Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Summer Solstice

Belsebuub & Angel Pritchard, Guest Writers
Waking Times

Some of the most famous ancient megalithic sites in the world align to the summer solstice – in numerous different cultures: Egyptian, Pagan, Mayan, Essene, Buddhist, Native American, and Easter Islander. Below are some examples. There are others, but there may be many more that have not yet been discovered.

Sites such as the Great Pyramids and Easter Island, are speculated to be some of the most ancient in the known world, and to have links to the civilizations of Atlantis and possibly Lemuria. Others trace their lineage back to the original spiritual knowledge of the Mayans and ancient peoples of Britain.

These sites indicate the existence of an ancient cosmic spirituality, sometimes referred to as ancient solar religions – some highly advanced in their technology and understanding of the cosmos.

The summer solstice sun setting between the two Great Pyramids of Egypt, crowning the Sphinx in the foreground.

The Great Pyramids ~ Egypt

At the Great Pyramids of Egypt, when standing at the Sphinx, the sun on the summer solstice sets precisely between the two largest of the Great Pyramids. The sun’s descent between the two pyramids seems to enact the moment of creation where the sun emerged from between two mounds, but in reverse, perhaps signifying the return of the sun to the source of creation.

The Osirieon ~ Egypt

The temple of Osireion at Abydos in Egypt. It shares many architectural similarities with the Valley Temple beside the Sphinx, as well as a connection to the deity Anubis as head of the underworld in alignment with the sun and constellation of Leo. (photo copyright wiki user RsAzevedo 2008)

There is an incredibly mysterious temple at the ancient site of Abydos in Egypt. For thousands of years Abydos was believed to be the final resting place of the Egyptian god Osiris. Then in 1902 AD the Osireion temple was unearthed, which many believe, could have been the tomb of Osiris.

The Osireion shares incredible similarities with the Valley Temple that lies next to the Sphinx. Both the Valley Temple and Osireion are made out of huge unadorned granite blocks, which also look very similar to Stonehenge, and share the same construction methods and a number of mathematical characteristics (for example, both feature the number 17). The Valley Temple was built at the same time as the Sphinx, and its similarities with the Osireion seem to indicate that the Osireion may too have been built by the builders of the Sphinx.

The Osireion is dated to between 6,000 – 3,100 BC, although it is possibly much older. It had been unearthed at least once before when the Pharaoh Seti I uncovered it during the construction of his temple in around 1,280 BC.

The Valley Temple located beside the Great Sphinx of Egypt. It shares remarkable similarities in building style with the Osireion, another ancient temple. Both are made out of huge unadorned granite blocks. (photo copyright Daniel Mayer 2008)

Like the Great Pyramids and Sphinx, the Osirieon has a summer solstice sunset alignment. On the summer solstice, the light of the setting sun shines through a nearby gap in the Libyan Hills, which intersects the Osirieon temple.

The temple was constructed near a natural spring, which was used to feed a pool of water inside the temple that forms a moat around its central part. Some believe this was intended to symbolize the mound that rose from the primeval waters at the beginning of creation in ancient Egyptian texts, whilst others draw similarities to the sacred pagan healing well springs of the ancient Britons.

Other mysterious aspects of the site include a flower of life symbol found inscribed on some of the pillars of the temple, believed to have been left there by Greeks possibly around 300 BC. Ancient hieroglyphs of what appear to be hovercraft, and various flying machines like helicopters, can be found in the temple of Seti I next door.

The Essene Monastery ~ Qumran, Egypt

The ruins of the Essene community at Qumran (photo copyright 2011 wiki user MotherForker)

Said to be the inheritors of the ancient initiatory knowledge of the esoteric schools of Egypt, the Essenes were a mystical Jewish group which followed a solar (rather than traditional Jewish lunar calendar) and like the sites of ancient Egypt, had a sacred place aligned to the summer solstice sunset.

The Essene community is believed to have existed between around 200 BC to the 1stcentury AD and lived together in various places in Palestine, Syria and Egypt. They are the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls – a set of ancient mystical texts discovered in Qumran in Egypt in 1947 in the caves nearby one of their settlements.

