The Magician represents the coming together of the divine in the universe with the divine in humanity. Waite defines Mysticism in Azoth, or, The Star in the East
"What is Mysticism? And why mystic? Almost every educated person is now aware that Mysticism claims to be the synthesis of those arcane methods and processes by which the divine in man is brought into immediate communication with the divine in the universe."
The rose symbolized a lot of things for Waite but he mentions it quite frequently in connection with the Paradise above, and not just roses but flowers in general.
tradition the Garden of Paradise was not of this earth but somewhere in the spiritual realm of God. It was there Adam and Eve originally resided before the Fall. In his paper The Symbols of the Rosy Cross
, Waite makes this interesting statement:
"The same Zoharic text says that when Adam was located in Paradise to cultivate and watch over the Garden his work was to tend roses, regarded [symbolically] as research into the deep mysteries of grace and wisdom behind the Sacred Names. In a somewhat fantastic sense of symbolism, it might be said that this is also a work of adeptship, for the letters of all sacred books have been put into the hands of the mystics, and it is for them to form them into roses of inward meaning, sacred names of true and deep things in the spiritual life, roses of Hod and Netzach, Shekinah roses, roses of understanding and wisdom and when the Great White Light shall so help the culture which is the practice of the Presence of God, then the one true rose of all comes into manifest being, which is the Rose of Kether."
And from The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross
"We are told elsewhere that Adam, while still unfallen, tended the Roses of Paradise."
There's a footnote that goes with that which reads:
"See my Secret Doctrine in Israel, p. 72. Compare Dracontius: Carmen de Deo, Lib. I, v. 437. He says of Adam and Eve walking in the garden: lbant per flores et lata rosaria bini, i.e. amidst flowers and great bosks of roses."
If you got to page 72 of Waite's Secret Doctrine in Israel
, there's another footnote:
"We are told in Gen. ii, 15 that 'the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.' With this it is interesting to contrast the Zoharic ideas of those duties which fell to Adam in his original state of radiance. He was set to offer sacrifices in the Garden, and for this purpose an altar is postulated therein, which he profaned by his fall, and so became a tiller of the ground. It is said in another place that he was set to grow roses."
It's my understanding the roses above probably refer to the Paradise above, the divine in the universe. They are symbols of Light and Truth and the Magician's quest for Truth. Or they might be the "roses of understanding and wisdom" from Waite's previous quote, a reference to Binah and Chockmah perhaps. The roses being on the left and right in the card would seem to support this. The roses and lilies below represent the Christ [the "flos campi
and lilium convallium
" in the PKT], or divine consciousness within, which the Mystic aspires to awaken.
Waite not only believed in a Paradise above but a Paradise here on earth, toward which all of humanity is evolving. The Magician's aspiration is toward that end. One of Waite's Fellowship of the Rosy Cross rituals puts it poetically:
The Priestess of the Rite: The soul is a rose awaiting consecration by the Spirit.
Una Ancilla Templi: The rose of our desire becomes the Holy Rose.
Ancilla Alia: Rose of Jericho, Rose of Salem, Rose of the world below, Rose of the Paradise above: hide us in Thy sacred petals.
To me the number of flowers doesn't hold a significant meaning, but they seem to add beauty. Beauty and Truth were to Waite two sides of the same coin and inseparable. In Azoth, or, The Star in the East
he goes into considerable detail on his philosophy of beauty. Here are some examples:
"In all things, therefore, let us act and think with reference to the standard of the beautiful. A perfect correspondence with the law of beauty is life perfect, life sanctified, life glorious; it is life in Christ and God."
"Our position, after all, is one that is extremely simple, that has been never denied, that is true at all times and in all places, for it is this, namely, that as there is a splendour of truth, so also there is a beauty of goodness, an outward lustre which manifests an inward virtue."
"Now, in the order of idealism, beauty and harmony are the touchstone and the test of truth."