Red Roses (and two white ones) and Lilies in the Rider-Waite Tarot

I can still remember my first real tarot obsession. Pregnant with my first child, living remotely and off grid. I had a deck of Rider-Waite cards and a rather good book (78 degrees of wisdom).

I spent a lot (seriously a lot) of time just looking at the cards- whilst oddly reading Tudor history novels. Tudor History is dominated by two families fighting for the throne- one had a white rose as their symbol, one a red- “the war of the roses” which is probably why the roses caught my eye.

In Death and the Fool we clearly have white roses.

In 2 wands, ace of pentacles, Magician, hierophant, Queen pentacles, 9 swords we have red roses.

My other big obsession (aside from Tarot & Tudor history) is Norse Mythology. One kenning that always stuck with me was “death makes a man pale” referring to the link between blood and life. The pumping of red, oxygenated blood is what keeps us alive or "brings colour" to our life (also a reference to passion and libido)

Now I often (not always- there is no always in tarot) associate the Fool as a spirit before it enters the body (so pre-life, or after life, perhaps between lives!). And though we are often keen to say “death doesn’t mean death” the rose on the death card is white- without blood. The Death card is often a transition- even if not physical death. So to me the two white roses are clear links to that magical time when "we" are without body.