The heart is often used to symbolize the moral, emotional, spiritual and even the intellectual substance of a person. The heart has been referred to and believed to be the core of one’s humanity. It was used and still used as the primary symbol that represents LOVE. Or is it? A group of researchers is of the opinion that the heart symbol is not remotely related to the human heart but it is more of an ancient depiction of something more sexual in nature. However, the heart symbol has evolved over the centuries for today, the heart symbol best expresses LOVE on all levels. True enough today, the heart symbol is widely recognized not only as a symbol of love but of compassion, joy, and charity.
Since the heart is most equated with LOVE and DESIRE, what other objects or symbols represent the heart by association?
| ||Eros (Greek) or Cupid (Roman) was the god of Love in mythology. He was believed to be the son of Aphrodite and Ares. Eros’ iconography has a bow and arrow which to this day remains to be symbolical of love, passion and desire. In mythology, whoever was shot by Cupid’s arrow becomes filled with out of control desire. Known as Amor (love) in Latin, Cupid was sometimes depicted with a blindfold to symbolize that “love is blind”. |
| ||The heart is a symbol of truth and honesty. In Roman Catholicism, the “Sacred” Heart equates to God’s love and His saving grace. The heart pierced with an arrow is said to represent the “heartache” of unrequited love. In the past, alchemists and people who dealt with magic and the supernatural used the heart symbols for chants, spells and summons on matters pertaining to romance, love and sexual attractions. Heart symbols were part of rituals performed to bolster relationships and even compel an unwilling person to fall helplessly infatuated with the “enchanter” or “enchantress” as the case may be. |
| ||Looking at the heart in a geometric way, the heart is akin to an inverted triangle that serves as a receptacle for pouring out and receiving love. The inverted triangle is also a cryptic representation of what is feminine or feminine power. In Hinduism, the inverted triangle is the center of Chakra which signifies sexual power. The inverted triangle is evident in the chakras such as the Anahata (heart), Ajna (third eye), Manipura (plexus) and the Vishudha (throat). |
| ||In Greek and Roman mythology, the apple fruit represents love, fertility, ecstasy and abundance. In ancient Greek history, the apple was an important aspect in courtship and rites of marriage. In Greek mythology the god of wine, Dionysus, gave Aphrodite apples to entice her love. Apple-bobbing in Celtic tradition was observed in the hope of determining one’s spouse. Instead of rice, ancient traditions called for apple-throwing at the newly weds. |
| ||Love has a protective quality. A shell, because of its inherent shape and hard casing conveys a “protective” image. In both Roman and Greek mythology, the goddess Aphrodite (Venus) was said to have sprung from a foam carried to the shore by a scallop shell. Hindus believed that the conch shell stirs up the faithful’s heart and those whose heart are filled with love. |