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The Riddle of the Sphinx Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

obert Bauval was the first to truly begin to solve the Riddle of the Sphinx in his classic book, The Orion Mystery. Since then, other prominent authors, including most notably Graham Hancock, have picked up the ball on the question of the Riddle of the Sphinx, focusing their efforts not only on defining what the Riddle means, but what its answer is. Inevitably, all come to the same conclusion, that the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is that the pyramids and Sphinx form a vast, three-dimensional treasure map, where X marks the spot on a mysterious Secret Chamber somewhere in the Giza necropolis. This chamber is believed to house an ancient Hall of Records which contains knowledge of the ancient world before the Flood, so naturally archaeologists, historians, and those interested in history in general are keen to discover the ancient Secret Chamber, if it truly exists.

We learned in the previous installment of The Riddle of the Sphinx that the layout of the Giza necropolis was intended to reflect the patterns of certain constellations, most specifically, the constellation of Orion. Furthermore, we saw how the shafts in the Great Pyramid were aligned with major stars in the sky as they were located relative to Earth in 2500 b.c., and how it is believed that this proves that the ancient Egyptians were aware of the phenomenon of precession.

Hancock and Bauval described at length in The Message of the Sphinx that the ancient Egyptian astronomer priests used their knowledge of astronomy and architecture to lay out the buildings of the Giza necropolis in such a way that their advanced understanding of these disciplines was permanently embedded in them. Furthermore, they believe that the ultimate purpose of the Giza necropolis was to serve as a permanent, three-dimensional "treasure map", that would allow enlightened individuals, in both their time and in the future, to find a "secret chamber" somewhere in the area. In this secret chamber, it is believed, are the records of the ancient world before even Egypt existed, possibly even from the world before the Flood. If true, the knowledge contained in this Secret Chamber, commonly referred to as the Hall of Records, would be the single greatest archaeological, historical, and spiritual discovery in the history of the world. The Quest of the Horus King was the quest for this ancient knowledge of the ancient history of mankind - the truth about our origins, history and, some believe, ancient technology that rivals and possibly exceeds some of our modern technology in some ways.

In the world before the Flood, it is believed by some, there was an ancient civilization that rivaled ancient Atlantis in power. This ancient empire, that is sometimes referred to as the Osirian Empire, existed 12-15,000 years ago, and encompassed southern Europe, North Africa and the area now filled in by the Mediterranean Sea. The Osirian Empire was contemporaneous with the other mythical ancient empires such as Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean and the Rama Empire which occupied the area now known as India, though whether or not these empires were myth or legend will be discussed in future articles. David Hatcher Childress explains the theory of the Osirian Empire:

According to esoteric tradition, about fifteen thousand years ago, there were a number of highly developed and sophisticated civilizations on our planet, each with a technology that largely surpasses our own.... It is said that at the time of Atlantis and Rama, the Mediterranean was a large and fertile valley, rather than a sea as it is today. The Nile River came out of Africa, as it does today, and was called the River Styx. However, instead of flowing into the Mediterranean Sea at the Nile Delta in northern Egypt, it continues into the valley, and then turned westward to flow in the deepest part of the Mediterranean Valley, just to the south of Crete, between Malta and Sicily, south of Sardinia and then into the Atlantic at Gibraltar (the Pillars of Hercules). This huge, fertile valley, along with the Sahara desert a vast, fertile plain, were known in ancient times as the Osirian Empire.1

According to Childress, there are currently in existence all over the world ancient esoteric writings that describe the destruction of the Osirian Empire as being closely linked with the destruction of Atlantis:

According to esoteric information, stored (even today) in secret libraries in ancient Egypt, China, India, Tibet and other places, Atlantis was destroyed in a cataclysmic upheaval that was essentially isolated only to that mini-continent. With this cataclysmic change in the Atlantic, the Osirian Civilization was slowly flooded as the Mediterranean Basin began to fill with water. Great cities were flooded, and Osirians began moving to higher ground. This theory helps explain the strange megalithic remains all over the Mediterranean, especially on the islands of Malta, Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Crete and the Baleric Islands of Spain. Sunken structures of megalithic proportions have been found off Morocco and Cadiz in Spain. It is an archaeological fact that there are more than 200 known sunken cities in the Mediterranean. Egyptian civilization, along with the Minoan and Mycenean in Crete and Greece are, in theory, remnants of this great, ancient culture.2

Childress mentions one specific example of a sunken city, Alexandria where a submerged port was found. This ancient port, by its very existence, is proof that the Mediterranean was once much shallower than it is today. Moreover, the megalithic construction of the port and other structures nearby, like Abydos and the Sphinx Temple, predate the historical Egyptians, hearkening back to the days of Predynastic Egypt and the "Followers of Horus" mentioned in part 2 of this series.

Divers led by Steven Schwartz, author of The Alexandria Project also found huge sculptures, including a huge, 20-foot block of stone which they dubbed "The Crown of Osiris". This huge crown was part of a much larger statue of Osiris, which was probably in excess of 100 feet tall. Childress explains,

With the Mediterranean slowly filling up with water, it must have stabilized after a few hundred years, and then the remnants of the Osirians, using a technology and science inherited from Atlantis, built what structures and ports they could. Later, in another tectonic shift, the port area, probably used by what we would call "pre-dynastic Egyptians" like those who built Abydos and the Temple of the Sphinx, was submerged, and was then generally useless. It is interesting to note, in accord with this theory, that a Temple to Poseidon was located at the tip of Ras El Tin. Atlantis was known to the ancients as Poseid, and Poseidonis or Poseidon, was a legendary king of Atlantis. Similarly, Poseidonis and Osiris are thought to be the same person. 3

The namesake of this fabled Osirian Empire was the Egyptian god Osiris, the ancient god of the Egyptians, who predated most of the gods of Egypt including Re. The origin of Osiris is not clear, though myths of Osiris abound in Egyptian religion and myth. Childress believes that Osiris was an actual historical person who, like Gilgamesh of Mesopotamian myth, was given godlike status over time. This man "Osiris" was known all around the Mediterranean, and examples of his handiwork can be found throughout the Mediterranean and its coasts.

