Riddle of the Sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza has puzzled humanity for thousands of years. She was designed to be timeless—representing the eternal rebirth of life. As a limestone carving though, she still faces due east across the Nile. Here is a photo from the 1870s:

The meaning of the Sphinx is profound and has influenced many cultures around the world. Indeed, versions can be seen in Greece, Turkey, India, Burma, Thailand and the Phillippines. To solve her riddle, we must first identify 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 rebirth on Earth—a symphony of opposing energies. Ancient Egypt was a harmonic culture and the Sphinx perfectly reflects the eternal forces of creation and destruction:

» Wadjet the serpent of life «

» Nekheb the vulture of death «

» Hathor the woman of creation «

» Sekhmet the lioness of destruction «


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