Hypocephalus of Shishaq (Sheshonq)
The above facsimile represents Michael Lyon’s masterful reconstruction of
the Shishaq Hypocephalus. See M. Lyon, “Appreciating Hypocephali as Works of Art and Faith”, FARMS Book of Abraham Lecture
Series, 1999. Numbers, corresponding to Book of Abraham Facsimile 2, have been
inserted, and Figure 7 has been adjusted (slightly) to more authentically
represent the Egyptian depiction.
See other Hypocephali (below). As an
artist and careful researcher, M. Lyon may have been a little conflicted: Should he be
true to the Egyptian, or to the “Mormon” representation? There happens to be
an ancient point of view that reconciles both.
(after, like, as the heart,
as the mind),
signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or
the residence of God; which residence the
First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time.
The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time
signifies one day to an
One day in Kolob is equal to
a thousand years
according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Ah-meh-strah-ans
Oan or Ah-e,
the temporal world after
(the earth as it was in the beginning); the
whole earth in her paradisiacal glory being
Note: In the Shishaq Hypocephalus, the ratio of the length of the rectangle containing Figures 1, 22 and
23, to its height, is roughly the ratio of the length of Aron ha-Brit (the
Ark of the Covenant) to its height, or breadth. This ratio is close to
Golden ratio. In the case of
the frame surrounding Figures 1, 22 and 23, the approximation of φ is good to at least the rational
Fibonacci approximation 3/2 = 1.5.
Stands next to Kolob, called by the Ah-meh-strah-ans [see Note
ב] Oliblish, which is the next grand governing creation near to the celestial or the place
where God resides; holding the key of power also, pertaining to other
מַזָלוׂת; as revealed from God to Avram, as he offered sacrifice upon an
altar, which he had built unto the
Eternal.], so let it be.
Note: The term “planet” derives from the Greek meaning “wanderer” i.e. “wandering stars”, “asteres planetai”.
This is not a word that Abram would have used. The expression “fixed planets”
(Facsimile 2, Figure 5) is something of an oxymormon,
since planets by definition are not fixed. The Semitic term “mazalot”, “stars of fortune or fate - lucky stars,
abodes of gods” is translated “planets” (KJV), but the word may also
refer to “stars” or groups of stars that appear relatively “fixed”.
The characters to the left of the standing two-headed god read: “The name
of this Mighty God”. (Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus …
Twenty Years Later”, pp. 4-5)
This figure was appropriately copied from a Book of the Dead in
Joseph Smith’s possession, and inserted in place of the lacuna
(missing portion - upper right hand) of the Shishaq Hypocephalus. Compare with other hypocephali (below).
Figure 3 Is made
to represent God, sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority;
with a crown of eternal light upon his head; representing also the grand
Key-words of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to ha-Adam in the Garden of
Eden, as also to Shet, Noah,
Malki-tsedeq, Avraham, and all to
whom the Priesthood was revealed.
The characters to the left of the
falcon-headed sun god seated on his papyrus barge, read: “Divine ship”. (Michael D.
Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”, pp.
immediately to the left of the papyrus solar ferry
עברת־חם), near Figure 2 in
the Church published version, is a little
libation stand holding the papyrus and lotus bouquet .
This symbol is interpreted to represent “Abraham in Egypt”.
Figure 10 and
3 of Facsimiles 1 and 3 respectively (adapted from the Hor Book of
Breathings). Now look near the LDS addition
2 (Facsimile 2). Note that the papyrus-lotus bouquet symbol does not appear
in the original Shishaq Hypocephalus - nor does it appear near the
two-headed god in other hypocephali (below). The introduction of the “Abraham in Egypt” papyrus -
lotus bouquet, and adjacent “avarat-ham”
solar ship (Figure 3)
serves to “Abramize” the pagan hypocephalus in ways the Ah-meh-strah-an
could relate to.
sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens
the grand Key-words of the
Priesthood; as, also, the sign of
unto Avram, in the form of a dove (adapted from the symbol of an erect,
virile serpent with legs; consider
B'sorot Matti 10:16).
Answers to the Hebrew word
signifying expanse, or the firmament of the heavens [see Note
ג]; also a numerical
figure, in Ah-meh-strah-an signifying one thousand; answering to the
measuring of the time of Oliblish, which is equal with Kolob in its
revolution and in its measuring of time.
