There’s no greater mystery than the one that surrounds the origin and purpose of the Great Sphinx of Egypt. Its existence dates back to the time of Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, and for thousands of years this enigmatic symbol, with a lion’s body and a human head, has been the subject of countless speculations.
The Sphinx is an astrological symbol but there’s some discussion as to its precise place in the zodiac. Some say it represents the cusp between the constellations Leo and Virgo, and that it’s a monument to the time in history when the retrogressing equinox occupied this degree – possibly to the inundation of legendary Atlantis which occurred, according to Plato, about this time.
This speculation seems reasonable, but it has one serious drawback.
The human head of the Sphinx is masculine rather than feminine. It had a beard, parts of which along with fragments of the Uraeus – a figure of the sacred cobra on the headdress worn by Egyptian rulers which served as a symbol of spiritual wisdom – now reside in the British Museum in London. So the head must refer to the man of the zodiac, Aquarius, while the lion’s body is symbolical of the constellation Leo.
The head is that of the man rather than the lion indicating that the human must rule the animal; and according to ancient Egyptian teachings it is the function of human life to develop what is known as self-consciousness. So human consciousness is the predominate factor of this symbol.
Leo, the natural fifth house sign, symbolizes love, and Aquarius, the eleventh sign, denotes wisdom.
Love and wisdom related to each other as negative and positive, feminine and masculine, are the two poles of all existence, the two categories of every experience.
The great repository, wherein is retained the gleanings of all these experiences of love and wisdom, is the human soul.
In the terminology of the Egyptians, the Sphinx symbolizes Isis.
The signs of the zodiac naturally fall into four divisions or triplicities: fire, earth, air and water.
The three fire signs, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, give the qualities of enthusiasm and courage. In humans they correspond to spirit.
The earth signs, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, give patience and practicality. They signify the physical body.
The air signs, Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, give the attributes of changeableness and intellectuality. They correspond to mind.
And the water signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, give sympathetic qualities and domesticity. They denote emotions and passions.
The zodiac signs also fall into three divisions or qualities: movable, fixed and mutable.
The four movable signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, give the qualities of great activity and pioneering. They denote movement and transiency.
The fixed signs, Taurus, Lee, Scorpio and Aquarius, give stability and stubborn resistance. They denote permanency.
And the mutable signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces are adaptable. They take the line of least resistance and denote development.
There is a combining of these two major groupings as there is one movable-fire sign, Aries, one fixed-fire sign, Leo, and one mutable-fire sign, Sagittarius. There is also one movable-earth sign, Capricorn, one fixed-earth sign, Taurus, and one mutable-earth sign, Virgo, etc.
However, the mystery of the Sphinx, only involves the fixed signs: fixed-earth Taurus; fixed-fire Leo; fixed-water Scorpio; and fixed-air Aquarius.
In time the Sun passes through all the zodiac signs so a Sphinx composed of two or all four of these signs indicates the passage of time; and as the signs are fixed, indicating permanency, and the image is carved in timeless solid stone, the Sphinx is a symbol of eternity.
However, two of the fixed signs that are present in the four-fold figure of a Sphinx are conspicuous by their absence in the Great Egyptian Sphinx.
Taurus or fixed-earth (physical body) and Scorpio or fixed-water (passions) refer to physical things and are missing.
Leo or fixed-fire (spirit) and Aquarius or fixed-air (mind) show that this infinite time or eternity does not refer to the physical body or the gross emotions.
In its complete symbolism the Egyptian Sphinx speaks of the immortality of the human soul, and points the way.
To the student of astrological lore the Sphinx speaks most eloquently: ‘Man (people, you) must develop to the highest possible extent the attributes of love and wisdom to the end that self-conscious immortality will be attained.’ (C.C. Zain).
The Sphinx symbolizes under the emblems of Aquarius, or the head of the man, and Leo, the body of the lion, the duality of truth: The light and the dark, the good and the evil, the masculine and the feminine or every conceivable thing under the canopy of Heaven.
In the Egyptian initiation into the mysteries candidates began their awesome journey at the feet of the Sphinx. And by representing objective consciousness and reason (Mercury) it signifies that only those who possess the qualities (or passwords) of love and wisdom to a sufficient degree are duly qualified to pass to higher realms.
The Sphinx symbolizes Isis, or the feminine receptive principle in Nature; and the Sun symbolizes Osiris, or the masculine spiritual principle. Their union results in evolution or gestation, which finally results in the birth of a human being (you) who possesses an immortal soul and the potentiality of developing and exercising God-like powers.
So the Sphinx, like the Stonehenge in England, symbolizes the Immaculate Conception.
At a time when human intelligence was supposed to be practically nil, the ingenious people residing along the Sacred Nile embodied in a symbolic monument, that depicted two zodiacal constellations only, the predominate factors of the sublime spiritual teachings handed down to them from a more remote past.
These teachings are that your soul is immortal and capable of infinite progression; that astrological energies are intensely real and influence your destiny; and that ‘Wisdom (Aquarius) is the principle thing’, and ‘Love (Leo) is the fulfilling of the law.’
This article was written by Howard Polk.
Astrology for Aquarius – sharing our knowledge