The Whirling Log symbol is not associated with the Swastika and pre-dates World War II. Long before its appearance in WWII, the Whirling Log symbol has been seen as a symbol of healing, protection, and well-being not only by the Navajo people, but also by inhabitants of ancient India, Tibet, and many cultures across Asia. The Whirling Log symbol comes from a Navajo folk tale and is considered to represent well-being and good luck. After WWII, this symbol disappeared from most Native American art, but it can be seen on vintage Navajo weavings, basketry, and jewelry.
The Whirling Log symbol has its origins in Navajo Sandpaintings as a sacred symbol for healing. In the Navajo language it translates to, “that which revolves.” It comes from a story of an outcast who decides to climb into a log and float down the river to a distant land where he might find peace and safety. He is helped by four sacred deities to hollow out the log and floats down the river for four days until he hits a whirlpool (thus the “whirling” log). He is whirled in circles within his log until emissaries of the four deities rescue him. They pull him from the river and reunite him with his pet turkey who is carrying a bean and three corn kernels. These are planted and in four days abundant crops have matured. Four more days pass, and the crops are harvested. The outcast is instructed on how to prepare Sandpaintings to celebrate these miracles and sent home to his people to teach them. From this legend, the whirling log symbol became a central aspect to healing medicinal ceremonies. Inspired by this sacred purpose, the symbol was incorporated into various art forms, including jewelry and weaving.