Tapping into Ancient Egypt
Before I dive into my gritty Egyptian adventure it’s important to bring it back to where my love of Egypt began because this had been a trip in the making for a long time. Decades in fact. Last year I was looking back through my school exercise books. I was surprised to see the number of pyramids I’d drawn in them. Back in intermediate (I was about 12 years old) we had to do a speech on a topic of our choosing. I did mine on ancient Egypt, and it was a hit, it even got me into the school finals. I vividly recall my opening line “Death shall come on swift wings to him that toucheth the tomb of pharaoh”, this was an inscription that had supposedly been discovered on the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Since that was pre (useful) internet, the sole source of the speeches information was a DVD ROM of Encyclopedia Britannica and that inscription has since been debunked. Nevertheless so sparked my fascination with the ancient world.
As the years went by I discovered the likes of Graham Hancock, and his ancient aliens and “stoned ape” theories. I would listen to his interviews on Joe Rogan Experience over and over. In 2018, I had my first opportunity to make the trip to Egypt whilst I was living in London. A good friend of mine’s Dad was the manager of a top hotel in Cairo. I’d booked the trip and was all sorted to spend Xmas there when, the month prior, I met someone who I thought to be my soul mate (that’s another story for another time) and I ended up travelling back to New Zealand that summer to spend time with her instead.
2020 hit and it seemed that that dream was dead and gone. It wasn’t until late last year, as travel became easier once more, that I decided it was time to give it a go once more. I bought my flights from NZ to the UK and was in the process of booking the flights to Egypt when I discovered I’d be arriving in the middle of Ramadan (end of March). Which would have been a great experience but not the one I was after. I’d recently come across an American researcher called Larry, and his foundation American Institute of Pyramid Research and decided to reach out to him and ask for tips. Instead, he insisted that his tour was a far better option. It was advertised as a “pyramid adventure” NOT a tour and was incredibly affordable, so I shuffled my flights to a month sooner (thank you flexi fares) and locked it in.
Three weeks before I was set to leave Napier, where I was living got hit by a “once in a 100-year flood” destroying houses, bridges, and farms, and tragically claiming the lives of a number of locals. I had never seen so much water in my entire life. Gurgling brown water, silt and debris claimed everything in its path. Thankfully our area was relatively unaffected, aside from a week-long blackout, and patchy cell reception. However, this also meant no work for me for two weeks, no income, and in turn, fewer savings for my trip. All in all, my friends who I was living with and I were extremely blessed within the tragic situation. The previous weekend Dad had flown down to visit and delivered enough venison to fill our small freezer, which meant that between that and a thriving veggie garden, we were able to avoid the chaos of the crippled supermarkets for over a week. Call it coincidence, but two days prior I had filled up the BBQ gas bottle and had a gas cooker in my car for everything else. We were so fortunate in a situation where so many lives were changed forever.
I said my goodbyes and headed for Auckland a few days before my flight, a trip that took 11 hours due to the damage to the roads caused by the flooding. I made a stop for a dip in Lake Taupo. The freshwater revitalised and helped recentre my energy. During those last few weeks leading up to heading on the trip, I had so much resistance. I had created an amazing life for myself in Napier/NZ and it seemed crazy to leave it. The only way I could reason with myself to go was that I had a flexible flight home to NZ, so if it became too much I could leave any time. Worst case, I put a flight on my credit card to get out in a hurry.
The flight to London when without a hitch. The initial 16-hour flight was pretty easy, the layover in Dubai seemed to drag, but the final 10 hours to Heathrow was a struggle. I’d been reading into ways to reduce jetlag and learned that fasting was the most effective method. This was due to the body slowing down the digestion of food at altitude. The other tip is, more obviously, not drinking alcohol. I made it all the way til they offered the final meal of the last flight, which I figured was close enough, and mostly due to boredom.
