Pyramids Essay, Research Paper
The Egyptians believed that their kings were gods. Even after they had died, therulers continued to affect daily life through their supernatural powers. In his new life inthe underworld, the king would need everything he needed while alive, and he needed hishome to last for eternity. While alive, Egyptian kings lived in palace of mud-brick, wore linen roves, andslept in wooden beds. In their gentle climate, more substantial comforts were notneeded. But eternity last a whole lot longer than life. So the tombs of the kings neededto be durable and well-supplied. The tombs also needed to protect the body and itssupplies and gifts from thieves. They also were the focus of the Egyptian religion and soneeded to be extremely visible. The massive stone pyramid met all these criteria. However, there was still the problem of supplying the king with essentials. Sinceentombing a never-ending supply of food and servants was not very practical, theEgyptians decided on the principal of “substitution by means of a representation.” Sincethe dead king now existed in spirit, rather than physical form, he was not bound byphysical limitations. A picture or word could feed him as well as a real slab of meat.Servants did not have to be killed and laid around his tomb; statues could take theirplace. Because the king was a god to his people, they needed to be able to come andworship him. But if his body were accessible to the whole nation, the king and histreasures would be too accessible to robbers. So, instead they built a statue resemblingthe king which they placed in a temple open to the public. His ka, or spirit could leavethe tomb and come live in his statue for awhile. This way, the people’s prayers and giftscould still be delivered while keeping him safe.
2 Herodotus, a Greek who wrote about the building of the pyramids long after theyhad been built, claimed that the Great Pyramid took tens of thousands of men and in justtwenty years to make. But even if those figures are not accurate, the construction of thepyramids was an amazing feat. The Egyptians had not learned to use the wheel or thepulley and so lifted all of the stones using ramps. The cut stone was edged along theramps on rollers, lubricated by only milk or water. We do not know how many peopledied as laborers for the pyramids, but we do know that most Egyptians would have beeneager to participate in the building: because the king would become a god who couldbless or curse their lives; they wanted to make sure he was comfortable and cared for andable to come back and help them.
On the rocky plateau of Giza, ten miles southwest of the center of Cairo, standsthe Great Pyramid, the most majestic and most mysterious monument ever erected by thehand of man (Adams). The Great Pyramid is the largest stone building on earth, and thelast surviving wonder of the ancient world. Its base covers just over thirteen acres, and itis composed of some 2.3 million blocks of granite and limestone, weighing from 2.5 toseventy tons apiece, which rise in two hundred and three layers to the height of a forty-story building. The Pyramid was originally covered with twenty one acres of polished,marble-like casing stones, which, shining resplendently beneath the sun’s rays, earned forit the ancient title “The Light.” The Pyramid is an unrivaled feat of engineering and craftsmanship. It is alignedwith the four cardinal points more accurately than any contemporary structure, includingthe Meridian Building at Greenwich Observatory in London. The three hundred and fiftyfoot long descending passage is so straight that it deviates from a central axis by lessthan a quarter of an inch from side to side and only one tenth of an inch up and down.The casing stones, some of which weighed over sixteen tons, are so perfectly shaped and
3squared that the mortar-filled joint between them is just one fiftieth of an inch.Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie described such phenomenal precision as the “finestopticians work on a scale of acres”; work of this caliber is beyond the capabilities ofmodern technology. The casing stones show no tool marks and the corners are not evenslightly chipped. The granite coffer in the King’s Chamber is cut out of a solid block ofhard red granite. Manufacturing engineer Christopher Dunn rejects the theory that itcould have been cut and hollowed using bronze saws set with diamond cutting points,because when pressure was applied, the diamonds would have worked their way into themuch softer copper, leaving the granite virtually unscathed. In his opinion, the evidenceshows that the Egyptians possessed ultra-modern tools, including an ultrasonic tubulardrill that could cut granite five hundred ties faster than modern drills (Stecchini). In addition to the Great Pyramid, there are two other large pyramids and six smallones on the Giza plateau. Most Egyptologists believe that the Great Pyramid was builtabout four thousand and six hundred years ago by Khufu, the second king of the fourthdynasty. His son and successor, Djedefre, is thought to have begun the pyramid at AbuRoash, five miles northwest of Giza; little remains of it today. The next king, Khafre,another of Khufu’s sons, is believed to have built the Second Pyramid of Giza, the secondlargest stone building in the world, and Menkaure, the smaller Third Pyramid. Althoughthese two pyramids are very impressive, they do not match the craftsmanship of the GreatPyramid. Menkaure may have been preceded by Nebka, who is thought to have plannedthe large, unfinished pyramid at Zawyat Al Aryan, a few miles south of Giza (Edwards). The Great Pyramid of Giza is so enormous and yet of such immaculateworkmanship that its construction would tax the skills and resources even of today’stechnology to breaking point. Standing on the boundary of the Sahara Desert and thefertile Nile, this colossal monument has been called ” a masterpiece of technical skill and
