Thursday, March 06, 2008

Looking At The Past

The other night my husband pulled a box out of storage that contained memories of his childhood. Inside the box were school class photos, school report cards, news clipping from a small town newspaper in Texas that included photos of him and his parents, school essays and art work. Also inside the box was this circa 1920's souvenir postcard from the Cave Of The Winds.

Those swastikas jump out at you don't they? The swastika was and still is a religious and spiritual symbol in many cultures. It was also a good luck charm for early aviators. A swastika is painted on the inside of the nose cone of the Spirit of St. Louis. Thanks to Adolph Hitler most people in western society associate the swastika with Nazism and consider it evil and offensive. At the Lucky Mojo page about the swastika the author writes:

Some people believe that the display of any sort of swastika should be forbidden because it is offensive to Jews. From first-hand experience, i can assure you that dozens of elderly German Jews i personally know who lived through or escaped the holocaust, were and are well aware that the swastika pre-dated the Nazis and do not consider it a Nazi symbol. One thing most of them have learned -- and have taught to me -- is that RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE is a key to preventing future holocausts. Therefore they honour and respect the religious iconography of others. including the Jains and the Hindus, who revere the swastika as a symbol of a symbol of long life, good health, and good luck, and the special symbol of the Hindu elephant headed god Ganesh. My own mother, a Jew raised in Germany in the early 20th century, tells me that her family's sun-porch had an inlaid tile design of swastikas on the floor -- and her mother once told her it was "wrong" of Hitler to use the symbol as a political emblem. The swastikas were still there on the floor when she and her family fled Germany to escape.
-Cat Yronwode

Maybe it is time to look at the swastika in a new light or in a centuries-old light and see it as the symbol of long life, good health, and good luck that it is meant to represent instead of the political emblem of a mass-murdering madman. Then again, maybe it is still too soon to do so.

More photos of swastikas from around the world at Reclaim The Swastika.

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