Booking the Sphinx Theatre in Gizeh and planning the Grateful Dead concerts there on September 14, 15 and 16, 1978, proceeded with normal scheduling considerations in mind, although the planning started a year ahead because of the logistical and sanctioning difficulties expected. The calendar was not consulted regarding eclipses (9/16/78 was a total eclipse of the moon, occurring in the second set), nor at the time of the booking were the Egypt/Israel Camp David peace talks in the offing. Thus, those two synchronous occurances were purely "chance" events, as is the following, astounding, retrospective point-of-notice. - Ed.
Postscript: An Addendum for Dead Heads
By Vincent Bridges and Jay Weidner.
Perhaps the most strange of all the many coincidences and synchronicities involved in the tale of our five year long quest for Fulcanelli’s place of refuge is the discovery of the role played by the rock band Grateful Dead in the raising of the Djed. A more unlikely connection could hardly be imagined…
It was as if we discovered that Fulcanelli was not only was still alive and well, but also had fronted a rock group in the 1960s. In one such segue of pure weirdness during the writing of this article we thought we had found just such an event. One hit wonder band ? and the Mysterians, who performed masked, had a Number One with a bullet hit on the pop charts in September 1966 with “96 Tears.” We considered, briefly, that this was a reference to the INRI/270 years, 1/96th of the precessional cycle, of the Djed’s alignment. Also, if we considered each square on the face of the 64 cube as a tear, or tear, in the fabric of reality, then ? was singing about the cosmic cube of the Throne of Osiris. Mercifully, this fancy passed quickly when we discovered the original title was “69 Tears.”
But the Grateful Dead connection could not be so easily dismissed. Its mythic qualities blended nicely with the actual events and their astronomical relationship to the moment of galactic alignment. And it was all archetypal, orchestrated from some deeper, higher, further level with virtually no conscious awareness.
The legend begins with the name itself, grateful dead… In 1969, Jerry Garcia described the moment of revelation: “Big black letters edged around in gold, man, blasting out at me, such a stunning combination. So I said, “How about Grateful Dead?” The band didn’t like it, but the hippies did, and so the name stuck.
The phrase is actually a folkloric motif tag for a tale found in many cultures, that of the simpleton, a fool, who gives his last penny to a corpse to aid his journey into the land of the dead. The resurrected dead man subsequently rewards the fool for this act. This motif can be found, with minor changes, in New Kingdom Egyptian papyri. In these tales, the dead and resurrected protagonist is Osiris, the original grateful dead.
Sometime in the mid 1970s, the rumour begin that the name actually came from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Book of Coming Forth Unto Day. While mentions of the dead are found in this text, one would have to stretch to find a translation that would fit “grateful dead.” Rock Scully in his memoir Living with the Dead quotes an unreferenced saying from someone’s version, which, while it may not be literal, is nonetheless moving and significant. “We now return our souls to the creator and as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness, let our chant fill the void, that others may know: In the land of the night, the Ship of the Sun is drawn by the Grateful Dead…”
All of this would be simply the mythic maundering of a psychedelic rock band except for the curious timing and location of their Egyptian concert. The idea had been in the wind since before the band’s beginning. By early 1976, it had become a project, and by the summer of 1978, all the pieces were in place. The Grateful Dead would play three concerts in the Sound and Light Theatre in front of the Sphinx with the pyramids of Giza as a backdrop. By coincidence, the third night, September 16th 1978, was a full lunar eclipse. As the Dead played to 1,500 people, half western, half Egyptian, the eclipsed moon hung in the sky above the Great Pyramid. To many of the Dead family, it was the highlight, and perhaps the high point, of their long strange trip.
But the band played badly, the piano was consistently out of tune, and the trip was never turned into anything even vaguely commercial. A cheap tour book and some bootleg tapes are all that remain. It was the moment, the experience that was important, well worth the half of a million dollars it cost, according to Jerry Garcia. “It didn’t matter. We had a wonderful time, man, we really did…”
So, an American band from California, with a name that derived ultimately from a folktale about the resurrection of Osiris manages, to perform in Egypt in front of the Sphinx during a full lunar eclipse. Strange as that may be, the true weirdness lies in the timing of the event and its connection to the Great Djed of Osiris, and his moment of resurrection in the Duat.
As we noted above, the galactic meridian returned to its exact degree of precessional opposition in 1996. Observationally, the 1/4 of a degree on either side could be considered as exact enough. To understand this how fine a measurement this really is, we need to visualize a 3cm wide paper matchbook held at the distance of one mile. That is what 1/2 a degree of arc looks like to the naked eye. The 1/2 a degree of space covered by the precessional motion of the Djed alignments takes 36 years of time to complete. With 1996 as the midpoint, then 1/4 of a degree, 18 years, before and after is the width of the alignment. Eighteen years before the zero point of the fall equinox of 1996 takes us back to 1978.
