This Egyptian emblem was subsequently named the Crux Ansata, or "cross with a handle," because it was thought the circle was nothing more than a handle for the purpose of carrying the cross. It is, in fact, often represented as being so carried on the sculptures, but quite as frequently otherwise. The following cut shows the "sign of life" held by the lower end, in the hand of the double goddess of Truth and Justice.
The idea advanced by some, that it is a key, derives little or no support from the monuments; besides this, the Egyptian form of a key was entirely different, as is seen from the drawing which accompanies our explanation of the masonic emblem of "the key."
The Crux Ansata was adopted by the early Christians of the East as an appropriate symbol of their faith. The old inscriptions of the Christians at the Great Oasis are headed by this symbol, and it is also found in some of their monuments at Rome. (Wilkinson)
Among the ancients the cross in this form, +, was also considered a sacred emblem, as it pointed to the four quarters of the heavens, and embraced both the celestial and terrestrial hemispheres. It was thus a symbol of the universe, and expressive of the perpetual life and endless duration of nature. The Rosi-crucians also taught that this form of the cross was the symbol of light, because it contained in its formation the ancient Roman letters LVX, lux, the Latin word for light. Whether this beautiful conceit was invented by them or derived from ancient sources is unknown.
The tau cross, is as has been shown, an ancient symbol of Egypt denoting salvation and eternal life. The triple tau, being a combination of the tau cross three times repeated, teaches us that "we have an immortal part within us that shall survive the grave, and which shall never, never, NEVER die" (Masonic Lecture).
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