The largest room of their stone communal building at Qumran is aligned so that the rays of the setting sun on the summer solstice illuminate the eastern wall where there are two altars. Two ancient historians had written that the Essenes worshiped the sun (just as the Egyptians did), and the discovery of this alignment along with their texts, now confirms this.

Additionally, a limestone sundial was discovered there, designed to measure the sun throughout the year rather than the day, and which could measure the solstices and equinoxes.

They appear to have been a solar religion, as many of the most ancient religions were – each morning they would begin their day with a prayer to the sun and they called themselves the Children of Light. It is believed that Jesus spent time with the Essenes who had been awaiting the arrival of a messiah, and the life of Jesus also follows the path of the sun.

Stonehenge ~ England

The summer solstice sunrise aligns with the avenue off the circle around Stonehenge. At sunrise the sun shines down the avenue into the center of the stone circle.

The giant megalithic stone circle of Stonehenge aligns most prominently to the summer solstice sunrise. On this day the sun rises over the Heel Stone outside the circle, and penetrates into its center to the altar stone.

A giant ancient avenue leading from Stonehenge to the nearby River Avon also aligns to the summer solstice sunrise. Another ancient stone circle called Bluehenge lies where this avenue and the river meet.

Yet another ancient site called Durrington Walls lies 2 miles north-east of Stonehenge. It contains a henge called the Southern Circle consisting of six concentric circles that would have been made out of large timber posts. The circle is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise, but like Stonehenge has a paved avenue leading to the River Avon and a post which acted as the Heel Stone, but aligned to the summer solstice sunset rather than sunrise.

It is possible that Stonehenge was part of a sacred landscape in which a number of sites were used ceremoniously during various celestial occasions, but it appears, particularly the summer solstice.

Tallaght Hill of the Fair Gods ~ Mount Seskin, Ireland

On Mount Seskin, the tallest of the Tallaght Hills (outside of the town of Tallaght) there are a number of ancient stone ruins including standing stones and passage cairns. The summer solstice sun rises in the distance, right beside the Lambay Volcano and reflects off a pool of water on the hill called Lin Oir, meaning golden pond.

See pictures here:

Ajanta Caves ~ India

The cave at Ajanta called number 26, which aligns to the summer solstice sunrise. As the sun rises, a beam of light penetrates this cave and illuminates the stupa and the statue of Buddha within. (photo copyright 2011 wiki user dola.das85)

The Ajanta Caves are an extraordinary group of around 30 manmade caves cut into the side of a sheer cliff face. The cliff is naturally U-shaped and was hidden in a remote part of the jungle. The caves are believed to have been built by Buddhist monks by carving into the cliff face – what they created were elaborate shrines and temples, all cut into one single giant rock.

Work is believed to have begun on the caves in around 200 BC and ended around 480 – 650 CE. The caves contained sculptures and artwork centered around the life of Buddha.

Two of the caves align to celestial events.

Cave 26 aligns to the summer solstice sunrise. It contains a statue of Buddha seated within a stupa, which is illuminated by the rays of the rising sun.

Cave 19 aligns to the winter solstice sunrise (more about this in the Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Winter Solstice). It contains a state of Buddha standing within a stupa, which is also illuminated by the rays of the rising sun.

A stupa is a symbolic monument which it is said Buddha uses to ascend and descend. The stupas for the winter and summer solstice at the Ajanta Caves differ in their design, perhaps for a symbolic reason.

The creator god Amun being worshiped, seated with his feet raised above the level of the ground.

The winter solstice is a time when the force known as the Christ, descends into a spiritually prepared person, explained in The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice.

The summer solstice is a time of ascent. In the cave aligned to the summer solstice Buddha is seated with his feet on a pedestal. Perhaps this was symbolic of him no longer being on the earth – as ancient Egypt gods were sometimes portrayed standing upon pedestals to show their heavenly status.

Serpent Mound ~ Ohio, United States

The serpent mound in Ohio, whose head aligns with the summer solstice sunset. (photo copyright 2002 Timothy A. Price and Nicole I.)

