All symbols denote an idea or a certain object, or in some cases, a symbol denotes a representation that is not present (or does not have to be present) at the current moment but it is something that is associated with a given symbol and which we know what it is, based on our beliefs, culture we live in, etc.
This is the trait that humans have and that makes them different then animals – they use symbols as they have a much deeper mental process.
We can to perceive all those ideas and objects on a symbolic level, and here lies the beauty of it.
If we take a look at the ancient, and we mean ancient, texts that are old as the human race itself, we can see that heart was seen as the most important organ; but not only regarding the physical being of a human but we mean something much bigger.
The heart is the most researched organ since ancient times – if you want to look at it, you can see it in some drawings of ancient primal peoples.
They were fascinated by this organ that is in the center of our bodies, and it is normal that they think that is the center of it all.
Those people offered human sacrifices to their gods on the altar, removing warm hearts from them.
This speaks so much of the understanding of the symbol of the heart, that we have today.
It is seen and it was seen as the epicenter of the “spirit” that controls all vital functions in a human body; and that is responsible for our being, from the inside, for all that we sense, feel, etc.
And in the majority of cases, this understanding of the heart comes from religious beliefs, but also mythology.
This is understandable having in mind that the heart settles a central place in the human body, and when a heart is wounded, then it is fatal.
Even ancient people knew that and based their symbolism on it.
A heart does not stop while a person is alive and there is something even more interesting.
It can change its rate, depending on our activity – excitement varies the rhythm, and define the experiential foundation of these understandings.
If we love someone then our hearts pound hard, and when we are relaxed and calm then it works slower.
But, the symbol of the heart extends beyond mythology and religion – if we are beings led by feelings and intuition, in that case, a heart is a symbol of creative force in human beings.
Heart Symbol in General
Although one of the most recognizable symbols today, and it stands for many things, both good and bad; then we know that it can be the symbol of good, but it is not always depicted in the same way and did not have the same purpose.
If you say that attachment comes from the heart, then we can say that the heart is the symbol of beauty.
This means is focused on the inside (with the heart), and for example, if we connect the symbol of a heart with the creational force, then we know that you produce what lies in your heart.
A heart is also the symbol of salvation – and if you take a look at any religion in the world, it is the symbol of what lies more, and what can save us not only at the individual level but as humankind.
A heart symbol is seen in different forms in literature, arts, and any form of creative work, as it is the archetype of thinking and feeling as a creative expression.
In a symbol of a heart, we can see a combination of the mind, sensorial and emotional, but often also the reason and motive for the emergence of creativity.
Its symbolism conceals different contents and metaphorically reflects different meanings.
Think of our sayings, that have a heart in them.
A loving parent often addresses the child as “my heart”; a friend “reveals his heart” to another friend.
When we like something, then we say that it “touches our heart”; when we are in love with someone, we are “one heart”.
When we are grateful then we say thanks “from the bottom of our hearts”; often, and in a figurative sense, “our heart hurts”, in moments when we are in some emotional state, when we are very sad, etc.
We act warmly, with a heart or without a heart; we accept dear hearts, we can be sincere, and gentle, but also have hard stony steel hearts.
These are all expressions that are used abundantly through the years and in many different cultures.
Although the heart most often loves or hates, it also suffers, hopes, triumphs, and suspicions.
Sometimes it symbolizes an oath, but also the nature and character of a person.
Here we can see the many countries when you say an oath or when you swear on something you place a hand on a heart, and say the words.
And when we look at any language today, we can see different expressions such as “broken heart”.
Or we can see these ones that are more cordial – “warm-hearted”, emotionless – “cold-hearted” and others.
There are also opinions that say the heart is a symbol of imagination, that it is the symbol of vision, and in some more creative sense, we can see the world with our hearts and then we represent them to the world tough our work, that can be a work of art, or something else.
And here we can see that the heart is the symbol of the world, as we can experience it with the heart.
Our heart is our tool, it forgives, envies, encourages, and demands.
Different cultural settings attach different meanings to the heart depending on the context in which this term is used.
So, we can also say that the heart, in a metaphorical sense, means the source of action and energy, symbolizes the center or an important part, the essence of something, or the spiritual features of a person.
More of this we will speak in some other part, but you can clearly see that the heart is all and all is heart as it stands for virtually anything, and any internal or external aspect of our lives.
Now, the symbolism of the heart is also associated with religious or political settings.
If the heart is surrounded by flames or thorns, then it carries a religious meaning, as you can see in many religious paintings or texts.
But, we can also say that the by far, from the symbolical point of view, the biggest percentage of expressions of the heart or its position in the human body depict love for family, country, and God.
Right here we can see the symbolism of showing the position of the heart in the human body as a symbol of devotion.
There are also examples in which the heart is represented upside down, in the sense that the two semicircular pieces are facing down and the point is facing upwards.
And let us not forget the famous painter and genius Leonardo da Vinci who made the first accurate drawing of the human heart, instead of the previous shape of the heart as a pine cone.
Heart as the Symbol of Love
Now, as we have said in the previous section, the heart is without a doubt the most recognizable symbol of love, not simply emotions, but love, all those kind, and tender emotions that we have toward someone or something.
