The Sphinx: When Was It Really Built and Why? Part 3 OF 3
A FURTHER EXAMINATION OF MY THEORY
AND OTHER THEORIES
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of the Sphinx is available as fully featured PDFs
for Parts 1, 2 and 3.
OK, LET'S START
When the rivers of those preliterate Pre-Hebraic and Nubian cultures met to form the Proto-Egyptian cultures, both rivers mixed and then, as history indicates, each river pretty much turned back upon on itself, becoming even stronger and more fixed in its original course.
|The Hebrew Temple|
In sum, the Pre-Hebraic tribes were exposed to Dynastic Egypt's majestic spirituality to such a degree that when they evolved into monotheistic Hebrews they were ready to create and and run a spiritual empire. On the flip side, the Proto-Egyptians learned how to use an ordered approach to psychic exploration of the soul that eventually evolved into the Pyramid Texts of Dynastic Egypt.
It is interesting that the endless discussions of the nature of the soul that occupied the priests of Dynastic Egypt were not unlike the later institutionalized rabbinical arguments about the meaning of the Torah.
One of the reasons I see River Mother exerting such an impact on the Nile delta c.6000 B.C. is not only her prophetic role in foreseeing the flood, but her re-emphasis of the Nubian Mother Goddess spirituality in the face of a nascent Pre-Hebraic male-God spirituality.
That clash, of course, would have been further intensified as the Proto-Egyptian culture itself approached literacy and logos consciousness with its emphasis on the male Gods. As I've said earlier, I believe it was this spiritual conflict between muthos vs. logos consciousness and Goddesses vs. Gods that led to a synthesis of a Balanced muthos/logos consciousness and Male/Female spirituality that was to dominate the Proto-Egyptian culture and the later literate Dynastic Egyptian culture for thousands of years.
What we should bring from this quick look look into the nature of this spiritual and cultural intermixing of the Pre-Hebraic/Nubian tribes in the Nile delta is a better appreciation of the origins of Dynastic Egyptian spirituality. It was a spirituality built upon the Proto-Egyptian belief in immortality and their related, intense, ongoing study of the nature of the soul. If you need an example of what that intense study brought about, I suggest you read my Excerpt 47 of the Appendix to Alice Hickey. (Egyptian Thinking on The Soul and the Ka)
The artistic expressions of Power and Empire of the Dynastic Egyptians were as far from the minds of the Proto-Egyptians as expressions of Mystic (Psychic) Spirituality were from the minds of Gutzon Borglum and his supporters. This being so, I am going to try to further explain to you what I mean by the Mystic (Psychic) Spirituality of the Proto-Egyptians in the sections that follow.
|Joseph and Pharaoh|
The origin of the Hebrews and even the term itself, is a subject of much debate. As I mentioned earlier, the Bible is one source, as it contains a number of curiously stylized stories about Hebraic/Egyptian encounters during literate Dynastic times. We also have some scattered writings on the Hebrews by the Egyptians themselves. For a good Wikipedia article on the origin of the Hebrews, click here.
c.2100/1800 thru 1550 B.C.
The description "those who move on foot" implies that were others at the same time in the Levant (and Egypt) who moved by ox-cart, donkeys, and possibly horses. It should be noted, however, that it wasn’t until around 2000 B.C. that horses were used for war-chariots, and until around 1000 B.C. that horses were first ridden.
This says to me that this description is a very early one, and came into being when ox, donkey and horse transportation in the
“Rulers of foreign lands” is a clear indication that these tradesmen and herdsmen had become a formidable military and social entity, taking over and ruling a portion of the
There is also evidence that they would hire themselves out as mercenaries, because there is some evidence that they may have done this after they (The Hyskos Kingdom) were expelled from the Nile delta in 1550 B.C., i.e., they later hired themselves out as border guards for Egypt. There is also the possibility that even though the dates don't exactly match, these same Hyskos were in actuality the Hebrews in Exodus, and thus were a Kingdom with soldiers and were not slaves. I say more about this elsewhere. In short, these Pre-Hebraic tribes were clearly upwardly mobile.
It goes without saying that you have to be fast on your feet if you´re continually going into strange and often unfriendly territory carrying that kind of mixed baggage. Only the successful continue to do it. By all we can tell, the Pre-Hebraic tribes were very successful at it for the very simple reason that they survived. This implies to me that they were undoubtedly quick thinkers, something that helped form a cultural disposition for thinking critically about anything of interest to them. I also believe that their nascent logos consciousness boosted that ability.
Their even later, almost fanatical pursuit of logos consciousness and writing, especially with regard to interpreting the Covenant, is still another indication of this early cultural disposition for critical thinking. The Hebrew's pursuit of logos consciousness (and writing) seems to have been so extreme that Julian Jaynes tells us that it brought them to the point where they killed off any Hebrews who wouldn't, or couldn't, make the transition to logos consciousness.
Some theorists have made semi-successful leaps in that direction, as have some revolutionary thinkers like Terrence McKenna (Below, L). Those leaps, however, are almost always associated with theories about drugs being a component in the creation of preliterate art, as if without them preliterate man would be at a loss to make art of any significance.This is simply nonsense.
These theorists may not be able to create art without drugs, but I can assure you preliterate man could do it stone cold. As an artist who works from the unconscious in somewhat the same manner that preliterate man did, I know that drugs weren't required in order for preliterate man to create his art.
From my own psychedelic drug experiences, I don't find this at all surprising, as these seem to form in the mind automatically. But this is not art. These cave drawings of zig-zags and the like have simply been recorded by the person as he progressed on his voyage into the spirit world. There shouldn't be any doubt in anyone's mind that psychedelic drugs were used for shamanic purposes. The record seems clear on that. Zig-zags, however, were not what preliterate man was after. What he was after was knowledge of what was taking place in the Other World, the World of the Gods.
You might say his unconscious was his dominant mind and one he slipped in and out of quite naturally as he went about his day. Not "day dreaming" but entering the kind of dream states we associate only with our sleeping dreams. When a deeper plunge into the unconscious, or the Other World as he called it, was needed to examine the spirits more closely, drugs were often helpful in getting into a trance state but not at all absolutely necessary. We know this from the practices of shamans, psychics and gurus who exist today.
Below are examples of art from preliterate cultures. The first three are painted face art from contemporary New Guinea. The fourth is Olmec c.1200 B.C.
The photos above could be said to represent the beginning and end of preliterate art: face painting being the earliest, and three dimensional sculpture being the final form it took. What might help you follow where I'm going with this would be to take you into the heart of the artistic process of preliterate humans.
My own feeling (having created art under drugs) is that drawings such as the shaman and bison (below) were not done under the influence. The two cave drawings below are masterpieces. (The illustrations shown are "perfect" copies of the originals, which is why they so clear). They are preliterate (unconscious) art in all its glory.
As I've said before, preliterate art can be thought of as vision messages. What I mean by that is that the creation of preliterate story poems, drawings and sculpture involved very little if any conscious thought and manipulation. The same goes for their dance and music, but almost all traces of those (in something close to their original state) have disappeared.
Creating such art meant being sensitive to the directives of the artistic unconscious, the Muse, the Spirits, whatever you want to call it. Those directives came as feelings, not logical thoughts. I believe that preliterate man was sensitive to those feeling to a degree we can only imagine. His stories or art or music or dance formed intuitively. They never involved conscious decisions to do this or that.
If you can begin to understand the above quote (which comes from Excerpt 21. Antiphonal Speaking in the Appendix to ALICE HICKEY), you are a very long way toward understanding the mind and art of preliterate humans.
This is something our art/drug archeologists, and even someone as flexible as McKenna, never seem to consider, being strangers to that kind of artistic process, as indeed are most modern artists, who work mostly from from their conscious minds.
For those who are able, however, to enter preliterate cultures through its art, which is a feeling or muthos process, what difference does it make if there are no archeological findings worth talking about, just a few pot shards and the like? After all, those are garbage. Literally.
All you have to do is to "get" Michelangelo and the Altamira cave drawings is open yourself completely to what is being portrayed and register what you feel, not what you think. If that is difficult, and it probably will be, let me suggest that you try this mind trick, especially if you are not artistic, or psychic, to any extent.
Call up a very vivid memory that has been with you since your early childhood. My most vivid memory is a dream I had of my mother, who was quite beautiful. I had it when I was five or six. In the dream, she was naked, tied to a stake, unable to move or speak. That was the entire dream as I still remember it at age 75 and quite vividly I might add.
That is the kind of vivid memory I'm talking about: a pure muthos expression of something emotionally critical in your early life. Everyone has one, or you wouldn't be human. Now, imagine that memory coming to you suddenly today for the first time but being accompanied by the feeling you have during an orgasm, one of no boundaries, that you are one with everything that surrounds you, and then something even more: a feeling that what you have been given is unbelievably beautiful and true. This is what Keats means when he says,“ Beauty is truth, truth beauty,'--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
What Keats is also saying is that revelation is all we get of the divine here on earth: that is all Ye know on earth. I think the modern spiritual mind can easily accept that, as Keats obviously did, namely, that our vision of the divine is always incomplete, but then Keats also tells us that the revelation is all ye need to know. In other words, the blazing beauty and truth of revelation is the only thing we require to fully sense a divine order. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, got it?
Don't let me give you the impression that preliterate man went through all those little steps so he could understand that the message was divine and was to be imitated. He understood that instinctively. The little steps are for you. I can't think of a better bridge to understanding the artistic nature of muthos consciousness than that quote from Keats. If what I have just said about it didn't help, read it again.
Let me add one final important comment. What Keats doesn't say (because he wasn't writing this blog) is that when a preliterate artist imitated that revelation through words, or picture or sculpture or movement or music, he was not only responding to the Gods that he understood their intent, but he was also giving his brothers and sisters the potential opportunity of experiencing that same Heaven blazing into the head. As I've mentioned elsewhere, this usually meant his brother and sisters would participate in the imitation. remember, in preliterate art, there was no separate audience: the artists were the audience and vice versa.
I hope this has given you a better understanding of what I have been talking about in saying that art for preliterate man was spiritual in nature. The voices and visions that guided him in his art were voices and vision of sensory revelation, and his muthos response to those sensory revelations was pretty much what is described in the quote I have been giving you from time to time:
“We have heard the sound of your song, O most beautiful and most dark, and we are returning it to you the only way we know, the way you have shown us”.
I should add that when a poem comes to me today, I go through the same emotions and response I have just outlined for you. It is nothing new: these type of artistic revelations have been occurring since humans first appeared on the planet.
It is only today that many artists will often prevent these revelations from completely seizing consciousness, preferring to consciously play with the incomplete fragments. That kind of conscious thinking never entered the mind of preliterate man. It is a product of our modern consciousness: the logos mind loves novelty.
It may interest you to know that the earliest preliterate poetry was communal and multi-voiced, because its antiphonal form imitated the way early humans heard and responded to the voice of the Muse: “We have heard the sound of your song, O most beautiful and most dark, and we are returning it to you the only way we know, the way you have shown us”. For those who are interested, I have a great deal more to say about this in Part One, Chapter 6 of SOULSPEAK: The Outward Journey of the Soul.
We have to face the fact that what we have for the most part is a blank space in time for all very early preliterate cultures: Asian, European, Middle Eastern, Meso-American, Polynesian, you name it, but it is especially true for the 6000 B.C. Proto-Egyptian period I am talking about.
There are small miraculous survivals such as cave art and the stone art and megaliths of early agricultural and hunter/gather cultures, and luckily, there are also the fragments of oral myths that were transcribed into writing. To truly get the truth of that art, however, you have to work backwards in a muthos way, and if you're rigorous enough and flexible enough, a knowing will develop that will give you a good sense of what those periods were like outside of the potsherds and arrow heads.
|SPHINX 2012 AD|
Again, imitation is a muthos way of saying to the Other World, "We hear your song, O most dark and beautiful, and we are returning it in the only way we know: the way you have shown us."
Let me be very specific so you'll really get what is going on here, because if you don't, you'll miss the boat to Egypt, and if you don't get on it with this example, you may never get on.
What has been revealed to the Egyptians by the Other World ("We hear your song, O most dark and beautiful) is a particular part of the heavens at a particular positional time whose stars are (literally) Isis/Sirius, Osiris/Orion, Horus/Sirius B? and other divinities/stars, all of which are associated with the acceptance of the dead Pharaoh's soul into the heavens to become one in the with Osiris in the heavens as well as the subsequent incarnation of Horus in the new Pharaoh.
Having been shown this, the Egyptians are then imitating that particular part of the heavens at a particular positional time by creating an identically positioned Giza complex, i.e., "we are returning it in the only way we know: the way you have shown us."
The sole object of this imitation (which also continued into the nature and position of the rooms and passages inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu) was to create an earthly image of the heavens to guide the Pharaoh's soul in its journey to the Orion/Osiris constellation and immortality. That same imitation also served as a guide to insure the incarnation of Horus into the son of the pharaoh took place properly, thereby making him the new God King.
(The medieval English had an apt saying that covered this situation: "The King is dead. Long Live the King.")
Building the Giza pyramids was one thing, but incredible as that feat was, even more incredible was how the builders used the Giza pyramids (and others) to not only imitate the Orion/Isis constellation (and other related stars) but also facilitate the journey of the Pharaoh's soul to immortal life in that constellation.
