The Great Pyramid has been many things to many people. Most Egyptologists are certain it is nothing more than the tomb of a megalomanical king. Less mainstream researchers are convinced it is a time capsule. Still others conclude it is an observatory of some kind. A modern proponent of the Great Pyramid’s astronomical significance is the famous construction engineer, Robert Bauval. He argues that the pyramid-builders oriented it to the Belt of Orion (Osiris, to the Egyptians) around 2450 B.C. This is some 200 years later than majority scientific opinion claims the structure was built, a conclusion that went against the grain of conventional and unconventional researchers alike. According to Bauval, the placement and alignment of all three Giza pyramids were part of their function as funerary temples, in which the soul of the deceased pharaoh became identified with an immortal star in the heavens. He conjectures an elaborate ceremony, during which the royal mummy was transported from one astral alignment to another. His speculation is grounded in original source materials, such as Utterance Number 245 in The Pyramid Texts addressed to the would-be pharaoh: “Assume your place in heaven among the stars, for you are a solitary star, a companion of the Great Sphinx. You shall look down upon Osiris while he commands the spirits, yet you are apart from him, and not among them.”
Supported by suggestive texts such as these, an Orion-Osiris Correlation Theory is at least superficially valid through simple comparison of the monuments with the stars in question. The three pyramids do indeed parallel the configuration in the Belt of Orion—if not precisely, then close enough for ritualistic reasons. Their similarity cannot be coincidental for a people as astronomically proficient and symbol-minded as the ancient Egyptians. “As above, so below” is a theurgic formula with roots lost in the depths of prehistory. But Bauval jumps to the conclusion that the 2450 B.C. date indicated by the declination of the so-called “air shafts” of the Great Pyramid and the height of the Orion-Osiris Constellation above the horizon infer the date of its construction and related historical data. He asks on page 195 of his book, The Orion Mystery (Crown Publishers, 1994), “was the Giza Necropolis and, specifically, the Great Pyramid and its shafts, a great marker of time, a sort of star-clock to mark the epochs of Osiris and, more especially, his First Time?”
Probably not, because, again, function does not necessarily follow form. Basic logic recognizes that a six-million-ton structure is not required to make a “star-clock.” As much as the ancient builders enjoyed monumental architecture, something only a fraction of the Great Pyramid’s gargantuan proportions would have done just as well. Furthermore, Orion’s Belt is by no means the only celestial orientation found in the Great Pyramid. As Florida researcher, Kenneth Caroli, points out, “Oddly, Bauval and his followers never once note that the descending passage was aligned on Alpha Draconis circa 2120 to 2170 B.C. (which would make the Great Pyramid even younger than Bauval believes, by three centuries), and previously to circa 3340 to 3440 B.C.—which more closely coincides with carbon-dates for the Great Pyramid’s construction during the late 4th Millennium B.C. Ironically, one of the ‘air-shafts’ is also aligned with Draconis, another to Ursa Minor, from the north side of the Queen’s Chamber. The north side of the King’s Chamber shaft likewise points to Alpha Draconis. The south shaft of the Queen’s Chamber is oriented with Sirius, while the south shaft of the King’s Chamber looks toward Zeta Orionis. All of these other orientations, save Alpha Draconis, were in alignment circa 2500 B.C.—150 years before Bauval’s Orion projection, and right back into the time-frame assigned by mainstream Egyptologists for construction of the Great Pyramid” (private correspondence, January, 2008).
In other words, one might interpret any number of celestial “alignments,” some perhaps deliberately incorporated by its builders for unknown reasons; others may be just coincidental. Such orientations are interesting, but they prove little in themselves, certainly not the date of the Great Pyramid’s construction. Moreover, if Christopher Dunn’s identification of its chief function as a kind of geologic “power-plant” is correct, then the angled corridors rising from its center to the exterior are no more “air-shafts” than they are astronomical alignments.
