ManWoman - Warrior of Sacred Imagination

Celebrate the Holiness You Are

Skin & Ink Tattoo magazine

January 2002 issue

Gentle Swastika by ManWoman

book review by Suzanne Lamb:

Immediately after reading the enlightening picture book and text Gentle Swastika, I found myself reading the article "New Agents of Change" in the June 19, 2001 issue of Time magazine. The article begins, "Changing the world has never been a job for the conventional or easily discouraged." This describes Gentle Swastika's author, ManWoman, to a T.
Here's a guy, who at the relatively young age of 27, had a vision that transformed his life and, in its pursuit, devoted his time, talent and resources for the past 30 years. That vision is none other than the resurrection and redemption of the swastika, the ancient symbol of the creative force that is within each of us. A gentle, loving symbol that was transformed, within a few terrible decades, into a mark that represents, to most people, unspeakable evil and death.
This book is fantastic for several reasons. First, rarely do we get to read a lucid, first-person account of the death of the personality and birth of the soul. Birth, death and rebirth is the transformation that nature makes annually, a sacred process that all of us do on our journey toward oneness with God. But to comprehend it so vividly and act on it too, to get the soul's agenda and march to that drummer for life, that takes courage. Plus, at the same time, the author was so in touch with both the masculine and feminine energies within his being that he changed his name to ManWoman and notes, "I encountered tremendous resistence, especially from my wife." Yet he marched on.
Secondly, the passion and conviction that the author feels for his work veritably jumps from the page. As the book recounts, this process was not easy, especially when his personal quest to redeem the swastika included having over 200 of the ancient variations tattooed on his hands, arms and back. People reacted with burning stares, verbal abuse and even physical abuse. Yet, he says, "I accept the mission laid upon me--to be unswerving in my dedication to the swastika as a sacred symbol. If I am shunned for following my truth--so be it!" How many of us can truthfully say that?
Then there's the history of the swastika, whose origin according to historians is around 3000 B. C. in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Use of the swastika encircled the globe either through migration from tribe to tribe, or it spontaneously emerged from the collective unconscious. Psychologist Carl Jung identified the collective unconscious as the accumulated wealth of wisdom of all life from the beginning. Its language is stored in the mythologies and religions of the world and speaks to us through archetypal figures and symbols. The swastika is one of these, and ManWoman walks us through its history in a thrilling display of text and pictures.
"There are many theories about the symbolic meaning of this mystic cross," writes ManWoman, "that it represents fire, the sun, the source, creativity, fertility, the sex act, the moon, the cardinal points, the sacred four, many deities, divine power, light, lightning, eternity, etc. almost evrything of imp[ortance in life as we know it!" Thanks to ManWoman's dedicated research, his collected illustrations let us see, first-hand, the swastika shape shift into seemingly endless manifestations. In fact, after reading this book, you may discover you're living with the sacred symbol and don't even know it!
No question about it, ManWoman's engrossing new book makes a powerful case for embracing what was once a symbol of good luck among Native American peoples and turning our backs on its prostitution by the 20th century's real-life Evil Empire.
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Suzanne Lamb

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