This is the `Southern Shrine’ of the New Kingdom, initially built over 3000 years ago, running from south to north along the River Nile.
I’m peering up at 24m high columns, and the doorway to the Third Antechamber with the Barque of Amun beyond.
In the mist of time, Osiris is the first Pharaoh – the King of the Gods; Seth his brother, but only the God of Chaos and aspiring for something better. Osiris is tricked into laying in a sarcophagus, with Seth filling the box with molten lead and casting the box into the river Nile.
Isis is the wife of Osiris and she discovers the box, only to see Seth tear his brother’s body to bits, throwing each piece in the river. Isis again rescues her husband, collecting the pieces.
She bandages the body back together; all the pieces but one, as the phallus has been eaten by a catfish.
Isis makes a new phallus of gold, incants a magic spell and briefly brings Osiris back to life. She becomes pregnant and Osiris is transported to the underworld, having now become God of the Dead.
In the cool of the evening modern men lounge on ancient steps dressed in the ubiquitous galabiya and turban. I gaze up to those grand colonnades now glowing gold, and ponder the recent discovery of Osiris’ final resting place, close by at Sheikh Abd el-Gourna Necropolis.
I wonder at the feelings stirred with a new discovery here, and especially within this Spanish-Italian team when entering a large hall supported by 5-mighty pillars; the silent walk down a staircase to a dark netherworld and a previously-unknown funerary temple. There’s a giant stone statue of Osiris under a high vaulted ceiling; this being the place of final reckoning for those ancient folk – the weighing of their hearts to assess the good in their soul and the weight of their wrongdoings, all before the great God Osiris, now God of the Dead and the Afterlife.
Photo: Barque of Amun Doorway – Temple of Luxor, Egypt _ Vyacheslav Argenberg