Sphinx’s Aligns To Regulus (Leo) During Fifth Dynasty Egypt

or how the Sphinx conquered the vernal equinox

6 min readJul 9, 2020

[Disclaimer: The contents of this post are merely the reflections of the author’s opinions an beliefs, the subject matter holds no scientific weight. The aim is to explore alternative views on history.]

“What creature walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening?” The Greek legendary hero Oedipus: “Man, who walks on four legs in the morning (crawling as a baby), two legs in the afternoon (walking upright throughout most of life as an adult), and finally three legs in the evening (while using his cane during old age)”.

An interesting riddle with a palatable answer, case closed. For those who have a bigger appetite for wisdom and understanding know that there is more to it, much more. The answer given by Oedipus, a man who’s future was foretold, hints at a predictable outcome and perhaps even a cyclical nature of reality. Maybe there are more well-guarded secrets to be taken from the Sphinx, mysteries that could unpack then ancient world and impact the modern.

The Sphinx is a monolith carved into bedrock that aligns with the eastern horizon at the start of spring.[1] The Sphinx will face the sun at sunrise and the sun will set behind its back, the reverse is true at the autumnal equinox. This alignment is impossible to fixate without some form of guidance as it is impossible to know the precise cardinal directions by simply pointing towards the eastern horizon. So how did they do this? The answer lies in their understanding of the stars and the timing of their existence within the region.

Figure 1 Sunset over the right shoulder of the Sphinx.

Dividing the equatorial plane

It is very hard to be precise when trying to find east by observing the rising sun during the vernal equinox, or the setting sun at autumnal equinox. There is only one reference point, the sun, and it also blinds the observer within its general direction. The same problem is even worse at high noon as the sun eliminates all cardinal directions. So what about the night? At night, when the sun is below the horizon, or in its tomb, mysteries tend to come to light.

The zodiacal constellations form a band on the ecliptic plane that crosses the celestial equator at a 23,4° angle.[2] The equinoctial points are where the ecliptic crosses the equator marking the return or the departure of the sun. Sunrise at the vernal equinox defines spring, sunrise at the autumnal equinox defines fall.

Figure 2 Celestial equator and ecliptic.

We will be looking at midnight hours on winter solstices. Because if we square up the day into four equal parts then the meridian that is perpendicular to the equinoctial axis is also the meridian with the greatest inclination from the celestial equator. It aligns perfectly with the midnight midheaven and divides the equatorial plane into perfect 90° angled cross sections.

Star alignment through precession

The Egyptian’s were stargazers, they must have noticed the three stars within the constellations of Leo(Regulus), Leo Minor(Praecipua) and Ursa Major(Phecda) that are perfectly aligned are also perpendicular to the ecliptic. If they would simply align these with the winter solstice midheaven then they would know the cardinal directions at the turn of the seasons. They would then be able to place Sphinx towards its proper eastern direction!

Side note: The line between Regulus and Phecda (meaning thigh) sounds a lot like the Pythagorean thigh used to find true north or the Egyptian thigh of Set.[3][4]

Is it possible to change fixed star placements in order to use them? Or loosen Orion’s belt? Of course you cannot but this is where the Egyptians leveraged their understanding of precession. The vernal equinox has always carried a certain sense mystery due to the observed zodiacal precession projected on the ecliptic, it rotates ever so slightly each year. Precession, or axial precession, is defined as:

“a gravity-induced, slow, and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body’s rotational axis. In particular, it can refer to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth’s axis of rotation in a cycle of approximately 25,772 years”.[5]

Precession is noted to be discovered by Hipparchus in 127 BC, an erroneous notion as the Egyptians not only knew about it, they depended on it for the Sphinx’s construction.[6] It is knowledge that apparently didn’t survive the bronze age.

The Fourth Dynasty heralded the height of the pyramid-building age which lasted from c. 2613 to 2494 BCE.[7] In the year 2600 BCE Regulus, Praecua, Phecda would have been misalignment by about 2.5° but it would take until the winter solstice of 2372BCE (Gregorian) to have the proper alignment. Well worth the wait.

Figure 3 Star alignment (*, *, *) to the midheaven(MC) meridian, the north pole (NP) is perpendicular to the equinoctial axis(☊, ☋). All align at 5° within 34' within their respective signs.

The midnight midheaven on that particular night was aligned perfectly as is shown in figure 3 above. An alignment that only happens ‘once’ every 25,722 years. Change the day of the year and the cardinal directions will not match the equinoctial axis. Any other period and the stars would have drifted out of alignment. The Egyptians must either have been very lucky and opportunistic but far more likely they were tracking the stars.

Update: Using Stellarium the exact year appears to be 2346 BCE as can be seen in figure 4 below. Either Djedkare Isesi or his son Unas reigned as pharaoh in 2345 BCE, at the end of the Fifth Dynasty.

Figure 4 Exact alignment of Regulus on the winter solstice 2346 BCE.


The Egyptians were using star alignments and precession predictions to base the Sphinx. The Great Sphinx of Giza must have been based on celestial observations comparable to those on the winter solstice of 2346 BC. Construction therefore did not start around the 26th century BC which is the current consensus.[8]

The Sphinx successfully tracks the cardinal directions at the turn of the seasons, these are the defining points of a tropical year, they did this presumably to enhance their seasonal awareness.

Historical time tracking slowly moved from celestial observations towards calendar reckoning. Encasing the cardinal directions in stone, allows for the solar calendar to emerge, the solar calendar is the foundation of western society. Gaining precise understanding of the tropical year in combination with precession awareness is a great scientific and religious achievement.

By Orestes_3113

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[1] Sunset over the Sphinx — https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/sphinx-alignment-0013459

[2] The ecliptic — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecliptic

[3] Pythagorean Thigh — https://www.labyrinthdesigners.org/alchemy-gnosis/the-pythagorean-thigh-in-the-northern-sky/

[4] Thigh of Set — http://www.joanlansberry.com/setfind/setitomb.html

[5] Axial precession — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_precession

[6] Hipparchus ‘discovers’ precession — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipparchus

[7] Fourth Dynasty of Egypt — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Dynasty_of_Egypt

[8] Great Sphinx of Giza — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sphinx_of_Giza




Unearthing planetary cycles, prime numbers and the lunacy in art or literature.