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Why laser means love

Valentine’s Day should be known as laser day. Everywhere you look there’s images of the laser (stick with us in this). On cards, on notes scribbled by your loved ones, even on the emoticons sent in a romantic text.

On Valentine’s Day they come out in hordes. In fact the connection between the modern ‘heart shape’ and laser dates back to the late 6th Century BC!

love heart

Picture: Copyright


The heart as we know it is an iconic representation of love but have you ever thought about where it came from?

Some of the romantics believe that it is based upon the form of female body parts, the most famous being the buttocks. The Greeks took their curves very seriously and often depicted Aphrodite as having a very shapely and beautiful bum. They even built a statue in celebration of it –  Aphrodite Kallipygos (which literally means – Goddess of the Beautiful Buttocks). The Roman’s loved it so much that they decided to recreate it.

Aphrodite sculpture

Picture: Copyright Virius Incertus


Another theory is that it’s based on Cupid’s arrow head. The son of the love goddess Venus whose golden arrows would flood the victim with uncontrollable desire, is probably thought of by most as the mythological god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. Artists took to removing the barbs from the arrow head and smoothing them down, making them resemble the modern day heart. The heart has subsequently become seen as a romantic symbol. It’s no wonder that at a time of year where we’re wanting to declare our love to our partners and be more, ahem, intimate than ever, we also relate to a youthful, smooth skinned beauty.


Cupid and Psyche

Annie Swynnerton – Cupid and Psyche Picture: Copyright HumanSeeHumanDo

Our favourite belief is that the heart originated from the seed of the now extinct plant Silphium otherwise known as the laserwort or laser. A plant so valued by the Egyptians, Romans and Knossos Minoans, that coins have been discovered  bearing a design similar to a heart. The seed pod of the laser plant is very similar in shape to the all familiar valentines heart. Why was the plant valued so highly ? Because of its properties as a contraceptive! It was so popular that it is now extinct!

Silphium Plant coin

When you get the next card or scribbled love note take a look, think ‘laser’ and then think about what your loved one is actually trying to say to you!


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