MEANING AND HISTORY OF THE HEART SYMBOL
The heart is the center … the center of our being, the center of whatever entity, being, or thing with which a heart is associated. It is a center that is seen as the power that directs the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body in which it is centered. It is a symbol of power that holds the key to life.
It is also a symbol of love in all its forms. It represents the essential love, compassion, joy, and warmth that color our relationships with the impactful and significant people and places around us. It symbolizes the creative spirit that animates our life force, the seat of all emotion and enthusiasm. It is seen as the place from which bravery and courageous acts arise. It is the place we turn to when we need to strengthen our will. From the feelings residing in the heart we may come to understand the interconnectedness of all things. We derive our moral compass as well as the source of our joys and sorrows. It is the core of our body and of our humanity.
In determining the meaning of the heart symbol, the heart chakra must be considered. The heart chakra is the place where the energy of love and all relationships reside. It is a center for creativity, balance, calm, serenity, compassion, and joy. It moves the energy of love through the subtle and physical bodies.
The symbol for the heart was first used in fifth or sixth century B.C. Greece to denote the heart shaped fruit of the plant silphium. The plant was used as a contraceptive. The symbol for the heart with its indented top and pointed bottom may have been used first in ancient medical texts. The great ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle discussed the human heart as an organ with three chambers and a dent in the middle in his medical treatises. The shape was used to depict the heart of Jesus Christ in medieval art work. In a 1305 painting by Giotto, a maiden who represented the allegory for charity was depicted handing a heart to Christ. Similar depictions are found in other paintings of the Renaissance era. By the fifteenth century, the heart symbol was used on playing cards. The heart shape appeared on Valentine cards beginning in the nineteenth century.
Today, the heart is the universal symbol for love of all kinds and charitable acts. It is especially popular as a symbol for romantic love.
The heart symbol carries a vibration of love in its most essential form. It brings thoughts of love to mind upon sight, giving it a special kind of energy that is both gentle and powerful.