This incredible engineering feat didn't come out of nowhere. It was driven by the Egyptians obsession with the soul and the journey the Pharaoh's soul had to take to achieve immortality, a journey that was at the heart of Dynastic Egyptian spirituality. It is one more indication that what distinguished the Egyptians from other early cultures was their intense interest in the nature of the soul and its immortality, just as an obsession with logically explaining the world distinguished the Greeks, and an obsession with understanding the nature of God and God’s relation to man distinguished the Hebrews.
Despite his success in this area, Hillman, like others who have probed the unconscious, or soul, was fully aware of the difficulty of ever logically establishing physical parameters for this unique, mysterious guiding identity with which we seem to enter the world.
"The precise meaning of ka, ba, ach (akh), `shm (sekhem), and so on is no longer clear to us. Well-meaning scholars try again and again and again to force the Egyptian idea of the soul into our traditional categories without enabling us to understand even a little of it any better."
I believe that whatever knowledge was gained by these continuing Egyptian psychic observations of the soul was used by them to further understand and perhaps refine the original funerary rituals developed by the Nubian Proto-Egyptian shamans.
|Osiris and Isis|
Unlike the Hebrews and Greeks who moved rapidly into logos consciousness, Egypt seems to have remained balanced or caught between the two ways of perceiving the world, just as they remained balanced between the male and female Gods. Balance was everything to the Egyptians. Everything. Just as Balance was a critical spiritual principle for the Egyptians, equally important to them, as I have just discussed, was the soul and its journey to immortality.
Julian Jaynes, however, was acute enough to see that there were places in the various texts where this interpretation didn't make sense. If you interpreted the Ka, however, as those same guiding voices that all preliterate peoples heard as directives, the texts made excellent sense.
Julian Jaynes saw these internal voices as constituting the critical difference between preliterate (muthos) consciousness and literate (logos) consciousness. Click here for a free PDF of The Origin of Consciousness. In the photo above the Greek Goddess Athena speaks to Odysseus, the painting being a representation of the directive God voices that all preliterate (muthos consciousness) peoples heard.
|Symbol for Ka|
It is clear from temple paintings and the like that this posture must have had very long roots, and indeed may have been an early pictograph for praise. Since praise can be seen as a general term used by preliterate peoples to describe that divinely inspired art that came into being as the result of experiencing visions and voices, the Ka symbol can also be seen as a symbol for that art (or praising).
My own belief is that this symbol is very old, going back far beyond 6000 B.C., and that its origin is Nubian and that it may have several meanings in addition to praising. I believe it is also a muthos expression of the directive voices of the Ka (which are slightly different from the voices and visions driving the creation of their art).
Thus another interpretation of the Ka symbol is that it represents the internal directive voices heard by all preliterate peoples, i.e., it represents the twin, or double, nature of preliterate thinking, namely that preliterate conscious thought processes were aided by the directive voices they heard. (Thought by the way is one of the interpretations of the Ka passed down to us by the Egyptians.)
Thus, one hand represents conscious thinking of the body and the other the directive voices of the Ka. What is of equal importance is that the two hands of the symbol are linked. I believe what this represents is that the body and the Ka form a whole. The body is the home of the Ka and the Ka needs the body to exist.
The above site on the parts of the soul defines the Sahu as "the incorruptible spiritual body of man that could dwell in the heavens, appearing from the physical body after the judgment of the dead was passed (if successful) with all of the mental and spiritual abilities of a living body."
MORE ABOUT THE PRELITERATE NUBIANS
I also believe these Nubian/African practices were more extreme and more sophisticated than the shamanic practices of the preliterate Semitic peoples of the Levant who were migrating southward into the the Nile delta c.6500 thru 3200 B.C..
These two preliterate peoples intermixed genetically, spiritually and culturally and eventually formed the distinctive Proto-Egyptian people of the Nile delta who in turn eventually evolved into the Dynastic Egyptians.
As I've just indicated, I believe that the superior psychic abilities of Nubian shamans (their superior ability to heal, to see future events) combined with their Nubian/African belief in immortality eventually became the foundation of the shamanic/psychic spiritual beliefs and practices of the Proto-Egyptian culture of 6000 thru 3200 B.C., and that these beliefs eventually evolved into the literate Dynastic Egyptian belief in immortality of the soul of the Pharaoh and the funerary practices associated with it.
One of my reasons for proposing all this is my sense that the African Mother Goddess culture was more psychically charged than the Semitic Mother Goddess cultures migrating into the Nile delta. After all, Africa is the the home of the First Mother. Its Mother Goddess culture was not only the first but it was also the source of all the other Mother Goddess cultures throughout the preliterate world. You would expect the African version to be more potent.
By knowing I don't mean how to construct a bow or boat or solve spatial problems. Men could do that as well as women. Psychic knowing is what set women apart: the ability to know things that aren't immediately obvious, like the future, or how to heal a strange illness.
The Face of the Sphinx is Black Nubian Female
What I do contend is that the face of the Sphinx is the face of a female Nubian shaman c. 6000 B.C.. My contention is based on the fact that there is sufficient physical, artistic, cultural and weathering evidence to strongly suggest that the face of the Sphinx is the face of a prophetic female Nubian shaman/leader who had an enormous impact on the spiritual and physical lives of the preliterate Neolithic inhabitants of the Nile delta, and that her impact was so great that she was held to be a living Goddess and honored as such by carving her face on a Giza cliff overlooking the Nile c.6000 B.C..
|A Nubian carving of Hathor|
In addition, the black, female characteristics of the face of the Sphinx have been noted over the centuries, and while those similarities have been ignored by almost all theorists because they were focused on Dynastic Egypt where the male Gods had become dominant by 2500 B.C. (the traditionally agreed-upon date for the creation of the Sphinx).
I believe those black, female similarities can no longer be ignored in light of the artistic and cultural evidence pointing to a preliterate (Mother Goddess culture) origin of the Sphinx.
Look at the photos (L, below R) and compare the broad face of a late Nubian sculpture of the Goddess Hathor and a young modern Nubian woman. I suspect that the photographer may have used the Hathor sculpture as a model for the young girl's photograph, thereby somewhat biasing its complete universality, but it is nevertheless very useful.
As can be seen, the facial characteristics of almond eyes, large nose and full lips are very similar. I'm not saying that all Nubian women in preliterate times had features exactly like the young woman (and like the Hathor sculpture), but the features are extremely close, as I've shown elsewhere.
What these two photos don't fully reflect, however, are the markedly full, square lower faces of contemporary Nubian women (and I contend preliterate Nubian women as well) because of the triangulating effect of the pulled-in wig of Hathor as well as the pulled-in headdress of the young girl.
The artistically-stylized squareness of Hathor's chin, however, does indicate to us that the squareness of the chin (and therefore the lower face) had been artistically adopted as the ideal, representative shape of ancient Nubian female faces, which pretty much settles the issue of how square the ancient Nubian female face actually was. This characteristic is echoed in the photo (above, R) of an older modern Nubian woman.
What makes the young girl's photo (below, L) useful is that the eyes, nose and lips of Hathor and the young girl are so similar. They are in a sense, interchangeable.
This being so, I want you to move the young girl's nose onto the Sphinx in your imagination so you can see how the Sphinx probably looked. I've done that as well through Photoshop (R).
There is a slight difference in camera angle between the photos of the Sphinx and the young woman that make the result a bit distorted, but I chose the young girl's nose because the chipped tip of Hathor's nose combined with the lack of shadows in the young woman's nose make using the young woman´s nose in a Photoshop overlay of the Sphinx more revealing (and more accurate) than using Hathor's heavily shadowed, partially chipped nose.
In addition to the open, female quality of the Sphinx's expression, there is also a leader's quiet determination. If you have difficulty in seeing the openness of the face of the female Sphinx, just compare it again to the closed, aggressive male face (R) of Djoser (2700 B.C.).
Elsewhere in this blog I've overlaid the face and head of the Sphinx with the head and face of a cheetah to show you that two of its very odd characteristics (the flat top of the head and the too-square jaw) imitate those of a cheetah. Once you've seen this, you shouldn't have any problem at all in seeing the Sphinx face as a Nubian female shaman and leader who was seen as a living Goddess and the Daughter of Mafdet.
It seems clear to me from the available evidence that Nubian female faces, past and present, are broad and relatively square in the lower face, just like the lower face. of the Sphinx. This squareness is echoed as well as the photo of an older modern Nubian woman (L). I've given many more examples of this squareness elsewhere in this blog.
It was fertile land that eventually gave birth to what is known as the pre-Kerma culture, a cattle herding culture, around 5000 B.C..That culture eventually developed into the city of Kerma in 2500 B.C., which was a city of 10,000 with agricultural, herding and trade activities.
When we take those factors into consideration, the connecting Nile, and what we know of the later intense relationship between Nubia and Egypt in Dynastic times, it is obvious that Nubia and Egypt must have been in constant contact and had many nerve endings in common.
As we now know that Africa was the home of the First Mother, the Mother of the human race, we can only assume that the African/Nubian Mother Goddess culture was particularly potent as it was in Africa that the Mother Goddess culture first came into being and subsequently spread throughout the preliterate world.
If we combine those two forces: the African Mother Goddess culture and the Nubian historic connections with Egypt, it seems natural that the Nubian culture of 6500 thru 3200 B.C. and earlier would have produced shamans who were female with highly psychic spiritual natures. Thus it is not difficult to imagine Nubia producing a series of shaman/leaders during the Neolithic period who would have traveled north, spreading their Nubian spirituality into what was initially a mostly Semitic Nile delta area.
In Jungian terms, such shamans were powerfully psychic humans capable of things we know today as remote viewing, astral voyages, telepathy, prophecy, healing and the like. These powerful shamans didn't impress with words, but psychic deeds. Word spread fast if the deeds were powerful, and because of this, they quickly developed followers.
|19th century shaman|
Suffice it to say that when she spoke, people listened very carefully. Such Nubian shaman/leaders must have traveled to the Nile delta many times, because these movements don't happen out of the blue, just as we know that there were probably many First Mothers, but only one whose children survived long enough to become us. I believe this was somewhat the case with our Nubian female shaman of 6000 B.C. The time was right.
As to where she lived in Nubia, I tend to favor Upper Nubia between the the second and third cataract, which was a fertile plain that had a long, continuous history of cultural development. Archeological studies have shown that Nubian hunter/ gatherer tribes were living in this area even during the "wild Nile" of 10,000 thru 7000 B.C. as evidenced by this very good site on prehistoric Egypt. This area also eventually gave birth to what is known as the pre-Kerma herding culture around 5000 B.C.. It is a distance of about 750 miles from Giza.
The answer is Yes and No. Immortality does indeed show up, but only for the Pharaoh. Reincarnation does indeed show up but only for the Pharaoh and only in a the most roundabout, circumscribed way. In other words, they barely make it to first base. How can we account for this?
Naturally mummified buried bodies have been found in Fgypt dating back to 3100 B.C.. Formal mummification seems to have evolved as a practice in Dynastic Egypt around 2700 B.C., and in the beginning was performed only for Kings (Pharaohs).
If I'm right in contending that Nubian psychic/spiritual beliefs became the foundation of Dynastic spiritual beliefs, then this shouldn't be happening. I'm going to unravel this conundrum a bit further on because it is something that has to be covered in depth, but first I want to talk a bit more about the Nubian shamanic/psychic practices and beliefs of 6500 thru 3200 B.C. to make them more real for you.
As an aside, you might say that Castaneda's books approach the psychic world in a muthos way, whereas Steiner approaches it in a logos way. Taken together, both Steiner and Castaneda give us a glimpse into the highly psychic spiritual world that preliterate peoples inhabited. It is my contention, however, that it is just a glimpse, and that the actual preliterate practices were much more powerful and extreme.
Preliterate humans, I believe, had a relatively weak conscious mind compared to ours and were used to shifting back and forth between their conscious minds and their very powerful unconscious minds. They were constantly experiencing voices and visions and were accustomed to it. It was like a second home that they moved through with ease despite its awesome and often threatening nature.
I further contend that an essential part of that spirituality was concerned with psychically observing the journey of the soul from birth to death to immortality to rebirth (reincarnation). These kind of observations may seem impossible for us brought up in the scientific tradition, but they are not nonsense. These are very sophisticated psychic techniques which take a great deal of training and guidance to master. All mystical religious traditions, like the Kabbalah, or Sufism, or Sikhi use similar techniques to observe the Godhead. OK. Here is the equation:
The equal sign here should be taken to mean that one term implies the next term (either forward or backward).
|vision face art|
|women as shaman/leaders|
As I mentioned earlier, I would liken my story of River Mother leaving Nubia to the story of Abraham leaving Ur in 1850 B.C., which, according to some Biblical scholars, is itself a fabrication put together in 600 B.C. to hearten the Hebrews in Babylonian captivity. So again, I am not alone in creating conjectures, fabrications. In my case, you could say my intent is to give heart to those who find themselves unwilling captives of the current theories about the Sphinx.
I see River Mother (like Abraham leaving Ur) leaving her village and going north from Nubia but at an early age.
