"Which Way Am I Spinning?" --

Debunking the Nazi "Backwards Swastika" Myth



By http://www.jrbooksonline.com                       JR's Rare Books and Commentary                      August 2001




The 20th Century subjected us to tons of nonsense, shibboleth, hypocrisy, half-truths and downright lies on so many things, but most sharing one overriding theme: the bringing-down of traditional White culture and the dissolution of White sensibilities.  This attack assumed a myriad of forms.  Since Germany was one of the great storehouses of White/Anglo-Saxon/Teutonic/Aryan culture, she was targeted for especially vicious treatment.  We were told that Germany was a "politically immature" country.  We were told that Germany had "no history of democratic traditions".  Some even averred that Germany didn't "really" exist at all prior to Bismarck's German Empire of 1871!


All of this was news to generations of objective scholars of European history, but such scholars didn't control the mass media, which had the power to lie as it pleased.  A few unprincipled academics could always be counted on to spice the stew by giving an air of authenticity.  Even A.J.P. Taylor started out this way, but later changed his tune in the face of unimpeachable evidence.


One little Big Lie making the rounds in recent decades is the idea that Hitler and the National Socialists of Germany meanly exploited the ancient swastika symbol by "turning it backwards" to produce some sort of magical effect.  The assertion goes something like this:


The swastika was originally a wonderful, holy symbol for people all around the world.  The swastika was usually turned to the right, sun-wise, to symbolize good luck.  Then the Nazis came and exploited it, turning it backwards to symbolize hate and destruction as a magical means to world conquest.  Ever since, the swastika has meant evil to people all around the world, regardless of direction, so now we have to get back at the Nazis by writing endless articles in New Age journals and websites, exposing them for what they really were.


Note the use of the old fly-blown "Germans are trying to take over the world" ruse, which got a good start in WW I, and really went into full gear for the Second War to Kill White People.  Further note the use of "Nazi" to mean any White person with a sense of hegemony and self-purpose for his race.  The claim is that the Nazi way is anti-sun-wise and evil, and that the Nazis (esp. Hitler) knew this, implementing it to make themselves as nasty as possible.  The problem is not whether sun-wise indicates good or bad luck, (it is definitely good) but rather which swastika direction is to be considered sun-wise.  Read past that part too quickly, and you miss it.  They make it sound so self-evident:  "everybody knows that..."  Their usually extensive historical footnotes tend to thin out markedly right around this point.


These ideas are often accompanied by clever graphics such as the following, which I pinched from one such site:

[All such images are used here per Fair Use, 17 U.S.C. §107, for the purpose of criticism, comment and scholarly research]



deasil                           withershins

sun-wise                    anti-sun-wise

toward God              away from God

lucky                              unlucky

good                                  evil

right-hand (path)      left-hand (path)


On the left image, I've filled in some other common terms.  Notice all those impressive, polysyllabic words.  Who could question that?  Words only an "expert" could use.  The right image is a mnemonic device meant to show how the direction should be ascertained.  {NOTE 1}


But what do pre-WW II academic books say about the subject of swastikas and which way they're "turning"?  I took just one quick look at the first book I plucked from my library, and I found a story quite different from that being pushed by the current batch of Culture Destroyers.


I found The Phœnician Origin of Britons, Scots & Anglo-Saxons by L. A. Waddell, 1924.  It has numerous pictures of archeological objects that have swastikas on them – all before a Nazi ever existed.  I looked into what this old English professor thought of the "direction" of the swastika, and its probable meaning.  I found and counted every single instance of the swastika in the book.  I was not "selective", in some pejorative sense.  The criteria was that it had to be unambiguously a swastika, wheel-shaped with legs indicating direction (they varied from 2 to 8 legs).  The legs could be long, short, straight or curved.  This includes the so-called Scottish Swastika (Z lying down) and Sun-wheels.  I did not include spirals in the count, though Waddell also used spirals to determine the significance of direction relative to mythical figures to establish context.  He found them consistent with the swastikas as to direction.


