The Sphinx

This monument has mystified travellers since the dawn of time.

Above: the lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding

Although the Sphinx has suffered over the centuries the archetype itself is perennial. Today the Red Lion remains the most enigmatic sculpture on Earth and has influenced many cultures around the world—versions can be seen in Greece, Turkey, India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. Below is an example from an Attic grave monument:

There is much disagreement over the age of the Sphinx but the water erosion around the enclosure would suggest that it predates dynastic Egypt. Indeed, the age is so great that even the pharaohs would have considered it ancient. By studying the weathering, geologists have concluded that the Sphinx was carved during the archaic Zep Tepi.

The head of the Sphinx was inspired by the inverted pentagon. Within it is an inverted pentagram, or five-pointed star. The lengths of the various lines and segments between the points correspond to the golden ratio or Φ. In the figure above, the golden spiral unites the heart and head polarities.

Since the angelic heart is “all love” and the demonic third eye is “all power”, we might say the heart is “the lion” and the third eye is “the serpent”. The lion’s qualities are bravery, intuition and empathy while the serpent’s strengths are leadership, insight and thought. In the Sphinx, the pentagram joins the heart and third eye chakras (Horus and Set):

Above: love and power are psychological opposites

But Carl Jung takes us one step further: “As opposites never unite at their own level, a supraordinate ‘third’ is always required, in which the two parts can come together…it is able to unite them both, reconciling their conceptual polarity through its form and their emotional polarity through its numinosity.”

This geometry hints at the master symbol of the Egyptians. It comes from the fractal starseed that germinates as a series of pentagrams—the blueprint of the cosmos. In other words, the infinite within the finite:

Above: the lyre of Hermes reborn as the lute of Pythagoras

So if we consciously belly breathe “love as power” via the nose, then this leads naturally to salvation. In other words, they are complimentary—for within the depths of power, love finds its strength and within the tenderness of love, power finds its purpose. Below we can see the LOVEPOWER that inspires the starseed we call the Magician:

In fact, our demons will only give up their names when they are loved—if the shunned aspects of ourselves feel safe enough to step from the shadows. Loving the darkness then, is really a huge leap of faith—the hero’s journey towards unity. In other words:


In truth, our psyche is not really full of demons but rather the disassociated parts of ourselves that we have not yet learned to love. We must therefore transmute the doubt, the fear and the pain. We never know when our demons will show up, though they normally rear their heads when we’re emotionally vulnerable.

At centre above is the Ankh. It was always held up to the nose in Egyptian reliefs—nasal breathing activates the energy in the Circle of Willis and hence our state. When we realise this, peace prevails between opposing forces as we slowly begin to heal. Perhaps now we can introduce the Riddle of the Sphinx:

I am the dance of Sun and Moon,
Of day and night, death and bloom.
In every moment I am there,
In every breath, in every prayer.

When I wake I feel the thrill,
Of renewing my eternal will.
Through mortal eyes I see it all,
As kings rise and ever fall.

Within my heart a lion’s delight,
A serpent’s eye burning bright.
Eternal love and mighty power
Guide my steps, hour by hour.

In the darkness I learned to see,
The living image inside of me.
I am the spirit in the void—

The gleam of gold, unalloyed.

Beauty and the beast combine,
Faith as truth, a duet sublime.
So who am I of human strife,
The essence of cosmic life?

If you replied “Universal Man,” “Primordial Man” or “Adam Kadmon” then good for you! “Quintessential Man” then, balances these polarities as the Prince of Peace—Osiris.

The symbolism of the Red Lion can vary in different alchemical texts, but it generally represents the ultimate goal of alchemy which is the union of the opposites. In the most profound sense then, the Red Lion implies the unconditional love of eternal life!

If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.
—Charles Bukowski