The swastika is one of the archetypal human religious symbols. It appears on every continent and is as old as humankind. It can be seen on pictish rock carvings, adorning ancient Greek pottery, and on Norse weapons and implements. It was scratched on cave walls in France seven thousand years ago. It marks the beginning of many Buddhist scriptures, and is often marked on the soles of the feet of Buddha in statuary. In the Jain religion, it is a symbol of the seventh Jina (saint), Suparsva. To native Americans, it was a symbol of the sun, the directions, and the four seasons.
The use of 'fylfot' in heraldry is a Victorian affectation. There is only one pre-Victorian use of this word, in which it appears to mean exactly what it sounds like -- a motif that fills the foot of a decorated area.
The name Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit language, from "su," meaning "good," and vasti"," meaning "being" (well being) It is used as a fertility and good luck charm.
The swastika is also known as the tetraskelion, the fylfot cross (fylfot meaning 'four feet'), the cross gammadion (because it resembles four greek letter 'gammas.'), and the hakenkreutz (German, hooked cross).
Woodward's (first published 1892) says: Fylfot: The Gammadion, an ancient symbol composed of four Gammas united in cross.
The fylfot cross (or swastika as it is more widely known) is actually a very ancient symbol which was found in early Christian and Byzantine art, and is still used extensively in India. The Nazis inverted both its direction (it usually moves in a clockwise direction), and its original meaning which is "conducive to well-being" to make it into a symbol of anti-Semitic hate. This cross is also sometimes known a cross gammata because it could be constructed from four of the Greek letter gamma.
On the stole of an ancient bishop of Winchester, Edyndon, who died in 1366, is the Swastika or Scouts' Thanks Badge. It was at that time called the " Fylfot," and was said to represent Obedience or Submission, the different arms of the cross being in reality legs in the attitude of kneeling.
This symbol was used in almost every part of the world in ancient days, and therefore has various meanings given to it.
It has been found engraved on weapons belonging to the Norsemen. It was also engraved on the spindles used by the ancient Greeks in their- weaving at Troy.
In India rice is spread on the ground in the form of the Swastika at the baptism of a baby boy to bring him luck.
The Indians in North America use it as an ornament, and it has been found engraved on ancient pottery in Peru.
How it got from one country to another, separated as they are by oceans, it is difficult to guess, but some people who say they know all about these things, affirm that there was once a great continent where now there is the Atlantic Ocean, but it went under the sea in an earthquake. This continent was called Atlantis, and joined up Europe with America. It was supposed to have four vast rivers running from a central mountain in different directions-North, East, South, and West-and the Swastika is merely a map of Atlantis showing those four rivers rising from the same center.