Astrology and the Great Pyramid, Article in Knowledge 1882
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I COULD descant at great length on the value which the Great Pyramid must have had for astronomical observation. I could show how much more exactly than by the use of any gnomon, the sun’s annual course around the celestial sphere could be determined by observations made from the Great Gallery, by noting the shadow of the edges of the upper opening of the Gallery on the sides, the floor, and the upper surfaces of the ramps. The moon’s monthly path and its changes could have been dealt with in the same effective way. The geocentric paths, and thence the true paths, of the planets could be determined very accurately by combining the use of tubes or ring-carrying rods with the direction lines determined from the Gallery’s sides, floor, &c. The place of every visible star along the Zodiac (astrologically the most important part of the stellar heavens) could be most accurately determined. Had the Pyramid been left in that incomplete, but astronomically most perfect, form, the edifice might have remained for thousands of years the most important astronomical structure in the world. Nay, to this very day it would have retained its pro-eminence, provided, of course, that its advantages over other buildings had been duly supplemented by modern instrumental and optical improvements.
Unfortunately, the Great Pyramid was erected solely for selfish purposes. It was to be the tomb of Cheops, and whatever qualities it had for astronomical observation were to be devoted to his service only. The incalculable aid to the progress of astronomy which might have been obtained from this magnificent structure entered in no sort into its king-builder’s plan. Centuries would have been required to reap even a tithe of the knowledge which might have been derived from Pyramid observations, and such observations were limited to a few years—twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty at the outside.
Now, while I am fully conscious that the astrological theory of the Great Pyramid is open to most obvious, and at the first sight most overwhelming objections, I venture to say not only that these are completely met by what is certainly known about the Pyramid; but that the astrological theory (combined, of course, with the tomb theory), is demonstrably the true explanation of all that had been mysterious in the Great Pyramid.
Take the chief points which have perplexed students of the Pyramids generally, and of the Great Pyramid in particular.
1. Granting the most inordinate affection for large sepulchral abodes, how can we account for the amazing amount of labour, money, and time bestowed on the Great Pyramid?
The astrological theory at once supplies the answer. If the builder believed what we know was actually believed by all the Oriental nations, respecting planetary and stellar influences, it was worth his while to expend that and more on the Pyramid, to read the stars for his benefit, and to “rule” stars and planets to his advantage.
2. If the Pyramids were but vast tombs, why should they be astronomically oriented with extreme care,--to assume for a moment that this is the only astronomical relation established certainly respecting them?
Astrology answers this difficulty most satisfactorily. For astrological study of the heavens, the Pyramid (in its incomplete or tnmcated condition) could not be too accurately oriented.
3. Granted that the Great Pyramid was for a time used as an astronomical observatory, and that its upper square platform was used for cardinal directions in the way shown in the figure, what connection is there between these direction lines (the only ones which would naturally arise from the square form) and astrological relations?
These lines remain to this very day in use among astrologers. The accompanying figure, taken from Raphael’s Astrology (Raphael being doubtless some Smith, or Blodgett, or Higginbotham), represents the ordinary hora scope, and its relations (now unmeaning) to a horizontal, carefully-oriented square plane surface, such as the top of the Pyramid was, with just such direction-lines as would naturally be used on such a platform:—
Why did each king want a tomb of his own? Why should not a larger mausoleum, one in which all the expense and labour given to all the Pyramids might have been combined, have been preferred?
Astrology at once supplies a reason. Dead kings of one family might sleep with advantage in a single tomb; but each man’s horoscope must be kept by itself. Even to this day, the astrological charlatan would not discuss one man's horoscope on the plan drawn out and used for another man’s. Everything, according to ancient astrological superstition, would have become confused and indistinct The ruling of the planets would have been imperfect and unsatisfactory, if King Cheops’ horoscope platform had been used for Chephren, or Chephren’s for Mycerinus. The religious solemnities which accompanied astrological observations in the days when the chief astrologers were high priests, would have been rendered nugatory if those performed under suitable conditions for one person were followed by others performed under different conditions for another person.
5. How is it that the Pyramid of Chephren (Cheops’ brother), though about as large, is quite inferior to the Pyramid of Cheops, the Pyramid of Mycerinus (Cheops’ son) much smaller, and that of Asychis (Cheops’ grandson) very much smaller, while to the younger sons and daughters of Cheops very small Pyramids, within the same enclosure as the Great Pyramid, are assigned?
The astrological answer is obvious. Cheops not only had full faith in astrology—as, indeed, all men had in his day—but his faith was so lively that he put it in practice in a very energetic way for the benefit of himself and dynasty. Chephren probably had similar faith. For the two brothers, separate Pyramids, nearly equal in size, were made, either at the command of Cheops alone, or with such sanction from Chephren as his (probable) separate authority required and justified. At the same time, and because his fortunes were obviously associated in the closest manner with those of his father and uncle, Cheops (or Cheops and Chephren) would have a Pyramid made for Mycerinus, but on a smaller scale. Probably, the astrology of those days assigned the proper proportion in which the horoscope-platform for a son should be less than that for a father. It is noteworthy, at any rate, that the linear dimensions of the Pyramid of Asychis are less than those of the Pyramid of Mycerinus, in just the same degree that these are less than the linear dimensions of the Pyramid of Cheops.
