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Swastika Symbol Meaning From Around The World

swastika symbol meaning
Swastika symbol meaning is different around the world according to cultural views

Exploring Swastika Symbol Meaning From Around the World

Regrettably, swastika symbol meaning has been horribly marred due to the Nazi regime, when the symbol was the icon for the atrocities committed during WWII.

The goal of this article is to expose the swastika (also known as svastika or also a fylfot) in its many different forms and meanings around the world and throughout history.

Various cultures have their own term for their version of the swastika.  The term swastika is a blanket word for four-armed or four-angled symbols.

In the Hindu language, the term swastika means ‘well being.’  This is the first of many examples demonstrating this symbol as the complete opposite of evil connotations inherited by Nazi Germany.

Swastika symbol meaning varies according to era and culture. This symbol has been around for over 3,000 years.  It has made its appearance throughout the ages in China, Japan, India, Greece, as well as Celtic and Native American cultures. The swastika has also been featured in alchemy and even Christianity.





Swastika Symbol Meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism

swastika symbol meaning hindu

The swastika, also known as sauvastika is not only a religious symbol in this culture, it is also considered a lucky symbol.  It is said to bring about great prosperity and good fortune.  The symbol adorns statues, buildings, textiles, and it is even painted on bodies for various festivals. The swastika is commonly used in ceremonies.  For example, this symbol is strongly featured during weddings with Ganesh, the elephant god of luck placed in the center of the cross to insure blessings upon the marriage.

The arms of the sauvastika represent the directions and cycles of life. These extensions give a sense of motion, which symbolizes the forward motion of human life.  The four dots represent the four concepts of Karma: Right thought, right words, right actions, and right understanding.


Swastika Symbol Meaning – Greece

swastika symbol meaning greek

The above shown symbol is an artistic rendition of a tetraskelion, which is the Greek version of the swastika.  This symbol is also found in other regions of ancient Europe.  It’s not always in the form of horses, as show above.  Sometimes this ornate swastika was created with arms, wings, snakes or other features from nature.

In this symbol, the horse is symbolic of the chariot of the Greek titan Helios, who represented the sun.  In myth, the grand chariot of Helios was pulled by four horses:  Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.  The circle in the center is symbolic of the sun.


Swastika Symbol as a Swedish Rune

swastika symbol rune

This swastika symbol meaning deals with paths taken in the afterlife.  It was a symbol commonly found on Scandinavian grave sites. Notice all the lines connecting and crossing each other.  This is symbolic of the infinite nature of life – even in the afterlife.  The center cross has been known to symbolize the womb.  In Norse belief, the transition from physical to non-physical is all about returning to the source of life – the womb of the mother.  In essence, this Norse rune represents journey through afterlife with the goal of returning back to mother earth (or mother sea in some accounts).


Swastika Symbol in Native American Tradition

swastika symbol native american

This symbol can be seen carved upon numerous stone structures in New Mexico and Arizona.  This is where the Hopi hailed from and believed the swastika symbol meaning dealt with their origin and ultimate destination of their clans. The center cross is symbolic of TuwanasaviI, this is the center of the world.  It is also considered the center of the Hopi soul.

Legend states that the first Hopi clans were at the center of the world, and centered within their souls.  With assistance from Spirit, the four clans were guided in a certain direction: North, South, East, West. After traveling out (from the center cross) both physically and spiritually, each clan turned left, which is symbolic of turning towards the earth.  Other clans were guided to turn right, which was a migration towards the sun.


Swastika Symbol Meaning From Pagan Perspective

swastika symbol meaning

This version of the fylfot (or swastika) started its life as a Pagan sun wheel symbol. It represents the movement of the four seasons.  Each of the four arms of the symbol are also symbolic of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, Water.  Pagans assigned spiritual energy to all things in Nature.  Consequently, each arm of this symbol stands for the energy of each element: Salamander (fire), Gnome (earth), Sylph (air) and Undine (water).

Later, the symbol was adopted by Christians.  In the early days, being a Christian wasn’t the most popular choice.  There was a lot of controversy about the new religion. Early Christians used this symbol as a sign to other Christians that they were among fellow believers.  This symbol is also called crux dissimulata because it disguised the Christian cross, and helped believers avoid persecution.