The heart is the universal symbol of love today more than ever, and we know what it looks like.
Even when asking a child to draw love it will most certainly draw a heart.
There isn’t a person in the world who hasn’t drawn it at least once and sent it to someone they love, expressing their love and affection just like that.
We know its meaning, but usually, we don’t know where it comes from and how it happened that this shape represents the heart as a human organ.
As with many other symbols, there are several ideas about the origin of the heart as a symbol of love.
Never mind how it was in the beginning, over time, the heart as the symbol of love took over.
And, day by day, and over time, slowly, a heart began to be considered a symbol of love, but even then it did not have the shape of today’s emoticon.
The heart is drawn arbitrarily, periodically as a shape comparable to a pine cone or an uncommon circle, and occasionally it is painted upside down.
Avoidance of performing autopsies contributed significantly to a lack of knowledge of heart anatomy.
But, here we can find something more – we can see that certain beliefs and experiments that were conducted in those days, claimed that the heart as the organ is associated with the emotional part of our being.
These beliefs, assuming that the human heart is associated with feelings and love amusement, were converted into the shape of a heart, which thus became a symbol of medieval love.
And this heart symbol has been known ever since, even though we have to say that numerous modifications took place over the centuries so the heart became recognizable as an unmistakable symbol of love only in the 19th century.
And, regarding this idea, we have to say that a symbol of love, a heart, nowadays, has entered our lives in a sense that is an unmistakable part of day-to-day non-verbal communication among people.
Not only that, we can say that a heart symbol remains one of the most famous and widespread universal signs with the same connotation to this day.
Heart Symbol: Spiritual Meaning
The heart as the symbolic element has such great importance for all humans, and from the old and not-so-high meanings it took on a transcendent role.
It carries a simple message and real content.
So, the heart is the symbol has a spiritual-emotional character, awakens associations, and offers deep connections.
Now, from the spiritual point of view, as the integral understanding of this symbol, we can say that without a doubt, a heart stands as the symbol of life itself and subsequently of the spiritual experience of every human being, more to it as this is precisely what separates us from animals and other living beings.
Without it, there cannot be any involvement in various things in our lives, where we can be witnesses of a man’s constant striving to become master of his spirit.
The symbol of a heart goes beyond the boundaries of what has been said into the emotional realm, through various layers of understanding, that is, experiential experience, imagination, and knowledge.
All of this is associated with the symbol of the heart – and all of them are undeniably associated with our spirit.
A heart directs and presages, implies, and awakens both consciousness and subconsciousness, feelings and imagination, spirit and experience.
It symbolizes a much wider area than it signifies and has; symbolizes and translates vividly, and on the other hand, it points towards more serious orbs of cognition and subjective knowledge.
And this is not an accident, as it is said that through emotions, or in a symbolic way with the heart, we are connected to our soul, and we speak with it, using our emotions.
They cannot ever lie.
Everything else can.
The idea of the heart as the inspiration for spiritual life occurs in the 12th century as we can see by those paintings.
There a heart is connected to the understanding that God is the “heart of the world”.
In some of those wonderful paintings, we can see the heart that is close to Jesus Christ, and He reaches for it.
According to the modern definition, the heart shape is a graphic sign used to express the idea of attachment in a metaphorical or symbolic sense, representing the core of emotions, attraction, and love.
Everything we are as human beings is centered in this symbol as it is our core, our being, and our connection to the Source.
So, with the heart, we can sense, and with the heart, we can transcend to some areas that were not available in any other way; we can reach our spiritual being, and make higher.
A heart is a symbol of perpetual inspiration to expand our soul to make our spirit grow.
Each symbol, including the heart, inspires and awakens different levels of feelings and thoughts, understanding, and meaning.
Throughout history, the heart symbol has represented many things in different cultures; but some things in all of these have remained common, and, not only that they have remained universal.
There is no specific date when the heart was started to be used as a symbol – especially in the form that we use today.
But the fact is that it was used and it still does.
And why are symbols so important to us – because when something is so strong and present as a symbol then it has an intense and emotional effect on the viewer.
The heart is more matter, while the soul and mind are spiritual centers, but in its connection, there is no mistake that the heart is the symbol of all, of everything, the body, mind, and also the soul.
All of the above speaks of the importance and widespread use of the heart symbol from ancient times to the present day, but also to some extent about its universality, given that in most cases it signifies love, affection, and loyalty.
Maybe more than anything else, a heart is the symbol of love, and it does not have o be just a lover’s love or a happy love, it can be anything related to it, even the pain that sometimes accompanies it.
This tells us precisely in support of the fact that the heart has become a Universal symbol in general human use, but also to all the subconscious meanings we attach to it in everyday speech.
Today, a heart symbol is used in anything related to romance and love – from Valentine’s Day greetings, and emoticons, as a like option on social networks, to chocolate candies.
But this is maybe the simplification of a symbol that is so great and wonderful, and much more.
A heart symbol is not only love, it is not only our feelings.
In fact, we have learned that a heart symbol has acquired another, expanded meaning more than just being the symbol of love.
It has often been used for similar purposes, adding to the symbol the meaning of health and life – it is our soul, and our connective thread to the Source, God for some, and it is the symbol of imagination and creative power that makes us humans.