Ankh: The Union of The Feminine and Masculine for Life
When I was in Cairo in Egypt I visted the Cairo Museum. I was struck by how often I saw the Ankh and I felt it was significant. When I travelled to Athens in Greece I found a simple necklace with the Ankh which I wear today.
It is my wish that men and women find their union in truth, love and peace. I wear this symbol with that intention in mind. Until women and men find their unity, the world will be in imbalance. When we unite both the feminine and the masculine as love, the humanity can find its true strength and potential. There is much work to be done and for men, they are going to have to look deep within themselves to find and unite with the feminine. For it is not a weakness to feel or cry and share ones humanity, vulunerability is indeed the greatest strength. A man who is unafraid of his feminine side is deeply attractive to women and it provides the real stability for children. It is not about protecting women, it is about joining with them and visa versa. Just note I am a woman so I will write from a female perspective, I also see many females that need to find their feminine as well. So in truth, it is about the balanced energy of masculine and feminine coming together, both may have to change to bring balance.
This is the meaning behind the Ankh.
Ancient Egyptian symbol of life, fertility and the union of male and female. It appears frequently in Egyptian writings about resurrection and is sometimes referred to as the Key of the Nile. In the Wiccan/Neopagan traditions, the Ankh is often used as a symbol of immortality and completion.
Wikipedia explains what it is as follows.
The Ankh (U+2625 ☥ or U+132F9
The origin of the symbol remains a mystery to Egyptologists, and no single hypothesis has been widely accepted. One of the earliest suggestions is that of Thomas Inman, first published in 1869:
It is by Egyptologists called the symbol of life. It is also called the “handled cross”, or crux ansata. It represents the male triad and the female unit, under a decent form. There are few symbols more commonly met with in Egyptian art. In some remarkable sculptures, where the sun’s rays are represented as terminating in hands, the offerings which these bring are many a crux ansata, emblematic of the truth that a fruitful union is a gift from the deity.
E. A. Wallis Budge postulated that the symbol originated as the belt-buckle of the mother goddess Isis, an idea joined by Wolfhart Westendorf with the notion that both the ankh and the knot of Isis were used in many ceremonies. Sir Alan Gardiner speculated that it represented a sandal strap, with the loop going around the ankle. The word for sandal strap was also spelled ʿnḫ, although it may have been pronounced differently.
In their 2004 book The Quick and the Dead, Andrew Hunt Gordon and Calvin W. Schwabe speculated that the ankh, djed, and was symbols have a biological basis derived from ancient cattle culture (linked to the Egyptian belief that semen was created in the spine), thus:
* the Ankh, symbol of life, thoracic vertebra of a bull (seen in cross section)
* the Djed, symbol of stability, base on sacrum of a bull’s spine
* the Was, symbol of power and dominion, a staff featuring the head and tail of the god Set, “great of strength”
Egyptian academics, in particular those at the University of Cairo, aver that the ankh has been over-interpreted and that it is representative of the pivotal role of the Nile in the country. The oval head is said to represent the Nile delta, with the vertical mark representing the path of the river and the East and West arms representing the two sides of the country and their unification.
The ankh appears frequently in Egyptian tomb paintings and other art, often at the fingertips of a god or goddess in images that represent the deities of the afterlife conferring the gift of life on the dead person’s mummy; this is thought to symbolize the act of conception. Additionally, an ankh was often carried by Egyptians as an amulet, either alone, or in connection with two other hieroglyphs that mean “strength” and “health” (see explication of Djed and Was, above). Mirrors of beaten metal were also often made in the shape of an ankh, either for decorative reasons or to symbolize a perceived view into another world.
The ankh was almost never drawn in silver; as a sun-symbol, the Egyptians almost invariably crafted important examples of it (for tombs or other purposes) from the metal they most associated with the sun, gold. A similar metal such as copper, burnished to a high sheen, was also sometimes used.
A symbol similar to the ankh appears frequently in Minoan and Mycenaean sites. This is a combination of the sacral knot (symbol of holiness) with the double-edged axe (symbol of matriarchy) but it can be better compared with the Egyptian tyet which is similar. This symbol can be recognized on the two famous figurines of the chthonian snake goddess discovered in the palace of Knossos. Both snake goddesses have a knot with a projecting loop cord between their breasts. In the Linear B (Mycenean Greek) script, ankh is the phonetic sign za.
The ankh also appeared frequently in coins from ancient Cyprus and Asia Minor (particularly the city of Mallus in Cilicia). In some cases, especially with the early coinage of King Euelthon of Salamis, the letter ku, from the Cypriot syllabary, appeared within the circle ankh, representing Ku(prion) (Cypriots). To this day, the ankh is also used to represent the planet Venus (the namesake of which, the goddess Venus or Aphrodite, was chiefly worshipped on the island) and the metal Copper (the heavy mining of which gave Cyprus its name).
David P. Silverman notes the striking example of how the depiction of the Ancient Egyptian Ankh was preserved by the Copts in their representation of the Christian cross, the coptic cross.