The serpent mound is a giant earth work in the shape of a serpent made by an ancient people’s who once lived in the United States. The head of the serpent faces the summer solstice sunset.

The mound is around 1,370 feet (420 m) long. The serpent holds an oval in its mouth, has seven undulating coils along its body and the tip of its tail is coiled 3 times. Its coils point to the winter solstice sunrise and equinox sunrise. It is believed there was an altar inside the oval at the head, in which ceremonies could have been conducted whilst watching the summer solstice sunset.

Many believe, using carbon dating and studying artifacts surrounding the site, that it was built by the Native American Adena culture who were active between 1000 BC to 1 CE, and who commonly built mounds and used sacred circles, and was later refurbished by subsequent Native American cultures.

However, there exists another very similar site in a very different part of the world – Scotland. At a place called Loch Nell there is an ancient serpent mound, around 300 ft long, and which used to have a circle of stones which contained an altar at its head. It too faced west, although not to the summer solstice sunset but so that looking back east across its body, it had a special view of 3 mountain peaks. Someone who viewed the site in the mid 19th century before much of it was damaged and dismantled wrote:

A drawing published in 1883 of the Loch Nell serpent mound in Scotland. The altar in the stone circle at the head of the serpent is in the foreground, and the 3 mountain peaks in the background. The design of this particular serpent mound shares a number of similarities with the one in the United States.

“The mound was built in such a manner that the worshipper standing at the altar ‘would naturally look eastward, directly along the whole length of the Great Reptile, and across the dark lake, to the triple peaks of Ben Cruachan. This position must have been carefully selected, as from no other point are the three peaks visible.”

There are other serpent mounds in Scotland and Ireland. At least one dated to around 2000 BC used fire burnt stones, which were also apparently used in the building of the serpent mound in Ohio. The oval at the heads of these serpents may have represented the sun, thus forming the same symbol of a serpent with a sun disk on its head found throughout Egypt.

Could Ohio’s serpent mound be part of a lineage of people and knowledge that ran from Egypt, through ancient Britain and Europe, and is now barely traceable in North America?

  • Chaco Canyon ~ New Mexico, United States

    The giant kiva in Chaco Canyon, whose window let in the light of the summer solstice sunrise. Kivas were sacred circular temples which had thatched ceilings. (photo copyright 1998 wiki user HJPD)

    Located near the ruins of an ancient city of the Native American Pueblo people’s is the famous Sun Dagger. Found high up on the top of what is called the Fajada Butte, a giant volcanic outcrop, is a stone carving in a spiral. Stone slabs especially arranged around it direct the sunlight so that on the summer solstice, a dagger of sunlight pierces the center of the spiral. Daggers of sunlight over different parts of the spiral also mark the winter solstice and the equinoxes.

    Down below the Casa Rinconada, which is one of the five great kivas (temple buildings) of the Chaco Canyon city, aligns to the summer solstice sunrise. As the sun rises, a beam of light shines through a lone window and moves across the room until it illuminates one of the five niches on the Western wall.

    These 15 maoi statues, which includes the heaviest on Easter Island ever erected, stand facing the summer solstice sunset. (photo copyright 2006 Honey Hooper)

    Ahu Tongariki ~ Easter Island

    The Ahu Tongariki, is the largest ahu (or stone platform) on Easter Island. On its stone platform stand 15 maoi (giant stone statues). These 15 statues face the summer solstice sunset, watching it disappear over the ocean. One of the 15 statues is the heaviest ever erected on the island, weighing 86 tones.

    The Pyramid of the Magician at Uxmal ~ Yucatán, Mexico

    The Pyramid of the Magician at the Mayan city of Uxmal in Mexico. Its western staircase faces the summer solstice sunset. (photo copyright 2007 tato grass)

    Uxmal is a Mayan city that dates to between 600 – 1000 CE. The city’s tallest structure is called The Pyramid of the Magician. The pyramid’s western staircase faces the setting sun on the summer solstice.

    Building is believed to have first begun on this pyramid in around 600 CE. This first pyramid temple was successively built upon four times, meaning that the pyramid is now made of five layered temples in total. This was a common Mayan building practice, thought to capture and amplify the power of the underlying structure.

