The Long Strange Golden Road by Courtenay Pollock - Chapter 10 - The Great Pyramid

Photo from Adrian Boot Blog: Grateful Dead in Egypt

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Ever since I was a little boy I had dreams and visions of going to the great pyramids. I was drawn to the great pyramid of Giza. This is before I even knew what the great pyramid was, it was always inherent in my psyche. In 1978, the Grateful Dead proposed to play three days at the pyramids at the end of their summer tour. Randy Sarte, who was our travel agent at the time, chartered a 300 odd seat plane for friends and family and deadheads who wished to get on the bus to Egypt with the Grateful Dead. The charter preceded the arrival of the band since they were finishing the tour with the last gig in Red Rocks, Colorado. We arrived at 2 am at the Cairo airport and were bussed to the Mena House Hotel at the foot of the great pyramid.

I had already been up a day or so preparing to leave, another day travelling, and then we stayed up the rest of the night since it was only a few hours before dawn and I was eagerly awaiting the first tour group into the great pyramid, I was one of the first in line for the day. We proceeded into the depths of the great pyramid, up the ascending passage, a brief visit to the queen’s chamber, and then up the grand gallery (quite a climb). We crawled through the antechamber that gave access to the King’s Chamber. The crowd of tourists all rushed to the sarcophagus in the centre of the King’s Chamber, with all the excitement and babble of different languages, it was a cacophony of sound in that resounding chamber. Like everyone else, I was drawn to the sarcophagus, and without a thought, I jumped in it and sat down. I struck the side of the sarcophagus with the flat of my hand, and heard the pitch of the sound that emanated. In my cranium, I toned that pitch and as I purified the sound within my head, the sound enlarged throughout the King’s Chamber till it was just the ringing tone of the sarcophagus attuned to the King’s Chamber and the whole pyramid started to ring. Everything was in harmony with itself within the structure. When I stopped to take a breath, the cacophony of noise was gone, and everyone’s jaw was hanging open, looking at me in the sarcophagus. The native guide ushered everybody out of the King’s Chamber and left me there. As he backed out of the King’s chamber he paid obeisance to me and left me alone to continue my toning. I continued to resound the pitch of the pyramid and worked on purifying my tone and found that the lighter and more accurately I could create the pitch, the more the chamber would resound and amplify that pitch.

Eventually, another tour group came up with a different native guide and a similar thing happened. Everybody rushed to the sarcophagus, my toning drowned out their chatter, and the guide ushered them out and left me there again. I spent three or four hours each day toning in the sarcophagus. Some innate recognition from the native guides gave me unspoken permission to do what I was doing, and I gained access to the subterranean chambers deep under the pyramid early the next morning before the pyramid was open to tour groups.

