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Egyptians, Astrology and the Quest for Immortality

by John Anthony West

The Egyptians associated their quest for immortality with stars and with the sun. Following the death of the Pharaoh, “ba unites with ka, becomes a star, and sails across the sky in the company of Ra, in his boat of millions of years.” 

Star shafts are peculiar to the Great Pyramid. They occur nowhere else that we know of. The discovery that the shafts in the King’s Chamber zeroed in at specific stars ca. 2500 BC was first made by astronomer Virginia Trimble and Egyptologist Alexander Badawy in the early 1960’s. Robert Bauval brought that discovery to the fore with work, claiming the sealed-off shafts of the Queen’s Chamber also pointed at stars, specifically the belt stars of Orion, nicely conforming with Egyptian mythology and funerary texts.

Let’s look at those star shafts starting from the premise that the ancients may have known things we do not. One fact looming ever larger over the past few decades is the importance placed by the ancients in astronomy. Temples are carefully oriented to solstices and equinoxes, even to particular stars; star maps are all over the place, texts are filled with stellar images and references. 

The ancients never explain what they mean. There is, however, a telling relief carved into the Second Shrine of Tutankhamon in the Cairo Museum that broadly but definitively establishes the intended meaning. It shows a row of mummiform figures, each with rays of force/energy/consciousness connecting their foreheads (‘third eyes”/pineal glands) to a star, and another row with the figures connected in the same way to a solar disk. As soon as a connection is made between stars or stellar configurations and human consciousness (and by extension, human actions and decisions) that is no longer just astronomy (the mechanism of the heavens), it is astrology (the meaning of the heavens). 

Perhaps that is the key to this otherwise inexplicable ancient attention to (almost obsession with) astronomy; it is actually astrology. The ancients were orchestrating/coordinating their civilizations to synchronize with the movements of the heavens—literally tuning them to the stars. 

A fact impressed upon every visitor to the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid is its astounding and unique acoustics. Any empty stone room will of course produce a singing-in-the-shower effect. This experience is vastly heightened and intensified in many churches and concert halls and exalted in the great Gothic Cathedrals and Cistercian Abbeys of Europe, but also in seemingly much cruder older structures such as the megalithic barrows of Britain.

In recent years studies by a number of knowledgeable researchers have shown that the striking resonant qualities are not merely accidental by-products of construction. These spaces have been deliberately designed with acoustics in mind. They resonate at specific frequencies. In other words, in the very distant past, there was an advanced knowledge of harmonic principles, which, for reasons we do not know, were deliberately incorporated into the design of sacred buildings. 

The King’s Chamber may be the most spectacular acoustic phenomenon of all. Inside this stark granite room, empty, save for the lidless granite sarcophagus, it is impossible to hold a conversation at a normal speed in a normal voice. To communicate you are obliged to speak almost in a whisper, and very slowly. Otherwise, the words boom, chime and amalgamate with each other. A prolonged chant in the King’s Chamber seems to set the entire gigantic structure vibrating. This has to be due to an effect produced by the four so-called “relieving chambers” above the roof of the chamber made from closely fitted monoliths of granite weighing an estimated seventy tons each. Engineers and architects have argued that these are unnecessary from a structural point of view. A single massive gabled roof above the flat ceiling of the King’s Chamber, similar to that in the Queen’s Chamber, would have sufficed as support. Perhaps, rather than relieving chambers, they are resonating chambers. Could resonance hold the key, anyway, a key, to the function of the Pyramid? 

Pondering further along these lines led me eventually to the mysterious, unfinished “pit” deep in the bedrock, some two hundred feet long and directly below the King’s Chamber. This bizarre, roughly cut room seems to have been abandoned in mid-career. The usual explanation is that it was intended as the King’s burial site, but Khufu changed his mind and had the Queen’s Chamber built then changed his mind again and had the King’s Chamber constructed as his final resting place. But these explanations do not sit well (actually, they’re pretty ludicrous) with a structure that otherwise employs optical precision in its construction.   

It occurred to me that if in some way the pyramid is intended as a gigantic “musical” instrument, the unfinished pit might have served to tune it. In a stringed instrument, tuning is achieved by tightening frets; in a wind instrument by adjusting reeds; in a drum by adjusting the tension on the drumhead. Obviously this won’t work with a stone pyramid. (In megalithic barrows, it’s achieved by strategically placing stone baffles.) But hollowing out a chamber until the desired frequency was produced might work. 

This was, and remains, highly speculative of course. And there are major problems involved. How does “tuning” the pit affect the resonance of the King’s Chamber for starters? But when I learned (from reading Robert Bauval’s original THE ORION MYSTERY in 1993) of the apparent stellar alignments of the “air shafts” the problem took another turn. Could the pyramid be tuned quite literally to the stars, rather than the human voice—or both? Were the ancient Egyptians aware of some sort of subtle “star energy” or “star waves” that our instruments have not yet detected? 

Are we looking at a sacred technology designed to somehow enhance or further the metaphysical quest for immortality—on a personal or even a civilization-wide level?  

Groundbreaking, award-winning rogue Egyptologist, author and scholar John Anthony West presents his latest research into ancient mysteries March 22nd at the NYC Edgar Cayce Center, edgarcaycenyc.org. 

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