The ancient Egyptians used a unique language of hieroglyphs and pictures. The Ankh is one of the most commonly used. So what does it represent, how important is it to Kemetic life and what other cultures used it?
Simply put the Ankh is the symbol of life. It is especially commonly shown in the hands of deities, or being passed to them by the Pharaoh, acknowledging their powers to sustain life now and in the afterlife. The Ankh is made up of three consonants and these meant “alive, sound and healthy” and these words were used in Egyptian phrases as a greeting and blessing. The same three consonants are used in the Egyptian word for mirror and floral bouquet. In fact many mirrors, mirror cases and floral bouquets were made in the shape of the Ankh.
Kemetic teachings show us that Ankh amulets were worn to as impart a quality life followed by a safe passage into the afterlife. The earliest surviving amulets were often made of-gold or electrum (a gold/silver alloy). Syrians and Canaanites in the Near East adopted the Ankh and also used it to represent fertility. Later, the Minoans incorporated the Ankh into their artwork. The Ankh was one of the few ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that was adopted by converted Christians in the fourth and fifth centuries. Socrates noted that when Christians were dismantling Alexandria’s greatest temple in 391 CE, they noticed cross like symbols on the stone blocks. Unconverted Egyptians present said these represented the life that was to come, whereas Christians claimed it as their own. Hence the Ankh is still worn today by both Christians and pagans. Whatever your beliefs, it is viewed by both groups as a symbol of life.
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