December 28, 2010 Comments Off on Cross



Definition: Cross

1. Christian symbol: a long vertical bar intersected at right angles, usually about two-thirds up, by a shorter horizontal bar, used as a symbol of Christianity or of the Crucifixion. The shape refers to the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

2. wooden structure Jesus Christ died on: the wooden cross on which, according to the Bible, Jesus Christ was crucified and died

3. cross-shaped medal or insignia: a medal or insignia shaped like a cross

4. wooden execution post with crossbar: an upright wooden post with a shorter post fixed across it at right angles toward the top, on which, formerly, people were nailed or hanged in public executions

5. cross-shaped symbol: a symbol or emblem in the form of a stylized cross. A cross is usually formed by two intersecting lines or bands, of any length and meeting at any angle, but sometimes by a main line or band intersected by shorter ones. derivation: [Pre-12th century. Via Old Norse kross< Old Irish cros< Latin crux]

6.  Ankh: The symbolic representation of both Physical and Eternal life. It is known as the original cross, which is a powerful symbol that was first created by Africans in Ancient Egypt. More info

The Ankh was, for the ancient Egyptians, the symbol (the actual Hieroglyphic sign) of life but it is an enduring icon that remains with us even today as a Christian cross. It is one of the most potent symbols represented in Egyptian art, often forming a part of decorative motifs.

The ankh seems at least to be an evolved form of, or associated with the Egyptian glyph for magical protection, sa. However, what the sign itself represents is often disputed. For example, Sir Alan Gardiner thought that it showed a sandal strap with the loop at the top forming the strap, but if so, the symbolism is obscure and so his theory has found little real favor early on. However, this interpretation seems to have received some acceptance among modern writers. It would seem that the ancient Egyptians called that part of the sandal ‘nkh (exact pronunciation unknown). Because this word was composed of the same consonants as the word “life”, the sign to represent that particular part of the sandal, was also used to write the word “life”.

Another theory holds that the ankh was symbolic of the sunrise, with the loop representing the Sun rising above the horizon, which is represented by the crossbar. The vertical section below the crossbar would then be the path of the sun.

Wolfhart Westendorf felt it was associated with the tyet emblem, or the “knot of
Isis”. He thought both were ties for ceremonial girdles. Winfried Barta connected the ankh with the royal cartouche in which the king’s name was written, while others have even identified it as a penis sheath. The presence of a design resembling a pubic triangle on one ankh of the New kingdom seems to allow for the idea that the sign may be a specifically sexual symbol. In fact, guides in Egypt today like to tell tourists that the circle at the top represents the female sexual organ, while the stump at the bottom the male organ and the crossed line, the children of the union. However, while this interpretation may have a long tradition, there is no scholarly research that would suggest such an exact meaning.

The ankh, on some temple walls in Upper Egypt, could also symbolize water in rituals of purification. Here, the king would stand between two gods, one of whom was usually Thoth, as they poured over him a stream of libations represented by ankhs.

The ancient gods of Egypt are often depicted as carrying ankh signs. We find Anqet, Ptah, Satet, Sobek, Tefnut, Osiris, Ra, Isis, Hathor, Anibus and many other gods often holding the ankh sign, along with a scepter, and in various tomb and temple reliefs, placing it in front of the king’s face to symbolize the breath of eternal life. During the Amarna period, the ankh sign was depicted being offered to Akhenaten and Nefertiti by the hands at the end of the rays descending from the sun disk, Aten. Therefore, the ankh sign is not only a symbol of worldly life, but of life in the netherworld. Therefore, we also find the dead being referred to as ankhu, and a term for a sarcophagus was neb-ankh, meaning possessor of life.

It is at least interesting that the ankh word was used for mirrors from at least the Middle Kingdom onward, and that indeed, many mirrors were shaped in the form of an ankh sign. Life and death mirror each other, and in any number of ancient religions, mirrors were used for purposes of divination.  In fact, the ankh sign in ancient Egypt seems to have transcended illiteracy, being comprehensible to even those who could not read. Hence, we even find it as a craftsman’s mark on pottery vessels.

As the Christian era eclipsed Egypt’s pharaonic pagan religion, the sign was adapted by the Coptic church as their unique form of a cross, known as the crux ansata. Source

The ancient Egyptian staff sign or god staff ankh, which was also the hieroglyph used to symbolize reproduction and sexual union. According to other sources it meant life and zest for life.

Hathor, who was both the goddess of life and the goddess of death, carried it and gave life with it. The contradictory Hathor in many ways corresponds to the Venus goddesses Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Athena-Aphrodite.

