An exclusive update to members of the Stargate Assembly
by LYNN PICKNETT and CLIVE PRINCE
Despite its laudable intentions,
'Alternative Egyptology' is, in fact, a minefield.
Not only are
there many competing theories claiming to solve the very real
mysteries of ancient Egypt - which, until recently, have been the
subject of a generally good-natured debate - but there are also
individuals and groups with vested interests, who seek to use those
mysteries in order to sell other ideas of a religious, esoteric or
even political nature.
Which of the theories you accept usually comes down to whether you
accept the author's particular interpretation of the data - the
monuments, artifacts and texts that survive from ancient Egypt.
However, when there is a disagreement about the data itself the
debate becomes much more clear-cut: a statement of fact is either
right or wrong.
Our research for The Stargate Conspiracy found
serious factual errors in the works of some of the key figures in
this field, in particular Robert Bauval, Graham Hancock,
Anthony West and Robert Temple.
These errors are so fundamental
that, if we are correct, they undermine many of these writers'
The best example is the supposed significance of the year 10500 BC,
which is promoted so strongly by Hancock and Bauval. The climatic
and astronomical evidence that they put forward is, as we
demonstrate, basically wrong.
Since The Stargate Conspiracy was published in July, none of the
authors have responded to our criticisms - although there's been a
lot of behind-the-scenes shenanigans, some threats of legal action,
and a successful attempt to put commercial pressure on our
publishers as 'punishment' for daring to publish the book.
Yet the authors we criticize have kept a remarkably low profile when
it comes to responding to our points. For example, Graham Hancock
was due to take part in a live debate with us on national radio
recently, but pulled out at the last minute. And it is not only our
criticisms they have blithely ignored, but also those by others
within the Alternative Egypt field itself. Why are they avoiding the
issue? After all, the easiest way to publicly undermine our
credibility, and that of their other critics, would be to prove us
As one-time avid fans of their books ourselves, we certainly feel
cheated at what appears to be such a lack of respect for their
readership - to whom, after all, they owe their reputations - as to
constitute outright contempt.
It's ironic that Bauval and Hancock have frequently taken the high
moral ground and accused academic Egyptologists of brushing aside
criticism and suppressing dissenting voices. We now appear to have a
new Egyptological orthodoxy with all the dogmatism and
high-handedness of the old. Yet it's not just the past that the New
Orthodoxy seeks to reinterpret. They see the past as containing
messages for our immediate future, giving prophecies of imminent
global transformation - as in Bauval and Hancock's Keeper of
Genesis, for example. In recent postings on the Daily Grail
promoting his forthcoming book Secret Chamber, Bauval continues to
build up Messianic expectations for the Millennium.
For example, in describing his visit to the chamber beneath the
'water shaft' at Giza, Bauval refers to the 'fabled Hall of
Records'. 'Fabled'? Does the idea of the Hall of Records really have
the long and venerable pedigree he implies?
The existence of a Hall of Records beneath Giza, connected with the
Sphinx and dating from 10500 BC, appeared for the first time in the
psychic readings of
Edgar Cayce in the 1920s. Cayce also predicted
that the Hall of Records would be rediscovered by 1998, and that
this would usher in a New Age, in which the 'Master of the World'
would return (taken by some to mean the Second Coming), a new race
would appear and - tellingly - the ideals and doctrines of
Freemasonry would dominate the world.
However, Cayce has one of the worst track records of any prophet:
virtually all of his predictions to date have failed dismally.
so, many people continue to believe in him and his prophecies,
particularly concerning the Hall of Records. Now that 1998 has
passed without its discovery, there appears to be a concerted effort
to link the it with the excavation of the water shaft chamber, which
did happen last year (although, in fact, the chamber itself has been
known about since the 1930s).
(The water shaft and chamber are discussed briefly in our book, but
a more detailed examination appears in Ian Lawton and Chris Ogilvie-Herald's
Giza - The Truth, published in the UK this week.)
Bauval has recently distanced himself from the Cayce circus, writing
Egyptnews (17 June):
'It is no secret that I do not
condone either the so-called reading of Cayce or the other
material that is promoted by the ARE, such as the Second Coming,
reincarnated entities from Atlantis and such like hare brained
This is fine as far as it goes, but by writing of a
Records, Bauval is perpetuating the common fallacy that you can
reject the prophet but keep the prophecy.
The fact is that the term 'Hall of Records' and the concept of an underground depository of
lost wisdom connected with the Sphinx originated with Cayce. It is
true that there are Egyptian, Arab and Masonic legends of hidden
artifacts or texts in Egypt, but they relate either to the Great
Pyramid or to places other than Giza.
None make the association with
the Sphinx or with an underground chamber, and none use the term
'Hall of Records', which was an invention of Cayce's. Bauval goes
further in his posting of 15 August, relating the Masonic symbolism
of the Millennium Night ceremony in which a gilded capstone is to be
placed on the top of the Great Pyramid, and the 'coincidence' of the
culmination of Sirius at the same time, to Messianic ideas
concerning the births of Horus and Jesus.
The meaning for American Freemasons of the capstone ceremony is
explored in The Stargate Conspiracy.
Briefly, it relates to the
symbolism of the design on the reverse of the Great Seal of the
United States, which appears on dollar bills. This shows an
incomplete pyramid with the famous (or notorious) 'eye in the
triangle' symbol floating above it. In the early 1930s - but not, as
far as we can trace, before - this symbol began to be associated
with predictions of the global domination of the USA and
The parallel with Cayce's prophecy relating to the Hall
of Records, made around the same time, is obvious. (Significantly,
Cayce was a Mason.) The first prominent Freemason to promote this
concept was Henry A. Wallace, the politician who had the design
incorporated onto dollar bills and who later became Vice President
under Roosevelt. Wallace was also one of the key figures in the
origins of what we call the 'Stargate Conspiracy' in the early
To be fair, some readers have taken us to task for describing this
image as Masonic, pointing out that it is not one of the traditional
symbols of Masonry. This is true. Although the 'eye in the triangle'
image is known from at least the 16th century, it does not appear as
an explicitly Masonic icon until this century. Why it was chosen for
the US Great Seal is unknown. However, the important point is that
Wallace and other Masons came to believe that it was Masonic, and to
interpret it in Masonic terms.
