Take my heart upon a plate and weigh it against Ma’at’s feather. Know it is true. It is my reason and thought. My emotion and passion. It is the seat of all things.
But really, it’s an organ that pumps blood. A powerful organ. A necessary one. And yet, still just a thing of flesh. The European heart symbol looks little to nothing like the real thing. The symbol’s true origin lays lazy in the shadow of time. Could it be a silphium leaf (1)? Could it be a lady’s bottom; the heads of two lovers merging into one, silhouetted, as they kiss? Is it two Magnificent Frigatebirds lost in the sultry haze of mating? Inverted coglioni (2)?
Despite (and maybe because of) the overt sexual tones, i’m just as inclined as most to romanticize it, the heart, as a symbol of love. Actually, that’s frivolous. I am a victim and reveler of my cultural habits. Throughout history, “heart” has acquired deep cultural context. Aristotle and Galen, poets and philosophers modern and ancient have used “heart” as a trope.
It has its own symbol, and a megaton of meaning weighing it down. That doesn’t make it or all it represents easy to decipher. Instead, it just serves as code that understanding this sector of life that can be as difficult and inaccessible as another galaxy. We feel it. We know it on some level. But understanding is illusive and mired in the strands of thousands of webs that make up our lives. Especially in regards to the processing falling.
(1) Used as an herbal contraceptive WAY back in the day.