Read Our
Join Our
Radio Show
This online presentation of
The Lucky W Amulet Archive by catherine yronwode
is sponsored by the


6632 Covey Road, Forestville, California 95436
voice: 707-887-1521 / fax: 707-887-7128

Open 7 Days a Week, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Pacific Time
Be a Fan:
View Your

Wills's Lucky Charms #15: THE ANKH

This is one of 50 trading cards depicting amulets and talismans published in England during the 1920s by W. D. & H. O Wills, makers of Wills's Cigarettes. For a full list of cards in the set, see Wills's Lucky Charms #0: Introduction.

1920s-era cigarette trading card art and text:


Throughout Egyptian civilization, which lasted some
6,000 years, charms and talismans played a conspicuous
part, both in their religious and civil life. The Ankh,
the symbol of life, one of Egypt's most popular and
ancient amulets, was supposed to bestow upon the
wearer, intelligence, power, and abundance. It was
formed by the hieroglyphic RU, O, set on a cross, the
loop RU representing a fish's mouth (supposed to give
birth to water), and in this form represents the key of
the Nile, which inundates the country, fertilizing the
land and bringing prosperity. Most of the Egyptian gods
are shown holding an Ankh, and their kings always
carried one at their coronations.


The particular ankh illustrated here is a solid gold pendant suspended from a necklace bearing small gold dangling beads of ornate workmanship. There are many variants in the design of ankhs; this one has a rather heavy bottom, thin arms, and slender ring at the top. It is evidently of ancient Egyptian manufacture.

The ankh and the wadjet eye are probably the best-known symbols of Egyptian magical-religious belief still in use to this day. Both of them enjoyed an enormous revival of popularity during the late 19th century "western esoteric" or "ceremonial magic" craze and again during the late 1960s hippie revival of occultism. The ankh continues in use as a talisman among the new age mystics of the 1990s and can even be found for sale as a good luck charm in novelty catalogues like the Johnson Smith Company mail order catalogue.

Given that i was not raised a Christian, it is my outsider's opinion that the continuing popularity of the ankh among American and European occultists and mystics from Christian backgrounds is based in part upon its being seen as a "crux ansata" or "looped cross." This ascription of "cross-hood" to the ankh seems to render it familiar and reassuring to former Christians as they set off for otherwise uncharted realms of metaphysics and spirit. It allows the wearer or viewer to relate the ankh, with its vague meaning of "life," to the Christian cross of their youth, which symbolizes "eternal life" through the death of their god. In support of this theory, i recall hearing the ankh referred to as "the hippie cross" by non-hippies during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

If the Wills's Cigarettes card author quoted above is correct and the loop if the hieroglyph RU, which represents an open fish mouth, an enterprising Christian symbologist could read even more into the crux ansata, for the fish is an old glyph for Jesus. I have yet to see any modern author make that connection, however.

Pete Rhode adds the following commentary:

I offer a definition of the ankh from "The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Egypt" by Manfred Lurker (1974), page 27:

"Ankh: The original meaning of the ankh is still debatable. Gardiner suggests it was a sandal-strap, or it may be a magic knot. The hieroglyphic sign means 'life' ('nh) and as a symbol it points to divine, i.e. eternal, existence. Therefore it is a recurrent attribute of the gods who hand it to the king. Air and water are vital elements, for which reason they circumscribed by the use of the ankh, as when a god holds the ankh before the king's nose, giving him the 'breath of life', or when streams of water in the forms of ankhs run over the king during ritual purification. As a symbol of an imperishable vital force the ankh was used on temple walls, stelae, and elsewhere; it is particularly evident in friezes of objects usually in the region of the feet, hence the fact that people saw in it the image of the sandal-strap. The sign, also called crux ansata, entered the symbolism of the Coptic Church because of the cruciform shape."

W.V. Davies (1987:20) in "Reading the Past -- Egyptian Hieroglyphics" notes that ankhs were used as amulets to "confer good luck" against the powers of evil and that

"the ankh and the djed signs offered the benefits of 'life' and 'endurance' respectively, while the hand, leg, face, and other [amulets] like them, helped to restore the functions of the bodily parts after death."


