In one’s current state of Work one experiences the Need to Work in some direction. The reason for that Need and direction can be experienced more or less rationally, but the deepest reason for it often stays in Rûna, in the realm of Mystery. Only later when some realizations of one’s Work become crystallized one finds more deeply why one was Working in that direction. The impulse that keep Initiation going forward comes from the Darkness of one’s Being, from ab, one’s Heart. It is suprarational (and “religious” or “spiritual”) in its nature. Once the Need of that impulse is taken under Work one then directs oneself towards it rationally and with magic. In the process also more unconscious layers of one’s mind get involved in it and eventually there may come crystallizations that involve different levels of one’s Being. Then one Knows more deeply what it was that was calling one in the Darkness. At that point the Heart is, of course, already some steps “ahead”, calling deeper into the Darkness of one’s Being.
– Tapio Kotkavuori. Aletheia vol. 1, p. 107.
The human experience of the heart as a life supporting organ which marks the boundary between life and death has given the heart a special status as the center for power and emotion, through which humans have defined the communicative relationship between the self and the outside world. The special meaning that the heart has can especially seen in sacrificial rituals.
Asko Vilkuna discusses the ‘sacred meat’ of the Saami and the Ob Ugrian Khanty and Mansi, which stands for the bear heart. The heart was regarded as containing the ‘soul’ and power of the bear, which then hunters were able to insert into themselves. (…) To eat the heart and the liver of the killed enemy – cooked or raw – has been an ancient method for gaining power for both the body of the person who eats the meat and his community.
Thus, the idea of a burning heart (and a worshipped heart) did not arise within the Western philosophy of love; humans have burned or fried hearts in very concrete ways and marked them off as sacred, as markers of transformation, through the act of ritual eating. It is the later ideological currents that have given a more sublime meaning to the idea of the sanctity of the heart. Instead of concrete behaviour, humans have now chosen to define their relation to the burning heart on the level of an image.
– Veikko Anttonen. The concept of ‘pyhä’ (sacred) in pre-Christian Finnish religion. In: Northern religions and shamanism, 1992, p. 33.