Obelisks of Axum Ethiopia: A Spiritual Mystery

The history of mankind is reflected in it’s artifacts as well as fossils. Most artifacts are self evident in purpose, such as a bowl made of pottery or wood. However, there are some that are not so easily understood. The Obelisks of Axum Ethiopia are obviously more than a sculpture and yet their purpose is not clear. And the intriguing decorations on the Obelisks are themselves a mystery.

The truth is that no one knows why the Obelisks were built. Some people believe they are grave markers. However, this whole burial idea is pure conjecture. “Due to their proximity to nearby tombs, the obelisks may possibly have been used as memorials to deceased kings and queens, but this is only a speculation.” (1) Grave marking is always specific to an individual. The Obelisks of Axum are all carved the same.

These Obelisks are highly prized and at one time Italy actually removed one during their occupation of Ethiopia during WW II. It was returned in 1967. The town of Axum is steeped in myth and mystery: such as “St Mary of Zion church, built in 1665 and said to contain the Ark of the Covenant.” (2) Adding to the mystery there is a plot of ground between two churches in Axum which is fenced off and heavily guarded. The Obelisks are carved with what is said to be false doors and windows (3). And all the Obelisks are oriented to the rising sun. There is no explanation of the false doors and window. Most authors suggest they had a religious ceremonial function. Also, it is believed that Axum itself is “resting place of the Ark of the Covenant” (4).

Although it has been suggested that they are elaborate head stones, no graves have yet been found under an Obelisk. Since no graves are found, the suggestion that they cover burial chambers seems unlikely. What you have to keep in mind when using the internet to gather information is that it is extremely redundant. Once something is suggested, that same suggestion is repeated thousands of times by thousands of authors. That in itself gives the illusion that the suggestion is somehow ‘a truth or fact’. There are no truths regarding the obelisks of Axum. They just exist without explanation.
It is the unusual feature of the false doors and windows that separates the obelisks of Axum from all other Obelisks around the world . Think about what it took 1700 years ago to produce a structure that is over 70 stories tall, made of granite and weighs 176 tons. With that amount of effort it is highly unlikely that what are called ‘false doors and windows’ are nothing more than decorations without purpose. At the most literal level they are in fact representations of passage, including light and air.
The mysteries surrounding Ethiopia are so intense they stagger the imagination. My personal belief is that Ethiopia holds an important key to understanding our spiritual self.


1. http://sacredsites.com/africa/ethiopia/sacred_site…
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axum
3. http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/ethiopiaaxum.htm
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Aksum

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