Ankh Spiritual Meaning and Hidden Symbolism

ankh spiritual meaning
The Ankh is the most prominent ancient Egyptian symbol. Also known as the key of life or the Nile, the Ankh has many hidden spiritual meanings and symbols. The Ankh is well-known as a symbol of fertility, but it also represents air, water, and the sun.

The symbol looks quite similar to the Christian cross, but instead of the vertical bar, the shape of the Ankh has a teardrop on the top.

What is the Ankh Symbol?

The Ankh symbol has an inverted teardrop on the top and the usual cross at the bottom.

Other Names of the Ankh Symbol

  • Egyptian cross
  • Handled cross
  • Cross with a handle
  • Coptic cross
  • Crux Ansata

It’s still being determined precisely when the Ankh originated. Still, its first traces can be drawn back to 3000 BCE during the first Egyptian dynasty.

What is the Ankh Spiritual Meaning?

The Ankh is generally regarded as a symbol of eternal life and fertility. But there are other symbolic meanings associated with this symbol from ancient Egypt.

For example, the Ankh represents air, water, and the sun. Also, this symbol is often found in sarcophagi or stone coffins, many believe it symbolizes the union of heaven and earth.

Apart from these, here are some other meanings associated with the Egyptian Ankh.

ankh spiritual meaning
The Ankh means fertility, but it can also symbolize air, water, and the sun.

The Ankh and Royalty

There were common beliefs that gods handed over the Ankh to pharaohs or kings, which granted them immortality. In ancient times, pharaohs or kings were often considered divine personalities.

During that time, only the kings or pharaohs were allowed to wear the Ankh. It was not accessible to the general public.

Some earlier symbols or hieroglyphics also showed Ankhs being fed to the pharaohs, which symbolized granting them eternal life.

The Ankh symbol was also curved on the tombs of Kings because it also symbolized opening the gates to heaven.

The Ankh Unites Isis & Osiris

The Ankh is also called the key of the Nile because it symbolized the union of Egyptian Gods Isis and Osiris.

As per the old myths, the Nile river flooded when Isis and Osiris united, bringing fertility to Egypt’s dry land. This is another reason the Ankh is considered a powerful symbol of fertility.

The Ankh as a Pagan Symbol

The Ankh was the popular symbol of Egyptian Neopaganism, Kemetism, or Neterism. People who believed in pagan thoughts adopted the symbol to show their rejection of the material world.

Pagans also see the Ankh as a symbol of life, rebirth, power, and wisdom.

The Ankh as a Symbol of Fertility

The sexual union between a male and female ultimately leads to the creation of life. The Egyptians used the Ankh symbol to represent this union and fertility.

And because the Ankh symbolizes sexual union, it became a sign of fertility. People associated it with the life to come. According to a few, the Ankh represents the male and female sexual organs.

The cross and the loop stand for male and female sexual organs, again symbolizing the creation of life.

ankh spiritual meaning
Fertility and sexual union is an important meaning behind the Ankh symbol.

The Ankh as a Christian Symbol

When Christians occupied Egypt during the 4th and 5th centuries, Coptic Christians adopted the Ankh symbol as a symbol of Christianity.

Christians didn’t want to adopt symbols of the ancient Egyptian religion. But that’s not so with the Ankh because the Ankh represented rebirth, the afterlife, or the eternal life as promised by Jesus Christ.

Coptic Christians adopted the Ankh cross as Crux Ansata, meaning the cross with a handle as there is a circle on top of the cross.

What Power Does The Ankh Symbol Have?

As mentioned, the Ankh symbolizes the power of the afterlife or eternal life. Additionally, the Ankh holds the power of creation of life and is a symbol of fertility.

ankh spiritual meaning
The Ankh is also known as a sign for the protection of life.

Does the Ankh Symbolize Protection?

Yes, the Ankh also symbolizes protection. It represents the protection of life. Also, it keeps you protected from evil spirits and any negative thoughts that can distract you.

People in earlier times wore the metal Ankh amulets for personal protection. And they kept wood, clay, and stone carvings of the Ankh to protect their home.

If you’ve found this article helpful, check out a similar post on the snake eating itself symbol.


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

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