Is called in Ah-meh-strah-an Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the
governing mazalot also, and is said by the Ah-meh-strah-ans to be the Sun,
and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash,
which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which
governs fifteen other fixed mazalot or
כּוׂכָבִים, as also Floeese or the Moon,
the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions.
mazal receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es,
or Ha-kokhavim, the kokhavim represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light
from the revolutions of Kolob.
Represents this earth in her four quarters. The Ah-meh-strah-an
this earth under the unified governing influence of interplanetary
and interstellar agencies
is similar in pronunciation to the sacred
God [see Note
Note: Modifying Figure 7 so that the
Egyptian virility symbol
discreetly appears to represent an arm, doesn’t necessarily change the intended meaning
(from an Ah-meh-strah-an point of view). The Hebrew word for “arm”,
is akin to the word for “seed”, “zera” (זֶרַע).
Consider Messianic Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 48:14;
Contains writings that cannot be revealed unto the world; but is to
be had in the Holy Temple of God.
characters read: “may the soul of Osiris Shishaq (Sheshonq) be granted
life”. (Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus … Twenty Years
Later”, pp. 4-5) The line may be interpreted to signify the birth/resurrection
unto eternal lives of the exalted individual (e.g. Shishaq) as
ha-Adam, analogues to the god Osiris, accompanied by his eternal companion
(Life), analogues to the throne goddess
Isis; the details of which are presented in the
Temple. (Bereshit (Gen.) 3:22)
Fig. 9. Ought not to be revealed at the present time;
possibly referring to mysteries of the “afterworld” (eternity, the cosmos),
“and of his great waters” (possibly including
or the heavens, his
great galactic arm, amah or
z'roa - based on Joseph’s supplemented characters). Consider
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 121:26-32
characters read: “[God] of the hereafter, and of his great waters”. (Michael
D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”, pp.
10. Also. Consider
LDS Doctrine and Covenants 133:39-45
characters read: “O Mighty God, Lord of heaven and earth”. (Michael D.
Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”, pp.
characters read: “O God of the Sleeping Ones from the time of the creation”.
(Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”,
world can find out these numbers [enumerated lines of characters and or
Lines 11,10,9 and 8 read in order: “O God of the Sleeping Ones from
the time of the creation. O Mighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, of the
hereafter, and of his great waters, may the soul of Osiris Shishaq (Sheshonq)
be granted life.” (Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus …
Twenty Years Later”, pg. 5)
12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21, will be given in the own due
time of the
characters associated with Figures 21, 20 and 19 read: “You will ever be as
that God, the Busirian [Osiris]”. (Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith
Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”, pp. 4-5)
Figure 18, outer edge or rim, reads: “I am the Provider in the
Sun Temple in
Heliopolis. [I am] most exalted and very glorious. [I
am] a virile bull without equal. [I am] the Mighty God in the
Sun Temple in
Heliopolis. <May the Osiris Shishaq [Sheshonq] live
forever> with the Mighty God in Heliopolis.” <Missing text
reconstruction based on British
Museum hypocephali> (Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith
Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”, pp. 2, 4-5)
Figures 17, 16 read: “May this tomb never be desecrated, and may this soul
and its lord never be desecrated in the hereafter.” (Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith
Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”, pp. 2, 4-5)
Figures 12 through 15
are missing hieroglyphs. In the LDS publication of Facsimile 2, the missing
hieroglyphs are filled in with hieratic characters
the Hor Book of Breathings - a separate funerary work, written in a
different type of Egyptian. The presentation
comes across, at first, as an unwitting mix of legitimate hieroglyphic
text, and commandeered, upside-down, inverted, broken, and redundant Egyptian
shorthand; put in place for the sake of appearance.
It would appear that the Prophet Joseph Smith did not read hieratic or
hieroglyphic Egyptian as current scholars do. Its true that everything he
learned about the Egyptian texts, he learned by way of
inspiration/revelation. But notwithstanding the revelations, by the spring
of 1842, in the midst of American Egyptomania, Times and Seasons
readers were told they would have to
wait for “the own due time of the Lord”
to understand significant portions of the curious Facsimile 2.