Unlike Abraham’s extraordinary vision, however, in which God revealed to him a plan for the protection and advancement of the Hebrews as his chosen people, I see River Mother having a much different vision. Unlike Abraham, who was wealthy herder and trader coming from Ur, a literate Sumerian culture, I see River Mother as an extraordinary female shaman living in a preliterate world inhabited by a multitude of human and anthropomorphic Goddesses and Gods.
That psychic archetype had a profound influence on the behavior of preliterate peoples. That influence, by the way, as both Jung and Graves pointed out in completely different ways, is still present in our own psyches.
Let me digress for a moment to make an important point about the nature of leadership in preliterate tribes. Claude Levi-Strauss, the French anthropologist, describes in his classic Triste Tropiques the nature of the leaders of two Amazonian hunter-gatherer tribes living in the depths of the Amazon jungle in the 1920s.
The second tribe was much different. Their chief slept all day as the tribe went about their business, solving their own problems. Then at night, he would awaken and sing story songs to them throughout the night.
That just about sums up the two essential forms leadership can take, even in modern times—the practical and the visionary—although the visionary in modern times is a very weak version of the preliterate visionary. I see our River Mother as being the second kind of leader, a shaman who led not so much by practical solutions, but by prophecy—by visions.
The Nile delta and river valley in 6000 B.C. was beginning to change from hunter-gatherer to rudimentary agricultural settlements in which elementary irrigation practices were being introduced.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_Egypt. I should note that the closer we get to c.4000 thru 3200 B.C., the closer we get to the organized villages and sophisticated agriculture that traditionalists have always seen as necessary for creating art of the kind we see in the Sphinx.
|Gobekli Tepe site|
|Gobekli Tepe carving|
I believe that what brought the inhabitants of the Nile delta to recognize River Mother as a great, God-like leader and shaman was her establishment of a balanced Male/Female spirituality in the delta as well as her prophetic guidance in saving them from a massive tsunami that flooded the Nile delta in 6000 B.C..
Physical concerns like star positions and the like, of course, were always present, but they were far from dominant. One vivid proof of this was the constant eastward exploration of our ancestors who left Africa 60,000 to 40,000 years ago.
There was some later westward exploration, but the dominant early expansion was to the east. First eastward through the Middle East then further east into India and then further eastward into China and then southeast through the Philippines and Malaysia and then eastward and further eastward into Polynesia and southeast to New Guinea and Australia and then even further east it seems as far as southern tip of South America, where there are reports of 40,000 year old negroid bones being found in Patagonia.
Around 6000 B.C., a massive eruption of Mt. Aetna in Sicily resulted in a mega-tsunami that caused massive flooding in the eastern Mediterranean. The effect on the Nile Delta would have been horrific. It was undoubtedly accompanied by all the side effects of such eruptions: dark skies, red sun, fall out.
I am going to suggest that River Mother was living in the Nile delta at this time and had a prophetic vision foreseeing this disaster, allowing some of the delta communities to move to the high ground of the Giza plateau along with their food stores, cattle, seeds, tools, weapons and living essentials.
The entire dark green area of the delta would have been inundated by the wave, probably back to about five miles, maybe more because of the watery composition of the land in 6000 B.C., which was mostly marsh being slowly converted to sea-level farm land.
One of the additional effects of tsunami flooding is that the incoming water flows even easier down whatever rivers they encounter, which in the case of the Nile delta would be the many branches of the Nile that fan out toward the Mediterranean.
What happens is that the additional water entering the rivers not only causes the rivers to rise and flood their banks, but also creates dangerous whirlpools because of the opposing currents of the incoming flood water and the outgoing river current. How far this "river-flooding" effect would have brought the flooding is hard to say, but it may have gone as far as Giza if the Nile was at a low point.
Well, if this is so, where are the stories? We have the story of Noah, but not of River Mother. I am going to suggest that such a story poem existed, but in the transition to Male God domination and literacy (c. 3200 B.C.) the River Mother particulars were altered. This female erasure happened also in the Book of Moses, or Torah, the core of the Hebrew Bible. My ALICE HICKEY: Between Worlds has more to say about this phenomena in Chapter 37: I Uncover the Myth’s Hebraic Connection
This myth was undoubtedly written in the literate Egyptian period (after 3200 B.C.), and most probably from oral story poem sources, perhaps the River Mother’s story poem. Not only did some restructuring take place, but in the transition, female became bad, male became good.
But she killed so many that their blood, flowing into the Nile River and the ocean, caused a flood." This is the exact effect a massive volcanic eruption and tsunami would cause: the sun turning red from atmospheric pollution and the water rising in the ocean and flooding the delta.
"Feeling that things had gone too far, Ra ordered slaves to make a lake of beer, dyed red to look like blood. Hathor drank the beer, became very drunk, and failed to finish the task of wiping out humanity." This is the well known cover up, ‘I didn’t mean it, things got out of hand, so I’m bringing the Delta Force home to the barracks.'
"The survivors of her bloodbath started the human race anew." The survivors of the flood started over again, but in the case of the River Mother Goddess not from scratch, but we won’t mention that.
History is written by the victors is the best way to describe the changes that take place in every culture as it went from preliterate to literate. Let me give you an example of this in the Egyptian List of Kings naming all the Pharaohs. With this rise of literacy, the Goddesses gave way to the Male Gods. This is one reason why the true storyb of the Sphinx, as I see it, never made it forward in time.
- Palermo stone
- Turin Royal Canon
- Manetho's Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt)
- Abydos King List
- Karnak Tablet
- South Saqqara Stone (discovered 1923, includes dyn. 6)
- Saqqara Tablet (discovered 1861, includes dyn. 1-12)
During this period there are eight Divine King/Pharaohs (Gods): Ptah (creation), Ra (sun), Geb (earth), Osirus (afterlife), Set (Evil), Horus (war), Thoth (knowledge), Ma’at (Balance, Truth, Order, Law, Justice).
Only one is female: Ma’at. Just by glancing at Ma’at's attributes it is clear why Ma'at couldn't be dispensed with: she is at the center of the culture in her representation of the critical values (Truth, Balance, etc.). By being included in the initial grouping of male Gods, she continues to play the role of One Who Knows, which is the role women played in earlier Mother Goddess / Proto-Egyptian culture.
Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, claimed she was descended from Hercules. In realistic terms, this means that Hercules existed in Greek prehistory as an actual human hero who mated with one of Olympias' very distant ancestors. Over time, as with other great heroes, Hercules was elevated to God status and took his minor place in the Pantheon next to the major Gods (Zeus, Hera, Athena, etc.) who were most probably psychic archetypes representing natural forces and essential human emotions and attributes (and not actual humans) but one can never really be sure about this.
The major Gods like Zeus may well have had their origin as distant super-hero/leaders as well, but those characteristics were further combined with natural forces (like Thunder and lightning in the case of Zeus) and/or essential human emotions. The semi-divine Pharaohs (of which we have no names) would most likely have fallen into the category of someone like Hercules. It is also likely that many of the semi-divine King/Pharaohs may have been female Pharaohs who were simply forgotten as the male Gods ascended.
This Legendary Period List is followed by the List of Kings for the Archaic Period, which is the first literate period. The Archaic period (3200 thru 2686) B.C. includes the Early Dynastic Period, when Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt were ruled as separate kingdoms, and the First and Second Dynasties.
This only makes sense if we understand that the actual Legendary list was created by literate Egyptians thousands of years after the fact. This is most probably the reason why outside of the eight (8) Divine Pharaohs (Gods): Ptah (creation), Ra ( sun), Geb ( earth), Osirus (afterlife), Set ( Evil), Horus (war), Thoth (knowledge), Ma’at (Balance, Truth, Order, Law, Justice) that the names and reigns of the semi-Divine Kings are missing. Or perhaps the names were actually remembered from oral sources and written down but lost over time. It is difficult to say.
One example of this (above) is that there are fourteen generations each between Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus, which makes the number 14 a powerful number in the Hebrew culture. Its meaning, since letters are based on numbers in the Hebrew alphabet, is deliverance, salvation. No wonder the Hebrews expected a messiah in the time of Jesus.
A wise bookie who had to pay out might have suspected someone had fixed the race. In short, I wouldn’t take either the begats or the Legendary list of Semi-Divine Egyptian Kings (if by some magic we had inherited their actual names) to the bank and expect them to be accepted as legal currency.
This is because preliterate cultures didn’t keep lists. They worked from story telling memory not verbatim memory, and story telling memory doesn’t do lists well, if at all. The Romans describe the extreme efforts made by the preliterate Celts to overcome this deficiency. They had an elaborate group of specialists to assist their leaders in governing. One of those groups consisted of tribe members whose sole job was to memorize things such as the names of previous leaders etc.
Since verbatim memory is a byproduct of literacy and unknown to preliterate people, who used storytelling memory, this feat was probably accomplished by artificially creating stories in which those things played a special role. This was an ongoing, lifetime effort in which these specialists continually tested and renewed the memories they were charged with keeping.
We don't know if the preliterate Hebrews and Proto-Egyptians had such specialists, but as they were essentially wandering, hunter-gatherer cultures, it seems doubtful. Most probably, both the Hebrew lists of begats and the Legendary list of Kings were created from whatever oral story poems had survived into literate times and been transcribed into writing. It is an iffy task. The holes were filled by imagination and conjecture. Sorry, but that’s the way it works.
As I mentioned earlier, Mut's role as Creator was taken by Amun as the male Gods ascended and replaced the preliterate Pantheon of Goddesses (Mut, Nut, Mafdet) all very early Nubian Mother Goddesses, as signaled by the "M" sound of their names (or in the case of Nut, a reasonable facsimile that is very close to Mut) were swept aside by the new Pantheon headed by Amun, the Creator.
Obviously Ma’at must have presented a very difficult problem that the King-list makers couldn’t overcome. I am also going to suggest that some Gods, like Ra, were most probably originally female or both sexes, just as Mut was always considered both sexes.
When the time came to publish the Lists of Kings, however, Ra may have lost his vagina and breasts and became a male who sometimes had an evil female eye as we have seen. As for the powerful Goddesses of the preliterate period (Mut, Nut, Mafdet), I believe they were pushed into the written background like so many extras in a movie, as was our River Mother.
Except for Mut, who was an act onto herself and not exactly the kind who’d look for a mate, the other two Goddesses (Nut, Isis) were powerful Mother Goddesses who went through a transformation (at least on paper) in that they were neutralized somewhat in the later dynasties by pairing them with male counterpart Gods (Geb for Nut, Osirus for Isis).
Mut didn’t get paired until the Middle Kingdom where she was paired off as the wife of Amun( Amon/Amen). She replaced Hathor as the eye of Ra when Ra was merged with Amen to become Amen-Ra who is shown to the right. Amen's picture is shown to the right. Mut is shown as the tiny wife of Amen to the left.
All these manipulations and merging of Gods may seem crazy to us with our One God beliefs, but it is exactly what happens in a culture that remains firmly planted in a polytheistic, preliterate mindset even as it becomes literate.
If you were to think of the Gods as movie super stars who were always in danger of falling out of popular spiritual favor and thus were continually reinventing themselves so they didn’t disappear completely from the silver screen of the heavens, you’d have the general idea as to what was going on in Egypt.
I don't mean to make fun of the way the Gods and Goddesses were constantly changing by comparing them to movie stars, but there is an element of truth in the comparison. What the Hollywood comparison is meant to point out was the very lively, spiritual way in which the general population and the Gods were connected. What is important to understand is that it was the largely unconscious changes in the highly spiritual Egyptian and Proto-Egyptian culture that drove this rising and falling of the various divinities.
In a manner of speaking, the Egyptians simply accepted the formal, public announcement of these divine changes because they had already experienced them unconsciously. This reinventing of the Gods reached a peak in the transition from a preliterate to literate culture when the dominant Gods began to change from female to male. This may be one of the reasons why the story poem about the River Mother never made it into writing. It was no longer in fashion.
Or maybe it never went out of fashion as I indicated earlier when the various Goddess cults began to emerge only a few centuries after literacy. In this particular case, we could see the announcements of the priests as to the ascendancy of the male Gods as not really being rooted in the muthos consciousness of the general population as it was in preliterate Proto-Egypt. Rather, the priest-initiated change was something that the general population took note of for sure, but in their hearts and minds the Goddesses were never really replaced.
If we go back 600 years prior to Jesus, the time of the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians, we are again in a highly literate time for both the Babylonians and Hebrews. Yet we know very little about the Temple, only what we can gather through the Bible and a few other sources with often conflicting information.
In the dark Egyptian preliterate period between 6500 B.C. and 3200 B.C., there were no documents, no fixed sources, only rock carvings and petroglyphs and the oral story poems that went back and forth across the land like the wind. Immense changes were occurring in Egypt, which means that the Gods were also changing and evolving. It is possible that the River Mother’s story began to be merged with other story poems. This is a problem we have to contend with when the subject of the story is an ever-changing God, and not a fixed, historical warrior, like Achilles.
Here’s another kicker: a change in the sex and names of the Goddesses is not the result of a conscious decision, because those changes emerge instinctively from the collective unconscious of the culture. How do they emerge? In the form of new story poems that feed the current unconscious needs of the people.