While Bauval is correct in associating the Great Pyramid with Osiris, the god was less identified with the constellation we know as Orion. Osiris was a lunar deity, and so hailed in the Hymn of Isis, his wife. She restored him to life, thus creating their mystery-cult of rebirth, after he had been dismembered into fourteen pieces. So too, the moon, when waning, appears to lose a portion of itself on each of the fourteen days, which make up the second half of the lunar month, a process reversed when the moon begins to wax. Also, Osiris was supposed to have reigned for twenty-eight years, which parallel the twenty-eight days in the lunar month. It is clear then, that the Giza Pyramids, while apparently laid out in the same arrangement as the stars in Orion, find their chief celestial correspondence with the moon. Nor let it be forgotten that the ancient Egyptians themselves referred to them as “Mountains of Ra,” the sun-god. What all these sky-associations with a very earth-bound, geodetic structure seem to imply is that the Great Pyramid is a metaphor for the universe. Again, “As above, so below.”
Although Bauval’s conclusions are unlikely, his initial discovery is unquestionably accurate and significant. As he exclaimed (page 192), “The pattern of Orion’s Belt seen on the ‘west’ of the Milky Way matches, with uncanny precision, the pattern and alignments of the three Giza pyramids!” Osiris, the man-god of rebirth and Egyptian stellar equivalent of Orion, was identified with the structures themselves. The ancient texts affirm, “These pyramids of theirs (the gods) are Osiris.” Indeed, Giza’s burial precinct, which sprang up many centuries after the Great Pyramid was built, was called Kheret-neter-Akhet-Khufu, or the “Necropolis of the Horizon of Khufu,” a symbolic term for the Province of Osiris. While association with Osiris goes back to Pyramid origins, the Khufu reference was not applied to a mortal pharaoh, but to some other god. Even so, the old and incorrect view that the Great Pyramid was built by Khufu (the Greek Cheops), an obscure Pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty, as his final resting place, and nothing more, still prevails.
Conventional Egyptology’s official theory has been so widely publicized for so many decades it has attained a certain level of academic dogma. This despite the fact that investigators have known for years that Khufu’s real tomb (it is still marked with the cartouche enclosing his name) lies east of the Pyramid in which he was supposedly buried. Archaeologists established that this burial was not part of the original Pyramid complex. And its apparent confirmation as the final resting place for Khufu rules out the Great Pyramid as his tomb. The name as it appears associated with the Great Pyramid, Kheret-neter-Akhet-Khufu, is actually a variation of Khnemu, the god, of all the Egyptian immortals, most appropriately associated with the Great Pyramid. “Khufu” is a variant of Khnemu, the “Molder,” originally portrayed in temple art as a ram-headed male figure molding the first human beings from clay at his pottery wheel. It was on this same wheel that Khnemu fashioned the Cosmic Egg, from which the universe exploded, and back into which it shall eventually return. His is obviously among the most deeply ancient mythic concepts known in Egypt. He simultaneously embodied the gods Ra, Shu, Geb and Osiris, representing fire, air, earth and water, while his Cosmic Egg was the sacred omphalos, the center of the world. He thus personified the Great Pyramid’s representation of the world (earth, water and air) and its internal telluric energies; i.e., “the fire within.”
Khnemu was synonymous for the world-navel. His function is stressed again by his occasional portrayal as a deity with four heads. They signified the Four Cardinal Directions sprouting from his trunk, thereby defining the center of the world. Khnemu also symbolized the Great Flood. Surviving shrine murals portray him pouring a vase of water over the whole earth. These details epitomize the Great Pyramid’s position at the absolute center of the world’s landmass, as confirmed by its internal geodetic features, and point up the Atlantean identity of its creators. That Khufu-Khnemu should also embody Geb, the god of the earth, is a remarkably appropriate link between the deity and the structure. No less revealing, Osiris became the man-god of rebirth and regeneration, recalling the ionized “fire within” the Great Pyramid. Osiris was supposed to be able to transform himself at will into a great snake, suggestive of the “serpent power” that dwells in the earth, the Pythonic influences of geophysical energies. Khnemu likewise personifies the boat that brought the gods from their sinking island to the Nile Delta: rams, antelopes, goats or similarly horned beasts symbolized waves, and the figure-heads of Egyptian sailing vessels, particularly sacred boats, were often stylized ram-heads.
