Alternate Perceptions Magazine, August 2018
Origin of the Clovis Culture Takes an Unexpected Turn
by: Dr. Greg Little
Resolving the Pyramids’ Alignment Enigma: The Orion/Cygnus Correlation Theory By Dr. Greg Little
On July 16, 2018, a writer on Graham Hancock’s “Mysteries” Message Board, asked, Is the OCT valid? … what is wrong with the Orion Correlation Theory?” The problem is that it’s only a piece of the picture. It is partly correct but partly wrong.
The OCT was put forth by Robert Bauval and Adrial Gilbert in their 1994 book, “The Orion Mystery.” It was an exciting idea and seemingly answered one of the most enduring mysteries of all time. Why were the three main pyramids at Giza aligned in such a peculiar yet seemingly precise way? Bauval and Gilbert proposed that the ancient Egyptians constructed the three main pyramids in a slightly offset way to mimic the three belt stars of Orion. It was proposed that the intention was to send the souls of the dead pharaohs to the stars, specifically to Orion. That, for all intents of purposes is the entire idea as it now stands. When it was first proposed, the theory was expanded to suggest that all the stars of the Orion Constellation were somehow incorporated into the design of structures at other distant sites, however, that idea was eventually discounted and is now generally ignored. It was also shown repeatedly that the three pyramids alignments didn’t quite “perfectly” match the belt stars of Orion but it was argued that the alignments are “close.” It is also known that one of the “air shafts” from the King’s Chamber (the south shaft) was aligned to Orion sometime around 2575-2465 BCE.
Since the initial proposal of the OCT many other sites have been suggested as having the same construction alignments to Orion, meaning that three important features are roughly aligned on the ground in a nearly straight line and roughly equal-distant. Virtually all of these suggestions are based on identifying three ancient structures being aligned in a roughly straight line with one slightly offset. It really doesn’t matter which of the three is offset. These ancient structure can be pyramids, standing stones, and mounds. In almost every case, to make this work one has to ignore a lot of the other mounds or structures found in the same general vicinity. In addition, one has to ignore a lot of the work and suggestions by archaeoastronomers to make the “Orion-everywhere” idea work. So, is it that simple?
Along Comes Cygnus
In 2006 a “competing” theory about the pyramids’ alignments was released in the book, “The Cygnus Mystery,” by Andrew Collins. Through a lot of collaborative research, Collins determined that the three pyramids fit the middle bar stars of the Cygnus Constellation much better than did Orion. There were also numerous other facts about asterisms and sightlines indicating that the three pyramids at Giza seemed to be pointing to Cygnus. Collins put forth a plethora of other research showing that Cygnus was important to the ancient Egyptians.
I had become aware of Collins’ theory several years prior to the release of his book and some of our professional research relationship was discussed in Collins’ 2006 book. At first I was both skeptical and disappointed because I initially liked the OCT when I first became aware of it. I began independently researching both Collins and Bauval’s ideas shortly thereafter and made numerous calculations specifically focusing on ancient Native American mound sites. Collins has, of course, followed his 2006 book with several other books and numerous articles including some published in peer-reviewed journals. After carefully reviewing all Collins was asserting and looking closely at the OCT it became apparent that the simple idea the OCT proposed was very suspect. But it was research on ancient Native American sites that changed the entire picture.
In 2014 Collins and I collaborated on a book, “Path of Souls,” which detailed the Mound Builders Death Journey, which is known as the Path of Souls. It is a well-accepted scenario in mainstream American archaeology, which details what the mound builders believed took place on the journey of departed souls from this world. The Path of Souls ideology incorporates Orion’s Nebula, the Milky Way, and Cygnus into it. The souls of the deceased first took a leap to Orion’s Nebula, which they saw as an ogee, a slit in the sky. The ogee allowed the soul to be safely tucked away while the soul passed through the underworld during the daytime. From there, on the next night, the souls moved toward the north on the Milky Way. The Milky Way was a river of souls. As the souls moved toward the north they eventually reached Cygnus, which they saw as a giant raptor bird. The raptor, usually seen as a “Great Eagle,” was a final judge of each soul. Those that passed the final judgment were allowed to depart to the “Other World,” the land of the ancestors. The star Deneb, the brightest star of Cygnus, was likely the final portal from the sky. The ideas underlying the Path of Souls probably developed around 16-18,000-years ago, when Cygnus appeared as the celestial North Pole (Deneb was the pole star then) and when Orion was only visible for a brief time on the extreme south horizon. Mainstream archaeologists worked out this belief system through careful study of artifacts, symbols, analyzing what the Native Americans themselves stated, and by studying what the ethnographers in the 1700s and 1800s uncovered from secret Native American societies. But that has led to research on the alignments of mounds and geometric earthworks constructed by these ancient people.
In recent years I have verified that numerous ancient American mound and earthwork complexes were built not to mimic the actual arrangement of stars as they are seen in the sky, but to create sightlines that allowed the viewing of Cygnus, Orion, and the sunset at the specific times of the year when the Path of Souls ritual took place. These sites were used to conduct the death journey rituals and to allow the public to view the important stellar components of the ritual from the ground—viewing such from one mound directly across another at key times. There are so many of these sites that have now been confirmed and accepted by mainstream archaeologists that the assertion that at least some major mound and earthwork complexes were constructed for this purpose is indisputable.
The Orion-Cygnus Correlation Theory—The OCCT
Given that the link between Orion and Cygnus is confirmed in ancient American cultures, it now is time to consider a similar link in ancient Egypt—and probably elsewhere. Collins has amply demonstrated that the oldest stone temple in the world, at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, was created to target the Cygnus Constellation. Gobekli Tepe predates Giza by more than 6,000 years. Thus, it is highly likely that the veneration of Cygnus would also be found at Egypt, since we know some of the movements of these truly ancient cultures. The vast work Collins has done showing that Cygnus was important to the ancient Egyptians points us to the conclusion that Cygnus cannot be ignored as part of the solution.
In addition, we know that the south air shaft in the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid targeted Orion around the time of its accepted date of construction. It is highly probable that the function of the King’s Chamber was a way to symbolize the soul’s journey to the sky, via Orion’s nebula. However, we also know that various components of the pyramids and other structures at Giza conform rather well to not just the three central bar stars of Cygnus but also to the other key stars of Cygnus. There are a lot of complicated details involved with all of these speculations, however it can be summed up rather easily. The probability is that the ancient Egyptians shared the same ideas about the death journey as those held by Americas’ ancient mound builders and the long-forgotten people of Gobekli Tepe. The idea was for the soul of the departed to be initially sent to Orion’s nebula, then to the Milky Way, and on to Cygnus. The air shaft was made to allow the soul to make the journey to Orion’s nebula. The soul then made a journey toward the north along the Milky Way. In ancient Egyptian lore it was the renewal journey depicted by the goddess Nut who stretched her body across the sky. The journey ended at the Cygnus Constellation, at the dark rift of the Milky Way, where renewal of the soul took place. In sum, it is likely that the three pyramids were made to mimic Cygnus and the southern air shaft in the Great Pyramid was the means for the soul to begin the journey. This is the OCCT.