Did you know that the Swastika is the symbol of luck in Nordic culture? That might come as a surprise given its use during the German Nazi regime. Even so, it’s worth discovering the origins. Here, we are going to explore the Swastika’s symbolic use over millenniums and centuries before it became infamous.
Also referred to as the sun wheel, the Swastika was the symbol of luck in Norse mythology. It conjured aspects of power, prosperity, and holiness, as well as something signifying the sky. There are various artifacts, including spearheads found in Zealand, Denmark, and modern-day Belarus, dating back to the 3rd century that bared the swastika shape.
Even before its adoption in Norse culture, the Swastika dates back to 5000BC. The people during this era said the symbol represented the movement of the sky. Since this time, the Swastika is said to be a religious symbol that the cultures of Eurasia (Europe and Asia) adopted. In the Western world, the symbol means “wellbeing” or “good fortune,” while in Indian religions, it means “conducive to wellbeing.” In the latter context, the name comes from the root word svástika, hailing from the Sanskrit language.
The Swastika was out of the public consciousness for centuries, before popularity began to sprout in the early nineteenth century. During this time, there was an increased interest in ancient civilizations in general. As archeologists found more symbols scattered across Europe and Asia, it became clear the sign was typically used for religious reasons. From then, the symbol grew in use in Europe, with people opting to use it as something to show good luck and auspiciousness.
Use of the symbol by Nazis
The flag of Nazi Germany featured the Swastika in 1935, but Adolf Hitler borrowed it from the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) flag made in 1933. The flag itself was red, with a swastika placed on a white disk. It would remain the national flag until the end of WWII and the fall of Hitler’s reign.
Unfortunately, a symbol of luck lost its initial meaning under the Nazi regime. Owing to the history of Hitler and his men killing the Jews and other persons they disagreed with, one has to be ultra-sensitive about the use of the Swastika. The world over, it is viewed as a symbol of hate and intolerance by the perpetrators of the holocaust.
With this knowledge, you might consider not adopting this Nordic symbol in your daily life. While it might mean ‘luck’ to you, to others, it might signal to them, even inaccurately, that you support the atrocities committed. It would, therefore, be wiser to choose another sign for luck, such as the runes Gibo Auja, Fylfot, among others.
The meaning of the Swastika forever changed in 1935, highjacked to have a negative connotation. However, that doesn’t change its rich origin of luck and wellbeing it held for millenniums. In our current age, we have to adopt other Nordic symbols of luck to avoid grave misunderstanding.
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