The truth about the Ankh
Do you know the answer to life, the universe, and everything? If you do, you’re probably not reading this article. The truth is that we don’t know what the ankh represents.
Yes, that’s right - there is no consensus on what the ankh means just like there is no way to know for certain why ancient Egyptians chose to depict it in their artifacts. In fact, there are several theories about the meaning of the ankh. As much as these facts may annoy some people, it’s always good to be aware of other viewpoints before making claims or taking a stand on a topic.
The same goes for avoiding blind acceptance of ideas based solely on hearsay and popular opinion. So while we can’t give you definitive answers as to what the ankh means or why it was used in Egyptian culture throughout their long history, here are some facts that might surprise you if you were unaware of them.
The Ankh is a symbol of eternity
The Ankh is one of the oldest symbols known to man. It’s been used since the dawn of time, long before humans even began to think about writing down their history.
That’s why it appears so frequently in ancient Egyptian art and culture. And it’s also why the ankh has been used to represent eternity since its inception.
In fact, the Ancient Egyptians believed that even though time is cyclical and life is short, it’s still possible for something eternal to happen within the span of our lives.
That translates into a belief in immortality and eternal life. This idea was demonstrated by everything we see around us:
- the sun rising each morning and setting each evening;
- trees growing with new energy each day;
- flowers blooming with their fresh scent;
- rivers flowing as they always do without stopping for anyone or anything else; just like we do when we live our lives on Earth
Life exists beyond our physical bodies, but not beyond death. And that’s why human beings believe that they are living forever because they are living on after their physical bodies die out as well as after this world is destroyed altogether.
The Ankh was a symbol of eternity and immortality. It represented the idea that there is more to life than just the physical body, but that it is also possible for something eternal to happen within the span of our lives.
The Ankh symbol was often used as a representation of life, fertility, and rebirth - all things that were associated with the sun god Ra and his cult.
In ancient Egypt’s religion, Ra was considered to be the sun god who brought light into the world, which is why Ra’s cult was so popular. The Ankh represents this same idea: light from Ra brings life and rebirth into this world, just as he brings light into our lives when we look up at him each morning.
Image Source: FreeImages
History of the Symbol
The Ankh was depicted many times over in Egyptian art (and later on in Greek art) throughout all three periods of Egyptian history - Pre-dynastic (6000 – 3200 BCE), Dynastic (3200 – 3150 BCE), and Hellenistic (3150 – 30 BCE).
We can find a depiction of an Ankh came in a relief at Deir el-Bahri on the west bank of the Nile River in Egypt. The relief was created around the time of King Tutankhamun’s death (1341 BCE) and it depicts the king holding a staff in his hand. The Ankh is depicted as a serpent wrapped around the staff, which represents life itself.
Egyptian art still used the Ankh symbol during the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 BCE), when Egypt was ruled by a Greek Pharaoh named Cleopatra . Cleopatra would later become one of history's most powerful rulers, even being married to Julius Caesar, who ended up becoming Rome's first Emperor.
The Ankh is a Symbol of Life Flow
The ankh has a long history of use as a symbol of life. It’s also been used to represent death, which is why it was often depicted on tomb walls as a funerary symbol. But there’s more to the ankh than that, and its meaning has changed over time. It’s most commonly associated with resurrection, but it also means rebirth and renewal in other contexts.
For instance, the ankh was used in Christian symbolism to represent the Virgin Mary – which is why some people believe that the ankh represents Mary.
It also means rebirth in ancient Egyptian mythology and is said to be a representation of Osiris (the god of the afterlife), who was believed to be resurrected after his death. In other words, the ankh represents rebirth – not just for Osiris but for everyone who ever lived or will live again.
It might be said that rebirth for all Egyptians meant resurrection for their king – which is why every pharaoh’s name was written on ankh seals (Osiris).
There are several theories about what this means:
one is that the ankh symbolizes immortality, which is why the Egyptians believed it would bring life after death.
- it was used to symbolize renewal and rebirth – not just for the pharaoh, but for all of humanity. In Egypt, there were two main sources for this type of symbolism:
- The first was that the ankh represented life – not just Pharaoh’s life, but all of humanity’s life – which is why it was often depicted on tomb walls in a way that looked like a phoenix rising from its ashes.
- The second source is that it represented resurrection – both resurrection of Osiris and rebirth in general.
- This means that the ankh was associated with both death and rebirth – something we can see today when people write their names on tomb walls as well as when they use it as a symbol for their lives (as well as their families).
in addition to these meanings, there are several symbols found within ancient Egyptian culture that are connected with any number of different themes.
We’ve discussed some interesting facts about the ankh, including the ankh’s meaning and origin, but we still don’t know what the ankh means or why it was used in ancient Egyptian culture. It’s important to keep these facts in mind as we continue to explore the ankh’s history and symbolism.
The ankh is a symbol that has a variety of meanings, and it’s used in many religious contexts. The ankh may not have a unique meaning in ancient Egyptian culture, but it’s a symbol that has been used in multiple cultural contexts throughout history. Overall, the ankh is a symbol that is representative of the key of life, fertility, death, and rebirth.
Used as a symbol of life, rebirth, or resurrection, the ankh is a powerful image. It’s appropriate for any kind of celebration or ceremony – whether it’s a funeral service or a wedding reception. You can use your ankh to help make your message clear to everyone you meet: “I love you with all my heart” is just one way you can use this powerful image.