Hegel's symbolic architecture
This is an investigation to examine the reasoning behind the content and form of the pyramids, and whether the pyramids are purely of a symbolic nature.
‘variously confused and sundered abstractions of life of nature, intermingled with thoughts of the actual life'.
‘… just simple crystals, shells enclosing a kernel, a departed spirit and serve to preserve its enduring body and form.
The above quotes summarise Hegel's view of symbolic architecture by the example of the pyramids due to the absence of function manifested in the external form, in the opinion of Hegel. They will also be the main quotes I will use in my argument.
In the quote above Hegel sums up the pyramid as being
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel a German philosopher of the 18th century revolutionarised the way the Europeans related to and understood art history. He invented a system or framework to account for nature and mind, history of art, religion and psychology. Hegel tried to develop a new form of thinking and logic to overcome limitations of both common sense and philosophy.
He wrote on various subjects one being the aesthetics of art i.e. the reality of beauty in nature, and being heavily influenced by Kant he devised a system of hierarchy to distinguish natural art to artistic art. His main concern was how art made an impact and this he divided art into 3 parts
1. Ideal or beauty proper
2. The various forms that beauty takes in history and
3. Art which beauty encounters.
First of all Hegel divides up the types of art according to a rule of hierarchy. The art of painting and poetry at appear at the top of his list. He considers them to be the purest form of art as they are unconcerned in their external form – they are dependent of their purpose. Architecture on the other hand and in comparism to the two above mentioned, is considered as a lesser form of art in the first instance due to its function. Hegel believes that the function of architecture remains external as it has no inner purpose of its own and usually the form manifested is never a true representation of the initial concept.
Hegel although complex in his thoughts, talks about the progression that art makes through history. His treatment of architecture is quite unique in his lectures on aesthetics from discussions of literature and painting. He distinguishes architecture from the other art based on the function and external representation that architecture becomes. His three stages of architecture are addressed on the historical progression it makes. The three stages organised around the function of the external are symbolic, classical and the romantic. Symbolic art he refers to as pre – art is the first type, separates its content, function from its external. Symbolic art in other words, searches for the purest way of expressing itself without being able to do so effectively. As a result its product is an abstract from of symbolic art confused, vague and crude. Classical architecture is he refers as the perfect form which is a combination of symbolic and romantic. It has perfect union and naturally beautiful in its manifestation of the reality of the spirit. Romantic architecture is one that can no longer contain its true expression as it has lost its true meaning through arts evolution by going beyond the dominance function.
Hegel defines art/architecture by its purpose or function: for example, Hegel believes that art in its purest and true form is not really to imitate life or mirror it but to show us what divine is which he describes as being found in the expression of the human spirit through an abstract piece of an ancient Greek sculpture. ‘Beauty as a work of the spirit requires …. practice; and the simple, as the simplicity of beauty, as ideal proportion' The intention here is not to be deeply immersed into either Hegel's classical or romantic concept of architecture, but to make a clear distinction of his concepts of the three.
Hegel's category of symbolic architecture is not well structured and is quite confusing. He discusses symbolic architecture in terms of the external function of the architectural work. As a result is unsure of how to divide up symbolic architecture himself, this is due to the lack of differentiation within the external content of the form.
‘Architecture ... is the art whose medium is purely external, so that here the essential differences depend on whether, treated as a means, subserves an end other than itself, or whether in this subservience it appears as the same time as independent.'
However bearing this in mind he is able to however, make a clear distinction of where Egyptian architecture by the example of the pyramids should be placed under his three stages mentioned earlier.
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville
Art and the Beautiful
Architecture has a function primarily, but is shaped by the purposive of nature that is around us. In other words, what is used in the construction of a building has no real significance to its purpose, as it is not part of any inner meaning to the whole project. Therefore in this same light Hegel classifies the pyramids under the stage of symbolism, due to its lack of coherence between the initial content and external form it expresses.
Hegel's examination of art is executed by their necessary and essential features individual to them. He assesses art by the following:
§ The progressive state through history
§ The development of relationships they have to one another
§ The development within each art of each stage
§ And his own concept of the ideal type of art.
