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Saqsayhuaman, Peru.	 Source: SL-Photography / Adobe Stock

Winter Solstice Resurrection At Saqsayhuaman and Newgrange

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Two of the Boyne Valley’s most impressive passage mounds — Knowth and adjacent Newgrange — may have functioned together as part of an important initiation ritual, one that survived over three thousand years. And these sites may have their twins in the Andes, in the form of megalithic Saqsayhuaman, and its smaller and equally mysterious child, the carved butte called Q’uenqo. The clue lies in their respective astronomical alignments.

Multiple Alignments on Multiple Sites

Although Knowth receives less attention than its more famous neighbor, it is replete with mysteries.

Knowth, River Boyne valley, Ireland. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Knowth, River Boyne valley, Ireland. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Many of its carved kerbstones are astronomically significant, while its little-studied western passage — which faces the Equinox sunset — abruptly changes direction at an angle of 19.5º to meet a second passage aligned to the Equinox sunrise.

This unusual choice of angle may be a reference to the point of contact between two of nature’s prime building blocks, the sphere and the tetrahedron: where the points of a tetrahedron touch the surface of its circumscribing sphere, the resulting angle is 19.47º. On a practical, observable level, this angle, as a latitude, marks the most active hotspots of energy manifestation on the surface of Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and the Sun.

The unusual deviation angle. Knowth, west passage. (Author provided)

The unusual deviation angle. Knowth, west passage. (Author provided)

It was not unusual for sacred sites to be infused with all manner of information, for they served many overlapping functions, one being a teaching device. Here, it is Knowth’s persistent referencing of Venus that is of interest. Its eastern passage marks the heliacal rising of Venus on both equinoxes as well as the summer solstice. On the winter solstice, however, both Venus and the rising Sun move slightly to the south, where they are observed inside Newgrange’s megalithic passage; a carved lintel above the mound’s light box even references Venus’s eight-year cycle.

Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

These alignments occurred in the year 3051 BC, the alleged median date for the construction of both monuments. Had you been alive then you would have observed Venus rising from Knowth on the autumn equinox, and exactly three months later, from Newgrange on the winter solstice, along with the sunrise. And this is where the connection to a most important ancient ritual comes in.

Venus, like Sirius, was the ‘star’ to whose light initiates were resurrected in Egypt in order to be considered ‘sons of God’; the same ritual in various Mystery schools from China and India, to Polynesia and the Mediterranean, was often regarded as a ‘living resurrection’, since the candidates experienced a figurative rather than literal death, during a controlled out-of-body experience which allowed the soul temporary access to the Otherworld. This initiation often consisted of a two-part process performed at the equinox and the solstice.

Living Resurrection

The later Jerusalem Church of early Christianity held the same position on Venus and the living resurrection. And perhaps so did Andean priests at the megalithic structure of Saqsayhuaman and the adjacent chamber of Q’uenqo, both of which behave very similarly to Knowth and Newgrange: Q’uenqo is aligned to the heliacal rising of Venus on the autumn equinox, while three months later, Venus and the Sun rise along the axis of Saqsayhuaman at the winter solstice. What is even more curious is that the alignments, as in Ireland, coincide at 3051 BC.

Saqsayhuaman. (Author Provided)

Saqsayhuaman. (Author Provided)

Long before the appearance of the Inka, Q’uenqo was known locally as the entrance into the Otherworld, and the manner in which its passage was uniquely carved in the shape of an ‘S’ out of one massive andesite boulder (which is the size of three houses) attests to the living resurrection having taken place there: the candidate entered in the west at sunset on the equinox, lay inside the womb-like chamber for several days, and re-emerged in the east to face Venus just before dawn to be declared a god-man or woman.

Q'uenqo. Entrance to the Otherworld. (Author provided)

Q'uenqo. Entrance to the Otherworld. (Author provided)

Ancient Rituals North and South

The procedure is identical at Knowth, and ongoing archaeological digs inside its passages are still looking for the portal connecting the two. What is revealing is Knowth’s seventeen attendant chambered mounds, which form a numerical coincidence with another unique man-made cave where the same ritual was practiced in Egypt: the Osirion at Abydos. It too features seventeen side chambers.

Knowth and the Osirion both feature seventeen attendant chambers. (Author provided)

Knowth and the Osirion both feature seventeen attendant chambers. (Author provided)

As for Saqsayhuaman and its serrated megalithic walls, when observed from the air they take on the appearance of a bird’s wings, particularly when adding the now-destroyed cliff side walls that once formed a mirror image. It is hardly an accident that the site’s name in Quechua means ‘the place of the satisfied falcon’, for whereas this bird receives scant attention in Andean mythology, seven thousand miles away in Egypt the falcon god Horus is the symbolic continuation of the resurrected god-man Osiris, whose rituals were enacted and consummated on the equinox and solstice.

Wing-like form of Saqsayhuaman reconstructed. (Author provided)

Wing-like form of Saqsayhuaman reconstructed. (Author provided)

The recurring bond between the god-man, Venus, the equinox and solstice was still in practice, literally and symbolically, in the early Christian era. According to the Bible, John the Baptist was conceived on the autumn equinox and born on the summer solstice, while Jesus was conceived on the spring equinox and born on the winter solstice; both men were called  nasoraiyi, an old Babylonian title meaning ‘preserver of divine secrets’, marking as it did the highest level of office attained by initiates who successfully experienced the most secret of rites, that of the living resurrection, and were thus qualified to administer the same to neophytes, beginning with a baptism in a special type of water.