Search All Lucky Mojo and Affiliated Sites!

You can search our sites for a single word (like archaeoastronomy, hoodoo, conjure, or clitoris), an exact phrase contained within quote marks (like "love spells", "spiritual supplies", "occult shop", "gambling luck", "Lucky Mojo bag", or "guardian angel"), or a name within quote marks (like "Blind Willie McTell", "Black Hawk", "Hoyt's Cologne", or "Frank Stokes"):

Contact-the-Lucky-Mojo-Curio-Company-in-Forestville-California copyright © 1994-2014 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.
Send your comments to:cat yronwode.
Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to catherine yronwode for the creation and maintenance of this site.





LUCKY MOJO is a large domain that is organized into a number of
interlinked web sites, each with its own distinctive theme and look.
You are currently reading


Here are some other LUCKY MOJO web sites you can visit:

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by cat yronwode: a materia magica of African-American conjure
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy and sacred geometry
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
The Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive: captured internet text files on occult and spiritual topics
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century occultist
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, and more
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races

Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics: transcriptions of blues songs about African-American folk magic
EaRhEaD!'S Syd Barrett Lyrics Site: lyrics by the founder of the Pink Floyd Sound
The Lesser Book of the Vishanti: Dr. Strange Comics as a magical system, by cat yronwode
The Spirit Checklist: a 1940s newspaper comic book by Will Eisner, indexed by cat yronwode
Fit to Print: collected weekly columns about comics and pop culture by cat yronwode
Eclipse Comics Index: a list of all Eclipse comics, albums, and trading cards

Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course with cat yronwode: 52 weekly lessons in book form
Hoodoo Conjure Training Workshops: hands-on rootwork classes, lectures, and seminars
Lucky Mojo Community Forum: an online message board for our occult spiritual shop customers
Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour Radio Show: learn free magic spells via podcast download
Lucky Mojo Videos: see video tours of the Lucky Mojo shop and get a glimpse of the spirit train
Lucky Mojo Newsletter Archive: subscribe and receive discount coupons and free magick spells
Follow Us on Facebook: get company news and product updates as a Lucky Mojo Facebook Fan

The Lucky Mojo Curio Co.: spiritual supplies for hoodoo, magick, witchcraft, and conjure
Lucky Mojo Publishing: books on magic with herbs, roots and candles, sugar spells, bone divination, and more!
Herb Magic: complete line of Lucky Mojo Herbs, Minerals, and Zoological Curios, with sample spells
Mystic Tea Room Gift Shop: antique, vintage, and contemporary fortune telling tea cups

catherine yronwode: the eclectic and eccentric author of many of the above web pages
nagasiva yronwode: tyaginator, nigris (333), nocTifer, lorax666, boboroshi, Troll, !
Garden of Joy Blues: former 80 acre hippie commune near Birch Tree in the Missouri Ozarks
Liselotte Erlanger Glozer: illustrated articles on collectible vintage postcards
Jackie Payne: Shades of Blues: a San Francisco Bay Area blues singer

Lucky Mojo Site Map: the home page for the whole Lucky Mojo electron-pile
All the Pages: descriptive named links to about 1,000 top-level Lucky Mojo web pages
How to Contact Us: we welcome feedback and suggestions regarding maintenance of this site
Make a Donation: please send us a small Paypal donation to keep us in bandwidth and macs!

Arcane Archive: thousands of archived Usenet posts on religion, magic, spell-casting, mysticism, and spirituality
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: psychic reading, conjure, and hoodoo root doctor services
Candle Ministry: Missionary Independent Spiritual Church deacons will set lights for your petitions and prayers
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic, plus shopping
Crystal Silence League: online prayer request network; upload your prayers here and pray for the welfare of others
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Hoodoo Psychics: connect online or call 1-888-4-HOODOO for instant readings now from a member of AIRR
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith; prayer-light services; Smallest Church in the World
Mystic Tea Room: tea leaf reading, teacup divination, and a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Satan Service: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including ex-slave narratives & interviews
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective, plus shopping
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Yronwode Institution: the Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology