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)

    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.