Thursday, November 13, 2008

Heart Symbol for Romance

The heart is probably the most recognized symbol for romance and love. It's been a long held ideology that our emotions come from our heart. We even have catch phrases using heart as a metaphor for how our emotions are conveyed:

♥ Speak from your heart

♥ Put your heart into it

♥ Heartfelt

♥ Heartless

♥ Breaking my heart

♥ Cold heart

♥ Heart of stone

♥ Heart on his sleeve

So just how did the symbol for the heart become something other than the actual shape of the human heart? There are several theories about this unique symbol.

During the time of alchemists, the heart symbol was used and accepted as the symbol for romance and love. These masters of chemistry and magic used heart symbols in their spells. Certain rituals also utilized this symbol in an effort to strength love relationships.

The Sacred Heart of Christ is well documented and used within the Roman Catholic Church. The symbol is one of divine love, compassion and good will. Within this emblem of religion is also the message of divine truth. So the heart symbol becomes the purest form of expression for love. All kinds of love. It was cemented into the church’s symbolism sometime in the 1600s. This was when Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque received a vision. In this moment of enlightenment, the shape of a heart inside a crown of thorns was revealed to her.

==Ancient Egypt==
The heart is also symbolic of the soul. In ancient Egypt, the heart was removed from the dead and weighed on a scale in balance to the Feather of Ma’at, Maat, or Mayet, (pronounced, (Muh-aht) Egyptian goddess of truth, balance, justice, law, and mortality. This symbol represented the judging the dead and determining if the person's heart was lighter than the fabled feather. If it was, then the soul was deemed worthy enough to cross over into paradise. (No documentation exists about the results of this weighing in only that it was a death ritual.)

==Playing cards==
In the 15th century, the suits for playing cards were created and the heart was used as one of the four suits, clubs, spades, diamonds, and hearts. The color red was used to symbolize blood.

==Human anatomy==
Others believe the shape depicts several female anatomical attributes. It’s further believed that the symbolism was created during a time when there was male dominance in the world. This gives the symbolism a very different meaning and removes it from love into lust.

==Silphium seed==
In Cyrene, located in ancient Greece (7th century BC) now present-day Lybia, the silphium plant was abundant and a big commodity for the city. While it was marketed as a spice and seasoning, it was also used as an herbal method of birth control. This enormous fennel type plant, which is now extinct, had seeds that were heart-shaped. It was so important to the Cyrene economy that the coins minted by the city depicted a heart-shaped seed of the silphium plant with a double outline around the heart.

The mating ritual of swans has long been depicted in various romantic symbolism. When their long necks arch so they can butt heads, the shape formed is that of a perfectly formed heart.

==Hearts are an expression of romance==The heart symbol for romance seems to be ancient. The heart shape we use in so many everyday expressions of love and romance will no doubt remain an emblem to convey those emotions.

For more romance articles visit Sally at Romance Examiner.


Crystal Dee said...

Fascinating post. The heatr is a beautiful symbol. I enjoyed seeing its many beginnings.

Crystal Dee

N.J.Walters said...

It's fascinating to look at the history of something we accept so readily in this day and age.