Does Ursa Major draw a swastika in the sky?

The claim that the swastika symbol originates from the movement of the Ursa Major constellation around the North Star may seem credible at first glance, though in reality it is highly dubious.

Велика Ведмедиця
Can we really see swastika in the Sky? Source:

What does the swastika symbol mean?

In popular discourse, you may occasionally come across claims that symbols known as the “swastika” and “kolovrat” originate from the movement of the Ursa Major constellation around the North Star throughout the year. These claims suggest that there is some primordial significance to these symbols and any fears associated with them are baseless.

Sometimes, such publications are accompanied by a beautiful diagram showing the constellation forming a specific symbol. In reality, this claim mixes together a bunch of unrelated facts, each of which needs to be examined separately, and it’s best to start with the last one.

The swastika became infamously known through the actions of the German Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s and their leader, Adolf Hitler. The deranged instigators of the Second World War saw this sign as a symbol of their alleged racial superiority giving them right to conquer the world.

Свастика в Індуїзмі і Третьому Рейху
Swastika in Hinduism and the Third Reich

No matter how ridiculous it may seem, followers of such ideas continue to use the swastika and other symbols worldwide to mark their presence, which is why the public use of this symbol is not approved.

However, the swastika was certainly not invented by the Nazis. The word “swastika” itself comes from Sanskrit and literally means “auspiciousness”. By the way, in Hinduism, this symbol is still used in that sense.

Although the swastika — or any of the symbols resembling it — can mean anything. Throughout human history, countless nations have used it, and most of them would certainly not have passed the Nazi’s test of racial superiority. Moreover, in many cases, this symbol was simply used as decoration without any deep meaning.

Swastika as the simplest geometric design

Traditionally, the swastika is associated with the movement of celestial bodies, primarily the Sun, across the sky. This movement occurs cyclically along a closed curve that closely approximates a circle. Therefore, symbols resembling the swastika are often referred to as solar symbols.

However, our luminary completes a full circuit without hiding beyond the horizon, only behind the polar circles and during certain intervals of time when there is no night there. In other locations, one must train their imagination to see this “circle.”

To visualize a swastika, there is no need to look at the sky. You can draw it through a simple game. All you need to do is drive a stake into the ground, attach a rope of a certain length to it, and attach a stick to the other end of the rope. If you pull the rope taut and use the stick to draw on the ground, the line will start to bend around the stake until it forms a circle—one of the simplest symbols.

Різні солярні символи
Different solar symbols Different solar symbols. Source:

You can choose any point on the circle and draw a line from it along the taut rope to the central stake and then extend it to another edge of the circle. The segment between the circle’s point and its center is called the radius. By drawing two additional perpendicular radii, you can obtain another simple symbol—the cross.

Now let’s take all four radii and draw perpendiculars to them at the points where they intersect the circle (these will be called tangents with respect to the circle) in one direction or another. Congratulations, you have obtained a swastika of a certain type! By continuing to experiment with adding tangents or random segments to four or more radii of the circle, you can create an infinite number of solar symbols to represent the magnitude of your race or anything else.

Rotation of the Big Dipper

Regarding the Big Dipper itself, all claims that it depicts something in the sky are based on two undeniable facts. The first is that throughout the year, this constellation does indeed make a complete rotation around the North Pole of the world. However, this is true for all stars and constellations.

Рух великої ведмедиці на небі
Motion of the Big Dipper in the Sky. Source:

The second fact is that the two extreme bright stars of the “dipper,” called Merak and Dubhe (β and α of the Big Dipper, respectively), form a line that nearly points to the North Star. This line is a radius of the circle around which the constellation moves throughout the year.

And if we connect Merak with the last star of the “handle of the dipper,” called Benetnasch, we get something similar to a tangent to this radius. However, the “dipper” itself is too curved for this purpose. In reality, you will only see stars separated by significant stretches of the sky, and all lines only exist in your mind.

