Archived Swastika History

This swastika history page was originally maintained at http://www.hostultra.com/~Exidor/Swastika/Swastika.html, but that site disappeared around 2009. I recovered the pages from http://www.archive.org/. I don't know why the original page was disbanded and I am not aware that the original author wants or doesn't want this content on the web. I want the content on the web because it's good reference material for my own content, and I found the page on archive.org, and I resurrected it. I have removed images but retained the text, aside from formatting adjustments.
Many of us are familiar with the expression that one "Aw-Shit" can wipe out years of "Atta-Boys". One of the best examples of this concept (in my opinion, and through no fault of its own) is that of the Swastika. It had millennia of good use, and in less than 20 years, it was effectively rendered an object to be detested. Intrigued? Willing to chance learning something? Read on:
The History of the Swastika
The Oldest Known Symbol
The swastika is an ancient symbol. Dating back 3,000 years, the swastika predates the ancient Egyptian symbol, the Ankh. Approximately 3,000 years ago (1000 BCE), the swastika was commonly used; swastikas have been found on many artifacts such as pottery and coins dating from ancient Troy. During the following thousand years, the image of the swastika could be found in many cultures around the world, including in China, Japan, India, and southern Europe.
By the Middle Ages, the swastika was a well known, if not commonly used, symbol but was called by many different names:
China - wan
England - fylfot
Germany - Hakenkreuz
Greece - tetraskelion and gammadion
India - swastika
Though it is not known for exactly how long, Native Americans also had long used the symbol of the swastika.
Change in Meaning
In the 1800s, countries around Germany were growing much larger, forming empires; yet Germany was not a unified country until 1871. To counter the feeling of vulnerability and the stigma of youth, German nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century began to use the swastika, because it had ancient Aryan/Indian origins, to represent a long Germanic/Aryan history. By the end of the nineteenth century, the swastika could be found on nationalist German volkisch periodicals and was the official emblem of the German Gymnasts' League.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the swastika was a common symbol of German nationalism and could be found in a multitude of places such as the emblem for the Wandervogel, a German youth movement; on Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels' antisemitic periodical Ostara; on various Freikorps units; and as an emblem of the Thule Society.
Hitler and the Nazis
In 1920, Adolf Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed its own insignia and flag. For Hitler, the new flag had to be "a symbol of our own struggle" as well as "highly effective as a poster." (Mein Kampf, pg. 495) On August 7, 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, this flag became the official emblem of the Nazi Party.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler described the Nazis' new flag: "In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic." (pp. 496-497)
Because of the Nazis' flag, the swastika soon became a symbol of hate, antisemitism, violence, death, and murder.
What does the Swastika Mean Now?
There is a great debate as to what the swastika means now. For 3,000 years, the swastika meant life and good luck. But because of the Nazis, it has also taken on a meaning of death and hate.
These conflicting meanings are causing problems in today's society. For Buddhists and Hindus, the swastika is a very religious symbol that is commonly used. Chirag Badlani shares a story about one time when he went to make some photocopies of some Hindu Gods for his temple. While standing in line to pay for the photocopies, some people behind him in line noticed that one of the pictures had a swastika. They called him a Nazi. Unfortunately, the Nazis were so effective at their use of the swastika emblem, that many do not even know any other meaning for the swastika. Can there be two completely opposite meanings for one symbol?
In ancient times, the direction of the swastika was interchangeable. Some cultures in the past had differentiated between the clockwise swastika and the counter-clockwise sauvastika. In these cultures the swastika symbolized health and life while the sauvastika took on a mystical meaning of bad-luck or misfortune.
But since the Nazis use of the swastika, some people are trying to differentiate the two meanings of the swastika by varying its direction - trying to make the clockwise, Nazi version of the swastika mean hate and death while the counter-clockwise version would hold the ancient meaning of the symbol, life and good-luck.
Symbols
The power of a symbol is much greater than a few, simple words. A symbol is a picture that represents or stands for something. It does not have to be accompanied by words, for it has meaning of its own. Symbols can also evoke emotions.
How do you feel when you see this? [swastika image not archived]
The Swastika did not originate as a Nazi symbol of hatred. "SWASTIKA" is derived from the Sanskrit word "SVASTIKAH", which means "being fortunate". See the swastika for what it is: an ancient symbol of good luck, prosperity, and long life, used in ancient cultures such as India and China, where it is the central symbol of the FALUN Law Wheel.
To give you an idea of how long the Swastika has been a symbol in China, comets [were] painted on silk about 2,300 years ago: The silk was discovered during the 1970's at Mawangdui, near Changsa, in Number Three Tomb. There were 29 comets illustrated on the silk. The last comet, on the far left, is illustrated by a Swastika. In their book "Comet" (Random House 1985) on page 186, Sagan and Druyan say "The twenty-ninth comet is called 'Di-Xing', 'the long-tailed pheasant star'." As a comet form, the Swastika looks like a spinning comet from which jets are erupting, like Comet Hale-Bopp.
