Why are obelisks such a powerful symbol?

Why are obelisks such a powerful symbol?

In the realm of ancient mysteries, few structures hold the enigmatic allure of obelisks. These towering monuments, reaching towards the sky, have captivated civilizations for centuries. Join us on a journey to explore the origins of obelisks, discover their global presence, delve into the realms of secret societies that have embraced these structures, and unravel the profound meanings they hold.


The Origin of Obelisks goes back to Kemet (Ancient Egypt)

The ancient Egyptians, known as the Kemet, played a pivotal role in the genesis of the obelisk, a monumental symbol that would echo through time. The word for obelisks in the ancient Egyptian language was "tekhen." Originating during the Old Kingdom, the obelisk held profound religious and cultural significance for the Kemet. Crafted from single blocks of granite, these towering structures were not merely architectural marvels but embodied powerful spiritual symbolism. The obelisk symbolized the sun god Ra's rays piercing through the earth, signifying the life-giving force of the sun. Erected as sacred monuments, the obelisks became integral to the Egyptian landscape, adorning temples and sacred sites. The word "tekhen" not only denoted the physical structure but encapsulated the spiritual essence and divine connections woven into the fabric of ancient Egyptian beliefs. As symbols of eternal life and spiritual ascension, the obelisks stood as testaments to Kemet's profound reverence for the celestial forces that governed their cosmology.

Obelisks and Ra in Egyptian Mythology

In the intricate tapestry of Egyptian mythology, the obelisk emerges as a potent symbol intimately linked to the worship of the sun god Ra. According to ancient beliefs, the obelisk was considered a representation of a petrified ray of the Aten, the revered sundisk. This association gained prominence during the religious reformation led by Akhenaten. Under his rule, the focus shifted towards the exclusive veneration of the Aten, and the obelisk became a tangible manifestation of the sun god's divine radiance. The obelisk, with its towering form and intricate carvings, transcended mere architectural significance to embody a sacred connection with the celestial forces. This mythological narrative reflects the profound role of the obelisk in ancient Egyptian spirituality, where it served as a conduit between the earthly realm and the divine energies embodied by the sun god Ra.
Depiction of Sun God Ra


Obelisks All Around The World

While Egypt boasts a significant number of ancient obelisks, their influence extends far beyond the Nile. Many civilizations, enamored by the grandeur and symbolism, adopted obelisks into their own landscapes. Notable examples include the iconic Cleopatra's Needle in London, the Washington Monument in the United States, and the Vatican Obelisk in St. Peter's Square.

Secret Societies and the Obelisk Connection

Throughout history, secret societies have been drawn to the esoteric symbolism of obelisks. The Freemasons, a renowned secret society, have incorporated obelisks into their architecture, most notably in Washington, D.C. The significance lies in the symbolic representation of ancient wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.
While the association of obelisks with Freemasonry is often symbolic rather than literal, certain structures are commonly linked to Freemasonic influence or ideology. Here is a list of 10 notable obelisks that have been associated with Freemasonry:
Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.:
Location: National Mall
Year Built: 1884
Builder: Freemasons contributed to its construction, though the overall project was led by the Washington National Monument Society.
Cleopatra's Needle, New York:
Location: Central Park
Year Built: Approximately 1450 B
C (moved to New York in 1881)

Builder: Thutmose III
Note: While not directly built by Freemasons, its relocation was financed by Freemason William H. Vanderbilt.
Scottish Rite Obelisk, Guthrie, Oklahoma:
Location: Scottish Rite Temple
Year Built: 2009
Builder: Scottish Rite Freemasons
George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Alexandria, Virginia:
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Year Built: 1923
Builder: Freemasons, primarily members of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association
Masonic Square and Compass Monument, Gibraltar:
Location: Europa Point
Year Built: 2011
Builder: Freemasons of the United Grand Lodge of England
Obelisk of Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Location: Plaza de la Republica
Year Built: 1936
Builder: Freemasons played a role in its construction.
Masonic Pillars, Bridgetown, Barbados:
Location: National Heroes Square
Year Built: 2013
Builder: Grand Lodge of Barbados
Masonic Memorial Monument, Lebanon, Ohio:
Location: Lebanon Cemetery
Year Built: 1886
Builder: Freemasons of Lebanon
Scottish Rite Masonic Center, San Francisco:
Location: San Francisco
Year Built: 1922
Builder: Scottish Rite Freemasons
Pilgrim's Monument, Provincetown, Massachusetts:
Location: Provincetown
Year Built: 1910
Builder: Freemasons were involved in its dedication.

The Meaning of Obelisks to Secret Societies

For secret societies, obelisks often represent more than architectural marvels; they embody spiritual and philosophical principles. The vertical ascent of an obelisk parallels the seeker's journey towards higher knowledge and enlightenment. The intricate carvings and hieroglyphs often conceal deeper meanings, known only to the initiated.
Obelisks stand as silent sentinels of the past, whispering tales of ancient civilizations, global influence, and the mysteries embraced by secret societies. As we gaze upon these towering structures scattered across the world, we are reminded of the profound connections between cultures and the enduring allure of symbols that transcend time. The obelisk, with its rich history and multifaceted meanings, invites us to ponder the mysteries of the ages and seek the hidden wisdom that lies within.

Check out our Egyptian themed T-Shirt collection


Men's classic tee: Ra
Back to blog

Leave a comment