Names of the Sphinx
"It is not known by what name the creators called their statue, as the Great Sphinx does not appear in any known inscription of the Old Kingdom, and there are no inscriptions anywhere describing its construction or its original purpose. In the New Kingdom, the Sphinx was called Hor-em-akhet (English: Horus of the Horizon;…., and the pharaoh Thutmose IV ....... specifically referred to it as such in his Dream Stele…….The commonly used name Sphinx was given to it in classical antiquity, ..... by reference to a Greek mythological beast with a lion's body……, The English word sphinx comes from the ancient Greek Σφίγξ (transliterated: sphinx), apparently from the verb σφίγγω (transliterated: sphingo / English: to squeeze), after the Greek sphinx who strangled anyone who failed to answer her riddle…..The modern Egyptian Arabic name is (Abū al Hūl, English: The Terrifying One)."
Rick and Laura Brown converted this hourly figure to 100 carvers over 3 years (or 300 man/years) to completely carve the Sphinx. There is an excellent video of the experiment that also contains a traditional explanation of when and why the Sphinx was carved if you need refreshing on it.
It might interest you to know that I computed that it took Gutzon Borglum 5.8 man/years to carve out of granite (with modern power tools) an equivalent face area of one of his presidents. As you'll soon see, I have estimated (based on the 300 man/years given us by the Browns for the entire Sphinx) that it would have taken 6 man/years to carve the bas relief face of the Sphinx with stone tools. This is one of those eerie coincidences of history that I have no way of explaining, nor do I want to try.You have my email if you 'd like to offer have an explanation.
Thus, I see the bas relief face carving being surrounded by a large mass of rough, un-carved stone probably much wider than the nemes (head dress) that we see today, which I contend was carved at a later date, as were the front paws and front body (below, L).
1) Bas relief of face (similar to Rushmore’s Lincoln). (c. 6000 B.C.) Stone tools
2) Head to just before ears (similar to Rushmore’s Roosevelt). (c. 5800 B.C.) Stone tools
3) Forelimbs, front paws and chest, head to just behind ears, veil (5600 B.C.). Stone tools
4) Nemes, back of head (Djoser c.2660 3rd Dynasty). Bronze/ Copper?/ Stone Tools
5) Front body to 30 feet behind of head. (Sneferu c. 2590 B.C. / 4th Dynasty) Stone Tools /Bronze Tools?
6) Back body up to rump, back limbs, paws. (Djedefra c. 2560 B.C. / 4th Dynasty) Stone Tools /Bronze Tools?
Before I go any further, I have to repeat that it is possible (but not probable) that Phase 1 of the Sphinx could have been begun anywhere between 6000 B.C and 3500 B.C. with the remaining six phases being completed in much shorter phases by 2550 B.C., the widely accepted date for the creation of the rump and tail.
As for labor, Phase 3 took place (5600 B.C.) in the very latter part of Divine Kings Period (10,400 thru 5400 B.C.) when the Semi-Divine period was about to start, so this labor intensive frontal carving should have had enough organized labor available, and since Phases 4-7 took place in Dynastic Egypt, there should have easily been enough organization of labor for those carvings to have taken place.
One of the astonishing things Mark Lehner's Sphinx-carving experiment showed was that copper and bronze tools, even on limestone, which is much softer than granite, needed sharpening after only a few minutes work, which itself was a time consuming task involving the reheating and reforming of the blades, so that metal tools, in practice, were only used for fine finishing. Stone tools, although much slower, were much more reliable and sturdy, so that in this case, the turtles always beat the hares. Right from the get-go. Stone on stone carves stone best is the maxim that really describes how the Egyptian monuments were built.
Stone tools (31% of total area)
5) Front body to 30 feet behind of head. (Sneferu c. 2590 B.C. / 4th Dynasty) Stone Tools /Bronze Tools?
6) Back body up to rump, back limbs, paws. (Djedefra c. 2560 B.C. / 4th Dynasty) Stone Tools /Bronze Tools?
Let me get back to Phases 1-3. Based on the carving of the bas relief face around 6000 B.C., and the partial front head being carved in Phase 2 (c.5800 B.C.), another 200 years had to pass (5600 B.C.) before the carvers got to the all important Phase 3 when the front façade of the body and limbs were carved, thereby establishing the cheetah proportions shown in the Sphinx photo ( L).
End Author's Note
Whether Phase 3 took place towards 5600 or 4300 B.C., I see as mainly a matter of the availability of organized manpower and spiritual desire. The spiritual desire could have evidenced itself at either date, although the availability of organized labor may not have been as great in 5600 B.C. as it was in 4300 B.C..
Yet it might have been. We have to keep in mind that the massive organization of the hunter-gatherer tribes who created Gobekli Tepe in 10, 000 B,.C. puts the lie to the traditional position that hunter-gatherer tribes were completely incapable of large organized efforts.
Looking at the topological maps of the Giza plateau and the current "ditch" the Sphinx sits in, it is clear that a great deal of limestone would have be carved away, not only for the chest but also the front paws. This made me initially favor a date towards 4300 B.C. primarily because it is more likely that this later period of semi-divine kings would have provided the required organized labor force, although, again, the success of Gobekli Tepe made me think twice about this, as the makers of Gobekli Tepe were clearly hunter-gatherers.
However, there is such a long period of time between 5600 B.C. and 4300 B.C. (1300 years) it is somewhat doubtful that an oral story poem would have been capable of carrying the original intent forward over such a long period of time, something I discuss in great detail a bit further on. I also discuss the problems associated with trying to use petroglyphs to carry this kind of information forward, namely that the stone carving itself has a very long life, but the carved pictorial information can be so misleading as to be useless.
This pretty much led me to favor the earlier date of c. 5600 B.C. over 4300 B.C., because it is highly likely that the memory of the original intent of the facial carving would have remained intact through a variety of means including oral story poems, the only difficulty being getting enough organized manpower to complete the job. It is not, however, an insurmountable problem if we take into account the achievements of Gobekli Tepe.
Here, again, are the first three Phases and my estimates of the percentages of the total sphinx area they each represent along with the man years of effort each phase represents based on 300 man/years for the entire Sphinx. Others may differ as to the percentages, but I believe they are close enough for our purposes.
As you can see, the carving of these phases is nowhere near the manpower effort required to create the Great Pyramid at Giza. The lowest, best estimate of what it took in terms of man years to build the Great Pyramid is 20,000 men for 23 years or 460, 000 man years. Phase 3 of the Sphinx is estimated at 93 man/years. And, again, if Gobekli Tepe can be used as a comparative guide, Phase 3 was easily within the reach of our proto-Egyptian hunter-gatherer culture.
Click here to see the data backing this figure of 460,000 man /years at an excellent site by TOUR EGYPT, who I find produce consistently clear, accurate sites on Ancient Egypt.
I believe the bas relief face carving took place immediately after the flood or the death of River Mother, as those would have been the appropriate spiritual times.
I see River Mother setting the stage for the carving sometime after her arrival in Giza by publicly revealing her early vision of a “Veiled” human/cheetah face on the Giza outcropping becoming her face. This would have been a natural thing for River Mother to have done to make it clear who she was and why she had come. Think of Jesus declaring to his followers that he was the Son of Man, which means Son of God.
Assuming she played the leadership role I have proposed for her (a role I see reaching its apex at the time of the 6000 B.C. tsunami) there is every reason to believe that the inhabitants would have come to see her as a living Goddess. The next step would have been a general consensus to carve her features upon the “Veiled” face, thereby removing the caul, and bestowing upon River Mother the status of a living Goddess, as the underlying "Veiled" face would have been seen as a timeless divine God-face waiting to be fully born, i.e., to have its caul removed.
This African Mother Goddess muthos belief in daeth and re-birth into eternal life became formalized much later in Dynastic Egypt in the Egyptian institutionalized belief that the Pharaoh (upon dying) joined with the divine Osirus, so that just as Osiris rose from the dead and was reborn, so the Pharaoh too would be reborn as a God into eternal life.
This belief was later extended to all Egyptians, but they were not reborn as divine Gods. Just to complete the cycle for you, the new, living Pharaoh was considered an incarnation of Horus, the son of Osiris, and therefore a living God. Here is Wikipedia on this pharaoh/divine relationship:
In addition, it is entirely possible that the "veiled face" on the heavily weathered rocky outcropping (yardang) would have suggested only a face, not a head or body. We must also consider that the carving of just a bas relief face would be a considerable task in and of itself, given the carvers had only stone tools and the fact that the limestone at the head level has been classified as Member III limestone, which is extremely hard, and even harder than the Member I limestone strata making up the base of the Sphinx, and much harder than the kind of soft limestone (Member II) making up the strata between the head and base.
End Author's Note
Here's the detail on Phase 2.
I believe the Proto-Egyptians who carved the initial bas relief face in 6000 B.C. would have had a good memory in 5800 B.C. of what the bas relief face represented (most probably through an oral story poem) and therefore would have had a muthos sense of their correctness in furthering the divine birth of River Mother.
I know the modern mind doesn't like to think of this possibility, preferring the "one fell swoop" theory of construction, but both Stonehenge and Gobekli Tepe, and indeed most large stone structures, are evidence that the spiritually-driven preliterate mind didn't carve such monuments with the same intent as literate cultures. We always have to remember that preliterate cultures created such monuments not as expressions of power as we would, but for spiritual reasons, i.e., as a way of imitating the the divine order.
In other words, they weren't in the hurry we are to proclaim their power, because power wasn't of high interest to them. Imitating the divine order occupied a much higher position, and the impulses to do such imitations came over time.
Equally important, however, is this: even if the entire Sphinx (outside of Phase One/ 6000 B.C. carving of the bas relief face) were carved in some sort of phased (but quicker) process over 900 years or so, say starting in 3500 B.C and ending in 2550 B.C., some way would have been needed of maintaining the memory over 2500 years (6000 B.C. thru 3500 B.C.) of why the face of the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx was initially carved in 6000 B.C..
That is the only way that the carvers of the succeeding Phases 2-7 could maintain the correct proportions. The only way this could have been done would have been with an oral story poem, and 2500 years is simply too long a time span, as we shall see, for such a story poem to exist, while using petroglyphs for something like this would have been extremely problematic as we shall also see.
Before I go any further though, I have to repeat that it is also possible (but not probable for the reasons I have also given earlier) that there could have been still another scenario: the Sphinx could have been begun anywhere between 6000 B.C and 3500 B.C. with the remaining six Phases (2-7) being completed in much shorter phases by 2550 B.C., the date for the creation of the rump and tail proposed by Schoch.
The Phase 1 date I have chosen (6000 B.C.) is not cast in concrete. If someone could show me that 5000 B.C., or 4500 B.C. or 3500 B.C. were equally critical dates for the inhabitants of Giza and River Mother, I would consider changing the Phase 1 date as well. The remaining phase dates, of course, would have to be proportionally changed but the theory would still hold up. Right now, however, everything points to c.6000 B.C. being the date when the the initial Sphinx facial carving took place.
Yet, regardless of the phase dates selected, what was needed was some way of maintaining a memory (over large gaps of time) of what the initial bas relief face of the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx represented. It would have been the only way the future carvers of Phases 2 and 3 could have proceeded in harmony with the original intent.
Extending the front face back a bit (phase 2) required that the carvers have information about the original intent or else there would have been no reason to carve a bit more of the face to show Mafdet's "Veiled" face being transformed a bit more into River Mother's face, if indeed, that was the way it was done.
As I discussed earlier, Phase 2 may have been skipped and incorporated into Phase 4 or even Phase 3 itself, as the most important phase was Phase 3, not only spiritually because it provided a passageway to the face, but it also as it allowed the chest/paws/forelimbs/ head just beyond ears (Phase 3) to be carved with the exact proportions of a cheetah, thereby honoring the River Mother/ Mafdet/ cheetah connection.
43This means that some way had to exist for conveying this information intact from 5600 B.C. until 2660 B.C.. and I know of no such way being available to preliterate hunter-gatherer cultures except for petroglyphs but they are extremely problematic as I'll discuss in detail later.
I think we now have good answers to the following critical questions:
1) Why would the bas relief face have been carved in 6000 B.C..
2) Could it have been carved in 6000 B.C.?
The real $64,000 question, however, is this: what were the spiritual and artistic considerations that initially drove the Proto-Egyptians and, much later, the Dynastic Egyptians to complete the bas relief of River Mother Goddess/Sphinx by completing it in six more phases over the next 3500 years, with the last phase ending in 2550 B.C..
Equally important is that the general preliterate tendency on large sculptures of the Gods in other cultures was to carve only the head and possibly the chest/ arms.
I believe the Proto-Egyptian focus on only the face and then at a later time later the chest /arms was also due to the fact that the carving of a large face containing the God's all-seeing eyes was enough to suggest a God/Goddess, and was probably the way these visions presented themselves, as preliterate art was driven by visions, not conscious planning.
I know the modern mind doesn't like to think of this possibility, preferring the "one fell swoop" theory of construction, but both Stonehenge and Gobekli Tepe are evidence that the spiritually-driven preliterate mind didn't carve such monuments with the same intent as literate cultures. We always have to remember that preliterate cultures created such monuments not as expressions of power as we would, but for spiritual reasons, i.e., as a way of imitating the the divine order.
In other words, they weren't in the hurry we are to proclaim their power, because power wasn't of high interest to them. Imitating the divine order occupied a much higher position, and the impulses to do such imitations came over time.
Equally important, however, is this: even if the entire Sphinx (outside of Phase One, the 6000 B.C. bas relief face) were carved in some sort of phased (but quicker) process over say 900 years or so, starting in 3500 B.C and ending in 2550 B.C., some way would have been needed of maintaining the memory over 2500 years (6000 B.C. thru 3500 B.C.) of why the face of the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx was initially carved in 6000 B.C..
That is the only way that the carvers of the succeeding Phases 2-7 could maintain the correct proportions. The only way this could have been done would have been with an oral story poem, and 2500 years is simply too long a time span, as we shall see, for such a story poem to exist.
So it doesn't make much difference that the story poems carrying the original intent of the carving were lost during the 2940 years between 5600 and 2660 B.C., as it most assuredly would be. I'll go into all of these things in detail shortly.
Before I go any further though, I have to repeat that it is also possible (but not probable for the reasons I have also given earlier) that there could have been still another scenario: the Sphinx could have been begun anywhere between 6000 B.C and 3500 B.C. with the remaining six Phases (2-7) being completed in much shorter phases by 2550 B.C., which Schoch states, based on geologic evidence, is the time when the rump and tail were carved.
The in-between dates of the various stages were is a matter of intuition combined with weathering considerations. The intuition part was based on my knowledge of the spiritial/artistic characteristics of preliterate Proto-Egypt and literate Dynastic Egypt.
Any start date other than 6000 B.C. needs an event, a huge event, that would have prompted the carving of such a gigantic face, the size and nature of which indicates a living God. None of the other theorists supplies such an event, which would have been absolutely necessary for the carving of such a face, which has no counterpart anywhere in terms of sheer size.
The only theorists that come close are the traditional theorists of 2500B.C., who see Kafre creating a animal/ human statue of himself as part of his pyramid construction. I have pointed out so many flaws in this theory that I think it can be easily dismissed.
The Phase 1 date I have chosen (6000 B.C.) is not cast in concrete. If someone could show me that 5000 B.C., or 4500 B.C. or 3500 B.C. were equally critical dates for the inhabitants of Giza, I would consider changing the Phase 1 date as well. The remaining phase dates, of course, would have to be proportionally changed but the theory would still hold up. Right now, however, everything points to 6000 B.C. being the date when the the initial Sphinx facial carving took place.
While I believe a phased approach was the natural way for the preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture to have progressed with the carving of the Sphinx, the phase dates themselves are educated/intuitive guesses based on weathering considerations and the most probable spiritual inclinations of both the preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture and the later literate Dynastic Egyptian culture.
Yet, regardless of the phase dates selected, what was needed was some way of maintaining a memory (over large gaps of time) of what the initial bas relief face of the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx represented. It would have been the only way the future carvers of Phases 2 and 3 could have proceeded in harmony with the original intent.
It is evident in these large sculptures that the carvers had no interest in carving a full, detailed body. The Olmec heads have no body at all, which is due to the fact it is modeled after a ball, whereas the Rapa Nui heads have long stylized chests and tiny arms (similar to those arms seen at Gobekli Tepe) which don't appear in most photos as the chests became buried over time. Originally, the chest was exposed and a red cylindrical cap topped each sculpture as can be seen in the reconstruction below.
I believe all of the above backs up my reasoning as to why only a thin, bas relief face of River Mother was initially carved in 6000 B.C.. However, I can envision that as time progressed, a desire would arise to further complete River Mother Goddess/Sphinx beyond the initial bas relief face by adding a more complete head as well as a chest and arms, but no more. I'll give my reasons for this as I go on.
After the bas relief face, I see the entire carving of the Sphinx being done in six phases, starting in 5800 B.C. and ending in 2550 B.C., with Phases 2,3 (head, chest forearms) being done in preliterate times and Phases 4-7 (the remaining body) being done in literate times. Again, my thinking on this is influenced by the fact that the preliterate monumental sculptures of the Olmec and Rapa Nui heads were done over many hundreds of years, as were the monumental structures of many preliterate structures around the world.
We have to put on a muthos head to see the reality of this. The "one fell swoop" theory is a logos way of thinking: get it done. This type of construction is a show of power and is driven by a logos consciousness, as were these monumental sculptures (L) of Ramses and his queen, which were created in much later literate, Dynastic Egypt.
Let me also say again that Phase 2 may have been delayed until Phase 4 or incorporated into Phase 3 itself, so that Phase 3 would have been the second carving, as the more spiritually important phase is really Phase 3, as it provided a pathway on which to approach the face. I believe, however, that the harder stone that had to be carved in Phase 3 as well as the amount of manpower required to do it probably meant that Phase 3 being was continually put off until pressure mounted to do it in 5600 B.C..
|Norte Chico Temple|
Here is some more of my thinking as to why the long, seven phase approach (6000 thru 2550 B.C. ) is the most likely. Let me first dispose once and for all of the "one fell swoop" theory. From a practical point of view, only the availability of sufficient manpower would have prevented carving out the full body of the River Mother Goddess/Sphinx in "one fell swoop" starting in 6000 B.C.. Assuming that sufficient manpower was not only available but capable of being organized, stone tools could have done it.
Yet I believe this "one fell swoop" theory can be dismissed simply because all the evidence shows that large preliterate sculptures and monuments were created as an ongoing spiritual activity over a very long period of time. Preliterate peoples simply didn't create large carved art and monuments in a "one fell swoop" manner as we do.
They created what was of spiritual interest to them at the time of creation. The two examples we have of the Olmec and Rapa Nui large, God sculptures, emphasize the marked tendency of preliterate carvers of large stone "God" sculptures to create only what was of immediate spiritual interest to them, which is the "knowing" or "seeing" aspect of the God, which was the head because the all-seeing eyes resided in the face.
I think it can be said that large, balanced, detailed compositions (which the full body represents) is the tendency of a literate culture. One thing we always have to keep in mind is that these early preliterate artists weren't creating their art to get a showing in the Museum of Modern Art and a good review in the N. Y. Times.
As I explained earlier, creating preliterate art was a profound spiritual act: they were creating vision messages. The rendering, the process, the correct imitation of these whispers of the Gods and Goddesses was the only thing of importance to preliterate artists. The totality of a composition was of secondary importance.
This, also happens to be the tendency of today's urban graffiti artists (R), who will overlay the wall-size efforts of a previous artist without blinking an eye.
(If you think you can to link the two, I'd like to hear about it. You know my email.)
So we now have some early preliterate artistic evidence suggesting still another reason why the bas relief of the Sphinx face was the only thing initially carved: it was the only thing that spiritually interested the carvers at the time of creation.
The overall composition (a detailed complete carving of the remainder of the head and body) would have been of secondary importance to them. It would be only in the literate Dynastic period that such a completed composition would become of interest.
After all, in a preliterate tribal culture those interests are one and the same. If we take the large preliterate stone carvings of Gods and Goddesses of which we are aware, we can also see this tendency. Unfortunately, there are only three such large stone carvings: the Sphinx, the Olmec heads, the Rapa Nui heads. I admit that deducing preliterate artistic tendencies from that small a sample is risky. Yet, I think I know enough about preliterate art in general to believe my conclusions are not that far off the mark.
These carvings, however, do echo the preliterate tendency to carve only what was of immediate spiritual interest to them with the slabs providing the carving medium.
|Gobekli Tepe site|
Let me now return to the two giant head carvings we have in addition to the River Mother Goddess/Sphinx. Below are examples of those two large carving groups (Olmec and Rapa Nui) that I believe also reflected the preliterate tendency to carve only what was of immediate spiritual interest to them, something I also see in the preliterate carving of the River Mother Goddess/Sphinx.
The chest was important primarily because it placed the face high above the viewer.
Let me digress here for a moment as to the spiritual function of the carved chest. The term "understand", as Julian Jaynes points out, literally means to "to stand under." It has roots back to the interior directive voices all preliterate humans heard and which they took to be the voices of the Gods from above.
This sense of the viewer always "standing under" the Gods is of such importance in spiritual carvings that even in literate times almost all spiritual sculptures are large.
We can see this in literate Greece in the giant Athena in the Parthenon (R), and in literate Dynastic Egypt in the Abu Simbel statues of Pharaoh Ramesses II (L).
Thus we can see why a chest was of spiritual importance to preliterate carvers of large stone sculptures. It made the viewer "stand under" the carved face, symbolizing the fact that the viewer "understood and obeyed" divine directives.
Whether these giant, round, ball-like heads were ever elevated is unclear, as they were found buried (and sometimes mutilated) which possibly indicates they were moved from their original location and buried by a conquering culture. However, the fact that the back of their heads is flat indicates that their original placement was probably against a wall.
I should add that it is very likely that the unique "head-only" (no neck or chest) carving of the Olmec heads was the result of carving the head in imitation of an ollamaliztli ball. The ball-like heads were probably placed up on an altar of some kind, and is the most probable reason why the chest/arms were not included as they played no part in the Olmec artistic ollamaliztli ball statement.
Thus, in the case of the Olmec heads, we can say that for a number of reasons, what was of immediate spiritual interest was the head, and the head alone, with the role of the chest being taken by the altars that the heads were placed on.
There is aremote possibility that Rapa Nui may also have been a preliterate culture bordering on literacy, as a glyph "language" Rongorongo inscribed on pieces of wood was found on Rapa Nui. Rongorongo, however, has never been deciphered.
So I think we have to dismiss the possibility that preliterate Rapa Nui may have been bordering on literacy. It's large-eyed heads belong to a preliterate culture and pale in comparison to the sophisticated Olmec heads.
I believe the Olmec culture was bordering on literacy. This would account for the life-like carving ( outside of the face-squashing) and the normal-sized eyes. This bordering on literacy may be due to the probable partial literate Chinese origins of the Olmec culture, which was a more advanced culture compared to the less advanced Polynesian culture (or possibly pre-literate Peruvian culture a la Thor Heyerdahl) of Rapa Nui.
With all that said about the peculiarities of the two large head types that make up my preliterate sample, what we see in those Olmec and Rapa Nui heads pretty much backs up my suggestion that the Phase 1-3 head /chest /front limb carving of the Sphinx roughly echoes those same preliterate artistic tendencies to carve only head/chest/arms of large stone "God/ Living God" sculptures.
The head (and therefore eyes) were always very large, which is a muthos way of saying that this is the head of a God.
These heads were always carved or placed high up. This again is a muthos way of saying that the Gods are above us, superior to us. It also simultaneously signaled that the viewer stood under the God, which was a muthos way of saying that the viewer was to "understand" the intent of the God.
In the Rapa Nui carvings, this was accomplished by creating a simplified legless long body / chest. This also allowed the heads to gaze inward towards the distant, starving villages.
In the Olmec ollamaliztli-ball head carvings, it is almost certain that the height was supplied by an altar that held these living God representations..
In the Sphinx face carving on a high cliff, the height was automatically supplied by the cliff. The chest/front limb subsequent carving was not so much to supply height but provide a passageway ( probably covered) to approach the revered face.
The use of covered passageways in preliterate cultures is a muthos expression of the mysterious passage to the Other World. In those cultures where numerous caves existed, this dark passageway was supplied automatically by the dark caves themselves.
Finally, the width of the carved forelimbs and paws we see today may also be due in part to the repeated re-coverings of the forelimbs with new limestone and finally, masonry. This doesn't explain, however, all of the difference in limb width and thickness, nor does it explain the greater width of the carved chest.
As shown above, in real life, large cats sometimes sit upright if alerted, but the body (as it approaches the back limbs) always twists to the side along with their back limbs which are never upright as in the Sphinx. This is because the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx pose we take as "normal" is completely artificial.
It is a master stroke, because the carvers were able to portray the way an alert human (leader) looks, from the waist up, whether seated or standing. The upright rear limbs emphacize this. In addition, the chest and shoulder dimensions are those of a human, not a cheetah, or any cat for that matter. The carvers then wedded that human "look" to the "artificial" animal pose of a cheetah lying down, but completely upright, including the upright rear limbs, which are never that way in real life.
Thus, I contend that the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx (as carved in Phases 1,2, 3) has the exact body/ head/limbs proportions of a cheetah, given that incorporating the "human element " involved thickening some of them.
This tells us something about the proportional carving skills of the Proto-Egyptian carvers of Phases 1-3.
I think this is a critical point. We can clearly see from the two sculptures above that both the preliterate Olmec and the literate Dynastic Egyptian carvers utilized codified, extremely sophisticated facial carving techniques at the time those sculptures were made.
A date of c.6000 B.C. is about right in my mind because of the crudeness of the carving, weathering considerations and the early preliterate indications signaled by the large eyes as well as by the human/cheetah width/depth head similarities I discussed earlier.
The base of the bas relief face could have contained a glyph grouping showing the following: a veil head dress /a woman/ a cheetah/ the phased moon/ the sun/ the Goddess Mafdet. The preliterate mind would have probably associated them in a narrative way like this:
"This facial carving celebrates a leader who is a female living Goddess who shares the same female/cheetah Goddess characteristics as Mafdet: her head is human, her body is the cheetah."
Although the moon in literate Dynastic Egypt is associated with a male God Khonsu, the moon, or phased moon, is almost always associated with the Goddess in early preliterate cultures and would have surely been seen a such by the African/Proto-Egyptians of 6000 B.C.. The moon glyph would thus have further suggested that the face depicted was of a Goddess or living Goddess and the sun suggesting that the facial carving was also associated with Ra, something that would have been evident by the fact that the face pointed east to the rising sun.