Suddenly, in view of the advanced and ancient civilization in the Mediterranean, the mystery of some of the awesome and inexplicable sites around the Mediterranean, such as Ba'albek [in Lebanon], does not seem quite so mysterious after all.... This theory of Ba'albek being some remnant of the Osirian Empire, along with some of the other megalithic sites in the Mediterranean, fits in well with the Arab legend that the massive stone blocks were built a short time after the Flood, at the order of the legendary King Nimrod, by a "tribe of giants." King Nimrod, and Poseidon, are just other names for Osiris of Egyptian mythology. 4

Nimrod also shows up in the Bible as a notable figure after the line of Ham, son of Noah. According to the Bible, the second generation of Noah's sons included one notable figure known as Nimrod:

1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. 6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. 7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah,and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtechah: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. 8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (Gen. 10:1, 6-10, KJV)

Even though Nimrod's kingdom appears in the Bible to have been restricted to Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), this is unlikely as Cush, his father, was the father of the Kushites, who lived in what is now Ethiopia, south of Egypt. Similarly, Mizraim, Cush's brother, was the father of the Egyptians (miz rai'm is the Hebrew name for Egypt - literally, "the two lands", referring to upper and lower Egypt). It is also instructive to note, however, that the Bible said that the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, indicating that he may have spread outward from Mesopotamia, spreading out throughout the ancient Mediterranean world building magnificent structures the likes of which cannot be duplicated even today.

Image from E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1967), 125. All rights reserved.

One of the prime factors for believing that all of the most ancient megalithic sites around the Mediterranean were built by one man, Nimrod, is their consistent relationships with the stars, particularly the constellation of Orion. We have already seen in part three of this series that the pyramids were built and laid out in such a way as to duplicate the stars of the constellation of Orion. Another link to Orion exists, however, in the city of Edessa, in what is now southeastern Turkey, in the same region as described in the Bible as being where Nimrod built his major cities. The oldest known name of Edessa was actually Ourhoi (Syriac), Ourhai (Armenian), or Er Roha (Arabic)5, which is very close to our modern "Orion". Furthermore, the name of the province of Edessa was originally called Orrheone. Adrian Gilbert explains in Magi: The Quest for a Secret Tradition, "Given that there is strong evidence there was an Orion cult at Edessa, the similarity between the words Orrheonis and Orionis is such as to suggest that it was from here that the Greek Orion cult had its origins."6

Top: The pillars of Edessa, on an ancient coin. The pillars are connected by a central figure surmounted by a cross shape and flanked by the moon. These pillars were closely linked with the throne of Nimrod/Orion.
Bottom: An illustration of the pillars, with the constellation of Orion as it would appear to an observer looking south. Images from Adrian Gilbert, Magi: The Quest for a Secret tradition (London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 1996), 203-204.

The city of Edessa is actually closely associated with Nimrod, and is even known as "The Throne of Nimrod" to this day. There is a prominent set of pillars in the city, which are closely associated with Nimrod's throne, and which even appear on the coinage of the day. One coin shows a figure standing between the pillars with his arms outstretched, surrounded by astronomical symbols. Gilbert noticed, when examining the pillars, that when viewing them from the north, the constellation of Orion passes in between them, just like the figure on the coin. A set of steps on the southern end of the pillars tends to reinforce the cultic aspect of these pillars, and they probably served in a late-night ritual wherein the king assumed his throne between the pillars just when Orion passed between them, symbolically taking on the ancient mantle of authority linked with the constellation.

According to the myths, the Greek Orion (or Oarion) was a son of Poseidon. [Again, the Poseidon link.] Like Nimrod in the Bible he was a hunter and a giant. He was also exceedingly handsome but, as is so often the case, this was to lead him into trouble. When, after failing to rid the island of Chios of wild animals, Orion seduced Merope the daughter of its king, the latter having him blinded as a punishment. An oracle told Orion that he could have his sight restored if he travelled east and exposed his eyeballs to the rising sun. Accordingly, he went to the island of Lemnos and there Eos (the dawn goddess) fell in love with him, his sight being restored by her brother Helios (the Sun).7

We can see in the Greek Orion myth a number of parallels with the Egyptian legend of Osiris. The story of his blinding by the king of Chios echoes the murder of the Egyptian god-king Osiris by his brother Seth, whilst both Isis and Eos are goddesses associated with the dawn who entreat the Sun-god (Ra/Helios respectively) to bring Osiris/Orion back to full health. In ancient Egypt the resurrection of Osiris was a matter of profound religious significance, which seems to have been connected with the annual reappearance of the Orion constellation at dawn after a period of invisibility. However, Orion can also be "blinded", i.e., his stars become invisible, when the moon (especially a full moon) passes close by.8

