When the Rosetta stone was found during the Napoleonic era, Ancient Egypt was held in the highest regard. According to Jeremy Nadler in Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Egypt was seen as harbouring a tradition of deep wisdom that was the inspirational fount of Greek religion, mythology and philosophy - particularly Platonism and Hermeticism. In In 1799 this knowledge of Egypt depended on ancient commentators such as Plutarch, Diodorus, Iamblichis and Aristotle. According to Aristotle, Egypt was “the cradle of mathematics” and the priests of Egypt invented geometry, arithmetic and astronomy. Other ancient sources testified that prominent Greek thinkers like Thales, Pythagoras and Plato learned their philosophy and science from the Egyptians.
It was 20 years, however, before the transliteration of the Egyptian scripts was announced by Jean-François Champollion in Paris in 1822, and with that Egyptology was born with early Egyptologists like Champollion, de Rougé, and Brugsch holding a great reverence for Egypt as the source of a sublime metaphysics and theology, but this view was not to last. The opinions held of the ancient Egyptians by the Egyptological establishment were about to embark on a steady decline.
By the turn of the century earlier views of Egypt were displaced by a far more critical approach as Egyptology established itself as a professional academic discipline. Egyptologists like Maspero and Erman views differed markedly from those of the earlier “romantics” who respectively described the Ancients as “ semi barbarians, and ‘compliers of spells”. To many of the first generation of scholars, the sacred literature of ancient Egypt seemed so muddled, haphazard and obscure that any residual hopes of rediscovering some “forgotten wisdom” or “secret knowledge” came to seem a foolish endeavour. Thus it was concluded that the ancient Egyptian mind was “pre philosophical”, incapable of coherent or systematic thought and given to expressing itself in rather crude imagery.
This view of the ancient Egyptian mind to a large extent remained the dominant one among Egyptogists for much of the twentieth century. That Egyptians, far from being the guardians of a secret wisdom, were actually an ignorant lot who had not yet discovered philosophy or science. As Egyptologist B. L. Goff wrote in the late 1970’s, “In ancient Egypt, as also elsewhere in the ancient world, there was no knowledge of consistent laws governing the operation of everything around us”.
This assessment of the level of knowledge in ancient Egypt was shared by others as well. As Barry Kemp wrote in Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization (1989) these
cultures “have arisen and run successfully for long periods without much true knowledge of the world at all.”
This assumption had such a strong hold that even when the historian of science Otto Neugebauer and the Egyptologist J.-Ph.Lauer were forced by the evidence on the ground to admit that the Egyptians were using pi and phi in the construction of their temples, instead of concluding that the Egyptians had a theoretical knowledge of these mathematical relations, they put it down merely to “practical knacks” and “utilitarian empiricism.” In other words, they used pi and phi without being aware of the fact they were doing so.
In the second part of the twenties century, however, the view of the ancient Egyptian mind as “pre philosophical” and incapable of accessing worthwhile knowledge became less and less sustainable. In the view of James P. Allen, writing in the last 1980’s, “we should lament less the intellectual deficiency of the ancient Egyptians that of modern Western thought which has created a dichotomy between objective scientific knowledge and philosophy on the one hand and the subjective religion experience on the other.”
A growing rift thus emerged between “mainstream” Egyptology, and “outsiders” who usually did not have a formal qualification in Egyptology and so could easily be dismissed as cranks. Foremost among the latter was R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, who despite his detailed study of the theoretical principles and practical applications of ancient Egyptian mathematics in The Temple Of Man remained virtually ignored by the Egyptological establishment. In fact when The Temple in Man ( Le Temple de l’Homme) first appeared in French in 1957, the eminent Egyptologist Etienne Drioton counselled his colleagues to "build a common wall of silence" around it lest it find its way out into public view. With just a few notable exceptions, that injunction was obeyed within Egyptology itself.
