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Great Pyramid: Building the Duat in Three Dimensions
is the meaning of the interior design of the Great Pyramid and its three
chambers? Is there a representation of the Duat, the Egyptian concept
of the “place” after death, around Gizeh, as many authors
have posited? What if the two questions have the same answer? What if
the interior design of the Great Pyramid is a three-dimensional representation
of the Duat?
happens to the soul? The question must be as old as Mankind. J.W. Dunne
stated that “there can be no reasonable doubt that the idea
of a soul must have first arisen in the mind of primitive man as the
result of observation of his dreams. Ignorant as he was, he could have
come to no other conclusion but that, in dreams, he left his sleeping
body in one universe and went wandering off into another.”
The possibility that “soul” and “body” were
separate, must have been around millennia of years.
So when the body died, what happened to the soul? Did it die also, and
if not, what happened to it? In the 21st century, the only answer to
that question apart from the various religions that argue in general
directions, is the Near Death Experience. Two eminent doctors, Fenwick
and Parnia, investigated the experiences of 63 cardiac arrest victims
at Southampton General Hospital. They concluded that “these
people were having these experiences when we wouldn’t expect them
to happen, when the brain shouldn’t be able to sustain lucid processes
or allow them to form memories that would last […] Essentially,
it comes back to the question of whether the mind or consciousness is
produced from the brain. If we can prove that the mind is produced by
the brain, I don’t think there is anything after we die because
essentially we are conscious beings. If, on the contrary, the brain
is like an intermediary which manifests the mind, like a television
will act as an intermediary to manifest waves in the air into a picture
or a sound, we can show that the mind is still there after the brain
is dead. And that is what I think these near-death experiences indicate.”
Whether or not this is true, it is definitely what the experience indicates
– and what our forefathers must have experienced. Small wonder
therefore that some researchers believe that the Near Death Experience,
and similar events in which body and mind dissociate, are at the origin
first form of institutionalised religion occurred in Egypt and Sumer.
Specifically because of political regimes in Iraq, the fame of Sumer
has always failed in comparison with Egypt. Nevertheless, in both cases,
notions of what the Egyptians and Sumerians believed to the soul after
death – whether true or perceived truth – is generally lacking.
In short, the region of death in Egypt was called Duat – very
close to the word Death; in Sumer, it was called Nibiru, “Crossing”.
Nibiru was not a strange planet circulating our solar system, as authors
as Zecharia Sitchin would have us believe, but instead was the region
of Death, that “crossing” between the world of the living
and the dead – which in Greece was symbolised by Charon, the ferryman
who would transfer the soul to the other side of the River Styx. In
Egypt, the symbol was that of the Henu Bark, the boat that carried the
soul to heaven – the equivalent of the Magur boat of the Sumerians.
The Apkallu, or Anunnaki, would by extension not be astronauts, but
would be the spirit aides that help the soul in its negotiations of
the Duat, or Nibiru – the neteru, gods, of the ancient Egyptians.
The Sumerian shem would not be a spaceship, but the “Celestial
Bark”, the Argo, in which the soul would travel in Nibiru. Shem
can be translated as “sky chamber” and if our interpretation
of the chambers in the Great Pyramid is correct, this name is particularly
apt: the chambers were “sky chambers”. The Pyramid Texts
were said to be written on the “Henu Bark”, and as they
were written on the walls of the burial chamber inside the pyramids,
it is clear that the chambers were envisioned as the Celestial Bark
– thus explaining the presence of boats next to the pyramids,
such as the Great Pyramid.
The Pyramid Texts state how “I am a soul… a star of gold”.
In Egyptian symbolism, the soul was placed on a boat, lead by a navigator:
the boat would be the instrument for the soul’s exploration of
the Duat. The Papyrus of Nu, from the 18th Dynasty, says that the original
text was indeed present in the Shrine of the Sacred Boat. The Book of
the Dead was literally a map for travel in the Duat.
But what was the Duat? Eastern religions speak of a state following
death that is literally a “state of nothingness”. They have
called this the “bardo”, which is identical to the Christian
concept of Purgatory – or the Egyptian concept of the Duat?
