Only very few people will tell you, as you walk through the immense Karnak Temple in Luxor in southern Egypt, that you are actually walking in the matrix of the Creation … yet, as we shall see, you walk downright in the heart of the components of the Creation process, in elements that create and celebrate different levels of consciousness, activating the energy of unlimited potential, for what this Karnak temple has been designed for millennia.
How could you be aware of this, when a big obstacle awaits you, when you want to visit this gigantic temple of Karnak? Indeed, the biggest obstacle that the visitor encounters today, is that you have to do with a very large domain of more than two square kilometers: truly the largest religious complex of Antiquity. And in addition you are easily disoriented in this succession of different mixed spaces at the same time, you face a superposition of buildings, modifications, additions, rearrangements of different eras, over more than two millennia.
Indeed it can be said, that the oldest parts of the Karnak temple, still there in the North, are going back to the Old Kingdom (2700-2200 BC) , even though it has been looted throughout the centuries, with the enclosure of Montu (20,000 m²) including several temples for its cult. What is interesting, is that Montu is an ancient energy of the city of Hermonthis, energy representing the protection by weapons, he was a very feared warrior (his name meant: “ the Traveler“, he is represented with a head of falcon and two large feathers, the solar disc and the two royal cobras). And then there aresections of the Temple dating of the Middle Kingdom, the New Empire, and the Ptolemies.
But above all, let us remember that Montu, the fierce warrior, makes sense for the ancient Egyptians to magically protect the Karnak temple, because for them: war and combat are associated with the creation of the world and its transformation.
The other main sanctuaries of the temple of Karnak are: the great sanctuary of Amon: the first god of Creation (250,000 m²), the temple of Mout the mother goddess and its sacred lake: (150,000 m²), the temple of Khonsu (the traveler) with its solar disk and its lunar crescent, assimilated to Thot: the Master of Time, the temple of Apet/ Ipet/Opet dating from Ptolemy but on a much older monument of Tutmosis III, on a hillock representing the first land of creation, and with a chapel dedicated to the resurrection, then the small temple of Ptah the forger-creator. The sacred triad of Thebes / Luxor is indeed that of Amon-Mout-Khonsu: the invisible creator (Amon), the creative and protective mother(Mout) through the infinite time(Khonsu) of perpetual cycles.
So all the keywords,the essential thread walking through all these temples, chapels, enclosures and halls are: Transformations, Creation, Mother, Time, First Creation, Eternity … . The set of temples forming the Temple of Karnak is called: the seat of Apet / Ipet / Opet, the female of the hippopotamus which symbolizes the matrix of gestation and birth. Moreover the “Ip” root in: “Ipet” comes from the word: “multiplication”,” calculation”.
The temple of Karnak is: the temple of Ipet Swt where Amon resides and facing West, next to Ipet Resyet two kilometers away, which is in fact the proper temple of Luxor facing the North and where Amon was born. And so , the rebirth of Amon was celebrated every year in a very great festival-procession, that of Opet / Apet / Ipet which then linked the temple of Luxor to the temple of Karnak in a slow ceremonial progression in a scenarized and renewed rebirth.
But let us go back to the temple of Karnak itself: also called: Ta-Ipet-Isut: “the most estimable land“, it was at the origin a much more simple and clear representation of the three phases of the gestation, namely the 3 quarters of pregnancy: The first trimester: from ovulation to complete fetus. The second trimester: the awakening of the senses of the fetus and the movement. The third is the development of the lungs and the exit to the world. Let us not forget that the Egyptian temple always shelters the divine principle, the creative energy in its sacred space and that it is surrounded by large enclosures supposed to protect from any profane incursion. It is a place where regular ceremonies were done to mimic the work of the creation energies and the resurrection to restore harmony in the world, to constantly generate balance against the destructive forces. The temple is then like the belly of a mother who protects better than anyone else her child to be born and to re-birth and beyond: the whole process of creation. Moreover, the illustrious Schwaller of Lubicz was not mistaken, he wrote: “The name of Karnak therefore signifies, according to the function taught in this set of temples, the place of the three seats or principal phases of the gestation”.
For me, it also represents the 3 embryonic layers of the fetus: the epiblast, the mesoderm and the endoderm, the three layers which will form all the structures of the embryo and the body: the protection in fact of our humanity and by extension: of humanity.
Ipet / Opet / Apet, the hippopotamus goddess was also called Taweret (“Ta Wrt”: Tȝ-wrt: the great), even though it may have been two hippopotamus entities separated at one time, it became then: Thoueris in Greek (Θουέρις). It It is necessary to understand that the female hippopotamus by its roundness represents fertility but also as it it gives birth in the water, it evokes the immense ocean surrounding the first earth, the primordial island of all the Creation for the ancient Egyptians and therefore the Survival, the energy of Life and the ability to defend its children against everything. It is the greatest protection ever: the maternal, and Taweret is often represented with the great symbol of protection: the Sa and the Ankh of life. Its hind legs are those of the lioness (for its sure and determined gait and its ability to attack), its back is that of the crocodile (for its domination of the water element and its ferocity) its body is that of the hippopotamus and its breasts are of a woman. It is hybrid for better protection. Sometimes it carries a knife to scare off the evil spirits and the necklace of fertility. It is linked, of course, with the flooding of the Nile. In the sky, Taweret is represented by a constellation in which it holds prisoner the mount of Seth (represented by a bull), thus it enchains the forces of the evil.
Add to this that, one finds a meaning of the name Khonsu in the Apocryphal Old Testament (3Macc 6/38) which is interesting, because designating the 9th month (as in a childbirth).
There are many different versions for the etymology of the name Karnak, one that I retain in part is the word Khawarnak coming from Iraq to designate a fortress, a designation then used for hunting lodges by the Caliphs. But the one that satisfies me fully is rather that of Vedic Sanskrit that I was able to study at the university: KAARNAHK designating: the room of the heart!
And when one looks at the map of the temple of Karnak, one can only think of the image of the Yoni which in Sanskrit designates: the divine passage, the matrix, the sacred temple, the source of origin, the renaissance fountain … and think also of the image of the lingam when one sees the sacred obelisk … and then the hierogamy is accomplished, the forces are in order for the Creation to be perpetuate and Creativity also can endure in our world ….
I hope that if one day you progress inside this Karnak Temple , you will see it, in another way now, with all this information … I see too often tourists, a guide in hand mechanically seeking a hall , or a part built by Thutmosis or another, but totally losing the essential:
You are truly in a replica here below of the matrix of creation and if you become aware of it, your progression will then be very different and respectful and you will then perceive without doubt, incredible changes around you and in you …
© Text, Photos & collage ©AntoineGigal-2016
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Bibliography: Ernest Alfred Thomson Wallis Budge : Egyptian religion, London,1900 - Bell Publishing, New York, (posthume) 1959. Et : The gods of the egyptians, or, studies in egyptian mythology, Methuen & Co. ltd., Londres, 1904 - Dover Publications, (posthume) 1969. R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz: Les temples de Karnak, Dervy,Paris,1950-1982 Géraldine Harris : Gods & Pharaohs from Egyptian Mythology, Eurobook Limited, London, 1981. Emily Teeter : Religion and ritual in ancient Egypt, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, 2011.