Sphinx IV (Oedipus Rex)
In Response To: Sphinx I (Queen Khentkawes) ()

Repulsive as it may be, we are confronted by a royal and ancient family not only committed to incest but to the most extreme form of incest – that of mother and son. The tomb/monument of Khentkaues provided a testament for future generations of queens who dutifully (if perhaps not always eagerly) followed her example. A future “Dark Lady”, the 18th Dynasty God’s Wife of Amun, Queen Tiye, would later excel Khentkaues in the reproductive hat-trick (or should we say Hathor-trick). If fault can be found in Khentkawes (by the standards of her own time), it would be that she gloried too much of her accomplishments. Queen Tiye, more like archetypal Hathor, was to be more discreet about her successes and far less assertive in terms of claims to kingship.

Quoting from Chapter 16 of the on-line book:

“The god Amun himself was described as the ‘Bull of His Mother’, that is the impregnator of his own mother. As discussed in Chapters 1 & 2, incest between mother and son was practiced among the gods, and later emulated in the dynastic period. Akhenaten and Tiye were certainly not the first, and probably not the last to assume this relationship. Velikovsky documented in Oedipus and Akhenaten that a child born from a son and a mother was considered particularly holy in certain royal courts of the Near East, but may not have been fully acceptable in Egypt. Velikovsky further notes that the historian "Catullus stated that a magus (a Mazda priest) is the fruit of incestuous relations between mother and son (Catullus, xc. 3)." "Observance of it {incest, especially between son and mother } is one of the surest signs of piety in the coming days of evil … it expatiates mortal sin and forms the one insuperable barrier to the attacks of Aeshm, the incarnation of Fury (Sayast la Sayast, VIII. 18; XVIII, 3f.)" The liaison between Tiye and Akhenaten was not necessary to ensure kingly succession. The heirs Akhenaten and Nefertiti were still young and capable of carrying on the line. Amenhotep III had set up over 700 statues of Sekhmet [a form of Hathor] the goddess of pestilence in order to ward off a mounting plague. The marriage of Tiye and Akhenaten may have been ordained for that exact same purpose.”

The uniquely terrifying element of the Oedipus story is not how Oedipus accidentally killed his father, but how he came to solve the “Riddle of the Sphinx” and marry his mother (i.e., become the “bull of his mother”). The award-winning reply of Oedipus to the Sphinx involved the stages of a man from infant to adult to geezer. These are now known to correspond to the three phases of a sun-king as symbolized by the Sphinx of Giza, those being the youthful Horus (morning), the brilliant Re (mid-day), and mellow Atum (evening).

Note: The legend of Oedipus tries to pass off the incest as one horrendous accident, but in reality it was of course deliberate and quite traditional.

Note: The 2nd Pyramid is directly behind the Sphinx and therefore in the "mating position". The duty of a prince in the role of Horus the Elder was to "uncover the nakedness" of the family Hathor figure. Exposing the body of the Sphinx by clearing it of sand was a symbolic part of that role. It could be compared to Ham exposing the nakedness of his "father" Noah. It was a family tradition (which was sooner or later) considered shameful and embarrassing. Unlike a shamed Godfather, the shame of a Godmother was apparently borne with great pride, at least privately. The royal Hathor figure was something of a female Messiah, a woman willing to sacrifice herself (and be rekoned accursed) for the salvation of her family/people.

Note: It is interesting that the 3rd Pyramid is “crooked” or “bent” with respect to the other two, that is, it does not continue in a straight line with the other two. It has “deviated”. This perhaps is an indication that the three pyramids were built in three different periods, with the last period being inferior to the second (and the second inferior to the first).

The greater riddle of the Sphinx was how a worn out and even corrupt ruler might be born again as a perfect and righteous Horus. This required a woman! And not any woman, but one who was willing to mate with her own son! This was the mysterious and utterly horrifying aspect of the Sphinx! Mother-son incest was the equivalent of genetic strangulation and cannibalism, and reflected in tales of the Sphinx choking and devouring its victims. Yet, we now know that when carefully controlled there is a potentially purifying effect, at least genetically speaking. It can be used to eliminate unwanted traits in a pure bred animal rather than introduce them. In nature, father-daughter incest is far more prevalent. Mother-son incest is more typically associated with the breakdown of an animal society. Similarly among ancient royalty, mother-son incest was prescribed not only to restore dynastic order but even to forestall anarchy. It was partially a superstitious clinging to tradition but mainly a fig leaf to hide the royal (“divine race”) breeding agenda. We need to stop covering for them ourselves. They were what they were, and they did what they did. For better or for worse, their knowledge of inbreeding (plant, animal, and human) was central to their claim of superiority and right to rule.

Inscriptions placed beside the Sphinx (dating from at least the time of pharaoh Seti) referred to the monument by the non-Egyptian title of “HWL”. A variant, Hwran, was found on the so-called Inventory Stela, which describes repairs made during the Old Kingdom and implies that the Sphinx predated the Old Kingdom. Egyptologists generally consider the Inventory Stela a confused piece of Saite Period nostalgia for the Old Kingdom. Irrespective, Hwran and HWL emerge (along with Hwron, a Canaanite name for Har/Horus) as names for the Sphinx with equal or greater antiquity than the Egyptian forms of the Sphinx, Re-Harakhty and Re-Horemakhet.

The Arabs called the Sphinx Abul-houl, suggesting “Father of Terror”, but perhaps by corruption of bw-houl, “place of terror”. In Hebrew, houl would connote terror in the sense of a loud cry or even the thunderous voice of a deity, and is comparable to the Egyptian word Hu (also an Egyptian epithet of the Sphinx). Houl would more strongly, at least in Hebrew, connote the terror of a woman contorted and writhing in childbirth, especially a disgraceful or fatal childbirth. However, the more direct meaning (denotation) of houl is that of a “circle, wheel”, and by association the “sun”. All of these interpretations are consistent with the Sphinx as a symbol of kingly and solar rebirth (Re-Atum reincarnating in a youthful Horus) through incest (genetic strangulation/cannibalism).

Note: In Egyptian mythology, Huh was the deification of eternity. Hu signified the “force of (divine/royal) command”.

Note: Another medieval Arab name for the Sphinx was Balheeb, which would have had a number of interesting connotations, such as “lordly companion/consort” or “terrifying companion/consort”.

Note: See discussion of the name Abul-houl at:;f=2;t=000630;p=0

The Giza complex (and Egypt more generally) was not only a place that symbolized death, but also resurrection, and foremost, rebirth of the sun (god). The salvation of Re was not automatic or guaranteed. It required sacrifice among the living in terms of toil, pain (for men and women), and vigilance. It also required sacrifice of the unworthy dead (i.e., those who opposed the king’s divine right to rule). As in the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the king/pharaoh could achieve immortality but only at a high price. The great big ball (of the sun) had to be rolled up the hill (of the sky) every day, because it invariably slipped back down again. This was the best that could be hoped for. The alternative was catastrophe.

Note: In the Book of Genesis, Abraham’s rival Canaanite princes were called “the sons of Heth”, i.e., “the sons of Terror”. Heth also makes for a pun on the Egyptian goddess Hathor, who was represented by the Sphinx.

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