The Heart symbol is universally seen as a quintessential representation of love, especially
(though not solely) of romantic love. It signifies both physical and eternal love. Various cultures
through the ages have associated the symbol with affection, compassion, joy and charity. It has
also found ritualistic use in ceremonies of yore performed for strengthening relationships.
The use of the symbol goes far back in history and has even been found on ancient Roman
coins. There is a lot of ambiguity about the origin of the Heart symbol as it has only a remote
resemblance to the human body organ it represents. In fact, it is largely believed to have been
derived from the shape of the seedpod of silphium, an herb popular among the Romans as a
contraceptive. Another belief has the symbol originating from the shape of leaves, typically
ivy leaves. The Greeks associated ivy with God Dionysus, the god of passion, wine and other
sensual things. Perhaps, this later led the Heart symbol to be connected with romantic love. The
longevity and resilience of the ivy vine is also seen as symbolic of eternal love.
Some people link the Heart symbol with an upside-down triangle and associate it with the
divine feminine power. The inverted triangle also symbolizes the Water element, which makes
the Heart a sign of intuition, psychic perception, emotion, transition and motion.
The all too familiar use of the Heart symbol as a metaphor for love developed around the 15th
century and gained increasing prominence with time. Gradually, the Heart came to be depicted
in red, a color that is also a symbol of passion and love. Another symbol closely related with
the Heart is the wounded or broken heart that shows the heart pierced with Cupid’s arrow. It
denotes live sickness.