The ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol of life. Also known as an Ansata (latin; handle) cross, it is a visual representation of a sandal strap. The horizontal and vertical bars of the lower tau cross represent the feminine and masculine energy, respectively. This combination of male and female symbols (the cross and circle) in the ankh suggest fertility and creative power. The top loop also symbolises the sun on the horizon, and suggests reincarnation and rebirth. The ankh appears frequently in Egyptian writings about rebirth, and this symbolism was adopted by Coptic Christians, especially gnostic sects, to symbolize the resurrection of Christ and the heavenly marriage. The ankh was an earlier form of the cross than the better known “Latin” cross.
|Gnostic Ankh, from the Gospel of Judas|
The Ankh is also considered to have meaning in Ritual magick and in Wiccan/Neopagan traditions, as a symbol of immortality and completion.
|Ankh with djed pillar||Christian-style ankh from Alexandria|