Hegel agrees that art is progressive and states that it is a ‘development form the symbolic into the classical and then romantic' . Although the process of producing a work of art is progressive, to be considered as the ideal, imperfections, experiments, ‘confusions' should not be visible but ‘concealed or swept away' leaving the remains of free beauty alone as if the process was effortlessly achieved in a single attempt. Architecture produced by mans creative ability, contains an inner purpose, significant to its content, however seems to remain detached to the physical form - external. As classical architecture in Hegel's view, contains a perfect balance of the two (romantic and symbolic), meaning that the dominant is clear. The definition is clearer that with the perfect balance, classical art exhibits both the beginning and means to an end clearly.
Hegel does clarify that art can still bear the harsh strokes of a sculptor or painter however to achieve art of the highest standard of beauty and grace in nature then one should be selective in what he decides to be express. In other words the artist, sculptor or painter must be extremely sensitive not to impose the purpose in an abrupt manner through the external form. But to be careful of what is being expressed as not to have the ‘personality of the artist intrude through it.' Hegel's views that an artistic piece whether it be sculptural or a painting should captivate the audience being effective, active and have the ‘beating pulse' within its expressive form. This is what classical art does of which symbolic art continues to struggles with.
‘Beautiful and free art in uncensored in its external form'
However the intention here is not to be deeply immersed in the ideas behind classical but to just give a clear definition of Hegel's system of art. As Hegel's himself intends not to justify or make an account of all forms of art, as his main concern is to make a clear distinction of the various forms of art, its representation and underlying purpose. What seems to be his major concerns are the transitional stages from historical the ‘pre art' to art proper. In this case symbolic art in Hegel's view is art that deliberately takes the form of a shape making it unnatural and false in its representation. In other words it's the disposition of ideas or initial concept that is arbitrarily set up for the audience. For example this is represented by distorted limbs in a sculpture with the intent to falsify nature in an abrupt, dispositional manner. Hegel's view of architecture is somewhat confusing, and not well structured. As his treatment for the two other stages of architecture are quite similar to the way he treats art itself. Done in a similar way, he bases it on the universal, particular and individual. He first looks at the character of the stage, its individual definition and features then giving examples of works. However with symbolic art even though is first out of the three does not really know how to divide it up as he does not really talk about the universal, particular and the individual in this regard. Therefore his system seems a little flawed due to this very fact. However what he does to make up for this is, he refers to the lack of differentiation in the content and the external exhibited in its very nature. Concluding that symbolic art produces forms which are often inadequately represented, obtrusive and disproportioned.
Not Art but Symbolic Architecture
Although Hegel's discussion about architecture is quite complex, we now know the reason why he classifies architecture in the way he does. Architecture is dependent on the external function.
Hegel talks about the different types of historical art including Hindu, Greek and Egyptian art. What is interesting is that Hegel places Egyptian and Hindu art at the very bottom of his system of hierarchy – within the symbolic stage, though they happen to be the earliest forms of architectural structures. Whereas Greek architecture with borrowed ideas from the ancient Egyptians as told by Herodotus, Hegel warrants as the epitome of perfection. How then can a borrowed idea epitomise perfection, when the earliest form of architecture- the pyramids constructed by the ancient Egyptians be classified as:
‘… just simple crystals, shells enclosing a kernel, a departed spirit and serve to preserve its enduring body and form.
Egyptian art has a powerful concept to satisfy the needs of the dead, recreating the king's earthly palace in the form of a pyramid by linking the needs of the two i.e. the needs of both the physical and burial in the afterlife. Hegel implies that this type of architecture with its initial concept becomes separated from its original meaning. However, with this in mind Hegel concludes that the finished product is a far cry from what it could or should have been. Hegel feels that the pyramid architecture - is inadequate in its expression and lacks the concept of which it was originally trying to convey. In other words there is no clear similarities exhibited the two which are the idea and the external form that it accommodates. Symbolic art he feels is a mere relationship between the external and its inner meaning. Often enough its representation has no depth ‘…because in its form and shape it is only in an external way that it can express the holy, the absolute unifier of men.'
