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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

 

Peace Sign Meaning

peace sign meaning
The peace sign was designed by Gerald Haltom in the 1950s

History of the Peace Sign Meaning





There are tons of icons that deal with peace sign meaning…Doves, an olive branch, the calumet (Native American peace pipe), but the peace symbol shown above is perhaps the most globally recognized in the twentieth century.

In Britain during the 1950s, there was an anti-war movement.  They successfully established the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The peace symbol we know today was first seen on protest signs during the Aldermaston Peace March in April 1958.  The village of Aldermaston was ideal for the protest march because there was an atomic weapons research facility located nearby.  The protest on this facility was launched by Hugh Brock, who sparked the publication called Peace News.

Back History on How the Peace Symbol Was Created

Mr. Brock met a gentleman named Gerald Holtom, who was a fellow pacifist.  Holtom was a gifted graphic artist.  After some discussion, Brock and Holtom determined a distinct symbol should be created to bring awareness to their anti-war cause.  Hence the beginning of this highly recognizable peace icon.

Being a Christian, Holtom initially wanted the Christian cross in the center of the circle.  However, this met opposition from members of the anti-war movement, as well as controversy from the church.  Opponents of the cross felt the peace sign meaning might be confused with a Christian cause – when in fact, the cause was to cease nuclear arms.

In a moment of deep misery and despair, Holtom began to draw himself in this state of anguish.  He envisioned himself helpless and defeated.

What resulted was a peace sign meaning with two parts:  One part illustrating  human stick figure hanging up-side down, symbolizing helplessness. The second part depicting arms outstretched – symbolizing complete surrender.  This design, if closely observed, also contains the letters N and D, which stand for ‘Nuclear Disarmament.’

peace sign meaning
Later, in the 60s and 70s Hotom’s peace sign was adopted by the US as a symbol for anti-war causes

The Peace Sign Meaning Goes Viral

Holtom made 500 copies of the peace sign and distributed the symbol on lollipop wrappers as well as flyers for the anti-war cause.  Due to this impressive distribution of the peace symbol and it’s corresponding anti-war message, the symbol went viral.

Organizers of the Aldermaston march to protest atomic weapon research figured they would be lucky to get about 100 participants in the march.  But due to Holtom and his peace sign meaning, the number of attendants skyrocketed to over 10,000 for the march.

That anti-war march at Aldermaston became world famous.  So much so, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament adopted Holtom’s symbol as the official peace icon for their cause.

Uses and Peace Sign Meanings in the United States

Later, the peace sign meaning gained influence in the United States as a symbol for for peace instead of war.  During the late 1960’s-70’s Holtom’s peace symbol was reproduced and mass distributed as an icon protesting the Vietnam War.

Your research on Holtom’s peace sign meaning might take you to some dark associations. The symbol was heavily maligned by supporters of the Vietnam War.

Regardless, the peace sign meaning is alive and well to this day. It still stands strong as an easily recognizable icon representing harmony, union and the idea that love, not war is an ideal concept for the world.

I hope you enjoyed these facts on Holtom’s peace sign meaning.  If you enjoyed this post, you might also like the articles below listed.  As always, thank you for reading.

The Dove as a Symbol of Peace

Web-Weaving, a Symbol of Peace, Love and Hope

Friends, Foes, Family, Toads

I’ve got a friend. I call her ‘Mayura’.  It is the Sanskrit name for peacock.  If she reads this post, she’ll know exactly what I mean.

Anyway, I’ve known Mayura for a long time…over twenty years.  I’ve had the honor of seeing her grow up.  She grew up in a thoroughly challenging environment.

Mayura reminds me of a lotus flower.  Did you know that for all its loveliness, the lotus flower is born in some pretty stinky conditions?  Yep. In fact, the more putrid its environment, often the lotus blossom becomes ever more pure, powerful and gorgeous.  It is a supreme, symbolic example of beauty finding a place in the midst of pretty crappy places.  This also, makes the lotus a sacred flower in ancient Asian cultures.  There is a remarkable quality to anything that can flourish and offer elegance in a chaotic, sometimes icky world.