Schwallers observations and esteem for the ancient Egyptians might have been lost to obscurity had not John Anthony West published Serpent in the Sky in 1979. As Peter Tompkins writes in the forward to this book, “In the current joust between materialist and metaphysician, with admirers of the former screaming for blood from the latter, John Anthony West has taken up the banner in support of the Alsatian philosopher R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz. It is the thesis of de Lubicz, lucidly developed by West, that the builders of ancient Egypt had far more sophisticated understanding of metaphysics and of the laws which govern man and this universe than most Egyptologists have been willing to admit. It is a striking thesis, but unpopular with orthodox scholars who have deliberately ignored it for twenty years, though they proffer no argument against it other than that it contravenes accepted dogma.”
Serpent in the Sky presented a now revolutionary, exhaustively documented reinterpretation of the civilisation of ancient Egypt. West showed that Egyptian science, medicine, mathematics and astronomy were all of an exponentially higher order of refinement and sophistication than modern scholars will acknowledge. Ultimately it was West’s book that inspired and comprised a significant portion of the Magical Egypt documentary series that would spread this knowledge about ancient Egypt even further into the modern world, and might have surprisingly lead to the discovery of a new Rosetta Stone.
In 1998 while animating a sequence for the Magical Egypt Series award winning animator Chance Gardner was stuck by the number of correspondences revealed by the overlay of the classic Egyptian Pylon over the human skull. A hidden language was discovered that spoke through an ingenious use of geometric correspondence. At that time Gardner was not certain what the ramifications of this finding would be, but an idea began to gestate in the back of his mind.
At around the same time Author Gary Osborn also noticed a number of correspondences between certain instances of ancient Egyptian art, and brain anatomy as a result of having undertaken a study of esoteric literature in order to come to terms with a mystical experience he had had. One example of Gary’s discovery quickly became an internet meme as we shall see below. What Gardner and Osborn did not realise at that time is that both, in their own way had stumbled across a method of interpreting encoded meaning in the art of the Egyptians, possibly as powerful as the Rosetta Stone had been at solving the riddle of hieroglyphics language.
As mentioned above, Gardner’s first discovery involves the classic Egyptian temple pylon facade overlaid upon the human skull and brain, and much like the actual Rosetta Stone it also took him almost 20 years to translate its meaning. Geometrically the pylon is two symmetrical, mirrored shapes, connected by bridging architecture. The pylon doubles as a remarkably detailed and instructive schematic that not only shows the structure of the human brain, but teaches important information about its "optimal configuration". The architectural connection between the hemispheres serves as the "door" into the “temple”. And at the exact place that corresponds to the esoteric "third eye", a special emphasis is placed. The winged disk.
The iconic winged disk is itself a schematic of sorts, describing an emergent property that occurs through a union of the polarities of consciousness. The inner top corners of the temple correspond exactly with the major brain fissures on either side of the motor cortex. The architecture perfectly frames other important brain systems; notice how the vertical door blocks perfectly frame the olfactory nerves.
Osborn’s important discovery involves an unsuspected schematic hidden in one of the most famous icons from ancient Egypt. The Eye of Horus also reveals itself to be another ingenious schematic of a very important nexus between biology and consciousness.
The corpus callosum, seen from the side, is perfectly schematized, with special emphasis placed on correspondences with the brain centres that make up the third eye. The pineal, thalamus and pituitary complex.
Research team member and career illustrator Brad Klausen discovered an example of correspondence that reveals yet another hidden schematic. One that has been in full view of all, but has resisted discovery for all these millennia.
This schematic is embedded in the morphology of the ram sphinxes that line the entrance to Karnak temple. The unusual placement of the pharaoh beneath the chin of the ram, coupled with the prominent lines of the rams nose, caused an inductive leap for Klausen, and in a flash of insight he made two discoveries for the price of one. One discovery was big. The other bigger.