Many of Hegel's theory of the pyramids and symbolic structures are taken from the findings of Greek philosopher Herodotus, which will be analysed briefly in the latter parts of this paper. However, what is interesting is that Hegel agrees to architecture as being the first type of art coming into existence that is developed before sculpture, painting and music, however, is not considered to be at the top of his hierarchical system. Further claiming that the very origin of architecture - the beginning, is at its simplest mode' although quite intelligible. But where it becomes of major interest is the developmental process; bringing art into a more meaningful existence. Hegel explains that it is essential to understand how this type of art works. The objective of this type of art starts off with ‘giving shape to the initial concept or ‘essential nature of art itself' is and then as an afterthought to ‘build into it an inner meaning.' Unusually having no relation to its original concept ‘which remain external to it.' This is really the basis of Hegel's theory surrounding the pyramids, temples, monoliths and so on. What is imposed here is that even within the earliest beginnings of architecture, the idea to house/ preserve the dead has no reflection on the physical form, and what we actually see bears no real significance to the initial concept. The fact that architecture assumes a purpose - the inner spirit (to house the dead or to provide a place of worship) forces the external form to become secondary, unidentifiable to its initial cause. Lacking in connection of the two (concept and external), and as a result Hegel feels symbolic architecture becomes contradictory in its own right robbed of beauty and purity.
Because of this reason, architecture displaying divisions within itself causes its aim and fulfillment to become substantially incoherent …. ‘the independence of the buildings is sacrificed.' So we see here that the reason why this is referred to being symbolic is because the objective and the external form appear independently parallel to one another as this type of art becomes detached from its very meaning.
Hegel describes that art a language in its own right, should have the ability to realise its objective and present this well through its external form for the benefit of the audience/ spectator. Identifying that it is not only a physical thing in the present world but also ‘a product of imagination and its artistic activity' Hegel states that the main intentions of art is to make visible within itself and to others the original objective ‘universal' concept; timeless, without being specific to its location. Architecture he feels should allow the stimulation of thought through its character without just being a tool for meanings formed in other ways. He begins his treatment of architecture with specific examples of works that are neither works of art nor quite buildings. Hegel discusses the symbolic nature of ancient historical architecture by the examples of Egyptian architecture (pyramids, monoliths) and the Towers of Babylonia. He goes onto say that the meanings within the objective nature of symbolic art especially the pyramids are ‘ vague and general ideas, elemental, variously confused and sundered abstractions of life of nature, intermingled with thoughts of the actual life of spirit, without being ideally collected together as factors in a single consciousness'. Although Hegel finds this type of art magnificent just by their sheer magnitude of scale, he also feels this type of art is hugely primitive in the sense that passion, purpose or artistic skill went into the very nature of its existence. This is solely because symbolic art (architecture) as we have established, magnifies the absence of connection between the objectives, form of the artist's imagination. He makes it all too clear his disregard for this type of art, even to the extent of making it clear there is no reason to justify this type of art/ architecture by establishing a systematic approach as it has none. And that the sole reason for this type of architecture was for the people of a particular nation to erect a form, temple, obelisk as an act of unification. Resulting in one union of people, who express their religious beliefs symbolically, through a monumental form of architecture.
Hegel makes it clear that symbolic architecture makes an advancement of progression visible through its historical art. He describes that symbolism has two types of advancement (rule), one that takes on a coherent aim manifested through its form and the other that confuses the objectivity, content and form through its original intent. The sphinx is placed under the latter rule where architecture gradually becomes a sculpture. In this case, the symbolic content of its very meaning requires an identity of its own, by determining its individuality from one another. Art of this nature are often the adaptation of ‘organic animal shapes' and human forms that sit side by side with massive structures of ‘walls, gate and partitions.'
Hegel defines the different types of symbolic architecture which are progressive
1. Architectural works built for unification i.e. architecture that works together with the content and objective where religion is the active ingredient for bonding
By the example of the tower of Babylonia, the people worked in one accord to achieve one goal by the unification of its purpose.
‘... in its form and shape it is only in an external way that it can express the holy, the absolute unifier of men.' 
Hegel refers to the works of Herodotus who made an account of the Tower of Bel by explaining his findings. Hegel makes it very clear that this type of building is not to be called a temple but a temple precinct in other words an artificial mountain serving as a central meeting point of unity created out of a scattered tribe. He puts it very bluntly that this type of construction has no meaning except will through unity.
3. Architectural works weavering between architecture and sculpture
Architecture and sculpture is confused even if architecture is the definitive element according to Hegel.
These reflect art that has significant meanings within itself collected into a single form and although the function is fulfilled symbolically, architecture is identical to the structure resulting in the lack of rational articulated within the structure.
