Egyptian Ankh: Meaning and Origin

The Egyptian Ankh was used as an amulet and was depicted in the hands of the gods and pharaohs.

Surely you have already seen the famous Egyptian Ankh on more than one occasion. This curious and mysterious symbol appears in many movies, series, video games and also in literature. But what is it exactly? What does it symbolize? During ancient times, the Ankh was used as an amulet and was depicted in the hands of the gods and pharaohs.

In this article, we will delve into the meaning, origin and evolution of the Egyptian Ankh throughout history and its relationship with Egyptian mythology. If you are interested in the subject, I recommend that you continue reading.

What does the Egyptian Ankh mean?

The Egyptian ankh represents life and immortality

The Egyptian Ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol that represents life and immortality. It looks like a cross with a kind of handle at the top. The Egyptians used it as an amulet. In addition, it usually appears in the hands of the gods and pharaohs, as a way of representing the eternal life that was granted to them. It was also used as a religious symbol in representations of the gods and pharaohs. It was also common in funerary iconography to symbolize the resurrection of the deceased.


The exact origin of the Ankh symbol is unknown. However, there is a theory that its design is based on the shape of a key, since it was used to open the door of heaven in Egyptian mythology. It is also believed to be related to the Coptic cross, a Christian symbol used in Egypt. Another theory is that the Ankh is a representation of iron, which in Ancient Egypt was a highly valued metal, and its use as a symbol of life could come from the fact that something so valuable and difficult to obtain was seen as a representation of life. In any case, the Ankh became a very important symbol in Egyptian religion and culture, and remains a popular symbol today.

It should be noted that it has evolved little over the years, maintaining its original form. Nevertheless, its use and meaning has changed throughout history. In the ancient Egyptian civilization, the Ankh was a religious symbol and was used to represent eternal life and resurrection. It was also used as an amulet and was represented in the hands of the gods and pharaohs.

In the Coptic period, Christianity became a major religion in Egypt and the Ankh began to be used as a Christian symbol. To this day, the Ankh remains a popular symbol in Egyptian culture and is used as a symbol of life and immortality. It is also used as a symbol of religion and spirituality in general. In popular culture, the Ankh has become a symbol of the mysterious and ancient Egyptian civilization, and is frequently used in fashion, jewelry and decoration.

What god is related to the Egyptian Ankh?

The god related to the Egyptian ankh is Osiris

In the ancient Egyptian religion, The god often associated with the Ankh is Osiris, the god of death and resurrection. Osiris was the protector of souls in the world of the dead and was considered the god of eternal life. In Egyptian mythology, Osiris was believed to have been resurrected by his wife, Isis, through the use of an Ankh. For this reason he is considered as the god who grants eternal life. The Ankh is also depicted in the hands of other gods as Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, and in the hands of the pharaohs as a symbol of their own eternal life.

Osiris was the older brother of Seth, the god of violence and chaos, and of Isis, the goddess of magic and fertility. His wife and sister, Isis, is considered one of the most important goddesses in Egyptian religion. According to mythology, Osiris was killed by his brother Seth, who tore him to pieces and scattered his remains throughout Egypt. Isis collected Osiris's remains and rebuilt them, using the power of her magic to temporarily restore him to life and conceive his son Horus. With his temporary resurrection, Osiris became the god of resurrection and eternal life.

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Apart from death and resurrection, Osiris is also related to the cultivation of crops and agriculture, and was considered the protector of peasants and fertile land. He was also the judge of the dead in the world of the dead. The annual celebration of the Festival of Osiris commemorated his death and resurrection. In Egyptian religion, it was believed that by imitating Osiris's journey through death and resurrection, the Egyptians could achieve eternal life in the world of the dead. Therefore, the cult of Osiris was very popular among the common people, and his figure was venerated in temples and tombs throughout Egypt.

Osiris depiction

In Egyptian mythology, Osiris has various representations. One of the most common shapes is as a man with a bull's head. Thus it symbolized his role as god of agriculture and fertility. He also usually appears with a human head and a nude body. With this aspect it is frequent that the Ankh is present, to show its relationship to eternal life and resurrection.

Another common way of representing Osiris is as a man with a false beard and wearing a long robe and a crown with two ostrich feathers on his head. In this way he symbolized his role as king of the dead and judge of souls in the world of the dead. In funerary representations, he is often depicted as a man sitting cross-legged, holding the Ankh in one hand and the was-scepter in the other, symbolizing his role as protector of souls in the world of the dead.

As you can see, the Egyptian Ankh has always been a very present symbol in this culture and continues to stand out even today.

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