There are various theories about the origin of the symbolic ‘heart’ shape that we use to represent feelings of warmth, love and passion.
The shape of the human heart is quoted as one possibility although the resemblance is slight. Perhaps it was inaccurately represented by ancient scribes and then badly edited in the hand-down process. Who knows? Apparently cattle hearts, which these ancients might have had more access too are slightly closer in representation to the modern-day symbol.These may also have played a role.
A commonly held view is that the seed of the prized Sliphium plant, a fennel-like wonder-boom used by the Cyrenean’s of old as a contraceptive and aphrodisiac (most convenient, I’d say) – was the life-breath of our modern-day heart symbol. This seed, also used as a seasoning and for various medicinal purposes proved to be fickle when it came to its own reproductive capacity, refusing to grow anywhere except along a small coastal Mediterranean strip. Its rarity of course upped its economic value, prized to the point of having its heart-shaped image embedded into Cyrenean coins. It is not a stretch to imagine the jump from aphrodisiac, contraception, sex, love….<3
No matter where the heart shape actually originated from, today it is a couple of swirls and curls that bring on the fuzzies the world over, and certainly the sliphium seed is not natures only illustration. The necks of swans at play, the mating slugs on our window pane,
and Lili’s gifts of love for her Mama… brought back home from each visit to the beach…
Celebrating the Shape of Love – Chintsa November 2012