The othala rune is part of the runic alphabet system, a system of writing used (with many variations) across pre-Roman Europe. In the 20th century, Nazis in Germany adopted the othal rune, among many other similar symbols, as part of their attempt to reconstruct a mythic "Aryan" past. Nazi uses of the symbol included the divisional insignia of two Waffen SS divisions during World War II. Following World War II, white supremacists in Europe, North America, and elsewhere began using the othala rune. Today, it is commonly seen in tattoo form, on flags or banners, as part of group logos, and elsewhere.
However, because it is part of the runic alphabet, the symbol can also be found in non-extremist contexts as well, especially runic writing and runestones used by non-racist pagans. Consequently, care should be taken to evaluate the symbol in the context in which it appears.