This brings us full circle back to the Quest of the Horus King. We now know that the purpose of the Quest of the Horus King was not for mere wealth or power, but for a knowledge of the ancient Osirian Empire and its secrets which, some believe, included the knowledge of ancient technologies saved from the Flood. Moreover, we now know that the Horus King, by undergoing the Quest, was walking in the footsteps of none other than Nimrod himself, who many believe built elaborate underground complexes to hide his treasures. The pyramids, though grand, were built long after Nimrod had passed on, though enough of his wisdom had remained to enable the ancient Egyptians to build the magnificent pyramids. However, as was described in part one of this series, the Sphinx and its temple were built around the time of Nimrod, as far back as 9000 b.c. or earlier. It was during this time that the Osirian Empire flourished, the Sahara and all of Northern Africa being a lush paradise instead of the arid wasteland it is today. This is supported by geological data, and confirmed by the rainwater erosion prominent on the Sphinx and the walls of the Sphinx enclosure. The Horus King, looking to find his spiritual "father", Osiris/Nimrod, the founder of Egyptian civilization, underwent the quest in order to retain the ancient wisdom once held by Nimrod and his forebears.

The idea of there being a secret chamber buried somewhere beneath the Sphinx was first popularized by renowned psychic Edgar Cayce in 1932. Cayce believed that this secret chamber contained an ancient Hall of Records, which contained, among other things, manuscripts detailing the history of mankind much further back than we are currently aware - possibly even back to the world before the Flood. He also predicted that the Hall would be discovered sometime around the year 2000.

In recent years, this prophecy may have come true. Scientists using an array of techniques, searching on and around the Sphinx, have discovered one or more large, box-shaped, hollow areas just below the Sphinx. One of these enclosures is located beneath of the paws of the Sphinx, just where Cayce had predicted the Hall of Records would be found. Bauval explains,

The Giza necropolis, it seems, has finally decided to discharge all its secrets at once. For not far from the Great Pyramid, in a shallow enclave to the East, is the Great Sphinx. It, too, may be guarding a treasure-trove under its belly: a "Hall of Records" of a civilization long lost in the mist of time. There, too, with amazing synchronicity, an entrance to such a vault has been known since 1993. Why have these "chambers" not yet been opened? What could be within them? Could the Egyptian authorities know more than they are letting on?9

The general consensus in the "legitimate" archaeological community is that Cayce's predictions are nonsense, and that the whole belief in a "secret chamber" beneath the Sphinx is just a bunch of superstitious mumbo-jumbo. Yet, Cayce's prediction of a secret chamber beneath the Sphinx struck a powerful chord in the public psyche worldwide. Ever since, the idea has been hotly debated by both amateurs and acamedics, erudite scholars and "pyramidiots". All types of people from around the world, from serious questers to utter quacks have descended upon the Giza plateau in the decades since Cayce's utterances, seeking out the lost chamber that is supposed to contain the wisdom of the ages.

The lure of a "secret chamber" or Hall of Records at Giza has fired the imagination of the general public and has drawn into this history-long quest a horde of unusual seekers. Ranging from sedate scientists to armchair speculators, from eminent academic institutions to dubious psychic societies, from reputable archaeologists to innocuous Walter Mitty characters, and from staunch skeptics to New Age gurus, a bedazzling assortment of followers have rubbed shoulders at Giza. In trying to make an intelligent assessment of all these goings on, the innocent bystanders will have to sieve through a bewildering pile of conflicting rumours and "official" information poured into the media and the cybernet news machine. Periods of eerie silence from the Egyptian authorities as well as the Egyptological establishment, when coupled with some rather erratic behaviour from the main players, inevitably caused the great rumour mill of the Internet to hatch a series of global conspiracy theories involving foreign governments, the CIA, powerful business moguls and Egyptian government officials, as well as myself. The result is that truth has been mixed with fiction, blurring and distorting the reality of the drama which is unfolding there on the eve of the new millennium. For on this dusty plateau of Giza is being played history's most exciting and most meaningful game: the quest, no less, for the spiritual and cultural origins of civilization, and its true destiny.10

The Association of Research and Enlightenment (ARE)
The more serious investigators into the question of the existence of a Secret Chamber can be divided into two primary groups: the ARE, and independent researchers such as John Anthony West, Robert Bauval, and Graham Hancock. The ARE, the Association of Research and Enlightenment, was formed by Edgar Cayce and his group of followers in 1931 for the purpose of researching ancient history through the use of Cayce's "psychic readings". Whatever one thinks of this sort of thing, the fact remains that Cayce's work was and is the prime motivating force behind the search for the secret chamber. To this end, in 1957 two amateur researchers, indirectly affiliated with the ARE, journeyed to Egypt to test Cayce's theory. These two intrepid women managed to get their way past massive amounts of red tape during a period of great turmoil and anti-American sentiment in Egypt. They went right up to the Sphinx and began drilling holes in the rock just in front of its paws, but hit the water table after only eight feet, as the Nile was at its height at that time of the year. Despite their failure to find anything of substance, the fact that these two women were able to get anywhere near the Sphinx was a victory in itself.