The transition back to being in London felt remarkably smooth, almost like I’d never left. Made easier by still having a local sim card and bank account. Upon getting through customs in record time, about 30min from plane to exit, I found a bathroom to refresh before my 1.5-hour train to my mate’s house where I’d be staying a few days before I flew out.
That week of adjusting timezones and catching up with mates went remarkably quickly. My flight landed in Cairo late afternoon. I could taste the air as the airport doors slid open, a mix of humans, heat, and gas fumes. Larry, our tour operator, had organised a private driver who guided me through the airport and then we were off. Literally. Taxis in Egypt are no joke. It’s either all gas or all brakes. The highway from the airport was an assault on all of my senses. The blaring of Arabic music (I think they are all love songs), the intoxicating odour of millions of people flooded with the fumes of just as many vehicles, and everywhere you look was another sight that left my mind spinning. Chaos of all manner. I tried to close my eyes and block some of it out, but it’s hard to find peace in accepting that the total stranger driving you through this utter madness has any more control over the situation than you do. I painted on an expression of nonchalance to appease the driver and tried to pretend like this was all completely normal.
From what I understand there is only one road rule in Egypt, stay on the correct side of the road, but even that seemed like a guideline. Highways are marked, but I have no idea as to the reason. Traffic swarming, bottlenecking, then launching back to high speed, seemingly erratically yet harmoniously. Mere inches between them. A flurry of Hiaces, doorless Kombis, and Suzuki micro vans make up a substantial proportion. As far as I can tell anyone can use the road from modern cars, often missing lights or panels, to donkeys with carts. Most memorable was a highly inventive taxi driver using towels wrapped around his Kombis wheel rim as a makeshift rear tire. I did wonder if they knew the astronomical value of those vans in a country like NZ or the US.
Flashing lights and bopping horns seemed to be the frequency the swarm used as a method of communication, and judging by the distance between them, potentially it acted as their bat-like sonar. Im still deciding if Egyptian drivers are some of the best or worst in the world. One thing is for sure, they have amazing spatial awareness of their vehicles. I only saw two minor crashes in the two weeks I was there. All things considered the system of having (almost) no rules, no insurance, minimal law enforcement, and relying mostly on common sense, things work surprisingly smoothly, and I wonder if all the rules and regulations in the first world have turned drivers a little mindless.
After dropping off my belongings at the hotel in Giza, we went to Muhammed’s (almost everyone is called Muhammed’s) for a home-cooked meal as we made ourselves comfortable on the large sofas in the elegant plaster and tile home. My gaze was directed toward a small window on the outer wall. To my astonishment, there it was, The Great Pyramid, right there. Enormous, majestic, mesmerizing. All words fall short in an attempt to articulate the grandeur of the ancient structure. I’d never considered that it may sit just outside the confines of a city like a monument off Park Avenue.
Upon returning to the hotel it was discovered that due to a little miscommunication Larry and I would be sharing a room. Which was not an issue in the enormous corridor-like room containing four king beds. The hotel was nice, no Mena House, but clean, and peaceful, with a rooftop view of the Giza plateau, in a location full of locals, and a fraction of the price of the more common tourist area only 10min drive away.
A friend likened Egypt to India, in its contrast, vibrancy, unique culture, wealth disparity, and general in-your-face presence. One thing is for certain, It feels safe. Like anywhere, there are places you do not go, but generally speaking, I felt good being around town on my own. I put it down to Egyptian people being almost entirely Muslim (over 90%). Meaning no alcohol, but also that they believe they must do right by their fellow human in order to appease their God, Allah.
There are a few things I found interesting about the culture. The word “Habibi” which translates to “my love” is used liberally in all manner of contexts. It’s in 99% of Arabic music and can be heard frequently in a day-to-day context. It was not uncommon to hear passing strangers on the street say it to each other, cab drivers would say it to the heavily armed military (which are everywhere), it seemed everyone was met with love.
The next was the name Muhammad, almost every man we met was called Muhammed. From my understanding, it is because it is a blessing to be given that name, as you are being likened to having similar characteristics to the prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam, and messenger of God.