Native American Version of the Swastika Symbol

swastika symbol meaning

This is an artistic rendition of swastika symbol from the Native American Ho-Chąąnk people (also known as Winnebago tribe).  Four birds in a four angled design have been located on Ho-Chąąnk burial grounds.  This is a nod to both creation and death.  One ancient Native creation myth describes four magical bird clans who came from the heavens to populate the earth.  In time, these clans evolved into different sects.  But the birds clans were the first. This bird motif on grave sites is symbolic of flying back to the great Spirit or Creator at the time of death.  The first four ancient bird clans are: Eagle, Dove, Vulture and Owl.

The eagle provided power and the courage of a warrior as a tribal member walked through the after life.  The vulture insured all physical remains of the body were removed so that the soul could be fully released to move through the after world.  The owl gave his eyesight and senses through the shadowy unknown of the after life.  And the dove gave the deceased  a calm, sweet countenance…a feeling of nurturing and peace throughout the after life journey.

The symbol in the middle is the union of all great spirits with the center of the crossing lines representing the ultimate Creator, as well as the ultimate destination of the soul.


Celtic Version of Swastika Symbol Meaning – Brigid’s Crossswastika symbol meaning brigid

In Celtic mythology Brigid was the goddess of the mighty Tuatha Dé Danann. These were four clans who were guided into Ireland to begin a new life.  As a powerful goddess of one of these clans, Brigid was celebrated during the time of Imbolc, a festival marking new beginnings, and Springtime.

Brigid’s cross, also known as a sun-wheel, was typically woven out of straw or rushes.  Once made during Imbolc, these ornaments were customarily hung in the home as a symbol of protection.

Each of the arms of Brigid’s cross represents the four Irish clans of the  Tuatha Dé Danann, ruled by individual deities who were: Lugh, Fal, Nuada and Dagda.


Meaning of the Directions of the Swastika Symbol

swastika symbol meaning of direction

Throughout most cultures, there is a sweeping consensus as to directional representation of the swastika.

If the symbol is turning clockwise (right), this is symbolic of opening up to sun energy.  Conversely, if turning counter-clockwise (left), this allows an opening to moon energy.  This is an age-old concept that attempts to define universal polarity.

For example, sun energy is symbolic of: Masculinity, Assertiveness, Passion, Truth.  On the other hand, moon energy is the opposite, symbolic of: Femininity, Restrained, Calm, Mystery.


Closing Thoughts on Swastika Symbol Meaning

I hope you enjoyed this article on the various meaning of the swastika.  It was my highest goal to shed new light on this symbol.  I think it also teaches a symbolic lesson that just because a symbol has gotten a bad reputation (such as Nazi German swastika), that doesn’t mean the symbol has always stood for a maligned concept.

Segments of populations have been adopting and changing the meaning of preexisting symbols for eons.  That means one symbol almost never has one single meaning.

Don’t let this be the end of your research on swastika symbol meaning.  In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots more versions of these symbols, and with each version, there is are different meanings.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy the related links listed below.  As always, thanks for reading.

Swastika Meaning in Native American Hopi Tradition

Good Luck Symbol Meanings

 

It’s Not Easy Being a Girl. The Real Gorgon Meaning of Medusa

gorgon meaning
The real gorgon meaning behind Medusa

 Setting the Record Straight on Gorgon Meaning and Medusa





Did you ever see the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans? I did, and you know what? It wasn’t the Kraken that rang my bells.  It wasn’t the Minotaur that made me go bonkers. Nope.  It was Medusa.  That scene with her luminous eyes and slithery snakes left me breathless.  To me, she was majestic .  Forget Marilyn Monroe – for me, Medusa was the ‘it’ girl.

Maybe that makes me a sicko.  I mean, the term gorgon in Greek translates to ‘dreadful’ or ‘beastly.’  But in my defense, I happened to have some background history on gorgon meaning and Medusa before seeing the movie.

