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Swastika was a symbol of Nazi Germany: 1 of 2.


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The symbol of the 4-sided swastika is an archetype for the rotations of time and conscousness - moving clockwise and counterwise - in upward or downward spirals - allowing souls to experience many levels of reality simultaneously.

Nazi Swastika.
The National socialist German Workers Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) formally adopted the swastika or Hakenkreuz (hooked cross) in 1920. This was used on the party's flag (above), badge, and armband. (It had been used unofficially by the NSDAP and its predecessor, the German Workers Party, Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP), however.) In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote: I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle. After long trials I also found a definite proportion between the size of the flag and the size of the white disk, as well as the shape and thickness of the swastika.

The word Swastika comes from the Sanskrit words su, meaning well, and asti, meaning to be.

The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles either clockwise or anticlockwise. It is traditionally oriented so that a main line is horizontal, though it is occasionally rotated at forty-five degrees, and the Hindu version often has a dot in each quadrant.

The swastika has not always been used as a symbol of Nazism and was in fact borrowed from Eastern cultures. It seems to have first been used by early inhabitants of Eurasia. It is an important symbol in Eastern religions, notably Hinduism and Buddhism, among others, and was also used in Native American faiths before World War II. By the early twentieth century it was regarded worldwide as a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness. Swastikas appeared on the spines of books by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling, and the symbol was used by Robert Baden-Powell's Boy Scout movement.

Since the rise of the National socialist German Workers Party, the swastika has been associated with fascism, racism, World War II, and the Holocaust_print.html" title="Holocaust">Holocaust in much of the western world. Before this, it was particularly well-recognized in Europe from the archaeological work of Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy and who associated it with the ancient migrations of Indo-European (Aryan) peoples. Nazi Germany use derived from earlier German völkisch nationalist movements, for which the swastika was a symbol of "Aryan" identity, a concept that came to be equated by theorists like Alfred Rosenberg with a Nordic master race originating in northern Europe. The swastika remains a core symbol of Neo-Nazi groups.

Since the end of World War II, the traditional uses of swastika in the western world were discouraged. Many innocent people or products were wrongly persecuted. There have been failed attempts by individuals and groups to educate Westerners to look past the swastika's recent association with the Nazis to its prehistoric origins.

Hooked cross - (Dutch: hakenkruis, Icelandic Hakakross, German: Hakenkreuz, Finnish: hakaristi, Norwegian: Hakekors, Italian: croce uncinata and Swedish: Hakkors)

Black Spider - to various peoples in middle and western Europe.

History of the swastika.

The swastika appears in art and design from pre-history symbolizing, in various contexts: luck, the sun, Brahma, or the Hindu concept of samsara. In antiquity, the swastika was used extensively by Hittites, Celts and Greeks, among others. It occurs in other Asian, European, African and Native American cultures ­ sometimes as a geometrical motif, sometimes as a religious symbol. Today, the swastika is a common symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, among others.

The ubiquity of the swastika has been explained by three main theories: independent development, cultural diffusion, and external event. The first theory is that the swastika's symmetry and simplicity led to its independent development everywhere, along the lines of Carl Jung's collective unconscious, or just as a very simple symbol.

Another explanation is suggested by Carl Sagan in his book Comet. Sagan reproduces an ancient Chinese manuscript that shows Comet tail varieties: most are variations on simple Comet tails, but the last shows the Comet nucleus with four bent arms extending from it, recalling a swastika. Sagan suggests that in antiquity a Comet could have approached so close to Earth that the jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet's rotation, became visible, leading to the adoption of the swastika as a symbol across the world.

Theories of single origin as a sacred prehistorical symbol point to the Proto-Indo-Europeans, noting that the swastika was not adopted by Sumer in Mesopotamia, which was established no later than 3500 BC, and the Old Kingdom of Egypt, beginning in 2630 BC, arguing that these were already well-established and codified at the time of the symbol's diffusion. As an argument ex silentio, this point has little value as a positive proof.