Sometimes the hieroglyph is called the key of the Nile. The symbol is associated with Imkotep (living around 3000 B.C.), physician for the Pharaoh’s family. Long after his death Imkotep was made the god of medicine or healing in Egypt. That is why this symbol is used as the logotype for a multinational pharmaceutical manufacturer.

The same sign structure, but with the closed element filled in, has been found in Peru used by the Mochica culture around the seventh century. This fact is one of the many reasons to believe in many more contacts between the Mediterranean cultures and pre-Columbian America than is accepted by today’s academic establishment. Source

1. With the ankh Hathor can give life. Most noticeably used with the ankh is Hathor, the mother goddess of life and of death.

2. The ankh, on some temple walls in Upper Egypt, could also symbolize water in rituals of purification. Here, the king would stand between two gods, one of whom was usually Thoth, as they poured over him a stream of libations represented by ankhs.

3. An Osiris Pillar of Senusret I from the 12th Dynasty;

4. The rays of the sun disk, Aten conferring life upon Nefertiti as she holds her offering highward. Amarna Period. A close scrutiny of the hieroglyphics will show the Ankh as a prevalent symbol.

Cross of the Archangels

The cross of the archangels. It is also known as the Golgtha cross. The Greek word archangel meant chief angel, from “archos”, chief or first, and “angelos”, messenger. The archangels were protecting the religion, while ordinary angels protected individual human beings. Source

Coptic Cross The original Coptic Cross as opposed to the modern Coptic Orthodox Cross are so dissimilar that it’s hard to believe that one was actually derived from the other. The only noticeable similarities in most forms of the many variations of the Coptic Cross is the circle either outside or inside the borders of the cross. The ankh was adopted by the earliest Egyptian Gnostic Christian religious cults, and it gradually evolved into different versions of the Coptic Cross. The most well-known of historical figures to adopt the Coptic Cross was Valentinus of Alexandria, Egypt. The Gnostic Christian movement was mainly begun by Mark the Evangelist, in the mid-1st century AD.

The first version of the Coptic Cross was closer to the ankh; it was a full circle atop the traditional modern cross, that contained another smaller cross made from the already intersecting line of the original design. Basically, imagine drawing the modern Christian cross. Then draw a full circle, (not the ankh oval shape) on the top portion, encompassing the top portion of the vertical line. Then just draw a straight horizontal line midway through the vertical line. This symbol was the original Coptic Cross, as it was derived from the Egyptian ankh symbol. The circle was representative of Christ’s neverending love, and the cross inside the circle was symbolic of the Gnostic understanding of Christianity. The full Coptic Cross represented Christ’s resurrection and crucifixion.

Coptic Cross– A small circle from which emanate four arms of equal length, with angled T shapes in the corner, cross-pieces outward, representing the nails used in Jesus’ crucifixion. This cross receives its name from Coptic Christianity, which centered around Alexandria, Egypt.

The Coptic Church is the Christian church of Egypt, established by Mark in the 1st century (around 60 A.D.). The church now also has dioceses elsewhere in Africa and the Near East. The early Gnostics and Copts adapted the EgyptianAnkh Cross as the basis of its emblem, which then evolved as the region’s history changed.

Ankh Cross Old Coptic crosses often incorporate a circle; sometimes large, sometimes small. The circle was inherited from the Ankh, where it originally depicted the Sun god. For the Coptic Church, the circle represents the eternal and everlasting love of God, as shown through Christ’s crucifixion. It also symbolises Christ’s halo and resurrection.

In Ethiopia, these crosses can be so sophisticated that it’s difficult to find the cross in the design. (See Ethiopian Cross )

Whatever shape or form, the Coptic Cross usually has an elaborate design, baroque style or filigree, reflecting the richness of the hearts of people in the Coptic Church.

When Catholics, Anglicans and others make the sign of the cross it is customary to use two fingers, with or without the thumb touching them. Two fingers and the thumb brought together represent the Holy Trinity; two fingers alone represent the two natures of Christ. Although they are touching each other, they are still separate digits. This contrasts with the intertwining construction of the Ethiopian Cross, which symbolises the mixture of the two natures. Source:

Celtic Cross: The symbolism of the Celtic Cross (especially the equal-armed cross in which each protrusion is equidistant from the center) is indicative of the human desire to know and experience the unfolding mystery of life. We could say that mystery can unfold in a 4-fold pattern in which the arms of the cross offer four ways to ascension, an invitation to objectively know:





The cross is also a symbol representing the meeting place of the Divine energies. At the center of the cross-section is the energetic touchstone where a concentration of cosmic power resides (symbolically).

