09 November 2010

Halloween, 1918

When the swastika had a different meaning.
The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word svastika (in Devanagari स्वस्तिक), meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck. It is composed of su- meaning "good, well" and asti "to be" svasti thus means "well-being." The suffix -ka either forms a diminutive or intensifies the verbal meaning, and svastika might thus be translated literally as "that which is associated with well-being," corresponding to "lucky charm" or "thing that is auspicious."  The word in this sense is first used in the Harivamsa.  As noted by Monier-Williams in his Sanskrit-English dictionary, according to Alexander Cunningham, its shape represents a monogram formed by interlacing of the letters of the auspicious words su-astí (svasti) written in Ashokan characters.
Photo via Black and WTF.


  1. A shame that various "groups" can lay claim on geometric symbols.

    Even in less negative ways: Christanity basically claims the golden ratio as their own (intersection of the cross should fall in that proportion). Or the Star of David.. even America sorta bogarts the pentagram star. Rainbows are now apparently the property of my gay friends only. What happened to the inverted pink triangle? Did they have to hoard the ENTIRE rainbow? it used to just mean you were a hippie.

    I think we need to reclaim the swastica! I'm gonna take it back...

  2. Hey ho,
    Excuse my jumping in here. I`ve been cruising through your brilliant collection of things here and enjoying myself immensely. I thought I might put my own two cents in here.
    I`ve been given to understand that Hinduism uses both the swastika and the sauwastika. One to represent the positive and creative and the other the negative and destructive. They appear that way on Buddhist temples also. The little witch above has both. Adolf, I was elsewhere told, apparently only chose the negative one after seeing it on a grave. But don`t believe everything I say - the wikipedia apparently apparently disagrees with what I`ve heard.


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