The placing of the gilded capstone on
the Great Pyramid at the
moment of midnight at the Millennium is - whether intentional or not
- a potent symbol for modern American Freemasons who accept Henry
Wallace's interpretation. It represents the 'completion' of the
pyramid and this, according to Wallace, symbolizes the dawn of an
era in which the United States and Freemasonry will be the dominant
forces in the world.
The fact that this coincides with the
culmination of Sirius - when it is directly south of Giza, and at
its highest point - is something that will not have escaped those
who seek to exploit the meaning of such apparently symbolic events.
On the subject of Sirius in Masonic lore, there is a difference of
opinion among Freemasons. Many authorities attribute the symbols
described by Bauval to Venus rather than Sirius - see, for example,
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas's recently-published
Machine. The fact that, seen from Giza, Sirius culminates a minute
after midnight on 31 December 1999 is not as unique an event as
In fact, it has culminated within a minute or two
either side of midnight at New Year in most years since the
beginning of the 20th century, and will continue to do until about
2100. And there have been about twenty occasions this century when,
rather than culminating at 12.01, Sirius has reached its highest
point at midnight exactly - a much more significant moment, if one
is looking for symbolism.
By linking these events with the birth of Jesus (although his
connecting Sirius and the Star of Bethlehem is, to say the least,
extremely debatable) and the onset of the Age of Horus, Bauval has
added a decidedly Messianic gloss. Is this - despite his skeptical
words about Cayce's prophecy - a hint of the Second Coming?
The aim of The Stargate Conspiracy is to show how such potent
symbolism is being deliberately manipulated by those with their own,
very disturbing, agendas, specifically in order to heighten
expectancy around the Millennium. The kind of Messianic message
being strongly hinted at by Robert Bauval plays straight into their
Return to Contents
by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince
It has been suggested that postings on this web site, giving an
overview of the content of The Stargate Conspiracy, imply that
certain authors hold racist and anti-Muslim views.
We do not believe
that the original postings had such a meaning and we never intended
that it should. We would, therefore, like to make a clear statement
of our conclusions on this matter.
What we call the Stargate Conspiracy is a concerted attempt to
construct a new system of belief using highly evocative ideas about mankinds ancient past, the influence of extraterrestrials on
human civilization, and predictions of global upheavals linked to
Those behind the conspiracy have pressed many ideas
into the service of the new belief system, including the theories of
Alternative Egyptology, the prophecies of
the belief in
the Face and Pyramids on Mars and the
phenomenon. This includes selected parts of the ideas of popular
authors on the mysteries of ancient Egypt, such as Robert Bauval,
Graham Hancock, John Anthony West and Robert Temple, which have been
used in ways that those authors would not support.
At the heart of the conspiracy is a network of people who believe
themselves to be in communication with powerful extraterrestrial
the Council of Nine, who claim to be
the gods of
ancient Egypt. Ultimately, all the above ideas have been made to
serve the belief in the reality of the Nine and therefore to support
their teachings about mankind and its place in the cosmic scheme -
teachings that are accepted by many thousands of people worldwide.
This includes anti-Muslim sentiments and racial ideas that many
people, not just ourselves, find extremely disturbing and dangerous.
We are NOT saying, or even implying, that those whose ideas and
theories are being used share these beliefs. We do not believe this
to be the case. This should be clear from reading The Stargate
Bizarre Events on the Internet
An exclusive update to members of the Stargate Assembly
by LYNN PICKNETT and CLIVE PRINCE
Many Assembly members have experienced problems accessing the web
site or sending emails.
This is part of a series of bizarre events
that have happened on the internet surrounding the publication and
promotion of The Stargate Conspiracy.
1. The cancellation of
Egyptnews' account with AOL, after a posting
by us about Stargate, has already been discussed. As this was,
according to AOL, the result of a complaint by another user, we put
this down to an individual with an axe to grind against us.
2. For obvious reasons, we were careful to keep the exact contents
of Stargate under wraps until publication was imminent.
The level of interest in what the book
might say can be gauged by the many thousands of hits on
Lodge Hotel web site in the weeks leading up to publication. This
figure is for all hits, a large percentage of which were for the
hotel pages, not just those relating to the Stargate Assembly.
However, after our first detailed postings on the Assembly, a very
strange thing happened. The hit rate dropped by around 80% - again,
for the site as a whole.
The site's service provider could only explain this by users being
blocked from accessing the site in some way. This is confirmed by
numerous complaints by users who were either unable to access the
site or whose emails were not delivered.
It is interesting that about 70% of hits around this period were
from the state of Virginia. The inhabitants of that state clearly
have no problems accessing the site.
Is it a coincidence that
Virginia is home to most of the US defense and intelligence
agencies, such as the CIA? (The Stargate Conspiracy is, of course,
about a major, long-term and ultimately terrifying plan involving
3. On 12 July the website was completely down, showing only a
under construction' message. Not only had no changes been made to
the site, but attempts to resolve the problem by the service
provider produced bizarre and illogical effects that their support
personnel had never encountered before.
Although the situation was
resolved within a couple of days, the service provider was unable to
explain it in terms of a technical fault. Significantly, one of the
support people stated that the problems experienced were 'impossible
without interference' to the site - i.e. the problems were caused by
some outside agency.
4. On the very same day, the website of Quest Research, a
professional research business that was involved in the Egyptological aspects of Stargate and which has a page devoted to
the book, went down. Again, the service provider (a different one
from Templar Lodge) was unable to give any reason for the failure.
Thus the only two sites on the World Wide Web containing information
on The Stargate Conspiracy were off line at the same time, and the
cause of both failures remains a mystery.
5. So far, three individuals who made major research contributions
to The Stargate Conspiracy, and who are known to be close associates
of ours, have had their email accounts temporarily suspended.
happened simultaneously with the two web site failures. One of these
was explained by the account incorrectly showing that it was in
arrears, although the service provider was unable to explain how
this happened. The other provider was unable to offer any
6. A significant component of the
Templar Lodge Hotel's email
facilities also went down at the same time, and has, at the time of
writing, not yet been restored.