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it” [Quran 3:92].
“Inshallah” is commonly used in conversation too, which translates to “if God wills” or “God willing”. As you can gather from these examples, the people are deeply religious, and no matter your thoughts on organised religion, it makes for a beautiful culture. Of course, this is speaking from a male perspective, and I do know that some of the women I spoke to had stories of feeling intimidated at times. But generally speaking, most were respectful.
From what I can understand Larry’s journey with the pyramids and geometry, had brought him to a place as a man of God too. The divine source, he referred to as Alpha Omega (AΩ). And not surprisingly when you witness how wonderfully this journey has impacted his life, and the way he speaks with such passion on the topic.
Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. – Revelation 21:6-7
There was only a small number of us on the tour. Three American women, Larry, and myself. Each morning before we went out on our daily adventures we would start the day with some movement, breathwork, prayer and intention setting. Breakfast consisted of an array of small dishes always including Egyptian bread (like pita), and often featuring falafel, eggplant, tahini, more eggplant and fresh fruits. My personal favourite was an Olive, rosemary and lemon jam I found in Siwa Oasis. Lunches and dinners were usually some forms of grilled meat or veggies, rice, and more bread. Larry’s tour covered almost all meals but for reference to eating at a good local restaurant, you’re looking to spend about $ 10 USD and be very well-fed. As with all developing countries, there are local and tourist prices, and tipping is a thing.
In Larry’s six-day adventure, we covered a lot of ground in the area, in, and around Giza including a night in the Faroum Oasis, which was a huge deal for me. One of my all-time favourite books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, has a large section based there and is a pivotal location of the story. The oasis was far different than I had seen in my mind’s eye while reading the book. I had envisioned a quant village surrounded by palm trees and mudbrick houses. But I was met by a thriving city, teeming with people in the middle of the Sahara. Not quite what I had expected, but the drive there through the Sahara, stopping at a 30mil-year-old petrified forest, seeing wild camels, and star gazing around the fire made for an equally enjoyable experience.
One of the biggest highlights for me was visiting the Giza Plateau, more specifically Khufu, or The Great Pyramid. It’s mindboggling to cast your mind back and imagine that at one point all three were capped entirely in brilliant white limestone, until an earthquake in 1303 fractured them and looting saw them taken and used modern architecture as I cost-effective replacement for quarrying.
Larry rallied us at dawn in order to make the sprint to the plateau gates in an effort to beat the crowd. We thrust ourselves up the causeway, high tailing it passed the Sphinx, trying to maintain the pace of Larry, our 70-something-year-old guide, who seemed completely composed and even had enough breath to be relaying the trek to his followers via live feed on social media. We passed a number of older structures, including the “trial passages” which were, up until recently, used as an incinerator for trash. Thankfully the current director of the Giza plateau, Ashraf Mohie Eldin, takes far better care of this ancient site, including removing a majority of buskers, and hustlers. A few still remain, but most on the plateau are now paid by the foundation managing the site meaning they put far less pressure on tourists. That being said, as a rule of thumb, expect to have to pay anyone that offers to take a photo, a camel ride, a camel photo, or directions. Essentially anyone who offers anything, it’s not a big deal, just worth knowing.
You enter Khufu through a cavity just below the entrance, which was created by Abdullah Al Mamun around 820AD after he used dynamite to blast his way around the large granite block which blocked off the main corridor into the pyramid. According to him, he just so happened to blast his way from the outside, through the limestone land himself almost directly behind the enormous granite stone locking off the corridor to potential looters. Then, upon opening The Kings Chamber discovers “just enough treasure to cover paying his workers”. It seems far more likely that he took one of the other far narrower vertical shafts which arrive on the rear of the granite block, and upon discovering what was in the chamber realised the only way to get it out was to blast his way from the inside out as the path of least resistance. Just a thought.
