Sunday 13 October 2019

an ki = ankh

In the Lepenski Vir collection of the National museum in Belgrade are kept artefacts from the archaeological site of the same name. The objects date from 10th to 6th millennium BC. The collection consists of bone, horn and antler objects – needles, fishhooks, spatulas, and jewellery made of bones and shells, and artefacts made of chipped stone. Among the bone artefacts we find this:

I believe that this object as a symbolic representation of a pregnant woman. Mother and child. Creation of new life.

But the more we look at this object the more it looks familiar doesn't it? It looks like ankh, an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that was most commonly used in writing and in Egyptian art to represent the word for "life" and, by extension, as a symbol of life itself.

Early examples of the ankh sign date to the First Dynasty (c. 30th to 29th century BC). There is little agreement on what physical object the sign originally represented. Most scholars believe the sign is a knot formed of a flexible material such as cloth or reeds or rope... The below stone ankh was actually made to resemble ankh made from reeds.

This ankh is made by bending one piece of reed into a loop, and then tying it to a handle created from  another piece of reed bent to form T shape. Like this:

Here is one I made today :)

So we know actually what first Ankhs looked like, I believe...But is there anything that this original Ankh represented? Anything physical?

Here is something very interesting. Ankh looks very much like the strange object seen on Mesopotamian reliefs, the so called "Rod and Ring" symbol.

The Rod and ring symbol is a symbol that is depicted on Mesopotamian stelae, cylinder seals and reliefs. It is held by a god or goddess and in most cases is being offered to a king who is standing, often making a sacrifice, or otherwise showing respect. The symbol dates from the Neo-Sumerian Empire (c. 22nd to 21st century BC) to the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 911 and 609 BC). 

The best known examples of the symbol are from Code of Hammurabi stela

It is commonly explained as "a coil of measuring string and a yardstick". 

This is what a coil of measuring string and a yardstick would look like separately and being held in a hand:

I talked in detail about this symbol in detail in my post "Etemenanki". In this post I explained why I believe that this symbol is the earliest incarnation of the "square and compasses" symbol. 

In my post "Square and compasses" I talked about thy symbolism of these two measuring tools. 

The ancient Hebrews saw the universe as a stone built structure with the stone flat Earth as the base and the stone Heavenly dome as the roof. Knowing this, the idea of God being the Great Architect starts making a lot of sense. Only a great architect could have built such a magnificent stone universe...

That architect would have used the Compasses to draw the top of the universe, the great stone semi circular dome of Heavens. 

He would also have used the Square to draw the bottom of the universe, the great stone flat earth. 

And this is exactly how the Compasses and Square are positioned in the Masonic symbol: the Compasses at the top, representing the Heavens, the Square at the bottom, representing the Earth. 

This is a doodle that got me into trouble when I was in primary school. Father and Mother in an act of creating life :)

Looks familiar? Well it should be. It is the above Square (Mother Earth) and Compasses (Father Sky) image again...

It seems that Hebrews inherited this world view from the Sumerians.

Sumerians believed that both sky and earth were built out of stone. And they did see the sky as Father God An and Earth as Mother Goddess Ki.

Ok but what about measuring rod and measuring line?

Well if you were a builder and you wanted to draw a straight line, you would use a measuring stick. But if you wanted to draw an arch or a circle, you would not use compasses. You would use measuring line. Like this:

You take the measuring line, tie it to the central pole and then walk around the pole. As you walk you mark a circle with the centre in the pole. This predates compasses. Also, you can't use compasses to draw large arches or circles. You have to use measuring line. 

I talked about this in my post "Boaz and Jachin". 

So the original symbol of a mason was indeed a measuring rod and measuring line.

There is actually Serbian saying "Pomoću štapa i kanapa" (Using stick and rope) meaning "in the old primitive way"...

These two tools are also the symbols of Heaven and Earth. The measuring line, used for drawing arches, is the symbol of the Sky. And the measuring rod, used for drawing straight lines, is the symbol of Earth. They represent Sky Father and Earth mother. Put together, they represent the power of Sky and Earth to create life. 

Sumerians actually believed that An (the sky) and Ki (the earth) mated together and produced basically everything there is including all life. Have a look at this drawing:

An (Sky, Father) and Ki (Earth, Mother) create life (AnKi, Ankh).

Held together in a hand, they look very much like the Ankh symbol. 

When this symbol meaning "life" reached Egypt, where An and Ki meant nothing, AnKi (SkyEarth = FatherMother = Life) became corrupted to Ankh. 

That would mean that Sumerians venerated An and Ki before the begging of the 3rd millennium, before the first Ankh appeared in Egypt...

We know they venerated An (sky) and built ziggurats for him in the 4th millennium BC. And that these ziggurats had a "mating" platform at their top... Were the ziggurats built to bring Mother Earth (Ki) closer to Father Sky (An) so that they can mate (AnKi) and produce life? I believe so. You can read more about this in my post "Etemenanki". 

The ankh was one of the few ancient Egyptian symbols that continued to be used after the Christianization of Egypt during the 4th and 5th centuries AD.

According to Socrates of Constantinople, when Christians were dismantling Alexandria's greatest temple, the Serapeum, in 391 AD, they noticed cross-like signs inscribed on the stone blocks. Pagans who were present said the sign meant "life to come", an indication that the sign Socrates referred to was the ankh; Christians claimed the sign was their own, indicating that they could easily regard the ankh as a crux ansata.

This is crux ansata:

The explanation that the Ankh symbol meant "life to come" is very interesting indeed as AnKi = FatherMother literally means "life to come"...

What does the intercourse between the Father Sky and Mother Earth produce? Life. Living nature including us humans...Life is materialised divine, (sky) god who became (earth) matter.  

What did the intercourse between God and Mary (basically symbolical replacement for Mother Earth) produce? Christ who is God who became Man. God materialised. So based on the above analogy, Christ is just a symbol. Symbol of life itself. 

If Christ is life, living nature, and we are part of life, living nature, then we are Christ. We truly live and move and have our being in Christ...

If Christ is life, living nature, god who became matter, then we are all god materialised. Just like the mystics the world over have been teaching for millennia.

This is Christ on the cross from "Plaque from the Maskell ivories", AD 420-30, Rome 

This is also crux ansata, Ankh, AnKi, life...

Interestingly in Central Europe we find a curious type of "anthropomorphic" cross, known in Serbia as "Narodni krst" (Folk cross), which looks very much like Ankh...Her is one of these Ankh crosses from Serbia:

Do they symbolises eternal life through Christ who is Life? In Christ (Life, Living nature) we are immortal...We die only to be reborn as another living thing in Christ (Life, Living nature)...


  1. How about this?:

    Interestingly, the European version of the Ankh (the Venus symbol or female gender symbol) is also the alchemical symbol for Copper. Random coincidence?

  2. Thank you for this insightful post. The Ankh is indeed a combination of An and Ki, and the oval on top is a stylized representation of the Sumerian cuneiform for Earth, the symbol for Ki. The cross hatching disappeared over many iterations, during oral transmittance over Egyptian dynasties. The Ankh represents life and life force, which is constituted from earth and heaven, as many other ancient traditions will attest to, such as Chinese philosophies. The Egyptian landmarks we hold so dear are instead markers not only to us but also to outer space, to balance this interaction symbolized in the Ankh

  3. I would like to see if there's any connection to the Christian fish symbol that also looks to have come out of Mesopotamia/Sumer. Have you noticed any connections?

  4. Da li bi Janusov ključ mogao biti ankh?