by Nan DeGrove

Gemini rose

Gemini rose

The June full moon, June 2nd at 10:18 AM, MDT, is called the “rose moon.” It takes us through the transition from Spring, with its uncertainties and lingering cold, into the promise of Summer, with the solstice only weeks away. Roses bloom in abundance now, whether in formal gardens or rambling in alleys and climbing over walls. In the woodlands, the shy, wild dog roses peek out of the underbrush. No flower is richer in lore and symbolism than the rose; it speaks of both erotic and spiritual love and the connection between them. The rose is sacred to Aphrodite, and later became the emblem of the Virgin Mary. As the crown of thorns it is also linked to Christ. Yet, with all its metaphors, “a rose is a rose is a rose,” as Gertrude Stein famously proclaimed.

The full moon falls in Sagittarius, opposite the Sun sign of the month, Gemini. These two signs speak to one of the dilemmas of our time: the massive overload of information that floods our consciousness, much of it subliminal (Gemini), and the need for meaning and connection to a path of wisdom (Sagittarius).

Love Leading the Pilgrim through the Thorns, from the Romance of the Rose, Edward Burne-Jones

Love Leading the Pilgrim through the Thorns, from the Romance of the Rose, Edward Burne-Jones

Mercury is still retrograde in Gemini until June 12th, and the full moon forms a square with Neptune. Rational, linear thinking is not favored with these aspects. It is rather a time for turning inward, releasing plans and schedules that are out of synch with the natural flow of events that are unfolding in ways we perhaps do not expect. Gemini seeks information to find answers and solutions; Sagittarius takes us deeper into the questions. The virtues of Sagittarius, a fire sign, are optimism, faith in the unknown, and a generous humanity. Seeing beyond present obstacles and disappointments is a gift of this full moon.

The poet Rilke said in his letters that in difficult times we should stay close to the simplicity of nature, to beauty. This month, roses, and other miracles of the garden, offer such an invitation.

Painting by Nan DeGrove, Saint Marina,The Mystic Rose --  Saint Marina was a girl martyr from the 8th century. She was said to have refused to give up her virginity and marry a pagan,  resulting in a sadistic tale of torture and dismemberment. This story is typical of maiden saints in the Christian canon, and whether “true” or not, expresses the shadow of hostility toward feminine eroticism in patriarchal religion. In my “saints” series, I have painted her as a shy young girl with a rose, still beatified, but restored to her beauty and sensuality.

Painting by Nan DeGrove, Saint Marina,The Mystic Rose — Saint Marina was a girl martyr from the 8th century. She was said to have refused to give up her virginity and marry a pagan, resulting in a sadistic tale of torture and dismemberment. This story is typical of maiden saints in the Christian canon, and whether “true” or not, expresses the shadow of hostility toward feminine eroticism in patriarchal religion. In my “saints” series, I have painted her as a shy young girl with a rose, still beatified, but restored to her beauty and sensuality.

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Nan De Grove is a gardener, painter and astrologer. She writes the monthly full-moon column for The Lore of the Garden, as well as other occasional contributions. She can be reached at ndegrove@aol.com.

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