4engineering ability”, “the greatest single building ever erected by mankind” (West). Theconventional belief that the Pyramid was built in just twenty years by tens of thousands ofpeasants using only simple tools to serve as a grandiose tomb for a megalomaniacpharaoh, King Khufu, who lived about four thousand and six hundred years ago. Tocomplete the Pyramid in only twenty years would require laying one block of stone everytwo minutes. Closely connected with the mysteries of the Great Pyramid is the Great Sphinx,the most spectacular sculpture on earth. Carved out of the natural rock of the Gizaplateau, the Sphinx is two hundred and forty feet long, sixty six feet high, and thirteenfeet and eight inches at its widest. Orthodox Egyptologists believe that it was carvedduring the reign of Khafre, around 2550 BC. It is supposedly a portrait of him, thoughsome people think it has more of a female appearance, or that the features resemble thoseof sub-Saharan Africans. There is now strong scientific evidence that the Sphinxpredates the reign of Khafre by many millennia (West). Following a detailedexamination of the severe, undulating erosion on the body of the Sphinx, Dr. RobertSchoch, together with other geologist and geophysicists, concluded that the Sphinx hasbeen weathered Mainly by rainfall before the Sahara became a desert, and must thereforbe at least seven to nine thousand years old. The great pyramids of Egypt were built following a second migration to Egyptsome eighty to hundred thousand years ago (Dick). Blavatsky quotes an ancientCommentary which says that the great pyramids were built at the beginning of aprocessional cycle, “when Dhruva was at his lowest culmination, and the Krittika lookedover his head to watch the work of the giants”, and she identifies the polestar in questionas Polaris. Dick interpreted this obscure statement to mean that the first pyramids werebuilt when Polaris, the polestar at the time the Commentary was written, was furthest
5from the actual pole at the time the Pyramid was built, and was on the same meridianboth with the latter and Alcyone, the latter being higher than the pole (Dick). Hecalculated that the last time such an event occurred was eighty six thousand, ninehundred and sixty years ago, during the Age of Cancer, in which it appears a total ofthree times. This is in agreement with Blavatsky’s statement that “the Egyptians have ontheir Zodiacs irrefutable proofs of records having embraced more than about eighty seventhousand years” (Purucker). Calculations by Stellar reveal a number of potentially significant astronomicalalignments for the great pyramids during the processional cycle that began eighty sixthousand, nine hundred and sixty years ago. There appears to have been a master planfrom the very beginning, because in the case of pyramids that seems to have been built inseveral stages, the features that indicate the completion dates belong to an earlier phaseof construction. The great pyramids include the two huge pyramids at Dahshur, seventeen milessouth of Giza, which are usually attributed to Khufu’s father Sneferu. Just as the positionof the three Giza pyramids reflects that of the three stars of Orion’s Belt, so the Bent andRed Pyramids of Dahshur correspond to Aldebaran and Epsilon Tauri respectively, withthe Nile representing the Milky Way. The Bent Pyramids is so called because its lowerpart has a steeper slope than its upper part. This symbolizes duality, as do the twoentrances, which lead to two separate sets of chambers (West). Furthermore, bothentrance passages change their angle of descent part-way. The lower part of the pyramidmay have been built eighty six thousand, five hundred years ago, when the vernalequinox passed from Cancer into Gemini, and the lower part of the northern descendingpassage was aligned with Nekkar, the then polestar, in the constellation Bootes (West). The “Second” Pyramid of Giza is unique in having two northern entrances.
6Again, this is a sign of duality, and there may be a link with Gemini. the Bottom fewcourses of this pyramid, up to a height of about thirty feet, are built of gigantic blocks,similar to the core masonry blocks used in the megalithic Giza temples, which werequarried from around the Sphinx. Since the temple alongside the Second Pyramid islinked to a temple near the Sphinx by a causeway, the lower part of the pyramid wasprobably built at the same time as the Sphinx. Several writers, including the astronomerSir Norman Lockyer, have suggested that the Spins is half lion, half virgin, andsymbolizes the junction of the constellations Leo and Virgo. Significantly, at the sametime as the summer solstice passes from Virgo into Leo, the spring equinox passes fromGemini into Taurus. The last time this event occurred was around six thousand, fivehundred and eighty years ago, but if we go back a further three processional cycles, wearrive at an epoch eighty four thousand, three hundred and forty years ago. At this timethe lower descending passage of the Second Pyramid would have been aligned withLambda Bootes, the previous polestar of the era (Lockyer). Alnitak, the star represented by the Great Pyramid, coincided with the vernalequinox eighty three thousand, eight hundred and sixty year ago, and at this time thePyramid’s descending passage would have been aligned with the then polestar, Alkaid.The lower part of the Pyramid may date from this time, including the subterraneanchamber and the descending passage. The Second Pyramid may have been completedaround eighty three thousand, seven hundred and seventy years ago, when Alnilam, thestar that it represents, coincided with the vernal equinox, and its upper descendingpassage was aligned with Alkaid. Some seventy years later, Mintaka, the star representedby the Third Pyramid, coincided with the equinox and the descending passage pointed atAlkaid. According to an ancient Arab inscription, when the Great Pyramid and Second