More details about the history of the swastika:
The English and German word "SWASTIKA" is derived from the Sanskrit word: SVASTIKAH, which means 'being fortunate'. The first part of the word, SVASTI-, can be divided into two parts: SU- 'good; well', and -ASTI- 'is'. The -ASTIKAH part just means 'being'. The word is associated with auspicious things in India - because it means 'auspicious'. In India, both clockwise and counterclockwise swastikas were used, with different meanings. Since the swastika is a simple symbol, it has been used, perhaps independently, by many human societies. One of the oldest known swastikas was painted on a paleolithic cave at least 10,000 years ago.
About 2,500 years ago, when Sakyumuni brought Buddhism to China from India, the Chinese also borrowed the swastika and its sense of auspiciousness. In China, the swastika is considered to be a Chinese character with the reading of WAN (in Mandarin). It is also thought to be equivalent to another Chinese character with the same pronunciation, which means "ten thousand; a large number; all".
The swastika symbol has been used for thousands of years among practically every group of humans on the planet. It was known to Germanic tribes as the "Cross of Thor", and it is interesting that the Nazis did not use that term, which is consistent with German history, but instead preferred to "steal" the Indian term "swastika". As the "Cross of Thor", the symbol was even brought to England by Scandinavian settlers in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, long before Hitler.
Even more interesting, the sign has been found on Jewish temples from 2000 years ago in Palestine, so Hitler was (inadvertently?) "stealing" a Jewish symbol as well as an Indian one. In the Americas, the swastika was used by Native Americans in North, Central, and South America.
Since the outer arms of the swastika can point either counterclockwise or clockwise, the swastika has been used as a counterpart to the Taiji, or Yin-Yang, symbol. If you look at the outer circle of the Falun Dafa symbol, you will see that there are 4 swastikas (of Buddhas' School origin) and 4 Taiji, or Yin-Yang, symbols (of Taoist origin). The Taiji are not black and white, as those colors are a very low level manifestation. Of the 4 Taiji, 2 are red and black (from the Tao as generally regarded) and 2 are red and blue (from the School of the Primordial Great Tao, which includes the Rare Cultivation Way).
If you look at all the swastikas of the Falun Dafa symbol, you will see that their arms all point counterclockwise. However, since the Falun Dafa can be seen from above and below, as well as the 8 directions indicated on its outer circle by the 4 Taiji and 4 swastikas, the Falun Dafa swastikas can be perceived to be rotating either clockwise or counterclockwise: "When Falun rotates clockwise, it can automatically absorb energy from the universe. While rotating counterclockwise, it can give off energy." (Read Zhuan Falun for more details).
In India, both clockwise and counterclockwise swastikas were used, with different meanings: the counterclockwise one is associated with the goddess Kali-Maya mother of Buddha, associated with the Moon), and the clockwise one is associated with Ganesha (elephant-headed father of Buddha, associated with the Sun). Since the swastika is a simple symbol, it has been used, perhaps independently, by many human societies. One of the oldest known swastikas was painted on a paleolithic cave at least 10,000 years ago.
The book "In Search of the Cradle of Civilization" by Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak, and David Frawley (Quest 1995) describes the history of India from a perspective different from that of English colonialists.
According to Joe Hofler, who also refers to Dr. Kumbari of the museum of Urimqi in Xinjiang, China, the Indo-Aryans of the Germanic branch traveled into Europe around 2,000 BC and brought with them the "svastika" symbol (sun disk) of their religious art at that time as shown by excavations of Kurgan graves on the steppes of Russia and Indo-Aryan graves in Xinjiang, China.
Here are a few references with more information about the swastika:
The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (Harper & Row, 1983) - by Barbara G. Walker
The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols & Sacred Objects (Harper & Row, 1988) - by Barbara G. Walker
The Source - by James A. Michener
Klein's Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (Elsevier, 1971) - by Ernest Klein
Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary (Harvard, 1966)- by Robert H. Mathews
In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (Quest 1995) - by Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak, and David Frawley describes the history of India from a perspective different from that of English colonialists.
