12 Gates of the underworld
“In Egypt the gates of the underworld were guarded by creatures in the form of animals which are often mentioned in the Ritual. We saw also that the sun disc was placed over the gateway in memory of the battle between Horus, the rising sun, and the Power of darkness: to wage this war Horus took the shape of a human-headed lion, the sphinx; and this creature is called the 'sun on the horizon.'” (Lethaby, 1892)
The Book of Gates is an ancient Egyptian cosmological treatise describing the workings and inhabitants of the Du’at, the underworld which the boat of the Sun God, Ra, passes through during the night hours. (Budge, The Book of Gates, 1905) To understand the wisdom of the gates, we need to first understand that they exist in both worlds: mentally, they are in our thoughts and imagination, and physically they are buildings, such as temples.11
11 The mental and the physical worlds are better explained e.g. in the book called Kybalion (Three Initiates, 1912), in the Bible in the parable about the narrow gates (Matthew 7:13-14), and of course in the Ancient Egyptian Book of Gates.
Light can enter both worlds - the mind as well as the physical temple area. In the illumination process of the spiritual hero such as Ani (Book of the Dead), Jesus (the Bible), Muhammad (the Quran) or Arjuna (the Bhagavad Gita), these twelve gates appear as separate battlefields in a war between the evil gatekeeper, who represents sin, and the pure-hearted man, who represents virtue. Upon reaching enlightenment, the light floods through all the gates from the inside out. This is also described in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation (Chapter 22). Indeed, the greatest battles are mental, while the lesser ones we can actually see and witness in the physical world.
Gates of the Bible
“Finally the gate is one of the most essential symbols, religious or political. Holy places like Babel were 'God's gates,' and at the gate the king met the people in judgment. Eastern palaces had a porch like Solomon's, 'a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment' (1 Kings 7:7).” (Lethaby, 1892)
Keeping with the theme of gates, we explore a temples from the past in relation to the Mona Lisa. In the Bible there are three notable temples:
1. the temple of Salomon (1 Kings 6:1–38, 1 Kings 7 and 8),
2. the temple described by prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 40), and
3. the temple described by John in the Book of Revelation 21.
There are at least two common factors in these ancient temples. Firstly, they have many gates. The Book of Revelations 21:12 states: “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.”
Three gates are told to head in every cardinal point. These buildings were built as images of God, wherein the Sun, the Moon and the other planets and star constellations, can be observed and calculated (see e.g. Theorem 11 and Image 43). They also refer to Astrology, where the Sky is divided into 12 segments and three crosses (Appendix 6). The three gates can be also seen as symbols of our body, soul and spirit. In the temples, there is Holy Place, which refers to our Body and our Soul (outer gates) and the Holy of Holies that refers to our Spirit (the gate in the middle). However, it is important to understand these narrow gates as symbols for mental battlefields as described in Egyptian Scripture and in the language of symbolism (Appendix 2).
Reeds and cubits
The second common factor in these temples is related to the equipment and measures used in building them. The Egyptian pyramids and the temples of the Bible were built according to measurements based on reeds and cubits (Revelation 21:17, and 1 Kings 7:2). Reed is sometimes translated also as rod (e.g. The Bible, New International Version).
Leonardo’s hints at reeds and cubits are painted into his works. We already discussed the portrait of Mona Lisa in ink with the reed (Image 7). What is more, we suggested that the exact width of Mona Lisa is Leonardo’s interpretation of the royal cubit. We know for a fact that Leonardo knew a lot about the elements of the pyramids and temples. In his journals, he wrote more than ten pages about the pyramids and their physical aspects. Indeed, Leonardo recorded the measurements of the human body in the Vitruvian man.12 These measurements are cubits:
“Vitruvius, the architect, says in his work on architecture that the measurements of the human body are distributed by Nature as follows: that is that 4 fingers make 1 palm, and 4 palms make 1 foot, 6 palms make 1 cubit; 4 cubits make a man's height. And 4 cubits make one pace and 24 palms make a man; and these measures he used in his buildings.” (Sketch 343.) (Richter, 1888)
12 To learn more about Vitruvius see the Final Appendix 15.