7Pyramid were built, the Lyre was in Cancer. At the dates mentioned here, the celestialmeridian of Vega, the brightest star in the Lyre, would have intersected the ecliptic inCancer and Capricorn. The causeway leading to the Great Pyramid and Second Pyramidpoint fourteen degrees to the north and south of due east respectively, and at this epoch,this exactly one-third of the angle between due east and the sunrise points at the summerand winter solstices (Lockyer). The construction of the Red Pyramid of Dahshur may have begun around eightytwo thousand, seven hundred and ten years ago, when Aldebaran coincided with thevernal equinox, and the descending passage was aligned with the then polestar, Mizar.The upper part of the Bent pyramid may have been built about two hundred years later,when Epsilon Tauri coincided with the vernal equinox and the upper part of the northerndescending passage was aligned with the polestar, Alioth. The combined angle of thelower and upper parts of the unique western descending passage of this pyramid equalsthe number of degrees that the equinox would have moved through the zodiac during thelong period between the pyramid’s commencement and completion. The bulk of the Great Pyramid may have been built toward the end of theprocessional cycle that began eighty six thousand, nine hundred and sixty years ago.What is commonly called the Grand Gallery was in ancient times known to some as theHall of the Orbit, and Dick suggested that given the extraordinary astronomicalknowledge of the Pyramid’s builders, it was probably built to lie in the exact plane of theearth’s orbit at that time. The ascending passage to the Hall of the Orbit is inclined atabout twenty six point seven degrees Celsius, and the Hall of the Orbit at about twentysix point twenty two degrees Celsius, corresponding to a tilt of the earth’s axis of thirtythree point fifty four degrees Celsius and thirty three point thirty nine degrees Celsiusrespectively. The former tilt refers to a date of about sixty seven thousand, eight hundred
8years ago, and the latter to a date of about sixty six thousand, one hundred and eightyyears ago. Sixty seven thousand, eight hundred years ago the summer solstice occurred inCapricorn, the Goat. One of the oldest gods of Egypt is Khnum, who is depicted with agoat’s head, and is associated with Capricorn. A goat also appears in the hieroglyphsreading “Khnum-Khufu”, sometimes abbreviated to “Khufu”, which appears on some ofthe stone blocks used in the Great Pyramid, and are usually assumed to refer to thefourth-dynasty pharaoh Khufu. Capricorn is found at the head of the rectangular zodiacin the Temple of Dendera. The present temple dates from the first century BC, but it isbuilt on the site of a succession of earlier temples. It is oriented seventy one point fivedegrees north of east, and according to an ancient inscription, when the original templewas laid out, the king directed his gaze to Ursa major (Lockyer). the latitude of Denderais the same as the angle of the ascending passage of the Great Pyramid, and at the daterepresented by this angle, Dubhe, the brightest star in Ursa Major, was about seventy onepoint five degrees from the celestial pole. At this time the earth’s north pole would havepointed near to the neck of Cygnus. Dick suggests that the Pyramid was built in spacetowards which the sun appears to be moving. Astronomers estimate that the solar apex iscurrently located near the border of the Lyre and Hercules. Far from being an “idle and silly display of royal wealth” (Wake), or “a dead endin massive stone construction” (Blavatsky), the Great Pyramid was a majestic temple ofinitiation and stands as en enduring monument to the wisdom of the initiated adepts whodesigned it and supervised its construction. The pyramid shape symbolizes theemanation of matter from spirit; it “conveys the idea that all things had their origin inspirit-evolution having originally begun from above and proceeded downward”(Blavatsky). It is interesting to note that the Great Pyramid was never entirely completed.
9Pyramids were generally crowned with a granite or basalt capstone, sometimes gilded torepresent the sun. The capstone of the Great Pyramid, however, is missing, and there isevidence to suggest that it was never added. Another novel feature of the Pyramid is theexistence of four corner sockets cut into the bedrock a little outside the original corners;the Pyramid was therefore built slightly smaller than the full design. The unfinishedPyramid can be regarded as a symbol of our unfinished evolution (Blavatsky). Similar symbolism can be found on the reverse side of the United States seal,which shows a pyramid without the capstone, with a blazing eye in a triangle above it;the inscription at the top means “he has looked with favor on the beginnings”, and the oneat the bottom means “a new order of ages”. This design, which has appeared on thedollar bill since nineteen thirty five, reflects the desire of the founders of the UnitedStates to establish a new order in the west (Judge). The four corners of each side of thetruncated pyramid can be interpreted as symbolizing the lower quaternary, the four loweraspects of the sevenfold human constitution, which constitute the limited, personal self.The eye in the triangle above it is the eye of Hours, standing for the upper triad, the threeaspects of our spiritual self. The aim of human evolution is to “so purify the LowerQuaternary that it shall vibrate in unison with the Upper Triad” (Blavatsky). That is, torefine our lower nature so that it can manifest the nobler qualities of our higher self, ourinner Buddha or Christ (Blavatsky).