One of the World's Oldest Symbols Strives to make a Comeback (THINK TANK; A Symbol of Hatred Pleads Not Guilty) - by SARAH BOXER July 29, 2000, c.2000 N.Y. Times News Service
It's a simple question: Can the swastika ever be redeemed? Before the Nazi Party adopted the swastika and turned it into the most potent icon of racial hatred, it traveled the world as a good luck symbol. It was known in France, Germany, Britain, Scandinavia, China, Japan, India and the United States. Buddha's footprints were said to be swastikas. Navajo blankets were woven with swastikas. Synagogues in North Africa, Palestine and Hartford, Conn., were built with swastika mosaics. Now there is a small movement afoot to help "the swastika get on with its benign life," to separate it from "the sins of the Nazis." Is that really possible? Should it be possible? The swastika gets its name from the Sanskrit word svastika, meaning well-being and good fortune. The earliest known swastikas date from 2500 or 3000 B.C. in India and in Central Asia. A 1933 study suggests that the swastika migrated from India across Persia and Asia Minor to Greece, then to Italy and on to Germany, probably in the first millennium B.C. The fateful link was made by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. From 1871 to 1875, Schliemann excavated the site of Homer's Troy on the shores of the Dardanelles. When he found artifacts with swastikas, he quickly associated them with the swastikas he had seen near the Oder River in Germany. As Steven Heller, the art director of The New York Times Book Review, writes in "The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption," "Schliemann presumed that the swastika was a religious symbol of his German ancestors which linked ancient Teutons, Homeric Greeks and Vedic India." Pretty soon swastikas were everywhere, rotating both clockwise and counterclockwise. Madame Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society, included the swastika in the seal of the society. "Rudyard Kipling combined a swastika with his signature in a circle as a personal logo," Heller reports. And the swastika was part of the logo of the Bauhaus, under Paul Klee. The swastika spread to the United States, too. Coca-Cola issued a swastika pendant. Carlsberg beer etched swastikas onto its bottles. During World War I, the American 45th Infantry division wore an orange swastika as a shoulder patch. At least one railway had swastikas on some of its cars. The Girls' Club published a magazine called The Swastika. And until 1940, the Boy Scouts gave out a swastika badge. How did the Nazis get hold of it? According to Heller, the Germanen order, an anti-Semitic group that wore helmets with Wotan horns and plotted "against Jewish elements in German life," used a curved swastika on a cross as its insignia. By 1914, the Wandervogel, a German youth movement, made it a nationalist emblem. The Nazi party did not claim it until around 1920. In "Mein Kampf," Hitler, who had artistic aspirations as well as political ones, described "his quest to find the perfect symbol for the party." He toyed with the idea of using swastikas. But it was Friedrich Krohn, a dentist from Starnberg, who designed the flag with a black swastika in its center. "Hitler's major contribution," Heller writes, "was to reverse the direction of the swastika" so that it appears to spin clockwise. The swastika came down as quickly as it ascended. In 1946, it was constitutionally banned from any public display in Germany. In the United States, there has never been a law prohibiting the display of swastikas, but the aversion is still there. The question now is, should the swastika be reclaimed from the Nazis or should it, as Heller argues, continue to represent their "unspeakable crimes"? The issue is complicated by the swastika's history in India and other parts of Asia, where it has none of the connotations it has in the West. In India, there is Swastik soap; in Malaysia, a Swastika photograph studio; in Japan, there are Pokemon cards that have "manji," counterclockwise swastikas; in China, the Falun Gong uses the counterclockwise swastika as its emblem. And now swastikas have crept back into sight in the Western world. In the 1960s, for example, the swastika was a recurring motif in geometric abstract art and hard-edge painting, notably in an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. But the most concerted effort to redeem the swastika comes from Friends of the Swastika, a group formed in 1985 and based in the United States. The group, whose Web site promises that it "has no connections to any racist propaganda" and no intention of denying the Holocaust, is led by an artist named ManWoman who claims to have 200 swastikas tattooed on his body. In order to "detoxify" and "resanctify" the swastika, the group sells T-shirts, stamps, postcards and "other cool stuff" with swastikas. Their watchword is, "To hell with Hitler!" And already, they say, their mission is working. "The swastika is re-emerging in the alternative pop culture ... in the punk rock world, in the flying saucer cults, in the street gangs." There are teenagers wearing swastikas just because they think they look cool. "In the 1973 film "Sleeper,"' Heller notes, "Woody Allen sarcastically predicted that in the distant future, the swastika will be worn as a fashion accessory." The distant future is now. It has become an icon of rebellion. The logo for ZZ Flex skateboards looks a lot like a swastika. The label on the heavy metal CD Sacred Reich has interlocking swastikas. The logo for the band Kiss, which originally had three Jewish members, was made to look just like the insignia of the SS; not a swastika but rather two parallel, jagged s's made to look like lightning. Does it matter whether swastikas are used in ignorance or in hatred or to rehabilitate a symbol? No, Heller says: "Nazi icons were strong enough to seduce a nation and still contain a graphic power that can be unleashed today." The swastika defenders counter with the question: "How can a symbol be guilty for the acts of a madman?"
ON THE SWASTICKA
by "the Bard"
This is a precis of information found on the use and meaning of the swasticka in various cultures and ideologies.
Swastica: Sanscrit "su" meaning "good" and "asti" meaning "to be"
Cross Cramponned: English heraldic term relating to angle-irons (crampons)
Cross Gammadion: Greek, pertaining to the Greek letter "G" or "Gamma" (it looks like an inverted Roman alphabet "L".)