The Egyptian Book of the Dead is not the only map for the travel of
the soul after death: the Tibetan Book of the Dead is a similar work.
The Tibetan Book is called the Bardo Thodol and is a manual to help
the soul in the review of its previous life and the planning of the
next life. It is clear that this body of knowledge coincides with the
elementary aspects of the Near-Death Experience.
The Tibetan Book describes the various stages that the soul will have
to pass through at death. But it is a book for the living as well: it
aims to concentrate the mind of the living on their continual preparation
for the afterlife, with liberation from the cycle of life and death
as the ultimate goal. However, reincarnation is deemed to be the most
likely outcome for the majority of human beings who have not attained
sufficient spiritual advancement during their life, and preceding past
authors, in particular Andrew Collins, have argued that the Duat, the
Egyptian Underworld, must have been physically represented underneath
the Gizeh complex. This idea has led to various theories, specifically
referring to Edgar Cayce, who claimed that a chamber underneath the
Sphinx existed, which would hold evidence of the lost civilisation of
Atlantis. In more recent years, the discovery of a small door leading
from an “air shaft”, the so-called Gantenbrink door, has
fuelled speculation that there are as yet undiscovered chambers inside
the Great Pyramid.
Though this is certainly a possibility, most if not all of us have missed
the point. If we were to ask the question whether anyone doubts the
fact that we have identified the core chambers and corridors of the
Great Pyramid, the answer would be “no”: it is clear that
the current known passages are the main arteries inside the highest
building in the world, until the Eiffel tower was finished in the 19th
The next question to ask is what these passages mean, if anything. For
many Egyptologists, they are merely the visible evidence of a Pharaoh
who repeatedly changed his mind, from being buried in the subterranean
chamber, to a new room, which is now known as the “Queen’s
Chamber”, and eventually the King’s Chamber. Anyone familiar
with project management will know that project owners often change their
mind, and either request changes, or even alter the scope of the project.
But if you were project manager of the biggest building project the
world had ever seen, and would ever see for the next 5000 years also,
would you agree with these changes? The answer would be “no”
– specifically as it is known that Khufu – or Cheops as
the Greeks called him – was not a tyrant as Herodotus would have
it, but instead an apparently nice man: his father Snofru was easily
swayed in his opinions and ideas, but nevertheless successful managed
the construction of three pyramids.
than argue that case, let us assume, as more and more Egyptologists
do, that the design was always intended to incorporate three chambers.
What would that mean? What was Khufu trying to do?
The answer has always been lacking, though speculation has been wild,
including theories that each chamber formed part of an operational process
in which the Great Pyramid was nothing more – or less –
than a power plant.
Let us look at the Egyptian word for pyramid, which is mer. As leading
Egyptologist Mark Lehner has pointed out, this is possibly derived from
m, meaning “instrument” or “place”, and ar meaning
“ascension”. Therefore, the pyramid is either the place
of ascension or the instrument of ascension, or both. I.E.S. Edwards
also identified mer or mr as “instrument/place of ascension”,
but added that the interpretation was “open to justifiable doubt”.
What the word meant, nobody knows for sure, as the m-er conjunction
is unusual in Egyptian grammar. In Egyptian hieroglyphs, the mer is
written as a pyramid, which is definitely capturing the essence.
Again, “ascension” has been interpreted as taking off in
a rocket space ship. But the “ascent to Heaven” should perhaps
be looked upon in a metaphysical context. After all, though Egyptologists
might not have been perfectly able to explain the meaning of the pyramid,
it is a matter of fact that the Pyramid Texts speak of a metaphysical
journey, of the soul, on his way through the Duat, to reach the Afterlife.
Muses (1919-2000), a man who walked the fine line between New Age and
solid research, realised that in the museum of Torino, in Italy, there
was a coffin from the Egyptian village of “Two Hills” (Gebelein)
which depicted the plan of the Duat, as written down in the Coffin Texts,
It visualises the three paths of the soul at death, at the Duat, the
Crossing: floating about, return or voyage. It is depicted as a fork
in which the central path leads to regeneration (the voyage) and the
other two diverge from it, postponing the regeneration.