The reason why it is important to look into the progressive forms of architecture is to be able to establish a concrete understanding of Hegel's system in order to attack it. Although architecture in Hegel's view can never convey an organic unity, Hegel keeps Egyptian architecture from becoming classical by the emphasis of its dominating shapes that lack organic unity in its assemblage. And although Egyptian temples incorporate walls, rooms, columns, sculptures etc its mode of arrangement is considered uncontrolled and obtuse. Arrangement, togetherness, and the adjacent are all characteristics behind the thinking of symbolic architecture. As the overall arrangement lacks organizational form which should be reflected in the function is the same reason why Egyptian Architecture by the example of the pyramids finds itself in this category, as according to Hegel; i.e. … ‘variously confused and sundered abstractions of life of nature, intermingled with thoughts of the actual life.' Hegel also makes mention of the sphinx ‘enormous in number s but stupendous in size.'We can see that Hegel places the Egyptian pyramids under the system of no. 2 which is defined as a confused art, insignificant due to the lack of qualities mentioned above.
Herodotus discoveries: Understanding Egyptian tradition and Belief.
It is of great importance to briefly look into the accounts of Herodotus. This is because Hegel's philosophical art history should be read parallel to that of Herodotus discoveries of the ancient traditions and beliefs of the Egyptians. Herodotus begins his account of the Egyptians by discussing their traditions, beliefs of nature and religion giving us background information of how it all started. Through this he then talks about how these factors of religion and belief impacted architectural Egyptian forms that Hegel talks about. Herodotus in his account of Egyptian tradition makes mentions of priests, their role and influence and describes them to be almost governing s, authoritative and highly respected by the Egyptians. By Herodotus' account of ancient Egypt and traditions, Hegel picks up on the way the Egyptian related to each other and resources around them. Herodotus makes mention of the Nile as the exhaustible source of wealth, nourishing the land and providing fertile land. Although the main source of water, the Nile also provided a means of transportation, food, materials and was considered to be a sacred entity for its people. As a result, it was a major point of interest, a reference point to where buildings were chosen to be erected. Because of this very reason, Hegel depicts that the Egyptians were very restricted in their manner of constructing buildings due to the lack of materials and freedom ‘free activity' by the religious regulatory bodies. As a result Hegel compares the construction of buildings to how ‘bees build their cells' ‘piled up on high' . Concluding that Egyptian architecture is‘….… ‘variously confused and sundered abstractions of life of nature, intermingled with thoughts of the actual life.'
We first find out through Herodotus' studies that it was that of the Egyptians who founded astronomy and its significance by using it to structure the cycle of life being the four seasons of which the Greeks stole and copied. He also made mention that the Egyptians through their belief of sacrificing animals were the first to identify gods (animal, human s) by assigning these images and temples to gods.
In the description of the pyramids and how it was built, the preparation and use of writings that were inscribed in he interior of temples / pyramids. In addition, he talks about the underground chambers, trimming and finishing of stones, precisely cut and the importance of the site chosen for the project. He describes how great measure of thought and detail went into the design and construction of the pyramids. Mentioning that a cut was made around the pyramids creating an island where a sepulchral was constructed underground. From the precision of the fit of each stone and its finish astounds Herodotus. He goes on to describe how the Egyptians have certain beliefs connected to their spiritual well being. He describes Egyptians of having a well thought out nature about themselves, unique for example they have two types of writings ‘the sacred and the common' and that they are ‘highly religious than any other nation in the world' this suggests that the Egyptians were well articulated, well informed and took things on the spiritual front very seriously. Throughout Herodotus' writings about the Greeks he freely states that traditions, beliefs, art and sculpture derived from Egypt and that the Greeks have since borrowed traditions ‘… the Greeks have many stories with no basis of fact' and that the tales of gods also derived from Egypt.
In Herodotus' account the Egyptians seem to have marveled him by their articulation, and posed to be quite advanced in their thinking. He talks about how they practiced keeping records of life, mentioning that the Egyptians ‘taught the Greeks to use ceremonial meetings, processions and liturgies'. It was also the ‘Egyptians who were the first to assign each month and each day to a particular deity, and to foretell by the date of a man's birth his character, his fortunes and the day of his death – a discovery which the Greek poets have turned to account.' According to Herodotus, it was the Egyptians that believed in immortality – the afterlife and so the preservation of bodies and animals alike to encapsulate the spiritual being seen in the mummification of dead bodies. Egyptians saw nature as sacred, never to kill animals deliberately, but to be used as a sacrificial token that would bring peace and prosperity to the present which will continue through to the afterlife of man. With such belief, the Egyptians replicated this by constructing massive temples, with monuments of figurines that line the streets to serve as gods that will continue to bring them prosperity. In addition they believed hugely in the afterlife and immortality that man lives on in a spiritual being going through series of inhabiting the life of water, land, and animal. This he describes as a way of reliving through to eternity and then finally taking refuge in a human body as part of the transitional nature of the afterlife, a normal progression of life.
