JULY, 2006

Mythic Prelude:

Double Harmonies
In this month's UFC we complete the series of four pieces devoted to Khemitian wisdom as taught by Abd'el Hakim Awyan. For background on special vocabulary in the indigenous suf language of ancient Khemt, see especially the first article in this group, The Scarab Flies, about the solar cycle of human life and cosmic history (April, 2006). This piece establishes most of the key Khemitian terms that we use here in lieu of the later and less accurate Greek terms that egyptologists prefer. The May prelude, The Bull of His Mother, covered the ancient mother culture of Khemt, and the inexorable trend from matriarchy to patriarchy between the Age of Taurus and the Age of Aries. Last month's prelude is titled Houses of Nature because the Khemitians never used the Greek term "pyramids," but preferred the precise word per-neter to describe the Giza monuments and other structures that were specifically designed to convert water and light energy into vibrations of sound, and project it outward for the peace and health of the people.
Our present purpose is to look in finer detail at the subject of Khemitian sound science and sacred music, and to focus specifically on sound medicine, on the early contributions of Khemt to the numbers that are the benchmark of science as we believe we understand it, and on the streams of music in which the ancient Khemitian melodies are still heard today, and through which the sounds of the primordial Nile culture are now re-entering our awareness precisely when we need them, at the moment of our collective shift into more complete spiritual consciousness.
We begin with a question that has vexed egyptologists for the last two centuries, ever since egyptology was born from the data collected by the savants whom Napoleon brought to "Egypt": why did "pharaoh Snefru" build for himself a total of three tombs -- this "bent pyramid" and the "red pyramid" at Dashour, and another "pyramid" to the south at Meidum -- when he needed only one tomb?
Hakim's answer is disarmingly simple: there was no "king Snefru," son of "king Khufu," and neither of them built the per-neters attributed to them.
"Snefru" is in fact an inaccurate reading of the suf symbols sen, meaning two, and the nefer sign shown here, meaning harmony. While the nefer sign resembles a musical instrument, the Khemitians understood it as an idealized image of the human sound instrument with lungs at the bottom, a windpipe above it and a voice box at the top -- but with no tongue, so it can't tell lies. This sign written together with sen means double harmony: that is, the sound principle by which per-neters like the "bent pyramid" were built specifically to amplify sound both in volume and in complexity, by adding harmonics to fundamental tones to create chords of harmonious sound.
Everyone who's read about the "bent pyramid" knows the endlessly repeated line of egyptologists who have no expertise in architectural engineering, and prefer not to disturb their assumptions by asking anyone who does. The conventional dogma is that the team who built this
structure found their original angle too steep for stability, and therefore constructed the top part at a shallower angle. The reality, according to Hakim, is that this per-neter was meant to be bent, for the sake of doubling the building's harmonics. The detail of the interior at right belies another assumption -- that these corbeled rooms were designed to help distribute the load, so that the structure would not collapse. One naturally wonders, then, why the lower room is also corbeled, as it is entirely below the ground surface. The reality here is that none of these rooms was a burial chamber. Mummies do not need corbeled rooms when simple flat boxes will do. But singers know the advantages of corbeled spaces like the bent per-neter's interior, and the "grand gallery" of the Great Per-neter at Giza. So do sound engineers, who know from the evidence of their own ears that corbeled spaces are ideal for moving sound up, then bouncing it down and out through the opening at left, which was never designed to bring anyone or anything in, but rather to project sound out.
The famous "Heb Sed Court" at Saqqara was also designed for an exact sonic purpose very much unlike the usual idea that at festivals held periodically during his reign, the "king" would run a course representing his domain, thereby demonstrating his physical fitness to stay in the royal seat for the years until the next festival. If this space was indeed used for such a purpose, we immediately wonder why the route of the race would have been obstructed by the stone platform at the lower right of this picture.
A complete view of this space at Saqqara would show the long wall that is out of frame at the right, parallel to the wall punctuated by stairways and rooms at the center, between the Step Per-neter and the platform. There are eleven rooms on each side, for a total of 22. They are said to have held shrines of the neters, or images corresponding to the 22 major arcana of the tarot, and many other things. In Hakim's view, they held nothing, because the niches inside these rooms were used for the purpose of diagnosis by sound in what was in fact the diagnostic lab of Saqqara Hospital.
Under this space Khemitian engineers installed zigzag-shaped water conduits like the ones running under the Giza per-neters (see Houses of Nature). The water ran south-to-north, as the river always has, under the platform shown above. It was a stage on which the patient stood, and held as strongly as was bearable the emotional frequency of his dis-ease. Then teams of physicians entered the rooms on either side and placed their heads inside the niches, listening for the precise differences in frequency between the normal sound of the water, and the sound disturbances caused by the patient's ailment. Such variations in sound told the doctors all they needed to know.
The point for the Khemitian physicians was to identify the imbalances in the spiritual, mental and emotional bodies that were moving inward to manifest as illness in the physical body -- and thus to determine the true sources of what could be referred pain. Thus the Nile culture was using the key principles of vibrational therapy long before anyone in the West began to write and speak about energy medicine a few decades ago. Once the diagnosis was made, the cure was easy: the patient walked around the crystal floor of the great courtyard, meditating on the issues of heart, mind and soul that had to be resolved if the body was to regain its health. The program must have worked, as Herodotus was not the only visitor who wrote that the Egyptians were the healthiest and happiest people in the world. It was small wonder that the sound physicians also attracted an extraordinarily talented student who stayed in Khemt for 20 years, and has been known for 2500 years era as the father of mathematics, music and sound medicine. He was famous for having healed hundreds, if not thousands of people by using glass bowls, tubular bells, anvils of different sizes and other instruments to determine the weak or missing tones in an ailing person's energy field, then administering sound to bring the whole person back into sonic balance.
We have no way of knowing now how it happened that Pythagoras -- of whom more soon in another prelude about his philosophy and practice of friendship -- has been credited with so much of the knowledge that he gained from the Khemitians. It seems unlikely that this noble soul could have been a mere plagiarist, passing off the discoveries of others as his own. The more probable scenario is that Europeans, determined to regard Greece as the cradle of Western civilization, have cut -- at least to their own satisfaction, and that of egyptologists who sift blindly around spiritual treasure without ever seeing it -- the lineage that once connected Khemt with Greece, Rome and other cultures whom they taught.
"Everybody knows" that Pythagoras used a monochord like this one, with its movable bridge in the middle, to discover and teach
the mathematics of musical intervals that have been ever since the basis of Western modal music and the diatonic scales that are still used today.