Cheops, as the Greeks called him, was almost certainly a real Third Dynasty king whose name derived from that of the deity, as did the names of most pharaohs. He was doubtless a controversial ruler, because his supporters and detractors were arguing over his memory long after his death, as recorded in surviving stone tablets recovered from the Giza Plateau precinct by the renowned British archaeologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, at the close of the 19th century. In fact, their post mortem debate underscores Khufu’s lack of involvement with construction of the Great Pyramid. Surely, had he been responsible for building the foremost structure of all time, his followers would have proudly listed its creation at the head of all his deeds. But in the 26th Dynasty’s so-called “Inventory Stele,” which does indeed catalogue his Old Kingdom accomplishments, Khufu’s loyal adherents do not credit him with raising the Great Pyramid. In fact, it is never mentioned in the text, quite an oversight, if we are to believe Cheops was the builder. While no mortal Khufu may be associated with the Great Pyramid, the immortal Khnemu’s identification with the structure is no less perfect than its own precise measurements. It seems apparent that mainstream Egyptologists have confused a man for a god, and, in so doing, lost the penetrating significance of his name.
They insist that the small compartment labeled the “King’s Chamber” allegedly designed for Pharaoh Khufu’s sarcophagus was really a sepulchre. But its designers created no labyrinth of meandering passageways to mislead intruders, a standard feature otherwise found throughout dynastic mortuary architecture. Instead, a descending corridor leads straight to the large, ascending “Gallery,” by which the chamber is reached directly. The spurious “Queen’s Chamber,” just below, is no less easily entered. These corridors would have afforded no protection against theft. And as anyone who has entered the Great Pyramid may testify, the cramped, narrow confines of its internal passageways are sometimes so small they may accommodate only one person at a time. Visitors are forced to stoop beneath the low ceiling. There is simply no room for elaborate ceremonies, funereal or otherwise, to say nothing of pallbearers carrying a typically massive sarcophagus through such confined spaces. A mortuary identity for the Great Pyramid is in every aspect invalidated by the internal spaces of the structure itself.
Renowned Egyptologist, Margaret Murray, found that “the question as to the use of the early pyramids has never been satisfactorily answered. It is usually stated that they were burial places; this may be true of the latter ones, but there is no proof that this was their original purpose. But there is evidence that they were used for some special religious ceremonies in connection with the Divine King, though whether he was alive or dead is uncertain” (The Egyptian Pyramids, Knopf, 1990, p. 137). Bauval agrees that the interior of the Great Pyramid comprised a “Hall of Initiation” for some royal mystery-cult of rebirth. But its few, linear corridors do not form a useful ritual path for initiates to follow, as every visitor who has had to squeeze through the Descending Passage knows. We are once again confronted by a structure far too huge to accommodate such a relatively limited theory. A temple a fraction the size of the Great Pyramid, while still colossal, would have made far more sense.
Bauval’s attempts at dating construction of the Great Pyramid to 2450 B.C. by way of its stellar alignment may be unconvincing. But so-called “hard evidence” narrows dating scales. For example, an intact Gerzean vase from pre-Dynastic times (circa 3800 to 3500 B.C.) appears to depict all three pyramids standing on the Giza Plateau. It was found during 1990 in the desert around Abydos, and today belongs to the Luxor Museum. Most recent radio-carbon dates for the Great Pyramid were obtained by Dr. Mark Lehner. “It is a safe assumption,” he said, “that the material (collected from the exterior covered by decorative casing stones until their removal in the 13th century) is from the original construction” (Carbon-Dating the Pyramids, Venture Inward Magazine, vol. 51, #8, p. 4, 1990) The high calculation Dr. Lehner’s team obtained was 1,244 years older than the officially accepted King Khufu time-frame, placing construction of the Great Pyramid around 3809 B.C. This scientifically ascertained date not only removes the pyramid’s origins outside the 4th dynasty, but beyond dynastic civilization altogether. It nonetheless corresponds with the Gerzean illustration, mentioned above, of the same era.
