intentionally create a space where people can explore their situations and emotions without fear of judgment. To understand the importance of such a space, let's delve into the rich symbolism of the Tudor rose and the concept of "sub rosa."

Rainbow Tudor Rose

The Tudor Rose: A Symbol of Unity and Transformation

The Tudor rose is a deeply rooted symbol in English history, representing the unification of two warring factions: the House of Lancaster and the House of York. These rival houses fought the infamous Wars of the Roses in the 15th century, with the red rose symbolizing Lancaster and the white rose symbolizing York. The marriage of Henry VII (Lancaster) and Elizabeth of York in 1486 marked the end of this conflict, symbolizing peace and the birth of a new era.

The Tudor rose, a blend of red and white petals, became the emblem of the Tudor dynasty. It signified unity, respect, loyalty, hope, joy, and creativity, all emerging after a long period of civil strife. This emblem was adopted as a national symbol of England, seen across the country in various forms of art, architecture, and literature.

Sub Rosa: The Essence of Confidentiality

The term "sub rosa" translates from Latin to "under the rose" and has ancient roots in the practice of confidentiality. In Roman times, roses were hung from the ceilings of banquet halls to signify that conversations held there were to remain private. In Greek mythology, the rose was associated with the goddess Aphrodite and her son Eros, who gifted a rose to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to ensure that the secrets of the gods were kept.

In England, the Tudor rose was often carved into confessionals, meeting halls, and council chambers, signifying that whatever was discussed under the rose would not be shared outside those walls. This powerful symbol of secrecy and trust underscores the importance of creating a safe environment for open dialogue.

Tarot's Connection to the Tudor Rose

In tarot, the Tudor rose appears in some of the most profound cards, offering deep insights into our lives. One of the most striking examples is the Death card in the Major Arcana.

Tarot card death card

This card, often misunderstood, represents profound transformation. Just as England underwent a dramatic transformation during the Wars of the Roses, this card symbolizes the death of old ways and the rebirth of new ones. The Tudor rose on the Death card’s flag reminds us to seek unity and allegiance in our own lives, even through painful transitions.

However, the card I want to highlight in the context of creating a safe space is the Three of Pentacles. This card depicts a worker in a purple robe and yellow apron, standing on a bench and discussing plans with two richly dressed figures below. The Tudor rose is intricately carved into the building, just below the pentacles, symbolizing the importance of unity and safety.

tarot card 3 of pentacles

The Three of Pentacles encourages you to recognize your own worth and skills, regardless of your social or economic status. It serves as a reminder that everyone brings unique value to the table. Use your inherent abilities for manifestation to create the kind of work life you want. And, of course, for creating a safe place to share their secrets and work towards common goals.

In my tarot practice, I strive to embody these principles. Tarot should always come from a place of sub rosa, be it with a tarot reader or just between you and your deck.


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