In ancient Egypt, gold was the “flesh of the gods” and a revered as part of immortality with spiritual powers. According to Egyptologist Salima Ikram, gold was the flesh of the gods “because it did not get discolored and was believed to be sacred.” But exactly why was the gold held as sacred?
Although we associate gold with currency today, it was once reserved mostly for the Egyptian elite and royal families. Instead of money, gold was associated with eternal life.
King Tutankhamun’s Gold Mask
Today, if you think of Egyptian gold, you might think of the funerary mask of King Tutankhamun or Tutankhaten, almost certainly the son of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Of all Egyptian artifacts, it’s probably King Tut’s golden mask that people recognize most in the west. When Tut’s gleaming mask arrived as part of the “Treasures of Tutankhamun” tour of America in 1976, eight million people came to see him.
Ever since then, his gold face has held our imagination. In Spring 2022, the Beyond King Tut exhibition is traveling America, marking the 100th anniversary of the discovery.
“Travel back in time 3,000 years to the 18th dynasty when King Tut ruled, and gods like Ra and Anubis were worshiped by all,” the website states.
Where Did the Gold Come From?
In all, there were over 260 pounds of gold in Tutankhamun’s tomb, sadly one of the only ancient Egyptian royal burials to have been found in a relatively intact state after looting. Today, archaeologists are still uncovering how the Pharaoh amassed so much of it.
Recent evidence suggests enslaved miners brought in gold from the remote Eastern Desert. To survive the barren land, they drilled wells along the way. Thus, they had to go to great lengths to obtain this gold for the royals and elite in Egypt. Why was it worth so much if it wasn’t yet used for widespread commerce?
Video by CBS Sunday Morning:
Gold and the Sun God
Although certainly beautiful, the question remains why did the ancient Egyptians associate gold with the afterlife? Egyptologists say the yellow color is like the Sun and was linked to the Sun God Ra or Re. So, how is the sun god connected with the afterlife?
King Tutankhamun, Akhenaten, and the Sun God
First, we’ll look at Tutankhamun’s father Akhenaten, who decided to create one of the world’s first monotheistic religions, Atenism, based around the Aten, a sun disk.
Before Tutankhamun’s short reign, his father overturned the old ways, refusing to worship multiple gods as had always been done before. Instead, he was the living embodiment of the Aten and would merge in immortality at death, directly connected to god.
But while his son’s tomb was discovered, Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) and Queen Nefertiti’s whereabouts remain mysterious, although reports claimed the mummy known as KV55 could be the Pharaoh. A tomb intended for the royal family in Amarna was badly plundered and damaged, leaving doubt if mummies were once laid to rest there.
Likewise, the location of Ankenaten’s older brother Crown Prince Thutmose, the original royal heir, remains a mystery. As you may know, there have been theories, including by Sigmund Freud, that the Biblical Moses was Egyptian and connected with the monotheistic Akhenaten.
Interestingly, Thutmose’s identity as Crown Prince is known from his cat Ta-Miu’s (she-cat) sarcophagus in the Cairo Museum. An inscription on the cat’s resting place identifies him as the eldest son of Amenhotep III.
Sidenote: In a story from the Book of the Dead, the god Ra takes on the form of a large cat named ‘Mau,’ and his daughter Bastet roamed the desert in the form of a fierce lioness.
The House of Ra
How did Akenaten arrive at the idea of a new religion centered around one god? Well, before he was known as Akenaten, Prince Amenhotep IV had a palace at Heliopolis, associated with a “sun cult,” according to Ancient Origins.
In the Old Kingdom, Pyramid Texts, Heliopolis is the “House of Ra.” Later, Baalbek in Lebanon was renamed Heliopolis after being conquered by Alexander the Great. Before that, the Phoenicians erected the temple to the sky god Baal, the Syrian Hadad, associated with the Egyptian god Amun (“the hidden”) Ammon, or Amen, the Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter.
According to the Canadian Museum of History:
“The word Amun means ‘the hidden’ or the ‘hiddenness of divinity,’ whereas Re means ‘the sun’ or the ‘divinity in the power of the sun.’ The god Amun-Re is a representation of these two ideas: the ever-present invisible power and radiant light of the divine force that sustains life.”