Even carbon-14’s low estimate added almost three hundred years to the conventional date, bringing construction near the beginning of pharaonic times. These test results suggest that the pyramid was built at some point within the extremes of their date parameters; in other words, from the mid- to late-4th millennium B.C. “Conservatively, the Great Pyramid’s calibrated date falls between 2850 and 3050 B.C.,” according to Caroli, “and so is 300 to 500 years older than the date agreed upon by standard chronologies. 2950 B.C. might be treated as the absolute calibrated median.” These earlier dates for its construction are important to understand pyramid origins, because they indicate that the foremost building of the ancient world was completed at the very start of Egypt’s dynastic history. Consequently, the pharaonic identity of its builders becomes all the more uncertain, and we must look elsewhere for the master-builders responsible. As Alexander Braghine concluded in 1940, “In the solution of the problem of the origin of the pyramid builders is hidden also the solution of the origin of Egyptian culture and of the Egyptians themselves” (The Shadow of Atlantis, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1997).
Establishment chronology for the Giza pyramids is further shaken by the demonstrable fact that all major structures at the plateau were built simultaneously as separate elements of a common complex. Conventional scholars have long taught that Khufu built the Great Pyramid. It was copied in the second largest specimen by his son, Khafre, who, out of deference for his father, refused to make it quite as high. The third and smallest of the pyramids was supposed to have been built many years later by Menkaure, almost as an afterthought. This official scenario for the Giza Plateau is absolutely without foundation, an utter fiction, that has nonetheless become one of the tenets of modern Egyptology. But a closer look at the site reveals an altogether different story.
Internal evidence likewise implies a date circa 3000 B.C. Caroli points out, “there are indications that data concerning cycles of time were also included in the Great Pyramid. Its four sides might relate to the Sothic cycle, that stellar calendar by which the Egyptians calculated time. In inches, the structure’s basic measurements equate to one century. Its primary figures (height, apothem and circumference) parallel a Sothic cycle known to have been employed by the Egyptians in chronicling their ‘mythic’ past. That particular cycle ran from approximately 45,000 to 5,000 years ago. While a 45,000 year-date for the monument is certainly out of the question, its construction around the turn of the 4th millennium happens to coincide with the start of the first dynasty, the very beginning of pharaonic civilization. If true, then it should be obvious that the Great Pyramid was engineered by foreign culture-bearers from some highly advanced society who arrived at the Nile Delta to build the structure” (private correspondence, January, 2008).
The identity of those “culture-bearers” is suggested by the Giza pyramids themselves, in view of their deliberate lay-out after the three stars in the Belt of the Orion Constellation. In Greek myth, Orion, as the son of Earth, was translated into the night sky. But a variant of his story has Poseidon, the sea-god creator of Atlantis, and Euryale, one of the Gorgons, likewise associated with the Atlantic Ocean, as his parents. She gave birth to him on an island in the distant west, where he was blinded, but regained his sight after having been brought to another island, Delos, in the Aegean Sea. Going blind and regaining one’s sight was a poetic metaphor for death and rebirth, and here parallels the death or destruction of Atlantis and the rebirth of its mystery cult on Delos, which, significantly, was also known as “the Navel of the World.” Orion pursued the Pleiades, children of the sea-goddess, Pleione, and Atlas, the eponymous deity of Atlantis. In fact, the Pleiades were Daughters of Atlas, or “Atlantises.” Osiris-Orion identified with the Great Pyramid, and his Atlantean identity is no less clear. In the final scene of The Book of Gates, as depicted on Pharaoh Sety I’s alabaster sarcophagus, the distended body of Osiris encircles Sekhet-Aaru, the “Fields of Reeds,” the Egyptian term for Atlantis.