The service provider (a different
one from the web site provider) have acknowledged that a there is a
technical problem, but have not yet identified the cause.
While all of the above problems (except the hotel email) have been
resolved, various sites and individuals were off-line at a critical
time, and resolution proved time-consuming and frustrating for those
involved. Such a catalogue of problems seems far beyond coincidence.
It is significant that the majority of them happened within the
space of a few days in the week leading up to the press launch of
The Stargate Conspiracy at the Templar Lodge Hotel, presumably with
the aim of discouraging interest in the event.
It seems that a
concerted effort is being made to make access to information about
the book on the Internet as difficult as possible. In particular,
the two web site failures can only be explained by outside
If you experience problems reaching the Stargate Assembly, please
don't give up. We welcome your views and support. If nothing else,
let's show Them that we will all fight to maintain freedom of
(Editor's note: All email facilities and web sites have now
been restored to their full operational capacities. However, service
providers generally remain unable to provide further explanations
behind each 'fault').
Return to Contents
The 'City of the Gods' Discovered at Giza
An exclusive update to members of the
by LYNN PICKNETT and CLIVE PRINCE
Since the final manuscript of The Stargate Conspiracy was completed, a new claim of a discovery of
wonders in Egypt has emerged. It is particularly interesting when
set against the conclusions of our book. What we call the Stargate
Conspiracy may at first seem like something from Chris
Carter's nightmares, but even more horrifying is the fact that
this is real.
Although several intelligence agencies are involved
the prime mover is the CIA, indoor the plot began just a few years
after it was formed. Briefly, the conspiracy involves manipulating
potent archetypal symbols and ideas in order to create what is
essentially a new global religion. The concepts they have stolen
include the very real mysteries of ancient Egypt, the so-called
Monuments of Mars and the belief in extraterrestrial contact in the
The ultimate message they are relentlessly pushing is that the gods
of ancient Egypt were, in reality, advanced extraterrestrial beings
- and that they are back. Already certain selected individuals
believe themselves to be in psychic communication with them, and are
preparing mankind for the reopening of direct contact.
One of the key pillars of the Stargate Conspiracy is the promotion
of the belief in the imminent discovery of hidden wonders beneath
the Giza Plateau - a discovery that will, in some way, pull all the
threads together and, essentially, prove the reality of the
space-gods. One of out greatest difficulties in researching The
Stargate Conspiracy was in evaluating the many stories of secret
searches for hidden chambers at Giza, either within the monuments
themselves or beneath the ground.
On the one hand, there is
undeniable evidence that such a search has been going on for nearly
30 years, and that, at least in the 1970s, agencies of the United
States government were heavily involved in it. More recently, the
search has been carried on by individuals and organizations with a
more esoteric agenda, such as John Anthony West and the Association
for Research and Enlightenment (ABE), the Edgar Cayce organization.
On the other hand, although there have been plentiful
discoveries - either by excavation or remote sensing (hard science,
not to be confused with remote viewing) - every one has turned out
to be either insubstantial (e.g. the claim that chambers beneath the
Sphinx were entered in the summer of 1998) or simply exaggerations
of less sensational finds (e.g. the chamber beneath the water
shaft that has received much attention recently).
Faced with such contradictory data, we could only conclude that
either a highly secret search is under way at Giza, but is being
hidden behind a smokescreen of disinformation, or (which seems to be
increasingly likely) that certain parties want us to think that
there is. In the latter case, the true purpose of the exercise is to
foster a belief not only in imminent revelations from Egypt, but
also that a privileged few already know there is something to he
A new book by Ian Lawton and Chris Ogilvie-Herald, Giza: The Truth,
which is due out in August, should go a long way to clarifying the
conflicting claims about hidden finds in Egypt.
It is against this background that the latest claim needs to be
placed. One of the major figures in our investigation is Dr. James
J. Hurtak, the Californian mystic and polymath who has played a key
role in all the major aspects of the emerging belief system.
involved in explorations at Giza in the 1970s, was one of the major
proponents of the Face and Pyramids of Mars (and their connection
with Egypt), and, since 1973, has claimed to be in psychic contact
with highly-evolved extraterrestrial intelligences, including
Council of Nine (who proclaim themselves the gods of ancient Egypt).
He is the author of
The Keys of Enoch, which is based on the
revelations given to him by his otherworldly source. Two years ago,
the rumor began to circulate that Hurtak had discovered, and
entered, a vast underground complex in
the Giza area.
This was protected by some kind of force
field, but Hurtak knew the correct acoustic key for disabling it. He
was then privileged to see virtually a subterranean city including,
among other marvels, the body of Osiris.
These stories were first
reported in lectures by the New Age leader Drunvalo Melchizedek.
This individual. has a considerable international following in New
Age circles, and is the head of a movement known as
the Flower of
Life. Melchizedek claims to be
a walk-in (one who has
agreed for their body to be possessed by a higher spirit entity) of
an angelic being.
Nelchizedek's teaching incorporates such concepts as
communication with the inhabitants of a planet orbiting Sirius B -
citing Robert Temple's
The Sirius Mystery as evidence - and
the fall of Atlantis around 11000 BC.
Drunvalo Melchizedeks relationship with Dr Hurtak is unclear.
Although Hurtak has disavowed any 'official' connection with him,
there is a suspicious resemblance between Melchizedeks teaching and
that of The Keys of Enoch.
Melchizedeks choice of alias is
also suggestive - the significance of the Old Testament character of
that name and the modern Order of Melchizedek is discussed in
Chapter 6 of The Stargate Conspiracy.
In his 1997 lectures, Melchizedek described the opening of the Giza
'underworld' but did not name the individual concerned. Shortly
afterwards, Dr Hurtak issued statements on the Internet denying
rumors that he was the anonymous person.