Crux Dissimulata: Latin "Cross Dissimulated" used as a Christian symbol by the early Christians to avoid persecution. (see below)
Hakenkreuz: German "hooked cross"
Jaina Cross: a swasticka-like symbol of the Jains of India.
Pramantha: Brahmin (supposedly as some sort of fire-making tool, though never having seen one used as such [the original author] can't figure out how.)
In order to discuss this symbol, we must first do a little backtracking, with some speculation. It has been postulated that the first method of measuring time was by the moon's phases. These are obvious, easy ways of measuring the year, and we find it, for example, in Woodland AmerIndian culture, along with naming the years by what happened of note that year. The female menstrual cycle seems to follow it, and that would tend to make the moon-calendar (and Goddess concepts) almost universal in hunter-gatherer cultures, and so it is, in the remaining such cultures on our planet.
But this moon-calendar, while quite sufficient for hunter-gatherer cultures, is NOT sufficient for the next "level" of civilization: farmers. It is not sufficient because it shows a year that, due to the variant lengths of the moon-months, tends to mess up the calculations for harvest time and planting time. Look at the (Lunar-based) Islamic calendar. The months do not fall in the same seasons with regularity, making Ramadan (the fasting month) a real burden when it falls in the heat of summer. Any Muslim or Baha'i can vouch for this (both use a Lunar calendar). You must add an intercalary month (or days) from time to time to make it come out right.
But a solar calendar is more accurate. Indeed, you can make a solar calendar at home. Just wait till Midsummer, and mark where the Sun rises on the horizon, from a fixed viewpoint. Then mark Midwinter, and whatever other calendar points strike your fancy. With both of those, plus the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, you will get a layout on the ground that looks a bit like this: (tho this one is more regular than most of the real ones)
The Sun moves in an apparent circle, so connecting the dots in a ring is a logical next design step. This would be facilitated by taking astronomical observations, adding the directions of the compass, and such other doo-dads to the four seasonal points. When we add the central observation point, we get the Sun-Wheel: (which also appears in the center of the Celtic Cross). Stonehenge (which was not built by those naughty Druids) and many, many other such circles all over the world all seem to do the same thing: point to the seasonal position of the Sun and stars. If you have an accurate calendar, you know to a pinpoint when you need to plant. This is a simple survival thing. If you plant at the wrong time, you, your family and friends all starve to death. This tends to make such things IMPORTANT, and they would be a commonly repeated religous / artistic motif in such cultures. What with the Milky Way and it's apparent "belting" of the Earth, the Zodiac, and the apparent circular motion of the Sun, we get a repeating theme of circularity that perhaps might lead to the dichotomies of light/dark, alive/dead, and so forth in an endlessly recurring cycle. This makes the circle seem to have some religious significance, and may have led to the spiral design (another very common artistic theme in primitive cultures) having a related meaning, but a bit more esoteric.
It is an easy design-step from this to the swasticka. There is no occult origin here. Just a very clever Sun calendar illustration that is found all over the world ... and most probably for the same reason: it told the time. It is such an ancient symbol that its true origins are lost in pre-History, but I feel that the above speculation is probably hitting pretty close to the mark.
Now, let's get a little more specific: The symbol is pretty much universal throughout the world. It is found in such diverse cultures as China, India, Japan, Tibet, Egypt, Ancient Crete, Ancient Troy (level of excavation unknown), Scotland (Picts), Ancient Ireland, Kickapoo Indians, Tennessee and Ohio Indian burial mounds (Hopewell Mound), Pottawatomie Indians, Hopi Indians, Zuni Indians, Old Norse, Plains Indians (who were originally farmers until they were pushed into the Plains by neighboring tribes, and then became nomadic), Central American Maya and Aztec (two very different cultures!), Buddhist (found on the soles of the Buddha's feet, in statuary), Pre-Hejira Arabs, seen on a quilt pattern (age and pattern name unknown). Found in the Catacombs of Rome (see Crux Dissimulata), a coin of Ethelred of Northumbria (9th cent. CE), Embroidered on Christian vestments (8th and 9th cent. CE). English heraldry: CHAMBERLAYNE (Argent, a chevron between three fylfots gules) circa 1394 CE. German heraldry: VON TALE (Ecartele en equerre de gueules et d'argent) (date unknown), (English blazon: Quarterly per fylfot gules and argent.) "Equerre" refers to the carpenter's square, and may be a clue as to the usage of it by the early Christians, due to Joseph's occupation as a carpenter. Used by NSDAP (Nazi Party) (Gules, on a roundel argent a fylfot reversed in bend sable) circa 1920-1945 CE (note: many other combinations of designs were used by the NSDAP, usually combining gules, sable and argent with the swasticka.) A variant with only three arms used on the Isle of Man is known as a "triskeleon." It is usually represented as three -legs- and thus suggests the act of running.