Just for completeness, I will show images to establish what the Nazi direction was.  Of course, no one contests this; it is included here to facilitate immediate visual comparison.  Although early DAP and NSDAP swastikas could go either way, it was decided by Hitler about 1920 as shown and never wavered thereafter.  Just a few examples from actual NSDAP artifacts:




Since the Nazi direction is certain, now let's move on to Waddell and compare.  Please note that I use the terms "Nazi" and "non-Nazi" as short-hand to designate direction.  I am not implying "Nazis" were around thousands of years ago:













Sun priestess carrying sacred fire





Wigtownshire monument





Scottish 2-leg + solar symbol





Newton Stone transcript





"Trojan" solar shrine


31 (b, c, e, f)



Trojan amulet whorls. (a) ambiguous. f/n for (b): "…Note reversed swastika [non-Nazi] for resurrecting or returning Sun".


32 (h)



Gaza amulet


44 (e, h)



Sunwheel over horse; Hawk motif


46 (l2,v,w,x,J,J',N,O)



Various symbols. (J) [Nazi] "very common"


47 (T,U,X,E',H',J2,K2,K3)



Various symbols. (H2) ambiguous. (X) [Nazi] "Newton Stone and common"





Phoenician Gaza coin. "Note the darts show direction of the rotation" [i.e., clockwise, also Nazi].





Scottish 2-leg [non-Nazi], "Resurrecting Sun" with "Serpent of Death"


53 (i)



Indara's Cross on seals


54 (h, i)



"Andrew's Cross" motifs. (h) [Nazi] "frequent", not (i) [non-Nazi]






NOTE:  P. iii, Plate I and p. 308, fig. 49 not counted because they are covered by p. 29, fig. 6 and p. 295, fig. 47 (K3) respectively.


>  LINK:  A complete GRAPHICS FOLIO of all these figures may be consulted.  The figures are complete without modification.



The first fact that springs from the pages of Waddell is that, contrary to the assertions of the New Agers, the Nazi way is the sun-wise, right-hand way!  Waddell clearly shows that the "Nazi" direction is associated with positive themes on the objects.  This direction is also much more common – as we would expect in a civilized society, generally speaking, as one is apt to find many objects meant to instill a sense of well-being among the populace (thus, "God Bless This Home").  The non-sun-wise,  less common direction was reserved for death/resurrection, and thus was seen on funerary objects in graves.  The references are in the above table under Comments, and can be found elsewhere in the text.  He mentions the theme in a few other places (pp. 282-3, 310), but one place where he directly associates the "spin" with meaning in the same paragraph occurs here:


"This [the Swastika] is formed from the simple 'St. George's Cross' by adding to its free ends a bent foot, pointing in the direction of the Sun's apparent movement across the heavens, i.e., towards the right hand and thus forming the 'Swastika' or what I call the 'Revolving Cross.'  This discloses for the first time the real origin and meaning of the Swastika Cross and its feet, and its talismanic usage for good luck.  This swastika form of the Sun Cross occurs on early Hittite and Sumerian seals and sculptures and is very frequent in the ruins of Troy (see Fig. J J') – where it is very frequent on whorls, used especially as amulets for the dead, with the feet reversed as the Resurrecting Cross."  (pp. 293, 298).



[This is an extract (partial view) of Fig. 46.  Full graphic is in the Graphics Folio]



This description of the sun-wise cross specifically refers to the forms as shown in Fig. 46, (J) and (J'), so there is no question that he is referring to the direction that is, in effect, the Nazi one.  Look for yourself on the graphic above.  This is consistent with the numerous references in the table where the Nazi version is directly related to the sun-wise, clockwise aspect.  Also, Fig. 54 (h, i) contrasts the two directions, calling the Nazi one (h) "frequent", so we know that Waddell was concerned about direction per se, not just form (shape).  Fig. 31 (b) calls this non-Nazi whorl a "reversed swastika".  Fig. 50 directly establishes the Nazi direction as clockwise, and thus sun-wise.  [See Graphics Folio].  This is diametrically opposed to the claims of the post-WW II New Agers.  The non-Nazi direction is only typical on grave and funerary objects, where it is associated with death/resurrection and the returning sun.