    When the original temple was excavated it was found with a door lintel decorated with the face of the rain god Chaac, however it is not known whether this was added later.

    Unfortunately human sacrifice and ritual bloodletting was practiced here, as it was in other Mayan cities. Perhaps the original culture did not practice these rites, but at this stage it is not possible to tell.

    The Lost World Pyramid at Tikal ~ Guatemala

    The Lost World Pyramid at Tikal. It started as a small platform before 700 BC that faced three structures aligned to the solstices and equinoxes. (photo copyright 2007 Dennis Jarvis)

    At the ancient Mayan city called Tikal located in the dense jungles of Guatemala, there is evidence for the original spiritual and cosmic knowledge of the Mayans. The oldest part of Tikal is called the Lost World and consists of 38 structures. They are believed to have been set aside entirely for the observance of the cosmos, and are perhaps the oldest Mayan structures used for that purpose.

    The main structure of the Lost World is a great pyramid, which was built in five successive layers over hundreds of years, just like the Mayan Pyramid of the Magician above. It began as a platform dating back to before 700 BC – the most ancient of any at Tikal. The platform faced east, looking over 3 other structures that aligned with the winter solstice, equinox, and summer solstice sunrise.

    A similar grouping of structures, in which a pyramid is used as a viewing platform to see the sun rise on the winter solstice, equinoxes, and summer solstice over three temples, was also found in Guatemala at Uaxactun. The ancient Mayan name for this site however was Siaan K’aan which means “Born in Heaven”. Perhaps this could indicate that the Mayan Pyramid of the Magician above also started as a spiritual astronomical observatory, which was successively built on, and which degenerated into horrendous acts of sacrifice, as also happened at Tikal and other Mayan cities.

  • Wurdi Youang stone arrangement ~ Victoria, Australia

    A diagram of the Wurdi Younag stone arrangement in Australia showing how it aligns to the solstices and equinoxes. (image copyright 2009 Ray P. Norris)

    At Mount Rothwell in Australia, aboriginals built a stone ovid shaped arrangement around 50 meters in diameter. It aligns to the solstice and equinox sunsets, including the summer solstice sunset. It is unable to be dated – and could have been built anywhere between 25,000 years ago right up unto 1835.

    To see images of the site, visit: Australia Indigenous Astronomy

    What is so spiritually important about the summer solstice?

    Today as a humanity we have such an incredible heritage of knowledge left by ancient peoples from all over the world who worked so hard to leave behind what they knew for future generations.

    What they left are indicators of a deeper understanding of our place in the cosmos and an integration between the outer and inner worlds.

    With our modern technology we have been able to ascertain a certain scientific understanding of the summer solstice, but as a day it passes just like any other. Whereas ancient peoples not only built structures around this date, but created ones that incorporated incredible spiritual symbols.

    At the summer solstice the sun is at its greatest strength in its annual cycle, and it represents the apex of the sun’s journey throughout the year. And, as the cycle is completed, a new one begins.

    In the solar religion the sun at the summer solstice represents the spiritual ascension, enlightenment and the return to oneness. It is the culmination of the individual’s journey to enlightenment that has been represented in the solstices and equinoxes of the year.

    The solar religions formed the basis for many of today’s religions and share many common principles. The celebration of the summer solstice is the celebration not only of the life giving power of the physical sun, but is the celebration of the complete awakening of the spiritual son, symbolized by the physical sun.

    The message of the solstices and equinoxes transcends both time and culture and forms a cosmic book for all who can read it.

    ~ By Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard

    About the Author

    Belsebuub is an author and practitioner of esoteric knowledge. He writes primarily on the transformation and exploration of consciousness from over 30 years of dedicated metaphysical experience. He has authored a number of books on out-of-body experiences, consciousness, and spiritual awakening, including The Astral Codex and Gazing into the Eternal, which are free to download on his website

    Belsebuub is the name of his spirit/soul/consciousness. Everyone has their own unique spiritual name; it’s a matter of knowing it.

    This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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