Where the Swastika Was Found 12,000 Years Before Hitler Made Us Uncomfortable About It
Where the Swastika Was Found 12,000 Years Before Hitler Made Us Uncomfortable About It
Minoan pottery from Crete. The Minoan civilization flourished from 3,000 to 1,100 B.C.  (Agon S. Buchholz/Wikimedia Commons)

Minoan pottery from Crete. The Minoan civilization flourished from 3,000 to 1,100 B.C. (Agon S. Buchholz/Wikimedia Commons)

Swastika from a 2nd century A.D. Roman mosaic. (Maciej Szczepańczyk/Wikimedia Commons)

Swastika from a 2nd century A.D. Roman mosaic. (Maciej Szczepańczyk/Wikimedia Commons)

A srivatsa (swastika) sign at Nata-dera Temple, Japan. (Cindy Drukier/Epoch Times)

A srivatsa (swastika) sign at Nata-dera Temple, Japan. (Cindy Drukier/Epoch Times)

From the Sican/Lambayeque civilization in Peru, which flourished 750 to 1375 A.D. (Wikimedia Commons)

From the Sican/Lambayeque civilization in Peru, which flourished 750 to 1375 A.D. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ancient Macedonian helmet with swastika marks, 350-325 B.C., found at Herculanum. (Cabinet des Medailles, Paris/Wikimedia Commons)

Ancient Macedonian helmet with swastika marks, 350-325 B.C., found at Herculanum. (Cabinet des Medailles, Paris/Wikimedia Commons)

A Buddha statue on Lantau Island, Hong Kong with a swastika symbol on the chest. (Shutterstock*)

A Buddha statue on Lantau Island, Hong Kong with a swastika symbol on the chest. (Shutterstock*)

A 3,000-year-old necklace found in the Rasht Province of Iran. (Wikimedia Commons)

A 3,000-year-old necklace found in the Rasht Province of Iran. (Wikimedia Commons)

The aviator Matilde Moisant(1878-1964) wearing a swastika medallion in 1912; the symbol was popular as a good luck charm with early aviators. (Wikimedia Commons)

The aviator Matilde Moisant(1878-1964) wearing a swastika medallion in 1912; the symbol was popular as a good luck charm with early aviators. (Wikimedia Commons)

A mandala-like swastika, composed of Hebrew letters and surrounded by a circle and a mystical hymn in Aramaic. Appears in the Kabbalistic work

A mandala-like swastika, composed of Hebrew letters and surrounded by a circle and a mystical hymn in Aramaic. Appears in the Kabbalistic work "Parashat Eliezer" by Rabbi Eliezer ben Isaac Fischel of Strizhov, 18th century. (Wikimedia Commons)

Bronze Age Mycenaean

Bronze Age Mycenaean "doll" with human, solar and tetragammadion (swastika) symbols. (Louvre Museum/Wikimedia Commons)

Swastika on a Greek silver stater coin from Corinth, 6th century BC. (Wikimedia Commons)

Swastika on a Greek silver stater coin from Corinth, 6th century BC. (Wikimedia Commons)

Gold weight used by the Akan, specifically Ashanti, people of Ghana to measure gold. (Wikimedia Commons)

Gold weight used by the Akan, specifically Ashanti, people of Ghana to measure gold. (Wikimedia Commons)

Mosaic swastika in excavated Byzantine church in Shavei Tzion, Israel. (Wikimedia Commons)

Mosaic swastika in excavated Byzantine church in Shavei Tzion, Israel. (Wikimedia Commons)

Bone comb with swastika found in the Nydam Mose as depicted in the 19th century book “Nydam Mosefund.” Nydam Mose, also known as Nydam Bog, is an archaeological site located near Sonderborg, Denmark. It contains many artifacts from 200 to 400 A.D. (Wikimedia Commons)

Bone comb with swastika found in the Nydam Mose as depicted in the 19th century book “Nydam Mosefund.” Nydam Mose, also known as Nydam Bog, is an archaeological site located near Sonderborg, Denmark. It contains many artifacts from 200 to 400 A.D. (Wikimedia Commons)

The “Iron Man” statue. The 1,000-year-old Buddha statue from Tibet was carved from a rare meteorite that landed on Earth about 15 millennia ago. (Elmar Buchner)

The “Iron Man” statue. The 1,000-year-old Buddha statue from Tibet was carved from a rare meteorite that landed on Earth about 15 millennia ago. (Elmar Buchner)

The earliest known swastika was found in 10,000 B.C. in the Ukraine, carved on mammoth ivory.

Its meaning has been a good one for thousands of years. However, Adolf Hitler appropriated it in the 20th century, establishing its association with tragedy, death, and destruction. The symbol is found not only in one ancient civilization, but in ancient civilizations all over the world, bespeaking its deep connection with humanity and human culture.

Aztecs and Mayans used the symbol on burial mounds, clothing and jewelry. In Europe, such symbols can be found in Roman catacombs, in churches, on plaza stones, and graves.

The word swastika is Sanskrit: swa means “higher self,” asti means “being,” and ka is a suffix. The word may be understood as “being with higher self.” It is also known as srivatsa.

It has an especially strong connection to Buddhism in India, which was then transmitted to China. The srivatsa is often found on Buddha sculptures, and it is believed to be a sign displayed by Buddhas to the people who first depicted it—a symbol with profound and heavenly meanings. It has been understood over the ages as a symbol of good luck, a symbol of purity, and other positive attributes. Hitler sought to connect the symbol’s power and purity to his doctrine of establishing a “pure” race.

The shadow cast on the symbol by the Nazis is slowly being lifted. The Jewish Virtual Library, an American-Israeli Enterprise, has addressed the history of the Swastika positively.

*Image of a Buddha statue on Lantau Island via Shutterstock

  • Cynthia W.

    I belong to a fan club of a singer/songwriter from the late 60’s era, who had this symbol on an album cover. This album wasn’t produced in the US, and was an import. I can remember getting upset about it, until it was explained that it meant what ancient Buddists intended it to mean, which was a symbol of good luck. Just shows you how someone can highjack something good and twist it to mean something evil. Needless to say, the album cover was redesigned.

    • rg9rts

      Amazing the education you can get from album covers

  • Edward Bellamy

    The German National Socialist’s symbol was not a “swastika” in that the German socialists did not call their symbol a “swastika.” They called their symbol a “Hakenkreuz,” which means “hooked cross” because their symbol was a type of cross. It was also not a swastika in that they used it to represent crossed “S” letters for their dogma -“socialism”- as alphabetical symbolism (see the book about the work of the symbologist Dr. Rex Curry). So, the Germans did not “hijack” the symbol. The hijacking of the symbol was done by people who did not want to disparage the Christian cross, so they began deliberately mis-identifying the German socialist symbol as a “swastika.” That continues to this day. If you want to rehabilitate the swastika, then you should explain these differences so that others will understand.

  • Julien Jacobs

    I thought I was going to enjoy an enlightening truth in regards to Hitlers manifestation of art symbolism and unequivocal truth. This article is a disaster which accomplished masquerading inconvenient truth of an American history. http://www.jewishjournal.com/sacredintentions/item/hitlers_inspiration_and_guide_the_native_american_holocaust

    • Anonymous

      You are completely wrong and so is that article.

  • Anonymous

    Its the exact same thing Satanist’s have done to the cross. Turned it upside down.

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