However, in 1998 and early 1999, in lectures in Australia and
Europe, Hurtak told essentially the same story, but this time
acknowledged himself as the one who had found the way into this
subterranean City of the Gods, as it is now called.
story was posted on the
Library of New On-Line Australia by
Paul White. (White is a documentary producer and director who has
championed recent claims of a link between ancient Egypt and
It is claimed that the complex was discovered by remote sensing in
1978, and that as a result a secret agreement was made (presumably
by the United States) with President Anwar Sadat to allow
exploration of the system. Dr Hurtak is described as one of the key scientists involved in this top-secret project.
In his lectures, Hurtak showed video footage of the halls and
chambers. He has promised that this footage will be released later
this year, in time for the Millennium. Those who have seen it claim
that it shows vast, colonnaded underground halls the size of
cathedrals, underground waterways and even a kilometer-wide lake,
all deep beneath the Giza Plateau. Hurtak also claimed that records
and other artifacts have been discovered in sealed chambers.
Obviously, we await public release of this material with
considerable interest. Until then, we can only make some preliminary
observations. The idea that there is a network of chambers and
tunnels beneath Giza is not new. It is, for example, explored in
Gods of Eden (1998).
Collins and others have
pointed out that such a subterranean system should exist, as Giza is
a limestone plateau, and caves and underground rivers are
characteristic of such features.
There are suggestions in ancient
Egyptian tests that the halls and pathways of the Duat are literal,
rather than symbolic, descriptions of what lies beneath Rostau,
ancient name for Giza. If the ancient Egyptians had accessed and
built in such a network this would, of course, be a major, exciting
But while it is possible that some kind of network of tunnels may
exist under Giza, we should treat Hurtak's other claims more
cautiously. For example, he states that it is 15,000 years old and
that it was built by the civilization of Atlantis, which he
describes as the fourth root race (thereby linking the discovery to
19th-century occult racial ideas that influenced, among others, the
Nazis). How does he know?
And does this discovery really, as
suggested, confirm the quasi-religious scheme outlined in
of Enoch (a book which, as readers of The Stargate Conspiracy will
be aware, in our opinion contains some very disturbing ideas) - Hurtak also links the discovery to imminent global changes and the
return of higher beings who guided mankind in the remote past.
states that we are currently at the end of a cycle that began 13,000
years (half a precessional cycle) ago, and that this will be a time
of great upheavals and catastrophes which will mark the passing of
the human race (or at least part of it) into a new evolutionary
This, of course, draws upon ideas popularized by Robert Dauval and
Graham Hancock in Keeper of Genesis (1996). Hurtak also
puts forward the evidence for a lost civilization gathered by
Fingerprints of the Gods in support of his assertions.
In the final chapter of The Stargate Conspiracy, we predict that
some kind of momentous event or revelation connected with Giza might
well be stage-managed to coincide with the Millennium, and that this
would have the effect of crystallizing the various elements of the
new belief system.
This may be promoted off the back of a genuine
discovery or could be entirely manufactured.
We await developments in this story with great interest. Anybody
with more information, comments or observation can send an email to
the Stargate Assembly.
GATEWAY TO THE GODS
A New Approach to the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt
Exclusive extract from a lecture by
LYNN PICKNETT and CLIVE PRINCE
at the Templar Lodge Hotel, Gullane, near Edinburgh, Scotland,
7 June 1999
Our research for The Stargate Conspiracy - although mainly leading
to the uncovering of the conspiracy of the title - also opened up
other, more positive and exciting, avenues that offer a solution to
some of the enduring mysteries of ancient Egypt.
Previously, we discussed the two most popular theories put forward
to explain the puzzle of the ancient Egyptians' inexplicably
advanced techniques - that the ancient Egyptians either learned
their skills from a lost civilization, or from visiting
We would now like to offer an alternative theory,
which, although not evoking Atlanteans or space-gods still has a
resolutely otherworldly quality.
The technical achievements of the
ancient Egyptians, as displayed most obviously in the building of
monuments such as
the Great Pyramid and
the Sphinx of Giza, and the
questions that they pose for conventional historians, are too well
known to need repeating here.
But it was not only in this area that
the Egyptians were so sophisticated. Even in the superficial field
of cosmetics, recent discoveries have shown that their practical
application of chemistry was far from primitive. In fact, they did
what Givenchy and Christian Dior have only just begun to do,
incorporating active sun-block into foundation creams. However, what
most intrigued was the extraordinary cosmological knowledge that can
be found within their religious texts.
The earliest religion known in ancient Egypt was that of Heliopolis.
Now buried under a suburb of Cairo, and marked by a single obelisk,
Heliopolis was the greatest religious centre of ancient Egypt, and
home to not only what we would call religion, bur also every other
kind of knowledge, from philosophy and medicine to cosmology. The
High Priest of Heliopolis also held the title that translates as
'Chief Astronomer'. Imhotep, the genius who designed and built the
first pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, was a priest
We don't know when Heliopolis was established, but we do know that
when records began in Egypt it was already the supreme religious
centre. The religion of Heliopolis was the religion of the pyramid
builders. In fact, the three Giza pyramids align with Heliopolis,
which is 12 miles (20 km) away. This is one alignment that is even
accepted by Egyptologists.
The religion of Heliopolis is
encapsulated in the famous
Pyramid Texts, which are hieroglyphic
inscriptions covering the walls of some fourth dynasty pyramids.
Although the earliest inscriptions date from some 200 years after the
building of the Great Pyramid, there is no doubt that the texts are
much older. From studying them, we can discover not only what the Heliopolitan priesthood believed in a religious sense, but also the
extent of their knowledge in other areas.
The central theme of the Pyramid Texts is the afterlife - or rather
the presumed afterlife - journey of the King, in which he is
identified with the god Osiris and ascends to the heavens where he
is transformed into a star. In this otherworldly realm he has many
adventures in which he encounters various gods and other entities,
and has to persuade them to accept him into their ranks. When this
happens he is reincarnated as his own successor, in the form of
Osiris's son Horus.
The most fundamental revelation of the Pyramid Texts is that
the Heliopolitan religion was essentially monotheistic. (Will admirers
of Akhenaten please take note!) Although there were many god-forms,
they were all understood to represent the many aspects of the One
God, Atum. In fact, all living things were considered as part of
Atum, including mankind.
