Sometimes also spelled Anhk.
An Ankh is a cross having a loop for its upper vertical arm.
The Ankh, known in Latin as a crux ansata ("handle-shaped cross"), is the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for "life". The physical appearance of an Ankh suggests that perhaps it's original meaning was a sandal strap, although it has also been seen representing a magical knot.
The Ankh has also been used in other societies and has different meanings. The vampurical meaning, for instance, is a "happy, ever-lasting life".
The Ankh is found inscripted in ancient Egyptian tombs (such as King Tutankhamen), and gods and pharaohs are often depicted holding an Ankh. The Ankh also forms part of the hieroglyphic concepts such as health and happiness. Ankh's were also used for oath taking in early Egyptian society.
The Ankh is also one of the basis for the Christian cross (the other of which is the swastika), although it is said that the Ankh represents the unity of the male and the female, which is the basis for eternal life the upper oval represents the womb of the woman, and the lower vertical line represents the sexual organ of the male. Symbolically, the removal of the female womb from the Christian cross represents the removal of women from the center of the trinity (which was the mother, father, and son, but is now the father, son, and holy spirit). The ankh is also a sign of fertility and is now used as an attribute or sacred emblem, symbolizing generation or enduring life.
In modern times the ankh has been worn as jewelry by many Neo-pagans, witches, magicians and occultists.
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Sources: (1) Leeming, David Adams, Encyclopedia of Creation Myths, ABC-Clio Inc; (2) Jones, Lindsay, The Encyclopedia of Religion, MacMillan Reference Books; (3) Steiger, Brad and Sherry H., The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, Thomson Gale.
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