We have visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx, but before we leave the Giza Necropolis there are other questions to ponder. These are questions that not only span the skies, but delve into the sands beneath the structures on the plaza. We have discussed the Pyramids, as well as, the Sphinx independently. Now we will look at the plaza as a whole. We will take into account the idea that is the basis for Egyptian beliefs, duality; as it is above so it is below. We will wonder about their fascination with the heavens. We will ponder the importance and mystique of the priest/priestess class. Thus we will attempt to attain a greater understanding of the beginnings of one of the most glorified and romanticized societies in human history. Our goal is to attempt to understand what was Egypt and thus what was an Egyptian.
Beginning with their concept of duality, we will attempt to understand just how the Egyptian saw thyself in relation to their culture and their world. Their religion was a part of every aspect of their everyday lives. It is in the religious practices and belief that we can find an illustration of their concept of duality. In simple terms, the Egyptians believed that all things on Earth were reflection of things in the sky. The Egyptians also believe in an afterlife, not only was that afterlife in the skies, it was almost more important than life on Earth.
When understanding their concept of duality, several aspects of their culture and beliefs illustrate clearly for us their thinking. In understanding their funerary rituals, we see that they believed that the body was needed again in the afterlife. This is supported by the fact that Egyptians preserved their bodies as completely as possible in death, including preserving the organs removed in the mummification process, apparently to be returned to the body for the journey to the afterlife. It was also common for burial to include everyday items that would be needed in the afterlife, such as food, clothes, brushes, furniture and even, based on the wealth and or position of the individual, pets, concubines, and in some cases chariots. The Egyptians also believe that what you did in your life on Earth would carry over, or at least the consequences, to the afterlife. There were trials or judgments that the dead had to pass in order to enter the afterlife. In life the Pharaohs were considered as either Gods or demi-gods or descended from the Gods and in the afterlife they were to ascend to the Stars and live with the Gods as gods in their own right.
What does all this have to do with the Giza Necropolis? It is believed by some to be a physical interpretation of the trails or judgments and the journey to the afterlife. It is also believed by some to be the physical representation of an exact moment in time by mirroring the sky as it was in a specific time in the ancient past.
In looking at the map of the plaza above and the picture of the constellation Orion to the right you can see a similarity between the 3 Pyramids and the 3 starts that make up the belt of the hunter. The observer can see that the first 2 larger pyramids can be bisected by a straight line as can the 2 brighter stars of the hunter’s belt. If you continue the line it will strike the northwest corner of the smaller third pyramid, which is the exact same placement as the smaller or dimmer third star in Orion’s belt.
Why would the ancients possibly use the belt of Orion for the placement of their pyramids? One could say that such an alignment would serve to remind them of their origins. As there are several references to the Gods coming from and returning to their own world, a world that is located within the constellation. Another theory is that the line actually points to the star Sirus. Sirus is also a star that is referenced in ancient lore as the location for the origins of the Gods. This star chart shows more clearly the alignment of the 3 pyramids found on the plaza. Thus showing how the smaller third star is offset slightly. Is this just coincidence, or was this planned? It seems to be almost too perfect of a match for that to be the case. If you look a little further afar from the alignment of the pyramids you find the Nile flowing from its mountains head to the delta in the north. While keeping in mind the heavens in the time of the ancients, the Nile resembles the heavenly river of life, the Milky Way.
In looking very briefly at the Egyptian concept of duality we have seen that Egyptians were great students of the heavens. And held that humanity had a great connection to the heavens in order to have connection to their Gods and their afterlife. There are many other illustrations of their concepts of duality, including their attitudes regarding genders. But those are for you to explore on your own, at least for the time being.