Saturday, 16 July 2011

Heritage Not Hate

Heritage Not Hate
by Asrad, CG – The Odinic Rite

It is perhaps one of the oldest religious symbols in the world. It can be found on artifacts, stone carvings, pottery, weavings, buildings, monuments, bridges, postcards and in temples.
Examples of this symbol can be found in South America, Egypt, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and all over Asia. One of the oldest examples of this symbol was painted on a Palaeolithic cave 10,000 years ago.

What is this ancient religious symbol? The Swastika! The word Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘svastikah’, and according to various translation it’s meaning is “being fortunate”, though its literal meaning is “let good prevail”. This ancient holy symbol, a symbol of religious importance to millions of people around the world is under threat of being banned by the European Commission after calls from members of the European Parliament called for a Europe-wide ban of this and no doubt other holy symbols after Prince Harry wore a swastika armband whilst dressed as a German officer at a Fancy dress party. It is hard to believe that this single innocent act by a member of the Royal family could spark such outrage from a minority of the community and their supporters.

Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, has said that he is willing to consider the possability of a ban. So much for justice and freedom then Mr. Frattini!

What everyone should understand is that if there is a ban brought in, it will undoubtedly lead to many other holy symbols of our religion being banned also. The Runes, Mjollnir and Sunwheels are all symbols which could be banned. This might seem alarmist to some, yet one only has to look to Germany to see what is already banned to know that if we allow a similar ban to be brought in for the whole of Europe our religious symbols and so our religious freedom Is under very serious threat.

We all know and understand the reasons why some wish to see this holy symbol banned, but we should not allow the events of 60 years ago, a mere drop in the ocean of time that this holy symbol has been used by our ancestors stretching back many hundreds of thousands of years to be banned now.

Image left (Bronze Age Swastika Stone, Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire)

Of course the Swastika is as important to the Hindu and Buddhist communities as it is to the Odinist community. The Hindu Council of Great Britain has already started a campaign to save this holy symbol and have written letters and sent emails to every MP (Member of Parliament) in an attempt to head off the potential ban. This is something, which we support, and the OR will be contacting MP’s and MEP’s (Members of the European Parliament) in order to avert this unjust proposal.

Of course there will be some people that will say we whould not use the Swastika because of its more recent history, but can we just abandon a symbol of vast antiquity and of fundamental importance to not only the Odinist community, but to many noble cultures and communities across the world. I do not see other religious groups abandoning the Swastika or hiding it away in cupboards and nor should we. Can we simply ignore the thousands of examples of the Swastika that have been found in these Islands alone? Are we to hide archaeological artefacts marked with swastikas? Will the EU seek to have the Swastika stone on Ilkley moor dug up in case it offends someone? Where would they draw the line, who would be permitted to display or use the symbol and who would be banned? There are so many questions, which would need to be answered. If the EU does bring in a ban I personally feel it would be almost impossible to enforce such an unjust and unnecessary ban.

            Without doubt the hardest task those that know the true value of the Swastika face will be educating our people to the true meaning of the Swastika or, as it is also known, the Fylfot. The actual meaning of the Swastika varies slightly from country to country and one cannot say that there is just one meaning across all cultures. In many ways it is just like our mythology, it has many layers of understanding from the very basic to the very complex. Each of us is at a different level of spiritual evolution, some being more advanced than others, some are at the very beginnings of their evolutionary path and yet this holy symbol is able to reveal its energy to those that care to give it more than a passing glance. A symbol, which is so revered, so widely used surely deserves more than a passing glance!
            In India the Swastika is used and displayed everywhere, as one of our members pointed out on the OR discussion group recently whilst on a trip there.

“Greetings again from India. Just thought I would share some of the things I have seen today with the group”… “I knew that the Swastika was a very old symbol for our Indo-European people, and that it was still used today, but was I ever surprised to see so many instances here in Southern India! It’s everywhere you find temples – on stones, signs, even cars. I even found a swastika clock in a market restaurant”.