"There is no reason to suppose that all of these have been derived from a common source..." (Gough & Parker)
The swasticka has appeared in different forms, in different places and for different reasons, in human culture since pre-historic times. The >meaning has been a "Wheel of Life," a "Sun-Wheel," the four points of the compass, the four winds, Man himself, a symbol of the Hopi emergence into the current world (showing the directions taken by the various tribes in their wanderings) ... many, many interpetations have been given to this >most ancient symbol.
It can be found with both right-angled arms, and with curved arms rather like two letters "S" superimposed at right-angles to each other. Its wide distribution in so many varying cultures shows quite conclusively that it is neither an "Aryan" nor an non-"Aryan" symbol, the pretensions of the NSDAP (German Nazi Party) and their descendants notwithstanding. The Oriental interpetation has been that of a "Sun-Wheel," with the right-handed version being for "life" or the Sun, and the left-handed version being for "death" or the Moon.
       ----                                     ---- 
          |   |                            |   | 
      ---------                            --------- 
      |   |                                    |   | 
          ----                              ---- 
   "right handed"                        "left handed" 
 ------> Sunwise (deasil)          <------ Widdershins rotation 
         rotation 
 (heraldic default position)       (heraldic reversed position) 
    
It is interesting to note that the original designer of the insignia of the NSDAP, Dr. Freidrich Krohn (see below), initially drew it right-handed, but Hitler insisted on its being changed to the left-handed version.
The Brahmins use it to make fire within an "arani," a disc-like wooden object where fire is made by friction with the pramantha (see above) symbolizing the male generator. The symbol is regarded as the "womb of the world" in a ceremonial/mystical sense.
The Old Norse may have used it as a symbol for Thor, i.e. for the thunder and lightning, and this (if true) could very well be the source of its use in England (from the Norse invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries CE) and its use in the other Germanic countries. The Old Norse -may- have gotten it thru their trade contacts with Byzantium and China. (The Norse tended to trade more than raid, popular modern legends notwithstanding.) The common Norse shield-decoration, called by heralds a "gyronny - arondee" may have evolved from the crossed "S" form. The "Hammer" (an inverted "T") was the most common symbol for Thor, however. Heraldic usage regards it as just another Cross, though its usage in new heraldry is actively discouraged, and in some heraldic jurisdictions outright forbidden, due to the connotations of shame and evil that it has gathered from its Nazi associations.
Nazi Germany's use of it has an interesting history. The initial association that the symbol seems to have had was that of extreme nationalism, but not necessarily associated with the Nazi Party. It was first used in this context about 1870 CE by the Austrian Pan-German followers of Schoenerer. Wilhelm Schwaner displayed a swasticka on the title page of his "voelkish" periodical "Der Volkserzeiher" in 1897 CE as a symbol of the paper's "voelkish" sentiments, and this may be the first printed usage of it in this context. (nb: the German word "voelkish" is essentially untranslatable to English. It means a "German-ness," a patriotism that transends national boundaries and time, to include everything that is truly "Germanic," a "cult of the race," if you will.) By 1912, the swasticka was seen in use by many "voelkish" groups, and the "voelkish" thought began to take on an anti-Semitic cast. It was popular enough that the firm of Eckloeh began manufacturing badges, tie pins, buckles, and other such artifacts incorporating the device. The "Wandervoegel" youth movement became very familiar with the symbol, being very "voelkish" in nature, and thus, the soldiers of Imperial Germany in WW I knew of the swasticka and associated it with "voelkish" sentiments. These "voelkish" sentiments included a reverence for the operatic works of Wagner, an interest in the Grail Cycle of legends, the belief that the "Aryan" race is the "Herrenvolk" or "Master Race" of humanity, and a belief in an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world, as outlined in the so-called "Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion."
It was also used as a national emblem by Estonia and Finland in this period, being most familiar in photos of the Finnish Air Force during the Winter War with the Soviet Union.
One can only imagine the consternation that may have resulted when these soldiers of Germany saw the device being used as part of the insignia of the famous "Lafayette Escadrille," the American pilots that fought for the Allies before America's entry into WW I (the "Great War.")
After 1918, the swasticka was adopted by many of the "Freikorps" units, being seen in photographs of the Erhardt Brigade in its liberation of Munich from the Communists in April of 1919. Very soon after, the Hakenkreuz was no longer a romantic "voelkish" symbol, but an expression of right-wing opposition to the Weimar Republic.
In America, it remained an AmerIndian symbol, and was quite commonly used in "Indian Lore" of the Boy Scouts, as evidenced by its usage on the back cover of my copy (original) of William Tomkins' "American Indian Sign Language." (circa 1928; currently in reprint from Dover Publications.) The German fascination with "Cowboys and Indians" in the books of Karl May ("Der Alte Shatterhand") may have served in another way to bring this symbol forward in the minds of the people. It is known that Hitler had quite a large collection of Karl May's novels. I have no information at this time as to when Karl May first became popular in Germany, whether before or after WW I.