Amazed at their success, the ARE, now led by Cayce's son Hugh Lynn, were determined to prove that Cayce's prophesies concerning the Hall of Records were true, and find a way to gain access to the pyramids and, most importantly, the Sphinx. According to Bauval, in order to find a way around the red tape, the ARE enlisted the help of a young student named Mark Lehner (who has since rejected the ARE in favor of "legitimate" archaeology). The ARE directly and indirectly helped Lehner to get in to the American University in Cairo where he was to study Egyptology, and in return, it is alleged Lehner was to help the ARE gain access to the pyramids and Sphinx. Lehner accomplished this with great gusto, making friends with such important Egyptian officials such as Zahi Hawass, who is currently the Undersecretary of the State for the Giza Monuments, and Director of the Pyramids - effectively the authority to make any decisions regarding who does and who does not gain access to the pyramids and Sphinx.

Lehner also made an important connection with Stanford Research International (SRI), a scientific research institute founded by Stanford University in 1946. By the time Lehner had made his connection with them, SRI already had such clients as the CIA, the military, and the Atomic Energy Commission. It had also become an independent organization in 1969. In 1974, SRI got involved with the National Science Foundation and the Ain Shams University in Cairo in an effort to search the pyramids and Sphinx for secret chambers using ground-penetrating radar, with no concrete results. However, they tried again in 1977, using more advanced equipment, and found what they believed to be one or more chambers beneath the Sphinx:

Several anomalies were observed as a result of our resistivity survey at the Sphinx.... A very limited number of measurements were taken due to the time schedule of the project. As a result of the survey, the team discovered five areas of interest. Behind the rear paws (northwest end) we ran two traverses (number 206 and 207). Both traverses indicate an anomaly that could possibly be a tunnel aligned northwest to southwest. Another anomaly exists in the middle of the south side.... There are two anomalies in front of the front paws of the Sphinx... One anomaly occurs on large electrode spacing, suggesting a cavity or shaft as much as 10 m deep.... The resistivity anomalies we found around the Sphinx are not defined sufficiently to allow us any absolute certain conclusions, and we feel that a more detailed survey should be conducted.11

And a more detailed survey was conducted the following year, in 1978, under veil of secrecy. More detailed resistivity surveys revealed an "anomaly" under the right paw of the Sphinx, which is precisely where Cayce had predicted that the Hall of Records could be accessed. Lehner and the SRI even took an 8mm color film record of the project, complete with interviews. In one interview, Hugh Lynn Cayce explained what their plans were:

Any drilling now in relationship to the right paw (of the Sphinx) would for me possibly touch the entrance to a passageway to a chamber that would lead to distant passageways to places where the (Hall of) Records.... He (Edgar Cayce) didn't say, actually, that it (the Hall of Records) would be found behind the right paw; he said that the entrance to the passageway was from the right paw. Now that leaves us a lot of room under that paw as to where that shaft might come out. And so that's what we've been looking for. We were excited when the SRI team found some anomalies under the right paw, connected with the right paw, and that is, of course, what we are drilling first. now I'm interested also in pursuing other drilling under the right paw so that we cover as much of that area directly under the paw as possible."12

However, the drilling was stopped by soldiers, armed with machine guns, who had been told to stop the drilling for fear of damage to the monument. But the day was not a total loss, however, as Zahi Hawass, drilling in front of the Sphinx temple, found red granite at fifty feet below the surface of the limestone plateau, a form of granite that does not occur naturally in that area. The closest place it can be found is actually 375 miles to the south of the Giza plateau, indicating that there were manmade structures far below the surface of the Giza plateau. However, no further drilling was done to confirm this. The ARE made one more attempt to investigate the Giza plateau, hiring the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) to map the Giza plateau. No significant discoveries were made from this project, however, and around 1984 Lehner began to distance himself from the ARE, moving into mainstream archaeology and becoming the foremost authority on the Giza necropolis, particularly the Sphinx.

After the retirement of Lehner from active involvement with the ARE, and the curtailment of overt research on the part of Cayce's followers of the Giza necropolis, came the second phase of the search for the secret chamber, and a host of new players.

The Rise of the Independents
The advent of pluralism in the modern age has brought an increasing plurality in the research done on the pyramids and Sphinx. As early as a century ago the sort of "maverick archaeologist" types typified by the Indiana Jones® character were totally unheard of, due to the fact that wealth, power, and information were still centered in the hands of a privileged few. Today, however, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, anyone with time, money, and some guts can and has gotten involved in the search for the secret chamber. Though hundreds from all backgrounds, interests, and walks of life have gotten involved in the search at some level, three researchers have stood out from the crowd: John Anthony West, Robert Bauval, and Graham Hancock. Robert Bauval explains,

The "Age of the Sphinx" controversy started when John West, in the late 1970's, read in a book by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, Sacred Science, that the body of the Sphinx appeared to be eroded with water. Schwaller had suggested that the Nile's flood, which apparently might have reached the Sphinx's upper levels in very remote antiquity, might have been responsible. Calculations, however, showed that flood waters were unlikely to be that high. When West took Robert Schoch to see the Sphinx in 1990, the latter quickly realized that the vertical fissures he saw were not the result of flood waters at all, but rainfall flowing over the body of the Sphinx and the walls of its enclosure. [See part one of this series.] Schoch and West presented their hypothesis to the Geological Society in San Diego, and within a few days the news hit the press and a huge academic storm began to rumble, its echoes still felt to this day. The upshot was that the academics and "experts" on the subject of Egyptian chronology and archaeology rejected outright any suggestion that the Sphinx could precede dynastic Egypt, this in spite of the well-argued geological evidence presented by Schoch. Rather than review the thesis with a cool head, the Egyptologists in particular came out screaming and exhibiting to the media the hallmark of an orthodoxy and dogmatism that was long thought by the lay public to have been purged out of such scientific circles. The issue was not only whether Schoch and West were scientifically right, but whether they had the right to argue such "heretical" matters as outsiders in terms of the Egyptological profession.13

Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, had produced significant proof that the Sphinx was more than twice as old as current Egyptian chronology dates it, possibly three times as old or even older. According to Schoch, much of the weathering on the Sphinx and the walls of the enclosure surrounding the Sphinx on three sides could only have been caused by rainwater weathering over a period of thousands of years. This would link it back to the ancient Osirian Empire theorized by Childress, which existed from 12,000-14,000 years ago, when North Africa was a verdant paradise, as opposed to the god-forsaken wasteland much of it is today.

