A Vision of Early Egypt (3/4) / © 1991-2002 by Franz Gnaedinger, Zurich, fg(a)seshat.ch, fgn(a)bluemail.ch / www.seshat.ch


Egypt 1 / Egypt 2 / Egypt 3 / Egypt 4


Part 4: Horus cubits, gallery, sun barques / King’s Chamber and sarcophagus / Isis and Osiris / Life symbol Ankh




14) Horus cubits, gallery, sun barks


Hemon solved many demanding geometrical and architectural problems by combining the royal cubit measuring 52.36 cm with 7 Horus cubits that vary by around 33 centimeters and correspond to the length of a kestrel or windhover, model of the Horus falcon:


  royal cubit of the Great Pyramid = 52.36 centimeters (a value

  confirmed to me by Rainer Stadelmann in a letter from 1992)


  1 royal cubit = 7 palms (7.48 cm) = 28 fingers (1.87 cm)


  Horus cubit A  =   7/11 royal cubits  or  33.320 cm

  Horus cubit B  =  12/19 royal cubits  or  33.069 cm

  Horus cubit C  =  13/20 royal cubits  or  34.034 cm

  Horus cubit D  =  18/29 royal cubits  or  32.499 cm

  Horus cubit E  =  22/35 royal cubits  or  32.912 cm

  Horus cubit F  =  23/36 royal cubits  or  33.452 cm

  Horus cubit G  =  41/66 royal cubits  or  33.527 cm


  diameter of a circle   1 Horus cubit A

  circumference          2 royal cubits


  radius of a circle     1 Horus cubit A

  area                   1 Horus cubit A x 2 royal cubits


  diameter of a sphere   1 Horus cubit A

  surface                1 Horus cubit A x 2 royal cubits


  diameter of a sphere   1 HcA

  volume of 3 spheres    1 HcA x 1 HcA x 1 rc


  side of a square       9 royal cubits 

  diagonal              20 Horus cubits A 


  side of a square      20 Horus cubits A

  diagonal              18 royal cubits

  a length               5 royal cubits

  golden minor           3 Horus cubits


  a rectangle            1 Horus cubit B x 3 Horus cubits B

  diagonal               2 royal cubits


  a rectangle            1 royal cubit x 3 royal cubits

  diagonal               5 Horus cubits B


  radius of a circle     3 royal cubits

  circumference         29 Horus cubits C


  radius of a circle    10 Horus cubits D

  circumference         39 royal cubits


  diameter of a circle   1 royal cubit

  circumference          5 Horus cubits E


  side of a square       4 royal cubits

  diagonal               9 Horus cubits E


  side of a square       9 Horus cubits E

  diagonal               8 royal cubits


  a rectangle            2 royal cubits x 4 royal cubits

  diagonal               7 Horus cubits F


  a rectangle            7 Horus cubits F x 14 Horus cubits F

  diagonal              10 royal cubits


  a rectangle            5 royal cubits x 10 royal cubits

  diagonal              18 Horus cubits G


  a rectangle           18 Horus cubits G x 36 Horus cubits G

  diagonal              25 royal cubits


  base Great Pyramid   440 royal cubits

  height               280 royal cubits = 440 Horus cubits A


  base cult pyramid     40 royal cubits

  height                40 Horus cubits A


  base pyramid model     1 royal cubit    (human measure)

  height                 1 Horus cubit A  (divine measure)


The gallery leading to the King's Chamber combines a pair of numerical definitions 

The first one is based on the triple 39-80-89:


  length of ceiling   89 royal cubits

  rise                39 royal cubits

  run                 80 royal cubits


The second one is based on the pseudo-triple 539-1100-1225 and a fascinating triangle:


  length of ceiling   140 Horus cubits A

  rise                 39 1/5 royal cubits

  run                  80 royal cubits


  cosine  7 HcA / 4 rc  =  1 Horus cubit A / 4 palms


  oblique height   44 x 44

  rise             44 x 49

  run              44 x 100

  slope            49 x 100


Combined gallery:


  rise  39 1/10 royal cubits

  run   80      royal cubits


  ideal angle   26 degrees 2 minutes 49 seconds

  actual angle  26 degrees 2 minutes 30 seconds (Stadelmann)


