From AnthroWiki
Indian sauwastika with arms bent to the left.
Minoan vase from Crete with swastika angled to the left, Heraklion Archaeological Museum
Greek silver Stater from Corinth (c. 550 - 500 BC) with swastika angled to the left
Sun cross at the foot of the baptismal font of the parish church of Labach
Thunderbirds in swastika form (Mississippi culture)
10,000 Ruble note (1918) with red swastika angled to the right in the centre

The swastika (Sanskritm. स्वस्तिक "happiness, salvation"; actually "to be good", from su- "good" and asti, the noun of as- "to be", usually translated as: "All is well"), a cross with arms bent to the right or the sauwastika with arms bent to the left , which can also be pointed, flat-angled or rounded and decorated with circles, lines, dots or ornaments, is a symbol of (good) luck that has been demonstrably widespread for at least 6000 years in Europe, Asia and, less frequently, in Africa, Central America and Polynesia[1].

History and meaning

In the Indus culture (ca. 2800-1800 BC), the swastika angled to the right and usually coloured red, which corresponded to the god Ganesha as the male principle, symbolised sunrise, day, life and salvation. The swastika angled to the left and usually coloured blue, on the other hand, stood for sunset, night, death and disaster and was assigned to the goddess Kali[2]. According to the Indian view, the swastika angled to the right rotates counterclockwise; the swastika angled to the left rotates clockwise.

In 1918, the Bolshevik regime in Russia put a reddish swastika angled to the right on the 10,000 rouble note. In 1920, at Adolf Hitler's insistence, the National Socialists made a swastika angled to the right and standing on its tip the party emblem of the NSDAP, and in 1935 it became the central motif of the flag of the German Reich in a white circle on a red background, thereby de facto reversing the spiritual value of this symbol into its opposite. As early as May 1919, Friedrich Kron, a member of the Teutonic Order and the Thule Society, had proposed to the then newly founded German Workers' Party (DAP) a black swastika angled to the left as a party symbol, which according to Buddhist interpretation and also among the Theosophists was a symbol of good luck and health; the swastika angled to the right, on the other hand, he saw as a sign of doom and death. At Hitler's wish, Kron changed his design.[3]

Rudolf Steiner had pointed out the dangers symptomatically revealed by the misuse of this ancient sacred symbol early on (1920).

„It was perhaps exaggerated when I said in a recent lecture: 'The people of Europe are asleep. They will bitterly experience - I said it from another context - they will have to bitterly experience how that which, as the outermost offshoot of the Western European worldview, is spreading in Bolshevism over the whole of Asia, is something which will be received by Asia, by these people of Asia, with the same fervour with which they once received their holy Brahman. - For it will, and modern civilisation will have to acquaint itself with it. And one feels the deepest pain when one sees the sleeping souls in Europe who do not come to really call before their souls this seriousness which is at issue today. A few days after I had written this, I found the following news: "A few days ago I had the opportunity to see a 10,000 rouble note at a representative of the Soviet republic. What astonished me was not the height of the rouble note; - what struck me about that 10,000 rouble note was rather a swastika, Svastika, finely and clearly worked out in the middle of the paper." That sign to which the Indian or the ancient Egyptian once looked when he spoke of his sacred Brahman, he sees it today on the ten thousand rouble note! One knows, where great politics are made, how one affects human souls. One knows what the triumphant march of the swastika, Svastika, which a large number of people in Central Europe already wear - again from other backgrounds - one knows what this means, but one does not want to listen to that which wants to interpret the secrets of today's historical becoming out of the most important symptoms.“ (Lit.:GA 199, p. 160f)

„Once, I said, it was so in Asia that a man felt his heart open, his soul warmly penetrated, when, guided by the thought of the holy Brahman, he directed his gaze to the great outer sign, to the swastika, to the swastika. Then the inner soul opened up to him. This inner mood of the soul was something for him. Today, when an Oriental receives the Russian two-thousand-ruble note - which doesn't mean much today, because people no longer pay by shekels, but by thousand-ruble notes - when someone receives an ordinary two-thousand-ruble note, he receives on this two-thousand-ruble note the beautifully executed swastika, the swastika. Of course, those thousand-year-old sensations are active which once inwardly beheld the holy Brahman when the gaze was directed towards the swastika. Today the same qualities of feeling are directed towards the two-thousand-ruble note.“ (Lit.:GA 199, p. 246f)

The swastika as a symbol for the revolving chakras

According to Rudolf Steiner, the swastika is in fact a symbol for the revolving chakras and in particular for the 4-petalled root chakra, in which the Kundalini serpent, which as Shakti stands for the feminine primordial force of the universe, sleeps unconscious, coiled up in three and a half coils. Once awakened, it can become the highest power of love or pure desire heightened to the highest degree. In ancient dream-conscious clairvoyance, the chakras rotated counterclockwise, that is, to the left. To try to reawaken this atavistic clairvoyance today would contradict the spiritual needs of our present consciousness-soul age. If the lotuses are reawakened with full self-awareness through modern spiritual training, the chakras rotate clockwise.