Did you know Medusa was once a breathtaking, bombshell of a woman? Yep, her beauty was legendary.  That is, until one day Athena turned her into a gorgon.

Picture it, ancient Greece, a lusty Poseidon lays eyes on the ravishing Medusa.  Unable to contain his libido in the presence of such loveliness, Poseidon makes a move on Medusa.  She refuses his advances.  She was quite chaste.  As a matter of fact, her name Medusa means ‘to protect’ – and legend states she was quite protective of her purity.

Wanting to keep her virginity, Medusa resists Poseidon as best she can. As a last resort, she runs to Athena’s temple (who happened to be the virgin goddess who held purity in the highest regard).  Poseidon eventually wore down Medusa, and forced himself upon her.  Athena witnessed the tail end of the violation – not knowing Medusa was a victim.  Instead, Athena assumed Poseidon and Medusa laid together in mutual consent, which was certainly not the case.

It was a slap in Athena’s face to see the two together within her temple of virginal purity. Enraged and insulted (not to mention quick to judge), Athena smote Medusa with the curse that made her into the so-called monster we see today.

The big crime here is that before Medusa’s gorgon days, she was quite a sweet girl.  She was said to be generous, thoughtful, bright and beautiful.  Sometimes nice girls just can’t catch a break.  But the irony is, Medusa became quite a bad as* while living as a gorgon and even after her death.



 Vengeance, Defense and Gorgon Meaning

Understandably, Medusa became pretty bitter about the whole turning into a monster thing.   Part of gorgon meaning deals with a certain kind of seduction with the result being the death of whomever she woos.  A gorgon was able to pluck a viper from her coiffure and command it to do her bidding.  Sometimes this meant a killing strike upon an unsuspecting passerby.   Was she playing dirty pool? Maybe, but maybe she had her reasons.

Another fact of gorgon meaning deals with the whole turning folks into stone bit.  Rather than seeing stars, looking into Medusa’s eyes made a body see granite. Yep, meeting Medusa’s gaze turned a body into a boulder.

If you ask me, these are the most epic defense systems a beautiful woman scorned could have.  But alas, poor Medusa met her fate when Perseus beheaded her.  He did so by seeing her through the reflection of his shield, thus avoiding becoming a rigid rock.

gorgon meaning medusa
Surprisingly, gorgon meaning deals with generosity as Medusa kept on giving after her death.

The Legacy of Medusa – Gorgon Meaning That Won’t Quit

Okay, so Medusa’s plight continues to become more tragic after her death. Interestingly, death doesn’t staunch Medusa’s core spirit of generosity.  Beneath that gorgon exterior, Medusa was still a giving being.

Even through an incredible, unwanted assault, Poseidon’s attack upon Medusa wasn’t entirely disastrous.  Their union caused Medusa to become pregnant. Immediately after Perseus murdered Medusa, she gave birth to Pegasus, the magical winged horse who contributed much to Greek myth.

But that’s not Medusa’s only contributions after death.  Here are a few contributions credited to Medusa, even after her beheading.

♦ A grand coral reef was said to be created in the Red Sea when Medusa’s blood trickled into the waters after Perseus set her head down on the shore.

♦ Medusa thwarted an unwanted marriage between Perseus’ mother and Polydectes when Perseus revealed Medusa’s gaze upon Polydectes, turning him to stone.

♦ Medusa had a part in creating the Atlas mountains. While traveling through Africa, Perseus was attacked by a Titan.  After revealing Medusa’s stony stare, the Titan was transformed into the Atlas mountain range.

♦ To this day, Greek art depicts the image of Medusa. These pieces are thought to be protection against enemies and bad energy.

Pretty interesting that Medusa’s name means ‘to protect’ – she seemed to do a lot of that after her death.

Closing Thoughts on Gorgon Meaning and Medusa

In the end, I think the moral of Medusa’s story is this:  Even the most awful so-called ‘monsters’ serve unexpected purposes.  Therefore, it might be a good idea to think twice about the ugly, cranky, outcasts in our lives.  I think gorgon meaning is intended to make us reconsider that which is ‘abnormal’ or ‘freakish.’

