Swastika (Fylfot Cross)

The swastika is an archetypal, universal human religious symbol. It appears on every continent and is as old as humankind. A marker of the sun’s travels, it can be seen on Pictish rock carvings, adorning ancient Greek pottery, and on ancient Norse weapons and implements.

Swastikas were scratched onto cave walls in France seven thousand years ago. A swastika marks the beginning of many Buddhist scriptures, and is often incised on the soles of the feet of the Buddha in statuary. In the Jain religion, the swastika is a symbol of the seventh Jina (Saint), the Tirthankara Suparsva. To Native Americans, the swastika is a symbol of the sun, the four directions, and the four seasons.

Calligraphic Manji
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Geometrically, the swastika is a type of solar cross, with arms bent at right angles, suggesting a whirling or turning motion. Long before the symbol was co-opted as an emblem of Hitler’s Nazi party, it was a sacred symbol to Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religions, as well as in Norse, Basque, Baltic, and Celtic Paganism.

The name Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit language, from “su,” meaning “good,” and “vasti”,” meaning “being” (together: well being) In India, it is used as a fertility and good luck charm. The right turning Indian swastika symbolizes the sun and positive energy, and is most commonly associated with the deity Ganesh, a God of prosperity and wealth. Some Indians regard an anti-clockwise swastika as an opposing, dark force- a symbol of the godess Kali. Together, the two can be regarded as symbolically similar to the Yin Yang symbol of Taoism, or the two Pillars of Kabbalah. The swastika is also known for its uses in heraldry as the tetraskelion, or the the fylfot cross (fylfot meaning ‘four feet’), the cross gammadion (because it resembles four greek letter ‘gammas.’), and the hakenkreutz (German, hooked cross).

Curved Manji
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The swastika used in Buddhist art and scripture is known as a Manji, and represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. When facing left, it is the Omote (front) Manji, representing love and mercy. Facing right, it represents strength and intelligence, and is called the Ura (rear facing) Omoje. Balanced Manji are often found at the beginning and end of buddhist scriptures. You can read more about Manji here.

In pre-Christian Pagan Europe, the swastika was generally a solar symbol, but in many cases, its use dates so far back in history that its original meaning is obscured. It is most often associated with the god Thor.

In Baltic regions, the swastika is sometimes called the “thunder cross,” and is associated with the Thunder God Perkons (Perkunas): spacer

 

A variation of the Thunder Cross, or Cross of Perkons

A decorative swastika

 

Related Symbols:
LauburuManjiSolar cross
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Ritueller Missbrauch in Deutschland | Schreibblog A.D.
June 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

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Unknown June 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm

My great grandfather and his ancestors before him were Ashkenazis that lived in Austria-Hungary and Germany. Some of my family escaped to the US in the early 1900s (great great grandfather/grandmother and their children, as well as, my great great uncle/aunt and their children) because one of my great great uncles was working for the Nazis. The remainder of the family was left behind and was part of the Holocaust, in which I cannot find records beyond the US manifests. I am assuming that my Ashkenazi family did not survive, especially when it was reveled that my great great uncle was an Ashkenazi. I have learned about the WWI/WWII and the Holocaust in school and on my own in grave detail. I have met and spoke with individuals whom survived the concentration camps and thus were marked with numbered tattoos. Therefore, I can relate and comprehend the anti-swastika mannerism…one of my favorite books/movies is Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl. With that being said, I am a scientist whom comprehends that individuals need to read and ascertain the true meaning of symbolisms and how they came to be. I am pagan, believe in evolution, and am researching my Celtic & Germanic family history as far back as possible. I wish that individuals would do the same and learn the truth about symbols, religions, peoples, etc. The world would be a better place if people comprehend that a group of bad people using what was considered a good symbol is for no reason to ban the symbol. Just like the term God within the US Pledge of Allegiance was added in 1954 and does not represent the separation of church and state set forth by our American ancestors. Many individuals have learned the truth and wish to have the pledge changed back to the original form because our nation has not kept that line of separation written within our constitution. However, many individuals truly believe that the God version is the original form and believes this anti-God stand is modernized and from athiest or multi-deity individuals. As with the true meaning of the swastica, this is is not the case! Whether you believe in God or Evolution, we all are derived from the same individual. My point is that individuals need to learn the true meaning and history of everything prior to opening your mouth in protest!

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Anonymous September 20, 2016 at 8:38 pm

you have hit the nail on the head! people need to open their minds and learn about these things .

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