As for the sun glyph, it would have indicated the Goddess aspect of the facial carving because the sun was the very first or primal God recognized by all preliterate cultures. Whether the sun was considered male in 6000 B.C. (which is how it is seen in the literate Dynastic Egyptian pantheon) is problematic, as the sun is the “life giver” i.e., without the sun there is no life. It could therefore have been seen by very early humans as either female, or both male and female. It may also have been included to signify the relationship between the River Mother/ Sphinx face and the rising of the sun (Ra) at summer solstice.
I don't think this interpretation, although again quite different from the first, would have necessarily resulted in a proportional carving of the chest and forelimbs (Phase 3) any different from the first interpretation, as Mafdet's proportions (with a female head and cheetah body) were right in line with what was intended. Here is another interpretation, however, which might not have been so in line.
"This facial carving of a woman celebrates her as a Goddess or living Goddess who keeps cheetahs. She is associated with Mafdet who is also the protector of Balance and Order throughout the day and night."
I don't think this interpretation, although quite different from the previous one, would have necessarily resulted in a proportional carving of the chest and forelimbs (Phase 3) any different from the first two interpretations, but it may have, as the interpretation didn't clearly identify the facial carving as belonging to a cheetah body, like Mafdet, as the first two did.
The face they carved was a spiritual response to River Mother. That response began and ended with the carving. This is not to say that another spiritual impulse might develop later on about expanding the face, as may have happened in Phase 2, and then with each of the later phases, but each spiritually inspired expansion would begin and end with that particular carving.
If you understand that, you begin to understand the preliterate mind. In other words, any description created, say, in Phase 1, which was the most likely time for it to occur, would be to celebrate the carving, not to leave instructions. At any rate, such a celebration could have taken two forms:
As for the durability of an oral poem, much depends on the durability of the culture that gives birth to it. As an example of how long a cultural memory can be accurately maintained in an oral poem, we can take the case of the great Greek epic oral poet Homer who lived around 850 B.C., as writing wasn't adopted by the Greeks until around 750 B.C.
Even the upsetting effects of the Dorian invasion of Greek Mycenae didn’t break this long chain. There is a discussion of what things are accurately maintained and what are exaggerated in Part Five, Chapter 27: Let’s Pretend You’re an Epic Poet of my book SOULSPEAK: the Outward Journey of the Soul, and in my discussion in this site of Noah and the Flood.
For example, it is believed that the Sumerian source for its flood myth could be either the sudden flooding of the Black Sea area, or the rising of the level of the Gulf of Persia, both of which are estimated by scientists as having taken place c. 5500 B.C.. This flooding seems to have been orally carried forward in a number of oral story poems until the advent of hieroglyphic Sumerian writing in 3200 B.C. allowed the Sumerian transcription of the oral flood story poem into writing.
The critical period we have to account for with the Sphinx is 3340 years (6000 to 2660 B.C.). I doubt that this is possible as the maximum time length for an oral poem's survival as far as I can tell, is 2000 years (the Sumerian flood story) and that, as I've said, is problematic, as the flood date may not be c.5500 B.C., but much later.
So even though the preliterate Sumerian culture of 5500 B.C. didn’t have the solidity (trading/warrior culture) of Greek Mycenae c.1600 B.C., the Sumerian oral flood tale (if we accept the historic flood event date of 5500 B..C) seems to have survived over 2000 years until it was transcribed around 3200 B.C..
So, here’s the big question we have to answer for our preliterate Proto-Egyptian culture: How much of the 6000 B.C. memory of the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx carving—and what it represented—could have actually arrived intact for our phase 4 carving date of 2660 B.C..?
Assuming the Proto-Egypt of 6000 B.C. thru 4000 B.C, had a stable culture with an established oral tradition, and a somewhat continuous language, which is something we don't really know, we could say that pretty much all of the story describing the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx carving could have been maintained for 2000 years or until 4000 B.C..
There would have been the kinds of changes in her story (mostly exaggerations) that we know occur in oral poems and that can never be avoided. This is exactly the case with Homer’s oral epics.
The case is somewhat different in the survival of River Mother's story from 6000 thru 5600 B.C., when the Phase 3 carving of the chest and legs took place.
Again assuming that proto-Egypt during those 400 years had a stable culture with an established artistic tradition, and a continuous language, we can say that pretty much all of the story describing the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx carving could have been maintained for 400 years based on what we know of the 350 year survival of the Trojan war stories.
For those who don’t have the time to read my earlier writings on how accurate oral story poems can be over large periods of time, here’s the lowdown on what changes and what doesn’t change in a preliterate oral story poem:
This does not necessarily hold true however in the case of the Gods, especially in Egypt, where the names and nature of the Gods were always changing. There are name changes, of course, due to linguistic changes in a language over long time spans, but these are invisible to the culture.
In the case of River Mother, who had warrior aspects, but was seen primarily as a spiritual leader and living Goddess, it is a coin toss as to whether her name would have been honored and maintained as a warrior. As a living Goddess, her name would have been subject to change because it is quite likely that she would have would have eventually been merged with one or more of the Mother Goddesses.
3) The general theme of an oral story poem always reflects the world-vision of that culture. Like the hero's name, it never changes, nor is it arbitrary because it emerges from the collective unconscious of that culture via the creative act of poetry. Such powerful story poems emerge when dramatic events occur at a point in time when the collective unconscious of a culture is searching for a way to express a truth. It is an automatic, unconscious cultural response, which is the nature of these great preliterate story poems.
4) Here is something else that is never arbitrary: the nature or character of the hero. Achilles is always courageous, Odysseus is always wily. Moses always prophetic .
5) Everything else in the story is subject to change. Everything. Oral story poems were never consciously fashioned, as our TV dramas are. They emerged from the collective unconscious of individual poets in hundreds of songs that ebbed and flowed over hundreds of years. Like dreams they needed no prompting from the conscious mind, because they reflected unconscious cultural truths that needed to be sung of over and over.
I have been calling that first bas relief carving, River Mother Goddess/ Sphinx, so as to establish a linkage with the traditional name of the carving. The Nile delta flood was a powerful event. Was it as powerful as the Biblical/Sumerian Flood? Perhaps, perhaps not, who is to say? Let’s presume that it was, at least on a local (Nile Delta level). After all, as they say, All politics is local, which could also be said about floods.
2. The name of the leader (River Mother)
3. The spiritual theme: the Proto-Egyptian belief that the Gods often interceded to save human life.
4. The narrative sub-theme most probably was: The Nile delta people were saved from death by River Mother, a prophetic Nubian spiritual leader whose vision of a coming flood allowed her to lead the people and their food and belongings to the safety of higher ground. Mafdet, the Cheetah Goddess, being the Protector of River Mother, then honored River Mother by replacing Mafdet's “Veiled” face at Giza with the River Mother’s face, declaring her to be the Goddess daughter of Mafdet.
5. The character of the hero: living Goddess, Mother, Leader, Prophet, Shaman, protected by Mafdet.
6. Everything else, her physical size, the extent of the flood, the swiftness of the Cheetahs (representing the swiftness of her psychic/shaman abilities), her blackness, the role of the cheetahs, would have been exaggerated.
Yet enough would have survived of our River Mother’s story especially her being the daughter of the half-female/half-cheetah Goddess Mafdet to guide the carvers in establishing the frontal cheetah proportions in Phase 3 (5600 B.C.). By 2660 B.C., however, the oral poem would have long ago disappeared.
I want to make clear though that even if the oral story poem memory of the River Mother were lost after 4000 B.C., it could have clearly survived for 350 years from 6000 B.C until 5650 B.C.. This was enough time for Phase 2 (5800 B.C., head to just beyond ears, veil) and Phase 3 (5600 B.C., (the front chest and limbs) to be accurately carved in correct cheetah proportions.
The facial/head, frontal chest and limbs carving could thus have served as a guide for the later carving of the back of the head and the remaining body.
It is highly likely then that by 2660 B.C. the literate, male-God, Empire-building dynastic Egyptians simply assumed the Sphinx to be a mysterious and seemingly timeless male God with with the proportions of a cheetah or what seemed to be a misshapen lion body and head that were way out of proportion to what they should have been.
I should also add that in a lying position, the cheetah proportions of the last 3/4 of its body and rear limbs are close to that of a lion, so that if this later scenario is what happened, which is very possible, the Sphinx would still look pretty much as it would have if the "cheetah" knowledge had been passed on.
It is also seems likely that various literate Dynastic Pharaohs, being Gods themselves, would see it as their duty to complete the sculpture so as to give it the wholeness it deserved artistically and spiritually, which to Egyptians amounted to the same thing.
To do this, I used a recent working experiment in carving a limestone copy of the the Sphinx nose by the very conservative Mark Lehner and several stone carving experts which showed that the entire Sphinx (100%) could have been carved in 300 man/ years which would equate to 50 men over 6 years.
8. Shown that the "one fell swoop" theory of the way the Sphinx was constructed during preliterate times has no supporting evidence from any preliterate culture at any time, further buttressing my contention that the Sphinx was carved in phases.
I see the decision to begin carving the remaining head as being done for aesthetic and spiritual reasons but also present are the pressures of Empire, as by 2700 B.C. Dynastic Egypt had been literate for 500 years and was at the beginning of Empire and a regional power.
One sign of that is the nemes, or veil, which had by this time been adopted as a sign of the imperial Pharaoh. I also see Djoser as the Pharaoh responsible for this stage of the carving because he was also a builder intent on leaving his mark, having also constructed the Step pyramid.
My selection of Djoser and the three pharaohs below as being responsible for the completion of the Sphinx is an intuitive conjecture. Other, earlier pharaohs could have been responsible, even those in the Legendary Period, but my selection seems the best fit, especially in light of Schoch's pretty solid proposal that the rump and tail were done by Kafra in 2550. Schoch's rump proposal suggests, as I have been suggesting, that the Sphinx was not done in one fell swoop, at least as far as the rump is concerned. The ass is always last is the operative term, I believe.
Like Trump (and all ego maniacs) they always did something that seemed selfless (like Trump’s gratuitous fixing of the always-failing Central Park Skating Rink) but whose real purpose was to advance their “Godliness” in the eyes of the general population.Thus, I see each of these Pharaohs further completing the River Mother Goddess /Sphinx body—but just enough to get the acclaim they desired, but never so much as to interfere with their pyramid construction efforts.
THE PROBLEM OF THE NEMES and CAP CROWN
The earliest portrayal of the nemes is seen in the First Dynasty on the Pharaoh Den c.2970 B.C. and it became more formal as time progressed.
Thus, a significant aesthetic indication that the nemes was indeed a modification of an earlier, preliterate veil is simply the way the nemes of the Sphinx looks today.
There is also the question of the cap crown of the nemes on the Sphinx. There is none. First of all, I believe the initial Sphinx head was flat on top, like a cheetah, thereby establishing the cheetah association. It is also an indication to me that the original top of the outcropping was probably flat to some degree and the unsophisticated carvers would have taken advantage of that flatness and used it to more easily imitate the flat top of the cheetah head.
This is another indication that the head just beyond the ears would have been carved in Phase 3 (5600 B.C.). If it was, the surrounding stone surrounding the head would have left the suggestion of a veil.
If so, I believe that this "suggestion" was later converted to a nemes in Phase 4 as best as it could be done given the already flat head of the Sphinx. Are you with me on this?
My timetable also has the front of the neck and chest being carved in Phase 3 (5600 B.C.) long before the nemes existed as a formal head dress of the Pharaoh, which again indicates that the suggestion of a simple veil was initially carved behind the ears in Phase 3 and was later modified in Dynastic times into a nemes as best as could be done. See the Sphinx photo on the left for a rough idea of that very early carving of what the suggested veil might have looked like in Phase 3, which also included the ears.
Below are cotton veils worn by contemporary Nubian women plus an actual veil (below, bottom, rightmost) from late Dynastic Nubia. It is very probable that someone like River Mother wore such a veil not only as sun protection but also as a sign of her position as it would have been more elaborate than a mere sun shade..
Now let's get back to the much later date (2660 B.C.) that I suggest was probable for Phase 4 (back of head and nemes).
One thing that has to be considered is whether the limestone outcropping continued at the same level as the head all the way back to where the rumps is now, or sloped down after the head to where the body is today. The red lines in the diagram to the left indicate my guess as to the nature of the rocky outcropping and the angle of the cliff face and the general level of the plateau.
|SPHINX 2012 AD|
As for the size of the nemes of the Sphinx, its depth is significant ( see photo above, L) and is greater than the depth of some of the nemes shown in other statues (see photo,R).
I can account for this in a few ways. The first is that the depth of the nemes may have differed over time, which is very likely, and the nemes carved on the Sphinx in 2660 B.C. is what was in fashion at the time, which may have been a depth similar to that of the much later funerary mask nemes depth of King Tutankhamun c .1320 B.C. (see photo below, L).
If there were more side views of sculptures of the various Pharaohs at various times, I might be able to verify this.
The other explanation, and the two may complement each other, is that the Dynastic carvers simply honored the long shape of the un-carved head which I see resembling a melon that sloped back down to the spine of the Sphinx. We must not forget that the Dynastic Egyptians had to have viewed the partially carved Sphinx (See photo L) as a mysterious, timeless divine carving and would have honored its shape in every respect.
