Posted on January 18 2020
There exist a lot of symbols that people appreciate in their lives in different forms, but despite this fact, people are not aware of their meaning. Certain symbols are being displayed commonly, and people keep on using them in arts, outfit designs, portraits, jewelry, etc. The true meanings of these symbols are unknown to people. Among such commonly used symbols, one symbol is known as the ankh. You will see this symbol being used and displayed by people and you may even recognize it, but will not know its meaning. It was a famous symbol in ancient Egypt, also called Egyptian Cross. Let’s find out more about it by digging in.
The ANKH - EGYPTIAN CROSS is considered one of the most recognizable symbols throughout the ancient ages of Egypt. It is in shape similar to a tear along with a cross attached below it. According to sources, the tear-shaped hoop above the cross represents the pathway of the sun. Previously, in ancient times, the ankh was used a lot in arts, artifacts, and other areas. The main aim of using it was to represent the importance of life. Not only was it used to describe life on this planet, but it also represents life coming after death.
Apart from symbolizing life, it also represents immortality and reincarnation. People in ancient Egypt thought that the symbol possesses a lot of power. Hence, they wore it for protection against negative scenarios and events.
Looking further into the history of the ankh, it is observed that the symbol was gifted to Pharaoh. It was gifted to wish a good long life and best wishes. Not only it was gifted by common people, but hieroglyphs show God and Goddesses gifting the Egyptian cross to existing rulers. It is observed to be present on tombs and different death masks as well. People painted it on death masks as well so that they can represent it to people who are dead. They believed it to represent the pathway of people killed towards their eternal life.
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WHERE ANKH BEINGS - THE ORIGIN:
The origin of the ankh is still not confirmed and is similar to a mystery. One of the Egyptologists, E.A. Wallis Budge thought it might have come as the belt buckle of the mother goddess Isis. He equated the symbol with Tjed. Another person named Wolfhart Westendorf also gave his idea about the ankh. According to him, the knot of the mother goddess (Tjed) and the ankh was used long ago as something serving as ties on ceremonial girdles.
Other than this, there are a lot of different theories providing with their own ideas regarding its origin. Some say that it represents the sun rising from the horizon; some say it is a stylized person. Others believe that it is a combination of male and female symbols. These symbols are named as Isis and Osiris. Both of them represent heaven and earth. Hence the ankh is referred to as the symbol of life.
The key shape of this Egyptian cross has also led people to believe the fact that it can unlock the gates of death for people.
AN ULTIMATE GIFT OF LIFE:
If you have ever observed some ancient Egyptian temples, you will see many scenes painted on them where there is a king being offered the ankh by the god and goddess. As discussed earlier, people considered it a symbol of life on earth as well as eternal life.
There is a painting that shows a goddess holding the ankh under the nose of a queen. It showed that she received her breath from the goddess through the ankh. This goddess was named Hathor. Hathor was a powerful goddess linked with women's sexuality and motherhood. She was considered the one to protect joy and happiness.
Also, she was considered the goddess of foreign lands. She worked in a lot of mines around the countries serving to be a goddess of miners.
The queen who received the ankh by the goddess Hathor was one of the popular queens present during the ancient era of Egypt.
Other than this, many other paintings are present in such places where the goddess is passing the symbol to a ruler.
Now, as we have mentioned the goddess and their link with the ankh, let’s talk about the most popular goddess named Isis.
GODDESS ISIS AND THE ANKH:
During the early dynastic period, the ankh became very popular among people. It was because, at the same time, Isis and Osiris became quite known. At first, the cult of Osiris was very popular. But after the arrival of the cult of Isis, it started to dominate even more though it told the same story and promised to provide similar rewards.
Gradually, Osiris became a secondary character in the story of his own resurrection and re-birth.
When at the beginning of the early dynastic period, the cult of Osiris was the one considered dominating. He was the god who died and was born again after his death. Hence, he was the one giving life to others, as well. However, then came the mother goddess Isis, who was associated with motherhood and fertility. Later on, she joined Osiris as his devoted wife too. She was the one who saved Osiris from his murder and gave him his life back.
Other gods have been holding the ankh too, but Goddess Isis had it the most among all. Isis promised eternal life to people. She could bring back life to people just like she did for her husband, Osiris. Hence, the ankh is associated with her who is able to rescue one’s soul after death and bless them with another life.
The ankh has several other meanings as well. Here we can have a look at a few of its meanings separately.
FERTILITY MEANING OF THE ANKH:
According to sources, the loop area of the ankh was used to present the female organ. While the male organ was represented by the line present below the loop. People believed that this symbol shows the perfect union of a man and a woman.
They say that this is how a man and woman should be joined together so they can be aligned in the way of perfect harmony giving birth to a new life.
In the symbol, arms stretching towards outside represent children that were given birth as a result of their union.
SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE ANKH:
If we look at it from a spiritual point of view, people believed that it is a key that contains all the hidden knowledge about the world. The loop in the ankh represented an eternal soul. It has no beginning and no end.
Whereas, the cross in the ankh was seen as representing death. Hence, spiritually it was considered to contain a lot of mysteries not only about life here on earth but also all those about death.
DOES IT HAVE ANY LINK WITH CHRISTIANITY?
With the popularity of Christian religion, old religions were banned and forgotten by people. Many other symbols like Tjed are among them, but the ankh still is in use.
Instead of losing its importance and status, it managed to take another role but maintained its previous meaning of valuing life. But eventually, it lost its loop that was present above the cross. It then became the Christian cross which is worn by the people who believe in Jesus Crist like the ankh was worn by its believers. The reason for and meaning of wearing a Christian cross is almost the same as the ankh. Both are worn to identify with their God and promises made by God.
IS THERE ANY USE OF EGYPTIAN CROSS TODAY?
After having a look at all the descriptions given above, you should now know what do the ankh symbolizes. It is now clear that it has its link with ancient times, but interestingly it is quite common today as well.
One can observe it commonly in different areas around the globe. You can see them incorporated on tattoo designs, jewelry, and other stuff related to modern fashion. It is widely appreciated by men and women as it gives an aesthetic look. People are seen buying things with the ankh on it and observed wearing t-shirts and jewelry items with it. Not only it looks good and fashionable but it symbolizes the value of life.
Among all the other areas where the ankh is being used, jewelry is considered to be the most popular. Incredible pieces of jewelry are taken and shaped into this Egyptian cross. Among the youngsters, the gold chain of its shape is quite popular. They wear it for fashion and consider it helpful for their long life and prosperity as this is what it symbolizes. They are designed in several sizes and designs that can match the taste of different people. Men wear the chains with it on them too as it looks pretty much appealing and suits modern kinds of outfits.
The symbol is quite complex. On one side, it emphasizes the importance of life, and on the other side, it is very broad and full of power. The strong meaning possessed by it is one of the biggest reasons why it is still in use today.
We have used it in our hilarious Earrings: Egyptian Ankh Earrings.