What does this symbol mean to you? Think carefully now. Ok, this image appears to be pretty, but the image of a swastika often brings to mind terrible world events.... hatred, intolerance, fear. I thought of posting the more familiar image of the Nazi swastika, but the beauty of this image won out : )
Not many people know that the swastika is actually a symbol of good.
"It is one of the oldest symbols of mankind, a symbol representing peace, laughter, joy and good luck. Its Nazi links are only a minor speck in its very long existence. It is a symbol that deserves a better treatment from history. Swastika stands for truth, compassion, tolerance and happiness. It is worshipped as a symbol of good fortune..." Read more here. Another article can be found here.Today, I had my own experience with the swastika.
I went to the lottery house to buy credits for my bus card. While I was there, I decided to take a lottery ticket on a "if not, why not" impulse. (Please note, I don't habitually gamble and I don't depend on lotteries to change my fortunes, as was implied in comments on another blog). I had just finished paying and the girl behind the counter smiled and wished me luck. She is such a sweet girl with a lovely, friendly smile. She handed me my change. I looked down... and my world crumbled...
Yes, the photo is bad, but it was a shaky cell phone pic.
On the note is written, "Fora imigrantes" or "Get out immigrants." It is a very emphatic word used in this type of context. Combined with the swastika, the impression was immensely negative. I wonder what the effect of so much negativity would have on the writer. I stood there staring at the note, a multitude of emotions and thoughts, many of them depressing, going through my mind... until I landed on the thought and emotion I wanted. "Yes! Thanks! Just what I needed with a lottery ticket! I *do* want to get out!" haha! If I found the writer of the note, I'd probably kiss them.
Then I thought more on the matter and did a bit of reading when I got home and found the above info on the swastika. Combined with my interpretation of the message, it's all good.
Now I'm tempted to frame that note, but no... I think I'll spend it. Apparently writing on bank notes is common here. Many people write a 'charm' on the note to have the money come back to them. I altered the note in bright orange marker. I put a smiley face to the left of the swastika and wrote to the right that the swastika is a symbol of peace and luck (in Portuguese, of course). Then in black marker, I crossed the negative wording out... not negative for me, but other foreigners may be hurt by it. I'm going to spend that note. I've been wanting to do this for a while. I'm going to buy a phone card with the note and leave it unused at one of the nearby slums' pay phones. I'll send that note back into circulation, but with something good attached.
Wishing me luck? Wishing me out of here? I'll take it! : )