Precision Pyramids

Handmade Wooden Meditation Pyramids Since 2003

Finding the best site for your pyramid

The Great Pyramid, among other pyramids in Egypt, is said to have subterranean waterways beneath it which play a large role in power of a pyramid.  It has also been said that placing a pyramid over a ley line can increase the power of the pyramid.  In truth, I don't know much about ley lines.  I would imagine that they might be equivalent to the chakras of the body on the earth.  Supposedly, a skilled dowser can detect these cross points on the earth, as well as flowing subterranean rivers.  If you know of anyone, you might consider using their services to help you in finding the best place for your pyramid.  I have only skimmed this free online book, but I think it goes into great detail about ley lines, and instruments the author has been able to use to measure them scientifically.

Aligning your pyramid

Go directly to the solar alignment method.

One of the many amazing things about the Great Pyramid is how close to true north it is aligned.  Today, it is off of true north by only about 1/20º.   Different sources say that due to geological shift--the process where our land masses have been slowly shifting over the eons--that the Great Pyramid may have been exactly aligned to true north when it was first built.  I am guessing that there was probably a good reason for why they did that.

In the book Pyramid Power, by Max Toth, someone was trying to mummify honey with a pyramid.  The honey was in liquid form when she started the experiment, and after three weeks, the honey had become sticky and tacky.  At that point, the pyramid was accidentally bumped off of its true north-south axis, and the honey turned back into its liquid form by the end of the fourth week.  She realigned the pyramid, and after another three weeks, it returned to its same tacky consistency.  At this point, she was curious to see if it would return back to its liquid state if the pyramid was moved off its north-south axis.  After one week, it did.  This time she realigned the pyramid, and left it that way for about eight weeks.  When she checked the honey at this point, it was the consistency of rubber.

After finding the spot where your pyramid will sit, there are several different ways to align it to true north.  Keep in mind, you are aligning the sides of the pyramid to true north, not its corners.  So there will be two sides that are opposite of each other that will be running in a north-south direction, and the other two sides will be running in an east-west direction.

There are quite a few different ways to find true north: Sighting the North Star is probably the most accurate way, but it is a complicated method and doesn't work too well inside (unless you have a north-facing window).  I believe a sextant can be used in this method, but also requires skill to do it accurately.  Also, the North Star is about 3/4ths of a degree off of the North Celestial Pole, so you need to know at what time during the night it is actually aligned to true north as it makes its tiny arc in the night sky.

Another way to find true north is to use a gyro compass, which can be pretty accurate, if you are willing to shell out as much as $3,000 for one.  I have heard mixed reviews on the accuracy of a GPS compass, though if you were tricky, you might be able to use visible landmarks from your site and trigonometry to calculate a pretty accurate measurement of true north.

You may also be able to use Google Earth to find true north, and can even use their measuring tool to find the angle to one of the walls of your house relative to true north and then use a protractor to measure the angle off of one of the walls near where the pyramid will be.  Depending upon the situation, the accuracy may be pretty good, but there are lots of opportunities for errors and mistakes, as well, so unless you know what you are doing, it is not my first recommendation--but it could be a good backup to check if it matches other methods.

Using a regular compass can work relatively well, and is a much easier alternative, but it is prone to error depending upon the quality of your compass.  Also any nearby magnetic fields can make it off, which is very common inside a house with wires and electricity running through it.  It may work, if you make efforts to stay away from electrical devices, but still the accuracy is not for certain.  There are less chances for magnetic fields to mess it up outside, so it might be a decent option there.  A compass points to the magnetic north pole, not the true north pole, so you need to find your magnetic declination and adjust for that.  This is the place to go to find your magnetic declination, no matter where you are in the world.

A digital compass on your fancy phone is perhaps one of the easiest methods, as it should point to true north and you don't have to worry about declination.  However, these are also influenced by magnetic fields and the accuracy of the different digital compasses out there can vary widely, so the jury is still out with this option.

Using the sun as a solar compass

This leads me to my favorite method, which can be extremely accurate and not too difficult to do under many circumstances, even if your pyramid is inside.  In order for this method to work, it needs to be a clear and sunny day.  If you follow the steps below accurately, you should be able to align your pyramid to within 1/10th of one degree.  If you are real meticulous, you may very well be able to align your pyramid more accurately than the Great Pyramid itself.  

First, you will need a plumb bob.  You should be able to get one at any hardware store, or can even make your own, though if you want it to be as accurate as possible, I suggest you buy one.  The idea is that when the sun is exactly at its solar noon, the shadow cast from the plumb bob will create a true north-south line.  The trick is knowing exactly when that is, as it is almost guaranteed to not be at 12:00 noon.  This has to do with many factors, including where you live in your time zone, and due to the equation of time and the fact that the earth has an elliptical orbit.