The swastika symbol is prominent in Hinduism, which is considered the parent religion of Buddhism and Jainism, both dating from about the sixth century BC, and both borrowing the swastika from their parent. Buddhism in particular enjoyed great success, spreading eastward and taking hold in southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan by the end of the first millennium. The use of the swastika by the indigenous Bön faith of Tibet, as well as syncretic religions, such as Cao Dai of Vietnam and Falun Gong of China, is thought to be borrowed from Buddhism as well. Similarly, the existence of the swastika as a solar symbol among the Akan civilization of southwest Africa may have been the result of cultural transfer along the African slave routes around 1500 AD.

Regardless of origins, the swastika had generally positive connotations from early in human history, with the exceptions being most of Africa and South America.

Adoption of the swastika in the West.

The discovery of the Indo-European language group in the 1800s led to a great effort by archaeologists to link the pre-history of European peoples to the ancient Aryans. Following his discovery of objects bearing the swastika in the ruins of Troy, Heinrich Schliemann consulted two leading Sanskrit scholars of the day, Emile Burnouf and Max Müller. Schliemann concluded that the swastika was a specifically Aryan symbol. This idea was taken up by many other writers, and the swastika quickly became popular in the West, appearing in many designs from the 1880s to the 1920s.

The positive meanings of the symbol were subverted in the early twentieth century when it was adopted as the emblem of the National socialist German Workers Party. This association occurred because Nazism stated that the historical Aryans were the modern Germans and then proposed that, because of this, the subjugation of the world by Germany was desirable, and even predestined. The swastika was used as a convenient symbol to emphasize this mythical Aryan-German correspondence. Since World War II, most Westerners see the swastika as solely a Nazi Germany symbol, leading to incorrect assumptions about its pre-Nazi use and confusion about its current use in other cultures.

Geometry and symbolism of the swastika.

A right-facing swastika may be described as "clockwise"...... or "counter-clockwise"A swastika composed of 17 squares in a 5x5 grid.

Geometrically, the swastika can be regarded as an irregular icosagon or 20-sided polygon. The arms are of varying width and are often rectilinear (but need not be). Only in modern use are the exact proportions considered important: for example, the proportions of the Nazi Germany swastika were based on a 5x5 grid.

The swastika is chiral, with no reflectional symmetry, but both mirror-image forms have 90º rotational symmetry (that is, the symmetry of the cyclic group C4).


A right-facing swastika may be described as clockwise
...or counter-clockwise
A swastika composed of 17 squares in a 5x5 grid

The mirror-image forms are often described as:

  • left-facing and (as depicted above) right-facing;.
  • left-hand and right-hand.
  • clockwise and counterclockwise.

The swastika is, after the simple equilateral cross (the "Greek cross"), the next most commonly found version of the cross.

Seen as a cross, the four lines emanating from the center point to the four cardinal directions. The most common association is with the Sun. Other proposed correspondences are to the visible rotation of the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere around Polaris.

Some contemporary writers - Servando Gonzalez, for example - confuse matters even further by asserting that the right-facing swastika, used by the Nazis is in fact the "evil" sauwastika. (Gonzalez "proves" that the left-facing swastika is the sunwise one with reference to a 1930s box of Standard fireworks from Sivakasi, India.) This inversion ­ whether intentional or not ­ might derive from a desire to prove that the Nazi's use of the right-handed swastika was expressive of their "evil" intent. But the notion that Adolf Hitler deliberately inverted the "good left-facing" swastika is wholly unsupported by any historical evidence.

Art and architecture of the swastika.

The swastika is common as a design motif in current Hindu architecture and Indian artwork as well as in ancient Western architecture, frequently appearing in mosaics, friezes, and other works across the ancient world. ancient greek architectural designs are replete with interlinking swastika motifs. Related symbols in classical Western architecture include the cross, the three-legged triskele or triskelion and the rounded lauburu. The swastika symbol is also known in these contexts by a number of names, especially gammadion. Pictish rock carvings, adorning ancient greek pottery, and on Norse weapons and implements. It was scratched on cave walls in France seven thousand years ago.

