The Meaning Behind The Ankh

Anch and Sunwheel from a book of the dead, ori...
Anch and Sunwheel from a book of the dead, originally created by the egyptian writer Ani via Wikipedia

by: Reverend Brenda Hoffman

The Ankh (aka the crux aitsata, or the ‘ansate’ or ‘handled cross’) was sacred to the ancient Egyptians (this is actually the land of Ancient Kemet – “the land of the blacks” – which the Greeks later renamed Egypt) and is known as the original cross. This symbol stands for life or living, and forms part of the Egyptian words such as ‘health’ and ‘happiness.’ (This is why it’s often referred to as the Key of Life which would unlock the gates of death, aka the cross of life.) It is linked with the Egyptian God Osiris and the Goddess Isis (the eternal mother and High Priestess who carries the Ankh in Her hand).

Kings and Pharoahs are also oftentimes shown with an Ankh to distinguish them from “mere mortals.” The loop of the Ankh (which represents the womb, the feminine discipline) is considered to be the feminine, and the “T” shape is considered to be the masculine (the masculine discipline or the Penis). Together, these symbols create life and reflect a continued existence. It is sometimes called the Key of the Nile (the river that provided water for Egypt to survive – the Ankh is often associated with water, air, and the sun rising over the horizon) which further reinforces the image of fertility and reproduction.

Of course, the Ankh can be further taken to symbolize the power to give and sustain life. With its deep Egyptian roots, it is no wonder that it is widely used within the Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt.

Today the Ankh is usually worn as an amulet (a protector, or something which is considered to bring good luck to the wearer – coming from the Latin word ‘amuletum’ which is defined as a ‘means of defence’) to extend the life of the living here on Earth. It is believed that the Ankh will bestow immortality on anyone who possesses it. It is believed that life energy emanating from the Ankh can be absorbed by anyone within a certain proximity. An Ankh serves as an antenna or conduit for the divine power of life that permeates the universe. The amulet also provides the wearer with protection from the evil forces of decay and degeneration. Many people are also buried with the Ankh in order to ensure their ‘life to come’ in the afterworld.

About The Author

Reverend Brenda Hoffman, is ordained by the Unitarian Life Church, and has been delivering holistic health and wellness advice for over 7 years since receiving a BA in psychology. As a home-based professional and mother of 1, she operates a holistic wellness network. She invites you over to to learn how to improve you and your family’s health.


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