At any rate…Mayura and I have somehow kept in touch over time.  We’ve been ‘radio silent’ for years, only to pick right back up as if time has never passed.  This, my friends, is a luxury I hope you all can experience at least once in your lives.

Mayura and I have been talking about human relationships lately.  I adore how she views things.  She has an expanded, helicopter view of interpersonal dynamics.  I dunno how she does it.  Maybe she was born with this laser-like view into the human soul.  She knows herself and she knows others…it is almost as if she holds people up into the light and she can see through them…like she is seeing through the transparency of a person…like she can see the other page behind the cover of the book that is the human.

I wish I had been (and could be presently) as savvy as Mayura.  She is 20 some-odd years my junior, but this woman has insight and wisdom coming out her ears, and beyond her years.

So what’s my point to all this?  You know I always want to give you something…some kind of take-away point.

Well, as I said…Mayura and I have been talking about the ups and downs of dealing with people.  Doesn’t matter if friend, foe or family…dealing with people can be a dicey prospect.  Actually, dealing with those closest to us can be more challenging than dealing with strangers off the street.

We shared a little about our experiences with feelings of guilt, betrayal, love, loyalty…you know…all that stuff all people should coffee-klatch about sometime in our lives.  One of the things I love about Mayura is she makes me think.  She makes me go deep and internalize some really heavy stuff that sometimes I’d rather not visit.

Nevertheless…while discussing a particular touching moment in our lives, I shared an infinitesimal bit of fluff with her.  It wasn’t my most shining moment of advice-giving.  It was not a wise, sage-filled statement I made.  In fact, I’m pretty sure my words to her were, in some ways, hauntingly hopeless.

But were they?

Somehow, we got to talking about the idea of people changing.  We all want to give people the benefit of the doubt.  We especially always want to keep loving and believing in our friends and family.  Even our foes…our ‘frienemies’ – at some point we had a connection with these people…they didn’t become our enemies for no reason.  Nope.  Often, an enemy was once a friend.

So what do we do with the people in our lives who we so desperately want to love, to trust, to believe in….yet they somehow always seem to disappoint us?

This is what I said to Mayura  in response:

“I think people can modify.  We can rise above, improve,  adjust….but at our core…I think that nugget of true ‘self’ is nestled within us like a little toad.

The only true hope we have of true transformation is if we love our inner toadie, and let it snuggle in tight within us, and love it warts and all. Contrarily, there are those of us who ignore the roosting toad….which causes that soggy thing to rot and become poisonous.

We are who we are.  Our only chance is to embrace or reject it.  And….I hope you understand what I’m saying…because if I have nothing in this life to give…my little observation about inner toadies is about all the wisdom I have.”

Lame?  Yeah, maybe.  But relevant?  Yeah, I think so.

What is your inner toad doing within you?  What is the inner toad doing within your friends, family or foes?  Is it twitching, torturing? Chilling out?  Consider it.  -Makes a big difference within ourselves and with those whom we interact.

Just thinking.

May all your interactions be filled with revelation.

Brightest,

Avia

 

Join Me for Symbolic Talk with Tanna Corona

Avia V. - Guest Speaker for Real Riches by Tanna Corona
Avia V. - Guest Speaker for Real Riches by Tanna Corona

Tanna Corona is the brilliance behind “Real Riches,” a popular Blog Talk Radio show she hosts every week.

Tanna’s show features superior gems of insight for demonstrating abundance, prosperity and love in all areas of life.

I’ve had such a great time talking about symbolic portents with Tanna, and that conversation will continue on her talk show this Monday, 7/11/11 at 11:00 pm.

Come join us for a chat about living a symbolic life – it’s going to be a groovy show!

Thanks goes to Tanna for allowing me to be a guest on the show!

I’m jazzed about connecting with you all ethers this Monday! :)

(click this photo or any of the links in this post to listen in!)