In the Heliopolitan creation story, in the beginning the Universe
was a formless, watery void, called Nun. Out of this emerged a
phallic-shaped hill, the primeval mound, the centre of all creation.
On this hill, Atum masturbated himself to an explosive orgasm that
both gave birth to the Universe and seeded it with life. From this
act, the Universe expanded outward, becoming ever more complex and
unfolding through many levels of creation until the material world
that we inhabit came into being. Atum was hermaphroditic,
encompassing both male and female principles.
But immediately after
his creative act, two beings, the god Shu and the goddess Tefnut,
emerge. Another name for Tefnut is Ma'at, goddess of eternal justice
and balance. Shu is the male principle, the active force, and Tefnut
the female principle that limits, controls and directs the male. The
principle of duality - similar to the Taoist yin-yang - is
fundamental to the Heliopolitan system.
From the union of Shu and Tefnut are born Geb, the Earth god and
Nut, the sky goddess. They, in turn, give birth to the famous double
pair of brother-sister twins, Isis and Osiris, and Nephyts and Set.
They express the principle of duality in two ways - male-female and
light-dark. These are the nine gods of the Great Ennead, but they
remain only expressions of Atum, reaching through the levels of
creation from the void Nun to the world of matter in which we live.
To the Helipolitans, Osiris was also Geb, and Shu, and Atum.
Through the offspring of Isis and Osiris, the magical child Horus,
the system is repeated. Horus becomes head of the Lesser Ennead, the
nine gods of this world. Horus is to this plane of existence what
Atum is to the Universe. Horus is, in effect, the god of this world.
The Heliopolitan system is multi-layered and expresses several ideas
at once in an extremely elegant way.
For example, in an association
of imagery, the emergence of Atum's hill from Nun was equated with
the rising of the sun, and the daily 'birth' of the sun was
considered a microcosm of the original creation event. This is why
Atum is associated with the sun-god Ra, sometimes referred to as Ra-Atum.
This explains much of the fluidity, and apparent confusion, in the
way the ancient Egyptians seem to have mixed and matched their gods.
For example, the association of Atum and Horus explains why the
Sphinx of Giza was called variously, and simultaneously, the 'Living
Image of Atum', Horakhti ('Horus of the Horizon') and Ra-Horakhti.
It was built to face towards the rising sun, Ra, which equated with
the creation of the Universe by Atum, who was also identified with
Horus, head of the Lesser Ennead and god of this world.
But there is more to this complex and elegant system than simply a
series of metaphysical correspondences.
In the Heliopolitan creation myth the Universe bursts forth from a
point of singularity and expands, as it does so becoming ever more
complex as new levels of creation come into existence until the
material world that we inhabit appears. This is strikingly similar
to modern theories of the origins and evolution of the Universe -
the 'Big Bang' and 'Expanding Universe' theories. But the
Heliopolitan myths go a lot further than this.
Although Nun, the original void, is formless, it is also described
as water. It is within this that Atum's Hill appears - which is
equated with the sun. Interestingly, scientists have only recently
discovered that water is found in interstellar space in far greater
quantities than previously considered possible. It is now believed
that such clouds of water play a vital role in the creation of stars
- in other words, suns.
Modern scientists are, in effect, saying
that suns emerge from water - formless clouds of water. Is it
possible that the priests and priestesses of Heliopolis knew this as
There is another, equally provocative, parallel. Recently, a NASA
team researching the origins of life in the Universe made an
astonishing announcement. For decades, scientists have been trying
to create, in the laboratory, some of the complex molecules that are
necessary for life - and have always failed.
However, this NASA team
recreated the conditions found inside clouds of gas in interstellar
space - and found that these extremely complex molecules could not
only be created very easily but virtually formed themselves. It is,
therefore, easier for the molecules necessary for primitive life to
evolve in space than on a planet. They are probably then 'seeded'
onto planets by comets, where they can then begin to evolve into
more complex life-forms.
This even led the leader of the NASA team to state: 'I begin to
really believe that life is a cosmic imperative.'
In other words, life - or the potential for life - exists throughout
the Universe. Belgian writer and researcher Philip Coppens has
pointed out that all of this is implicit in the Heliopolitan
creation myth, in which Atum seeds the Universe with life.
It is extremely significant that the most sacred object of
Heliopolis was the ben-ben stone, which most Egyptologists believe
to have been of meteoric origin. The name 'ben-ben' derives from the
ancient Egyptian word meaning 'seed' or 'semen', brilliantly
encapsulating the concept of the seeding of life on Earth by objects
Faced with these realizations - as well as the well-known mysteries
of the ancient Egyptians' advanced technical skills - we naturally
came to consider the question of where they had acquired such
knowledge. Where, or from whom, had they learned such things?
But we also asked another question.
These mysteries concern things
that happened in the ancient past, and the obvious problem is that
we cannot study the past directly. We cannot go back in time and see
what happened for ourselves. Therefore we are left with the
interpretation of archaeological and textual evidence, which
inevitably leads to some degree of speculation.
The question we
asked was: is there any parallel for the acquisition of inexplicably
advanced knowledge that we can study directly - in other words, that
is happening in the world today, We believe that there is.
But first, it is worth considering how we tend to think people learn
new skills. We normally think that there are only two ways - whether
we're talking about an individual or a civilization. Either we work
it our for ourselves by experimentation or trial and error, or
somebody else (who has already worked it out) teaches us.
This is, in a nutshell, the problem of the anomalous sophistication
of ancient Egypt (and many other ancient civilizations). There is no
archaeological evidence of a process of gradual development of these
skills. So logically we have to invoke the second method, and assume
that they were taught these things, either by a lost civilization or
by ancient astronauts.
But what if there is a third way to acquire knowledge? On an
individual level, we know that there is: inspiration. But can this
work for an entire culture, and if so what would be the mechanism
behind it? Is there any evidence for such a thing?
