Melissa Cody's Whirling Logs: Don't You Dare Call Them Swastikas

ICTMN Staff
8/7/13

In its European historical context, the swastika is a hard symbol to love, seeming so inextricably tied to Nazi Germany. But its use as a sacred symbol, by various cultures, dates back centuries before the rise of Adolf Hitler and the comparatively brief reign of terror known as the Third Reich.

In Navajo iconography, it's called a "Whirling Log," and can denote abundance, prosperity, healing, and luck.

Navajo weaver Melissa Cody is interested in reinstating the Whirling Log as a sacred symbol (this puts her on the same page as the Raelians, a kooky UFO cult, as we covered in a previous story), and has used it extensively in her work. "I feel that it’s important to reclaim our traditional tribal imagery and not sway from instilling it into our everyday viewing," she told ICTMN's Alex Jacobs in an interview. Here are 17 examples of her Whirling Log art—visit her at instagram.com/mcody6732 to see numerous other permutations of her innovative approach to one of the most traditional Native art forms.  

Anytime Will Do, My Love

Atmospheric Tides

Print collaboration with Dust La Rock by Melissa Cody

Emergence by Melissa Cody

Firestorm by Melissa Cody

Four Winds by Melissa Cody

I Am Navajo Barbie by Melissa Cody

My Blood Runs Red by Melissa Cody

My Blood Runs Red (detail) by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log textile by Melissa Cody

Whirling log print by Melissa Cody

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page

POST A COMMENT

Comments

chahta ohoyo's picture
chahta ohoyo
Submitted by chahta ohoyo on
sorry...just cant do it...fully cognizant of its native american symbolism, however, i was born close enough to wwii to know the meaning that hitler bastardized it into...knowing his history, i would guess he took it from native american roots and made it into something horrible....melissa's rugs are beautiful, but nix the 'swastika'...

stevef's picture
stevef
Submitted by stevef on
I agree with Chahta....that argument is way to close the the same as what the Redskins say; 'that's not what I intended the meaning to be...' Beautiful work! Steve

Joesph P Nightrain
Joesph P Nightrain
Submitted by Joesph P Nightrain on
Hey Melissa, nice work. Might I suggest weaving the Arecibo Message (look it up in Wikipedia.com). Now that would be cool! Give it away free to the first person that knows what it is.

hammertime's picture
hammertime
Submitted by hammertime on
the symbol has been around for over 5 thousand years... the meaning has something to do with the spinning of universal enegeries. In another culture or another time this symbol was ok.... before the war it was totally acceptable and seen all over the west.. You are dealing with a lot of very small minds brainwashed by what they see on TV every day ... and you know who gets to write the history of the past

TankstaGangsta's picture
TankstaGangsta
Submitted by TankstaGangsta on
Good for you Melissa! Just another thing some Euro-Demon stole from our indigenous people! Screw Hitler...he doesn't get to redefine something sacred. It's time to reclaim it! Keep it sacred...Love your work! Don't listen to anyone telling you to stop. And yes....she did do it! Wado!
5