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The Swastika in Norway

The Norwegian for Swastika is Hakekors.  When investigating the prehistoric culture of Scandinavia we find many similarities between the ethnographic symbolism of Norway and the neighbouring countries of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.  In many places we find strong links between runes and Swastikas. This article seeks to portray the distinctive decorative contribution made by […]

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The Swastika in Poland

In parts of Eastern Europe the Swastika motif can be traced back to pre-Christian Slavic mythology. It was probably dedicated to the sun god Svarog and known as Swarzyca.   For the Slavs the Swastika was a magic sign manifesting the power and majesty of the sun and fire. It was often used as an ornament decorating […]

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The Swastika in Latvia

A great variety of ethnographic symbols have been in use in Latvia over many centuries.   Swastika-type symbolism can also be traced back to very early times.  It has been labelled  ‘Thunder Cross’ ,’Fire Cross’ and ‘Branched Cross’, and it has been associated with ‘happiness’, ‘energy’, ‘fire’ and ‘wind’. It is still used in personal clothing, […]

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The Swastika in Denmark

The Danish for Swastika is Hagekors. It has occurred in many forms and at many times and places in Denmark, often in association with runes.  A fine example of this is found on the Værlose fibula, or brooch from Sjælland, now housed in the National  Museum of Denmark.  One Danish scholar reckons this brooch comes […]

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The Swastika in Finland

The Finnish for Swastika is Hakaristi.  This symbol was often found on wooden objects, textiles and fabrics amongst the Finno-Ugric peoples, and regularly appears in the folk culture of Finland. In the Middle Ages the symbol was used in church fittings, furniture and wall-paintings.  The Hakaristi appears as a Greek-style fret around the door of […]

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The Swastika in Sweden

The Swedish for Swastika is Hakkors. In common with the neighbouring countries of Norway, Finland and Iceland this symbol has appeared in many contexts and guises over the centuries.  There are links with mythology, manufacturing and the military forces of Sweden and Finland. Some of the earliest examples are to be found in Bracteates, many […]

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Icelandic Symbolism – Part Three

  The Icelandic for Swastika is Hakakross.  This symbol has appeared in a great variety of contexts over the centuries; it appeared on cremation urns, as a charm for fishermen in all weathers and as a commercial logo for a shipping company. The Icelandic Steamship Company [Eimskipafjelag Islands in Icelandic] was presented with the emblem […]

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Icelandic Symbolism – Part Two

The Icelandic for Swastika is Hakakross.  This symbol has appeared in a great variety of contexts over the centuries; it appeared on cremation urns, as a charm for fishermen in all weathers and as a commercial logo for a shipping company. Lucky charms It seems very likely that the Thorshammar was regarded by many Icelanders […]

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Icelandic Symbolism – Part One

The Icelandic for Swastika is Hakakross.  This symbol has appeared in a great variety of contexts over the centuries; it appeared on cremation urns, as a charm for fishermen in all weathers and as a commercial logo for a shipping company. The rectilinear Hakakross had been in regular use from prehistoric times. It is found […]

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Brussels Swastika-ban debate

The European Union held a debate in the spring of 2005 on a proposal to ban Nazi symbols across its 25 member states. The ban was proposed shortly after an heir to the British throne, Prince Harry, was photographed wearing a WWII German uniform with a Swastika armband. He subsequently apologised for causing offence by […]

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US Army 45th Infantry Division

The tradition of adopting the Swastika symbol for military usage had been well established during the first World War.  The Escadrille Lafayette, named after the gallant hero of the French and Amemrican Revolutions, the Marquis de Lafayette, had been composed of volunteer American fighter pilots.  Some of their planes had a black Swastika emblazoned on […]

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The Escadrille Lafayette in World War 1

During World War 1 the Escadrille Lafayette was composed largely of American volunteer pilots flying fighter aircraft.  It was named in honour of the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of both the American and French revolutions.  Born in 1757 the Marquis de Lafayette launched into his military career at the tender age of 14 by which time he […]

