In some parts of India, Surya, the Vedic and Hindu god of the sun, is honored around this time of the year. This is done with the hope of boosting his growing strength after the winter solstice to aid in the coming year’s harvest. Many of the gods and goddesses of different pantheons have to do with the harvests and bringing plenty to their tables. A bad harvest could have meant the difference between life and death in older times.
Surya, like many gods, has many meanings and symbols.
According to Vedic myth, the Surya was a copper-skinned god who drove a chariot pulled by 7 mares across the sky. The 7 mares are said to represent the 7 days of the week. In Hinduism, a symbol of the sun god is the swastika. Although it is often associated with Hitler, the swastika actually means wellbeing and represents good fortune and plenty. In today’s world its not uncommon to find that ancient symbols have lost their meanings and some times have developed new meanings based on what a person or group has done with the symbol.
Many symbols and even gods and goddesses have been confused in our modern times and in many cases their meanings have been so distorted that it is difficult to use them in their correct form. A common symbol in Paganism is the pentacle or pentagram and there are groups that use this symbol in an upside down form and intentionally give it a negative association. There are many symbols that have been misused like this in many religions.
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