THE ATLANTEAN SYMBOLISM OF THE
EGYPTIAN TEMPLE (PART II)
I have seen
the wicked man rising like a mighty cedar tree.
Yet, he passed
away, and could be found no more.
In the present section the second part
of our work on the symbolism of the Egyptian temple we study two fundamental
aspects of that symbolism which, to our knowledge, have never been pointed
The Egyptian temples are stylized replicas
of Atlantis, with its mountains, its pillars and its crypts represented
The Egyptian temples derive their architecture
and conception from that of the Hindu temples of India and Indonesia, particularly
those built in the so-called South Indian (or Dravidian) style.
We begin by discussing the features of the
Egyptian temples and their Atlantean symbolism, and then pass on to their
Hindu archetypes. Finally, we discuss the Atlantean (Indonesian) origin
of the Egyptians themselves and of the language they spoke, showing how
they kept abreast of the Hindu conceptions by means of periodic visits
to the Land of the Gods (Punt or Indonesia). Let us start by reviewing
the conception and symbolism of the temples everywhere.
The word "temple" derives from the Latin
templum, itself derived from a radix
tem- meaning "open court",
as in the Greek
temenos. We are used to temples built as closed
edifices, such as Christian cathedrals, Arab mosques and Jewish synagogues.
However, in the early temples everywhere, the place of worship consisted
of an open court, at whose center stood the inner sanctum (or holy of holies),
which was indeed closed.
The worshippers were admitted to the
or open court, but their entrance in the inner sanctum was forbidden. There,
an image of the god was kept and catered to by the priests who, alone of
all people, were admitted there. The Hindus call this inner sanctum by
the Sanskrit name of
garbhagriha meaning "womb abode" (or "inner
room"). In the inner sanctum the dead god "slept" quietly with his entourage,
awaiting the instant to resurrect and come out in triumph, announcing the
return of the Golden Age.
This resurrection of the dead god (Osiris
in Egypt, Shiva or Vishnu in India, Tammuz in Babylon, etc.) was periodically enacted by the
priests, who brought out the image of the god for the ritual. The image
was processioned in triumph (often by boat), usually meeting with its lover.
After a few days of festivities, the god (or goddess) was again returned
to the inner sanctum until it was time for a new resurgence.
The adytum (or inner sanctum) often took
the shape of the Holy Mountain under which the dead god and his court were
buried. In Zozer's complex, built by Imhotep, and possibly the very first
such structure to be built in Egypt, the
garbhagriha took the shape
of the famous stepped pyramid that survives even today to the delight of
tourists and specialists both. In Babylon, the temple court surrounded
ziggurat, itself a kind of stepped pyramid not too far distinct
from Zozer's stepped pyramid or, for that matter, from the similar structures
found in Indonesia and even in the Americas (Yucatan, etc.).
As a matter of fact, as we show elsewhere,
Zozer's complex is a verbatim copy of pyramidal complexes of Angkor and
Java. It is likely that Imhotep, a most mysterious figure, was fetched
from there, along with a gang of expert masons, in order to teach the Egyptians
the arts of stone-masonry and city-building, among others.1
The Symbolism of the Christian Temple
The symbolism of the Christian temple is
masterfully described by J. Hani (Le Symbolisme du Temple Chrétien,
Paris, 1978). Hani starts by asserting that "every sacred building is cosmic,
and is made in the image of the world". He quotes St. Peter Damien, who
affirms: "the church is the image of the universe".
The walls and the columns of the church
represent Heaven and Earth and, in a way, "a cathedral is a visual encyclopedia
illustrating Creation". In no way the temple, Christian or not, is a realistic
image of the Cosmos. It is, far more, a symbolic representation that portrays
the inner mathematical structure of the world. The square shape of the
Celestial Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12) one which many authorities assimilate
to the Great Pyramid is the basic essence of temple architecture. As Hani
The whole of sacred architecture
consists, in reality, in the operation of "squaring the circle", that is,
of transforming the circle into a square. The foundation of the building
starts by its orientation [along the Cardinal Directions], done in a ritual
manner... This process is traditional and universal, and is found everywhere
there is a sacred architecture. It has been described by Vitruvius and
was practiced in the Occident until the end of the Middle Ages.
Hani then goes on to describing the traditional
utilized in orienting the temple and lying its foundations. With the help
of a gnomon (sundial), the architect determines the two axes of the Cardinal
). This consists of a stake
driven into the soil, to mark the center of the edifice. The maxima and
minima of its shadow determine the axes of the Cardinal Directions. A circle
is traced using the stake as a center, and the two axes serve as its perpendicular
diameters. In a way, this operation is a "squaring of the circle", as it
combines the fundamental elements of sacred geometry: the Center, the Circle
and the Square or Cross.2
The Circle represents Heaven (the circular
horizon) and the Square represents Earth (the crossing Equator and Meridian
Zero). So, the Crossed Circle symbolizes the Cosmic Hierogamy, the union
of Heaven and Earth. This "squaring of the circle" is a central feature
of temples everywhere. In Christian cathedrals we have the square nave
at the center and the round dome or cupola above, representing Heaven.