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Early Christian Amulets

In the early years, the Church tried to ban the use of amulets on account of their known pagan origin and association.    Although by 400 AD the old pagan religion of Egypt had officially been proscribed by the Coptic Church, age-old customs died hard. Despite all the efforts of the hierarchy, people continued to carry […]

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The Swastika Symbol in Canada

It’s rather unusual for a town to be called ‘Swastika’.  This particular township was founded in the early years of the 20th Century around a mining site in northern Ontario. The town was formed in 1908 by miners who came to develop the “Lucky Cross” (Swastika) gold mine. During World War 2 people naturally  got […]

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North American Swastika Usage

In North America there had been a widespread use of the Swastika as a benign goodwill symbol up until the 1930s.  Even after the rise of Nazism in those years, with its disturbing and diabolical misappropriation of what had been a goodwill symbol worldwide in innumerable cultures, usage continued by its own momentum until the […]

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Amulets in Great Britain

The amuletic use of the Fylfot for protection also spread to the British Isles. There is an example from the Cuerdale Hoard from Lancashire, and from the Goldborough Hoard from Yorkshire. The latter shows close resemblance to the Christian cross and may have been a Christian amulet. Sometimes the Thorshammar or T-shaped bones were used […]

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The Charlotte Blagdon Chapel, University of Michigan

The Charlotte Blagdon Chapel, University of Michigan   In addition to the Hazel Hunt memorial windows, there are some smaller windows less accessible to the visitor.  These 1929 windows were designed by architectural firm Pond and Pond and fabricated by the Linden Glass Company, both of Chicago. It was the original intention of Mrs. Henderson, […]

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Amulets in The Celtic World

The wheel and its analogues – including the Swastika – were frequently-used symbols in the Celtic world, representing the movement of the sun across the sky. Tiny models of wheels have been found, undoubtedly of ritual significance. In practice, these models would often be worn as amuletic “good luck” symbols. Swastika marks on pottery seem […]

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Amulets in Northern Europe

In Estonia, vestiges of pagan religion have been found in the form of grave goods. There was a widespread use of protective amulets and pendants, even after Christianity had begun to penetrate. As recently as the late medieval period, amulets were often placed in graves with the dead, apparently as part of a cult of […]

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St.Mary’s Cathedral, St. Cloud, Minnesota

  Rebuilt between 1922 and 1931 this church was designed to replicate the 3rd Century basilica-style Romanesque church in Ravenna.  So it is not surprising that the architect included a number of decorative features found in Christian churches in those early centuries. Some of these decorative features incorporated representations of the early Crux Gammata, or […]

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Amulets in the Arab World

From northern Kuwait there comes an example of an amulet case bearing an inscribed Swastika.  Because the Prophet Mohammed forbade the representation of humans and animals, geometric patterns often dominate Islamic artwork – including the Swastika and its derivatives. In the context of Arabian astrology we notice the close link between the quaternary symbol and […]

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Amulets in the East

There are numerous examples of amuletic usage in the Far East involving the Swastika or its equivalent. A çakra (Sanskrit, wheel) amulet from Tibet has four Swastikas in its design, to be worn when one’s “effectiveness is impeded by adverse forces.” From a very early period the Chinese had great faith in the power of […]

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An Introduction to Amulets and Talismans

Not many readers would immediately associate the Swastika with amulets. Yet the efficacy of the Swastika as an amulet or talisman was acknowledged in  a variety of contexts both sacred and secular in East and West. The numerous examples cited in the Chapter on ”Amulets” in The Fylfot File demonstrate the wide popularity of this […]

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Rhode Island Congregational Church device

An interesting example of the Gammadion or Fylfot-Cross is to be found in the Central Congregational Church, Providence, Rhode Island.  Records show that the windows were installed about 1893 at the time of the church’s dedication. The dome of the church has eight stained glass oculi.   While four of them depict the Chi-Rho monogram, the other […]

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Swastika-type devices in American Churches

This month we are looking at some rather unusual examples of Swastika-type symbolism in North American Churches. Our first example comes from the First Chinese Church of Christ in Hawaii dedicated in 1929. It features wooden pews with Swastika carvings.  They appear in the tilted recto format.  The official website states that these are ancient symbols that […]

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