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Melchizedek “Al Khader” figure carving on the Treasury.  The Nabateans were part of the Abrahamic Noah tradition in which Melchizedek was a prominent figure.

In the biblical tradition we learn that Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God, presented Abraham with bread and wine - a ritual which became enveloped into later communion ceremony. In the biblical stories he also appeared to Noah during his journey many hundred of years before Abraham, and he also appeared to Moses during his journey 600 years after Abraham. So who is this mysterious figure that never dies? and why does he also seem to show up on  cross roads or for people on the move?
The carvings at the Khazneh facade of a horse rider are very much alike Al khidr “Melchizedek” representation of our modern days. In esoteric christianity: Lord Melchizedek (Al Khidr in Arabic) personifies the Man who masters the power of the Serpent or the Dragon. The lance or sword symbolizes the tool or the  power of esoteric knowledge that can influence or master the chaotic energies to which we are slaves.

According to Islam, Al Khidr/Melchizedek is the mysterious, immortal figure whom Moses encounters at the place where the 'two Seas' meet, and whom Moses subsequently implores to be allowed to accompany. However, Moses rationally questions Al Khidr's actions three times, and eventually Al Khidr, after explaining his motives, parts with him (The Qur'an, Chapter 18). Islamic tradition also relates that Al Khidr and Idris (Enoch)  are of few blessed figures in history who never died as such - but were taken to Heaven directly in their bodies, and who thus can return to this world at will.

(Left) The two side rooms behind the Riders relief of the Temple with its circular opening acts as a sound resonator which apparently produces strong and high vibrations. The two circular speakers like opening seems to be designed to insure the distribution of the sound from the music and chants to the outside facade and then all the way to the siq,  to invoke a strong religious feeling.


(Right) Choir room with carved-benches for seating. The other side room designated for the male choir room does not have this carved-benches. 

The left Treasury design plan seems to to be based on the human reproductive system. The plan design suggest that the Nabatean priests were trying to create  a sacred space. Almost all of Western Architecture, particularly church buildings, were built according to the proportions of the human body. This changed in the last 150 years or so which produced Modern Architecture, which is based on Cartesian mathematics rather than the human scale. Before that,Western Architecture was based on Egyptian, Greek and Roman architecture, and they used the human form as a basis for building their temples. This does not mean that churches were built in the shape of a human (although some were, as is shown in this Nabatean architectural plane) but that their proportions were based on the human scale. 

(Right) The initiation room in the middle. The initiation process is known to be accompanied by chants and music.







A  Nabatean cubical stone found in Petra with a male and a female head carvings along with a entwined serpents symbol along side the male head. The female head has not been identified clearly but the male head has been identified as Aktab-Kutbay -Hermes. (Morphologically, Aktab-Kutbay derives from Arabic ktb, to write, in the relative form and means, "the great (he) scribe)". As a "scribal god" , Aktab-Kutbay is to be equated with the Egyptian Thoth or Hermes Trismegistus. 

Certain Islamic scholars, identify Hermes Trismegistus as the Greek name for "Idris", who is mentioned in the Qur'an.  Islamic tradition relates that Idris is one of four or five blessed figures in history who never die. He was the first teacher of science and philosophy. According to some books , Hermetism is considered as one of the most important factors which aided in Islamic science and alchemy. To cite an example, one Arab writer mentions his knowledge of twenty-two works of Hermes - four on magic, five on astrology and thirteen on alchemy. There were numerous original Arabic works ascribed to Hermes.


Nabatean carving expressing the hermetic principle of polarity.

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*Written by Rami Sajdi, Copyright © Rami Sajdi 2007 All Rights Reserved
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