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Ancient Egyptian Symbols

Updated on June 12, 2013

Symbols From Ancient Egypt

Egyptian symbols are known all over the world because of their magickal quality and the mysteries that they hold. Depicted in hieroglyphs, these symbols were called, "the words of God" and were used mainly by priests.

Commonly seen ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbols include scarabs, the ankh, the Eye of Horus, Bast (the Cat-headed Goddess), the crescent moon, the Feather of Maat, the lotus flower, frogs, and the falcon. These symbols were historically used as amulets of protection and to bring luck. They were also frequently used in both religious and magickal rituals for both the living and the dead.

Sources: AncientSymbols.com, EgyptArtSite.com

Mirror Case in the Form o...

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The ankh is the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that means "life".

Only Pharaohs, Kings, Queens and Gods were allowed to carry this powerful symbol; for the person holding it was said to possess the gift to give one eternal life or to take it away in an instant.

As a symbol of the life giving elements of air and water, to give life after death, the ankh was held close to someone's lips, as an offering of ; the breath you will need in the afterlife.

As a combination of two universal symbols; the cross and the circle; the Ankh represents the sun as it rises over the horizon's crossbar, indicating a new day and a rebirth.

The ankh appears frequently in ancient Egyptian writing with two other hieroglyphs meaning "strength" and "health". In later years, it came to be known as the Egyptian Cross and the "key of life", its key-like shape inspired the belief that it could unlock the "gates of death".

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.

Ankh Cross Pendant

Ankh Egyptian Power of Life Amulet Spiritual and Evil Eye Black Agate Pendant Necklace
Ankh Egyptian Power of Life Amulet Spiritual and Evil Eye Black Agate Pendant Necklace

Though simplistic, it is a great accessory to accompany any wardrobe. It isn't too tacky, too ornate, or too expensive, and silver does tend to go with everything.

 

Bast (Cat Goddess)

A Symbol of Love, Happiness, Fertility and Protector of The Home

Bast, the daughter of Ra, the sun god, was known as the Cat Headed Goddess.

She was associated with both fertility and childbirth. She was also the goddess of music, dancing and joy. Bast as a cat, was connected with the moon and was the possessor of the Oudjat, the eye of her twin brother Horus.

According to one myth, she was the personification of the soul of Isis. She was also called the "Lady of the East"; as such, her counterpart, the "Lady of the West" was Sekhmet.

Figures of cats were offered to the goddess Bast to receive her blessings of music, dance and love.

The Egyption Cat Goddess

Egyptian Bastet Cat Goddess Statue Ancient Egypt 5069
Egyptian Bastet Cat Goddess Statue Ancient Egypt 5069

Bastet was the goddess of fire, cats, of the home and pregnant women. According to one myth, she was the personification of the soul of Isis. She was also called the "Lady of the East". This Egyptian Bastet cat statue makes a great conversation piece. Measuring 12 inches tall, 3 inches wide, and 6 inches deep, it's essential for any Egyptian decor. It has hand-painted red, blue and gold accents to compliment its metallic bronze enamel finish. The statue is made of cold cast resin.

 

The Crescent Moon

Symbol of Fertility, Motherhood

Crescent- Among the most powerful of all lucky symbols, the crescent is especially lucky for young children and their mothers.

In ancient Egypt, the crescent moon was the symbol of Isis, the Mother of the Gods. As the Queen of Egypt, Isis was the protector of motherhood, women, and healer of the sick. She also rules magic.

The Menat- This symbol represents a heavy beaded necklace with a crescent shaped front and a counter piece at the rear. It was a symbol associated with the goddess, Hathor and her son, Ihy. In fact, Hathor was known as the "Great Menat". Hathor used the Menat as a conduit, through which she passes her power. It was representative of joy, life, potency, fertility, birth, and rebirth.

Crescent Moon Amulet

Sterling Silver Celtic Knot Crescent Moon Pendant Necklace with Rolo Chain, 18"
Sterling Silver Celtic Knot Crescent Moon Pendant Necklace with Rolo Chain, 18"

This solid sterling silver Crescent Moon Pentacle pendant is a magnificent sterling silver pentacle with crescent moons at each point. . It makes a great gift for anyone into nature religions.

 

The Eye of Horus

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Designed to resemble the eye of a falcon, this symbol is also called the Eye of Ra. Horus, also known as the sun god Ra, was a falcon-headed sky god from ancient Egypt. He is associated with vitality, health and regeneration.

Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis. His right eye was white, and represented the sun, and his left eye was black, and represented the moon.

According to Egyptian myth, Seth, Horus's brother, killed Osiris. Horus fought Seth to avenge this death and lost his left eye in the fight. Thoth, the God of magic and the moon, used his powers to restore Horus's eye. Upon presenting his eye to Osiris, Osiris experienced rebirth.

The Eye of Horus, also called "Oudjat", symbolizes protection against evil and the bringing of wisdom.

Today's familiar sign for prescription, Rx, is derived from this symbol. In the second century, Galen used mystic symbols to impress his patients, and borrowed one from the Egyptian lore. As a result of the story in which Seth tore Horus' eye into fragments, the eye had come to represent wholeness, and was used in hieroglyphic writing to represent wholesomeness and unity. It then gradually evolved into today's Rx sign for prescriptions.

Eye of Horus Lucky Charm

Magical Eye of Horus for Health, Strength and Vigor Talisman Charm Amulet A98
Magical Eye of Horus for Health, Strength and Vigor Talisman Charm Amulet A98

This Word Stone Necklace comes with Engraved MAGIC EYE of HORUS Symbol. This Necklace brings Good Luck and Protection along with Power to its immediate owner.

 

The Falcon

Horus

Egyptians associated the Falcon with the solar god Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis.

Horus himself was believed to appear in the form of the Pharaoh's falcon or as a "falcon-headed god". He could see everything at once because one of his eyes was the sun and the other was the moon. As the embodiment of Horus, the falcon wears a double crown.

The falcon was also sacred to Montu, god of war, and Sokar, god of the Memphite necropolis.

The Feather of Maat

A Symbol of Truth, Justice, Morality and Balance

The ostrich feather was an attribute of the goddess Maat.

The hearts of the deceased were weighed against Maat's feather at the Final Judgment. If the heart of a "truth speaker" was equal to the feather ("light-hearted") they would be allowed to enter the Kingdom of Osiris. If the heart was heavy with sin and weighed more than the feather of Maat, the deceased was devoured by the monster Ammut.

It was pharaoh's responsibility to establish and maintain Maat, that is he kept the cosmic forces in balance. When a pharaoh died, Maat was temporarily lost and the world was flung into chaos, only the appointment of a new pharaoh could restore Maat.

Image: SymbolDictionary.net

Lucky Frogs or Toads

Symbols of Fertility and Regeneration

To the Egyptians, the frog was a symbol of life and fertility, since thousands of them were born after the yearly flooding of the Nile.

Hekt, the Frog goddess, considered a child of Ra, could take the form of a frog. She was said to protect new-born babies, hence Frogs are symbols of fertility and birth. Midwives often called themselves the Servants of Hekt, and claimed that they were her priestesses.

Women often wore Frog amulets during childbirth, depicting Hekt as a frog, sitting on a lotus flower.

Frogs were carried as talismans and were often placed within the wrappings of mummies as magical amulets to ensure rebirth for the deceased.

Good Luck Toad

Good Luck and Spiritual Frog Totem Black Onyx Gemstone Carving
Good Luck and Spiritual Frog Totem Black Onyx Gemstone Carving

The Frog Is Symbol Of Joy And Luck. For Many Centuries, Frog Has Been A Symbol Of Abundance, Partly Due To The Very Large Number Of Eggs It Lays At One Time. Frog Totems Can Also Provide Very Powerful Protection For Children And Have Been Known To Give Good Dreams.

 

Scarabs - A Symbol of Creation, Strength and Transformation

The Scarab personified the god, Khepri, a sun god associated with resurrection. As such, the large winged scarab and the heart scarab were considered good luck beetles and placed on mummies for protection against evil.

These amulets were often inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead, which entreated the heart to, "not stand as a witness against me."

Scarab beetles lay their eggs in dung, which they roll into a ball and roll into a hole. The Egyptians equated this with the movement of the sun and its daily resurrection.

Ancient Egyptians believed that a winged scarab flew across the sky each morning carrying the sun. The scarab was a symbol of the rising sun and as a protector from evil; it is also a symbol of rebirth, regeneration, creation, transformation and was commonly worn to gain strength.

In one version of the creation myth of ancient Egypt, a lotus flower rose out of the primeval waters of Nun, the infinite ocean of chaos. The petals parted to reveal a scarab beetle. The scarab then transformed itself into a boy, who wept. His tears then became humankind.

