Riddle of the Sphinx
The Sphinx is a symbol of enlightenment.
Although this famous monument has suffered over the centuries the archetype itself is perennial—representing victory over life’s opposing forces. When we understand this, we will come to love her as a part of all creation.
This photo from the 1870s hints at the awesome expanse of time that has passed since the Sphinx was carved from the living rock. In fact, records show that for centuries only her head was visible above the desert sands. Even today she remains the most important sculpture on Earth and her wisdom guides us still. Indeed, the archetype of the Sphinx has influenced many cultures around the world—versions can be seen in Greece, Turkey, India, Burma, Thailand and the Phillippines. To solve the riddle, we must first agree on her features:
» The head and tail of a snake «
» The wings and head of a bird «
» The body of a lion «
» The head of a human «
Sadly the wings are long gone and her face is showing her age. The beauty of the original zoomorphic design has been lost but the figure below hints at former glories:
But what does “Sphinx” really mean? Well, the Egyptian word shesepankh translates as “living image”. In line with this the Sphinx is a celebration of unity on Earth—a symphony of opposing energies. Ancient Egypt was a harmonic culture and the Sphinx perfectly reflects the different forces that must be contained within our psyche:
» Wadjet the serpent of life «
» Nekhbet the vulture of death «
» Hathor the woman of creation «
» Sekhmet the lion of destruction «