Look at all Medusa accomplished.  Unfortunately, her path was a tragic one, and her greatest hits were celebrated after her death.  Nevertheless, her legacy lives forever.

I hope you enjoyed this article on Medusa and gorgon meaning.  If you liked this post, please check out the links below for related information.  As always, thanks for reading!

Meaning of God and Goddess Symbols

Symbolic Meaning of Snakes

Jerks and Judgment

Thoughts About How To Deal With Judgment, Jerks and Find Justice Through It All

Let’s face it. We all have jerks in our lives. Those folks who get under our skin and irritate the bejeebers out of us. And that’s okay.  This world would be one dimensional if we all had daisy-picking-happy-go-lucky people in our lives. It takes the cantankerous among us to bring out authentic understanding in our perception.

So what do we do with these people? In truth, I don’t know. That’s why I’m struggling writing this post.  I want to make a point; I have something valuable to share, but I’m not sure how to present this value.

I guess this post boils down to a quote I was left with after watching that Steve Jobs movie.  At the end of the movie, Jobs and his daughter had a meeting of the minds.  She asked him why her own father was so distant with her.  Jobs responded with the most elegant and simple response.  He said: “I’m poorly made.”   That left me speechless.  That statement also made me think.

There is something justifying and uplifting about coming clean about being ‘poorly made’ to someone you know you’ve damaged.  If you’ve not been on either side of this argument, then this post isn’t going to make any sense. But, if perchance you have been in this situation, please read on.

Admitting we are flawed to someone we have hurt is cathartic. It is cleansing and healing for both ourselves and the damaged party.  It mends fences, and creates a new bridge that aids in bringing hearts back together.

I know I’ve been a jerk.  Sometimes the last thing I want to do is admit it.  And I’m not talking about the occasional ‘I messed up’ kinda jerk.  I’m talking about being fundamentally damaged to the point when in certain situations I can be a raging jackass.

As a result, there have been a few times when I’ve had to do some major soul searching.  And yeah, I’ve made a few humble pies, and presented them to folks I’ve hurt.  While doing so, I’ve made the same simple statement Jobs did in that movie.  I’ve clearly seen how impaired I am, and all I can say is: “I’m sorry, but I’m broken.”

The people who respond by saying: “I know. It’s okay. I love you anyway.”  Those are angels in my life. Those moments are the biggest gift life has ever given me.

On the flip side, when confessing that I’m just screwed up in some ways and the response is aggression or derision – well, I just chalk it up to those other folks going through their own life lessons.

Judgment walks in on this post when it comes to how we treat others, and how they treat us back.  For inexplicable reasons, when I’ve been forgiven for admitting I’m a jerk and there is a complete absence of judgment..those are the most blessed moments.  But there are other times when I know without a doubt I am being judged, and I’m NOT being a jerk – I’m just being me, and being poorly judged for who I am.

I pride myself on being the least judgmental person on this planet. But lately, I’m not sure that’s realistic.  We all judge others.  It’s just human nature.  I think the difference is some of us love others anyway, and could care less what they do (with the exception of others hurting other people or animals).

So what do we do with the jerks in our lives?  I think it’s a guarantee we’re going to judge them on some level.  I think that’s healthy – it helps us figure out where that jerk is coming from, and understand why they are behaving as they are.

The jerks who come to us with a pleading, simple statement that says: “I’m sorry. I’m poorly built.”  I think these people need all the love they can get.  To other people who are jerks, and they refuse to address the issue – well….I really don’t know what to say about that.  Some jerks won’t budge.  Some jerks don’t even know they are jerks!

I guess the best advice I have for this sticky wicket is this:  Judge lightly.  Love largely.  Admit openly if you have truly done wrong to another.  Forgive and forget when a jerk comes to you and confesses his or her flaws and apologizes for hurting you.

All this may seem very simple.  Or maybe it doesn’t.  Some of these things seem very complicated to me.  So that’s why I wrote this post. Maybe it offers perspective.  Or maybe it’s confusing.  Either way, I hope it makes you think about how we affect the people around us.

As always, thanks for reading,

Love,

Avia