The initial staircase to the King’s Chamber is like stepping into a cathedral. The Grand Gallery, so aptly named. An apex ceiling towers in staggered limestone, reaching an apex 8 meters above. The 30m long entrance is met at the top by a low narrow passage, and a distinct divide where the limestone ends and the granite begins. And so marks the beginning of The Kings Chamber. I know you’re waiting for me to mention aliens but just hold your horses. Once passing through the low passage you step into the ironically named King’s Chamber. It’s important to mention that no pyramid was ever found to contain a mummy, just an empty “sarcophagus” (seems odd that they even call them that when they most definitely are not).
We arrived before the crowds, and with the guard’s expectation of a little financial incentive on our departure, we had the place to ourselves for about 15min. If Wu-Tangs track C.R.E.A.M had a geotag, it would link directly to Egypt.
As Larry took measurements in the chamber, the rest of us had a look around the grand granite room. At this point, I want to point out that any form of meditation is off-limits. At one point one of the members of our group was accused of meditating and ordered to keep moving, just for sitting on the ground while she waited for us to catch up. However, this time luck, Larry’s connections, and Egyptian Pounds were on our side and we each got a chance to climb into the sarcophagus and practice our own form of meditation or voice play. I even had the privilege of sitting in there with a sound healer as she played a Tibetan bowl she had smuggled in. Sound does funny things in that space. Once hitting the correct frequency it seems to completely absorb you, blocking everything else out. The same can be done with Oming, which I did often too, and which is obviously far more accessible.
If you follow the work of Robert Edward Grant, a well-known polymath with a passion for alternative beliefs around the pyramids, you will be aware of the Alpha Omega etched into the Kings rose granite sarcophagus. Grant claims that he put in there in another lifetime and rediscovered it while meditating there recently, having a vision of himself “inscribing” it almost instantly with a foreign tool using light. The inscription is almost impossible to see unless hit with light at the correct angle, and no matter your views, it is a very cool discovery. Larry discovered the same inscription in the Entrance Passage also, these are the only known use of these letters in ancient times, potentially predating hieroglyphics. Chance would have it, that for some reason that day, I took a copy of The Alchemist, and another member of the group just so happened to have a pencil, so now I have an etching of the Alpha Omega in my copy of The Alchemist which to me was a highlight. Grant has also done some fascinating work concerning geometry, DaVinci, and overlays on the ancient structures.
As we exited Khufu we were met with hordes of tour bus travellers. It’s great to see them out exploring but it reminded me of how grateful I was to do this as part of a smaller group. A local guide said that there has been a huge increase in tourists to Egypt in recent years which really made me wonder if there is something larger at play. Grant, among others, has a theory that the chambers of Khufu relate to the chakras of the human body as they align perfectly with the image of the Vitruvian man (there is evidence to suggest DaVinci lived in Egypt for up to three years) and suggests that as we raise our collective consciousness the pyramids will teach us more. Just before we arrived a new chamber was discovered which would sit exactly at the throat chakra, a chakra specific to the time we are currently in. Maybe they are a great conductor of a mass shift in the consciousness of the planet, and as the overall consciousness of the planet shifts, so does their significance in modern civilization. Throughout history, there has been a belief that spending time in the pyramids alters the individual’s consciousness. There are references to the likes of Napolean, and Julius Caesar amongst others having had shifts in their values after visiting the pyramids. No longer were they so driven towards control. Maybe we are about to see our civilization move in a similar direction.
“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” – Leonardo DaVinci
The Bent Pyramid (also known as Sneferu) was probably my favourite of all the pyramids we visited, probably because the passage to access it felt the most like an adventure, and it tickles propensity towards the adventures of Indianna Jones. The Bent Pyramid is called as such due to the top third-ish changing to a far more acute angle. Technically making it 8 sided. Khufu is actually 8-sided too, however, it’s only visible in certain lights, as the vertical creases converging toward the centre of each side are very subtle. The Bent Pyramid access involves a deep narrow descent and a steep climb. Thanks to Napolean and his men there are some staircases to ease the transition. The passages lead to a chamber that may leave you scratching your head. As it’s more of a rough pit complete with bats and 6000-yo scaffolding supporting the ceiling. Geoff Drumm AKA The Land of Chem has a fascinating theory that some of these pyramids were actually ancient chemical plants. A theory backed by lab results showing trace elements of compounds that should otherwise not be there. Chemicals that could have been used to make things like fertilisers. This would explain the vast scale of the structures, as there would be a substantial amount of force placed on the structure in forming these compounds.
