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The Baskian Swastika Lauburu, its symbolic meaning and history

[11/02/2003] Imanol Mujica, a Basque intellect, who wore the Lauburu in his heart, like many of us, gave a conference about the Lauburu's symbolism on May 25, 1968 in Bogota, Colombia. Here is an excerpt of that evening, illustrating Mr. Mujica's search for a theory or the truth of the Lauburu.

"The Lauburu (or 4 headed cross)", is the oldest Basque coat of arms, that distinctly raised victorious banners for the 'vardulo', 'caristio' and 'austrigon' tribes during the early part of the Basque history (200 years BC). Previous to that time, the Basque emblem may have had naturalistic, religious and philosophical meanings as expressed by numerous authors. It may have also had a cosmic, astronomy, meteorological or anthropomorphous expression for the Basque pagans at that time. What is certain is that when the roman troops reached the Basque area, the Lauburu was a Basque ensign and used at that moment as a war banner to defend the territory that was being threatened by imperial legions.

Could this four headed emblem have something to do with the unity and continuity of the Basque people? Fifteen to twenty centuries later the Lauburu may have regained its authentic meaning given by the Basque people. This can be seen from its usage on door lintels, on the beams in the "caserios", on the "kutxas", on family coat of arms,

on Basque furniture





and particularly on the "argizayolas" of the hermitages and on the tombstones.




This symbol has been adopted by the Romans and the nazis in its linear Form, as a sign of brute force and modern barbarity. The Emperor Augusto took the emblem from the Pyrenees to Rome as a symbol of false triumph over the Basque troops. The Emperor Constantino christianized the symbol identifying it with the Cross of Calvary. The nazis misused it to promote there totalitarian party.

Mr. Mujica believes that the Lauburu symbolizes mankind, made up of four elements: Form, Life, Sensibility and Conscience.

  • Form: symbolizes a passive quality and serves as a vessel for the other three; philosophically they are called Maria, Mari, Maya and Miriam. It is Mother Nature in a solid Form. Form serves as a tool.
  • Life: symbolizes strength or the spirit that we possess, also known as Iehova.
  • Sensibility: symbolizes Christ and in our evolutionary state it symbolizes love and human equilibrium. Sensibility guides us towards strength which acts through wishes and the conscience tells the individual how one should behave to achieve those wishes or emotions.
  • Conscience: symbolizes the Father.
The four basic human elements relate to the four scientific elements: solid, liquid, gas and radiant. Having outlined these two types of elements, Mr. Mujica suggests that the Lauburu is a symbolic expression of these elements.


The Lauburu signifies "4 heads".

The word "head" refers to a series of living beings or Forms that have the characteristics of that head. The four heads are similar to all the crosses, representing different Forms that exist in different philosophies and in political symbols. However, the meaning is always the same referring to mankind's evolutionary qualities - Nature in action.

  • The first head symbolizes Form or density
  • The second head symbolizes life or vitality
  • The third head symbolizes sensibility
  • The fourth head is the conscience state
The Lauburu emblem is designed like a "Z"; outlined from top to bottom.

These two arms represent cosmic energy and related to the two human elements conscience (superiority) and Form (inferiority). The other outline is an "S", outlined from the bottom to the top. This outline symbolizes the evolution of energy towards its origin and relating to the other two human elements: life and sensibility.

The Lauburu also symbolizes Nature in action and can be associated with the movement of the Earth around the Sun. Earth moves around the Sun from West to East and it also oscillates towards the Sun, giving rise to the four Seasons.


The Lauburu outlined in its positive Form is relative to when the Sun is in its positive Form and when Nature is in full bloom. The opposite rotation between the Earth and the Sun occurs during the winter time which creates the reverse rotation and in turn Nature is inactive or resting.

If we place the Lauburu on our chest with the outlined "Z" starting from the right of the chest in order to end the shape of the z on the left side and using the "S" as another outline starting from the right of the chest to end on the left, the movement that the Lauburu imparts is that of the earth's movement in the summer (in other words an active Form) that goes from left to right (or from top to bottom).


The Lauburu outlined as a negative Form and in position of the Sun in the winter time is traced inversely and moving from right to left and from top to bottom.

The Lauburu in its positive Form is used as a motif or decoration in Basque construction or carpentry representing life. The Lauburu in its negative Form would only be used on tombstones since it reflects the lack of life. The Lauburu symbolizes two aspects of energy: Creation and regression to its origin. In summary, it also symbolizes terrestrial movement and its solar influence." The philosophy of the Basque has always been an understanding of Nature. They were aware of Nature's function and adapted their lifestyle accordingly. Today, the Basque people have the opportunity to fall back on Nature's values as symbolized by their emblem.

For more information read the other article:
Spain - The Basque Cross Lau-Buru - la Croix Basque


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