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The ibis-headed Thoth, an Egyptian god, holds an ankh. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Also known as the crux ansata, the ankh is a tau cross with a loop above it. It seems likely that the loop represents the female sexual organ and the tau cross the male. For this reason the ankh is considered a symbol of life, fertility and regeneration. DeTraci Regula suggested that it is derived from an African fetish doll of the type used to promote fertility. Count Goblet d'Alviella suggested that it derived from primitive Phoenician and Libyan images of the Goddess, as a narrow triangle surmounted by crossbars plus an oval head.

The ancient Egyptian word ankh means both "life" and "hand mirror." In Egyptian art, the ankh is carried by virtually every deity, symbolizing the gift of eternal life which they promised to their worshipers. The loop was frequently painted red and the cross white. There are many scenes of the ankh being applied to the nostrils of the dead, to bring them back to life.

The ankh is a common talisman, for protection and for fertility, and is worn by many Wiccans.

The Church of Wicca, based in a Welsh-Celtic tradition founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, uses—perhaps surprisingly, considering their background—an ankh as one of their working tools. They have both a standard ankh, for individual use, and a grand ankh, for coven use. Each is made of wood, usually willow fronds. The tool is used much as other traditions use the coven sword. The standard ankh is measured from the inside of the loop at the top to the base, and should be 2 feet, 8 1/2 inches. This is described by the Frosts as "one megalithic yard." The coven ankh is two megalithic yards or 5 feet, 5 inches.

There are some Wiccan traditions that are based on ancient Egyptian beliefs and teachings, which use the ankh in various ways. Most common, however, is as jewelry and/or talismans.


talisman ensuring everlasting life. [Egyptian Myth.: Jobes, 99]
References in periodicals archive ?
The middle grade fantasy Doris and the Ankh is now available on Amazon.
1) The full information of the translated text, which was published originally in French, is as follows: Theophile Obenga, "Hommage a Antenor Firmin (1850-1911), egyptologue hai'tien," ANKH 17 (2008): 132-147.
4% polymorphisms (25/220 SNPs) within the below listed 9 genes were found to have a statistically different distribution between cases and controls: NRC31, ANKH, VDR, ROR2, CALCR, IL6, COL1A2, CBG, and LRP4.
And he has worked to build an institution (Per Ankh Publishers) that is teaching and building up Africa's next generation of "conscious" writers.
He wears a blue T-shirt reading "I [Heart] KY" -- a souvenir from Kentucky, though also of course a play on New York's famous slogan -- and what looks like a cross around his neck though it's actually an Ankh, the ancient Egyptian symbol of reincarnation.
Temple of Ankh, Egyptian restaurant and hookah lounge, nearing completion at 58 Clinton Street [Bowery Boogie]
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On stage in front of a large, gold Ankh symbol flanked by two shirtless Egyptian male fan-bearers, five drag queens from Boston gyrated and strutted their stuff to pop music and then took it out into the audience - no holds barred.
Personally, I would just rather cosy up on the sofa with a man, and listen to her latest album - New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of The Ankh - all the way through.
The central character is Tut's queen, Ankh, and her object of entertainment, an apprentice called Carver.
The archeologists noted that the fragment, which depicts an arm and hand grasping a scepter and an early form of the ankh sign, was the first artifact of its type ever found in an archaeological site outside Egypt.
Here, next to a butcher's shop in High Street, I found the consulate of Ankh Morpork - a region of the fictional parallel universe in Terry's Discworld novels.