Standing above the necropolis, the great Pyramid rises out of the horizon like a fang shredding flesh from the earth itself. What was once a gilded tomb, covered in gold and meant to stand as an honor to the ego of the Pharaoh, now has fallen to pieces, barely an echo of its former glory. The remnant of a dynasty that has long since passed away. Even today, the Pyramid of Giza is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I’ve spoken about the Wonders before, and likely will again.
There is much that we don’t know about the history of Egypt, specifically, some of the pharaohs. What evidence and knowledge we do have is slowly being uncovered day after day by the researchers and the historians who have devoted their lives to learning.
All of those things stand well and good, but I want to talk a bit about the symbolism of pyramids and one Pharaoh in particular, in relation to how we all can be today.
The pyramids, beautiful and impressive as they are, still are a symbol to some. In the hand of those who find their knowledge and identity in speculation, they belong to aliens or the illuminati, or, for some, Jay-Z. All of those aside, the pyramids are simply put, massive tombs. Legions of dead rest in some of them, buried with their Pharaoh, if my research was done correctly, they could have been buried alive beside their kings. A final attempt to reach the afterlife with their leader. The tombs are symbolic of their ascendance into the afterlife, perhaps becoming gods or supreme beings of one kind or another. The pyramids standing as a blister that shows the imagined importance of the meek human lying within, rotting slowly with each turn of season. The Ancient Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife, consider the structure of their mythology, the gods and how they interact with the living, the symbolism of their god of death, Anubis. Which out of the number of gods the Egyptians worshipped, seems to be one of the most popular in our lives today.
Humanity as a whole is obsessed with death.
Even in the time of Pharaohs, gods and goddesses, we have been fascinated with the possibility of death and what it is like. Why it occurs. When it happens. All of the aspects of death are impossible to obtain and then share to our information hungry society. So, many of us seek out answers through life that will satisfy our craving for the knowledge of death. We seek information and knowledge to dissolve the fear that every living, breathing being holds dearest to their hearts.
I tend not to believe those who say they are unafraid of death. I am not afraid of the afterlife, I am secure in my faith and belief. I believe I know what will come of me after I pass, but death itself, the act of passing to another realm, that terrifies me. Just like everyone else I seek out answers to satisfy and hide my fear deep within my heart.
I use these tactics by telling stories, by writing poetry, by creating music. On some deep level that I struggle with admitting, I do these things because I know that they will live longer than I will and I want what I’ve said to pass the test of time. In my own way, this blog is just one of many pyramids I am building. This blog, my novels, my relationships, my future, all of them are just tombs.
This idea, brings me to a particular Pharaoh, who I think on some level is just like you and I with more jewelry and gold trim. Amenhotep IV is regarded as the worst Pharaoh that ever ruled. Going so far as to erase names of previous rulers in favor of his own, taking the responsibility for actions he didn’t commit and I don’t mean that in the “Oh I totally stole your bike, I’ll return it.” When he obviously didn’t steal the bike.
Bicycles weren’t invented then.
The point is, more often than not I find myself thinking with the same mentality as our Amenhotep, I write the things I do because in some moments, behind a curtain where I can hide my face I begin to think I know more about life than I truly do. I have seen some horrific things in my lifetime. I have experienced a lot of death, the kind that is eternal. The death that gives you closure. I want the things that I write to stand out beyond the grip of death and give my friends that live beyond me, as well as everyone else I can touch a chance to see the world how I saw it.
This comes from the same place of desperation that our ego evolves from. Amenhotep built many things in his name, out of pride and arrogance. He wanted Egypt to worship him, even later changing his name to reflect that of a god in an effort to turn more eyes towards his false light.
I think we all do this, to one extent or another. I use my writing as a way to get people to look at me, there are so many other ways to do this, using job status, family name, wealth, looks, religion, political ideals. All of these things can turn a good leader into a terrible Pharaoh. I have spent my time as Amenhotep. I have seen the efforts of gilding my creations with my name and accolades instead of my deeds and purpose.
When Amenhotep passed away, he was buried and the succeeding line of Pharaohs spent years and years trying to undo what he had done. It’s a pretty stark reminder.
No matter how beautiful you think your world is to others, the status we keep, the money we make, the ideals we hold, none of them matter when it comes down to the wire and we are being carried into the necropolis by those that either loved us, or hated us in life. I asked myself this question the other day, and I want to pose it to you as well…
When they drop your body off beneath the pyramids you built, are those people going to leave talking about how amazing you were, how you helped those in need, how you offered a kind word or gesture to anyone who needed it, how you were the pillar for those in times of weakness, or will they spend their lives trying to erase all the damage you have caused?
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your pyramid is, one way or another tourists will show up, will the guide to your life explain how you lived with kindness and grace, or will the stories of your victories be followed by stories of greater victories by others for a greater purpose? Either way, the people will strip the gold and the limestone from the face of your pyramid and you will be none the wiser lying beneath it, dead and gone like the rest of us. Peacefully staring at the ceiling, all of the things we obtained here in this life meaningless to the clawing void of necropolis, a labyrinth for the dead.