In my blog titled Is Akhenaten’s Image of the Sun E=mc2 Written in Stone? and in Chapters 3 and 9 in The Light, I had a wonderful time exploring the deeper meaning of Akhenaten’s sun disk. I have now turned my attention toward the fabled ankh. The Egyptian ankh has miraculously made the jump from antiquity into our modern mindset. Most people are familiar with this ubiquitous symbol simply referred to as, the Key of Life. I couldn’t perceive why we called it this. Just looking at it, I didn’t see “life” per se. Was it given this name simply because it was often held by the Egyptian Gods or seen being fed to mere mortals?
While in Egypt, I often gazed without comprehension or connection at the ankh on statues, in pharaoh’s tombs, or chiseled into stones. I decided to try and dissect the ankh the same way I had looked at Akhenaten’s sun. There was the round loop, the side arms, and finally the long shaft. The symbol of life wasn’t giving up any secrets easily. I thought to myself…how and why do they get “life” out of this symbol? I was stymied. Some explanations equated it with the crosses of Christianity. I could see the jump. As I continued looking at the ankh from a symbolist view, things changed. I have John Anthony West and R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, the pioneers in the “Symbolist” school of Egyptology, to thank for their contributions.
Holding a souvenir metal ankh from my travels, I rolled it in my hand as I mentally fiddled with it. I accidently turned it upside down. Looking at it in this way caused me to reflect on the Vedic lingam and yoni that I had seen in Indian temples. Could it be that perhaps the ancient Egyptian ankh is an inverted lingam and yoni taken from the Vedic religion of India? Could a mystical idea such as this traveled in antiquity? The ankh is never portrayed in an upside down fashion in Egypt of course, but when you do invert it, the connection to a lingam and yoni becomes clearly visible. I wondered if the Key of Life was an adaptation? Or maybe it was the ankh that had been adapted by the Indians.
Either way that connection would indeed make the ankh the symbol of life. For the yoni and lingam of India is the sacred concept of male and female cosmic principles. Looking at the ankh…the round loop is the yoni, the central staff the lingam, and the middle bars are where they meet and the trough between them. Eureka…I could see where the mystical feminine and masculine components were found within the image of the ankh.
Take a look at the upside down ankh next to a lingam and yoni and decide for yourself if there isn’t perhaps a visual and symbolist connection between the two. I think it’s fascinating to consider the possibility of mystical knowledge traveling between civilizations in a long ago age.
* I offer my thanks to John Anthony West and R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz for their groundbreaking research. Their symbolist theory allowed me to comprehend the nature of symbols differently.