Sesen (The Lotus)

A Symbol of The Sun, Creation, Purity and Rebirth

A Lotus Flower. the radiant yellow center of the Egyptian blue lotus (nymphaea cerulae) resembles the Sun emanating from the primeval waters as told in the myth of creation. At night the flower closes and sinks underwater, at dawn it rises and opens again.

According to Egyptian creation myth, it was a giant lotus which first rose out of the watery chaos at the beginning of time. From this giant lotus the sun itself rose on the first day.

The Egyptian lotus is mildly narcotic and both the blue and white varieties were used in medicinal preparations. In mathematics, the lotus hieroglyph symbolized the number one-thousand. It is also symbolic of Upper Egypt and represents the resurrection of Isis.

Image: SymbolDictionary.net

Copper Lotus Flower Rain Catcher

Stanwood Rain Chain Lotus Lily Flower Copper Rain Chain, 8-Feet
Stanwood Rain Chain Lotus Lily Flower Copper Rain Chain, 8-Feet

This high quality copper rain chain is handcrafted with pure copper. The entire chain is about 8-ft long when installed and has 18 flowers (each with 8 pedals). Each unit comes with an attachment piece and is very easy to be installed into your existing gutter system. Each flower is 2 1/8" tall and measures 2 1/2" in top diameter. The bottom hole is about 7/8" in diameter. Length of the chain can be easily adjusted by adding or removing flowers

 

Discover More About Ancient Egypt

Your Thoughts About Egyptian Symbols

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    • PatrickHayes76 profile image

      PatrickHayes76 3 years ago

      cool lens and information. thank you for sharing.

    • junebugco profile image

      junebugco 4 years ago

      Very Informative.

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 4 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Very interesting symbols indeed! ^_^ I love reading more about them.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Really interesting to see these all explained.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I always found Egyptian symbols intriguing. Very cool lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love Ancient Egypt :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like them very much. Such an ancient civilization, full of knowledge and mystery!

      Very nice lens! Good info!

    • Mr Criminology profile image

      Bigwas 4 years ago from Philippines

      @anonymous: I like the eye of horus

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      Love them!!!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Very interesting background about Egyptian symbols. I especially love that lotus flower rain catcher.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      I'm a big fan of archaeology and I really enjoyed your article. Liked!

    • ProsperityFairy profile image

      ProsperityFairy 4 years ago

      They are very powerful... ! I personally love the Scarab.

    • LaurenIM profile image

      LaurenIM 4 years ago

      I have a lucky toad...but i call him a frog. They seem to be a symbol of good luck in many cultures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like the cat goddess : )

    • january962 profile image

      january962 4 years ago

      Very informative lens=)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      what does the symbal that looks like 2 mean?

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      They are great, with deep meaning and full of mysteries. I love your lens as it is the first time for me to see the description of each symbol. Thanks so much.

      I like Eye of Horus Lucky Charm. Angel Blessings!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      its really a grt amazing knowledge...

    • ogrote profile image

      ogrote 5 years ago

      Great lens full of information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great job loved it its gonna help me with my homework

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Enjoyed your educational article on Egyptian symbols ... nicely illustrated. ~~Blessed~~

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens:)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Returning to bless this lens.

    • profile image

      macmaki 5 years ago

      I love your lens and I love ancient egypt. Never visited there yet, but hope to soon. Thanks for a fantastic lens. It has be excited about traveling there.

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 5 years ago

      Excellent lens!! I love everything Ancient Egypt. Blessed!

    • JoolsObsidian LM profile image

      JoolsObsidian LM 5 years ago

      Excellent lens! Really informative and enjoyable.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think that these egptian symbols look very colorful and beautiful.You should post more.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love your article on the symbols of Egyptians. Educational!

    • esvoytko lm profile image

      esvoytko lm 5 years ago

      Great lens! We often imagine our collective history stemming from Greece, without realizing just how much we owe the Egyptians.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      I've always enjoyed learning about ancient Egypt. For all that we do know about them we really know so very little. Good job on the lens.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      What a wonderful and educational lens. Very enjoyable!

    • profile image

      smsr0100451 5 years ago

      Nice lens. I love history too.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      Interesting, I wouldn't expect frogs to symbolize fertility. Then again tadpoles are cute creatures and a lot sure do come out of frogs! The feather one is interesting, it seems to be a recurring theme with death and the weighing of sins against another object.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very interesting

    • Vallygems1 profile image

      Vallygems1 5 years ago

      Great Lens

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      One of my life's goals is to visit Egypt one day.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      I love the ancient Egyptians and I was lucky enough to visit Cairo years ago. It was like a dream come true. Cool lens.