In Chinese, Korean, and Japanese art, the swastika is often found as part of a repeating pattern. One common pattern, called sayagata in Japanese, comprises left and right facing swastikas joined by lines. As the negative space between the lines has a distinctive shape, the sayagata pattern is sometimes called the "key fret" motif in English.

The swastika symbol was found extensively in the ruins of the ancient city of Troy.

The artistic swastika

In Greco-Roman art and architecture, and in Romanesque and Gothic art in the West, isolated swastikas are relatively rare, and the swastika is more commonly found as a repeated element in a border or tesselation. A design of interlocking swastikas is one of several tesselations on the floor of the cathedral of Amiens, France. A border of linked swastikas was a common Roman architectural motif, and can be seen in more recent buildings as a neoclassical element. A swastika border is one form of meander, and the individual swastikas in such border are sometimes called Greek Keys.

The Laguna Bridge in Yuma, Arizona was built in 1905 by the U.S. Reclamation Department and is decorated with a row of swastikas.

The Canadian artist ManWoman has attempted to rehabilitate the "gentle swastika.

Religion and mythology of the swastika.

Hinduism

The swastika is found all over Hindu temples, signs, altars, pictures and iconography in India and Nepal, where it remains very popular.

It is considered to be the second most sacred symbol in Hinduism, behind the Om symbol.In Hinduism, the two symbols represent the two forms of the creator God Brahma: clockwise it represents the evolution of the universe (Pravritti), anti-clockwise it represents the involution of the universe (Nivritti).

It is also seen as pointing in all four directions (North, East, South and West) and thus signifies stability and groundedness. Its use as a Sun symbol can first be seen in its representation of Surya, the Hindu lord of the Sun.

The swastika is considered extremely holy and auspicious by all Hindus, and is regularly used to decorate all sorts of items to do with Hindu culture.

It is used in all Hindu yantras and religious designs. Throughout the subcontinent of India it can be seen on the sides of temples, written on religious scriptures, on gift items, and on letterhead.

The Hindu God Ganesh is closely associated with the symbol of the swastika.

Amongst the Hindus of Bengal, it is common to see the name "swastika" applied to a slightly different symbol, which has the same significance as the common swastika, and both symbols are used as auspicious signs. This symbol looks something like a stick figure of a human being.

"Swastika" is a common given name amongst Bengalis and a prominent literary magazine in Calcutta is called the Swastika.

Buddhism

Swastika on Buddhist temple.

Jainism.

In Jainism, the swastika symbol is the only holy symbol. Jainism does not use the Hindu om symbol at all and thus gives even more prominence to the swastika than Hinduism. It is a symbol of the seventh Jina (Saint), the Tirthankara Suparsva. It is considered to be one of the 24 auspicious marks and the emblem of the seventh arhat of the present age. All Jain temples and holy books must contain the swastika and ceromonies typically begin and end with creating a swastika mark several times with rice around the altar.

The Abrahamic religions

The swastika was not widely utilized by followers of the Abrahamic religions. Where it does exist, it is not portrayed as an explicitly religious symbol and is often purely decorative or, at most, a symbol of good luck. The floor of the synagogue at Ein Gedi, built during the Roman occupation of Judea, was decorated with a swastika. Some Christian churches built in the Romanesque and Gothic eras are decorated with swastikas, carrying over earlier Roman designs. Swastikas are prominently displayed in a mosaic in the St. Sophia church of Kiev, Ukraine dating to the 12th century. They also appear as a repeating ornamental motif on a tomb in the Basilica of St. Ambrose in Milan. The Muslim "Friday" mosque of Isfahan, Iran and the Taynal Mosque in Tripoli, Lebanon both have swastika motifs.

Other Asian Traditions.

China.

The left-facing Buddhist swastika also appears on the emblem of Falun Gong. This has generated considerable controversy, particularly in Germany, where the police have reportedly consfiscated several banners featuring the emblem. A court ruling subsequently allowed Falun Gong followers in Germany to continue the use of the emblem.

Japan.

Native American Traditions.