In 1992, West and Schoch took their debate to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, where Mark Lehner, now an established expert in the field of Egyptology, headed up a panel of archaeologists and Egyptologists in an attempt to quash West and Schoch's heresy. The debate was a travesty, less a debate than an academic lynching, producing little more than sensational press stories and hard feelings on both sides. Undaunted, West enlisted the aid of an established filmmaker to film a documentary showing his and Schoch's theory on the true age of the Sphinx. West brought along with him a seismographer by the name of Thomas Dobecki, who confirmed the presence of a large rectangular anomaly under the right paw of the Sphinx, roughly nine meters wide, twelve meters long, and five meters tall. The result of their documentary was the popular The Mystery of the Sphinx, broadcast on NBC in November, 1993, with over 33 million viewers. As one could imagine, this put the controversy into hyperdrive, and all corners of the Egyptological community unabashedly attacked Schoch and West as charlatans, and puppets of the ARE.

In 1995, Robert Bauval wrote The Orion Mystery, wherein he posited that the pyramids were built and laid out in such a way as to mimic the three belt stars of Orion. Furthermore, he pointed out that the shafts in the kings and queen's chamber (See part three of this series) pointed to specific stars in the sky, stars which were only in precise alignment with the supposed "air shafts" around 2500 b.c., the established date given by mainstream archaeology for the creation of the pyramids. However, there was more - much more, as Bauval slowly realized that he had stumbled upon the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx.

The key to understanding the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is to understand the concept of precession. We all know that the Earth takes 24 hours to rotate around its axis, and 365 days to revolve around the Sun. Fewer people, however, know that Earth also undergoes an even longer cycle, the "precessional" cycle. In this cycle, the Earth's axis of rotation moves 72 degrees every 2,100 years, to make one complete rotation every 25,240 years. Bauval and others believe that the ancient Egyptian priests knew of the precessional cycle, and that it lay at the heart of their stellar religion. Bauval explains,

The ancient astronomer-priests of Heliopolis knew the secrets of time, because they observed and studied the apparent motion of the stars, the moon and the sun. If we did too for long enough, most of us would arrive at a variety of calendrical conclusions: the division of hours in a day, the number of days in a year, the number of lunar months in a year. Few would know, however, how to fix a year with a marker so that in, say, four or five centuries someone could use our marker and tell the epoch. The astronomer-priests of Heliopolis knew how to do this, and this was probably one of the great secrets they kept jealously for themselves and, later, from the Greeks. The secret was the awareness of the precession of the stars and the ability to calculate the rate of change for those of Orion, the Hyades and Sirius.14

As we read in Part III, it was the Pharaoh's duty to undergo a quest to find the ancient knowledge of his ancestors - in effect, he went on a quest to solve the Riddle of the Sphinx. In order to do this he underwent a lifetime of education in the ways of the temple, learning the movement of the sun, moon and stars and, most importantly, precession. The shafts recently discovered in the interior of the pyramid have been found to point at several major stars as they would have appeared in the sky around 2500 b.c., the accepted date for the building of the pyramids. Due to precession, this reference point has changed over time, making the shafts, and the pyramid in general, a giant celestial "marker", serving as a reference point pointing at the year 2500 b.c. But is this the answer to the riddle?

According to Hancock, this reference point is only a starting point for the quester who seeks to understand the riddle of the Sphinx. The Great Pyramid may actually be not only a giant celestial marker, but a tool that the Pharaoh could use as a "thought tool" to mentally move back and forth through time. Hancock explains,

We suggest that one of the major objectives of the unseen academy, whose members were known as the "Followers of Horus", was to "fix" the epoch of 2500 b.c. (i.e., 4500 years before the present ) by using the Great Pyramid, its precisely angled shafts, and the stars of Orion's belt. We suggest that they envisaged those stars rather like the gauge of a gigantic sliding scale set across the south meridian. Once this "thought-tool" was in place all they needed to do in order to determine a date either in the past or in the future was mentally to "slide" the belt up or down the meridian from the "zero point" targeted by the southern shaft of the King's Chamber. We also suggest that a second and somewhat similar "thought-tool" was attached to the ecliptic (the apparent annual path of the sun through the twelve constellations of the zodiac). Here the gauge was the vernal point. By mentally sliding it to the left (east) or to the right (west) of a "fixed" marker on the ecliptic the "Followers of Horus" would once again have been able to determine and denominate either a past date or a date in the future.15

The question then becomes if the Great Pyramid, and the pyramids in general, were meant to mark the constellation of Orion - specifically, the position of Orion in 2500 b.c. - what was the purpose of the Sphinx? Hancock mentions that the Great Pyramid was the primary tool, to establish a date based upon the fixed time of 2500 b.c., which could then be used as a "sliding gauge" to travel to any point in time, based upon the 26,000-year precessional cycle. He also mentions a second "thought tool" that was based upon the ecliptic, the path that the sun takes through the heavens. The gauge for this secondary thought-tool was based upon the "vernal point", or the place where the sun rises on the vernal equinox - the sunrise on the first day of spring. right now, the constellation that is in line with the sun at the vernal point is the constellation of Pisces, placing us in the "Piscean Age". in about 100 years or so, however, the constellation that will be in line with the sun at the vernal equinox will be the constellation of Aquarius, bringing us into the "Age of Aquarius".

