An Alternative to Egyptian Orthodoxy
A re-creation of life at Philae Temple
from "la Description de l'Egypte"
Science today relies for it's precision on number and relationships of numbers. The scientific knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians was also based on number, but in a very different sense. To the Egyptian adept number had inherent meaning, and the use of number in art and architecture was governed by the meaning the designer wished to establish.
The Egyptians saw the Universe as the result of the Primordial Scission, the original break in the previously unformed cosmos. This separation allowed the birth of identity, and thus awareness. While modern science tries to conceive of the "Big Bang" and the Bible speaks of separating the light from the darkness, the Egyptians were more precise.
An equal division would be static, unchanging. The Egyptians believed the Primordial Scission was in the Phi ratio - what artists call the Golden Section.
Phi ("φ") is an irrational number, a number that slips between the ordinary numbers of our system and thus cannot be written exactly. Phi is about 1.6180339... . A progression in the ratio of one to Phi is a repeating series where each number is a reflection and a growth upon the previous two. The Fibonacci series (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89 .....) is an approximation of Phi.
In mathematical terms: for a line AC there is a point B on AC where AC/BC = BC/AB. Phi can be derived by adding one to the square root of five and halving the result. The lines of a star inscribed in a pentagon divide the lines they intersect into segments of the Phi ratio.
Thus 5 was the sacred number of the Egyptians, 5 defined the Beginning and all the Universe was ultimately grounded in 5. The Pythagoreans who followed took the five pointed star as their secret symbol.
The Egyptians were enchanted with the importance of number ratios. All perfect geometric solids (natural crystalline structures) can be formed by using only Pi ("π"), Phi and the square roots of two, three and five. These ratios are the basis of harmony in music and art and to the Egyptians harmony was Truth.
Pharaoh Merneptah and Horus.
by Salvador Cherubini, 1832-1844
Stela of the god Re Harakhty, known as "Horus the Elder"
23rd Dynasty, Louvre Museum, Paris.
Photograph from EgyptArchive.
"It is this web of interaction, this vast complex of harmonies, that we respond to as 'the world' -- in this case the physical world which is but one (the tangible, perceivable) aspect of the spiritual world, or world of consciousness. The key to this harmonic world is number, and the means by which number is to be understood is geometry." John Anthony West: "The Serpent in the Sky"
"The totality of the Egyptian civilization was built upon a complete and precise understanding of universal laws. This profound understanding manifested itself in a consistent, coherent and interrelated system, where art, science, philosophy and religion were intertwined, and were employed simultaneously in a single organic Unity." Moustafa Gadalla
The Zodiac of Dendera
from "la Description de l'Egypte"
Precession of the EquinoxesThe tilt of the earth is not fixed but rotates relative to the stars at the very slow pace of about one turn every 26,000 years. This creates the great ages of Astrology, each constellation in turn taking its place on the horizon at dawn. Currently we are entering the Age of Aquarius (there is no agreement of the exact date of change, indeed it is a gradual transition). We are leaving the age of Pisces.
The cult of the ram (Amun) dominated Egypt as the constellation Aries moved to the equinoctial position on the horizon following Taurus.
One degree of movement in the precession takes about 72 years. Knowledge of such a slow movement of the heavens shows a highly developed mathematical astronomy at the earliest known stages of Egyptian history. Like ancient peoples everywhere, the Egyptians studied the stars and traced their effects on events in their world.
Entrance chamber, Abu Simble Temple
By Earnst Weidenbach, 1849
Rene Schwaller de Lubicz (Born 1891, in France) was an Alchemist who journeyed to Egypt in 1938 and spent many years studying the monuments there. He saw in Egypt a civilization based on the ancient truths of Alchemy. This knowledge claimed to have been passed down from the Egyptian priesthood. It is secret Knowledge that was only revealed to a small group of carefully trained initiates.
The books Schwaller wrote come from a far different perspective than that assumed by conventional Egyptology. Harmony was the core of Ancient Egyptian civilization, harmony between the human and the Divine, and between the works of man and the divine principles of mathematics. This is how the ancient artists and architects were able to create objects and buildings of such astounding beauty and power.
"... we must be able to transcribe what is in us into our mental and objective consciousness, by establishing a relationship between the life in us and observation of that life in Nature. This we find supremely well expressed by the ancient Egyptians.
It is a knowledge of magic, pure and sane, which can lead rapidly toward the spiritual goal of our lives, owing to the fact that we can evoke, by means of the sympathy of analogues in our surroundings, the consciousness of the heart latent in us."
Rene Schwaller de Lubicz
"The Temple in Man"
Luxor Temple. Schwaller believed Luxor was central in importance.
He made careful, highly detailed measurements of the site.
By David Roberts, 1838
Schwaller is an important source for understanding Ancient Egypt as the Egyptians saw it. He also was the first to note the water erosion on the Sphinx. Schwaller's writing is dense, intended for careful study rather than casual reading.
One of the earliest photographs of the Sphinx, 1849
John Anthony West is a more accessible writer on the symbolist view of ancient Egypt, the closest modern thought has come to the mind of the Egyptians.
"Schwaller de Lubicz's work, in the right hands, may play an important role in the shaping of a new society. For although Le Temple de l'Homme apparently concerns an ancient and alien civilization, that civilization had profound and exact knowledge of the principles responsible for the created universe. It is this knowledge that modern science lacks."
John Anthony West:
"The Serpent in the Sky"
The Sky goddess Nut and Earth god Seb, perhaps a healing posture.
by Vivian Denon, 1808.
The Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt's first pyramid,
and the world's oldest large building.
Engraving by Samuel Manning, 1875.
"I make no apology for a fascination with the soft edges of science. It is here, it seems, that we get fleeting glimpses of strange shadows just beneath the surface of current understanding. Such will-o-the-wisps, I suspect, may be our best chance of some sort of reconciliation between hard science and softer, more organic, human experience.
That is well worth pursuing..."
Lyall Watson (Biologist)
who links universal to terrestrial,
the divine with the human,
is incomprehensible to the cerebral intelligence.
Isha Schwaller "Her-Bak"
wife of Rene Schwaller de Lubicz
Countless beautiful 19th century images of ancient Egypt
and 75 pages of architecture, art and mystery
are linked from the library page:
The Egyptian Secrets Library