In order to find out what time exactly is the solar noon for where you are, go here and move the pin on the map to your location.  And then, magically, it will tell you exactly what time it will be for your location on that day in the box below.  (It changes from day-to-day.)  Make sure you tick the DST box if you are currently on daylight savings time.  Then, make sure your clock is accurate to hopefully within a few seconds, for every minute you are off of solar noon, your shadow will move about 1/4 of a degree.

If you are inside, hang your plumb bob on a hook or nail above your south-facing window so that it hangs freely and doesn't touch either the floor or the wall.  It should be maybe a half-inch or so just above the floor.  Mark on your floor with masking tape, with one edge of it lining up directly under the center of the plumb bob.  

If you are outside, hopefully it is not too windy.  Tie the plumb bob on a stick between two ladders, on a tree, make a tripod, or have someone help you by holding it.  On bare ground, insert a small nail directly under the plumb bob.  Make sure it is not moving when you do this.

Make sure the steps above are done well before the appointed time.  Then, right at the exact time, mark another spot from the shadow cast at the top of the string.  Depending upon how high it is, the shadow from the string will likely be diffuse and blurry.  It can help to see it by laying a white piece of paper on the floor or the ground.  Inside, stick the edge of the second piece of masking tape in the center of the shadow.  Outside, stick in a small nail.  From your two nails or two edges of masking tape, you should have a very accurate north-south line.  If the line needs to be moved in order to match up with one of the sides of where you want your pyramid to be, you can measure over the same distance from both points, but be sure to use a carpenter's square or some other right angle (like a book) so both measurements are perpendicular from your original north-south line.

The ideal time of the year would be a sunny winter day, when the sun is lower and casts a longer shadow, though any time of the year will do, as long as it is sunny.

What if it is spring or summer, and the sun is too high to stream through your window?  Or what if you don't have a south-facing window in the room you are using?  If you have either an east- or west-facing window, then you may be able to find an east-west line.  Remember, a pyramid will have two sides aligned north-south, and two sides aligned east-west, so finding an east-west line is just as effective as finding a north-south line.  It can also be an advantage outside too during the spring or summer, as it will cast a longer shadow and therefore be more accurate.

The method to find the right time when the sun is exactly due east or due west is a little bit trickier: Go to the same site for finding the time of your solar noon. After finding your location, you will need to do some trial and error, entering into the "Local Time" box different times until the "Az/El" box at the lower right reads exactly 90 degrees (due east) or 270 degrees (due west). "Az/El" stands for "Azimuth" and "Elevation". The Azimuth box (the first of the two boxes) is the one you are interested in.

What if you don't have any windows that will work inside your room?  The other option, then, is to cast a north-south or east-west shadow line along one of the walls outside of your house. Once you get a N-S or E-W line leading up to the wall, you will need to measure that angle with a protractor and then transpose that angle off of one of the parallel walls in the room where your pyramid will be (make sure it is a parallel wall, not a perpendicular wall).

If the circumstances do not allow for you to use the sun to find true north, then I would suggest trying multiple methods and compare them to each other to see if they correlate:  Use the compass method with your known declination to make a north-south line.  Then check that line with one (or more) different digital compasses.  If they match up pretty good, then you are probably fine.  Using Google Earth could be a third check on your line.  Hopefully, with all of the options available, you will be able to use one or more of them to get an accurate north-south line.

The rest of my outdated article

The rest of the article below, I wrote a long time ago, and a lot if it is outdated.  I spent so much time on it, however, I just thought--heck--I will leave it up for people who are really bored.

I will show you in this article how to align a pyramid to True North, which by the way, is how non-metallic pyramids should be aligned.  If you are using a metallic pyramid, you should align it to magnetic North, in order for the pyramid to take the most advantage of the magnetic energies of the Earth.  In this case, you would simply align your pyramid in the same direction as the needle on your compass points to. 

The reason you align a non-metallic pyramid to True North is because it is harnessing the rotational inertia of the Earth and transmuting it into the mysterious energy that concentrates at its center, in the King's Chamber, one-third up from its base (thus its name "Pyr-a-mid," which means "Fire-in-the-middle" in Latin).  When a pyramid is aligned to True North, each face of the pyramid is in alignment with the rotation of the Earth, thus becoming more effective in harnessing that energy.

In this article, I will show you two different ways to effectively align a non-metallic pyramid to True North.  The first way is by using a compass.  In the second part of this article, I will show you how to align a pyramid using Polaris, or what is known as the North Star.  I believe that this is the most accurate way to align a pyramid, but you can only use this method if your pyramid will be outside, or if it will be in a room where the North Star is visible from a window.  If you plan on using the North Star as your guiding light, you can click here to go directly to the second part of this article. 