The importance of these relationships forms the cornerstone of the Master Mason ritual in Scottish Rite Freemasonry today — a ritual whose roots date to the Biblical Enoch circa 3000 BC — and whose Seventeenth Degree is one of its most powerful and profound: the Knight of the East and West.

Now the bigger question is, what is the source of these identical concepts shared between distant cultures?

Related material in Freddy Silva's book, The Lost Art of Resurrection: Initiation, secret chambers and the quest for the Otherworld

Q'uenqo, Saqsayhuaman and Saqsayhuaman reconstructed, images ©Freddy Silva

Top Image: Saqsayhuaman, Peru. Source: SL-Photography / Adobe Stock

By Freddy Silva



I forgot to mention some researchers (I would have to look up again whom it was, this was years ago I was studying this) believe astronomical clues point to this particular Festival of Booths being during a Jubilee Year. Jubilees are every fiftieth year. This would make it an extra-big occasion.

Fun fact, this is where Roman Catholicism gets its notion of the Santo Anno, a holy year that occurs every fiftieth year.

In Judaism, this was counted off along with Sabbath years, every seventh year. These Sabbath years would cycle around to 49 (a Sabbath), and then year 50 was the Jubilee. It is unclear if the ancient count of Jubilees has been continued or broken. The Catholic Jubilee likely started from its own arbitrary count and cannot trace back to Jewish Sabbatical or Jubilee years.

I haven't looked into John the Baptist, but I know for sure that the Bible does not offer any evidence of Jesus being born in Winter, let alone on the Solstice. That is an invention of European Christianity, which is clung to in modern times to further allegorical New Age syncretisms.

Clues in the Bible itself lead the most directly to Jesus / Yahushua's birth being during the Festival of Booths, which was a harvest-time gathering. Whether you believe the man truly existed or not, he has no connection to the Winter Solstice in the original source texts - no matter if you are reading the 'New Testament' or looking at predictive prophesies from the older scriptures.

(Note that Luke is mistaken in saying Mary and Joseph were required to travel for a census. According to Roman records, which were obnoxiously extensive compared to those of their neighbours, there was no census at this time.)

For Jews of the day who were able, this celebration was a call to gather with the rest of their holy nation at Jerusalem. The city was packed, inns were overcrowded, tents ("booths") filled the streets, and many even had to look for accommodations outside the city. Space was scarce this time of year. Hence the stable and manger. many cases there might even be solstice alignments, planetary alignments, mathematical text, and other astronomical observations all overlapping.

That is why I concentrate in my work only on mathematical terms for calculating time and predicting eclipses. The number 40 appears in numerous texts, and the other secondary values might easily related to Mars, Mercury, and Jupiter.

Dr. Derek Cunningham
Author of:
The Map that Talked - How astronomy was used to map the ancient world
The Babel Texts - Decoding the early text of the Stone Age
Scotland and Shakespeare's Third Prophecy - Recovering Scotland's Forgotten past

Hello Derek. I've been following your excellent work on Saqsayhuaman with great interest, and mention it on my tours. Very insightful. I've not taken this further with regard to Japan. The focus of my inquiry relates to the use of certain sacred places for the ritual of living resurrection, seeing if that pattern repeats at sites we know little about, and adapting the same principles, on a hunch, to see whether the pattern fits. It does in this case. I will be looking at the Temple of Ise in Japan, given the obvious association with Isis and a similar resurrection myth to that of Osiris. Delphi, of course, is also such a temple.
However, these temples were often multi-disciplinary, so a number of disciplines can overlap (which is why so many people argue over the same topic :-). 
 Just putting this material out there so that others might advance the concept.

Freddy Silva

Best-selling author, researcher.


I have also noted many astronomical links to Venus.....The overlap in dates is even more intriguing.

I wonder...have you looked at Edo Castle in Japan for alignments to Venus?

I found the same astronomical values for predicting eclipses in the polygonal walls at Edo Castle, Delphi in Greece and Saksaywaman in Peru....Polygonal walls in Japan are very rare.

The link to Venus would fully explain the 40 degree alignment I am routinely seeing as a secondary alignment angle in polygonal walls.

This is from

One Venus cycle is 37960 days, or 40 Earth years. 104 x 365 = 37960 (one and a half Zodiac degrees.)

Venus transits the Sun every 121.5 years and again in 8 years, then repeats in 121.5 years.

The conjunction of Mercury, Venus, Earth and the Sun is known as the Shekina; Venus and Mercury become one very bright star as seen from Earth. This occurs every 480 years. 12 x 40 Venus cycles = 480. One of these conjunctions occurred in 4 BCE

Dr. Derek Cunningham
Author of:
The Map that Talked - How astronomy was used to map the ancient world
The Babel Texts - Decoding the early text of the Stone Age
Scotland and Shakespeare's Third Prophecy - Recovering Scotland's Forgotten past


Freddy Silva is a best-selling author, and leading researcher of ancient civilizations, restricted history, sacred sites and their interaction with consciousness. He is also a leading expert on crop circles.

He has published six books in six languages:

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