The term Sub Rosa denotes that all meetings and activities taking place "under the Rose" are to remain secret and confidential. This has been a long standing tradition across centuries and societies. It is said that even some confessionals had roses painted on their ceilings to assure confidentiality between the parishioner and the priest.
The vow of secrecy is focused on again and again in the Neophyte Initiation of the Golden Dawn, even to the point of saying "thy blood may be poured out and thy body broken" if the vow of secrecy is compromised. The crowning achievement of the Golden Dawn system, and of the aspiring Neophyte him/herself, is then the admittance to the Inner Order, or the Roseae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, through the Adeptus Minor Initiation. This initiation takes place in a seven-sided chamber often referred to as the Vault of the Adepti or the Tomb of the founder of the Rosicrucians, Christian Rosenkreutz. So would it be any wonder that, on the ceiling of the Vault itself, is painted a large, brilliant White Rose?
I have seen a few Vaults in which the Rose on the ceiling is painted as per the petals on the Rose Cross of the Adept. Although aesthetically pleasing, I find this to be technically incorrect. In various Inner Order ceremonies, it is said that "The Heaven is above and the earth is beneath, and between the Light and Darkness the Colours vibrate." It is clear to me that the ceiling is the undifferentiated Light, the floor the Darkness, and the colors vibrate on the Walls of the Vault, and everything that exists in between. Furthermore, based on the diagram below, if the petals of the Rose were to be colored in, they would at least show some grayscale shading, and they do not.
The diagram below is the common image we think of when laying out the ceiling of the Vault:
|Diagram 77: The Ceiling of the Vault from Crowley's The Equinox|
Now take a look at the following diagram, showing the Chief Adept in the Pastos:
|Second Entry: 5=6 Adeptus Minor Initiation|
This is actually relatively easy to confirm, by the second layer of petals in the Rose, which are seven in number and are attributed to the planets, just like the walls are. So the Peh petal, which is attributed to Mars, should be pointed toward the Mars wall, the Resh petal toward the Sun wall, etc. (So if you're looking up at the ceiling of the Vault wall and the Peh petal is on your upper left, then it is pointing towards the Jupiter wall and your White Rose is technically reversed.)
The proper arrangement actually lines up a number of different elements within the Vault as well. The Heh petal in the East, attributed to Aries and Fire, should be lined up right above the disc of the Lion, the Fire Kerub, on the Altar. Just so, the Ayin petal, attributed to Capricorn and Earth, will be above the disc of the Bull, the Earth Kerub, the Lamed petal, Libra and Air, above the Man, and the Cheth petal, Cancer and Water, above the Eagle. Lastly, the Adept lying in the Vault, will align his multi-colored Rose Cross with the White Rose on the ceiling, petal per petal in columnar fashion. This makes perfect sense, if you consider the petals as rays of Light, descending vertically in the Vault, passing through the volume where the spectrum of colors vibrate, to manifest upon the Rose Cross of the Adept, whom while laying in the Pastos, is still above the floor, where the black Darkness reigns.