Using A Compass To Align
Your Pyramid To True North

It is very important that you use a good compass if you want results.  Don't use any of those Cracker Jack compasses out there for under $10.  Also, when you are working with a compass, you will want to make sure that you are not wearing any jewelry, watches, or anything else metallic like belt buckles, as they can interfere with magnetic fields.  Also, keep it away from any electronic devices, especially stereo speakers.  And if your pyramid is indoors, it is advisable to shut off the power in your house at the circuit breaker (but this is not absolutely necessary).

The Compass Store and Stanley London are good places to get a wide variety of good compasses for a reasonable price.  I will recommend a few different compasses from these places that you can get for different situations.  For example, if you are going to align a small sized pyramid less than a few feet wide at the base, then you would want a baseplate compass, which has a straight edge on it to help you align the pyramid.  You could get away with the Silva Polaris 177, though the Brunton 8097 Eclipse Compass has 1º increments on the dial and would be the better, more accurate choice.  And if you're lucky, and live in an area where the magnetic variation isn't more than 5º (I'll explain later), or if you know how to use a protractor to make the adjustment, then I would recommend the Stanley London Chart Compass due to its 1/2º accuracy to True North.

If you are going to be aligning a larger-sized meditation pyramid outside, or in a large room, I would recommend a lensatic compass, which allows you to site a much longer True North-South baseline.  I would recommend getting the Small Prismatic Compass, accurate to within 1º, or even better, the Prismatic Surveying Compass which is accurate to within 1/2º.  I will explain later how to use a lensatic compass.

So the next thing you need to find out is what the magnetic declination (or variation) is for your area.  You see, the needle on your compass points to the Magnetic North Pole of the Earth, not the true North Pole.  The Magnetic North Pole is actually a spot somewhere in the North Canadian Islands and it is constantly moving.  It has actually picked up speed in recent years, currently moving about 40 kilometers per year, up from 10 km/yr in the early 1900s.  Here a map showing its different locations over the last 100 years or so.

Every place has a different magnetic variation.  Some places have very little variation, like in the central United States, because from there, the Magnetic North Pole is lined up with the true North Pole.  Other places, there is a large variation, like up in Northern Canada, where you could be east or west of the Magnetic Pole.  So in this case, the compass needle can be pointing east (or west) towards the Magnetic Pole, and be off by almost 90º.

If you live in the Unites States, you can click here in order to find your magnetic declination.  Simply enter in your zip code and click the "Get Location" box.  When you do that, the program will enter in your longitude and latitude coordinates in the boxes below.  Next, click the "Compute Declination" box and scroll down to see what your decination is for your area.  The only thing you need to write down is the degrees, minutes, and E or W.  Don't worry about how much it is changing.  So in my case, my zip code is 98597.  When I enter that in and click "Compute Declination," it says "17º 27' E".  What that means is that for where I live, the needle on my compass points 17º 27' EAST of True North.  Make sure you don't get it backwards:  The needle is East of True North; NOT True North is East of the needle.

You will also need to know how to convert the minutes part of that computation.  There are 60 minutes in a degree.  So in my case of 17º 27', I would divide the 27 by 60 to get 0.45.  So the magnetic declination for my area is 17.45º E.  The needle points 17.45º East of True North. 

If you live outside the U.S., click here to find the latitude and longitude for where you live.  Simply type in the nearest city where you live in the box that says "Birth town."  You don't need to enter any state or country.  So, for example, when you type in "vienna", you get a listing of 30 different Vienna's around the world, each with a longitude and latitude listing next to it.  In this case, we are looking for Vienna, Austria, which shows a latitude of "48n13" and a longitude of "16e20".  You will then need to convert that to decimal by dividing the 13 in 48n13 (48º 13') by 60 to get 0.2166.  So the latitude coordinate is 48.2166º N.  The longitude coordinate of 16e20 converts to 16.333º E.  So once you have those two coordinates written down, click here to get to the site to compute your magnetic declination, and manually enter in these two coordinates in the latitude and longitude boxes.  Make sure you get latitude in the latitude box and longitude in the longitude box.  Latitude will either be N or S (of the equator) and longitude will either be E or W (of the Prime Meridian).  Also make sure when you are entering the latitude coordinate in the box you click either N or S for that coordinate, and that you click E or W for the longitude box.  After that, click the "Compute Declination" button and scroll down to find your magnetic declination.  (Don't worry about the date.)

Now that you have your magnetic declination and the proper compass, you can align your pyramid.  If it is a smaller pyramid and you are using a baseplate compass with a straight edge, you will want set your compass at one of the sides of where your pyramid will be.  (Make sure your pyramid and compass are on level ground.) 