Herodotus gives a thorough account of the Egyptians intent, their beliefs and artistic qualities represented by the formation of temples, pyramids and gods. Giving us a historical background of Egyptian art and architecture, beginnings and how the Egyptians perceived art and nature giving a clear cut definition of thinking behind their works and ideas. These ideas have been borrowed and redeveloped by the Greeks, resulting in the form of Classical architecture which Hegel refers to as being the perfect union of content and form.
Again reiterating the fact that symbolic architecture (pyramids), forever searches for the purest means of expressing itself, however, does not find it. As a result the outcome is very crudely expressed through its abstract form and vague symbols. ‘…. Architecture… ensues the separation out…. of the spiritual as the inner meaning which is portrayed on its own account, while the corporeal shell is placed round it is architectural enclosure'. One can almost sense Hegel's ridicule with the idea of such enormous temples and mausoleums erected for the dead who possess no need for them.
‘The pyramid's true meaning is concentrated in the deceased person. Thus separated from its meaning, architecture becomes subservient to a purpose outside itself…'
Therefore in the case of the pyramids it now becomes devoid of inner meaning and its true purpose to furnish an empty enclosure.
The Great pyramid of Giza. Devoid of connection between content, form and the external?
It is found that Hegel categorises the pyramids under symbolic art; a category defined as having no real sense of articulation, highly confusing and very crude in its external form. In other words Egyptian architecture lacks organic unity with its external dominating shapes and huge columns. However, the pyramids themselves have been a mystery for centuries, and have marveled archaeologist, historians and architects by their construction, magnitude, true purpose, astronomical connections and religious significance.
‘….The means proposed achieve the results which can be observed' 
Compared to the Empire State building it is at least twice the volume and thirty times the mass. The pyramids still remain one of the greatest architectural achievements of the pre historic era ever known to man.
The pyramids have been for centuries one of the Seven Wonders of the World due to its massive structure, its precise alignments to cardinal points - achieved well before the compass was ever invented. It also exhibits fine craftsmanship of masonry stones weighing up to seventy tones, immaculately cut, placed and dressed.
So the question is can the pyramids be justified and can Hegel's views of symbolic art be de- warranted? Is symbolic art by the examples of the pyramid underdeveloped, indefinite and does it actually lack the connection between the concepts of purpose in its external form?
For this we must address the pyramids on all levels to establish its true purpose, relationship to the form and its architectural merit if any. From the account of Herodotus, we find that the Egyptians were obsessed with death and immortality, preparations for afterlife and the embalming of the dead. In this same light, this obsession was represented in the form of the pyramids magnified to the nth degree. In doing so, providing the king with the perfect place of burial, one that suffice all needs of the afterlife and beyond. A structure that would be the pinnacle of all structures serving the dead and embracing immortality.
Absolute careful planning to the greatest of detail took place in the project pyramid. This is evident in the analysis of its orientation, sitting in harmony with the earth's cosmic environment in celebration of pharaoh's immortality. The orientation is quite significant as it fixes a time for a significant event, which Herodotus made mention of. However, the selection of a site is of equal importance and certain considerations were needed to fulfill the objective of the pyramids. These considerations included the following:
§ The pyramid must be located west of the river Nile – the side of the setting sun
§ Must stand well above the level of the river but not too far from the west bank
§ The substratum rock must be free from any cracks or defects
§ Situated as close to pharaohs kingdom and as far away from the capital as possible
§ The proximity of the pyramids to the river is of equal importance as the stones used should easily transport from the quarries to the ships.
To make clear the argument, Hegel's hierarchal system needs to be addressed:
With further analysis of the pyramids, it may determine whether or not the pyramids are indeed symbolic truly lacking a connection between the original concept and the external form. By this analysis we will be able to see whether function, concept and the external do not agree, of what Hegel argues. After establishing this, it will then question Hegel's hierarchal system of architecture as a whole.
