African Ankh meaning

African Ankh meaning

The Ankh Cross is the symbol of the black people

It is the symbol of physical and eternal life for the Egyptians. This symbol is also called the ankh cross. In the Egyptian writing, the Medou Neter, ankh means "to live" or "life". This cross is the symbol of immortality because it is carried in the hand by all the gods but it is also a symbol of power of the pharaoh. It can also be seen as a key opening the door to the kingdom of the dead. It therefore inspires mainly eternal life and power.

A similarity can be found among some African peoples. Among the Dogon, the Ankh cross is a symbol of life, the same symbolic meaning as for the ancient Egyptians "The sign is said "adinya kini" = life. The cross also means :

  • Wonki for the Fulani,
  • Longué for the Douala,
  • Akwaaba for the Akan...

The form of this symbol is found in other cultures, where it appeared independently. In many cases, it also represents a symbol of femininity, fertility, or more generally of life. You can find it also in : 

  • Ashanti fertility dolls called Akwaba
  • the sign of Tanit, Phoenician goddess in charge of fertility, births and growth;
  • the astronomical symbol of PAlla (⚴, U+26B4).
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What does the Ankh symbol represent in Africa ?

It also represents the power associated with the elements such as water, air, sun. Gods and kings are often depicted wearing the Ankh cross.

For the Gods, the loop of the ankh materializes femininity and its central section, masculinity; the ankh thus becomes when associated with Osiris and Isis, the symbol of union to give birth to a new life. Depending on the gods it accompanies, its meaning varies. It is the punishment in the hands of Sekmet, warrior deity and daughter of Ra and the abundance of the living waters of the Nile for the god Hapi. 

=> Read more about Ankh Cross in the black culture

For the kings, it corresponds to the gift of immortality given by the God Amun, because they are the representation of the divine on earth. It was placed on the nose of the deceased pharaoh to represent the breath of life he will have in the afterlife. Its key shape made it the symbol opening the passage to eternal life after death.

The Ankh protects the one who wears it against evil forces, but also the one who approaches it, it also serves as an antenna or conduit to the divine power of life that permeates the universe .

Three crosses represented together determine life, health and strength (life, health, strength).

Lying down, it represents the Double Sexual Attributes.
The loop of the ankh materializes femininity and its central section, masculinity the symbol of union to give birth to a new life.

In Astrology, it represents the planet Venus, and in Alchemy the element Copper; 

african ankh meaning


Black Culture and Ancient Egyptian civilisation

On one of the walls of the site of Mpumalanga (actual South Africa) that you have in the image, is located the oldest representation of the Ankh Cross attested in history (image at the bottom of the image on the top left). Indeed one recognizes well in the image the Ankh Cross (Symbol of the eternal life) in the heart of the solar divine light disc (Ra).

These African symbols (solar symbol and Ankh cross) are found abundantly as everyone knows on the frescoes and documents of the pharaonic era, as can be seen on the image on the right where the pharaoh Akhenaten making offerings, receives divine blessings, blessings represented by the rays of light that end with hands giving life, strength and health in abundance (symbolized by the Ankh cross) to the pharaoh.

These symbols on the ruins of the site of Mpumalanga show that spirituality was known and practiced by our ancestors since the dawn of time, well before the Pharaonic era. It is from this spirituality coming from the depths of the continent and practiced by our ancestors since the dawn of time, that the Pharaonic civilization inherited and perpetuated, that is why we find these same symbols in the Pharaonic era.

Ancient egypt african cross

This shows that the spirituality practiced in the Nile Valley (Pharaonic civilization) is the spirituality of our ancestors since the dawn of time. And this shows once again, the most distant origins of the Pharaonic civilization. At the end of our analysis, we will quote the words of an important European sociologist, Professor Gurvitch, who recognized the truth, saying:

"The negro-African culture has given the whole world an example of extraordinary vitality and vigor. All the vitalist conceptions, religious as well as philosophical, I am convinced, came from this source. THE CIVILIZATION OF ANCIENT EGYPT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF NEGRO-AFRICAN CULTURE, AND WAS MOST PROBABLY ONLY ITS SUBLIMATION". Georges Gurvitch, special issue of the journal Présence Africaine, April 1959. Quoted by Cheikh Anta Diop, les fondements économiques et culturels d'un État fédéral d'Afrique noire, Présence Africaine, 1974, P 15.

For Professor Gurvitch, the civilization of the Pharaonic era is the result of the development and refinement to the highest degree (sublimation) of the culture that existed in Africa since the beginning of time. It is enough to ask if wearing an ankh cultural is appropriation

The spirituality that we find in the pharaonic era, spirituality that we inherited from our ancestors, was therefore the spirituality practiced in Africa since the dawn of time.

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What is globally the Ankh cross 

The Ankh is considered as the "symbol of both physical and eternal life." It is recognized as the "original cross," a strong emblem constructed by Africans in Ancient Egypt.

The Ankh is well recognized to mean life in the language of Ancient Kemet (Land of the Blacks), which the Greeks dubbed Egypt. It is also a sign for the ability to provide and preserve life. The Ankh is commonly connected with tangible things such as water (which Egyptians thought could renew life), air, and the sun, as well as the Gods, who are usually depicted bearing an Ankh.

The Egyptian ruler is frequently connected with the Ankh, either as the possessor of an Ankh (giving life to his people) or as the recipient of an Ankh (or stream of Ankhs) from the Gods. There are various instances made of metal, clay, and wood that have been discovered. It is typically worn as an amulet to prolong life and placed on the mummy to stimulate the resurrected spirit.

To separate themselves from regular mortals, the Gods and Kings are frequently shown wearing the Ankh. The Ankh represented endless life and gave immortality on anyone who held it. It is thought that the Ankh's life energy may be absorbed by anybody in close contact. An Ankh acts as a conduit or antenna for the divine power of life that pervades the universe. The amulet is a potent charm that protects the wearer against the evil energies of decay and degeneration.

The Gods control the Ankh's loop. In the Early Dynastic Period, it was linked with Isis and Osiris. The Ankh's Loop also signifies the feminine discipline or the (Womb), whilst the elongated segment represents the male discipline or the (Penis). These two holy particles then combine to generate life.

The Ankh was employed in numerous religious and cultural rites involving monarchy due of its tremendous appeal. The Ankh was an important relic discovered in Tutankhamun's Treasures. The circle signifies eternal life, while the cross beneath it depicts the material plane. The Ankh is known as the "Crux Ansata," and it is of Egyptian origin, dating back to the Early Dynastic Period. It appears frequently in artwork of various materials and in relief, portraying the Gods.

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"Starting from the idea that ancient Egypt is part of the Negro universe, it was necessary to verify it in all the possible fields, racial or anthropological, linguistic, sociological, philosophical, historical, etc. If the starting idea is correct, the study of each of these different domains must lead to the corresponding sphere of the African Negro universe. The whole of these conclusions will form a bundle of concordant facts which eliminate the fortuitous case. In this lies the proof of our initial hypothesis. A different method would have led only to a partial verification which would prove nothing. It was necessary to be exhaustive" (Cheikh Anta DIOP, Antériorité des civilisations nègres - mythe ou vérité historique ?, Paris, Présence Africaine, 1967, p. 275).

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