The Egyptian Ankh "Key of Life" Meaning
Definitely, the symbol of the Ankh had come across you once before while going through social media or the history books or even in magazines. But have you ever wondered what it really means and signifies?!
Let me take you on a quick journey, digging deep into the meaning of the Ancient Egyptian Ankh Motif and the transition in its meaning through the times.
The Egyptian Ankh Curved on The wall of the Pharaohs' Tombs
The Symbolism of the Ankh Over History
Over Ancient Egyptian history, the Ankh was a shining star in the Ancient Egyptian civilization. It was also known by different names in each of the Egyptian civilization stages. In the early dynasty, the Ankh was known as “the key of life”. The “Ankh” is mainly an Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic letter that was commonly drawn on the Ancient homes and tombs walls as a symbol of art.
It symbolizes life itself, and the wisdom of being alive and in power to judge with justice and fairness. It also represents eternal life through its loop as it has no beginning and no end. The Ankh was to obtain the long Life for its owners. Since the Ancient Egyptian believed that only those who speared justice and equality among people are the ones who deserve to live forever, achieving a successful succession.
The Egyptian Deities, holding the sacred Ankh
The Ankh & Ancient Egyptian Deities
Due to the Divinity of the Ankh, it was in a form of an eternal life gift, given by God to the Pharaoh and his family. It was especially commonly held in the hands of deities, or being given by them to the pharaoh, to represent their power to sustain life and to revive human souls in the afterlife. Through all the times, the Ankh is one of the major symbols in Ancient Egyptian history. It is associated with the Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. The Ancient Egyptian Deities such as Isis and Anubis are often depicted in the Ancient Egyptian scenes, placing the Ankh against the Dead person’s lips to revitalize his soul into life again after his death. Goddess Ma’at had her role also depicted holding Ankh in both of her hands on the Ancient tomb’s walls. Osiris as well was always shown in the Ancient Paintings, grasping an Ankh in his hand.
The Ankh Mirroring the Heaven on Earth
The Ankh as a Mirror
During The Middle Kingdom of Egypt, the “Ankh” word was used to refer to Mirrors. Some mirrors and Hand-mirrors at that time were made in the shape of an Ankh. The most famous mirror in an Ankh shape was that one found in King Tut’s Tomb. However, the association of the Ankh with the mirror did not occur by chance. The Egyptians believed that the afterlife is a mirror of life on earth. During the Festival of the Lanterns for the goddess Neith (One of the Egyptian deities, who was depicted holding the Ankh), all the Egyptian people were to burn oil Lamps through the Night, to reflect the stars, creating a mirror image of the heavens on the Earth. It was a soul meditation form by breaking the borders between the living and dead souls. So the living ones can speak with their dead family members or friends, or their lovers, re-gathered by the power of the Ankh.