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this symbol with clockwise arms, officially adopted in 1935 as the emblem of Nazi Germany
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The word "swastika" is from the Sanscrit svastika, meaning "well-being" or "good luck." Based on a sun wheel, or Wheel of the Year, it has been found in many countries over many thousands of years, and is one of the most ancient and widespread of all decorative forms, appearing in both hemispheres.

In Buddhism, the clockwise form of the swastika represents cessation and the counterclockwise version genesis. The swastika is found among Native American tribes, such as the Navaho, and a swastika formed by four long-beaked birds has been found in Native American burial mounds. Ancient Greek and Aegean pottery has been found decorated with the symbol. It is also found in China, Persia, Asia Minor, Libya, Scandinavia, Britain, and Iceland.

In some examples the swastika is depicted as two S-curves intersecting at right angles at the center. A Solar Swastika is formed by an equal-armed cross with the ends forming into circles. This represents the four solar festivals: the solstices and equinoxes.

The swastika first appeared in Germany in the late ninteteenth century, associated with the völkisch movement's idealogy. Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party eventually adopted it as its symbol. It has thus become associated with the infamy of the Nazis during World War II but, in fact, like any other symbol, it is neither good nor evil in itself. It is merely a symbol and has meaning only to the person using it.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a cross with the ends of the arms bent at right angles; one of the oldest decorative motifs found on works of art of ancient cultures of Europe and Asia, including ancient India, and, more rarely, of Africa and America. During classical Greek and Roman times, the swastika was occasionally used on Greek vases and Greek and Sicilian coins; later it was used by European medieval and folk artists. The symbolism of the swastika is unclear. It has been interpreted to represent, among other things, the sun, crossed bolts of lightning, and Thor’s hammer. The swastika is sometimes called gammadion (crux gammata) because it consists of four Greek capital letters gamma branching out from one point.

In more recent times, the swastika has been used as the central compositional element of the flag of fascist Germany and has come to symbolize barbarism and violence.


Jaeger, K. Zur Geschichte und Symbolik des Hakenkreuzes. Leipzig, 1921.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a swastika?

The swastika is an ancient symbol of creative, life-giving power. The direction that it turns—clockwise being good, counterclockwise being destructive—are important in the religious traditions that utilize the swastika. The phenomenon of Nazism has imbued this symbol with evil associations, no matter which direction it turns.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A plane curve whose equation in Cartesian coordinates x and y is y 4-x 4= xy.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


symbol of German anti-Semitism since 1918; became emblem of Nazi party. [Ger. Hist.: Collier’s, XVIII, 78]


ancient sign of good luck, often in the form of a charm or talisman. [Asiatic Culture: Brewer Dictionary, 1051]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.