By observing the Big Dipper throughout the year, you can actually draw four positions connected to the North Star in a way that forms a swastika. It is not necessary to observe it during the summer and winter solstices or the spring and autumn equinoxes, as often suggested. It is sufficient for the time intervals between the four observations to be exactly three months (a quarter of a year). What matters more is to choose a point with notable landmarks on the horizon and observe the sky from there. This should be done at the same time each day. By this, I mean a specific hour, as the onset of darkness changes throughout the year, and the rising of constellations does not depend on it.

Як знайти на небі Полярну зорю
How to Find the North Star in the Sky. Source:

That’s why it’s best to choose observation times where it is dark, even during the summer when the nights are shortest. If you don’t observe these rules, your swastika will look like it was drawn by some under-age skinhead.

Other Swastikas in the Sky

These conditions are related to the fact that the Big Dipper, like all luminaries of the Northern Hemisphere, makes a complete rotation around the celestial pole every day. It never dips below the horizon because it belongs to the circumpolar constellations. During the day, we cannot see it due to the sunlight.

Що можна побачити на Північному полюсі
What Can Be Seen at the North Pole

The Big Dipper going circles can be seen in areas near the North Pole of the Earth in December and January. During this time, the sun does not rise above the horizon, and darkness prevails throughout the day. The celestial pole is directly overhead, and you can see the rotation of two swastikas around it — if you have good enough imagination. A smaller one is formed by the “ladle” of the Little Dipper, which ends with the North Star. However, the swastika from it appears curved and unfolded in the opposite direction. However, the constellation itself rotates in the same direction as the other stars.

Actually, if desired, you can see a swastika or a wheel of the sun by observing the annual or daily motion of any group of stars that are close to the pole. To the south of the equator, the Big Dipper can only be seen for part of the year, and even then, it appears low on the horizon. In Antarctica, for example, it cannot be seen at all. However, there are other constellations whose motion can be associated with certain symbolism.

Сузір'я північного та південного неба
Constellations of the Northern and Southern Skies. Source:

What the Big Dipper showed our ancestors

Based on everything written above, one could conclude that in order for our ancestors to draw a swastika by observing the Big Dipper, they would have needed accurate clocks. It would be even better to live near the polar circle.

However, the inhabitants of the highly technological Hyperborea wouldn’t see anything like that. The thing is, even now, the North Star is not precisely located at the North Pole of the world but rather in its vicinity. And many centuries ago, it was in a different position. This is due to the precession of the Earth’s axis, the same phenomenon that prevents astrologers from accurately determining your zodiacal sign.

The Earth’s axis draws circles in space with a period of 25,800 years, and along with it, the poles of the world make rotations. However, this doesn’t mean that they pass near the same stars with that periodicity. Over such time intervals, the motion of the Sun through the Galaxy becomes noticeable, causing the familiar outlines of constellations to change.

For example, a thousand years ago, during the time of the Kyivan Rus’ princes, the pole was located between α of the Little Dipper, which we now call the North Star or Polaris, and β of the same constellation, which is called Kochab and is situated at the other end.

Even earlier, at the beginning of our era and during the heyday of ancient civilizations, Kochab itself was the pole star, or as modern astronomers say, the polaris. During the time when the ancient Egyptians were building their pyramids, the northern pole was “marked” by the star Thuban (α Draconis).

Зміна положення Північного полюсу
Change in the Position of the North Pole. Source: Wikipedia

And when the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture flourished on Ukrainian lands — which is associated by some pseudo-historians with Aratta, the ancestral homeland of Ukrainians — their night sky revolved around the star Edasich (ι Draconis).

During all these periods, the line connecting Merak and Dubhe did not point to the North Pole, and it did not form a radius of the circle along which the Big Dipper moves. Therefore, the possibility of seeing a swastika in the sky is unique to our time, and the situation will continue to change in the future.

In 2102, the North Pole will come closest to α of the Little Dipper and then begin to move away from it. Consequently, the line connecting Merak and Dubhe will increasingly deviate from the direction toward the pole. Around the year 3200, the polar star will be Alrai (γ Cephei).