Meanings of Ancient Tarot Symbols - Ankh

Ankh is one of the Egyptian mystical Tarot symbols used in fortune telling. The symbol is composed of a loop situated at the top of a cross. The term ‘ankh’ literally means ‘the handle that has a shape of cross’. Early Egyptian symbolisms depict ankh as the picture of life, although some tarot scholars have suggested that the original meaning of the term ‘ankh’ is ‘the strap of the sandal’. However you interpret this symbol, it is one of the Tarot symbols that have become very popular. This is probably due to of its mystical significance.

Ankh is one of the Tarot symbols that represent the immortality and the equilibrium of life. Ancient Egyptian civilization has left us clear images of this tarot symbol by placing ankh on the pharaohs as the dead bodies were prepared for burial. Other pictures show some of the prominent figures in the Egyptian era holding ankh by the loop or by placing this tarot symbol over their breast.

Yet another meaning of the ankh is, that it embodies the sexual harmony between man and woman, because, according to some scholars of Tarot symbols, the vertical line of the ankh symbolizes the male reproductive organ (penis), while the elliptical shape, at the top, is said to be a symbol of the womb or vagina.

It was originally believed that the Trinity was composed of a mother, father and a son. However, radical Christians, trying to make Christianity a male oriented faith, suggested the removal of the loop, representing the womb, which transformed the ankh symbol into a cross. This belief has resulted in some scholars of Tarot symbols arguing that the idea of the cross, now used in the Christian faith, evolved from the ankh symbol.

Of the many Tarot symbols, ankh is known as the depiction of fertility and is frequently used to portray a lasting life with many generations to come.

If you look at this Tarot symbol, you will see that it can also look like a key and because of this, the ankh was also believed, by some, to be the key to the entrance of the river Nile. Tarot scholars have long debated that the mystical union of Osiris and Isis caused the river Nile to flood and, as a result of this flooding, the people of Egypt have been provided with all their basic needs ever since. Basically, the union of Osiris and Isis was believed to be the start of the creation of life and this phenomenon can be illustrated through the symbol of ankh.

When it comes to astrology, the ankh is one of the Tarot symbols used to signify one of the planet Venus. In alchemy, this tarot symbol is associated with copper and in the field of biology, ankh is often linked to the symbol of female sex.