Ideal first plan of the pyramid entrance, downleading gangway, upleading gangway, gallery A and King’s Chamber 


In the gallery had been placed three gilded sun barks, allowing the soul of the deified king to go on its heavenly journeys along the swaying kha channel (band of the ecliptic, Rolf Krauss) and the liquid fields (Milky Way) and to the circumpolar star that circled around Thuban, heavenly abode of Maat 




15) King's Chamber and sarcophagus


The Sacred Triangle 15-20-25 royal cubits (Jean-Philippe Lauer) and Horus cubit G define the King's Chamber:  


  width                      10 royal cubits

  diagonal short wall        15 royal cubits   3x5

  length                     20 royal cubits   4x5

  cubic diagonal             25 royal cubits   5x5

  height                     18 Horus cubits G

  diagonal floor / ceiling   36 Horus cubits G

  (an even better value      35 Horus cubits F)


Imagine a sphere holding the chamber:


  diameter of the sphere         25 royal cubits

  circumference                 125 Horus cubits E


The Horus cubits dimension the sarcophagus of rose granite:


  ideal outer length of the tub     7 Horus cubits G = 227.687 cm

  actual measurement according to Rainer Stadelmann    227.6   cm

                                    7 Horus cubits D = 227.495 cm


  ideal outer breadth of the tub    3 Horus cubits E =  98.736 cm

  actual measurement according ot Rainer Stadelmann     98.7   cm


  ideal outer height of the tub  22/7 Horus cubits F = 105.136 cm

  actual measurement according to Rainer Stadelmann    105.1   cm


  outer height of the missing lid 6/7 Horus cubits F =  28.673 cm


  height of the sarcophagus         4 Horus cubits F = 133.809 cm


  ideal inner length of the tub     6 Horus cubits B = 198.417 cm

  actual measurement according to Rainer Stadelmann    198.3   cm


  ideal width of the tub            2 Horus cubits C =  68.068 cm

  actual measurement according to Rainer Stadelmann     68.1   cm


  ideal inner height of the tub  21/8 Horus cubits A =  87.465 cm

  actual measurement according to Rainer Stadelmann     87.4   cm


  inner height of the lid         3/8 Horus cubits A =  12.495 cm


  inner height of the sarcophagus   3 Horus cubits A =  99.960 cm


Outer and inner measurements of the closed sarcophagus:


  3 Horus cubits E x 4 Horus cubits F x 7 Horus cubits G (D)

  2 Horus cubits C x 3 Horus cubits A x 6 Horus cubits B


The sarcophagus measured 3 by 4 by 7 Horus cubits, the cavity measured 2 by 3 by 6 Horus cubits, and the cubic diagonal of the cavity measured ideally 7 Horus cubits, according to the quadruple 2-3-6-7. 


The 7 Horus cubits constituted a holy measurement, combining the sacred number 7 with the divine measure of the Horus falcon.


The red color of the sarcophagus symbolized the evening sun sinking on the western horizon, and also the morning sun rising above the eastern horizon.


The King's Chamber and the sarcophagus were meant to evoke Re, Horus, Osiris, Re-Horakhty and Re-Osiris:


Re was the supreme sun god, alter ego of Amun and Ptah


Horus was another sun god, combined with Re in the falcon: Re-Horakhty, Re/Horus on the horizon akhet


The good king Osiris was known as Wenefer, his heavenly abode was Orion and the setting sun, while his heavenly eye was the moon, a gift of his son Horus the Younger


Horus the Elder was a brother of Osiris, a son of Nut and Geb, Horus the Younger was a son of Isis and Osiris


The mummy of the king in the sarcophagus was seen as Osiris, while the red of the sarcophagus was a reminder of the setting sun, evoking both Re and Osiris, combined in Re-Osiris. The Horus cubits present in the sarcophagus symbolized both Horus the Younger, who would protect his father Osiris and lend him his moon-eye for his journey through the night, and Re-Horakhty = Re/Horus on the horizon = the sun on the horizon = the setting sun on the western horizon and the rising sun on the eastern horizon. As the first name of the Great Pyramid says: Akhet Khufu = Khufu's Horizon --- the soul of the deified sun king as Re-Osiris, setting on the western horizon, and then rising gloriously on the eastern horizon ...