Since we need a marker point to measure such a fine degree of alignment, it is synchronisitically convenient that there should be a lunar eclipse close to the target point of the last 1/4 of a degree of alignment, the fall equinox of 1978. The eclipse fell on September 16th, just 5 days before the equinox. With measurements these fine, a few days are insignificant. The lunar eclipse point is simple and unmistakable and the roughly 18-year span between eclipses makes it perfect for counting the years of the Djed alignment. The lunar eclipse in 1978 is the start point, the lunar eclipse of September 27th 1996 is the midpoint and the eclipse of October 8th 2014 is the end point. This gives us an error of only 22 days over 36 years.
The Grateful Dead performed as the moment of the galactic alignment, the return of the ancient gods of Egypt playing out their precessional drama in the sky, began its 24-year trip toward the moment of completion on the fall equinox of 2002. Before 1978, India and the Far East were seen as the source of hip spirituality, and Egypt was where mummies chased 1940s comedians across the burning sands. After 1978, this slowly began to change, until now, as I write this, Fox Television is broadcasting a live tomb opening and sending a robot into the mysterious hidden chamber in Khufu’s Pyramid. In this span of time, we have seen the rise of what was called the New Age Movement and its great events such as the Harmonic Convergence and 11:11. It is not hard to see the origin of such spiritual festivals in the freewheeling Dead concerts in front of the Sphinx.
It was also the first, and totally spontaneous, raising of the Djed as the axis of the galaxy and the sky came into alignment. A band named for the original grateful and resurrected dead, Osiris, opened the season of transformation, whether it brings extinction or enlightenment, with a musical bridge from a Nubian folksong to the song “Fire on the Mountain,” which echoes the image of hexagram 56 from the I Ching. Entitled the Wanderer, the hexagram uses the metaphor of a wild fire on a mountain to suggest the fleeting moment of inspiration.
The Dead themselves lit the spark and myth became reality. “Let our chant fill the void, that others may know: In the land of the night, (in the depths of the eclipse-like age of iron) the Ship of the Sun is drawn by the Grateful Dead…”
(C) copyright 2002, Vincent Bridges and Jay Weidner
Vincent Bridges is an historian, author, independent researcher and a self-proclaimed “anthropologist of the weird.” His book length works available on the internet include The Gnostic Science of Alchemy, The UFO Enigma: Spirits Of The Dead, Phantom Airships And Flying Discs, Arthur and the Fall of Britain, and High Weirdness, a collection of articles by Vincent Bridges and his co-author, Jay Weidner. Vincent Bridges is also a pioneer researcher in the field of psycho-acoustic therapy, a trauma abreaction technique using light and sound entrainment of brain frequencies, a pagan political activist and a world traveller, having organized and led tour groups to southern France, Egypt and India. He has been instrumental in the creation of three schools or educational organizations, The Fifth Way Mystery School, The Newport Earth Institute in Newport, Hew Hampshire and Pendragon College, and has been a featured speaker at venues such as The International Fortean Organization’s (INFO) FortFest and the Subtle Technologies Conference, sponsored by InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Center of Toronto, Canada, as well as a guest on the Laura Lee and Jeff Rense radio shows. He was also featured in the Discovery Channel’s documentary Atlantis in the Andes. He currently lives in the Uwharrie Mountains of North Carolina, with his wife, the artist Darlene, and their four cats.
Jay Weidner is an author and filmmaker. Besides co-authoring 'A Monument to the End of Time' (with Vincent Bridges) Jay has two new books due for release in 2003, one is 'Alchemical Kubrick': An Examination of the Esoteric in the films of Stanley Kubrick' and his memoirs 'Season of the Apocalypse'. He has also Produced and Directed the documentary films 'Earth Under Fire' (shown on national television), 'ArtMind' with noted sacred artist Alex Grey, 'Healing Sounds' with best selling writer Jonathan Goldman, ‘Path of the Priestess: Awakening the Divine Feminine' by author and sacred dancer Sharron Rose, and 'Healer, Shaman, Sage' with Shaman/author Dr. Alberto Villoldo. In 1980, at the age of 26 he directed the feature film cult classic 'The Legend Of Johnny Kill'. He was also the Public Affairs Director at KCMU-FM in Seattle. From 1992 to 1995 he produced and hosted the weekly radio show 'Mind Over Matters' where he interviewed a who's-who of dynamic and important personalities such as Noam Chomsky, Terence McKenna and Peter Dale Scott. He is currently in production as Writer/Director of a major motion picture titled 'The Bird People', due out in 2003.