Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Hidden Swastika in the Shield Knot

An intriguing symbol which I have been medidating on for some time is the Shield Knot which Nigel Pennick briefly discusses in his The Book of Primal Signs (2007). A recent term for this symbol is swastika pelta, pelta being Latin for shield. The term Shield Knot is more 'intelligible' as Mr Pennick writes and also it lacks the unfortunate stigma that our enemies have attached to the sacred Aryan Swastika.

The Shield Knot comes in a variety of forms. One resembles an Iron Cross with a Swastika in the centre. Another variant is the Swedish Sank Hans vapen which has a loop in all 4 courners and a square in the middle, an example of which may be found in the stonework of the transept window of William Lethaby's church in Brockhampton, Herefordshire. Another example that Mr Pennick provides is in the illustration of a Lappish shaman's drum so it is quite obvious that this is an ancient and pre-xtian symbol found in northern Europe. More elaborate examples can be found in tradtional Austrian furniture.

The version that interests me the most is the first type which resembles an Iron Cross with a Swastika in the centre. Another closely related version of this symbol has the 4 arms or triangles of the cross joined together to form a circle and thus contains 3 significant elements: the circle (a symbol of eternity and the most basic representation of the sun), the Iron Cross which is a solar symbol and the Swastika, also a solar symbol. If you study this type of the symbol closely you will recognise that it is a barely disguised curvilinear Thulean Swastika except on the Thulean symbol the Swastika is evident on the outer ridge of the broken circle whilst in the Shield Knot the Swastika is almost hidden on the inside. You have to look for it to see it and thus this is a far more esoteric symbol. The value of such symbols is that they can act upon the Collective Unconscious or Blood Memory in a most subtle fashion without any cognition by the viewer. We also avoid any unnecessary negative attention that the more outward variation of the Swastika (including the curvilinear Thulean) would engender. Those of my readers who are members of esoteric Orders will understand what I am implying here.

Yet another variant of the symbol is a fourfold loop with 3 central Swastikas (this features as Fig. 24.9 in the book. I have noticed that this symbol as an amulet is now commercially available and also mass produced but inevitably marketed as a Celtic Knot or some such similar descriptor! For some reason the author attributes the symbol to the Celtic Samhain festival-I am unsure as to the logic behind this. There is a general concept that the Shield Knot is a protective symbol when used as an amulet, its four arms invoking the protection of the Gods from the 4 cardinal compass points.