The swastika was a widely used Native American symbol. It has been found in excavations of Mississippian-era sites in the Ohio valley. It was widely used by many southwestern tribes, most notably the Navajo. Among different tribes the swastika carried various meanings. To the Hopi it represented the wandering Hopi clans; to the Navajo it was one symbol for a whirling log (tsil no'oli'), a sacred image representing a legend that was used in healing rituals.

From The Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters.

The swastika symbol represents the path of the migrations of the Hopi clans. The center of the cross represents Tuwanasavi or the Center of the universe which lay in what is now the Hopi country in the southwestern part of the US. Tuwanasavi was not the geographic center of North America, but the magnetic or spiritual center formed by the junction of the North-South and the East-West axws along which the Twins sent their vibratory messages and controlled the rotation of the planet.

Three directions (pasos) for most of the clans were the same: the ice locked back door to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Only 7 clans-the Bear, Eagle, Sun, Kachina, Parrot, Flute and Coyote clans-migrated to South America to the southern paso at it's tip. The rest of some 40 clans, having started from somewhere in southern Mexico or Central America, regarded this as their southern paso, their migration thus forming a balanced symbol.

Upon arriving at each paso all the leading clans turned right before retracing their routes.

Pre-Christian European Traditions

The swastika, also known as the fylfot in northwestern Europe, appears on many pre-Christian artefacts, drawn both clockwise and counterclockwise, within a circle or in a swirling form. The Greek Goddess Athena was sometimes portrayed as wearing robes covered with swastikas. The "Ogham stone" found in County Kerry, Ireland is inscribed with several swastikas dating to the fifth century AD, and is believed to have been an altar stone of the Druids. The pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo, England, contains gold cups and shields bearing swastikas. Today it is used as a symbol for Asatru, the reconstructed religion of Northern Europe.

Early 20th Century.

Europe.

The British author Rudyard Kipling, who was strongly influenced by Indian culture, had a swastika on the dust jackets of all his books until the rise of Nazism made this inappropriate. One of Kipling's Just So Stories, "The Crab That Played With The Sea", had an elaborate full-page illustration by Kipling including a stone bearing what was called "a magic mark" (a swastika); some later editions of the stories blotted out the mark, but not its captioned reference, making the readers wonder what the "mark" was.

The Russian Provisional government of 1917 printed a number of new bank notes with right-facing diagonally-rotated swastikars in their centres. Some have suggested that this may have been the inspiration behind the Nazis adoption of this symbol as Alfred Rosenberg was in Russia at this time.

It was also used as a symbol by the Boy Scouts in Britain, and worldwide. According to "Johnny" Walker, the earliest Scouting use was on the first Thanks Badge introduced in 1911.

Robert Baden-Powell's 1922 Medal of Merit design adds a swastika to the Scout fleur-de-lis as good luck to the person receiving the medal. Like Kipling, he would have come across this symbol in India.

During 1934 many Scouters requested a change of design because of the use of the swastika by the Nazis. A new British Medal of Merit was issued in 1935.

The Lotta Svard emblem was designed by Eric Wasstrom in 1921. It includes the swastika and heraldic roses.

During World War I, the swastika was used as the emblem of the British National War Savings Committee.

In Finland the swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Army between 1918 and 1944. The swastika was also used by the Lotta Svard organisation.

The blue swastika symbols good luck.

The blue swastika was the good luck symbol used by the Swedish Count Erich von Rosen, who donated the first plane to the Finnish White Army during the Civil War in Finland. It has no connection to the Nazi Germany use of the swastika. It also still appears in many Finnish medals and decorations. In the very respected wartime medals of honor it was a visible element, first drafted by Axel Gallen-Kallela 1918-1919. Mannerheim cross with a swastika is the Finnish equivalent of Victoria Cross, Croix de Guerre and Congressional Medal of Honor. Due to Finland's alliance with Nazi Germany in World War II, the symbol was abandoned as a national marking, to be replaced by a roundel.

The Swedish company ASEA, now a part of Asea Brown Boveri, used the swastika in its logo from the 1800s to 1933, when it was removed from the logo.

Continued

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