A Mystic in Egypt – Paul Brunton in the Great Pyramid

by Brian Haughton

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Egypt’s Great Pyramid is thought by Egyptologists to have been built by the pharaoh Cheops (Khufu), a 4th Dynasty ruler of Egypt, somewhere between 2589-2566 B.C. It is situated on a plateau on the edge of the desert about five miles west of Giza, and marks the zenith of pyramid-building in respect of both size and quality. It has been estimated that in its original complete condition the pyramid contained about 2,300,000 separate blocks, each averaging around two and a half tons in weight and reaching a maximum of fifteen tons. It has been established that the original measurements of the base of the great Egyptian monument were north, 755.43 feet; south, 756.08 feet; east, 755.88 feet; west, 755.77 feet. When complete the pyramid rose to a height of 481.4 feet, the top 31 feet of which are now missing.

Ancient Egyptian monuments, especially the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid, have a mystery and a fascination that fuel not only the imagination, but controversy too. Connections with Atlantis, aliens, and ancient astrology have all been enthusiastically suggested in numerous books and even more enthusiastically denied out of hand by Egyptologists in others. One of the first people in the modern era to take an active interest in the mystical side of ancient Egypt and its monuments was English journalist Paul Brunton.

Paul Brunton in Egypt

Brunton (1898-1981) was a British philosopher, mystic, and traveler who left a successful journalist career to pursue his own spiritual quest, living among yogis, mystics, and holy men, and studying various Eastern and Western esoteric teachings. In his book A Search in Secret Egypt, he describes how, when traveling in Egypt in the 1930s he resolved to spend a night alone in the King’s Chamber inside the Great Pyramid. “To sit, awake and alert, for twelve hours in the King’s Chamber, while the slow darkness moved across the African world,” as he put it. Apparently, Napoleon, when conquering Egypt in the 1790s, had also spent a night alone inside the chamber.

However, Brunton immediately met with problems when asking for permission from the Egyptian government, who owned the Great Pyramid. After being sent back and forth between the Egyptian Department of Antiquities and the Police Department he finally secured written permission for his eccentric request from the Commandant of the Cairo City Police.

So, early one evening he reported to the Mena Police station, signed a book which made the police solely responsible for his safety until the following day, and was led to the Pyramid by a police constable, who gave instructions to the armed guard outside the building. Brunton was then locked inside the structure with an iron grill. He would be one of the last to get permission to spend the night inside Egypt’s most famous monument.

Astral Projection inside the Great Pyramid

Once inside Brunton made his way slowly through the galleries to the King’s Chamber. The Chamber is constructed entirely of granite, and measures 34 feet 4 inches from east to west, 17 feet 2 inches from north to south, and is 19 feet 1 inch in height. The only object inside the King’s Chamber is a lidless rectangular granite sarcophagus, situated next to the west wall of the chamber and aligned north-south. This once perhaps contained the king’s body enclosed within an inner coffin of wood. Brunton sat by this granite coffer, and put out his light. He had fasted for three days before the experience to make himself more receptive to whatever he might encounter during his vigil. He waited in the total silence and darkness, as remote from the outside world as if he were on the moon.

Hours passed slowly by and in the increasing cold of the chamber Bruton began to feel that there were hostile forces around him, eerie shadows crowded in on him from all sides and a dark apparition advanced menacingly towards him. All the legends of evil ghosts haunting the areas around the pyramids told to him by Arab villagers came to his mind. Soon there was a circle of antagonistic beings surrounding him, “monstrous elemental creations, evil horrors of the underworld” as he described them. Despite being seized by panic Brunton resisted the temptation to turn on the flashlight and decided to see it through. It was this determination that saved him. The elementals disappeared quite suddenly, and all was dark and quiet again. Soon afterwards phantoms of a different aspect appeared-benevolent beings in the ceremonial dress of ancient Egyptian high priests. The ancient apparitions led him through secret passages within the Pyramid to a Hall of Learning, equating to a mystical journey within the mind.

This mystical experience also involved an astral projection. Brunton describes feeling paralyzed, his own spirit leaving his physical body and going to the “regions beyond death.” He felt as if he were passing upwards through a narrow hole (also described in shamanic tradition) and becoming a pure mental being with a sense of existence many times more vivid than when in his physical body. He described gazing down on his prone lifeless form and noted a train of faint silvery light projecting itself from his spiritual to his physical body. This “cord” is mentioned by many people who have experienced astral projection. He was given various information by his ancient guides, including the fact that the Pyramid was built in the time of Atlantis, and that the Pyramid’s secret chambers and ancient records were all contained within himself.

He returned to normal consciousness quite suddenly, convinced that he had undergone some kind of initiation ceremony. Interestingly enough, it was the belief of occultists like Madame Blavatsky that priests of the Egyptian Mysteries used the Great Pyramid to initiate candidates into the experience of astral projection and the truth of life after death.

This experience of Paul Brunton in the Great Pyramid is of course impossible to prove or quantify, and of no value to Egyptologists. But perhaps, on that strange night in the King’s Chamber all those years ago, Paul Brunton came closer to finding the true secret of the Great Pyramid than anyone.