There is. And it is something that is happening today. During our
research we came across the ground-breaking work of a Swiss
anthropologist named Jeremy Narby, who in 1995 wrote a book called,
The Cosmic Serpent - DNA and the Origins of Knowledge.
About fifteen years ago, Narby was studying the indigenous people of
the Peruvian Amazon, and became fascinated by their astounding
botanical knowledge, specifically their use of plants for medical
and other purposes. What intrigued him most was how these supposedly
primitive people had acquired this knowledge.
Since they have no science in the sense that we understand it, they
must have learned how to make their medicines by trial and error.
But there are some 80,000 species of plants growing in the Amazon
rain forest, so to discover an effective remedy using just two of
them would theoretically require the testing of every possible
combination - just under four billion.
But many of their medicines
involve not just two plants, but several. If they had found their
recipes by experimentation, it would have taken millions of years to
find just a few, and yet they have a vast range of medicines and
other useful substances.
Added to this, preparation of many of them
involve long and complex processes with many stages. The classic
example is curare.
This is a powerful poison whose
ingredients come from several different plants, and which, Narby
points out, fits a very precise set of requirements. The hunters
needed something that, when smeared on the tips of blow-pipe darts,
would not only kill an animal but also ensure that it does not
tighten its death-grip on a branch and die out of reach (as often
happens with animals killed by arrows).
And the meat would have to
be safe to eat. It seems like a very tall order - but curare fits
all these requirements perfectly. It is a muscle relaxant, which
kills by arresting the respiratory muscles. It is only effective
when injected directly into the bloodstream, hence its delivery by
blowpipe, and has no effect when taken by mouth.
The most common type of curare requires
a complicated method of preparation in which the extracts of several
plants are boiled together for three days, during which lethal fumes
are given off. And the final result needs a specific piece of
technology - the blow-pipe - to deliver it. How was all this
The problem becomes even more baffling, because no fewer than forty
different types of curare are used in the Amazon rain forest. All do
the same job but use slightly different ingredients, because the
same plants do not grow in every region. Therefore, in effect,
curare was invented forty times.
After puzzling about such questions for a long time, Narby realized
that the best way to find an answer was to ask the Amazonians
themselves. So how do they claim to have discovered curare - and all
the other plants-derived substances that they use? In fact, they
take no credit for them. They claim that all were given to them by
the spirits through their shamans.
Shamans have existed throughout the world, especially in tribal
They are what used to be called witch doctors, especially
talented and highly trained trance psychics, who use their gifts to
heal, locate the best hunting and find water in times of drought. In
short, they help to solve the problems of the tribe, and help it
survive. The shaman does this by going into trance, which can be
induced in a variety of ways, from whirling, drumming and dancing,
to taking psychoactive drugs derived from plants or mushrooms.
studied by Narby in Peru achieve their trance by ingesting a plant
mixture called ayahuasca, which mimics a substance found naturally
in the human brain and which, in large doses, is a powerful
When in trance, the shaman's spirit goes on a journey to another
realm, in which he faces horrible dangers. But once he has overcome
his adversaries he communicates with superior intelligences, who
often appear in the form of animals, who answer his questions.
As in fairy tales, the spirits only answer the questions they are
asked - they seldom, if ever, volunteer extra information. So, if
the shaman asks them how to cure a little village girl's meningitis,
they will give him that information - but they will not also tell
him how to cure her mother's cancer unless he specifically asks. And
that may involve another trip.
This is what the Amazonians told Jeremy Narby about how they know
the properties of plants and how to combine them.
But they also
claim that this is how they learned of specific techniques, such as
woodworking and weaving - in fact, all the arts and crafts necessary
for survival. We must stress that the Amazonians' knowledge of
pharmacology (plant-derived drugs and their potential and actual
uses) is not just surprising for what are considered primitive
peoples, but actually exceeds that of modern Western science.
modern medicines were taken from those used in the Amazon - curare,
for example, is used in heart surgery. Even the giant drug companies
do not have the ability to develop products to meet specific
requirements as quickly, easily - and naturally - as the Amazonian
This is, in fact, an exact analogy for the problem posed by the
ancient Egyptians' anomalous knowledge of, for example, highly
sophisticated construction techniques. Although they are two very
different fields of knowledge, the basic problem in accounting for
the knowledge is exactly the same.
Could it be that the ancient Egyptians acquired the knowledge of how
to build pyramids the shaman's way - by asking the great spirits
directly? It might be thought that it is just too big a step from
brewing up potions to designing and building one of the world's
largest and most enduring buildings, but Jeremy Narby pointed out to
us that in some ancient American civilizations both skills existed
side by side.
The Aztecs, Incas and Maya constructed comparable
temples to those of Egypt, and attributed their knowledge of how to
build them to their gods. But they also maintained that the gods had
also taught them other arts, such as the use of plants for healing,
So there is a direct analogue for the mysterious knowledge of, and
evidence of advanced technology in, ancient Egypt - in something
that is happening today.
So could the Heliopolitan religion have been based on a form of
shamanism? It is instructive to look at the experiences of
anthropologist Michael Harner among the Conibo Indians of the
Peruvian Amazon in the 1960s.
He took the shamans' hallucinogenic
drink and later wrote:
'For several hours after drinking
the brew I found myself, though awake, in a world literally
beyond my wildest dreams. I met bird-headed people, as well as
dragon-like creatures who explained that they were the gods of
Bird-headed people. Doesn't this remind us of the
ibis-headed god Thoth and the hawk-headed Horus? The Egyptians had many
animal-headed gods, including the fearsome lioness-headed Sekhmet
and the jackal-headed Anubis. Do they all live through the stargate
of shamanic vision? In the Pyramid Texts there are many passages
that are an exact parallel for the shamanic experience.
the Pyramid Texts we read how the King, who is identified with Osiris, must face terrifying ordeals, similar to the myth of the god
himself, in which he was cut into pieces by the evil god Set, later
to be reassembled and brought back to life by his sister-wife Isis.
This is virtually identical to the classic shamanic experience in
which the shaman is hacked to pieces and magically reassembled
before ascending into the spirit world.