Therefore, when Hitler chose the swasticka as the symbol of the NSDAP, he was quite probably conciously choosing an already familiar symbol that already had the tenets of National Socialist ideology attached to it in the minds of the German public. This act of adopting an already familiar badge is just one more point of evidence that Hitler was a canny and cunning man, and willing to steal and pervert whatever would advance his program.
The badge of the NSDAP was designed by Dr. Friedrich Krohn, a dentist who had belonged to several "voelkish" groups, including the "Germanen Order" (membership in which, incidentally, precluded -any- advancement in the NSDAP). As mentioned above, the symbol was originally drawn right-handed, and Adolph Hitler insisted on its being reversed. Many occultists shook their heads at this, thinking (rightly) that it presaged a bad end for Hilter's Germany.
The Nazis tended to extremes in their interpetations of the meaning behind the swasticka, from Guido von List's insistence that it was related to the Runic letter "G" and thus had meaning to ancient Scandanavian scops ([original author] never found such in [his] readings....!!) to Friedrich Dolleger's attempt to tie in the Cretans and others of the Near East as Germanic peoples, to Ludwig Fahrenkrog's Buddhist-derived Theosophic analysis that the right handed form meant "to God" and the left handed form "away from God."
Nazi Germany took an ancient symbol and perverted it to such a degree that it can never be used again without bringing up all the associations of death, destruction, hatred and vileness that the NSDAP perpetrated. If the Swasticka is displayed in any of the "civilized" parts of the earth, the reactions of the viewer are universally of rage and disgust. This perversion of "right" may be one of the prime evils of the Nazis; they took patriotism, honorable military service and its associated ritual, chivalry, and the concept of "voelkishness," among so many other good and useful things, and perverted them into something so bad, so evil and vile, that to call a person a "Nazi" is one of the most terrible epithets a human can use.
The "Aryan" "Herrenvolk" (Master Race) myth is still with us, in the mythos' of the "skinheads" and of the (pseudo) Christian "Identity" Church/ Movement in North America, not to mention the well-known Ku Klux Klan and its various offshoots. (who have taken another ancient and honorable symbol, the Scots "fiery Cross" clan rallying sign, and perverted it to a degraded usage.) Some groups of the "Odinist" tradition tend towards an "Aryan" Master Race attitude also, although this is dying out quickly.
The "separate-but-equal" doctrine preached by some of the "King James (Bible) Only" Christian Fundamentalist groups does -not- (apparently) include a regard of non-white races as inferior, however.
An interesting reversal has been seen in the theory that the "Aryans" are a "satanic" influenced "race," fathered by the "giants" of Biblical reference (the basis being the belief that the "giants" mentioned in the Bible were the offspring of angels that mated with human women) and that the "race" thus produced has been working against Christianity for thousands of years, taking the widespread use of the swasticka and using this as "evidence" of sun-worship in any culture that uses/used it. (and taking sun-worship as "satanic...") With some rather strained linguistic analysis, some rather fuzzy and sloppily documented books, and the known involvement of a few of the leaders of the NSDAP with "occult" groups in pre-WW II Germany, a picture emerges of a world-wide and history-wide conspiracy.
This can be seen as a typical "Conspiracy Theory Of History," bringing in everything from the ancient Druids, Theosophy, the World Bank, the Council On Foreign Relations, the Rockefellers, the Merovingian dynasty, the Illuminatti, modern neo-Pagans and the so-called "New Age Movement" (and, seemingly, everything else that can be made to fit) into a "Great Conspiracy." It is fascinating to watch the parallels in the rhetoric of these belief systems with that of the Nazis, and to see how much it "buys into" the Nazi Big Lie.
The "Black Muslim" mythos of the "devil white man" is another example of the reversal of the "Herrenvolk" myth by an oppressed racial minority. So far [the original author has] not seen any other such beliefs in other minorities within the USA.
Both the "Herrenvolk" myth, and its reversals, perpetuate the cycle of hatred against those who are not "our kind of people;" the attitude of "us against them;" thus forwarding the Nazi mind-set into the modern world, and encouraging division and suspicion in humanity. If Satan has a program, this division and hatred certainly would suit his purposes very well indeed.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:
"A Treasury Of American Superstions", De Lys, Claudia; Philosophical Library, NY MCMXLVIII
"A Dictionary Of Heraldry", Friar, Stephen; Harmony Books, NY 1987
"A Glossary Of The Terms Used In Heraldry", Gough & Parker, Gale Research Co. 1966
"The Book Of Signs", Koch, Rudolph; Dover Publications 1955
"The Holy Bible", King James Version
"Man, Myth and Magic", Marshall Cavendish Corp., NY 1970
"The Spear Of Destiny", Ravenscroft, Trevor; G.P. Putnam's Sons 1973 (note: most of this book's core concepts are -not- referenced, being "written from memory" or "seen in visions" or "seen in astral travel" and thus must not be taken as "hard" information.)
