The Locality and its Gods(Intro)
Subterranean chamber - earth
Queen's chamber - water
King's chamber - air
Sun's chamber - fire
Starry sky's chamber - aether
For the King or for the Priests?
Grand Gallery - fire on earth
To Gallery or water's chamber?
The highest situated of the known chambers is the so-called King's chamber. In here, naturally, we find open Air shafts. In GEB's subterranean chamber: rock. In TEFNUT's chamber: water. And in this chamber: AIR. So it belongs to SHU, the air-god. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead - this version written on a wall in a later king's pyramid (Pepi II of the 6th dynasty) - we find the following sequence (Temu = Atum, Seb = Geb) :
- ”O Great Company of the gods who dwell i Annu (Heliopolis), grant that Pepi Nefer-Ka-Ra may flourish (literally 'germinate'), and that his pyramid, his everlasting building, may flourish, even as the name of Temu, the chief of the nine gods, doth flourish.
- If the name of Shu, the lord of the upper shrine in Annu, flourisheth, then Pepi shall flourish, and his pyramid, his everlasting building, shall flourish!
- If the name of Tefnut, the lady of the lower shrine in Annu, flourisheth, the name of Pepi shall be established, and this his pyramid shall be established to all eternity!
- If the name of Seb flourisheth at the 'homage of the earth,' then the name of Pepi shall flourish, and this his pyramid shall flourish, and this his building shall flourish unto all eternity.”
My qualifications are poor when it comes to analyzing the Book of the Dead, and maybe I shouldn't quote it. It is a mere coincidense that I stumbled onto these sentences from Pepi's pyramid, and I do not know whether they mean something completely different or if they reveal a knowledge from 6th dynasty about Cheops's pyramid or a temple in Annu, built according to the same order of the gods.
King's chamber, antechamber and so-called "construction chambers"
seen from east
Arriving in this chamber you have passed through both the Grand Gallery and the antechamber. Later we shall return to these interesting parts of the architecture. For now we concentrate on the so-called Construction chambers above the actual chamber.
The traditional explanation to this peculiar arrangement of layers of stone and empty spaces in between is that it must be a pressure-releaving construction, intended to prevent the ceiling from collapsing. But really! Five of these layers seems like exaggerating a bit. Furthermore, the ceiling in the Queen's chamber shows that the builders very well knew how to divide the pressure from above and place in on the walls instead.
Today we automatically expect buildings to be designed with focus on function. Here we also deal with symbolic architecture, designed to honour the gods.
There are five cavities, one for each chamber/god/element. The one at the top is provided with a ceiling like in the Queen's chamber. Except here it is made of limestone, not granite. Expecting this cavity to represent the upper chamber logically it explains that what today is the pyramid's flat top was once a pyramid-shaped chamber. It is possible that the walls/roof only consisted of the pyramid's limestone casing stones; when an earthquake made the casing break apart, the chamber disappeared.
The three lower cavities are surrounded by granite. So are the three known chambers in the pyramid. Symbolically the granite can express earthly matter: the earth-bound three elements earth, water and air.
The leftover chamber
The last one of the construction chambers will be the one symbolizing the Sun/fire element. Actually it is not surprising that the construction chambers place it below the top (Nut's chamber), but above the known chambers. It follows the order of the gods, so even without these cavities we could have guessed at this location. Anyway, it is a kind of confirmation.
Considering the superiority of the Sun god his chamber ought to be the most important in the pyramid.
E.A.Wallis Budge: Egyptian magic
pp. 158-159. Dover
Publications, N.Y. 1971. ISBN 0-486-22681-6.