„An occult sign you often read about is the swastika. All the adventurous explanations are unbelievable. In truth, it is nothing other than the sign for the astral sense organs, the wheels or lotuses, several of which are predisposed in the astral body: in the heart, in the larynx, between the eyebrows. When the latter wheel begins to turn, astral vision occurs. The sign for this astral organ of perception is the swastika.“ (Lit.:GA 97, p. 240)

„The first stage, then, is the imagination. Connected with it is the formation of the so-called lotuses, the sacred wheels or - in Indian - chakrams, which lie in very definite places on the body. There are seven such astral organs. The first, the two-petalled lotus, is in the region of the root of the nose; the second, the sixteen-petalled, lies at the level of the larynx; the third, the twelve-petalled, at the level of the heart; the fourth, the eight to ten-petalled, near the navel; the fifth, the six-petalled, a little lower down; the sixth, the four-petalled, which is connected with all that is fertilisation, is still lower down; the seventh cannot readily be spoken of. These six organs have the same significance for the soul world as the physical senses have for the perception of the sense world. An image of this is the so-called swastika. Through the exercises mentioned, they first become brighter, then they begin to move. In modern man they are immobile, in the Atlantean they were still mobile, in the Lemurian they were still very vividly moved. But they turned in the opposite direction then than they do today in the occultly evolved, where they turn in the clockwise direction. An analogy to the dreamlike clairvoyant state of the Lemurians is the fact that even in the mediums of today with atavistic clairvoyance the lotuses still turn in the direction as they once did in the Atlantean and Lemurian times, namely, counter-clockwise, The clairvoyance of the mediums is an unconscious one, without thought-control, but that of the genuine clairvoyant is conscious and closely supervised by thought. Mediumship is very dangerous, but healthy secret training is entirely harmless.“ (Lit.:GA 94, p. 173)

„I need only refer to the simple sign of the so-called swastika, the swastika, the sign that you all know and about which you know so many more or less witty explanations. Most explanations are nonsense, however witty they may be. Someone can be very clever, think a lot, and yet say something tremendously stupid if he does not know what it is all about. This swastika or swastika is nothing but the reproduction of what are called astral sense organs - they are also called lotus flowers - which begin to stir when man undertakes certain exercises; they begin to stir when he undergoes a certain development. I have said again and again that one should not think of a flower, any more than one thinks of wings when one hears the word lungs. That is a word; and you have given nothing more in the lotus flowers than a figurative designation of what develops in the seer when he gradually takes the astral sense organs out of his astral organism.“ (Lit.:GA 101, p. 101f)

„"And if you look at some mountain sites - which, by the way, is then more pronounced across the country, I saw that in Ilkley, where the first course took place during the English journey - you see such individual stones high up, but in such a way that the place is well chosen - from such high up you could overlook the whole country for a long way - then you find such signs, swastikas, with which so much mischief is done in Germany today. This swastika is worn

Swastika, drawing from GA 350, p. 276
Swastika, drawing from GA 350, p. 276

by people who no longer have any idea that it was once a sign to indicate who was coming from afar: There are people who understand these things, who see not only with their physical eyes, but also with their spiritual eyes - I described these spiritual eyes as lotus flowers in my book "How to gain knowledge of the higher worlds" - and they wanted to draw attention to this: We can see with these lotuses.“ (Lit.:GA 350, p. 276)

„Christianity has incorporated what it could use into its traditions, into its dogmas, but especially into its cult, and then blurred the origin of these cults. There is an enormous amount in the cults, but everything has been reinterpreted, everything has been understood differently. The things were there, the things were still before the people's eyes, but the people were not to know to what primordial wisdom the things were connected.

Think of a fact like this: people know the bishop's mitre, the bishop's mitre from the eighth century. This bishop's mitre from the eighth century has all kinds of signs; but all these signs are actually the same, only arranged differently, and all these signs are swastikas. The swastika is arranged in various ways on this bishop's mitre. This ancient handle cross in multiple arrangement on the bishop's mitre! The swastika leads us back to the primitive times of the Mysteries, back to ancient times when one could observe how the lotuses work in the human etheric and astral organism; how in general that which lives in the so-called lotuses belongs to the basic phenomena of the etheric and astral. But it had become a dead sign. The bishop wore it as a sign of his power. It had become a dead sign, the origin had been obliterated. And what is communicated today in cultural history about the origin of such things is still nothing living, truly nothing living. Only through spiritual science can one again grasp the living for these things in the spiritual eye.“ (Lit.:GA 175, p. 347f)

See also


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig: Das Große Lexikon des Dritten Reiches, Südwest-Verlag, München 1985, S. 234.
  2. Günter Lanczkowski: Artikel Kreuz I: Religionsgeschichtlich. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie Band 19. Berlin / New York 1990, S. 712.
  3. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology, New York University Press 1992, p. 152