"The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich", Shirer, Wm. L.; Simon & Schuster, NY 1960
"Adolph Hitler", Tolland, John; Doubleday 1976
"Dictionary Of Pagan Religions", Wedeck, H.E. and Baskin, Wade; Philosophical Library NY, 1971
"Woodward's A Treatise On Heraldry, British And Foreign", Woodward, John and Burnett, Chas. E.; Charles E. Tuttle Co. Rutland, Vermont 1969
"The Book Of The Hopi", ([the original author's] copy currently is mislaid, so no biblio info at this time)
Various conversations monitored on Computer Bulletin Board message areas:
OPEN_BIBLE: "Rick Savage," "Michael Haight," "Ralph Stokes" et. al.
CULT_WATCH: "Robert Lee" et. al.
Permission is granted for re-publication of this article, so long as it is not edited or changed. Send a courtesy copy of the publication to PO Box 35190, Phoenix, AZ 85069 and it will be forwarded to the [original] author. Comments and further research are welcomed.
From Tribune India. Sunday, May 23, 1999, Chandigarh, India.
The mystique of Swastika
By Shiv Darshanlal Sharma
A SURVEY of literature reveals that the Swastika symbol is generally referred to as the gamma-like cross by western scholars because it can be resolved into four gammas joined at right angles. It is perhaps one of the most ancient symbols associated with the sun. The most ancient Swastikas have been discovered in Susa in Persia, Mohenjodaro and Harappa in Pakistan and Sammarra in Mesopotamia. It has been seen on terracotta articles as well as ancient vases of Greece, Crete and Rhodes. On an Athenian vase it appears thrice. On a vase now at Vienna it is depicted as an ornament on the breast of Apollo. It was a favourite symbol on the coins of ancient Greece and India. Swastika is also found engraved on funeral urns which have been dug up in northern Italy.
It is found as a religious and ornamental symbol in ancient Egypt. The excavations undertaken recently by the Turkish Government at Aladja-Hoyuk uncovered the so-called standards made out of Swastika symbols. These metallic articles were buried along with corpses during the 22nd century B.C. Probably these were kept there to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the deceased. In Lycaonia, on a Hittite monument, it appears as an ornament on the border of the robe of a person engaged in offering sacrifice. In the designs on jars excavated in Cappadocia, spirals, Swastikas and Crosses are found. All these vases belong to the Hittite age, about 2200-1200 B.C. Swastika, called as 'flyfot', was a popular artistic and sacred symbol throughout the Teutonic age in Europe. It appeared on jewels and weapons, not only of Gallic, but also of German and Scandanavian people. When placed beside a human head, it represented God. In company with the thunderbolt and the wheel it is seen inscribed on the altars of the Gallic-Roman period. It is regarded as the sacred symbol in Roman England. It adorned the floor of the thresholds of the famous Roman villa excavated at Lullingstone in Britain.
Swastika is marked on a number of early Christian tombs. It was an archaic custom to mark the tombs with this symbol or to place vases with Swastika symbols in tombs. It was performed to ensure the safety of the departed soul or to fend off demonic spirits. Subsequently, the Swastika was replaced by the Cross. Swastika has been discovered at several locations in the New World. It was considered as an auspicious sign by some of the original inhabitants of America. Swastika is found in monumental remains of the primitive Mexicans and Peruvians and on objects exhumed from prehistoric burial mounds within the limits of the USA.
It was revived by Hitler when he made it the national emblem of Nazi Germany. He believed that this ancient Aryan sign brought prosperity and victory. It has been the sacred symbol of the Buddhists and the Jains. It bears the name of Swastika when the limbs are bent towards the right, and Suavastika when they are turned to the left. It is believed that the first represents Lord Ganesha, while the second represents goddess Kali. According to the other school of thought, the first stands for the sun, for light and life; the second stands for night and destruction. Indians inscribe it on the opening page of their account books. In ceremonies associated with marriages, mundan, the worship of luxmi etc the Swastika is worshipped as the symbol of Ganesha. It is marked along with the sign of Navagrahas.
Swastika is one of the eight types of yogic seats mentioned in the Vayaviya-samhita of the Shiv Purana. The discovery of Swastika in almost all parts of the globe has given rise to so many interpretations.
