Swastika

The symbol of the Swastika and its 12,000-year-old history


The swastika is a symbol used by of one of the most hated men on Earth, a symbol that represents the slaughter of millions of people and one of the most destructive wars on Earth.  But Adolf Hitler was not the first to use this symbol. In fact, it was used as a powerful symbol thousands of years before him, across many cultures and continents.

For the Hindus and Buddhists in India and other Asian countries, the swastika was an important symbol for many thousands of years and, to this day, the symbol can still be seen in abundance - on temples, buses, taxis, and on the cover of books. It was also used in Ancient Greece and can be found in the remains of the ancient city of Troy, which existed 4,000 years ago. The ancient Druids and the Celts also used the symbol, reflected in many artefacts that have been discovered. It was used by Nordic tribes and even early Christians used the Swastika as one of their symbols, including the Teutonic Knights, a German medieval military order, which became a purely religious Catholic Order. But why is this symbol so important and why did Adolf Hitler decide to use it?

The word ‘swastika’ is a Sanskrit word (‘svasktika’) meaning ‘It is’, ‘Well Being’, ‘Good Existence, and ‘Good Luck’. However, it is also known by different names in different countries - like ‘Wan’ in China, ‘Manji’ in Japan, ‘Fylfot’ in England, ‘Hakenkreuz’ in Germany and ‘Tetraskelion’ or ‘Tetragammadion’ in Greece.

Swastika - Positive and Negative ShapesA Sanskrit scholar P. R. Sarkar in 1979 said that the deeper meaning of the word is ‘Permanent Victory’. He also said that as any symbol it can have positive and negative meaning depending on how it is drawn. So in Hinduism, the right-hand swastika is a symbol of the God Vishnu and the Sun, while the left-hand swastika is a symbol of Kali and Magic. The double meaning of symbols is common in ancient traditions, like for example the symbol of the pentagram (five pointed star), which is viewed as negative when pointing downwards, and positive when pointing upwards.

Mezine SwastikaThe earliest swastika ever found was uncovered in Mezine, Ukraine, carved on an ivory figurine, which dates an incredible 12,000 years, and one of the earliest cultures that are known to have used the Swastika was a Neolithic culture in Southern Europe, in the area that is now Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, known as the Vinca Culture, which dates back around 8,000 years.

In Buddhism, the swastika is a symbol of good fortune, prosperity, abundance and eternity. It is directly related to Buddha and can be found carved on statues on the soles of his feet and on his heart.  It is said that it contains Buddha’s mind.

Lalibela SwastikaOn the walls of the Christian catacombs in Rome, the symbol of the Swastika appears next to the words “ZOTIKO ZOTIKO” which means “Life of Life”. It can also be found on the window openings of the mysterious Lalibela Rock churches of Ethiopia, and in various other churches around the world.

 

Navaho - SwastikaIn Nordic Myths, Odin is represented passing through space as a whirling disk or swastika looking down through all worlds. In North America, the swastika was used by the Navajos. In Ancient Greece, Pythagoras used the Swastika under the name ‘Tetraktys’ and it was a symbol linking heaven and earth, with the right arm pointing to heaven and its left arm pointing to Earth.

It has been used by the Phoenicians as a symbol of the Sun and it was a sacred symbol used by the priestesses.

Swastica - Phoenicians

The swastika, the Phoenician sun symbol, on the Phoenician Craig-Narget stone in Scotland, and on the robe of a Phoenician high priestess. (Source)

How and why did so many diverse countries and cultures, across many eras, use the same symbol and apparently with the same meaning?   

It is ironic, and unfortunate, that a symbol of life and eternity that was considered sacred for thousands of years has become a symbol of hatred.

Featured Image: Ancient Roman Mosaics in Villa Romana La Olmeda (Wikipedia)

By John Black

Related Links

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Nazi Swastika or Ancient Symbol? Time to Learn the Difference

About Swastika

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Comments

of course, rather than stars rotating around any earthly point... it is the earth that moves within the realm of the star named 'sun' there is the most northern and the most southern point of reference on the planet=plural points or 'poles' at either end of earth mass.

Just as the hand axes had almost the similar shapes all over the globe in the process of development of humans from stone ages. Swastika is an art form in ts maturity of human intelect all over the globe.Hence it may not be only assigned to one culture or race. Its a natural form of art developed as the human mind and society developed.

geraldine's picture

There was a huge leap in achievements/discovery etc between the neolithic and Bronze Age so your idea of it being an art form of human maturity is spot on.

G J Leale

geraldine's picture

We have to ask the fundamnetal question on how things become symbols. According to eminent plasma physicist Anthony Peratt, the swastika along with a variety of other shapes are all phases of a massive plasma column which was visible in the sky around the end of the Neolithic Age to the early Bronze Age. Peratt studied thousands of rock carvings around the world and compared them to naturally ocurring forms in lab plasmas with outstanding results. The sight of such things in the heavens would have been both terrifying and awe inspiring. These shapes were given off by a multi mega amper gamma radiaiton storm which would have brought destruction but then rebirth. Such a plasma storm has been connected to tthe arrival of Venus in our solar system but also possibly a gamma burst from the galactic centre.The idea of a column has given rise to many myths about a world axis, a ladder to heaven, gods of destruction and so on. Te swastika would have been a cross section of the column, visible from a vriety of angles.

G J Leale

I have never heard of plasma columns. Could you recommend a good place to find credible (scientific) information about them?

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