16) Isis and Osiris


The famous legend of Isis and Osiris combines a history of early Egypt with an amazingly far-sighted depiction the very special geographical and climatic conditions of the Nile valley:


  NUT  heaven      OSIRIS   Nile

  GEB  earth       ISIS     river oasis, delta

                   SETH     desert

                   NEPHTYS  oases, Faiyum


Osiris traveled throughout Egypt, where he was welcomed everywhere, and taught his people how to cultivate the land. According to Plutarch he was a symbol of the (rising) Nile: the Nile waters as used to cultivate the Nile valley were the base of the Egyptian civilization.


Osiris loved his wife Isis --- a symbol of the Nile, which irrigates the river oasis and the delta.


He also made love to Nephtys, mistaking her for Isis --- the Josef River or Bahr Yusuf branches away from the Nile and flows to the oasis Faiyum, representing, so to speak, an extra-marital escapade. Osiris had a son with Nephtys --- Anubis, whose town Kynopolis lay between the Nile and the Bahr Yusuf.


Seth, also called the Red One, the infertile husband of Nephtys, envied Osiris. He murdered him, put him in a chest of his exact measurements, and threw him into the river, where he was carried down the valley --- this being according to Plutarch a symbol of the sinking Nile disappearing into the narrow ravine of the Upper Egyptian river bed.


Osiris left Egypt at Tanis and reached Byblos; Isis found him there and brought him back --- some of the Nile waters also pass Tanis and reach Byblos, where the heavenly powers (personified by Isis, who was also a goddess of the heavens) raised them up in the form of mist, condensed the mist into clouds, and blew them over Nubia, where they let out their moisture as rain and filled the dry river beds, making the Nile swell again.


Seth was so angry at the return of Osiris that he dismembered his body and scattered the pieces over the land --- a symbol of the sandstorms which blow over the river, cut off its many branches and allow its water to stagnate in swamps.


Isis went searching for Osiris' body and found all of its 14 or 16 pieces, except for his penis, which had been swallowed by 3 fishes, among them the mormyrid Oxyrhynchus --- the town of Oxyrhynchus (el Bahnasa) lay (lies) at the Bahr Yusuf.


Isis joined the pieces and revived Osiris --- a symbol of those human works meant to revive the water system of the Nile, such as freeing river beds from sand, draining swamps, or connecting stagnating waters by means of channels.


Isis made a wooden phallus for Osiris --- a symbol of the shaduf (consider the form, function and purpose of this very simple yet ingenious device), and of the first Nilometer, a simple stick or stem in the water, hanged with wreathes of emmer, vegetables and fruit at the harvest-festival. This was the origin of the Djed pillar, another symbol of Osiris, which represented his spine, meaning eternity, but also his phallus and his potency: the wish that the Nile would return every summer, rise every year, irrigate the land for a million years to come; that Egypt would live forever.


The legend of Isis and Osiris also keeps alive the memory of the Primeval Goddess and the achievements of her priestesses:


Sahu-Osiris ascended to heaven and was seen in the magnificent constellation of Orion. However, he shared his heavenly abode with the Orion goddess Sahit


Osiris was a man, yet his phallus was made by a woman; while the popular Nile god Hapi living in a cave at Elephantine was a man with the breasts and the belly of a woman


Osiris and Hapi symbolized the River Nile; however, the annual rising of the Nile was initiated by several women: Satis, Sothis (alter ego of Satis), Isis (alter ego of Sothis), Anukis (goddess of the cataracts, and a friend of Nephtys) and Neith


At the front of the annual procession in honor of Osiris, a vessel, filled with water as a symbol of Isis, was carried. The hieroglyph of Nut, mother of Isis and Osiris, was also a vessel. Amun, Re and Ptah were the supreme gods of Egypt; however, in the theology of Hermopolis Magna, every god and every cosmological principle had a male and a female name


Hermopolis Magna was the residence of Thoth, god of writing; however, his wife Seshat, an alter ego of Nephtys according to a passage of the Pyramid Texts, was called the one who wrote first, and she appeared long before her husband.




