In 1997 I took the trip of a lifetime, I went on a mystical tour around Egypt. The man leading the tour was John Anthony West. It was two weeks of visits to the ancient sites with a man whose books I had devoured, ‘Serpent in the Sky’, and ‘The Case for Astrology’ and his Egyptian guide ‘Ancient Egypt’.
Sadly, the massacre at the Hatshepsut temple had occurred the week before, so there were not many tourists in the country, John had considered cancelling the tour but he had been assured that we would all be safe, and we were because assigned to us was top security. Myself, I did not fear death, my prayers were for us all but if we were to be attacked, could it be on the last day? I was willing to die but only after I had seen the sites!
Many will recognise John as being the man who promotes the theory that the sphinx is much, much older than academics say, they date it to around 2500 BCE, whereas John believes it is many millennia older. John and Robert Schoch, a geologist that partnered with him, both promote the theory that the sphinx is much older and was situated in Egypt before the deserts took over the land.
With Schoch, John proves that the sphinx and its body, which is cut out from the limestone bedrock, have been around when heavy rain used to fall onto the Egyptian land. There are heavy erosional features which Schoch and West state could only be caused by heavy rainfall. Now when did it last rain in Egypt? When did it last rain so heavily that it would erode the bedrock?
The debate began, the academics did not like it. John, who always liked to play with words, referred to the academics as ‘quackademics’. John encouraged me to look at the Egyptian sites and statues with new eyes as he talked about esoteric Egyptian wisdom. In ancient times people thought differently, they lived and thought differently to how we do in the 21st century. Academic eyes came to the past with modern eyes. John had a different approach, reading the texts, looking at statues and temples and his countless visits to Egypt, his interpretation came from trying to walk in the ancient’s shoes. He was also inspired by another man who had come to rewrite Egyptian history; R A Schwaller de Lubicz.
Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961) was a bit of a mysterious figure himself. He studied the ancient temples in Egypt for many years, and came to an appreciation of what these temples and the old religions of Egypt really meant-they were a pathway to a higher consciousness, the temples represented the full embodiment of the sacred sciences. This wisdom and knowledge have been lost over the centuries, maybe a handful of initiates would understand this teaching now, and de Lubicz, through his own private study, was one of them. Schwaller de Lubicz wrote many books on the subjects, his magnus opus being ‘The Temple of Man’, a book that reveals the secrets to the temples of Egypt and their link to humanity and the universe. This book was released in 1949 and caused an uproar in the Egyptian academic world.
John Anthony West discovered Schwaller de Lubicz’s books, which at that time were only available in French. John read them and promoted Schwaller’s theories through his book ‘Serpent in the Sky’ and the tours he gave in Egypt. Again, the academics were in uproar, especially since he now had a geologist to back up his ideas that the Ancient Egyptians had been around for a lot longer than the academics declared. John and de Lubicz were rocking the academic’s structure of ancient Egyptian history.
The academics will not consider either of their works, because their books and theories shake the academics narrative, which is a fixed view, narrow, blinkered, unwilling to look at what is considered as alternative theories.
John explained this all on our trip, regaling us with stories of his attempts to put forward his work into the academic world and being rebuffed at every turn. Thought the academics did not want to listen, other people did. People have been fascinated with ancient Egypt since it was rediscovered in 1800s. The Western world is obsessed with pharaohs and mummies, pyramids and sphinx statues and are more open to hearing about non-academics’ theories.
Ancient Egypt is a mesmerising place, its mythology and history are there to be explored amongst the temples and pyramids, and one has to remember that the academic version of this country’s ancient history was written by a few archaeologists and historians in the 1800’s.
On my trip with John, I was shown the magical sites and with John’s wonderful way of explaining the esoteric side of the ancient Egyptians and how they honoured the gods and goddesses through their understanding of maths, frequency, art and sound, I was made aware of how the ancients had a better understanding of how the universe operates than we do today.
To most people the hieroglyphs and symbols on the temple walls means very little but a deeper understanding shows that these symbols are relating something on a higher level than one’s usual mode of thought. These symbols work at a subconscious level depicting archetypal constructs.
“The heart synthesises, the mind analyses.” John writes in the symbolism chapter of ‘The Serpent in the Sky’.
And this was what John Anthony West taught me when I was on that trip with him in magical Egypt. I was a naive 28-year-old girl wanting to learn everything but I was using my head only, my intellect was rationalising everything I knew. I had to learn to feel with my heart too.
I had explained to John, in a private conversation, that I was searching for truth and understanding of life and this world. I told him about the many books I had read, the many wise people I had sort out, that I was searching continuously and wanted answers, that I wanted lessons in ways to open opening my conscience and consciousness. I knew deep inside that life had many secrets and that the ancient knowledge could reveal answers to me, that it could guide me towards answers, answers that I would later discover in myself.
John would chuckle and wish me well, I don’t remember his exact words yet I have to thank him for so much because he was always encouraging and always kind but the most important thing I have to thank him for is that it was he who was my introduction to the works of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.
In ancient Egypt when somebody died, they were said to have gone West, as it was in the west that the heavens sat. John Anthony West went west on 6th February 2018.
Photo by Debbie Elliott