It should be noted that the intention is to
By giving a brief understanding of the orientation of the pyramids, will provide us with the beginning, a sort of ‘thread' of reasoning behind the design of the pyramids.
The pyramids is sited at the exact centre of the geometrical quadrant formed by the Nile delta – the ancient kingdom of ancient Egypt of lower Egypt discovered by the united states survey in 1868. The site also lies on the longest land contact meridian on the earth's surface and at the geographical centre of its whole land mass. There are clear mathematical links between the pyramids dimensions and the earth's basic geophysical data and orbital astronomy. Furthermore the pyramids square base has a side measuring 365.242 identical to the number of days in a tear, the same identical found in other parts of the design. Interestingly also the slightly indented shape of the core masonry of 365.256 and 365.259:
1. Account for the length in days of the sidereal year i.e. the time it takes for the earth to complete a cycle round the sun and
2. The anomalistic year is the time taken for the earth to return to its original point in its elliptical orbit.
Further measurements appear to give the precise s of the orbit, distance of earth from the sun and the period of the earth's full cycle. The pyramids extraordinary geometry is a collection of the worlds data in which we live in, elegantly and beautifully captured in a magnificent piece of architecture. In addition to the alignment, the view from the south looking north would have been considered as the principle perspective.
In other words, the pyramids orientation was a major factor to the surroundings. As a result sits in harmony with the cardinal points, accurately placed informing the width, height and internal spatial arrangements.
Two entrances – the original located on the north face connecting to a descending passage. The second entrance presumably forced, was created when the pyramids was broken into which is shown in a thick dark tunnel. The descending passage continues down into the bedrock below which leads to a horizontal shaft that is connected to a pit also referred to as the room of chaos.
The ascending passage connecting to the descending tunnel has three major plus blocking the upward journey. The horizontal passage to the queen's chamber is connected by the grand gallery, there is a long and winding narrow passage which appears to be constructed well after the pyramid was built.
There is a room at the top of the grand gallery called the antechamber which has 3 rock portucullus slabs that block the entrance to the king's chamber beyond. A small well shaft is located on top of the grand gallery to the king's chamber where five chambers lay, probably engineered to withstand the mounting pressure of stones above.
There are what seems to be two air shafts from both the kings and queens chamber that run along the face which exits the pyramids. Further analysis of each element will be addressed in the following chapters.
Purpose of the pyramids, architectural credibility?
It has already been established that the earth's geometry is inherent in the pyramids design. How this was achieved with primitive forms of tools and construction is beyond us. But then how can a structure with its highly complex mathematical composition, having clear and precise alignments with constellations of astrological significance be considered as ‘….vicariously confused' in the words of Hegel. It is clear that the designers were well advanced beyond their years, considering it to be primeval period, where only primitive thinking were used, it is astonishing to know the advancement in the thinkers who were behind the pyramids. Perhaps the true meaning of the
It is also important to note that there were specific rules for the designers to follow in the construction of the pyramids. The following demands were paramount to achieve the objective. These demands were as follows:
-The cult of the upper world.
-The cult of the netherworld.
-Some astral cults.
-The cult of the dead king.
The above mentioned are represented symbolically within the spatial arrangements which will be explained later.
The requirements mentioned above were also motives behind building superstructure and substructure
The above stated account for the physical and spatial arrangement of the pyramids, in this same light the concept involved:
·A building with aesthetic geometry.
·A stable height adhering to the angle of repose.
·Maintenance of ancestral traditions.
·A fulfilment of religious concepts
Architectural Spatial Arrangement
The design of the pyramid, the ascent and descent of its sloping passages of 26 degrees, 18” 9, 7” are the exact angle for having once been the precise elevation of the pole star. During the first millennium the pole star shined directly down the descending passage at its lower culmination. According to Rutherford's the up / down, left right theory movement or location can be used in determining the reason for a particular element – the passageways. If we look at the passage ways of the pyramid, leading from the chambers up and to the right which exists the pyramids it can be said that it signifies progress towards enlightenment whereas the down and left is the direct opposite – meaning all things that are negative including human degradation. So we can start to understand on the one level, the symbolic and architectural nature surrounding the pyramids. The passage ways found in the internal fabric of the pyramid has both a functional significance leading to the burial chambers providing the connection between the external and the internal in the physical sense, which can be the same transition of a life that once was making a transition into the eternal afterlife. This is validated by the axis of the entire passage system, which lay 286.1 P” (primitive inches) to the east (left) of the pyramids own axis representing those who have lost their way of enlightenment. It could be that the passage ways is a map/ gateway for the soul to be guided into the spirit world.