The Egyptians visualised this in the concept of the Henu Boat, where
his navigator guided the soul: once it set off, where did the soul want
to go to? Float about, return to shore, or go to an undiscovered country?
Muses identified each path with the types of couch, or bier –
or coffin – on which the deceased, and Osiris, the god who had
died and had had to face the same trial, laid. The central path (resurrection)
was identified with the lion couch, the hippopotamus couch with return
to the shore (reincarnation) and the cow couch with the floating about
in the Duat.
There are various depictions of the “lion couch”, as this
was the path obviously favoured by all those who were buried –
and definitely for the Pharaoh. After all, if the Pharaoh did not go
on the voyage, who would? Examples of a hippopotamus and cow bier were
found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, and his tomb shows that each couch
was furnished, as to a large extent, what would happen after death could
only be confirmed once the deceased Pharaoh was dead – it was
then that the choice had to be made. As Tutankhamun died at a very young
age, it is clear that it was not at all clear that his “mission
in life” had been fulfilled and that he would have gotten enough
brownie points to enter the Afterlife – the realm of the gods,
the “First Time”, a point beyond Creation, beyond Time.
state of the bardo is therefore identical to the encoffined Osiris:
though dead, he is not “dead dead”: there is still potential,
not for an earthly life, but for a life “elsewhere”. The
“soul” is in a “land of nothingness”, a gateway,
a crossroads, where the soul is also in need of a guide.
Let us go through each option one by one. At death, the easiest path
was the path of reincarnation: one body was exchanged for another and
the cycle of life continued. In nature, this cycle was visible in the
snake shedding its skin, the sun rising and setting, the seasons, the
deer renewing its antlers – symbols and “physical evidence”
that has been found at many sacred sites. It was the path chosen by
most souls, it seems for a variety of reasons: the sahu, the Egyptian
term for soul, might have too much fear to go on a voyage or even dwell
in the Duat for too long; the life review might have been specifically
negative: life was not led properly, and hence a successive incarnation
is required for the soul to grow before it might be ready to return
to the Source.
The path of the Cow was to sail about in the Sacred Boat in the Duat.
It is believed that this was literally “biding time”: the
soul was undecided what to do. It is this state that in popular parlance
is known as a ghost: the soul is literally in a state of “nowhere”,
it has not gone on. It could also be the state in which certain séances,
particularly popular in Victorian England, contacted the “dead”
and received information from “the beyond”. But at some
point, the soul could either reincarnate, or the boat could set course
towards the “Lion Path’s Gateway”.
mentioned, some authors, in particular Andrew Collins, have argued that
the Duat, the bardo, must have been physically represented underneath
the Gizeh complex. But if the Duat was represented on the Gizeh plateau,
I do not think it is something hidden underneath its sandy surface.
Could it be in front of our very eyes?
to the imagery of the Duat is a central path, a tunnel, from the world
of the living, into the darkness of the Duat. In that tunnel, the soul
is given three paths, each leading to a specific destiny, and identified,
at least at the times of Tuthankhamun, with three different couches:
a cow, a hippopotamus and a lion.
This imagery translates straightforwardly to the Great Pyramid: the
entrance leads down into a dark, low tunnel. By default, the path descends
to the Lower Chamber. However, there is an entrance towards another
tunnel, leading to the “Queen’s Chamber” or the “King’s
Chamber”. A lot of ink has been written as to how this stone blocking
this tunnel was put in place, and whether it could pivot or not. That
is less important than the observation that there was a “guarded”
entrance in this fork in the road. Once in the ascending passage –
an apt description for those trying to attain heaven – a further
fork occurred, one leading to the Queen’s Chamber, another that
continued to climb, towards the King’s Chamber.
each of the tombs symbolise a path? The path of reincarnation, of the
Hippopotamus, would be the Underground Chamber: easiest to reach, but
very “basic”: earth to earth. The path of the Cow would
be the Queen’s Chamber: in between both, specifically there for
a soul stalling to make the final ascent to the King’s Chamber.
The Lion’s path would be the continued ascent towards the King’s
Chamber, where the “tomb of God”, the coffin, was the symbol
of resurrection – initiation in the Divine Abode.