Which brings us to still another reason why the Dynastic carvers honored the melon shape and that is that the melon shape happens to be the shape of a cheetah's head, something I'll cover shortly, and it is entirely possible that the carvers deduced it was a cheetah's head because of its smallness and suggested depth, even though no knowledge of the origin of the carving was available to them.
THE SIZE, ANGLE AND CARVING OF THE HEAD OF THE SPHINX
or it could simply mean that was the angle of the cliff face (see red line in diagram to the left) and the early carvers took advantage of it to lessen the amount of carving they would have to do.
In saying this, I am presuming that the Giza plateau was relatively flat on top in this general area except for an outcropping (yardang) jutting up where the Sphinx head is today. That is to say that the cliff sloping up to the top of the plateau ended in a relatively flat plane except for a rocky outcropping part that continued upwards. I have diagrammed this in red on the side profile of the Sphinx (R)
Let me add that the carvers of the back of the head in Phase 4 would have had no thoughts whatsoever about going beyond the end of the "melon," as only the artistic/ spiritual task at hand (the carving of the complete head) would have interested them. The photo at the left shows what they would have seen before Phase 4 was started, which is the head as it stood as the result of the phase 3 carving of the front limbs and chest in 5600 B.C..
It is also entirely possible that the rocky outcropping might have begun a few feet back from the general edge of the plateau, so the carvers could work by standing on the ledge and from simple bamboo scaffolds set on it. If not, the carvers may have first created such a ledge to set simple scaffolds on. Or it may have been a combination of the two.
Scaffolds would make the carving the face much easier than doing so hanging from ropes. Working from a scaffold also made using whatever primitive scaling techniques they had much easier, as the depth to carve could have easily been measured from the scaffold that framed the outcropping.
The general rule of thumb in any large carving like this with only stones for tools and limited scaling techniques would be to choose a location where the shape of the rock has already done much of the work for you and that also allows you to work in the easiest way.
One other thing that I mentioned earlier, and that has to be accounted for, is the rather egg-shaped look (see photo, L) of the Sphinx's head from the side, which also resulted in a very deep nemes being carved. I believe this was due to the general shape of the melon-like outcropping. That egg/melon shape is not a human head depth but mimics very well the depth of the cheetah's head as shown above, which is something I discussed earlier. It doesn’t, however, mimic the cheetah's back head and neck exactly, but cuts back like the old bowl over the head haircuts my father use to give my crying sister.
That cutting back, however, which narrows and heightens the neck, gives artistic credence to the very straight, high human chest below it. Taken together, it is an artistic illusion that says: this is a cheetah with a proportionally small human head and neck sitting up like a human leader.
The following time and manpower estimates for Phases 5, 6, 7 are based on the 300 man /years required to carve the entire Sphinx as extrapolated from Lehner's nose-carving experiment.
Phase 5. Front body to 30 feet behind of head. (Sneferu c. 2590 B.C. / 4th Dynasty) Stone tools (Bronze Tools ?) (10% -30 man/ years)
Phase 7. Rump and tail (Khafre – c. 2550 B.C. / 4th Dynasty) Stone tools (Bronze Tools ?) 10% -30 man years
The last two Phases (6 and 7) which were basically dog work and need no descriptive text. However, what does merit mentioning is that the rear carved body, legs and tail in Phases 6,7 could be taken as reflecting the proportions of either a lion or cheetah, as in that position their rear legs appear very similar. The only distinguishing feature would have been the tail, as lions and cheetahs have very different tails. I go into this later where I finally conclude that the evidence is problematic because so much of the tail has been damaged.
My own feeling about this is that by 2660 B.C, so much time had passed (6000 to 2660 B.C. = 3340 years) that all memory of the original cheetah /female/ Mafdet intention had been lost, and the new carvers simply assumed it was an oddly misshapen lion (because of the head) and went on carving both a rear lion body and a lion tail. The loss of the original intention may also have been brought about by the way literacy brought with it an altering of the hierarchy of the deities which made the male Gods dominant and the female Mother Goddesses of lesser importance.
Shoch is talking about normal ancient flooding. It's obvious that if The Nile flooding was exceptionally high, the lower parts of the Sphinx would have been flooded during the time of the rising, but it would not have been permanent. If the Sphinx was covered in sand at the time however, the wet sand surrounding the Sphinx would have contributed to the erosion.
The second is the alternative theory of Bauval and Hancock published in The Message of the Stars in which Bauval and Hancock suggest that the position of the the belt stars in the constellation of Orion, the constellation Leo and the Spring Equinox sun rise above the horizon in conjunction only once, at 10, 500 B.C. and as such, signal that the Sphinx was built at that time. A free PDF of the book can be had by clicking here.
Yet, Bauval and Hancock's ignorance of the true nature of oral poems allows them to blissfully ignore this problem, so that thousands of years later they see this data being eventually translated into writing and inserted either into the Pyramid Texts and/or in written documents buried in the undiscovered secret rooms of the Sphinx.
They could have posited, however, that writing was invented prior to 10, 500 B.C. and then all evidence of its existence somehow forgotten except for the ancient, written astral document somehow finding its way through thousands of years smack into the hands of the priests of Dynastic Egypt. Hancock and Bauval are wise enough not to have chosen this position even though it would have solved all their problems.
Here are some of the problems they never truly face about preliterate cultures. Preliterate cultures didn't have anything like the large special numbers cited by the authors. The general consensus of scholars is that preliterate cultures counted 1, 2, 3, many, or at most their total fingers (10). Sorry but that's the way it worked.
The above weren't sophisticated reasons for these two revolutionary undertakings, but history often fools us as to how little is actually required to trigger the development of such sophisticated undertakings
The need and thirst for beer seems to have led preliterate cultures into very large agriculture, but their endless star-gazing never led them to invent writing and number systems. All the evidence is that the large aricultural efforts necessary to producee beer in the desired quantities was the catalyst that brought number systems and writing into existence.
End Author's Note
Of course, this also implies that they shared the same Zodiac signs (Leo, Orion, etc) that are known to us and late Dynastic Egypt. These assumptions, like the assumption of numbers existing in preliterate cultures, are themselves problematic, especially the shared Zodiac, which wasn't invented until around 1000 B.C by the Babylonians. As we shall see, however) there are other problems in passing the 10, 500 B.C. information to Dynastic Egypt by a preliterate "shadow" civilization.
End Author's Note
To the left is a grid guide that formalized and codified this position for Egyptian artists.
As an artist, I had always wondered why the Egyptians, who were "naturalists" in their art, chose this unnatural pose, but I was never really satisfied with any of the explanations I had come across. Then one night many years ago, on one of my long sailing voyages, I looked up at the stars as I often did, knowing the constellations well, and realized that Orion was an exact blueprint for the way Egyptian artists portrayed the body.The answer was in the stars as they say, but this must have escaped the scholars I had been reading. Perhaps they forgot to look up.
This interweaving of social order /aesthetics / art/ astronomy/ spirituality/ theology can be seen in some other early Meso-American cultures, but it never seems s overpoweringly intense, seamless, and complete as seems to be the case with Egypt. When we understand this we can understand why Schwaller de Lubicz said that Egypt didn't have a religion, Egypt was a religion.
When you understand this, you can begin to grasp why enormous structural imitations of the heavens, such as we see in the Giza pyramids, were a natural outcome of that assumption. It is also the reason why we have to pay attention to their art: it was not a thing apart from the other aspects of their culture as it is in ours, but grew and was guided by that unquestioned spiritual assumption. It was an organic part of the enormous spiritual pageant called Egypt.
End author's Note
End Author's Note
Thus the view of Bauval and Hancock that the "Lion" Sphinx points at the conjunction of Orion's belt and Leo as seen at the Vernal (Spring) sunrise equinox of 10, 500 B.C. fails to hold up because Leo (and the Zodiac) didn't exist.
I've spoken about this in detail earlier so there is no need to expand on this here.
My own view is that the positioning of the Sphinx (which points east to the direction of the rising Sun, RA) is not accidental. That much is for sure. However, it may be simply that it points to the rising sun, a sacred direction for all preliterate peoples.
As I indicated earlier, the numbering systems proposed by the authors don't exist in preliterate cultures, so that only the traditional methods of using a petroglyph and/or oral story poem to record the 10, 500 B.C. date for future generations can be considered.
As I mentioned earlier, the theory's reliance on the astrological constellation of Leo to determine the exact date of 10,500 B.C. goes to pieces according to scholars (or does it?) when we realize that the Zodiac was not developed by the Babylonians until around 1000 B.C.
Despite all this, I still believe the positioning of the Sphinx is not accidental. It is indeed pointing due east, which in general can be said to be a critical (sun/ RA is born) spiritual position, but also the direction of the vernal equinox.
The eastward-pointing, upward-gazing Sphinx may be additionally pointing at some heavenly body or galactic event that was in an eastern position at a specific time in the past a la Bauval and Hancock, i.e. it is not unreasonable to posit that the Sphinx is indeed gazing at a critical astral event sometime in the distant past.
Since it can't be Leo, it is anyone's guess what that astral event might be. Nevertheless, the positioning of the pyramids next to the Sphinx does suggest the possibility that the Sphinx may have been a very ancient alignment anchor already in place. The question, though, is did the 2500 B.C. Egyptians have any knowledge of that anchor?
Other scholars further point out that such an alignment in 10, 500 BC would have pointed to to what we know as Virgo, not Leo. Thus, they say, the association of the constellation Leo with the "lion-like" Sphinx goes up in smoke. But will this weak link bring their entire house down?
Not necessarily. We also have to consider this: despite the 1000 B.C. date given for the Babylonian's invention of the Zodiac, it is hard to believe that the Egyptians, who were very sophisticated stargazers, did not have some kind of astronomical scheme similar to the Babylonian zodiac, as even Bronze age (3000 BC) cultures had rough Zodiac-like versions of the cyclical rotating heavens along the ecliptic.
I believe this may also be true about the Proto-Egyptian culture dating back to Neolithic times, for the simple reason that it is becoming increasingly clear that all preliterate cultures were sophisticated stargazers and sun/moon/star-plotters. Thus, to my mind, these Leo/Virgo/Zodiac objections simply show us that we don't know very much about Egyptian astronomy in any period, the exception being that thanks to Bauval and his counterparts we now know that the Dynastic Egyptians had an extremely sophisticated knowledge of the effects of precession long before the Greeks.
While the association of the "Lion-like" Sphinx with the Babylonian sign Leo most probably has to be thrown out the window, it is entirely possible that it's positioning reflects the positioning of an "Egyptian zodiac" sign at a specific point in time. I wouldn't be surprised, by the way, if an early "Proto-Egyptian zodiac" scheme is ever discovered, to find that one of its signs represented the cheetah.
At any rate, it seems very clear today that the positioning of the Giza pyramids and the Nile imitates the Orion/Milky way astral positioning, and that it is also possible that the Sphinx may be pointing not only east, but additionally at either:
a) Some very ancient, singular astral event, e.g. , a nova, or
b) Some significant "early Egyptian zodiac" sign which occurred in conjunction with Orion's belt and a solstice/equinox sunrise.
After all, the Giza pyramids could have been constructed elsewhere and in a completely different arrangement. The establishment theory on the Giza pyramids' position, by the way, is that they were built on the Giza plateau in 2500 B.C. because of the stable rock platform. Yet there may be other reasons such as the one I've just suggested.
My suggestion is somewhat buttressed by fact that Bauval's earlier Orion Mystery, states that the Giza complex is not only an exact image of Orion in 2450 B.C., but also a mirror image (left is right) of Orion in 10,400 B.C., the Egyptian First Time, when Osiris ruled on earth. Where there is smoke there is usually fire, and the closeness of the 10,400 B.C. date of First Time and Bauval and Hancock's Sphinx /Leo? positioning date of 10, 500 B.C. can't be ignored.
The positioning of the Sphinx, again, could have merely been to the east at the time of the vernal equinox, but then again it also may have been more complex than that. The real question, therefore, is this: If not Leo, what astral event could the Sphinx have been pointing at in 10, 500 B.C..?
That is not easily answered. I can say, however, that any theoretical answer as to the event will inevitably have to deal with a real Spaniard in the woodpile, which is how did the 2500 B.C Egyptians obtain knowledge of the historical time (10, 500 B.C.) when the Sphinx was built.
That is a period of 8000 years, far too long for any information to be passed by an oral story poem. A petroglyph, of course, could last that long, but I have my doubts that a detailed petroglyph of the conjunction could be carved accurately enough so that the Sphinx construction date would always be decoded as 10, 500 B.C..
The photos below, which were taken from The Message of the Sphinx, will give you some idea of the complexity of the carving. The problem is not so much the complexity of the astral diagram, however, but how finely the constellations and vernal equinox position could have been carved so as to positively indicate their astronomical positions and therefore the year 10, 500 B.C.. After all, a badly carved positioning may have led future cultures to compute a different date.
(Let me add, just to thicken the brew, that such a petroglyph would have no way of letting us know that it wasn't referring to an identical astronomical alignment in the previous 26,000 year precession cycle.)
