Is the Indalo just a symbol in Almería? Or in the whole world?
There’s a lot of discussion at the moment about the little Indalo symbol . . and where it “belongs”. Well in our Good Luck Gift shop, we have quite a few! and most of them come from a small province in the south of Spain called Almería.
But some people get quite heated when they see the Indalo figure appearing as a souvenir symbol for places outside of Almería – or even outside of Spain.
The Indalo is indeed a symbol of Almería (both province and city) but does that mean it cannot also be the symbol of Mojácar, a small pueblo town inside of Almería? Or even of say, Vélez Blanco (also in Almería province), where the little pictorial symbol was discovered daubed on the walls of a cave some 5,000 years ago? But what about, for example, in Huelva, Tenerife, Málaga, or Barcelona, in other parts of Spain, or perhaps in Lisbon, Portugal, or France?
It is not as if this symbol does not exist in other places around the world: Indeed, it is seen in many locations from Hawaii to North America, from Couscous in Chile, to Egypt, and Zambia . . in Incamacha in Bolivia, Sardinata in northern Colombia, at Nazca, Peru and in Patagonia, Argentina. At Valtellina, Lombardy, we see the metamorphic Rupe Magna rock, with engraved petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings) that date back thousands of years, featuring hundreds of Indalo-shaped figures. In Hawaii, many of the petroglyphs on Big Island feature similarly-shaped images believed to represent various aspects of spiritual life. One of these is known as ‘Rainbow Man’ and has special significance for the Hawaiian people: The arc is thought to represent a rainbow resting on a person’s shoulders and as such, is a symbol of the responsibility of each person to love and protect the earth – the ‘Aina’.
But it was in Almería (and more specifically, Mojácar) that the iconic symbol gained its name: “Indalo”. You can read more about how and why that occurred, on our website here: What is an Indalo and why is it lucky ? And also a bit about the Indalo as a souvenir of Mojácar and Almería here .
So perhaps it is the use of the actual name “Indalo” in other places outside of the province of Almería, that is causing the problem – not the symbol itself. After all, what does the symbol itself represent? A man holding an “Arco Iris” (a Rainbow) above his head? But if you were to look on Wikipedia, you would see the Indalo described, rather miguidedly, as a ghost that could hold and carry a rainbow in his hands (thus the arch over the head of the man). And it goes on to say that “The American-based indigenous rights organisation Cultural Survival uses an Indalo symbol on its logo. “ Not surprising really, seeing as the Indalo figure (or “Rainbow Warrior” as the Native Indians of North America called it) is a representation to them of the Great Spirit – the Creator. They use the expression ‘Rainbow Warrior’ to describe a mystical being that will protect them by protecting their environment. The Rainbow Man or Rainbow Warrior of North America got its name from the Cree, Hopi and Sioux tribes. It features in sacred drawings of the Zuni and Navajo; and for the Indians of the Mojave desert of Arizona, the rainbow is one of the most powerful qualities of the Great Spirit, the creator of all existence.
No, it is the NAME Indalo that is more associated with Almería and Spain. It seems to have originated with a group of intellectual artists, mostly from Madrid (who used to visit Mojácar, Almería) who adapted the Rainbow Man symbol seen in the cave at Los Vélez as their logo. In Spain’s Civil War years, one of the group, Juan Cuadrado (a local man from Vera, and a celebrated Archaeologist – whose family still live and work in the area), proposed that his group of intellectuals be named after the symbol which he himself had christened ‘Indalo’ as an adaptation of the local Almeriense name Indalecio, which itself has its origins in San Indalecio, the missionary sent by Rome to evangelise the southern part of the Iberian Peninsular in the 1st Century AD. Indalecio is the patron Saint of Almería and the group of artists became known as Los Indalianos.
There is also another theory which states that the name Indalo has Latin roots – seeing that ‘Indal Eccius’ means Messenger of the Gods in ancient Iberian. But it has always been associated with some semi-religious belief in ‘protection’: The discovery of el ‘arte rupestre’ (cave paintings or petroglyphs) in the caves of Los Letreros in Vélez Blanco had led to similar symbols being daubed on the walls of the nearby houses in Vélez as a sort of good luck totem, because they thought that the symbols in the cavse represented some sort of ancient God of protection. As it turned out, they could say that they were right because a subsequent series of earthquakes which wreaked havoc in the coastal towns of Vera and Mojácar to the north, left Vélez intact . . the ‘Indalo’ symbol had ‘protected’ them from harm.
But, as already said, the symbol itself, is more widespread – and much older. Sr. Cuadrado knew this – as an Archaeologist he had visited the Caves at Vélez (now a UNESCO World Heritage site) and seen the cave paintings for himself. He is remembered in the city Museum in Almería capital.
But is that any reason to deny los Mojaceros, for example, their entitlement to claim it as “theirs”?
On the other hand, is there any reason to complain when it is used by communities in other parts of Almería, or of Spain (or indeed of France, America, Hawaii, etc)? Or indeed, when it is used in a way that does not even relate to Almería, let alone Spain? In Granada, we have Indalo Codex – a self-improvement medication system for integral health and for people seeking goals and happiness. The Indalo symbol is an integral part of the teaching.
As is noted on website Indalo Mart : “Primarily, the Indalo is the symbol of Almería in Andalucía, southern Spain. But, it is also recognised in quite a few places around the world as a protection and good luck symbol” It is said that, in old Iberian, Indal Eccius means ‘ Messenger of the Gods ‘ and the little Indalo charm is sometimes considered a guardian angel (a bit like a St. Christopher worn by travellers, or the St James Cross worn by many on the Camino de Santiago) offering protection from harm (and strangely, from floods as well, in this, the driest part of Europe).
So it’s true: The Indalo is a symbol (and therfore a souvenir) of Almería: It is also a symbol of good luck and protection. But, as the Native Indians of North America would attest (and the Rupe Magna in Lombardy, Indalo Codex in Granada, the Petroglyphys in Hawaii, etc, etc, too), it is also believed to represent Man’s ethereal connection with the spirits and with the universe. Overall, like many symbols, (like the Christian Cross for example) it represents what you want it to represent . . it is symbolic of what you believe.
For many, the Indalo is a great symbol of inspiration – a symbol with a story – and so it makes a great piece of inspirational jewellery – jewellery with actual meaning . . lucky symbol jewellery