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.