A Journey Of Meditation And Discovery Through The Desert And Into The King’s Chamber
By Derek Nelson, HoneyColony Original
In April 2011, at age 21, I visited Cairo, Egypt, with my father. This was the year of the Arab spring, and the spirit of revolution was recognizably in the air. The pyramids of Giza loomed on the horizon of the bustling city like animals in a zoo, alive and breathing but caged and domesticated by capitalism. Yet, the lore and mystery of ancient Egyptian magic lingered in the alleys and in the minds of the locals who kept fading secrets.
Upon our arrival in Cairo, my father and I survived a death-defying cab ride through dirt streets crammed with donkey carts, banana vendors, machine-gun wielding soldiers, cemeteries, festering garbage piles, exhaust-spewing buses, veiled women with baskets of bread on their heads, fearless pedestrians, juveniles on mini-bikes weaving in and out of thick and chaotic traffic, and a constant buzz of overheating motors and customized horns. Meanwhile, muezzin chants bellowed from loudspeakers topping the minarets of giant citadels. All this brought us to our hotel, the Barceló, with its luxurious lobby, opulent fountain, and comfortable leather chairs.
The pyramids on the horizon stood as testament to the old machinery of the past, the modern city built right up to the edge of the plateau. Before I fell asleep staring at the antediluvian monuments through the curtains, I set my quartz crystals on the window sill to bask in the Sahara moonlight. I burnt incense offerings to Sekhmet, Osiris, Horus, and all other transformational gods of Lower Egypt.
Initiating The Mysteries Of Life
We laughed and joked through our entire cab ride down Pyramid Street the next morning, and as we drew closer, the pyramids grew larger until finally they filled the entire panorama of the windshield. Fiaest, our guide, dropped us at the front gate where we purchased our tickets and checked our bags before being turned loose inside the Great Pyramid.
Toothless Egyptian vendors beckoned us with tours, postcards, camel rides, and turbans. Their shtick was all the same: They would point to your mustache (if you had one), and tell you that you looked like an Egyptian, or they would ask you in their thick Middle Eastern accent, “Where from?”
I let one of them tie a turban on my head and paid him 20 pounds for a stack of postcards. My father and I then walked out into the desert to escape the heckling. I began climbing one of the smaller satellite pyramids that hugged the far southern side of the plateau. As I crested the top, I heard a whistle and a yell from below. Heading toward me was another Egyptian, dressed in black and wielding a machine gun! An obvious figure of authority. I scrambled down so fast I scraped my arms bloody on the jagged limestone. Once on the ground, I sped-walked to avoid having to talk to the gun guy. But he caught up with me and demanded to know why I was climbing his pyramids. Then he saw the blood and asked if I was OK. “I was making an offering to the gods,” I told him. He sent me on my way.
I soon found in the sand a sea shell in perfect Fibonacci formation, a relic from some lost time when the entire desert was an ocean. Next, I found a dog skull resting beneath the pyramid. It was missing a canine tooth and contained stinky brain remnants. I considered the mythology of Anubis, the half dog god of the afterlife, guardian of the soul as it passes through the fires of transcendent alchemy.
With shell and skull, I climbed to a spot high on a bluff in the desert to prepare a ritual. I set out my crystals, placed three fruit pieces in the sand as offerings, and prepared the incense and dog skull. Then, for a long while with my father at my side, I meditated and contemplated the mystery of life. A strong wind blew across the Sahara as the sun beat down ruthlessly on my Scandinavian winter skin. I began to feel the awakening of Osiris, the masculine lord of seed, and I tried to channel my vitality and remember my total unity with the greater synchronization of the cosmos. Aloud I called to the spirits for mass transformation. I expressed gratitude for all I had been blessed with in life and said positive words for my tribe back home.
Incense smoke rolled over the sand as a cloud eclipsed the sun. My offerings had been received. I packed my things, leaving behind one prized rock as a further offering to the ancient ones of old.
Back at the admission gate, I turned over another 100 pounds for a ticket to travel within the chambers of the Great Pyramid. I walked haphazardly up the steps on the north side of the pyramid via “Mamun’s Hole,” a gaping wound in the side of the pyramid blasted open in the ninth century A.D., supposedly by Caliph Mamun.