Therefore, the true meaning of the Sun god is not purely about the Sun but about much more than that. Is there more to the significance of gold as well?
An Overlooked Temple
Mount Sinai is best known in the west as the mountain of Moses and the Ten Commandments. However, another story from ancient Egypt takes place in Sinai, connected to using a form of gold called Mfkzt (pronounced mufkuzt), also known as monatomic gold or Ormus or the Philosopher’s Stone.
Although strangely little known, the huge ancient temple to the Egyptian Goddess Hathor, “the Eye of Ra,” is located in Serabit el-Khadim on Mount Horeb, believed to be Mount Sinai. Through the “Milk of Hathor,” the Pharaohs were said to gain divinity.
Have you heard of this temple? If you live in the west, maybe not. Perhaps, there is a reluctance to discuss a Temple to the goddess on the mountain of Moses?
However, a NASA page states:
“The earliest trace of alphabetic writing was found at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt at a temple to the Goddess Hathor. Since 2800 BCE, turquoise was mined here, mainly by the ancient Egyptians. Four thousand-year-old inscriptions are in the Proto-Sinaitic script, the ancestor to the Greek alphabet, and our modern alphabets.”
Thus, the site is also vitally important to the history of writing.
Video by Tours in Sharm El Shiekh:
Expedition to the Sinai Peninsula
In 1904, British archaeologist WM Flinders Petrie made an expedition to the Sinai Peninsula. His mission: “the promotion of surveys and excavations for the purpose of elucidating or illustrating the Old Testament narrative.” Although that was the goal, it didn’t quite work out that way.
Rather than finding Biblical evidence, Petrie found the temple to Hathor at Serabit El Khadim. According to TourEgypt.net, Amenhotep III, father to Akenaten, was one of many Egyptian royals who enlarged and extended the temple. Others were Tuthmosis III and female Pharaoh Hatshepsut. Additionally, the temple contained a statue-head of Akhenaton’s mother, Queen Tiye, with her cartouche set in the crown.
More Expeditions to the Temple
In 1930, there was a Harvard expedition to the site by Kirsopp Lake and Robert Blake. They sought early examples of an alphabetic script, a “developmental step between Egyptian and Phoenician,” which is “extremely important for our understanding of the modern alphabet,” the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East states on YouTube.
Then, another expedition by R.F.S Starr in 1935 excavated the Temple to Hathor with artifacts taken to the Semitic Museum. However, we don’t see any mention of something that Petrie says was present in massive amounts, a fine white powder possibly produced from gold.
Great video about the Petrie’s expedition to the Temple to Hathor by Ancient Architects:
Strange White Powder and Gold
Along with the Hall of Hathor, Petrie discovered a metallurgist’s space and massive quantities of pure white powder. Numerous inscriptions at the site refer to “white bread” and depict people carrying conical loaves to the Pharaohs. Certainly, this seems like something that would be emphasized and not overlooked, but the mainstream largely ignores it.
Theories About the Gold Powder
Strangely, there is very little information about this gold powder or the Temple to Hathor in mainstream publications, despite the significant find mentioned by NASA and Harvard. However, there is plenty for you to discover if you want to explore the subject further.
For example, British author and lecturer Laurence Gardner went into great detail about mfkzt, in which he describes many alleged properties and connections throughout ancient history (His views are not accepted or endorsed by the scientific community).
“In Greek mythology, the quest for the secret of this substance was at the heart of the Golden Fleece legend, while in biblical terms, it was the mystical realm of the Ark of the Covenant – the golden coffer, which Moses brought out of Sinai, and was later housed in the Temple of Jerusalem,” Gardner states.
“Irrespective of all this, the earliest historical record of ‘mfkzt’ powder is probably the most telling of all,” he continues. “It appears in a very specific guise in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts – sacred writings which adorn the 5th-dynasty pyramid tomb of King Unas at Saqqara. Here is described the locality in which the King is said to live forever with the Gods, and it is called the Field of Mfkzt – an ethereal location associated with an otherworldly dimension called the Realm of the Blessed.”
Could this be a large part of gold’s real significance for the ancient Egyptians?
Video of Laurence Gardner by OceanicORMUS:
Featured image: Composite via YouTube screenshots