READER'S ROCK LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE VOL 2 ISSUE 4 NOVEMBER 2014 Volume 1 Issue 2 July - August 2013 - Page 7

Was the face of the Sphinx then retooled in his image? Regardless of the face that now adorns the Sphinx, the practice of recarving the image does not account for the steep slant of the forehead when compared to these Pharaohs’ other statues, an error that the ancient artisans would not have made on purpose. The real controversy in regards to the head of the Sphinx is that it could be much older than either of these Pharaohs whose image it may now bare. There is some evidence to suggest that two of the temples that sit below the Sphinx, known as the Valley Temple and what remains of the Old Sphinx Temple, were built long before the pyramids. One argument for this is that the stone footings placed along the base of these buildings are much larger and unlike other structures of the same size built at that time. The Sphinx Temple was also constructed to have a nice view of the Sphinx, another indication that it existed before the Temple. There is also another strange anomaly about them. The stone walls are not adorned or decorated with hieroglyphs like the walls inside other temples built in that same period. We can date part of the Sphinx. In the Fourth Dynasty, stones quarried from around the body of the Sphinx were used to build the pyramids that sit behind it. The head of the Sphinx, however, remains an enigma. It was most likely exposed long before the building of the pyramids on the Giza Plateau as the weathering of the stones does not match. True, it is of a harder deposit, but the head was exposed in the landscape not only in the tale of Thutmose but again when Napoleon and his group of scientists and artisans came upon it in 1800. It is only the body that was covered for centuries and most likely the head was always above the ever-shifting sands. It is easy to see that like many of the rock formations that dot the landscape in the desert, that also take the form of an animal, that the head of the lioness was already a prominent outcropping and was highly revered long before Amenhotep chose the area for the building of the pyramids. In fact, it may very well be because of the sacred spot it occupied that the famous architect chose the spot. So how old could it be? There is an account in the ancient stories that tells us that all of the Pharoahs of Egypt were crowned in a ceremony held at this site. The Sphinx is known as the goddess that selected the new Pharaoh. In a procession that started in Memphis they approached the Sphinx from the Nile and on to Luxor in a coronation that transformed the Pharaoh from a man into a living god by his receiving the royal ka, or soul. What was it about this area that made it so auspicious that every Pharaoh was both taken there at the beginning of his reign and at his death? The Opening of the Mouth ceremony also took place at the Valley Temple, preparing the Pharaoh after death for his journey through Amduat. This has also lead to speculation that the original face was that of Anubis, the god of embalming. So important was the site that Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and Cleopatra made sure to stand before its giant paws to claim their right to rule. The other physical detail about the Great Sphinx that should not be overlooked is the folded headdress, or nemes, which adorns the megalith. It is the head covering worn by Shu, the god of the sky, atmosphere, light, and wind. He, too, is depicted as a lion along with his mate Tefnut, the goddess of moisture. The gold and dark blue stripes that decorate this particular headdress are associated with the day and night and were worn only by the Pharaoh as a symbol of power. Scientists have even found that the striped nemes which adorns the Sphinx was once painted gold and blue. Looking further into the mythology surrounding this goddess gives us even more clues as to who she really was. One of the ancient stories tells of Ra calling upon Sekhmet to reap his vengeance on man for attempting to overthrow him. The lioness turned the fields to blood in her efforts, and it wasn’t until Ra took pity on man that he tried to pacify her blood lust with mead dyed by red ochre. Hathor, her human counterpart, also wears a red disk on her head between the horns of fertility. A little known fact about ancient Egypt is that each area had its own version of the creation myth and a different set of gods that they revered. Powerful city states like Memphis and Thebes produced many of the Pharaohs that ruled Egypt, and it was the gods of these cities that were worshiped as the chief gods of ancient Egypt. These prominent gods eventually merged forming unions such as Amun-Ra.