The Great Sphinx

Alison JamesArticles

“And the first beast was like a lion, …”  ~ Revelation 4:7

 The Great Egyptian Sphinx is a lasting testament to man’s affinity with the feline species. With the body, tail and forelegs of a lion and a kingly human head, the Sphinx, like other gods in the Egyptian pantheon, reminds us that there are unique characteristics of the cat family which we may not only aspire to embody, but that we may revere. Although never ranked as a wonder of the world, the Sphinx’s close proximity to the Great Pyramid and the pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure, positions it as part of that great complex of buildings and their mystery. It sits majestically as a guardian, presiding over the Giza necropolis (cemetery), its eyes facing east along the east-west axis of its construction.

The word “sphinx” may be derived from the Egyptian “shesep-ankh”, meaning “living image”. The head wears the royal nemes headdress (the striped headcloth worn by pharaohs) and there is a beard under the chin. It is believed that the Sphinx was was built by Khafre, the son of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, and that the head is of Khafre himself. It is carved from a large piece of limestone similar to that of Khafre’s Valley Temple with which it is almost in exact alignment. Measuring 57 metres long and 20 metres high, the Sphinx’s head was discovered protruding from the sand and it has had to be excavated several times from the ever-blowing sand in the region. There is an understanding today that the Sphinx dates back to ancient times before a time of great flooding as the patterns of erosion on its exterior were made by water erosion.

There are many theories and findings relative to tunnels being located under the Sphinx. In 1817, Italian explorer Captain Giovanni Battista Caviglia hoped to discover a tunnel leading from the Sphinx to Khafre’s pyramid, but in vain; in 1818, however, he discovered a room below, between the paws. American Egyptologist Mark Lehner discovered three tunnels: one behind the head and inside its body, 5 meters long; one in the tail region, 9 meters long; and one on the north side of the statue. The statue itself sits presiding over a small complex of ruined rooms and a temple, to which access is mostly denied. One lady on our pilgrimage was shown a sealed off door.

As I mentioned in my previous article on the Great Pyramid, invisible energies precede earthly manifestations, and the Sphinx is no exception. To my knowledge, the Hall of Records said to lie under the right paw has not been physically proven despite other information to the contrary. Much knowledge as been discerned by truth seekers and revealed by channeled accounts. However, the Sphinx’s position to the east of the three pyramids’ alignments in an earthly planisphere marks the position of the constellation of Leo. Temple remains of 24 pillars in the Sphinx Temple suggest, perhaps, the number of hours in a day, or some other higher-based encodement.

From an astrological point of view, we understand that the zodiac sign of Leo represents the mature fatherly figure and his radiant power and love. These initiatory and outward moving energies of the sun are the creative force of fire of the universe. The Leo constellation sits just below the horizon at the equinox sunset, called Sep Tepi, Egyptian meaning “the first time” -according to their creation myth; Sep Tepi also means the foundation of their nation. Perhaps indeed the Sphinx was created to honor the forces of the universe which it was representing, guarding and expanding.

The most frequent quality we attribute to the lion is courage which is found in the heart. It is not a coincidence that an etheric entry to the Sphinx is described as being located at the heart, nor that the Lion’s Gate became the name of one of seven open gates in the old city wall of Jerusalem, marking the last walk of Jesus from prison to crucifixion along the Via Dolorosa.  Merlin says:

“The Lion’s Gate is a cosmic opening of stellar dimensions for greater consciousness and understanding for the advanced Initiate.”

Indeed, the ancient initiations at the Sphinx were in preparation for those that would follow in the Great Pyramid – and may still be experienced in the time capsule that is the Sphinx; courage, humility (the transformation of excess ego) and Love being required.

On Earth, not including the large cat family, we mostly encounter two types of cats, domesticated and feral, the former more friendly and protective, the latter often more ferocious. Bastet, the cat goddess, whose cult center was at Bubastis in Lower Egypt, personified the beneficial aspects of felines, although she was originally depicted with attributes of the lion; Sekhmet, from the Egyptian “Sekhem”, meaning “the powerful one” and the daughter and eye of Ra, was the consort of Ptah and to the pharaohs she represented their courage.

Both Bastet and Sekhmet are considered to be Neters, ancient Egyptian gods personifying Divine Principles of consciousness for the enlightenment of man. Others include Isis, Hathor, Ma’at, Anuket, Mut, Nekhbet, Nephthys, Nut, Seshat and Tefnut. The Initiation between the paws of the Sphinx is said to be by Nut and Tefnut; Nut is depicted holding the sky away from the Earth and Tefnut, sometimes shown as a full lioness, was known by some to be the name of the Sphinx.

During our visit to the Temple of Karnak, many of us were led off the main path to a small chapel dedicated to Sekhmet. There we happily found one undamaged black granite statue of Sekhmet standing upright about one foot taller than myself in total darkness. A male Egyptian guide accompanying me took my hand and had me touch the black granite statue at its heart and then touch my heart and my third eye. At one time, in the Temple of Mut within the Karnak complex, there were over 700 statues of Sekhmet.  In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York I counted six statues most recently, most of them in very good condition, but in a seated posture.

Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to share that my own experience at the Sphinx was one of great joy.  I found happiness and laughter bubbling up inside of me.  Time did stand still and my date with destiny and a heart connection was made.