The Prophet would not publish made-up meanings for the hieroglyphic text, or
for the inserted hieratic characters with the object of catering to an
Recently, LDS scholars have tended to suggest that the Prophet was referring
just to the original hieroglyphs of Figures 12 through 15 etc. and their
meanings, as the things to be
“given in the own due time of the Lord”.
But its appears more
reasonable, as one examines Joseph’s published Facsimile 2, that he was
referring to both hieroglyphs and the supplemented hieratic characters.
The idea that the Prophet would arbitrarily insert characters in place
of missing hieroglyphs for the sake of appearance, becomes more disturbing the more one thinks about it. If the copied hieratic
characters don’t make sense - maybe they aren't being interpreting the way
As for the missing hieroglyphs; hasn’t some knowledgeable person guessed
what they might be, based on
a study of other hypocephali?
The answer is
yes! Having examined similar
hieroglyphs on other hypocephali, LDS Egyptologist Val Sederholm, suggests
that the missing hieroglyphs of figures 12 though 15 might read: “j
nTr pfy 'A, 'nx m TAw, jw m mw: 'q r' jw [=r] sDm md.t=f. [Mj n] Wsjr”,
which translates: “I invoke that special, particular, transcendent god, who
lives by breathing, who negotiates the waters: So may
Re [the sun god] descend to hear
Osiris’ words. Come to Osiris Shoshenq.” Sederholm thus interprets
the restored hieroglyphic text (Figures 12 through 15) to be a prayer for
rescue - a prayer befitting the resurrection/deliverance of
Osiris Hor/Abram as depicted in
(Recovering the Missing Hieroglyphs on the Right Panels of LDS Book of Abraham Facsimile 2)
There is no question as to who arranged the hieratic writing,
inserted in place of the
lacunae (missing parts) of the Sheshonq Hypocephalus. The Prophet’s
own diary records:
4 March 1842 - Friday
“Exhibiting the Book of Abraham, in the original [i.e.
facsimiles, cut from more than one scroll, compiled with the English manuscript], To Bro Reuben Hadlock
[Hedlock]. so that he might take the size of the several plates
or cuts. & prepare the blocks for the Times & Seasons. & also
instruction concerning the arrangement of the writing on the Large cut
- Facsimile 2]. illustrating the principles of Astronomy...
” (Joseph Smith’s Illinois Journal -
Joseph Smith’s redacted
hypocephalus accompanied the publication of the
Book of Abraham in the
Times and Seasons newspaper (15 March
1842). The hypocephalus features
hieratic characters copied from the Hor Book of Breathings inserted in place of missing hieroglyphs.
Joseph Smith’s insertions are inverted, or upside-down relative to
adjacent hieroglyphs. This raises several questions: If the sole purpose of
inserting the characters was to give the appearance of completeness, why copy
characters from a separate Egyptian scroll? Why not copy hieroglyphs from
the hypocephalus itself? Could the selection and inversion of the hieratic
characters be deliberate? Indeed the Prophet “gave instruction concerning
the arrangement of the writing”. Is it possible then that the inserted
hieratic writing was not intended to represent continuations of the hieroglyphic
text? Could the hieratic characters be arranged and interpreted so as to
mean something – perhaps relating to Abraham? Like the papyrus and lotus
bouquet symbol added next to Figure 2, could the inserted hieratic
characters be part of the effort to “Abramize” the pagan hypocephalus?
We are suggesting here that the
Prophet was redacting and reinterpreting the hypocephalus Ah-meh-strah-an
style. Many of the hieratic characters inserted in the hypocephalus were
the same characters used to correlate with the
Book of Abraham narrative (1835
characters are to be interpreted in Ah-meh-strah-an transtextual ways. In
other words Joseph Smith adapted the funerary facsimiles (including the hypocephalus), and
reinterpreted them in ways that parallel an ancient Ah-meh-strah-an version
of the Book of Abram.
Hieratic characters (lines 1 through 4) from the Hor Book of Breathings,
transposed into hieroglyphic Egyptian. (Hugh Nibley, The Message of the
Joseph Smith Papyri - An Egyptian Endowment, Chapter 2) Note: It is possible that
the Hedlock carving of Facsimile 2 (printing block for the Times and
Seasons newspaper), confuses a set of characters from line 1 of the Hor Book of Breathings,
with a set of similar characters appearing in line 2. In other words,
the apparent redundancy (seen on the upper right-hand rim of the hypocephalus) may not
For a translation of the Hor Book of Breathings, including parts
inserted in the missing portions of the Shishaq Hypocephalus, see Hugh
Nibley’s The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri - An Egyptian
Endowment, Chapter 2.