If each cross arm symbolizes a branch of higher wisdom, and if there is an encircling symbol to represent unification of these four elements, then the center of the cross will be a focal point that is our spiritual destination. Indeed, should we meditate on the Celtic cross, and laser in on the very center of it – our energies begin to hone in, and centralize into this exhilarating experience of oneness. Try it. The sensation of oneness, wholeness and unity is palpable.

The Celtic cross meaning can also represent navigation. In fact, we can look to the cross as a symbolic compass, guiding us through a spiritual sea. In this analogy the cross can serve as a stable guidepost that always leads us to our “true north.” Here are a few forms of navigation the Celtic cross offers:

Spiritual Navigation:

When we find ourselves tossed by tumultuous seas of life, the symbolic attributes of the cross can re-center our focus and move our thoughts in the right direction. By affirming the symbolic meanings of the cross, we set our spirit on solid ground. Walk the cross in your mind, recounting the four arms of spiritual deeper knowing: Self, Nature, Wisdom and the Divine. This can put a gentle spiritual wind back in our sails, and sets us back on course.

Cyclical Navigation:

The Celtic cross meaning also deals with the transition of the seasons, and even mark the four Celtic fire festivals (Samhain, Imbolc, Beltain, Lughnasadh). These were massively profound events for the Celt as they defined a clear mark of transition. These distinct time delineations would provide stability in an otherwise uncertain and transitional world. Each festival prompted specific activities associated with the time of year in which they fell. The Celtic cross may well have been a reminder of the transition of time, the transitory nature of our lives, and a call to relish the different flavor each turn of the earth provides.

Time Navigation:

Not only could the Celtic cross mark the four seasons (punctuated by the Celtic fire festivals), but the cross could also delineate day and night. If we consider the horizontal bar of the cross as a literal horizon, the top half would symbolize sunrise and the lower half sunset. This would be particularly relevant when we see a circle around the cross – we get the sense of the earth as an orb, and the sun rising above her contour (upper 1/2 of semi circle in the cross) and vice versa. But, given the spiritual connotations of the cross, it could equally denote a rising and setting of consciousness. For example, visualize your divine awareness rising and setting like the sun, with the center of the cross as a focal point for balance.

What about the vertical crossbar?

This may well represent the past and future with the center point representing the present. Celtic kind established westerly direction with a reflective quality (looking back, recollecting) and a forward quality (forecasting, looking to the future) to the east. We can quantify this by their observation of the setting sun (in the west) as a goodbye to the day. Likewise, the dawning sun (to their east) would be a harbinger of newness, a welcome to the future day.

A word about circles around the cross:

This added element of the Celtic cross brings meaning of unification, totality, wholeness and inclusion. With all the powerful insights discussed in this article, it makes good spiritual sense to include all this virtue. This inclusion can be symbolically represented by encircling the cross.

These are just a few observations on the meaning of the Celtic cross meaning. Do your own research. Symbolism is about expressing personal power on multiple levels. The Celtic cross can be a source of major power, but not until you make it personal. Source

Cross of the Greek Orthodox Church

A Latin cross with two beams instead of one is known as the cross of Lorraine, the patriarchal cross, the archepiscopal cross. This sign is also the cross of the Greek Orthodox Church. It was used in for instance Belorus in the Middle Ages, and is still common there. Source

Scientology Cross

It is an eight-pointed cross representing the eight parts or dynamics of life through which each individual is striving to survive.

These parts are: the urge toward existence as self, as an individual; the urge to survive through creativity, including the family unit and the rearing of children; the urge to survive through a group of individuals or as a group; the urge toward survival through all mankind and as all mankind; the urge to survive as life forms and with the help of life forms such as animals, birds, insects, fish and vegetation; the urge to survive of the physical universe, by the physical universe itself and with the help of the physical universe and each one of its component parts; the urge to survive as spiritual beings or the urge for life itself to survive; the urge toward existence as infinity. To be able to live happily with respect to each of these spheres of existence is symbolized by the Scientology cross. The Scientology cross symbolizes the ability to live happily across all eight dynamics and the triumph of the spirit. As a matter of interest, the cross as a symbol predates Christianity.

An individual’s ability is increased by improving his survival across the dynamics. As he becomes more capable and more aware, he becomes more able to control and influence all of his dynamics. Founder: L. Ron Hubbard Scientology


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