Already we can see the symbolic and architectural considerations in the pyramids. It has been discussed that the pyramids represent earths true co – ordinates captured in a magnificent form, we could also make speculation that may be the internal chambers represent the co – ordinates for the mythical underworld which is not visible to us.
Geometry – Sun, Moon and stars
The entrance of the tomb, sited in the nineteenth course of masonry is almost exactly 38 P“(2x19 P”) high. Giving the number 38 which A. Rutherford points (a pyramidologist) has biblical references with the notions of death and sickness. The pyramids interior geometry suggests that the number 19 represents the death which may also have links to the moons nineteen year eclipse cycle which signifies the periodic death of life giving sun. The Egyptians as we have discovered have an immense fascination with astronomy mystical world and magic. Also mentioned earlier we find that the pyramids have linked to the pole star during the third millennium BC. Having said this, the pole star was known to the ancient Egyptians as the dragon star- linked to death and the afterlife. It is believed that man like the fallen angels; fell from grace and that man are in the ancient Egyptians views immortal and live on eternally. This analysis can be reflected in the pyramids passage of descent, maybe the passageway represents of the fallout in the northern sky that happened even before mans civilisation.
1. The lines were in exact alignment with the star Alcyone of the Pledias in the constellation of Tauraus the bull, at noon of spring 21st march 2141 BC. This is quite significant as it tallies up with Herodotus discoveries of animals that are used to symbolise atonement for sin providing divine salvation a belief of the ancient Egyptians.
2. The pyramids designer to have the pyramid perfectly in alignment with the alcyone star which corresponds to the scored lines could have been used as a platform for star sightings.
3. During the third millennium B.C the axis of the descending passage aligned in total precision with the dragon's pole star, at its lowest culmination. As mentioned earlier the star was associated with forces of evil and death. This star looked directly down the descending passageways to the beginning of the subterranean passage.
Architectural Significance of the Queen's Chamber
According to the ancient Egyptian book of the Dead, the queen's chamber has been identified as the chamber of rebirth – the belief of reincarnation. The queen's chamber is accessed through a horizontal passageway from the lower end of the great gallery. There is a step before the passage slopes downwards approximately 5 meters away from the end of the passage and a further sixty centimeters to the floor level of the queens' chamber. There have been some speculation regarding the step; it has been argued that the pink granite floor blocks originally started at the edge of the step which joined up with the floor chamber. Other suggestions were that this feature was in fact a result in the changes made in the building plans. The chamber is made of finished limestone blocks with a gabled ceiling. It is located on the pyramids east west axis and sits on the twenty fifth course of masonry. There is a niche located in the east wall about four and a half meters up from the floor. The niche has a corbel ceiling, which a statue of the king may have stood. According to Lehner he argues that the queens chamber may have been sealed off, transforming it into a Serdab (a room for the king´s spiritual soul or Ka as found in many pyramids.
Diagram below: Vertical section of the queens chamber (from north to south looking east) showing the step in the horizontal passage, the niche in the east wall and the incomplete air channels
The queens chamber also been referred to as the chamber of the moon, with the moon being linked to the cycle of death and life. In this light, the queen's chamber can be represented as the ‘womb of the pyramid.' The number 5 in the queen's chamber occurs twice which suggest the presence of the initiate. The niche speaks of five lives, and the airshaft symbolises a cut away of life, which allows re- incarnation to take place. The airshaft emerge in the 38” thick 90th course of masonry which symbolises continuous subjection to immortality (2x19), as according to biblical text the number 38 is the number connected to crucifixion, where life is taken away but then given back and the son of man becomes immortal. However the designers of the great pyramid left the air shaft of the queen's chamber uncut with some of its stone undressed, floor rough and devoid of slab coverings which are usually found in other chambers. May be through speculation, that if the floor in its completed state would have been brought up to the top level of the 25th course of masonry, the level of characteristic of the initiate of 5X5.