I had brought my friend Nicky Sculley with me because she had a metaphysical interest, as I did, and we proceeded down the descending passage after the guide had unlocked the rusty padlock that had been shut for many years. We went down by candlelight, and finally reaching the bottom found rough hewn chamber. We discovered the so-called pit, which is a roughly circular hole excavated like a giant well at the bottom of the subterranean chamber. Holding the candle high, I could see across the yawning pit to a small opening in the rock face. It was just large enough to crawl down if you could cross the pit. I found ancient power cables that I used to clamber around the edge of the pit and proceeded to crawl down the tunnel. I could feel the crushing presence of all of the pyramid’s immense weight as I proceeded down the tunnel, and all my creaturehood fears welled up out of the darkness. For a moment I was frozen in place and I said to myself “Don’t be silly, Courtenay, this is all in your own mind. This is a portal. This is a test.” I overcame those fears and started to move past this invisible shield. At that very moment, Nicky’s wavering voice came down the passage. “Ohhhh, Courtenay I don’t think you should be going down there.” “Why not, Nicky?” abd she said “I heard that the Rosicrucians are having their initiation ceremony in the King’s Chamber right now. Their once a year initiation. You are interrupting the harmonies of the pyramid by blocking the tunnel.” It came to be that since fate had allowed me to be in this position in this moment, that my presence there was the exact right adjustment to the dynamics of the pyramid since its original state. I proceeded a little further in the pitch blackness and suddenly the tunnel terminated in the bedrock. It was a blind tunnel that contained only that invisible portal that tested your control over your fears. I laid down on my back with my head against the end of the tunnel, closed my eyes, and in a moment I was journeying out into the galaxy. I saw fantastic star systems and travelled through what seemed like an eternity. After what felt like aeons, I returned to myself. When I came into my body again, I felt as if I had been gone forever. And then I realized that it was just a moment of eternity.
Nicky said, “Are you alright in there Courtenay?” I said, “I am coming out Nicky”. On route back to Nicky, I used one of the power chords to lower myself down the pit and even though I couldn't’ see the bottom, it wasn’t that deep. I was suddenly standing at the bottom of the pit, it was only about 10-15 feet deep, but down in that hole, it seemed to absorb all sound. It was a real dead space. I clambered back out, Nicky and I traced our steps and exited the descending passage and the waiting guide locked the barred gate after us. We proceeded up to the King's Chamber, which was Nicky’s first time there. I got in the sarcophagus and started my toning. The Rosicrucians had already finished their initiation and vacated the chamber. And then the first tour group came up and Nicky exitted when they did. I remained in the sarcophagus doing my toning. Each day of my visit there, I spent a number of hours in the King’s Chamber in the sarcophagus toning, chanting. Then one day Ken Kesey came in with his video camera and Paul Krazner interviewed me, and I talked about the harmonics of the pyramid.

I had made appointments with various guides at all hours of night and day to explore various tombs, chambers, and the excavations where they had discovered the ship of the sun, all the areas that were out of bounds for visitors. Without prior arrangement, I had been granted access to the great pyramid anytime I wanted. It was unofficial and nothing was spoken about it.

The Grateful Dead eventually arrived in Egypt to end their summer tour. It was to be a free three-day concert for the Egyptians. We had decided that we were going to wire the King’s Chamber for sound and replay it back to the stage. The experiment didn’t work, but the last night of music was a full moon in Pisces in total eclipse. I had determined that I wanted to be in the sarcophagus during the eclipse.

It’s mid-evening, and the pyramid has been locked up for the day hours before. I realized I had made no arrangements to be inside and the moon was beginning to be occulted by the shadow of the earth. I said to myself “Cool out Courtenay, you are so privileged to be here at the pyramid with the Grateful Dead playing”. Right at that moment when I overcame my frustration for not being inside, the mayor of Giza village showed up, looked at me, gave me a nod and unlocked the pyramid for me. I proceeded into the utter darkness of the pyramid. I knew the pyramid like the palm of my hand by then, I didn’t need light to navigate my way up to the King’s Chamber. I laid in the sarcophagus and did my toning during the transit of the full moon eclipse. I mentally experienced a kind of communion with the ancients and an impression of the unveiling of arcane knowledge.

When I finally returned to California, I started writing the story of the journey through the Great Pyramid as an initiatory sequence. Unfortunately, those papers were all lost when my storage got flooded. I had written thirteen line stanzas written in old English, for the 78 stations of the journey through the Great Pyramid as an initiatory sequence. There were twenty-two major stations and upon finishing the story realized that it mirrored the sequence of the Taro. The journey of the Fool to the Maji. A parallel I didn’t recognize until I had completed the writings. The information came to me almost as a channelled experience.

After about three hours, while I had mentally journeyed, I finally decided it was time to come down and catch some of the music. I climbed down in the darkness to the exit and there was a guard waiting near the entrance to let me out.

I went down to the stage and the music was in full swing and I danced the rest of the night away.


  • Absolutely fascinating account!! I’ve been blessed to have had two experiences inside the Sarcophogus myself. I’d love to hear more about your experiences in there! So amazing they let you spend so much time in there… thank you for sharing!

    Emily Horowitz
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