In sum, the Egyptians used a two-stage method of calculating time over thousands of years - using precession, with their massive fixed monuments as reference points. Step one of this process was to find out what constellation rises with the sun at the vernal point in the age you are trying to calculate, then step two, find out where the constellation of Orion sits relative to the 2500 b.c. reference point indicated by the shafts. Step one gives the general time, plus or minus 1,000 years or so, and step two "fine tunes" the date down to the century. As we have discovered, the shafts of the Great Pyramid fix a reference point of 2500 b.c., but is there something on the Giza plateau that gives us a fixed reference point for which constellation? There is - the Sphinx, which represents in its leonine form the constellation of Leo. Together, the pyramids and Sphinx point not to the year 2500 b.c., but the year 10500 b.c., as the time of the foundation of Egypt and the building of the Sphinx. Understanding this, "the Horus-King is now poised to travel back in time towards the age of Leo-Horakhti and to a specific spot on the ecliptic path - "The Splendid Place of the 'First Time' " ... 'the place more noble than any other place' ".16

This "Splendid Place of the First Time" is none other than the time of Osiris, when he ruled over the kingdom of Osiris. This was the time when the Sphinx was built, when the North African plain was moist and verdant, when the Osirian Empire was still in place. The empire must have been waning at this time, however, so Osiris, or "Nimrod", decided to save his great wisdom in a great storehouse somewhere where it could be held safely from intruders and the unworthy. Somewhere underneath the Giza plateau, lies the ancient storehouse of knowledge that Nimrod left behind, a storehouse that could only be found by those wise and patient enough to figure out his riddle.

In the sky, just before before the dawn in 10500 b.c., the constellation of Leo was the constellation that accompanied the rising sun. The sun at that time was in the constellation of Leo, sitting just under its "heart", the star Regulus. By itself this is unspectacular but, if we remember that the Giza plateau is an earthly representation of heaven, then the Sphinx must correspond to the constellation of Leo. The key to the riddle appears to be the 10500 b.c. date, but the final question is, what is its significance? We know that in 10500 b.c. the sun rose in the constellation of Leo, just below its front paws. If we are to accept that the Sphinx is the earthly representation of the constellation of Leo, then the Sun must then represent the location of the ancient Hall of Records - the answer to the riddle. MW

The Riddle of the Sphinx Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

Editorial | Fragments | Cave of the Mounds | Thunderbird | Sphinx IV
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1 David Hatcher Childress, Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries of Africa & Arabia (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 1997), 25-26.
2 Childress, p.26.
3 Childress, p.92.
4 Childress, p.26.
5 The Catholic Encyclopedia Online (, "Edessa".
6 Adrian Gilbert, Magi: The Quest for a Secret tradition (London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 1996), 209.
7 Gilbert, p.207.
8 Gilbert, p.207.
9 Robert Bauval, Secret Chamber (London: Century, 1999), xv-xvi.
10 Bauval, xvi-xvii.
11 Bauval, 184-185.
12 Bauval, 188.
13 Bauval, 200-201.
14 Robert Bauval, The Orion Mystery (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1994), 189-190.
15 Graham Hancock, The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind (New York: Crown Publishers, 1996), 244-245.
16 Hancock, 246.

The Players:
Zahi Hawass:
Mark Lehner:
John Anthony West:
Robert Bauval:
Graham Hancock:

People, Places, and Deities:

