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The Ankh

Opening of the Mouth Ceremony - Beliefs

The hieroglyph for the Ankh means, “the breath of life”, with the Djed it is one of the most important symbols in all of Ancient Egypt. To learn more about the Djed, click here. It grew in popularity with the rise of the Cults of the Goddess Isis and the God Osiris who were key Deity’s associated with the Ankh. Goddesses Isis being the Mother Goddess who brought life and God Isis being the Guardian of the Afterlife.

The Egyptians often used it as an Amulet to ward off evil as it was a symbol for mortal existence as well as the Afterlife. This continued in the Amarna Period when Pharaoh Akhenaten banned the worship of all Deities apart from the Aten Sun God. To learn more about the Amarna period, click here.

The Coptic Christians adopted the use of the Ankh, keeping its meaning as a symbol of eternal life. As time went on the symbol changed to a cross during the 4th Century AD. As a comparison, at the same time that the Coptic Egyptian Christians were using the Ankh, the Christians in Rome were using the symbol of a fish.


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