In Insights into Christian Esoterism Rene Guenon points out that the traditional significance of the heart refers to the intellect and not to feelings. This is one of the clues to unlocking the secret language of Dante of the Divine Comedy.
The cuore gentile [kind heart] of the Fedeli d’Amore is the heart purified, that is, devoid of all that concerns worldly objects, and by this very fact made ready to receive interior illumination. It is remarkable that an identical doctrine is found in Taoism.
What is also remarkable is that an identical doctrine is found in Meditations on the Tarot. On the Bateleur, Valentin Tomberg writes:
The first Arcanum, the underlying principle of the other 21 Major Arcana of the Tarot, is that of the connection between personal effort and spiritual reality. It holds the first place in the series because if one does not understand it (i.e., grasped in cognitive and realized practical experience), one will not know what to do with all the other arcana. For it is the Bateleur who is called to reveal the practical method relating to all the arcana.
So here are the two terms in the connection.
- Personal Effort: the heart purified.
- Spiritual Reality: interior illumination.
We can immediately see the connection between the practice of the Fedeli d’Amore and the first two arcana. In the second Arcana of the High Priestess, where we learn to clarify the soul as was pointed out in The Word is made Flesh. So for Dante, the personal effort of purifying the heart makes it ready to receive the interior illumination of the spirit.