“From the heights of the Pyramids, forty centuries look down on us” – General Napoleon Bonaparte
Travelling with Larry offered a lot of unique opportunities like our amazing guides, and meeting researchers like Lisa Armstrong, Anyextee, Jahannah, and Geoff, and gave us access to areas and experiences that may otherwise have been out of reach. Fortunately for us, Larry has an amazing relationship with the locals, opening me up to experiences I may never have had had I come when I originally planned in 2019. After touring with Larry for those 6 days, seeing all manner of pyramids, including a few little-known ones, riding ATVs in the desert, and eating with local families (a local peasant dish called Koshari which includes rice, pasta and lentils) it was time to plan the remainder of my trip.
In all honesty, by the end of my time with Larry, I was beginning to find Egypt overwhelming. I felt myself going deep into a flight response and literally started looking at ways to get out of Egypt. However, flights were too expensive and I was reminded of a few days before I left London, by complete coincidence, while I was walking around town, that I’d overheard three separate conversations which included the phrase “go with the flow”, so I decided to accept my fate and do exactly that. Inshallah. Another member of the group, Leah, was also staying on, and she invited me to travel with her. It was a little outside my budget, but I considered that I may never come back so it was time to make the most of it.
“As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.” —Winnie The Pooh
My time with Leah, that next 10 days, was like no travelling I’d ever done before. I was used to backpackers, local buses, street food, and lots of walking. This was private drivers, private guides, Pinterest inspo-level accommodation, countless local adventures, and beautiful meals. We toured all the way up from Cairo to Alexandria (where the chosen taxi vehicle of choice was a Lada, go figure..), across to Siwa Oasis, down to Luxor and then Aswan. Swimming in the Med, blasting across the Sahara in 80 series Landcruisers, sunset sailing on the Nile, bathing in salt lakes and natural hot springs, and hot air ballooning by the Temple of Hatshepsut were just a few of the many highlights.
As with any trip like that, there were also the struggles, multiple 10-hour taxi rides across barely drivable “roads”, challenges with local authorities, and roadblocks, but thankfully things were kept bearable with a great travel buddy. One of Leah’s friends also pointed out that the challenges, the exhaustion, the chaos and the confusion, are just as much part of the travel experience as the good times. In their own way, they provide opportunities for expansion and growth, as well as giving contrast and brightening the highs even more. They are just as consciousness-expanding as the idyllic sunsets and energetic upgrades from the sacred sites.
The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skilful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. – Epictetus
Luxor and those smaller cities are at a completely different pace from Cairo. Completely different in their structure too. Vast green spaces, fewer highrises, a fresher tone to The Nile. It was not uncommon to see children riding donkeys down the main streets, and people fishing on the banks of the Nile. I even saw a child of barely 10 years old driving a Hilux ute on his own. The smaller cities offer the culture at a more digestible pace. The beautiful tagines, the ever-expanding sugar cane fields, and giggling children playing with makeshift toys in the streets. Those smaller cities were a breath of fresh air, literally.
In Luxor, we were blessed to have a guide who could read hieroglyphics which opened a whole new world. Being able to point at any given wall and get a direct translation was brilliant, and brought to light the number of guides who had no idea what was written, just regurgitating the translations of others. Karnak was definitely a highlight there. If you go I’d recommend scouting out the Temple of Sehkmet, a Kali-like goddess with the face of a lion, a powerful healer and destroyer of worlds. If you get a chance, and play your pounds right, the guards may just let you see her statue in the back room.