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      I have a reproduction of a relic Eye of Horus, much like the print available above but it's in stone..I really liked this lens, very cool...:)rob

    • fionajean profile image

      Fiona 5 years ago from South Africa

      Have the Eye of Horus tattooed on my shoulder - have always been fascinated by ancient Egypt

    • profile image

      NaturalVamp 5 years ago

      Always loved the look of the Eye of Horus. I think it's so exotic.

    • oceanfaerygoddess profile image

      oceanfaerygoddess 5 years ago

      I love all things Egypt and this was a beautifully presented guide to Egyptian symbolism. Love the scarab bracelet!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      Nicely done & great resource. ***Angel blessed*** during my epic Back to School Bus Trip quest :)

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 6 years ago

      Beautifully illustrated and informative lens. I wear a scarab pendant.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 6 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful lens and the Egyptian symbols are astonishing.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Very nicely done lens! I have Ankhs that where on my Arabian Horses halters...I Love Egyptology and Symbols...lenrolled to my "Medical Symbol" lens

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 6 years ago

      My favourites are the Ankh and the Feather of Ma'at.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      A fascinating topic, nicely handled! Very interesting read, thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fascinating and wonderfully done!

    • GreatGazoo profile image

      GreatGazoo 6 years ago

      Nice, I love Egyptian style stuff like this. Very cool.

    • profile image

      flowski lm 6 years ago

      I find ancient Egyptian symbols fascinating, thanks for the interesting lens!

    • greenlife17 profile image

      greenlife17 6 years ago

      I've always thought some of those symbols are associated with the dark arts or any cult but now I'm enlightened..thanks! I've also become one of your fans..lol..liked your style.

    • missbat profile image

      missbat 6 years ago

      Ancient Egyptian culture has always fascinated me. Great lens!

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 6 years ago

      Love anything Egyptian ; Angel Blessing

    • rachsue lm profile image

      rachsue lm 6 years ago

      Wow...what a great lens. I have been fascinated by Egyptian history for many years now.

    • oneskms profile image

      oneskms 6 years ago

      Congratulations, a very informative read

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      There is much we can learn from ancient cultures. The Egyptians certainly possessed a superior culture to ours in many respects. Congratulations on a great lens.

    • awakeningwellness profile image

      awakeningwellness 6 years ago

      Egyptian symbols have always fascinated me although I find the scarab to be creepy after seeing The Mummy (o:

      Nice lens!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      great informative lens! lovely images...

    • profile image

      Casandrst 7 years ago

      You seem to like ancient artifacts do you know anything about ancient summarian artifacts. I have been reading up on the first known civilized community and boy was it a good read. I would suggest you read this book called " The Lost Book of Enki". I promise you when you're done the world as you know it will be a little different.

    • profile image

      Filmfeline 7 years ago

      @nelabai: not only that, if you notice on royal crowns there is a symbol of Horus with open arms, sometime you may even see the inscription "car" meaning " I give you power" as if men ruled through the power of Gods, given to them through the birds (closest to God, or the sky). A similar depiction is in Shakespeare's great chain of being, where it's God, the birds, men, animals and everything else in nature. There are other books and places this repeats, but it's 1:30 and I'm really tired. Thank you to whoever designed this page = lovely.

      Filmfeline

    • profile image

      nelabai 7 years ago

      Interesting to the last bit, I didn't know that falcon was actually a symbol of Horus. 5*

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Great idea for a lens and very nicely presented. Blessed by an angel and featured on Stardust by Skiesgreen

      Norma

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very interesting! I made an Egyptian hieroglyphic clay tablet as a project in high school, it came out well. It featured Ra, with some symbols (that I can't remember what it translates to now). Great work!

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      Very informative lens. I like the manner in which you presented the different symbols. Description and history of symbols are concise yet rich with information. 5*

      Hope you could visit my lenses and this fb page. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      cooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllll

    • peacefulpaths profile image

      peacefulpaths 7 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful lens - 5 stars! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      Another great lens!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 7 years ago

      Another GREAT lens as all of yours are! Five Stars.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 7 years ago

      :) great lens. blessed by a squidangel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great lens, thanks.

    • profile image

      CassandraRichmond123 7 years ago

      Excellent