Certain authorities believe that Ganesha on his Vahana, the rat, symbolised a sun-god, overcoming the animals. Which, in archaic mythology was a sign of night. The cult of sun worship is probably the most primitive one. The sun brings joy, light and life for mankind. People belonging to the Indus Valley civilisation believed in sun worshipping, which is evident from the discovery of a number of signs and symbols associated with the sun. These signs are found on several so-called punch marked coins that have been excavated from many places in India. These are called Vishnu Chakras. Vishnu's incarnations are said to have killed their enemies by using these chakras. Krishna's Sudarshan Chakra can be referred to in this connection. Like Indra, Vishnu is said to have subdued serpents. Krishna defeated Kalinaga while Vishnu is depicted as reclining on Sesnaga, who has one thousand hoods.
According to Vayu Purana, "the lord of serpents, who lives on the Devakuta mountain, has one hundred hoods and is marked with the Chakras (Swastika) of Vishnu." According to the same source, Brahma was practicing severe penance, as a result of which sweat came from his body which gave rise to the serpent world, which had marks of Swastika on them. It is interesting to note that on prehistoric bowls found at Sammarra, serpents are shown as moving around the sun. Being a symbol of the sun, the chakra represents life and movement, which transform the dwarf into the giant or the microcosm into macrocosm or again the centre into its diameter.
Aladja-Hoyuk, which is identified with the Hittite city Ariana, was the seat of the cult of sun god. The Buddhists inherited reverence of Swastika from the belief that Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Vishnu, and carried it to Tibet, China, Japan and Korea. Swastika is found on the images of the lord. It is seen on the footprint of Lord Buddha. In China, swastika found a place among written characters, where it contains the notion of abundance, prosperity and long life. In Japan, it represents the number 10,000. The Chinese empress Wu (684-704 A.D.) decreed that it should be used as sign for the sun. The seal of the Harappan period shows a man carrying a manger with propitiatory offering for a tiger standing in front of him. On the reverse the same inscription is repeated, besides a row of five Swastikas as auspicious symbols signifying security and good luck.
According to K.N. Shastri, the sealing was obviously an amulet against possible dangers arising from the depredations of tigers. Ideas and beliefs migrate with traders, soldiers and migrants. The ancient western Asia had trade relations with the people of the Indus. Valley. It is evident from the discovery of Indus Valley seals in Mesopotamia at the level dating between 2300 and 2000 B.C. Some particular seals found in Crete proved to be of exactly of the same material as those found in the Indus Valley. The figures of animals and birds with fish in their beaks appearing on vases found from the tombs in Sammarra (dating 4000 B.C.) are significantly similar to that painted on potteries found from tombs in Harappa.
The pipal tree (Ficus religiosa) was regarded as sacred both in Harappa and Elam (it may be due to the fact that this is the only plant in the plant kingdom which releases more amount of oxygen day and night, than any other plant). These instances prove that Palestine, Elam and Harappa had close trade and cultural relations. The appearance of the Swastika on vases belonging to this period proves that the symbol of Swastika was travelling from one place to other along with the normal merchandise.
The Swastika was a very popular symbol in ancient Turkey, where it was frequently applied by the smiths of Anatolia. It is interesting to note that two kinds of Swastikas, one revolving to the right and other to the left have been excavated from a tomb in Aladja-Hoyuk. These could be interpreted as the rising and setting the sun. The Swastika is found on the megalithic pottery from Kunnatur, Coorg and Coimbatore. It has also been traced on a red ware belonging to the Chalcolithic phase on the site of Rangpur. These instances prove that the sacredness of the Swastika was the most primitive belief in India. It seems that the people of the Indus Valley, who inherited this symbol, believed in sun worship and spread this cult to Elam. Mesopotamia and Asia Minor or the people of these countries got it from Indians migrants even before the prosperous settlements of the Indus Valley came into being. A scene of Swastika worship is found in the rock paintings of Paria Bari. It is mentioned in the Puranas that the masses worshipped the solar deity in its symbolic forms of disc, wheel, lotus and Swastika.
The discovery of the Swastika in the New World should not be explained away by the so-called theory of independent origin. It may have been carried to the New World by Asian Traders in the most archaic times. Some historians claim that long before the voyage undertaken by Columbus, America was discovered by the Phoenicians, and the Chinese. The discovery of images, said to be of the Lord Buddha, in America is really a significant event.
1894 research article on the Swastika - an online edition of an article originally published in 1894 by Thomas Wilson, curator of the Dept. of Prehistoric Anthropology at the U.S. National Museum. He delves into the history of the Swastika before Hitler was even born. Reading the pages online requires downloading a free plugin. This is a long and fascinating read.
Spiritual Secrets in the Carbon Atom - Another fascinating article.
http://www.igc.apc.org/iearn/hgp/aeti/aeti%2D1997/swastika.html - link defunct - Nazi Swastika or Ancient Symbol?
http://www.pinetreeweb.com/bp-can3.htm - link defunct - The Swastika - From Baden-Powell, What Scouts Can Do: More Yarns, 1921
http://www.locksley.com/6696/swastick.htm - link defunct - The History of the Swastika - by W. J. Bethancourt III
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