The Mythical Divine

Satisfactory Essays
The Mythical Divine

It is the mystery of the past which sparks the imagination of the future. The remnants of lost cultures, ever enticing with their fractured story, have continually piqued the interest of humankind. Ancient Egypt reflects 3000 years of splendor, serenity and mystery. This enigmatic civilization has become the focal point of scholarly study and artistic reproduction over the last 200 years. It has been unsurpassed in use and depiction as a model to convey many differing images.

One, most unique, replication of dynastic Egypt is Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom amusement park in Redlands, California. It is a composite of ancient art and architecture used to recreate a world of mystery and intrigue in a modern day setting. The park rises seemingly out of nowhere just as the Giza pyramids project from a barren desert floor. As you enter, you embark on a journey from the monotony of everyday life to a sacred mystical landscape. In his book, Spiritual Path, Sacred Place, Thomas Barrie states: "The sacred place was never an impassive backdrop;... it was a dynamic place, often charged with emotional energy and experienced spatially and temporally as its users moved through its spaces or entered its sacred enclosures." (p.54) For the participant, especially children, this emotion of complete awe mixed with fantastic delight is evoked as soon as one gazes upon the central building of the park complex.

The entrance to the park, the line separating what is real from the imaginary (the constructed), is guarded by a huge sphinx. Here, as in Egypt: "[Its] essential function has been to embody welcome and protection." ("Egyptomania" p.22) Yet the creators of the theme park have gone further. They have deliberately replaced the Pharaoh Khafre's head with the funerary mask of King Tutankhamun. This coupling is an attempt to immediately give the visitor two extremely recognizable images. The typical traveler is left mystified by the immensity of the statue, unaware of the mixed icons.

In many types of building plans: "The demarcating of sacred ground was typically accomplished architecturally by the form and geometry of the sacred place." (Spiritual Path, Sacred Place p.56) The central building of Pharaoh's Lost Kingdom applies this ideal to announce the grandeur and monolithic proportions of its premises. Five large pyramids sit atop the rectangular building pointing toward the sky. Some are reminiscent of Djoser's stepped pyramid while the central one is a smaller version of the great pyramids of Giza.
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