Peace be with you as the crow flies

One of the most popular explanations and perhaps misconceptions of the peace symbol is that Gerald Holtom, a conscientious objector and nuclear disarmament activist ,  created it in 1958:

“During World War II he worked on a farm in England as a conscientious objector. The BBC quoted Holtom, “I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad.”  Opponents of the peace movement sometimes are thrilled to see the hands downward which symbolizes peasants being killed by a firing squad….

"Another flaw in the Holtom creation story is the use of the symbol as an anti-Christian symbol by the Saracens as early as 711 A.D.8 For the Saracens, the image placed on their shields symbolized the breaking of the Christian cross. For some the broken cross was equated to a satanic symbol known as the raven's craw or witch's foot. While Holtom may not have known the historical meaning of the peace symbol, Bertrand Russell was a historian and member of the Fabian Society. A 1970 article in the American Opinion magazine claimed Russell knew the historical occult meaning and intentionally selected an "anti-Christian design long associated with Satanism." read more:

…Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970), a philosopher, historian, mathematician, and a member of the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War, supported Holtom’s claim. Russell wrote, “It was invented by a member of our movement (Gerald Holtom) as the badge of the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War, for the 1958 Aldermaston peace walk in England. It was designed from the naval code of semaphore, and the symbol represents the code letters for ND.’” The circle, representing the concept of total or complete, surrounds the N and D signifying total or complete nuclear disarmament.Read More:

--- One former witch makes the following comment about the peace symbol: "It is an ancient and powerful symbol of Antichrist. During the dark ages it was used in Druid Witchcraft and by Satanists of all sorts during the initiation of a new member to their order. They would draw the magic circle and give the initiate a cross. The initiate would then lift the cross and turn it upside down. He would then renounce Christianity in all three dimensions (sic) of time (past, present and future) and break the horizontal pieces downward forming the design of the 'Raven's Foot.' This ugly symbol is nothing short of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. For one to wear or display this symbol is to announce either knowingly or unknowingly that you have rejected Christ.... read more:

Holtom’s wish that the peace symbol connotation of despair may have been aggravated in that perhaps his initial desire for the symbol to be prong up was converted into the symbol widely recognized today. When the peace symbol is inverted the letter “N” becomes the semaphore code for “U” which could mean “universal” disarmament or the less popular but courageous “unilateral” disarmament. While it appears reasonable that the modern day peace symbol comes from Gerald Holtom, this logic fails to address the fact that the symbol has been used for evil both in modern times and for thousands of years.

"The circle, of course, has lots of meanings, among them eternity and the unborn child. Once Holtom’s symbol had been adopted not only by the group he designed it for, but the anti-war movement as a whole a few years later, the right wing got ahold of it and created their own set of interpretations. The John Birch Society, for instance, claimed that it was the Antichrist’s “broken cross,” purportedly devised by Nero as a nasty way to execute Saint Peter. Others claimed it was a medieval symbol for the devil, and that it bore a striking resemblance to a Nazi badge used during WWII." read more:

Whether the above interpretations of the peace sign is valid, and though compelling, it could also be erroneous with regard to the important concept of “intent” that marked Holtom’s efforts. … Constantine: “The John Birch Society, the fascist front organization started up after WW II with funds from the Nazi old guard, cannot tolerate left-wing “collectivism,” and has contrived a history of the peace sign intended to cast a pall over all things progressive by demonizing the ubiquitous symbol….There have been claims that the symbol has older, occult or anti-Christian associations. In South Africa, under the apartheid regime, there was an official attempt to ban it. Various far-right and fundamentalist American groups have also spread the idea of Satanic associations or condemned it as a Communist sign. However the origins and the ideas behind the symbol have been clearly described, both in letters and in interviews, by Gerald Holtom. His original, first sketches are now on display as part of the Commonweal Collection in Bradford.”… Read More: a

"The victory sign was described as 'the most amazing piece of propaganda devised in this war'. It became immortalized when Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill was repeatedly filmed using the sign as a victory salute. The sign was very widely used by peace movements in the 1960's and 70's as a symbol of victory for peace and truth, until Dick Nixon made it even more famous." Read More:

Dave Dionisi: The symbol has also been used to communicate support for communism. Bertrand Russell once said: “There is no hope in anything but the Soviet way.” Governments–both those who supported communism and those opposed to it–have perceived benefits in aligning the peace symbol with communist ideology. For people like Bertrand Russell, the author of the 1927 essay Why I Am Not Christian, the symbol represented not only a pro-communism meaning but peace without God….

" "Known as the 'peace sign' throughout the 1960's and into the present day, this symbol is the Teutonic rune of death. 1950's peace advocate Gerald Holtom may have been commissioned by communist sympathiser Bertrand Russell to design a symbol to unite leftist peace marchers in 1958. It is clear that either Holtom or Russell deemed the Teutonic (Neronic) cross as the appropriate symbol for their cause. "Throughout the last 2,000 years this symbol has designated hatred of Christians. Nero, who despised Christians, crucified the Apostle Peter on a cross head downward. This hideous event resembled the Teutonic cross and became a popular pagan insignia of the day. Thereafter, this sign became known as the 'Neronic cross.' "The symbol's origin in history proves it to be the visual mystic character for 'Aum' (the split 'Y'). This is the sacred word to the Hindu. Chanting 'Aum' is supposed to help awaken 'the serpent power of Brahma' at the base of the human spine. Occultist Albert Pike also identifies this symbol as mystical in his book on Freemasonry Morals and Dogma...." read more:

a%20&%20Witchcraft/peace_sign.htm image:

The confusion about what the modern day peace symbol means is further clouded by the founder of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey. LaVey used the symbol as the backdrop for his altar. Rudolf Koch’s Book of Signs explains the downward pointed fork represents the death of man. Placed in the circle the symbol means the total death of all people which is the exact opposite of what Holtom worked to prevent with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

While the anti-God, communist and death of man arguments are far from representative of the majority of people that carry or wear a peace symbol, they can frustrate the sincere efforts of peacemakers. Read More:

This entry was posted in Art History/Antiquity/Anthropology, Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion, Marketing/Advertising/Media, Miscellaneous and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>