For Ah-meh-strah-an styled interpretations of many of
these characters, see Esoteric Egyptian in the Margins of the Book of Abraham and
Esoteric Egyptian in Facsimile No. 2.
above translation is given as far as we have any right to give at the
Joseph Smith, Grammar and Alphabet of the
Egyptian (Ah-meh-strah-an) Language, 5th Degree
pp. 5 -
Zub Zoal eh, Zab zoal; 4th Degree
Zub-zaol-eh; 3rd Degree
Auk eh, Zub-zool-eh; 2nd Degree
Ahe, Zubzooleh; 1st Degree
Oan, Zubzool eh; Second part 1st Degree
Astronomical symbol of the Earth
The original explanation to Fig. 1 presents another
term for the earth. This name is also found in Joseph Smith’s Egyptian
(Ah-meh-strah-an) Alphabet and Grammar. The astronomical symbol of the
earth (in her four quarters) is there associated with an anglicized name
similar to the Tetragrammaton.
The following explanation accompanies the name: “the earth under the government of another …” See Second
part 5th Degree,
Second part 4th Degree,
Second part 3rd Degree,
Second part 2nd Degree,
Second part 1st Degree,
The Ah-meh-strah-an Cross of Adon, signifying the
rule of the Eternal over the Earth and
her divisions, as also the divine compass and square. The ancient letters of
Tetragrammaton appearing in their
respective quarter, are read in endless round. The hieroglyphs represent (1)
the open hand and forearm, (2) a man with upraised arms in the act of
prayerful praise or petition, (3) the nail or tent peg. This symbol can act as “and”
- joining words as if by a nail. The hieroglyphs may be
interpreted to represent, “He who will be and who
ever was”. The “chariot wheel
תֵבֵל (the world)” is symbolized with crossed spokes. The letter “tav” as in
“tumeykha” (thy perfections), and “tevel”
(world), was represented
anciently by the
mark of the cross.
The letter “tet”, as in the Elohim saw their creation to be “tov”
(good), was similarly represented anciently by the
circle and mark
crossing it in X fashion. The Ah-meh-strah-an association of the sacred name
of the Eternal
with the earth may relate to the fact that “yah.t”, an Egyptian word for
“earth”, is somewhat similar to the divine Hebrew name. See Michael
D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus … Twenty Years Later”, pg. 8.
TETRAGRAMMATON AND EARTH.
Grammar and Alphabet of the
Egyptian (Ah-meh-strah-an) Language, 5th Degree
pg. 6 identifies “Egypt” as “Ah-meh-strah”.
Does the word “Ah-meh-strah” relate to the Hebrew “matsor”, suggesting a “limiting boundary,
or border”, a “defense”; as in the mighty Nile “streams of
defense” (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 19:6)?
Is “Ah-meh-strah” related to “Mitsrayimah”, translated
“Egypt” in the
Is “Ah-meh-strah” related to “Ahme-as” which means “God without beginning or end”,
according to the Prophet (pg. 33).
Or does “Ah-meh-strah”relate to “amah - sitrah” (אמה־סתרה),
meaning “forearm, mother-city” is “shelter, protection”?
(Devarim (Deut) 32:37-38,
The “Ah meh strah ans” are the unique “Egyptians” behind the
esoteric interpretations of funerary facsimiles supplementing a later
version of the Book of Abram.
The Ahmehstrahan society may be viewed as a partial, or preparatory fulfillment of
Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 19:21.
Formerly spelled “Raukeeyang”, Joseph Smith exhibits the
Western Sephardic pronunciation of his Hebrew Instructor Joshua
(James) Seixas. See J. Seixas, Manual Hebrew
Grammar, pg.12. The case in which “raqiya”
(firmament or expanse) is pronounced “rau-kee-ng”
(Seixas) dates to Italian and Western Portuguese Jewish communities of
the late 16th century CE. See Aron di Leone Leoni, “The
Pronunciation of Hebrew in the Western Sephardic Settlements (16th
– 20th Centuries). Second Part:
The Pronunciation of the Consonant ‘Ayin”,
68.1, 2008, pp. 163-208.
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