My perception heightened as if the air was charged with some form of magnetism. The entrance guards demanded my camera, which I reluctantly agreed to. I stooped down in order to traverse the dark stone passageway inside. The glow from rows of high-pressure sodium bulbs became my only guide.
Mamun’s Hole leads to the Grand Gallery, a ramp that ascends steeply up a towering hallway under domed ceilings and ends at an altar-like platform with another passage above it. Crouching and scooting your way through brings you into the magnificent King’s Chamber.
Inside the chamber, I noticed two small openings in the perfect stone masonry of the walls. A large, empty sarcophagus lay at the far side of the room. Contrary to in the claims of Western Egyptology, no evidence suggests that the sarcophagus ever held a body. The openings were supposedly aimed at the eastern star Sirius and the constellation Orion. In Egyptian mythology, Sirius was associated with the goddess Isis, and Orion was associated with Osiris. The initiate’s goal was to reunite Isis and Osiris, the masculine and feminine aspects of the psyche. Initiation rites replicated a shamanic death and resurrection through three three nights spent alone in the granite sarcophagus.
Inside this ancient chamber, I began voicing a low-toned frequency that filled the entire space and made the pyramid resonate with meditative energy. A family of Australian tourists — a husband, his chesty wife, and their two young sons — stood behind the empty sarcophagus and watched me, wild-eyed, as I chanted and basked in my 21st century Egyptian pharaonic glory. This profound moment lasted for about a minute until one of the workers came in proclaiming, “no noise!”
It turned out he wanted to offer me a quieter way of collecting the cosmic powers. He called me “original,” as he gazed shiny-eyed at my quartz crystal pendant. He then beckoned me to the east wall of the chamber and put his forehead to it, insisting I join him. Three times in and out we touched our foreheads to the wall.
As we exited, our guide told me to walk backward all the way down the ascending passage of the pyramid’s Grand Gallery. If this had some esoteric significance or if it was for this guy’s pure amusement, I am still not certain, but I did it. Soon I was back in the very center of the pyramid, at the Queen’s Chamber.
I followed suit as my guide touched his forehead on the wall of the entrance to the Queens Chamber three times. He then unlocked the gate to the descending passage and told me to sit down there for five minutes and meditate. I closed my eyes and thought about my entire life. I remembered past events with uncanny realness, surfacing nostalgia from deep within my inner chambers. As I sat and relived my story, I offered it to the pharaohs of old whose kindred spirits still linger in those catacombs.
Five minutes felt eternal, and in essence it was. I asked the spirits for a sign that I was on the correct path. Instantly, a rush of cold air blew through the airless shafts of the pyramid, strong enough to rustle my hair and give me chills. A mere 20 seconds later, the guide came in with my camera in his hand and a cigarette dangling from his lips. He snapped my photo. (Later when I looked at the image, I noticed a series of orbs floating around my brow.) After taking the picture, the guide smiled and called me friend, then rubbed his thumb and forefinger together.
To hold on to the positive vibes I had just acquired, I pulled out my wallet and handed him five pounds. A fair offering for the “priest,” I thought. His sour face suggested it was not enough, so I handed him another five. The cost of knowledge is high in Egypt.
I stepped out into the sun, feeling as if I had just returned from a long journey into the farthest regions of the multiverse. An incredible sense of connection filled me, paired with an intense sensation of supreme being and knowing. The experience lives on in memory but the sharp quality of its clearness only lasted for a short while. I can only imagine how differently energized one would feel after three nights alone inside that monstrous machine of consciousness.
My father and I made our way through the ruined temples down to the Sphinx, which is older than Bethlehem and Babylon combined. A cluster of tourists with safari hats and cameras congregated around the giant lion. Many were being nipped at by an aggressive camel. After some time we were reluctantly herded out by the closing staff. We managed to find a reliable cab back to the hotel amid the party of tourists doing the same. Inside our room, I assessed my sunburn and witnessed a glorious red and pink sunset, the pyramid I had just been inside, standing tall in the distance.
From my bed that night, I watched the nightly light show on the plateau. I pondered an age-old Arabian saying that goes something like this: “The world fears time, but time fears the pyramids.”