Secret Chamber:
The Quest for the Hall of Records
Robert Bauval
Robert Bauval was the first to truly begin to solve the Riddle of the Sphinx in his classic book, "The Orion Mystery." Since then, other prominent authors, including most notably Graham Hancock, have picked up the ball on the question of the Riddle of the Sphinx, focusing their efforts not only on defining what the Riddle means, but what its answer is. Inevitably, all come to the same conclusion, that the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx is that the pyramids and Sphinx form a vast, three-dimensional treasure map, where X marks the spot on a mysterious Secret Chamber somewhere in the Giza necropolis. This chamber is believed to house an ancient Hall of Records which contains knowledge of the ancient world before the Flood, so naturally archaeologists, historians, and those interested in history in general are keen to discover the ancient Secret Chamber, if it truly exists. Bauval performs an admirable job of chronicling all the major and many of the minor players who have taken part in the quest for the Hall of Records, though I would have preferred more revelations concerning the current search for the Hall. Unfortunately, the recent lockdown by the Egyptian government on additional archaeological research in the Giza plateau has made this impossible. So, rather than relying on speculation to fill out a new book on the subject, Bauval decided to pause and chronicle all the relevant research to this point, a decision that was not only necessary, but appropriate. This popular book has received several good reviews, and is highly recommended by the publisher.
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Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries of Africa & Arabia
David Hatcher Childress
David Hatcher Childress' Lost Cities series has proven to be consistently interesting, and Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries of Africa and Arabia is no exception. Taking the everyman approach to travel writing, Childress' accounts of his travels through Arabia and Egypt are very interesting and insightful, full of both interesting travel advice relevant to the regions he travelled through and accounts of personal experiences that make his stories very interesting to read. He thoroughly covers all of the major and most of the minor historical sites to be found throughout Africa and Arabia, often at great personal risk. It took guts to make the journeys he has made, many of which were in areas very dangerous for Americans, and a talent for writing to make them interesting. I thoroughly recommend this and all of the other Lost Cities series of books to all would-be travelers with an open mind and an interest in the unusual. One of the popular "Lost Cities" series, this book is a must-have guidebook for mysterious places in Africa and Arabia.
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Magi: The Quest for a Secret tradition
Adrian Gilbert
It is Gilbert's contention that the Magi were members of a brotherhood that has been guiding civilization for at least five thousand years, since the time the pyramids were built. At times persecuted, at other times enjoying the patronage of kings and noblemen, these masters were, and perhaps still are, the custodians of a a secret initiatory tradition.
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The Message of the Sphinx:
A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind
Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval
A provocative new approach to Egyptology argues that the ancient structures at Giza may be much older than originally thought and that their alignment may be a cryptic message directed toward a mysterious underground chamber recently detected beneath the Sphinx. In this riveting account of historical and archaeological investigation, the authors present hard evidence that the Sphinx, the Pyramids, and the other monuments at Giza are of far more ancient origin than previously believed. Complete with evidence of a conspiracy between the Egyptology establishment and various confidential organizations to keep the secrets of the Pyramids from the world, The Message of the Sphinx is also a modern-day detective story. This popular book has received many good reviews, and is personally recommended by the publisher.
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The Orion Mystery:
Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids
by Robert Bauval, Adrian Gilbert (Contributor), Peter Ginna (Editor)
This fascinating archaeological detective story argues that the great pyramids of Egypt's Fourth Dynasty (c. 26002400 b.c.) were vast astronomically sophisticated temples, rather than the pharaonic tombs depicted by conventional Egyptology. Mysterious airshafts, which lead from the Great Pyramid's chambers to its exterior were sited, the authors argue, to coincide with the key stars of Orion, a constellation that had religious significance for the Egyptians. Using astronomical data about stellar movement, they argue that the Orion stars coincide exactly with the pyramids' positions in approximately 10,400 b.c.--a period the Egyptians called the First Time, when they believed the god Osiris ruled the Earth. This excellent book makes a good companion volume to Hancock's "The Message of the Sphinx", which it preceded.
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The Serpent in the Sky:
The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt
John Anthony West
This revised edition of West's revolutionary reinterpretation of the civilization of Egypt challenges all that has been accpeted as dogma concerning this ancient and enigmatic land. It features a new introduction linking Egyptian science with the perennial wisdom tradition and an appendix updating the author's work in redating the Sphinx. Illustrations.
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Sacred Science
Reprint edition (January 1989)
R. A. Schwaller De Lubicz,
Andre VandenBroeck (translator)
This is a short jog into Rene's greater work Le Temple d'Homme. Sacred Science is a guide to the metaphysical world harnessed by the pharaoh. One will quickly agree with the well-recorded research and analysis expertly laid out in this work. This book casts shadows on other books released about Egyptian Theocracy. This book traces the origin of Heliocentricity much farther back than Copernicus, cites the Pythagorian understanding behind the Catholic "Heretics" of the Middle Ages, and consequently traces Pythagorus back to his roots, including his training by the priests of the temples in Egypt for 15 years! This Book is filled with amazing revelations, is dry and techincal, possibly aimed at the acedemic community, but if you enjoy ancient history, cause and effect, Ancient Egypt or Greece, mythology or are a skeptic, you will love this book. (Review from
Click here to buy this book.

Riddles of the Sphinx (1998)
Paul Jordan, John Ross (Photographer)
This book tells the full story of the Great Sphinx of Giza as Egyptology has uncovered it. The Sphinx is one of the most striking monuments of the ancient Egyptians, and has attracted the attention of travellers, scientists, archaeologists and others for generations. Paul Jordan details the Sphinx's impact on the ancient world, on Arab writers, on Renaissance travellers, on the pioneers of Egyptology and on modern scholarship. He tells the story of the Sphinx's many bouts of excavation and restoration, and above all puts the Sphinx in the context of all that is known about ancient Egyptian history and religion. This book examines every aspect of the Sphinx, including a professional geologist's recent claims regarding its age, and provides an authoritative and highly readable overview of the issues and debates currently surrounding it. Click here to buy this book.

