Author of the Month

The Great Pyramid;
Symbols and Hieroglyphs in the King's Chamber
By Richard E. Ford

About the author: Richard E. Ford is an independent scholar who has done extensive research on the Great Pyramid. He has recently published a book on his findings, Lord of Eternity; Divine Order and the Great Pyramid, which can be ordered from

I. The legends

The Great Pyramid is probably the most analyzed, studied, and measured structure in history. However, despite all of the attention and effort focused on it, it still retains much of its legendary air of mystery as to how, when, and why it was built. There are no contemporary records of its construction and very few historical records of it until thousands of years after the era when it was supposedly built. Aside from a number of quarry and construction markings, it is utterly bereft of artistic embellishments and writing, and with the exception of the pure mathematical meaning of its stark geometric shape and lines, it is entirely mute. We know little more now than when the Pyramid made its first appearance in the historical records, and what we do know is the subject of continuing debate and raging controversy.

Fanciful stories regarding the Pyramid's origin and purpose were supposedly spun by Medieval Arabs and Jews to fill the factual void. There were a number of these stories, but all spoke of the Pyramid as having been built by an antediluvian king who foresaw in a dream that the Earth would be destroyed in a cataclysmic event in the solar system. Upon awakening the following day, the king called all of his wise men to assess the meaning of his dream, and they took measurements of the heavens and told him afterwards that it was true: the Earth would be destroyed. Then, with the time remaining him before the event, the king ordered the construction of the Pyramid and placed within it all of the accumulated knowledge deemed worth preserving against the pending catastrophe, including: a terrestrial globe, celestial spheres, star charts, malleable glass and iron that wouldn't rust. These stories were documented by the early European visitors of the 17th and 18th centuries to Egypt, but they were considered to be little more than amusing tales and baseless legends. In fact, though, they are all too true, and while there is much to substantiate almost all of the particulars of these legends, the focus of this article will be on the celestial spheres and their significance. What they reveal is that the Pyramid is not mute after all, but speaks quite clearly, conveying the message of its builders to the ages. (Readers of Forum will note that I have spoken of these spheres in an earlier posting on this site, and if they are familiar with the logic inherent in the arrangement of the stone's in the King's Chamber that gives rise to them, they can skip over the following section.)

II. The celestial sphere and its measures

The builders of the Great Pyramid were very familiar with the movements of the heavens, as their ancestors had been watching them for countless long eons before the Pyramid was built. Their accumulated knowledge of the heavens was memorialized in its construction in a number of ways, including in its site selection and in its near perfect orientation to the cardinal points. Their ability to measure the movements of the Sun, the Moon, and the stars reached levels not equaled again until modern times. They were the legendary "watchers" or "heaven gazers" and were universally regarded with awe for their knowledge.

One of the most fundamental procedures followed in making celestial observations is measuring and recording a celestial body's location on the celestial sphere. This begins by measuring its altitude, or angular height above the horizon, and its azimuth, or angular measurement along the horizon from true north or south. To complete the observation, the time of the observation is also recorded. This procedure was in use for thousands of years by priests and mariners alike throughout history, and is still employed by mariners today to affix a ship's position at sea, although it is a practice that is rapidly giving way to the ease and reliability of GPS satellite navigation.

Altitude and azimuth
Celestial sphere or dome with measures of altitude and azimuth
Figure 1
(Note: the 9° increments for north and south altitude are not depicted due to space limitations; however, they have been taken into account in this and all subsequent renderings of the spheres and their figures.)

If someone wanted to encode a message, this procedure can readily be reversed to accomplish this goal. In other words, a series of points could be projected onto the heavens to encode a message and then the results could be reduced to the same altitude and azimuth measurements discussed earlier. For example, a square could be plotted on the heavens directly above an observer with four equidistant points located at right angles from one another. While the square could vary considerably in size, depending on the points selected, for our example we will use one defined by the following four points: (1) altitude 45° in a northerly direction and azimuth 45° east of north, (2) altitude 45° in a northerly direction and azimuth 45° west of north, (3) altitude 45° in a southerly direction and azimuth 45° east of south, and (4) altitude 45° in a southerly direction and azimuth 45° west of south. These four points could be described as celestial coordinates and grouped together as follows: (1) 45°N and 45°E, (2) 45°N and 45°W, (3) 45°S and 45°E, and (4) 45°S and 45°W. This is the code for the square in our example, and as long as the logic of the code is understood it can be deciphered at any time and location in the future to discern the intended message embedded in it. When the encoded points from our example are projected onto the heavens or plotted on a flat paper projection, they can then be connected together with one another to re-create the intended square. This is the code used for the celestial spheres of the Great Pyramid, and the messages inscribed on them can be re-created in the exact same manner as described. It is an exceedingly ancient code, though a timeless one, as it readily transcends time, language, and culture. Mathematics makes it so.

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