Interior views showing the smooth finish of the passageway. www.guardian.net
In this analysis we find that the queen's chamber located on the east west axis of the pyramid has architectural relevance which is tied to the symbolic. Its location signifies re - birth of new life, and with the angle of passage way to and from the queens chamber suggests that the pyramids designers planned its layout in the most thought full and meaning full way. If we compare the queens chamber to the chambers that lie below ground level of other pyramids we will notice that the passages occur in a downward slope thus representing death, of which the great pyramids own subterranean chamber can be seen in the same regard. The two upper chambers of the great pyramid are equipped with ventilation shafts, but one might ask why the dead need ventilation shafts? This is connected to the ancient Egyptian belief of life and death, that death is in fact a new sense of life in another world. Therefore these ventilation shafts are channels of air is and constructed for the living in the spirit world. The pyramids must be understood in a unique way, on one hand it is an architectural physical object, with shafts, chambers, steps and ramps designed by the living however is also spiritual as it is occupied and inhabited by the dead. The air shafts symbolically representing the outgoing spirit, channels of escape and freedom as both shafts to the queen and Kings chamber both mark the full height of the pyramids summit platform.
The Grand gallery and messianic belief
Using the standard of the Pyramid inch and equating one inch for one year and half an inch for six months , scientists after scoring lines to the point where the entrance would have been with the original casing stones, they arrived at the date the pyramid was constructed. Using the same method the point where the passage intersected the ascending passage they arrive at a date of 1453 BC, the date of when the Israelites left Egypt. Continuing to measure up the ascending passage, right at the point where the passage opens into a giant hallway and splits again to a horizontal passage, the date April 3rd A.D. 33 comes up. The exact date our Lord Jesus hung on the cross. This was in fulfillment of the Law and from here the Church Age begins. The giant hallway comes to an end at the measured date of A.D. 1914.
And approximate positions of supporting beams in the grand gallery
Hence the grand gallery represents the dispensation of grace, of the dead king. The grand gallery connected to the queen's chamber passage roof is not geometrically correct at the point of intersection. Cut short deliberately by the constructors perhaps for constructional reasons to terminate in a vertical surface 38 P” high. Also providing a bridging slab to seal the entrance at the lower passage supported by five unevenly spaced cross beams. Basing theory on floor measurements, according to Petries measurements, distance EX measures 144 P” the grand gallery symbolises the path of the elect (12x12). If we cross reference at with the biblical text we find that the chosen to follow the King were a total number of 12. And the height of the main part of the cut off 38” (2x19) indicates that the final breakthrough from the gallery and into the lower passage can be seen as the' productive of death.' The upper passage was accessed only by the bridging slab, is quite symbolical because this is only possible if the bridge is secured in place, symbolising that only the chosen would have access to the gallery.
The king's chamber
Located at the top of the grand gallery, three pink granite monoliths form the door to the chamber. The king's chamber measures 10.45 by 5.20 meters and made entirely of pink granite. It also comprises of a number of hidden chambers stacked on top of one another, above the king's chamber. The roof composing of nine huge granite blocks supports over four hundred tonnes of masonry which has been in good condition for over four thousand years.
Theory has it that the chambers were constructed to protect the king's chamber from the enormous pressure received from the weight above. If that is the case then this very layout should also be visible in the queen's chamber, which is not. Why it is those five saddled shaped chambers are needed when one would have had the same effect, and cap the ‘granite house' with a gable roof, as multiple granite stones would have served better purpose. It could be that the answer lies within the symbolic programme of the pyramids, as each side of the relief chambers are constructed with limestone and granite, the ceilings cut from pink granite. It could be that the uses of material are of symbolic significance that limestone could represent the physical world and granite the spiritual. However this is pure speculation. It could be that the souls passing through from north to south still need to progress before ascending further into an unknown dimension, until they are no more – symbolised by the extraordinary irregular floors of all five chambers. East and west walls of the construction chambers are constructed of pure limestone, suggesting that these walls do not exist to the spirit world as the ‘discarnate entities are no longer subject to good and bad, or positive or negative, as they have finally left behind relativity'. Man has now returned to his spiritual being, the ‘pre fall state as a denizen of the world of primal absolutes'
Hegel, George. Hegel's Aesthetics, Lectures on fine art. Oxford university press 1975
Lemesurier, Peter. Decoding the Pyramid. Elements Books 1999
Edwards. I. E.S. The pyramids of Egypt. Penguin Group. 1947
Herodotus. The Histories. penguin, 1954.
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