To address politics or secret agendas, Waddell was anything but pro-German.  Post-World War British patriotism must have gotten the best of him, for he refers to "round-headed non-Aryan Germanic or Hun stock of the East Coast and Midlands [of Britain!]" (p. 374) and at one point even indulges in the jab, "…that the physical type not only of the Prussians but also the prevailing type of the Germans – who had posed as being the leading 'Aryan' civilizers of Europe – was Slavic and thus non-Aryan." (p. 137)


So how can I trust him?  Because I can see no way how these prejudices could have influenced what he presented in the book, which was essentially a survey listing of archeological objects in Phoenicia, Sumer, Britain and the like, with few references to German sources, none in the Nazi era.  He does not refer to Nazism at all; it is entirely possible he may have not yet heard of it (the NSDAP began around 1919, but was tiny through the mid-1920s).  Nowhere does he mention the swastika as part of any pan-German movement, Nazi or not, nor does he seem concerned about representing the direction of spin in any political context.  Waddell would certainly not have put his anti-Germanism to work to help the Nazi cause!


One book, however comprehensive, does not make an entire body of knowledge, so I decided to look at a few other things also handy in the library.  In The Secret of the Runes (transl. by Stephen E. Flowers, 1988, orig. pub. 1908), Guido von List shows various swastikas including those of the heraldic type, almost all in the Nazi direction, and with positive aspect.  He has an Armanic rune (p. 65) for "gift" [English sense; German "gabe"] that is in the non-Nazi aspect, but he attaches no significance at all to the direction, and assigns an ambiguous meaning—he includes "death" along with "gift", "god", "earth" and some others.  And this from someone who was highly esoteric from youth:  "...a strong mysto-magical bent of no orthodox variety." (p. 1); "...artistic and mystical leanings..." (p. 2) and who had written a MS. (p. 17) entitled Armanismus und Kabbala and many other "mystery" and "occult" works.  According to the introductory material, this book represents "virtually all of his major themes" and "sets forth the full spectrum of his fantastic vision of a mystical philosophy based on ancient Germanic principles"; "no other work so clearly and simply outlines his ideals on them [the runes]".  Indeed, von List is designated "proto-Nazi" by the liberals, one who "made Hitler possible".  A disciple of von List's, Dr. Friedrich Krohn, supposedly brought the swastika to the attention of Hitler, who then "reversed" it.


Next, I looked at two old books with the title The Migration of Symbols.  MacKenzie covers the concept of luck being sun-wise, deasil vs. widdershins, etc. but does not attach much importance to the direction of the swastika.  However, when he does mention it (Plate I), he clearly calls the Nazi one (II) a "right-hand swastika".  The Nazi type is more common:  12 vs. 5.  D'Alviella, a Grand Master of Belgian Freemasonry, was "now everywhere recognized as the greatest living exponent" of symbols . . . "His classical work The Migration of Symbols became thus one of the foundations of religious archeology" [from intro].  D'Alviella states up front:


"In India it [the gammadion] bears the name of swastika, when its arms are bent towards the right (fig. 14a), and sauwastika when they are turned in the other direction (fig. 14b).  The word swastika is a derivative of swasti, which again comes from su = well, and the verb asti = it is . . . and, in fact, amongst the Hindus as amongst the Buddhists, its representation has always passed for a propitious sign." (pp. 40-41)


D'Alviella clearly linked the swastika with solar motion, but seemed ambivalent about the meaning of the swastika direction and its significance.  At one point he says:


"Another objection [to the theory that the gammadion symbolizes the sun's motion] is, that a certain number of gammadions have their branches turned towards the left, that is to say, in the opposite direction to the apparent course of the solar revolution. . . . Would it not be simpler to admit that the direction of the branches is of secondary importance in the symbolism of the gammadion?  When it is desired to symbolize the progress of the sun, namely, its faculty of translation through space, rather than the direction in which it turns, little attention will have been paid to the direction given to the rays." (pp. 67-68)


In any case, as with Waddell and MacKenzie, the Nazi type predominates:  26 vs. 12 on his Plate II.  An occult significance is not to be found.


The graphics related to MacKenzie and d'Alviella are attached here at the SUPPLEMENT.


