Recognised across the globe, the heart is a symbol of love, life and compassion … in every country and culture. But where did the connection of the heart and love begin?
Pandiyan, whose image of a leaf appears below, says:
“People like Aristotle trivialised brain and gave heart a more significant place in human anatomy. He extolled it as the seat of reason, thought and feelings. Buddhism talks heart not as a symbol of love but enlightenment. However, the credit for raising popularity of the shape in iconography and symbolism should go to Christianity and Europe.
The most interesting story of how heart symbolises love comes from Africa however. Ancient city of Cyrene in North Africa was one of the richest before the rise of Alexandria. Cyrene’s economy depended a lot on a plant called Silphium which was a herbal contraceptive and it refused to grow anywhere else. Its seeds were shaped like, yes, a heart. Hence the heart-love connection. Now the plant is thought to be extinct. For any further research, we have to go to Libya as the ancient city Cyrene is located there.”
I’m sure many cultures have their own stories of how the heart and love are connected. If you know of any, share them with us in the comments below.
In the meantime, to mark this Valentine’s Day, instead of sharing ideas of where to stay and what to do for the occasion I thought I’d share some wonderful images I’ve found of naturally occurring hearts. Enjoy!
Heart Nebula in Cassiopea
Rock Heart Shadow
Kate Ter Harr
And if that’s not enough lovin’ for you, check out this Pinterest page, which is ladden with heart-shaped pics.
Happy Valentine’s Day!