If this is true, how do we explain Khemitian images like this one? She is playing a lyre -- from which the Greeks developed their lyres later -- by strumming with her left hand while moving her right to stop the strings at the intervals she wants. The principle of determining tones by string division was clearly well understood by the "New Kingdom," from which we have many pictures like this one, if not long before. Khemitians, according to Plutarch, described counting as “numbering by fives,” and, according to Moustafa Gadalla, also invented the pentatonic scale, and the cycle of fifths that is the basis of all Western harmonic theory.

They also discovered the octave. Djehuti (aka Thoth) was called Master of the City of Eight, known to the Khemitians as Khmunu and the Hebrews as Shmon -- both meaning eight -- long before the Greeks called it Hermopolis in honor of the one they called Hermes Trismegistos because he was created three great things: letters, music and mathematics.
Almost all of the seven "Hermetic principles" -- which should really be called Djehuti principles -- reflect Khemitian principles of duality that conceived of all life as a harmonious balance of light and dark, birth and decay, female and male. And at least two of these two dualistic principles relate directly to music, and Khemt's conception that music flows in oscillating waves, like the river. Everyone knows the second principle. Here's the whole boat:
1.) Mentality: “All is Mind”
2.) Correspondence: “As Above, so Below”
3.) Vibration: “All is in Vibration”
4.) Polarity: “Everything is dual”
5.) Rhythm: “Everything flows”
6.) Causality: “Everything Happens by Law”
7.) Gender: “Everything has Masculine and Feminine Principles”
How does all this esoteric material relate to our needs and conditions now, and what does the music of ancient Khemt have to do with us? Does it even still exist anywhere, and do we have any idea how it sounded, and what the melodies were like? Yes, we do, and future preludes in this series will have examples of how the ancient Nile tunes from thousands of years ago are still heard today in popular moulid (festival) music, Coptic church music and Sufi chants. The recordings I'll do this year and next in the resonant chambers of Khemitian sites are aimed at finding which vocal frequencies are specific to each space, and how the ancient music is encoded in wall reliefs and texts at some of the per-ba.
Like this one, the famous per-ba of Het-Hor (Hathor) at Dendera. The walls are very recent, erected only decades before Jesus was born. But the foundations, and the mysterious lower room that was a healing chamber long before it became a "crypt," are very ancient, perhaps even as old as the Osireion, the celebrated water therapy per-ba at Apdu (Abydos).
We will not cover much about Het-Heru here, as she is the central figure in The Bull of His Mother, in her capacity as neter of birth. As everyone knows, she was also the neter of love and beauty. And, more pertinent to our topic here, she was the neter of music. Her devotees
played the instrument shown here, the sistrum, which often had the face of Het-Hor in the center, and, with her cow's ears extending out to either side, also resembled the suf sign ankh, for life. The sistrum had the rare property of combining the crispness and drive of percussion -- in a 3-beat rhythm like the one still used in weddings and other celebrations in Egypt today -- with a bell-like tone that induced altered states of consciousness.
The per-ba at Dendera is not the only one in Khemt that was built in three storeys -- but it is the only one that has a long stairway that ascends through all three floors in a single slope, filled with wall reliefs of sacred texts -- and perhaps melodies too -- that Het-Hor initiates-to-be sang as they walked up the stairs, starting with this portal. The Het-Hor music practice aimed at the purification of consciousness, and not so much at making it "higher" as at making it complete, with all senses and faculties fully activated.
Senay, the Het-Hor priestess shown here, has all the essential tools of her practice: sistrum, menit necklace that doubled as a rattle, and a sprig of sage.
The Het-Hor priestesses, like Aset/Het-Hor herself, were often skilled in herbs as well as music. The most important element of her practice is subtle enough to be overlooked, but is central to the intentional work that bonds patient and practitioner, and facilitates healing. At the front of her headdress is the lotus flower, symbol of love. Like today's holistic health artists, the Het-Hor devotees understood that there is no health, no music, no life, without love. Their practice is by no means irrelevant to our situation today. It is more needed than ever, and that is why it comes back into our consciousness now.
Het-Hor is singing again, and one of the way to maintain frequency in the birth cycle that begins next month is to sing with her. Hotep Het-Heri. The Love of Het-Hor. Keep Holding that Frequency.

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Copyright 2006 Dan Furst. All Rights Reserved.