History of Egypt
Manetho, W. G. Waddell (Translator)
Manetho was an Egyptian of the 3rd century b.c. Born probably at Sebennytus in the Delta, he became a priest or high priest at Heliopolis. Eight works or parts of works were ascribed to him, all on history and religion and all apparently in Greek. These survive only as quoted by other writers. This volume includes both the English translation and the original Greek, and also contains the doubtful Kings of Thebes (in Egypt) and the Old Chronicle. This small but important book is highly recommended by the publisher.
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Temples of Ancient Egypt
Dieter Arnold (Editor), Lanny Bell,
Ragnhild Bjerre Finnestad (Editor), Byron E. Shafer (Editor)
Five distinguished scholars here summarize the state of current knowledge about ancient Egyptian temples and the rituals associated with their use. The first volume in English to survey the major types of Egyptian temples from the Old Kingdom to the Roman period, it offers a unique perspective on ritual and its cultural significance. The authors perceive temples as loci for the creative interplay of sacred space and sacred time. They regard as unacceptable the traditional division of the temples into the categories of "mortuary" and "divine," believing that their functions and symbolic representations were, at once, too varied and too intertwined.
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Beyond the Blue Horizon:
Myths & Legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets
E.C. Krupp
Beyond the Blue Horizon is a treasure trove of myths, legends, and stories in which people have, through the ages, attempted to understand the cosmos and its meaning for humankind. Collecting an astonishing amount of lore between the covers of a single book, Krupp explains why our ancestors were so intrigued by the heavens, and what their celestial stories meant. An epic, authoritative, and cross-cultural exploration with over 150 illustrations, Beyond the Blue Horizon tells how all civilizations searched the sky to understand the universe - and our place in it.
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The Cambridge Star Atlas (1996)
Wil Tirion
After having established itself as a standard star atlas, "The Cambridge Star Atlas" by internationally famous astronomical cartographer, Wil Tirion, has now been improved. The popularity of this book, first published in 1991, is that it covers the entire sky, both northern and southern latitudes, in an attractive format suitable for beginning as well as experienced astronomical observers. The basis of the book is a series of twelve monthly sky charts, followed by an atlas of the whole sky, arranged in twenty overlapping charts. Each chart shows stars down to magnitude 6.5, together with about 900 nonstellar objects, such as clusters and galaxies, that can be seen with binoculars or a small telescope. There is also a comprehensive double-page map of the Moon's surface, showing craters and other named features. For this edition, author Tirion has added more detail to the monthly charts, and has included "all-sky" charts of interesting patches of sky in the northern and southern hemispheres. This book is the ideal reference atlas for sky watchers everywhere.
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NightWatch (1989)
Terence Dickinson
Dickinson, a renowned writer and former planetarium astronomer teaches you all the basics to start gazing, including: key facts of stargazing equipment (binoculars and telescopes), 24 seasonal star charts, "the universe in eleven steps", chapters on the planets; moon & sun; eclipses; comets, meteors & auroras; photographing the night sky; and essential resources.
Click here to buy this book.

The Backyard Astronomer's Guide (1991)
Terence Dickinson, Alan Dyer, Barry Estabrook (Editor)
An essential reference tool for both beginning and veteran sky observers. Drawing on decades of stargazing experience, the authors suggest what equipment to buy and what to avoid, describe observing techniques, and explain how to hunt down the most interesting celestial objects. Each chapter is illustrated with the latest, breathtaking astrophotography. This book is recommended as an excellent companion to "NightWatch" (above).
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4th Edition (1993)
William J. Kaufmann III
This oversized tome is an excellent introductory overview of all aspects of modern astronomy. I first encountered this book as a textbook to an introductory astronomy class, and it has been an indispensable tool ever since, as it has to countless other students of astronomy. This popular book has received many good reviews, and is personally recommended by the publisher.
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The Photographic Atlas of the Stars (UK edition) (1997)
by P. Doherty (Contributor), P. Moore (Contributor), H. J. P. Arnold (Photographer)
Presents the whole of the night sky in 45 color photographs taken through a 33mm lens, so that the field of view is similar to that of the naked eye. Each photograph is accompanied on the facing page by a map based on a negative print of that photograph, labeled to show the main stars of the constellations. These double-page spreads are preceded by commentary (written by author and BBC broadcaster Patrick Moore) and by tables which provide details of bright stars, double- stars, variable stars and deep-sky objects that may be seen with the naked eye or through binoculars. (Review by
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Passion: Music for the Last Temptation of Christ
Peter Gabriel
This CD received superb reviews (5 stars) and is personally recommended by the publisher. (The background music on this page is from "The Feeling Begins", the first track of this CD.)
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Passion: Sources
Peter Gabriel/Realworld Music
This excellent CD is a compilation of much of the source recordings that Peter Gabriel used for Passion (above). A must-have for lovers of world music, especially African and Middle-Eastern music.
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The Musicians of the Nile: Luxor to Isna
Musicians of the Nile
Life in the villages spread out along the Nile hasn't changed in a thousand years; nor for that matter has the traditional music of the region which has remained impervious to outside influences, even Islamic ones. The recordings here weren't collected on site but captured live at a Paris concert and in Real World's own studios in darkest Wiltshire. No concessions are made to Western ears, however, other than upping the playback quality of the intricate tabla rhythms as they tangle with ancient instruments like the rababa, the droning oboe-like mizmar and the flutish arghul which goes all the way back to the Pharaohs. Not so much a record, more like an adventure in sound. This soundtrack is highly recommended by the publisher.
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The Mystery of the Sphinx (1993)
John Anthony West, with Robert Schoch
Click here for a sound sample!
The Mystery of the Sphinx contains information about the Sphinx, and Egyptian history and archaeology in general, that is nothing less than explosive. John Anthony West and Robert Schoch offer brilliant and convincing evidence that the Sphinx is much older than the pyramids, possibly as much as 8,000 years older than previously thought, indicating that our understanding of Egyptian history and religion has barely scratched the surface. Their convincing testimony is made all the more interesting and entertaining by the inclusion of Charlton Heston as the narrator. And this video is not merely a visual montage of Egyptian images overlaid with mystical-sounding rhetoric. This is real science and real history - and maverick archaeology at its best. This popular video is highly recommended by the publisher.
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Sphinx of Egypt
Part of the popular "In Search of History" series.
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Cleopatra's Alexandria
This video covers the latest discoveries of the now sunken city of Alexandria.
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