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The Feast of Roses: Rosalia & Rose Magic

Updated: May 28

The Feast of Roses- Rosalia, Blood Magic, and Necromancy

The Queen of Perfumes- an ancient smell: metallic, citrus, dusty, jammy, and aquatic. Rose is a scent that is captivating and complex. Some perfumers state that a rose should be in all perfumes- and in my experience (even if in trace amounts or rose-derived isolates) it almost always is not only in my perfumes but in most.

A simple rose accord is easy-

- Phenethyl alcohol (100%), 5 grams.

-Geraniol (50% Dilutution) 2 grams

-Citronellol (30%) 2 grams

-Ionone Beta (100%) 1 gram

-Damascone Beta (10%) .5 gram

-Rose Oxide (1%) .25 grams

-Nerol (30%) .75grams

You could get away with just the PEA, Citronellol, Ionone 𝛃, Damascone 𝛃, rose oxide and geraniol. But the inclusion of metallic, waxy nerol is what makes it smell like a true rose. You might- if youre inclined to perfume such as I, add in some rose blossom pentanol, Phenethyl salicylate, and rhodinol 70, which I prefer over Citronellol, but both have their place. 

 But no matter how you slice it, the rose accord is lost in comparison to the complexity of true rose attar or absolute. Rose- whether in combination with these isolated aroma molecules, or the pure essence itself- Theyre almost present in every composition: Because the rose truly can take center stage, or allow herself to be a supporting character in a fragrance.

Many who know me know the importance the plant spirit of rose has played within my magical practice. The rose has been an initiatory spirit, a metaphor for the witch itself, and has led me to explore other traditions outside of my own personal witchcraft (for the betterment of my personal magical practice by proxy). Yet, I'm often asked how I became drawn to this plant, and how one should work on their own magic with her.

The seasons of Floralia, Roslia, and Violationes, scattered about the Roman calendar- depending on likely the violets and roses began to blossom. All three festivals were typical Roman political holidays: likely similar to the experience of American Veterans Day (but maybe with more parades). The festivals marked a remembrance for military officers' graves and the graves of loved ones to be adorned in wreathes of violets and/or roses. Floralia marked the time when merchants would sell flowers for these events in celebration of the summer, and to mark the graves. It’s hard to pinpoint the difference between these festivals, all celebrated at any given point of the year, depending on the location one might be in under Roman rule. But the tradition of roses being left for the dead continues on. 

Rosalia, for me, personally, is the time of the rose, and a very important time for the dearly departed. While I’m not Roman, I’ve adopted the festival into my repertoire of personal magical festivals to which I am beholden to performing. The date fluctuates, but I typically try to celebrate in June, as part of the Roman calendar. But, seeing as how my climate calls rose season in February, my inclination is to perform earlier. 

To start the work, however, I fasted for three days, eating no meat, and only eating lightly in the evening. I however, did drink a lot of rose infusions in water, taking the dry plant material (fresh would have been better, but was unavailable as I didn't have a rose at the time) and steeping it in warm water in a copper vessel, and adding a small amount of honey- less for me, than because my familiar told me to. Then, I sat in front of a small temporary shrine I’d built for the rose, and would communicate with the plant spirit. Over the course of those days, I was told I should stop being so possessive, and my heart was too guarded, that I should be speak more, but talk less about certain magical practices I was partaking in, as it was upsetting a balance between me and my spirits- notice after a time in 2021, I became much quieter in my online presence. 

The spirit I was calling upon was the spirit of the rose itself- a large body of lore, attributions, tradition, songs, pertaining to Her. Through that initiatory experience, I was told to get a rose, wait for its first blossom, and harvest it to begin magical practices with these spirits, and the many pathways the rose itself holds.

When the first bloom came I was ready. After offering the rose copious amounts of blood meal, and quite a bit of my own, the first bloom came a year after its purchase. Starting on a Friday, and waiting for the first Venus hour, prepared, fasted, and perfumed in Luxuria, with a tub of hog lard and two panes of glass from old picture frames, I rotated several cycles of rose petals into an enfleurage, for the entirety of its flowering (about 7 days), cutting every other day (to allow for the concrete to extract the rose petals). The instructions, given to me by these spirits and my familiar was to cut it only with copper, and putting it into a copper vessel with the Kimea of Venus inscribed into it. Certain songs should be sung while doing so, and afterward the petals were to be rinsed and placed in the fat, pressed in the panes, and recycled every other day. Incense should be burned during the entirety of the process, and the clothes worn should be clean each day. The mouth rinsed with rose water. 

Once the concrete was ready- to which at that point had become very fragrant and less in the constitution to hog fat, and more like the texture of clotting semen- the concrete was then extracted in ethanol to make a tincture of the enfluerage. Strained, and set aside to be added into my magical formulae, chiefly the Visions of the Witches Rose Perfumes.

The rose is still highly significant to my work and continues on as a very important plant ally into my magical practice. I'm deeply thankful to the magics of this plant. We continue to be in communication when I sit with her, tend to her leaves, cut her flowers, dream, and ingest her delicate teas. I hope, maybe by Rosalia of this year, to put more writing out about more magic with her. 

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