The Peace Symbol

Did you ever wonder about the peace symbol, its meaning and its origin? Well, I did.

For some time now, I’ve found it somewhat strange the way the symbol usually is turned or faced – so to speak – as depicted here below.

Intuitively this to me does not seem right. It looks like a hanging man. Furthermore it is the opposite direction of the common hand gesture to denote peace (two fingers pointing upwards).

Well, I went ahead and did a little research on it. And it turns out that the symbol was actually designed that way in Britain in 1958 by Gerald Holtom for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and uses naval code to denote N and D, which together form the symbol inside the circle.

So this original design appears to be well-intended. However, shortly hereafter Gerald Holtom, realized that he had it all wrong, that “the arms” should turn upwards in stead, as depicted below here. Unfortunately, this redaction didn’t catch on – and thus far “the hanging man” is still the standard.

This one seems much more right to me. It looks like Man standing tall with arms up in the air or like the Tree of Life. Besides, using the naval code it denotes U and D, which could stand for Universal or Unilateral Disarmament – which arguably would make better sense as well.

Digging deeper, these symbols are unsurprisingly way older. They are actually ancient runes ‘ALGIZ’ representing Life, Beginning and Protection – and ‘YR’ representing Death, End and War, which is not exactly the best fit for a peace symbol, one could argue.
The circle surrounding the runes could symbolize Space or Infinity.

This “upward facing” peace symbol – is reported to have been used as an “anti-peace” symbol by different people and groups, though logically it should be the other way around.

So in conclusion, we might wanna consider with greater care the deeper meanings and how we use and relate to these symbols – as well as other ones – going forward. They hold a magnificent deal of power and should be treated accordingly, in my humble opinion.

As always, I’m curious about your perspectives.


This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Interesting stuff, bro! Bij chance, I saw a peace-symbol today in the window of a house and briefly wondered about it.

    Would the runes have originated from sound/vibrations? In this video a gentleman called Steve Rees speaks about his exploration of the relation between sound and the actual physical writing of the letters (of the Hebrew alphabet):

  2. Thanks for your input, bro.
    Well, the ‘sound-to-sign’-relation is an interesting aspect, indeed. Of course the sounds generally come before the writing, and often times you can find a relation. Not sure about these runes in particular. The same runes have different names in other regions – and to be honest, I’m not sure how they have even found the names of these ancient signs.
    To me it seems in the case of these two runes that the images, so to say, of life vs. death etc. (celebrating arms up, tree of life etc. vs. giving up/hanging dead etc.) is directly and logically responsible for the shaping of the signs.

  3. I have been wondering about this for years . To me i remembered it being the right way up then noticed a few years back that it was upside down …Mandela effect maybe ? Thank you for sharing this .

  4. Thanks for your comment, Lornzy.
    That is curious indeed. I’m thinking, it would be worthwhile to make an effort to turn it around:)
    The Mandela effect is an interesting phenomenon for sure – and how it ties into the collective conscience and all…
    I’m curious, how did you land onto this website?

  5. Hello , Yakox
    Sorry for the late reply ,
    I was looking into the peace symbol and found this , i’m so glad i did such an interesting page .
    To be honest i am really glad i did , it was driving me mad wondering why the peace symbol was upside down, this is the only information i found that helps back up my memories .
    Thank you for sharing .

  6. Thanks for taking the time to explore this ..
    It is one of only two posts online related to this topic .
    I may not have looked into it further without your insights … I have seen the new symbol ( tree/life)
    written on walls around London….I was curious why
    someone had spun it around .
    Seems like they might just be addressing the imbalance
    More life x

  7. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room
    mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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