The Tear in Hathor’s Eye

Across the Nile from Karnak are the Valley of the Kings and mortuary temples.  This is where we visited Hatschepsut's temples at Deir El-Bahari.  Hatschepsut died relatively young after a 20-year reign.  From her temple you can see Karnak Temple in the distance, but strangely you cannot see Karnak temple when you stand directly in the middle of the gate to her inner sanctuary and look outside across the Nile

Surprisingly, the double gateway is not centered even though I took this photo standing in the the center of the entry to Hatschepsut's inner sanctum.  From there, she could not see Karnak. Instead she saw an area of the horizon slightly south of the axis of Karnak temple, an axis which aims for the winter solstice sunrise as we saw in the previous blog post.  This is strange because Hatschpsut proclaimed that Amun-Re was her father, dressed as a man, and projected a male front to her people.  Yet, when you ascend up the levels to her mortuary temple, you don't see Amun-Re, you see this:

and this

and this:


Hathor was the cow goddess of motherhood and joy, but here she is sad which is not a common depiction of her. Is there a connection between the artistic message and the strange alignment of Hatschpsut's inner sanctum away from Karnak and towards a point further south? Did Hatschepsut have to bury her own deeply-held belief in the Hathor/Isis/Horus mother and child story and embrace the state religion centered around the male god Amun-Re as the ruler of her country to be taken seriously?

There is an intriguing possibility I will have to explore when I get back.  In Imhotep The African: Architect of the Cosmos, Robert Bauval mentions that the azimuth angle of the winter solstice sunrise and that of heliacal risings of Sirius was identical in the 32nd century B.C.  What about during the New Kingdom?

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