The rose granite Obelisks of Hatshepsut at Karnak were stunning too. The sheer scale. According to records, they were originally to be built from solid gold, but upon reflection, Queen Hatshepsut went with the rose granite to ensure they stood the test of time. No pun intended. Records say that both were created in 70 days, which when you see the sheer scale and detail seems completely impossible.
This leads me to the part you’ve all been waiting for. Ancient Aliens and forgotten technology. A space with dominates the online arena. And to be fair, I get it, it’s exciting, and it makes sense…UNTIL you see the pyramids for yourself. As someone who was in the aforementioned group, I came to Egypt 100% on the ancient alien bandwagon. But then I saw them first-hand, I saw the supposed “micron” precision that is spoken of, which is grossly inaccurate. Again, no pun intended, but most surfaces are far from perfect. It also completely denies the evidence that shows remnants of arsenic on the cut surfaces, suggesting the Egyptians knew methods of hardening copper to be almost as strong as steel, not to mention the limestone and granite blocks are covered in tool marks. As someone who spent years as a tradesman, it’s safe to say these were built by man. To say aliens built it all is disrespecting an entire civilization. There are even hieroglyphs showing highly skilled tradesmen carving and transporting the huge blocks. These were not mere slaves, they were respected members of society with generations of knowledge. Some artifacts are built with precision that we have not yet mastered in current times, and may well have used another technology, The Hatshepsut Obelisks are one of them, but to say all were created by aliens seems highly unlikely. The sacred geometry and precise layouts of the pyramids, giving references to all manner of dimensions including, the circumference of the earth, the exact speed at which light travels, and the meter, foot, and the royal cubit is undeniably fascinating. My current hypothesis is that there is reason to believe that the ancient Egyptians built them, but that maybe their plans were “given” to them from a higher source, maybe aliens, maybe that connection to the divine we receive though deep meditation, breathwork or psychedelics. I also believe it is entirely unfounded to say they were tombs. More likely advanced factories as Geoff suggests, or sites for communication or energy storage. Not to discredit the ancient aliens crowd out there, but its worth keeping in mind that there is a lot of money to be made in that field, and not a great deal of logic being applied.
On my final morning, I awoke in Aswan, unfortunately, due to the roadworks and local authorities I didn’t get to visit any of the local sites, but that morning I felt the call to walk to The Nile which was accessible from the hotel’s swimming pool/bar. Throughout my trip, when I could avoid guards, I had been using breathwork to tap into the energy of various locations during this trip. Occasionally having visuals or downloads, but mostly just to connect more fully. As I finished my breathwork on the bank of The Nile that morning, what came through really shocked me. I was told that that was the exact spot I had come to, the first time I had visited the Nile in a previous incarnation. It seemed so out of the blue, and with sensation, that I feel it to be true. And also fitting, that this should be the point at which I make my way toward leaving.
I felt a mixture of contentment and relief to be leaving Egypt. Although there was so much more to see, places like Dashur, the Red Sea, and Mount Sinai, I felt it was time to go. As I sat down on the plane I was hit clear as day with the knowing that in this packed plane I was going to have a spare seat next to me, at six foot tall, this is a blessing. Moments later I heard a voice call across the aisle calling to tell me that they had moved seats and the space was now mine to use as I pleased. A gentle wink from Alpha Omega that my time in Egypt was indeed done for now and I was supported in my next leg of the journey.
“We do not create our destiny; we participate in its unfolding. Synchronicity works as a catalyst toward the working out of that destiny.” ― David Richo
The process of integrating my time in Egypt has been gentle, but not at all subtle. I returned to London with a new sense of the importance of my role here on earth, and a defined line of where my energy may no longer be drained or wasted. A feeling that this is the time to move forward on my dream, which doesn’t have to be forced, but there is no going back.
The Alpha Omega Larry discovered in the Great Pyramid
Luxor by balloon
Luxor by boat at sunset