Riddle of the Sphinx

The Sphinx is a symbol of rebirth.

Although this famous monument has declined over the centuries the archetype itself is perennial—representing the eternal battle between life and death. When we understand her, we will come to love her as a part of all creation.

The above photo from the 1870s hints at the awesome expanse of time that passed since the Sphinx was carved from living rock. In fact, records show that for centuries only her head was visible above the desert sands. She remains the most important sculpture on Earth and her wisdom still carries lessons for us today. 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 her 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 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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