As a poet familiar with preliterate oral poetry, however, I can also tell you that oral poems aren't about carrying numerical information forward. They are concerned with matters of the soul and fate and the gods. Muthos. Such things as numbers and lists are generally literate add-ons and even the greatest of oral poems are subject to their later insertion.
However, a petroglyph may have survived for that period, although it would suffer the same problems I've just outlined in transmitting its astral information accurately. If it had survived, and was accurate, it seems inevitable that such a carving would have been honored in the same way Moses tablets were, and a serious mention of it should exist somewhere in the hieroglyphs that have survived. But there is nothing that we know of at the present time.
The best I can propose is that the Sphinx points toward something more specific than merely east, but when that distant event actually occurred in historical time is up for grabs. Sorry. Still, there is enough smoke to suggest that there may be a fire, even if we can't find it. In a general sense, however, the thinking behind the 10, 500 B.C. galactic timing theory of Bauvel and Hancock backs up my own contention that the Sphinx is very old, far older than 2500 B.C.
As it should be clear by now that both petroglyphs and oral story poems are extremely problematic in terms of being capable of carrying forward a decipherable story of the Sphinx's construction in 10, 500 B.C., we'll have to content ourselves with finding other types of evidence pointing to an early construction.
I believe the best way to do this is to concentrate on the artistic and cultural evidence such as I have been doing. In the following section, I will go further into my artistic thinking on the Sphinx and why I believe it shows that the construction of the Sphinx was much, much earlier than 2500 B.C..
It is by no means crude and shows the kind of detail, beauty, symmetry and proportions we would expect from much later Dynastic Egyptian art. Seeing pieces like this glyph convinced me that the Egyptian aesthetic began to emerge very early (3100 to 2900 B.C.) in the literate period. This made it impossible for me to believe that the Sphinx was carved at the same time as the beautiful temples and figures created in 2500 B.C. and later because of this codification. It would not have been permitted.
|SPHINX 1880 AD|
Is there anyway you could be convinced that the Sphinx came from the same period as these three sculptures did? Only if you were blind. Let me say it again: compare the Sphinx carving (less the wear and tear) with these three pieces. If you can't see there is a world of difference in the artistic renderings, I don't what else to say to you.
Lets take a look now at carvings before 2500 B.C. They are not primitive in any sense and show a remarkable sense of proportion. I'll show even earlier example further on.
In the glass cage above is a sculpture of Djoser Third Dynasty (2691B.C.), some 200 years earlier than the traditional date (2500 B.C.) given for the construction of the Sphinx. Although the total carving is not highly detailed (which may have been by choice as there are highly detailed carvings on the base), it is far from crude in proportions and facial expression. Although the close-ups (below) show considerable damage, the face itself is highly expressive and shows a man you wouldn't want to cross.
Compare this face to the calm face of the Sphinx, and one tentative conclusion you can come to quite easily is that the face of the Sphinx is the calm face of a female, and /or that the face of the Sphinx was a very early preliterate carving in which the proportions were correct but the art of carving detailed facial expressions had not been developed. The detailed carving at the base of Djoser's statue also shows evidence of the aesthetics that were in the process of being codified.
Shown below are three sculptures from 3100 to 2900 B.C., when the first aspects of codification began to be implemented, which is especially evident in the two top items seal and cartouche). This art, which is what has survived, is smaller and in the case of the lion, not as elegant as c. 2500 B.C. art, but the proportions are perfect, even those of the small, cuddly alabaster lion. One of the arguments I have been making is that preliterate carvers understood proportion perfectly, and knew how to reproduce it. It was in the facial detail that they weren't the equals of their Dynastic counterparts. I'll go back even further in time later on to show you this is true of even earlier sculptures.
Let me add that the excellently proportioned lion above is what the Sphinx would have looked like (short limbs and body, massive head/ neck/ shoulders/body) if it was initially carved as a lion. For sure it wouldn't have had the extremely long forelimbs, right? Compare the alabaster lion's excellent "chunky"proportions to the slim, long proportions of the Sphinx. They are completely different in all proportions, not just the head.
|small head, very long legs, slim body|
|small head, very long legs, slim body|
Or as I said earlier, I can also see a precursor of it being carved in preliterate times (in Phase 3 (5600 B.C.) as a simple desert veil which was later modified to be as close to a nemes as possible in 2660 B.C., as the nemes portrayed on the Sphinx is so different from other sculptural portrayals of the nemes c. 2600 thru 2500 B.C..
Which brings me to the very flat head of the Sphinx. I believe this flatness resulted from using much of the the actual top of the rocky outcropping as the top of the head of the Sphinx in the Phase 2 / 5800 B.C. carving of the front of the head back to just before the ears. I further believe the top was further slightly flattened so as to mimic the cheetah's flat head. This flatness prevented the addition of a traditional curved crown cap which had come to be the Dynastic fashion when the final nemes was added in Dynastic times.
See more examples of Dynastic crown caps below. This marked flatness of the Sphinx's forehead prevented the addition of a traditional curved crown cap which had come to be in fashion when the final nemes was added in Dynastic times. See examples of Dynastic crown caps below.
You can see how the final nemes of the Sphinx lacks the curved crown of the traditional nemes as seen in the later carving examples above and to the right.
The only explanation for this has to be that there was no stone left on the top of the flat head to carve the high, curved crown cap in 2660 B.C. , an additional proof that the head was carved flat in Phase 1 and 2 in imitation of a cheetah head long before the final unusual nemes was added in 2660 B.C.
My own take on the matter is that the uraeus of the Sphinx was added at a later time, probably around 2660 B.C. when the final nemes was carved from what was originally a simple veil.
The flat head, however, prevented the uraeus from enjoying the "standing up above the head" position it enjoys in some other sphinx sculptures and Pharaoh sculptures (above, L).
There is, however, a very small rise of the Sphinx uraeus, however, above the flat top of the head (as seen in the picture above, L). There is also a small outward projection of the uraeus from the forehead/ crown cap but it in no way duplicates the pronounced outward and upward projection seen in the other Dynastic portrayals of the uraeus.
I believe these were both accomplished by shaving back the front and top of the Sphinx's forehead. This would explain why that part of the top forehead of the Sphinx (L, above) slopes inward a bit more than it does in other sculptures of pharaohs (below, R) when seen from a profile point of view.
The tails of cheetahs, however, are full and bushy. They're used for balance, like a rudder, in their high speed pursuits. Let's take a close look then at the tail shape of the Sphinx.
Although the tail of the Sphinx does seem to me a bit thicker than a lion's tail, I wouldn't press the distinction as the tail isn't uniformly thick; it tapers somewhat as it wraps around the Sphinx's hindquarters. The fact that the Sphinx's tail lacks a lion's signature tuft could suggest it is a cheetah's tail, but the constant rebuilding of the Sphinx even in modern times (see the tail photos above which are 100 years apart) makes the tuft absence somewhat problematic.
There is also the problem of when the tail was carved. Schoch holds that the rump and tail were carved at a later date, 2550 B.C., and I agree with him. I also think by that time it is highly probable that the cheetah connection had been completely forgotten and a lion's tail was carved as a matter of common practice.
There is, of course, also the possibility that in one of the later re-buildings of the Sphinx, (which we can see from the two photographs above was subject to constant breaking off) the original extremely thick Cheetah tail was unknowingly re-created as a lion's tapered tail.
Yet the problematic tail aside, the long-bodied, small-headed Sphinx is clearly a cheetah.
The first known appearance of the nemes, or draped royal head dress, is in 2970 B.C.. As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the final shape of the nemes of the Giza Sphinx was carved in phase 4, c.2660 B.C..
As I say there, it is possible, and likely, that the suggestion of a simple desert head dress (veil) was carved in Phase 3. I say this because the final nemes of the Sphinx is markedly different from other carved nemes of the period, indicating that the initial carving of a veil in Phase 3 (in addition to the cheetah-flatness of the head carved in Phases 1 and 2) made a good imitation of the traditional nemes impossible to carve in Phase 4.
We can now take a harder look at my proposal that the shape of the Giza Sphinx is not accidental but has definite, distinct characteristics and, moreover, that it's shape and characteristics were determined by its being the carving of a cheetah body with very long forelegs and a small head.
First of all, let me repeat my contention that these proportions were venerated as a spiritual statement of the highest order by all subsequent generations of Egyptians, so much so that almost all subsequent sphinxes were modeled after it.
Let me sum up some of my thinking on the Giza Sphinx. First of all, as I discussed in great detail earlier, I dismiss out of hand the idea of the Sphinx being a very early carving of a lion because it shows a dismal ignorance of the fact that a carving of the size of the Sphinx would never have been of an animal alone.
First of all, there has never been a monumental sculpture of an animal in any preliterate culture. A miniature, OK, but never a monumental sculpture. Egyptians, like all early preliterate cultures, created small sculptures of rams, cats, hippos etc. as a part of their artistic menagerie. But a sculpture as large as the Sphinx placed in such an important East-gazing position speaks of an important spiritual statement, a portrayal of a God or Goddess.
This is not to say that preliterate cultures looked down on animals as we do. Despite the fact that all preliterate cultures, including the Proto-Egyptians and the later Dynastic Egyptians, recognized the special place that humans held among the animals, they didn't look down on animals. Rather they saw them as having a special intelligence, an intelligence we would call instinctive.
This is what I believe was represented (in part) by the human/animal hybrid figures that represent Gods and Goddesses, a combining of human and animal intelligences and physical characteristics, which is a potent combination.
The earliest human/animal representations of Zobek (left), the Egyptian alligator God, is dated to 3300B.C., although there may be earlier versions yet to be discovered.
As I've indicated many times in this blog, I believe that Mafdet (who was portrayed as half cheetah/ half woman) was the reason for the human/cheetah carving of the Sphinx. Mafdet was the protector of the all important Mother Goddess Ma-at (the source of Truth and Balance in early preliterate Proto-Egypt, so it is obvious that Mafdet stood between order and chaos, i.e., between a balanced, just world and Chaos.
Mafdet was a very early Mother Goddess of Nubian origin who was portrayed both ways: with a female head/cheetah body or a cheetah head/female body. Unfortunately, we have only a few minimal surviving portrayals of Mafdet, and have to rely on written descriptions which, fortunately, are quite detailed and graphic
It seems evident, to me, and I think to anyone who weighs all the evidence I have produced, that from all the cultural and spiritual evidence I've brought forth, that all of the indicators point toward a female human/cheetah hybrid being the original Sphinx, including the size of the human head reflecting the small size of the cheetah head.
ART IN PRELITERATE vs. LITERATE EGYPT
Let me now give you some specific illustrations of the quality of painting and sculpture produced between 3900 B.C. and 3100 B C., and also between 3100 B.C. and 2200 B.C so you'll have some idea of the Egyptian artistic potential in the late preliterate period (3900 thru 3100 B.C.) as compared to the early literate period (3100 thru 2200 B.C.).
The dividing line between preliterate and literate Egypt is generally set at 3200 B.C., but since some of these these art pieces were dated at 3100 B.C., we can take 3100 B.C. as the dividing line. It won't affect my basic argument. What we can take away from the art samples below is that preliterate art had a highly developed preliterate aesthetic, not as highly developed as it was after 2700 B.C. or 2200 B.C., but it is surely not negligible. In addition, I think we can see that even in the earliest preliterate art, the artists understood proportion. Let's take a trip forward in time from 3900 TO 2200 B.C. to illustrate this:
3900 B.C. thru 3500 B.C.
3500 B.C. thru 3100 B.C.
3100 B.C. thru 2700 B.C.
2700 B.C. thru 2200 B.C.
After 2200 B.C.
Yet I don't have a closed mind. Bauval, in his mathematically precise Orion Mystery, points out that the constellation Orion in 2450 B.C. not only exactly imitates the position of of the Giza Pyramids but also is an exact imitation of Orion (but in a mirror image) in 10,400 B.C. which is known in Egyptian astronomy/theology as the First Time. Something is going on here, but what?
Yet one thing that Bauval and Hancock have made all theorists focus on is that the same spiritual /aesthetic love of proportion and symmetry that made the Egyptians of 2450 B.C. create the sublime Giza pyramids also made them position the 3 majestic pyramids so that the entire configuration (the three pyramids and the Nile) would mirror the astral positioning of Orion and the Milky Way.
Perhaps, as Bauval and Hancock propose, the Sphinx's ancient positioning may also indicate a "time-position" of some ancient spiritually-critical heavenly event and time. The mechanics of carrying that ancient information forward, however, have not been adequately explained to my satisfaction.
Let me make one small step backward here, and state again that it is entirely possible that the Sphinx does not point to some spiritually-critical heavenly event and time, only directly east, i.e., the Sphinx may simply point toward the East, because that is the direction of the birthplace of the Sun God. It is a spiritual direction, and for preliterate peoples the most important direction.
Our modern archeologists and scientific investigators are often blind to the real reason why all early human migrations were to the east. It wasn't merely for more food or room. It was to find the Gods. And the Egyptians, a highly spiritual culture, were no exception to this obsession.
But if we suspect there is something very ancient about the Sphinx's positioning than merely pointing to the east, something the Dynastic Egyptians knew but we don't, a critical question needs to be definitively answered, namely, what spiritually-critical Egyptian astral position and time does the positioning point to, and how could that position and historical time be carried forward into literate times?
In this last part of my Blog on the sphinx, I've covered:
End of Part Three and End of Blog