The Irony of Nazi Symbolism: Appropriating From the Cultures They Hate

Updated on November 6, 2017

Swastika

This symbol has a very long history in pre-Christian religions and certainly way before the Aryan nation came along. The Swastika was originally used by Hindu's and Buddhists all over Asia as a symbol of luck and well being, in Sanskrit. Putting it clockwise means prosperity and the sun.This has been around for millennia and many cultures have used it as a positive symbol. Even before the World Wars, some Christian and Catholic churches used the symbol in a positive light.

Nowadays, the Swastika is widely known as a Nazi symbol if not the symbol. The Nazis had the Swastika stand for Nazi pride and nationalism and could be seen on arm bands, vehicles, flags, and just about anything you could think of during the World Wars and sadly, today.

The only possible difference one may note in the symbol to separate it from the positive and negative meanings is that the Nazi's used it where the angles were upright, so it was more in a diamond shape, whereas the older versions were flat on the sides. More like a square shape.

The Black Sun

The Black Sun, also known as Schwarze Sonne, meaning the sun wheel, is a symbol found on medieval Germanic brochettes and belts. The symbol is suggested to have meant the stages of the sun through the year. The seasons during pre-Christian eras and early Christian eras were extremely important for survival. They didn't have computers or weathermen to find when is the best time to plant and gather foods and natural resources. The sun dictated people's lives back then. The sun of course was and is a huge importance to pagans and neo-pagans to this day.

The Nazis took this symbol into their symbolism to promote the Aryan nation was when they found this symbol in a mosaic pattern in the floor at Wewelsburg Castle in Germany around 1934 when the SS used the castle for a gathering place under Heinrich Himmler.The main reason they took this symbol was that they felt if you put three to five Swastikas within a circle, that was the image that they came up with.

The Othala Rune

The Othala, also known as Odal, rune from the Elder Futhark rune set that has been around for almost a millennium. Created by the Norse, Scandinavians, it continued to be adopted by other cultures throughout the centuries all the way into the Anglo-Saxon Futhark. The symbol stands for "Heritage" and "Inheritance", and was also used in the runic alphabet as the letter "O". Pagans of old' and neo-pagans still continue to use the runes in divination and in esoteric writings to this day.

The Nazi's appropriated this symbol for a few reasons. Nazi's believe Scandinavian individual tend to be as pure as you can get for the Aryan nation with many with blonde hair, blue eyes, and strong builds. The meaning of the Othala rune of heritage and inheritance supports the Nazi's idea of that they promote their white heritage and the rights that go along with being white, is "inherent".

Final Thoughts

Most symbols used today were used in an earlier time and often stood for a very different meaning. I just wanted to touch on a few of the more well-known pagan based symbols that were hijacked by the Nazi's and are still used today by extremists. Of course, there were many more symbols appropriated by Nazi's over the years, especially ones that derive from the Christian faith and other belief systems. Let us just use this as a reminder that once was good can be seen as bad, but once was bad can sometimes eventually be seen as good again.

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