Jeremy Narby made a study of shamanism all over the world, and found
many common themes in shamanic visions. A major example is that of
snakes or serpents being bringers of wisdom. This is found even in
cultures living in regions where there are no snakes.
Another common theme is that of the divine twins, also as bringers
of wisdom. Narby points out that the Aztec word 'coatl', as in the
name Quetzalcoatl, means both 'snake' and 'twin'. This reminds us of
the two sets of twins in the Heliopolitan pantheon - Isis and Osiris,
and Nephtys and Set.
Another central element common to shamanism all over the world is
that of a ladder joining Heaven and Earth, which the shaman ascends
to meet the spirits of wisdom.
As Narby says:
'They talk of a ladder, or a vine, a
rope, a spiral staircase, a twisted rope ladder, that connects
Heaven and Earth and which they use to gain access to the world
of spirits. They consider these spirits to have come from the
sky and to have created life on Earth.'
Significantly, the same imagery is found in
the Pyramid Texts.
example, speaking of Isis as the personification of the ladder, it
'As for any spirit or any god who
will help me when I ascend to the sky on the ladder of the god;
my bones are assembled for me, my limbs are gathered together
for me, and I leap up to the sky in the presence of the god of
the lord of the ladder.'
Ascension to the Milky Way is a central theme of the Pyramid Texts.
The fact that Isis is personified as the ladder is interesting
because it brings up the whole question of the role of women in
shamanism. We have been saying 'he' whenever we have talked about
shamans, because virtually all of them are men.
We were at a conference in London about four years ago at which
Jeremy Narby was speaking. During question time, one of the audience
asked why he hadn't mentioned female shamans. He replied that
place in this is very interesting. In the Amazonian shamanic rites
he had witnessed, the shaman takes ayahuasca, goes into trance, and
then goes off on his otherworldly flight.
But next to him is a woman,
and she accompanies him on his journey, experiencing exactly the
same visions that he experiences. It is her job to make him recall
them when he returns, because shamans often forget their
But she does this without touching ayahuasca.
the women do this without recourse to artificial means - the drug?
It appears that certain women find the shamanic experience comes to
them quite naturally. We don't know the details of this, because in
tribal societies the men's mysteries and the women's mysteries are
kept strictly apart.
Until recently, the vast majority of Western
anthropologists have been male, so if they were let in on any
secrets it was the male ones. As a result, the literature on female
shamanism is virtually non-existent. The fact that Isis plays this
role in the Pyramid Texts suggests that women played an important
part in Egyptian shamanism - and we know that there were female
priests at Heliopolis.
It is generally accepted as fact that the Pyramid Texts describe the
afterlife journey of the King, but there is much internal evidence
that this is simply not so - or rather that they do not exclusively
describe an afterlife journey at all.
We believe that they actually describe the classic out-of-the-body
flight of the shaman, who is, significantly, often regarded as
physically dead while in his trance, in which he visits the world of
the dead. The gods and monsters encountered in the Pyramid Texts are
strikingly similar to those described across the world by tribal
There are many ways for shamans to become entranced, which include
whirling, dancing, drumming and pushing the mind and body beyond the
limit through induced pain. All of these techniques produce some
form of altered state of consciousness, perhaps hallucinations,
certainly an apparent physical deadness and mental and spiritual
alertness. But it must be said that the most favored way of
inducing shamanic trance is through the use of psychoactive drugs.
Jeremy Narby spent a lot of time researching the shamans of the
Amazonian rain forest, in particular their use of ayahuasca. Narby
himself took ayahuasca and, although at first it made him violently
sick, he then entered into the sacred trance state, where he had a
particularly significant vision.
He encountered two giant serpents who talked with him. They told him
that he was 'only a human being', which humbled him. He later said
that they induced thoughts that he wasn't then capable of having
All of this made him examine his Western arrogance and
preconceptions about life and humanity's place in the scheme of
things, which led directly to him writing his ground-breaking book.
As we will see, the serpents are very important.
For now, suffice it
to say that Narby's own experience showed that the shamanic state
can provide otherwise inaccessible knowledge and an entirely
different way of looking at things.
We asked Narby whether he thought that his theory about the shamanic
acquisition of knowledge could apply to ancient Egypt. He replied
that he was reluctant to comment on this, as it was outside his area
of specialism, but he did suggest that if we could establish that
they used drugs for sacred purposes, this would make a strong
connection with the shamanic cultures.
To be honest we didn't know then whether such drugs were used in
ancient Egypt, but by an amazing piece of synchronicity virtually
the next day there was a Channel 4 program in the Sacred Weeds
series about the possible use of the blue water-lily as a
psychoactive drug in ancient Egypt.
In fact, it has long been recognized that the blue lily was
important to the Egyptians, because it was depicted in many wall
paintings and papyri. It even forms the design of the pillars of the
Temple of Karnak. Egyptologists believe that it was so popular
simply because it is very pretty. There are many pictures of
virtually naked young ladies in party settings with blue lilies
stuck - often a bit askew - into their headdresses or belts.
fact, the blue lily is so often associated with party scenes that
some researchers were led to wonder if they were, in fact, not
merely pretty, but recreational drugs.
The program set out to test the properties of the blue lily and,
yes, it does have a psychoactive effect, although Channel 4 erred on
the side of caution and only used a very mild dose on its
volunteers. However, we have every reason to believe that the
ancient Egyptians probably had no such scruples. At the end of the
program, one of the contributors, the historian Michael
Carmichael, said that in larger quantities the blue lily could be
used to induce shamanic trances.
It is, perhaps, significant that the blue lily was sacred to Atum,
the god of Heliopolis.
We contacted Michael Carmichael and discussed the whole subject. He
said that the ancient Egyptians are known to have used many drugs,
including opium, mandrake and cannabis. Carmichael had made a
specific study of all this, but had not heard of Jeremy Narby's
work, although he had come to virtually the same conclusions about
the acquisition of knowledge while in shamanic trance.
