The Ancient Egyptians placed obelisks, which they considered to provide magical and protective powers, near their most sacred places. Originally called Tekhenu, these elongated pyramidal structures, which symbolized petrified rays of sunshine, honored Ra, the Sun God. In the Egyptian pantheon, Ra, as the giver of life, was the most revered. It’s fitting that, thousands of years later, we who welcome the sun into our gardens are still elated by the obelisk’s highly symbolic and beautiful form.
None of us can possess an ancient obelisk; only 30 originals still survive. But relatively newborn obelisks, in domestically-appropriate sizes, look completely at home in 21st century landscapes.
Pairs of obelisks have always been used to mark portals and indicate direction. We particularly admire this elegant duo at Anglesey Abbey, in Cambridgeshire. Courtesy of nanquick.com
At Wollerton Old Hall, in Shropshire, a delicately-scaled, lichen-encrusted obelisk punctuates a pathway. Courtesy of nanquick.com
If you’re feeling extravagant, a veritable Forest of Obelisks could be delightful! Buscot Park’s Obelisk/Sundial created by Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Courtesy of nanquick.com