The Sphinx is a gateway guardian of the Temple. It reminds us To Know, To Dare, To Will, and To Keep Silence.
This four-fold enigma challenges the Initiate on the path, promising an alchemical means of transcending mortal existence should the axiom be understood.
With the head of a human and body of a beast (or three), one look upon this ancient symbol reveals that whatever the multi-dimensional secrets it protects may be, they govern the divine aspects and elements of the created Universe.
In the film, The NeverEnding Story, the first gate of the Southern Oracle and the Southern Oracle itself are a pair of opposing, but otherwise identical sphinxes, the former stone, the latter ice. They share a symbolic similarity with the Great Sphinx, though it’s their differences that give us clues toward answering its eternal riddle.
As Atreyu approached the gateway, he encountered a knight laying dead in the sand, the heraldry of twin lions emblazoned upon its shield. The bravery of the knight was rooted in the vain belief that the technology of its polished platemail armour alone would be enough to protect against the scorching flames of the most piercing critic to ever judge anyone in the entire Universe; ourselves.
Before Atreyu gathered himself with a moment of inner silence, summoning up the courage to evade the flames of the sphinx, he let fear intrude. In the brief instance that he saw the knight’s charred remains beneath all that armour, Atreyu lost focus and doubted himself by comparing himself to another.
His personal thoughts of failure triggered the twin sphinxes to render the vision he had entertained in his mind’s eye and felt in his heart. It was only Bastian’s encouragement to run from total annihilation that helped Atreyu to narrowly escape his own destructive thoughts, allowing the veil between the two worlds to part.
The mirror gate served as the formal alchemic introduction of Atreyu to his metaphysical higher self, Bastian, the key to saving all of the created Universe of Fantasia and the cosmic order of The Empress.
“Beyond the boundary, all stories told. Within the mirror, we unfold.”