Image above left (Merchant in Jaipur, India)

Image – missing image (19c Swastika Baluster, Jain Temple, Khandagiri, India. A pen and ink picture by Grima Grimwulfing, AOR)

            Of course the Swastika has been in constant use in Asia and more widely used without disruption for thousands of years, if not hundreds of thousands of years, where as all Odinic symbols have faced some sort of suppression or corruption by the Xtians and other groups for over a thousand years and so a great deal of lore in regasrds to the Swastika has been lost to us. Just what the Swastika meant to our folk is difficult to say with any real authority. We can of course use our intuition, our subconscious, and the unbroken link with the folkgeist to enable us as individuals to understand the energy of this holy symbol. I say energy because the Swastika is energy, it represents energy, both creative and destructive energy. As with the fire whisk, another of its names, we see in nature that the forest fire is destructive in the extreme, laying waste to huge areas of forest, and yet from apparent destruction comes creation as new life springs forth. Decay having been cleansed by the fire makes way for new life.
It is a symbol of motion and as we know motion is vital for life. Without motion things become stagnent, the Ond or life force / energy becomes stagnent and weak. We can see this in nature for example. A pond, which has no flow of water, soon becomes stagnent and chocked with algae. So without the flow of Ond in all aspects of the multiverse decay will set in. So the Swastika is the symbol of the life force, Ond in Odinic religion.

Another example of how the Swastika represents motion is found in its symbolising the rotation of the stars, the multiverse about the central axis of the world, the Polar axis of Yggdrasil, which the stars appear to revolve around. The positions of the circumpolar constellations of the Great and Little Bears have been conceptually stylised in the shape of the Swastika.

 Image above left (The constellation of the Great Bear 4.000 years ago.)

Image above right  (The constellation of the Great Bear in the present day.)

            The constellation of the Great Bear forms one arm of the swastika, seen every six hours, you get a whole swastika in one day.

            The Ilkley Moor swastika pictured on a previos page and that of similar examples, which occur throughout Scandinavia, and Europe may represent the whirling galaxy. The sunwheel as we know is an ancient solar emblem and some believe that the swastika has evolved from this more ancient symbol. It is also clear that the swastika symbolises the four seasons, the winter and summer Solstices and the spring and autumn Equinox’s. Its link with the changing seasons and so the cycle of the year is undeniable, but does it also symbolise the turning of the cycle of life? I belive it does. Life and in using this term I mean all life is a cycle, birth, life, death and re-birth.

            The countless numbers of artefacts, which have been found in graves, on burial urns and on grave goods across Europe clearly show the link with the life cycle and the swastika.

            The Swastika or Fylfot, incidentally the world Fylfot comes from the Anglo-Saxon “foewer-fot” meaning four and many footed cross, is without any question an intrinsic part of the Northern European heritage and is as an important a holy symbol to Odinist folk as it is to Hindu’s or Buddhist’s. As Odinists we should be able to display and use this holy symbol within our holy religion. This does not mean that it should be trivialised and used merely for the sake of it, that would be no better than those that seek to use this holy symbol for their own immoral gain. If we as Odinist’s do not challenge the denigration of our holy symbols and in paricular the Swastika we are failing in our duty. If we allow this holy symbol to become a ‘taboo’ subject we cannot begin to educate our folk to its meaning. Burying our head in the sand is not an option, it is not the Odinist way! As Odinist’s we must do right. The Swastika is part of our heritge, not hate!


* The Swastika by Nigel Pennick – published by Fenris-Wolf, 1980.
* Swastika Rising by Heimgest CG. Swastika Rising Ritual pamphlet, published by The Odinic Rite.
*Truth and Legend of the Swastika. A very interesting website –


As this article went to print the European Parliament have shelved plans for a ban. Don’t tink for one minute that will be the end of it though! We shall continue to monitor the situation very closely.

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