17) Life symbol Ankh


The Primeval Goddess and her helpful, wise and charming daughters live on in Nut, Isis and Nephtys:


NUT, goddess of the heavens. Her hieroglyph: a vessel. Her alter egos: HATHOR, heavenly cow, SAHIT, Orion goddess. In the Book of Coming Forth in the Morning, Pharaoh (Wenefer, the good king, Osiris) pronounces an amazing line: Ich bin der grosse weibliche Orion  (Erik Hornung)  -  I am the Great female Orion


ISIS, goddess of the heavens, of the river oasis and the delta. Her hieroglyph: a (heavenly) throne. Her alter ego: SOTHIS, goddess of Sirius


NEPHTYS, goddess of the heavens, of the oases and the Faiyum, mistress of the heavenly palace. Her hieroglyph: the house of heaven (a rectangle) and a basket. Her friend: ANUKIS, goddess of the cataracts. Her alter ego: SESHAT, goddess of writing, calculating, measuring, building, astronomy and the calendar, the one who wrote first - appearing long before Thoth


Nut balances a vessel on her head: a reminder of the gourd of the Primeval Goddess. She takes the classical pose: displaying the upper part of her body from the front, looking and walking sideways. This was the Orion pose, for Orion, when seen as a woman or a man, also displays the upper part of her or his body from the front while she or he glides sideways over the sky - to the right when seen from the earth, to the left when seen from an imaginary position in the heavens. Nut holds a papyrus stalk and the life symbol Ankh. 
The flower symbolizes Aldebaran and Nephtys, while the Ankh represents A) Sirius, whose heliakal return announced the rise of the Nile; B) Isis, who released the annual flood of the River Nile together with Anukis, Satis, Sothis and Neith; and C) the gourd which fell from the head of the Primeval Goddess when she stumbled over the cliffs of Deir el-Bahari.


Nut and her daughters Isis and Nephtys were seen as a trinity, symbolizing a single woman and human life as follows:


NUT --- body, bearing, giving birth, organic life, unconscious life, its resources and healing powers


ISIS and NEPHTYS --- limbs, arms and hands, wings, legs and feet; doing, healing by means of various medicines and devices; conscious life, feeling and magic (Isis), reasoning and judging (Nephtys, her alter ego Seshat); heart (Isis), lungs (Nephtys)


When Isis and Nephtys appear as a couple, her mother is invisibly present between them, giving birth for example to Re-Osiris. 
(tomb of Nefertari, Valley of the Queens, Thebes)  According to Erik Hornung, the Egyptian temple was a symbol of the cosmos. The towers of a pylon were called Isis and Nephtys (and represented by the Isis falcon and the Nephtys falcon). Hence Nut was present in the high and rather narrow entrance between the towers, and passing through the door and entering the imaginary cosmos represented a symbolic birth. The two last days of the year were called Isis and Nephtys. If we see them as a pylon in time, Nut is again present, giving birth to the new year. A sail swelling in the wind was called Nut while the ropes were called Isis and Nephtys.


Now for the life symbol ANKH. This much-loved sign can be seen A) as a female figure, B) as a ribbon, or C) as an upside-down vessel releasing a jet of water: 


A) as a woman, the Ankh represents the Primeval Goddess: her body is stuck in the ground and symbolizes the fertile earth; her arms and breasts symbolize the surface of the earth where people live, work and find nourishment; her head, finally, symbolizes the sky --- NUT, but also Isis and Nephtys


B) as a ribbon, the Ankh is the Sacred Knot, a tie worn around  the head, neck or waist --- NEPHTYS, but also Nut and Isis


C) finally, the Ankh represents a vessel turned upside down, releasing a jet of water --- Isis, but also Nut and Nephtys. Water is a common life symbol, especially in a dry land such as Egypt. The word 'ankh' also means 'mirror', and the first mirror certainly was the quiet surface of a well or a pond. The water poured from two vessels over a blessed person was often represented by strings of Ankh signs, bestowing a double life on the blessed one: may he or she live on in many children, and in many reincarnations as well. 


Because the 3 women are one (Nut, Isis, Nephtys / Seshat), each woman can be represented by each sign (female figure, Sacred Knot, vessel releasing a jet of water).


The hieroglyph of the Primeval Water Nu(n) consists of three vessels and may testify to a female origin of the male god Nu(n).





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