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These terms "sun cross" and "wheel cross" are modern and hint at speculative interpretations in the context of prehistoric religion. The actual significance of these symbols in the prehistoric period is not known. From their ubiquity and apparent importance, however, the symbols have been adopted in various schools of Neopaganism, esotericism and occultism. These symbols are also notoriously used by white supremacists and Nazis to represent their beliefs and ideologies.
Bronze Age Europe
In the prehistoric religion of Bronze Age Europe, crosses in circles appear frequently on artifacts identified as cult items, for example the "miniature standard" with an amber inlay that shows a cross shape when held against the light, dating to the Nordic Bronze Age, held at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen. The Bronze Age symbol has also been connected with the spoked chariot wheel, which at the time was four-spoked (compare the Linear B ideogram 243 "wheel" 𐃏.) This technological innovation, invented by the late Proto-Indo-Europeans reached Europe in the mid-2nd millennium BC. In the context of a culture that celebrated the Sun chariot, it may also have had a "solar" connotation. This symbol appears also on the Snoldelev stone.
Ornamental pins, found in Switzerland, date to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC; their circular heads are incised with crosses.
Iron Age and classical antiquity
The Norwegian Nazi party Nasjonal Samling used a golden sun cross on a red background as its official symbol. Various white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups use the sun cross; the Knights Party also uses it in their official flag. However, many Neopagans consider this use of the symbol as a misrepresentation of their faith and these groups as having a lack of understanding of its true meaning.
In the Ascended Master Teachings, a group of religions based on Theosophy, the most important deities are St. Germain and the Master Jesus. St. Germain is regarded as having a twin flame (divine complement or celestial wife) who is an ascended lady master named Portia. In iconography of the Lady Master Portia, she is shown as wearing around her neck a white sun cross with a violet background, since she works with St. Germain, who is regarded as the master of the seventh of the seven rays, the violet ray.
The National Socialist Japanese Workers Party uses a variation of the broken sun cross for their flag, being unusually thin and having an equally thin ring at the center, forming a white circle inside of it.
Other "cross in a circle" symbols
- pecked cross: A comparable symbol from ancient Mesoamerica is known as the "pecked cross" (two concentric circles centered on orthogonal axes). It is mostly interpreted in terms of archaeoastronomy and the Mesoamerican calendar.
- In astrology, the cross in a circle represents the planet Earth, formerly believed to be the center of the cosmos in Classical times.
- Exclusive or
- Direct sum
- Celtic cross
- entry at the Nebra sky disk exhibition site (landesmuseum-fuer-vorgeschichte-halle.de)
- Snoldevel stone's photograph depicted in arild-hauge.com.
- Anthony F. Aveni, Horst Hartung, Beth Buckingham, 'The Pecked Cross Symbol in Ancient Mesoamerica', Science 20 October 1978: Vol. 202 no. 4365 pp. 267-286 DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4365.267