6. It is certain that if Mycerinus had built his own Pyramid, he would have erected one larger, not smaller, than his father’s, while Asychis would have made his Pyramid larger yet; whereas, as a mere matter of fact, the Pyramid of Asychis is utterly insignificant in size compared with the Pyramid of Cheops. The sides of the bases of the four Pyramids were roughly as follows:— The
Pyramid of Cheops, 760 feet; that of Chephren, 720 feet; that of Mycerinus, 330 feet; that of Mycerinus, 160 feet. The Pyramid of Cheops exceeds that of Asychis much more than 150 times in volume. It is not in accordance with what we know of human nature to suppose that Asychis would have been content with so insignificant a version of his grandfather’s Pyramid. Rather than that, he would have had no Pyramid at all, but invented some new sepulchral arrangement. Yet it adds enormously to the difficulties of the Pyramid problem to suppose that Cheops and Chephren arranged for the erection of all the Pyramids, or, at any rate, that the smaller Pyramids were raised to the horoscope-platform level during their lifetime.
Here, however, the astrological theory, instead of encountering, as all other theories do, a new and serious difficulty, finds fresh support; for this arrangement is precisely what we should expect to find if the Great Pyramid was erected to its observing platform for astrological observation and the religious Observances associated with them. It is certain that with the ideas Cheops must have had (on that theory) of the importance of astronomical observations to determine, and partly govern, his future, he would not have left his sons without their pyramidal horoscopes. Even if we suppose he entertained such jealousy of his brother Chephren, as Oriental (and some Occidental) princes have been known to entertain of their near kinsfolk and probable successors, that would be but an additional reason for having his brother’s horoscope-Pyramid erected on such a scale as the astrologers and priests considered suitable in the case of such near kinship. For by means of the observations made by the astrological priesthood from Chephren’s horoscope-platform, Cheops could learn, according to the astrological doctrines in which he believed, the future fortunes of his brother, and even be able to rule the planets in his own defence, where their configurations seemed favourable to Chephren and threatening to himself.
7. But it may be urged that, beyond the general statement that the Pyramids were intended as the tombs of their respective builders, we learn too little from ancient writers to form any satisfactory idea of their object.
It so happens, however, that the only precise statement handed down to us respecting the use of the Pyramids— not merely of the Great Pyramid, but of all the Pyramids— accords with the astrological theory in every detail, and with no other theory in any degree. For we learn from Proclus that the Pyramids of Egypt (which, according to Diodorus, had existed 3,600 years before his history was written, about 8 B.C.) terminated above in a platform, from which the priests made their celestial observations.
Observe how much is implied in this short statement:—
First, all the Pyramids had a use independent of their final purpose as tombs, a use, therefore, during the lifetime of their future tenants, and presumably—one may say certainly—relating to the interests of those persons.
Secondly, this use was precisely such as we have been led to infer with all but absolute certainty, already, from the study of the Great Pyramid.
Thirdly, the astronomical observations were made by priests, and were therefore religious in character—a description which could only apply to astronomical observations made for astrological purposes. In all probability, the priests who made these observations professed a religion differing little from pure Sabaism, or the worship of the heavenly host. But it must be remembered that astrology was the natural offspring of Sabaism. Wherever we find an astronomical priesthood, there we find faith in astrology. But to say truth, Where among ancient Oriental nations was such faith wanting? The Jews had less of it than other Oriental nations, but they were not free from it. As they had all their religious Observances regulated by the heavenly bodies, so they recognised the influence of the “stars in their courses." If they believed the heavenly bodies to be for “seasons” (of religious worship), and for “days and years,” they believed them also to be for "signs." This also was the view of the ancient Chaldeans. “It is evident,” says the late Mr. George Smith, “from the opening of the inscriptions on the first tablet of the Chaldean astrology and astronomy, that the functions of the stars were, according to the Babylonians, to act not only as regulators of the seasons and the year, but also to be used as signs, as in Genesis i. 14; for in those ages it was generally believed that the heavenly bodies gave, by their appearance and positions, signs of events which were coming on the earth.”
In fine, while there is no other theory of the Pyramids generally, and of the Great Pyramid in particular, which has either positive or negative evidence in its form, the astrological theory is supported by all the known positive evidence; and strong though such support is, it derives yet greater strength from the utter failure of all other admissible theories to sustain the weight against them. There are difficulties in the astrological theory, no doubt, but they are difficulties arising from our inability to understand how men ever had such fulness of faith in astrology as to devote enormous sums and many years of labour to the pursuit of astrological researches, even for their own interests. Yet we know in other ways that astrology really was accepted in those days with the fulness of faith thus implied. While, however, the only serious difficulty in the astrological theory thus disappears when closely examined, the difficulties in the way of all other theories are so great, that, to all intents and purposes, they are not so much difficulties as impossibilities.