We are all familiar with the image of the romantic ‘love-heart’. But the real symbolism of the heart is complex.The original story of St Valentines is more tragedy than romcom, after all. And in fact historically the symbol of the heart has meant some quite different things, some of them with nothing to do with romance at all. For example, according to the emblematic traditions of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe, it could also mean ‘counsel’, or advice – because good advice comes ‘from the heart’. And although we may have largely lost this connotation for the heart symbol, it remains to us in our language. Wisdom given to a friend in need is ‘heartfelt’. A moment of shared feelings and honest reflection with a friend is referred to as having a ‘heart to heart’. If we express something ‘from the heart’, we are presenting the listener with our deepest truth. And in fact I think this is one of the finer symbols of love – that words of reflection and advice can be given to, and accepted by, a friend or a loved one, when they need it most.
Welcome to my new blog, and thank you for reading – all good counsel welcome!