Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Sacred Symbolism of the Egyptian Pyramids



     Certainly the magnitude of these monuments and the ingenuity displayed in their construction indicate the intelligence of their builders and the exalted character of the Deity adored. The Great Pyramid is in the form of a square, each side of whose base is seven hundred and fifty-five feet, and covers an area of nearly fourteen acres. An able writer in describing the pyramids says that the first thing which impresses one is the uniform precision and systematic design apparent in their architecture. They all have their sides accurately adapted to the four cardinal points.

“In six of them which have been opened, the principal passage preserves the same inclination of 26 degrees to the horizon, being directed toward the polar star. . . . Their obliquity being so adjusted as to make the north side coincide with the obliquity of the sun’s rays at the summer’s solstice, has, combined with the former particulars, led some to suppose they were solely intended for astronomical uses; and certainly, if not altogether true, it bespeaks, at all events, an intimate acquaintance with astronomical rules, as well as a due regard to the principles of geometry. Others have fancied them intended for sepulchres; and as the Egyptians, taught by their ancient Chaldean victors, connected astronomy with their funereal and religious ceremonies, they seem in this to be not far astray, if we but extend the application to their sacred bulls and other animals, and not merely to their kings, as Herodotus would have us suppose.

      According to the testimony of Inman, the pyramid is an emblem of the Trinity–three in one. The triangle typifies the flame of sacred fire emerging from the holy lamp. With its base upwards it typifies the Delta, or the door through which all come into the world. With its apex uppermost, it is an emblem of the phallic triad. The union of these triangles typifies the male and female principles uniting with each other, thus producing a new figure, a star, while each retains its own identity.  

      Thus the primary significance of the pyramid was religious, and in its peculiar architectural construction was manifested the prevailing conception of the Deity worshipped; namely, the fructifying energies in the sun. We are informed that “all nations have at one time or another passed through violent stages of pyrolatry, a word which reminds us that fire and phallic cult flourished around the pyramids. . . . Every town in Greece had a Pyrtano."

       As not alone the sun but the stars also had come to be venerated as agencies in reproduction, the worship of these objects was, as we have seen, closely interwoven with that of the generative processes throughout Nature. The attempt to solve the great problem of the origin of life on the earth led these people to contemplate with the profoundest reverence all the visible objects which were believed to affect human destiny. Hence both the pyramid and the tower served a double purpose, first, as emblems of the Deity worshipped, and, second, as monuments for the study of the heavenly bodies with which their religious ideas were so intimately connected.

While comparing the early emblems which prefigure the primitive elements in the god-idea, Hargrave Jennings observes:

“In the conveyance of certain ideas to those who contemplate it, the pyramid boasts of prouder significance, and impresses with a hint of still more impenetrable mystery. We seem to gather dim supernatural ideas of the mighty Mother of Nature . . . that almost two-sexed entity, without a name–She of the Veil which is never to be lifted, perhaps not even by the angels, for their knowledge is limited. In short, this tremendous abstraction, Cybele, Ideae, Mater, Isiac controller of the Zodiacs, whatever she may be, has her representative in the half-buried Sphinx even to our own day, watching the stars although nearly swallowed up in the engulphing sands."