This interpretation of the Great Pyramid as the three-dimensional visualisation
of the Duat would explain many anomalies, too many to list here. But
one intriguing anomaly is the “Well shaft”, a roughly hewn
path that connects the Lower Chamber with the fork in the tunnel towards
respectively the Queen’s and King’s Chambers. This path
was the “loop” from the second path, that of the Cow, either
to reincarnation or regeneration. It would, by default, have to bypass
the original “choice” (the original fork in the road), but
would have to lead to both other chambers. For the architect, this presented
a problem, but I believe the shaft and its execution display exactly
the nature of the path: it was rough, “unhewn”. To some
extent, the architect had made the passage from the Queen’s Chamber
to the Lower Chamber more difficult than the passage towards the King’s
Chamber: It was a reminder that the seeker “had come so far, why
not go all the way”?
The Well Shaft is not open to the public and few people officially enter
it, though it seems that the guards on the Plateau must occasionally
practice climbing it, as they normally act as decent guides for those
who do enter it, such as Mark Lehner. Its purpose is unknown and whatever
scenario has been proposed for its function, it has always failed. I
believe that the theory that the Great Pyramid was the three-dimensional
representations of the Duat and the paths within, not only makes sense
of the number of chambers, but specifically of the reason behind the
presence of the “Well Shaft”. It would also firmly set into
place the presence of the Sphinx, the guardian of the Duat – and
above all, why the Sphinx was in the form of a lion with a human head.
Was it because those who entered were humans on the Lion’s Path,
towards the Abode of Osiris?
The longevity of the Lion’s Path and its shamanic origins were
substantiated and reported during the final phase of this book. On December
18, 2003, The Times reported that three tiny figurines carved from mammoth
ivory had been unearthed in a cave in Germany, at Hohle Fels. The figurines
were 30,000 years old. One of the carvings was of a humanoid body with
the head of a lion, which was identified by the archaeologists of the
shamanic religion of our forefathers 30,000 years ago. A similar “lion-person”
had been discovered in another German cave, in 1939. The cave, of course,
was Nature’s “sky chamber”, a dark place in the womb
of the Earth, at the end of which was a bright light; a natural Great
Pyramid, a natural representation of the bardo experiences. The Book
of the Dead, it seems, is much older than the origins of the Egyptian
Lehner states that the Duat, the Netherworld, was written as a
star in a circle. He states that “in the Pyramid Texts the
Duat is connected to the Earth or to a darker region lying primarily
beneath. Aker, the earth god in the form of a double Sphinx, was
the entrance – already the Sphinx is a guardian of gateways.”
In this case it is quite clear how the Duat is entered: via the
Sphinx. Or rather, the Sphinx is the guardian of the entrance,
of the gateway, which from the depiction of the Duat as a star
in a circle, is quite literally a “star gate”, although
not in the concept of an entrance to heaven, but to the Underworld.
It is, furthermore, not an opening to an Underground Chamber which
would hold evidence of Atlantis, but it is an entrance into the
Duat. The sphinx is a mixture of Man and a Lion, expressing the
idea that those who came, should aim to walk the Lion’s
Path, and opt for the “difficult option”, to ascend
to Heaven, to the Realms of the Gods.
When Rundle Clark noted that the concept of the Duat was “without
light and beyond the reach of man. It is the place of the formation
of the living out of the dead and the past, the true meeting-place
of time before and after” , he described it as a midway
station, a place where past, present and future met – a
place outside of time.
Rundle Clark stated that the “Egyptians […] do
not seem to have given a fixed location to the Duat; it is usually
under the Earth but sometimes beyond the visible sky vault (“the
belly of Nut”) or in the waters which they imagined to extend
everywhere beneath the land.” What Egyptologists in
general and Rundle Clark in this instance have missed, is that
the Duat was a metaphysical place: it was not in Orion or elsewhere
in the stars; the stars were merely aides, used in the storytelling
of the voyage of the soul…The Great Pyramid was a three-dimensional
representation of the soul’s journey in the Duat. Visible
and clear… built to last, finally understood…
article appeared in Atlantis Rising, Issue 76 (July - August 2009).