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Did you know…

The symbol of peace we know of today has an origin story that has been extensively propagated and, arguably, cemented into our books of history. The story goes a little something like this:

In 1958, the first large-scale anti-nuclear march took place, spanning from London all the way to the site of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in Aldermaston, Berkshire.

As they marched along their 52-mile route, the protesters brandished on flags and banners a particular symbol, one that has since grown in recognition and influence — the peace symbol; one designed by a professional designer and graduate of the Royal College of Art, Gerald Holtom.

Holtom had initially claimed to have designed the symbol around flag semaphores — long-distance communications of messages using visual signals made with handheld flags. In the case of the peace symbol, he claimed to have based it off the combination of letters ’N’ and ‘D’, which together stood for nuclear disarmament.

Many years later, the symbol has become a universal representation of peace, with it’s origin story has already spread far and wide. However, in 1973, when Holtom wrote to the editor of Peace News, he gave a rather different explanation of how he had actually created the symbol.

In short, Holtom stated in his letter that the symbol was, in fact, an illustration of an individual in despair, with hands outstretched and palms downwards — as one would prostrate one’s self before a firing squad.

However, his editing of its origin makes the very edit as dubious as he had revealed his first claim to be. Further probing would bring one to find that the 1930s told of a similar symbol, devised and propagated by English philosopher and socialist, Bertrand Russell.

Russell had used this symbol as an attempt to depict a universal convergence of the people; in an upward movement of cooperation. A symbol that the active anti-Christian that was Bertrand Russell himself had admitted was associated with an anti-Christian design and has its roots in being a runic depiction the death of an unborn child — perhaps in reference to the believed second coming of Christ and how such divergence from superstition is the only way the people of the world can converge and cooperate.

The symbol used for peace is none other than the death rune of Norse origin — the Yr.

The Symbol

The Rune of Algiz

The Yr, albeit a symbol on its own, is best understood when attributed to its counterpart — the Algiz.

The rune of Algiz is representative of the upper branches of Yggdrasil, the life tree of Norse cosmology. As such, it is often referred to as The Life Rune.

It is often used in attribution to the divine might of the universe, acting as a divine blessing and protection to those that summon the symbol. For the Norse, this was through the tattooing of one’s body or brandishing on armor and other particles of clothing that one would do.

The Rune of Yr

The rune of Yr, on the other hand, is the inverse of Algiz — representing the entrance to the underworld and known also as The Death Rune.


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