And what about Hitler himself -- what did he ever say about it?  The only reference by Hitler to the swastika's meaning is found in his Mein Kampf, vol. 2, ch. vii, where he says:


"Actually, a dentist from Starnberg did deliver a design that was not bad at all, and, incidentally, was quite close to my own, having only the one fault that a swastika with curved legs was composed into a white disk.

. . . . . . . . .

"As National Socialists, we see our program in our flag.  In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic."  (Manheim transl. pp. 496-7)


No mention of spinning here!  He didn't seem to give a hoot any more than von List.  Also, a positive aspect is indicated.  Of course, the anti-Hitlerites will interpret this simply as subterfuge on Herr Hitler's part.


I'm sure all sorts of encyclopedias, books and articles can be found to contradict this, but take a good look at the publishing date – it will probably be after 1960 (certainly after WW II), and thus thoroughly into the post-modern New Age mentality.  {NOTE 2} {NOTE 3}


So, having hashed all this out, I can safely conclude:


            1.  The Nazi swastika direction is identical to the ancient sun-wise direction.  (Proved by association with positive mythical characters and context, as seen on a preponderance of archeological artifacts).  This is directly opposite the current liberal interpretation.


2.  The ancient sun-wise direction represents good luck.  (Proved by frequency and association with the sun's apparent movement and positive mythical characters; linguistic analysis of Sanskrit; also, the opposite sense being less frequent and associated with negative mythical characters or death/resurrection symbols).


3.  Therefore, the Nazi swastika direction represents good luck, not bad, and the New Agers are simply wrong to maintain otherwise.  Obviously, all the other trappings that go along with their erroneous conclusions (use of evil for kabbalistic purposes to conquer the world, etc.), the whole house of cards, go out the door with it.


The New Agers use neologism, anachronism, sophistry and every rhetorical and propagandistic trick in the book to start with a pre-conceived conclusion, then work their way backwards into history to make it fit – "The Nazis were evil incarnate", therefore, they "must have" perverted the meaning of an old symbol.  But the evidence, previously documented by sober scholars, says otherwise.


The burden of proof rests with the New Agers.







1.  Might this be taken, perhaps subconsciously, from old newsreels of Nazi fireworks displays?  However, were the rockets mounted as shown?  I do not have a picture of this.  Regardless, there does not seem to be any evidence that the Nazis gave importance to the spin direction.


2.  One disappointing such exposition, just one of dozens that could be cited, is found in Mythology: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1992.  The article on Germany is written by somebody called Francis King (ethnicity?) who also wrote Satan and Swastika -- not a place to go for unbiased history.  Needless to say, it tends to be larded with contempt and withering disdain toward its subject at certain key points.  He gave a perfectly favorable write-up on Voodoo in the same volume!


3.  In an article by Steve Sherman published in the New Hampshire Times, Jan. 12, 1977, p. 16, Bart Jordan speculates that the swastika represents the four seasons and cardinal directions, then says, "... and it went all over the world.  It certainly didn't originate with the Aryans and was used in reverse by the Nazis.  It originated with the paleolithics." [emphasis added]  And this I found while casually searching the Internet for information about Stonehenge!  There must be lots of such writing out there.





The Phœnician Origin of Britons, Scots & Anglo-Saxons by L. A. Waddell, LL.D. etc., 1924; facsimile reprint by the Christian Book Club of America, Hawthorne, CA, 1983.


The Secret of the Runes, transl. and ed. by Stephen E. Flowers, Ph.D., Destiny Books, Rochester, VT, 1988; orig. pub. as Das Geheimnis der Runen, Guido-von-List-Bücherei No. 1, Vienna, Gross-Lichterfelde, P. Zillmann, 1908.


The Migration of Symbols [and their Relations to Beliefs and Customs] by Donald A. MacKenzie, Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 1926.


The Migration of Symbols by the Count Goblet d'Alviella, University Books, NY, 1956; facsimile reprint of the edition published at Westminster, 1894.


Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, transl. by Ralph Manheim, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1943, 1971; orig. pub. by Verlag Frz. Eher Nachf, GmbH, 1925 (Vol. I) and 1927 (Vol. II).


Mythology: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, ed. by Richard Cavendish, Little, Brown & Co., 1992.



Revs:  NOTE 3 added 4/5/06.