The graceful lines and defining geometry of the Ram Sphinx statuary was an exact correspondence with the human brain stem, including the infundibulum and mammilliary bodies. The placement of the pharaoh was precisely in position to demonstrate an amazing number of articulations and points of correspondence between the statue and its biological counterpart. (fig. 4,6)
Another illuminating example found by Gardner is a statue found in the Cairo Museum of Horus and Set standing at either side of Ramses, indicating to his right and left hemispheres. The sculpture invites the viewer to make the connection; the traits of Horus correspond to the right hemisphere, or "polarity" of consciousness, those of Set, to the left. (fig. 8)
The more one understands about the biology and function of the individual hemispheres, the more the symbolism bears out. One can see the schematic contained in their dynamic relationship as eternally paired enemies, with seemingly inverse objectives. This powerful image also conveys the importance of occupying a powerful stance of control between the two inverse "forces" we all have in our heads.
This statue and its associated mythology create an impressively insightful schematic. One that not only imparts understanding of one component of consciousness, as embodied in an individual god, but also shows the role it plays in the overall operations of consciousness. In other words, first it shows you what it is (form), then it tells you what it does (function).
Seen in this sense, Horus and Set act as a remarkably accurate model to schematise one of the biggest structural and functional features in human consciousness: the division of a single brain into two distinctly separate hemispheres. This physical scission is mirrored in the operation of the brain, and effects our consciousness in such a fundamental way that it very much defines who we are. The two hemispheres are not only structurally different, but they operate very differently.
The left hemisphere is best suited to a micro-focus, operates in language, is literal and linear, list oriented, and is hierarchical. It deals with issues of past and present. It craves rules and operates best when a pre-determined sequence of responses is required. It often attempts to usurp the decision making role of the right brain and often lies to itself.
The right brain is literally the opposite. It is non-linear, uses webs of association, speaks in symbols and geometric relationships, rather than linear language. It is responsible for the recognition of beauty and meaningfulness, and appreciation of the "big picture". It is the centre that produces ideas or images from nothing, the creative spark. The right brain is a notorious disregarder of rules. It has no regard for time, and it's awareness is only of the eternal NOW.
While the left hemisphere is concerned with accumulating facts and sorting them in hierarchical order, the right brain is the domain of associations and context - of meaningfulness. This makes it the polarity of understanding. Of perceiving the underlaying meaning behind and between things. This ability to create geometric thought structures means literally the difference between opinion and fact. Between guessing and knowing. Between a random cloud of opinions and a rational, well constructed "thought form".
From the schematic presented by Horus and Set, we also learn the optimal configuration of this relationship. Horus, the rightful ruler, the ever vigilant guardian against the encroachment of evil, physicality, our animal nature. Avenger of the killing of his father Osiris. When Horus is triumphant, the emergent property is enabled.
Research is ongoing, and it is yet to be determined how detailed and how far the correspondences go but from this organised study of correspondences within the ancient art, Gardner, Osborn, and Klausen found ample evidence to demonstrate the existence of a previously unrecognised science in place in the ancient world, albeit one with a very different focus than ours today.
In 1979, harkening back to the classical opinion of Ancient Egypt West concluded that the whole of Egyptian civilisation was based upon a complete and precise understanding of universal laws, and this profound understanding manifested itself in a consistent, coherent and interrelated system that fused science, art and religion into a single organic unity. Now Gardner, Osborn, and Klausen corroborate and expand West’s research by demonstrating that the art, statuary and architecture, and in fact the entire cultural aesthetic of the ancient Egyptians was in service of transmitting a scientific message. One that employs an ingenious visual language of correspondence as a method of “schematizing” both the biological systems that result in the experience of consciousness, and perhaps even more astonishingly, the architecture of consciousness itself. Since at the current time, modern science cannot arrive at a consensus about what human consciousness even is, the discovery of this ancient message and this ancient corpus of consciousness-centric science may be something akin to the discovery of the long lost Owner’s Manual for the human mind.
The series of findings are documented in the Magical Egypt Series 2. As the series progresses, these initial discoveries lead to stranger and even more significant discoveries.