We ought to say at this point that we are not in any way encouraging
drug taking. It must be pointed out that shamans are highly trained
and experienced in their techniques. Don't think that we can just
take some drug or another and we'll all have extraordinary shamanic
visions. We won't. We'll get very ill, perhaps suffer psychological
problems, and maybe even die.
There are no shortcuts to
enlightenment. And there are other dangers apart from the physical
Not all the entities encountered in visions are benevolent.
Many are tricksters, bent on deceiving the untrained and unwary.
Shamans know how to recognize them and outwit them. Untrained people
can be misled, or even possessed. So, we know that it is possible
for people to acquire advanced, sophisticated knowledge direct from
Is this how the ancient Egyptians discovered, for
example, how to build the pyramids, or the secrets of the cosmos?
In fact, we may, paradoxically, be able to deduce that this is so
from the things that the ancient Egyptians didn't know. Remember,
the Amazonian shamans get specific answers to specific questions, no
less, but certainly no more than they ask for.
The Egyptians, for all their advanced building techniques, had no
concept of the arch. The arch is a particularly efficient way of
distributing weight, compared to straight lintels.
with an arch requires a conceptual leap and an understanding of
weight distribution. Perhaps this also accounts for the fact that
the ancient Egyptians did not build large bridges.
There is more evidence that they had no understanding of the
intricacies of weight distribution. Recently, French Egyptologist
Jean Kerisel argued that the cracks in the ceiling of the King's
Chamber in the Great Pyramid were not, as generally believed, caused
by an earthquake at some point in the monument's long history, but
actually happened while it was being built.
This was because the
builders did not appreciate the consequences of juxtaposing granite
and limestone, which compress at different rates. Despite all the
wonders of the construction of the Great Pyramid - the quarrying,
transportation, shaping and placing of such mammoth blocks of stone
- the builders made a simple technical error that would be avoided
by any modern student of architecture. Everything about the ancient
Egyptians is practice, not theory.
It is as if they were given specific answers to specific questions,
just as the Amazonian shamans are.
It might seem a big leap from building the pyramids to understanding
the properties of plants but we argue that the both skills came were
the result of the same process.
We do not know the limits of the
knowledge that can be acquired the shaman's way.
Could it, for
example, include techniques for quarrying and shifting huge blocks
Could it include information about distant stars and the
origins of the cosmos?
In our previous talk we looked at the
mysterious knowledge of the
West African Dogon tribe about the
Sirius star system, which Robert Temple believes results from actual
contact with beings from that system.
But could their knowledge have
been acquired using the shamanic technique, by asking the spirits
about the brightest star in the sky? There are clear shamanistic
aspects of the Dogon religion and mythology.
For example, the gods
of the Dogon are pairs of twins, which is a common theme of
shamanism the world over.
All tribal cultures use the skills of shamans, but does this mean
that it is a primitive practice, something that a society grows out
of as it becomes more sophisticated?
In the Amazon, it is true that
the shamans only give information that is necessary for day to day
But what would happen if shamanism continued to exist as a
culture became more organized and sophisticated?
What would be the
limits of the knowledge that its shamans could gather?
What if the Egyptians had built shamanism into their advanced
Could they have taken their quest for knowledge to new
Could the priesthood of Heliopolis have been, in effect, a
college of shamans?
The big question is, who or what bestows this
Are the entities, the spirits or gods real or some kind
of dramatization of the shamans' subconscious?
Does the shaman actually go somewhere on
his visionary flight, or is it 'all in the mind'?
The whole subject
of otherworld reality is a very complex one that has received little
scientific or academic attention, but which is now beginning to
attract serious study at last.
In the final analysis we just don't
know the answers, but at least some people are beginning to phrase
the questions. Jeremy Narby has made a hugely thought-provoking
suggestion. We have seen that he identified certain common elements
in shamanism worldwide.
There is the theme of the twin gods and
serpents as bringers of wisdom - often combined in the form of twin
serpents who impart great secrets.
Narby himself encountered two
giant snakes when he took ayahuasca. There is also the theme of the
twisting rope ladder or the twisted vine. Another theme is that of
the spirits that the shamans meet, who often claim that they are in
some way present in every living thing - that they are life
It occurred to Narby from that statement that those common images of
twin serpents and twisted ladders are descriptions of the DNA double
helix. In fact, if straightened out the strands of DNA would look
exactly like a rope ladder.
What Narby suggests is that the shaman is, in some way,
communicating with his own DNA, and this is where he is getting the
information from. This may sound bizarre, but it must be remembered
that we do not know the function of 97% of DNA, which science terms
'junk DNA', but which Narby suggests we call 'mystery DNA'. All the
diversity of life is accounted for by just 3% of DNA, so it seems
inconceivable that the other 97% has no function. But what could it
Narby goes further. He points out that it is known that DNA in one
cell actually exchanges signals with the DNA in other cells.
suggests that, once someone taps into their own DNA, it can then
communicate across organisms, across species - even across the
boundary between animal and plant - and that the totality of all the
DNA in the world forms a kind of matrix.
Perhaps this could explain
phenomena such as telepathy and ESP. The DNA in one cell transmits
and receives signals from DNA in other cells. This is done by
emitting photons - that is, they actually exchange signals in the
form of light, oddly at a wavelength that is visible to humans.
Perhaps this is where we get the concept of being
from, and it could be a literal description of the 'Light' of
It is early days for the DNA theory, but, in our view,
it has a lot going for it. What is certain is that shamans acquire
knowledge direct from some source without any process of trial and
error. It is knowledge that they didn't have before, useful
knowledge which we cannot explain - and which is often more advanced
This is something that is happening right now, and there
is no suggestion of visitors from lost continents or spaceships
We have called our book The Stargate Conspiracy, which some take to
reference to the movie and the TV series. In fact, it is very
reference to the ancient Egyptian word sba which means both 'star'
Unlike the concept of the movie, in which there is a
physical portal through which you can step up to meet the space
gods, we suggest that the real stargate is much, much closer to
home. It is probably even within each cell of our bodies.
seeking wisdom from gurus and those with secret agendas we are
actually moving away from enlightenment.
Perhaps we should just
recognize that not only the stargate, but also the gods are within
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- The Land of Kem