Now move your compass as closely as you can to what your magnetic declination is.  (Again, make sure there is no metal or electronic equipment nearby.)  So let's say my declination was 17.45º E (or 17º 27' E).  That's pretty close to 17.5º E.  Remember, 17.45º E means the needle points 17.45º East of True North.  So when I line up my baseplate compass, the needle will be pointing 17.45º East of North on the compass (or, 17.45º to the right of N on the compass).  (If it were 17.45º W, then the needle would point to the left of the N on the compass.)  Once the compass is lined up, then simply place the pyramid next to the straight edge of the compass.

Most compasses are set up where North is either "N", "0", or "360".  20º to the left (west) of this will usually say "340", and 20º to the right (east) will say "20".  So in my case of 17.5º E, I simply have to align the needle on my compass so that it is pointing to 17.5º, like it is shown in the picture above.  If your magnetic declination were say, 17.5º W instead, then you will need to subtract that from 360 to find where the needle points.  In this case, it would point to 342.5º, which would be 17.5º to the left of the 360º point.

Some compasses can also be adjusted on its face for your magnetic declination.  Mine, shown in the picture above, can be spun like a dial to adjust for True North.  I don't recommend doing it that way unless you are certain you are doing it the right way, because otherwise you might get confused and turn the opposite way than you are supposed to.  Also, if your compass does adjust like mine does, make sure it is set at 0 (meaning there is no adjustment made) if you follow the way I recommend.

Aligning A Larger Pyramid 
With A Lensatic or Prismatic Compass

Materials you will want to have:  A good lensatic or prismatic compass, a torpedo level (a small 6-inch level--a regular level will also work), string, a tape measure (two is better), a carpenter's square (a long, L-shaped tool), 4 good stakes, a hammer, and a large block of wood or a cinder block.

The first thing you will want to do is to mark the spot where you want the center of your pyramid to be.  If it is to be outside, make sure you choose a spot that is in harmony with you.  That should be the most important criteria for choosing a spot.  Basically, if it feels right, then do it.  The second important consideration for a proper site is how level it is.  If you want your pyramid on the side of a hill, go for it, but just expect to do a lot of digging if you want your pyramid level (which I highly recommend).  Even areas with a moderate slope can create a lot of work.  You can dig out the high spots and add blocks under the low spots, but I don't recommend raising any part of the pyramid by more than six inches off the ground.  Otherwise, it could be unstable and fall off of its blocks, causing injury and/or damage to your pyramid.  It would be better to dig out more ground than to raise the bottom of your pyramid way up high.  You will also want to consider the changing of the seasons:  Will it be exposed to full sun in the summertime?  Will it get too much shade in winter?  Or be too exposed to the wind?  All of these should be factors in determining where to put your pyramid, but the most important factor is what feels most in harmony with you.

OK, once you know where you want the center of your pyramid to be, the next step is to place a block of wood or a cement block at the southwest corner (or southeast corner if it is more convenient for you) of where your pyramid will be.  If you are in a wide, flat, open area and you don't need the center of your pyramid to be EXACTLY where you marked the spot, then you can estimate where the SW or SE corner would be and put the block there.  You would essentially want to measure half the width of your base south from the center, and then that same measurement again east or west (whichever is most convenient) from that point.  Once you have placed the block where you want it to be, you can skip the next few paragraphs by clicking here.  If it is important to you to have the center exactly where you marked it, then continue on to the next paragraph.

Once you find the spot that you want to be the center of your pyramid, mark that spot by pounding in a stake.  The next step will be to pound in a temporary stake due South of that center point, right where the outside of your pyramid would be.  First, you need to know what the length of the base of your pyramid is.  Let's say in this example that it is 13 feet long.  So you would simply divide that length by 2 to get 6.5 feet, or 6' 6".

Start by extending the tape measure from the center stake going due South (your best guess).  Line up your compass so that the needle is where it should be according to your magnetic declination.  So in my case, the needle would be pointing at 17.5º.  Move back and forth until the sites that you are looking through on your compass line up with the center stake of your pyramid.  Make sure your compass is level when you do this.  So you will be due South of your center stake.  Now measure the correct distance due South of your centerpoint.  In my case, it would be 6.5 feet.  Pound in a stake at this point. 

If you are having trouble lining it up correctly, line up the compass an extra foot or so further away from your centerpoint and place it on a level block.  You can level it with a torpedo level--a small level about 6 inches long.  Once the compass is lined up correctly, measure with the tape the correct distance from the stake and make it in line with the compass.  You can also use the sites to line it up.  Then pound in the stake at the correct distance on the measuring tape.

Next, tie a string between the two stakes.  You will be placing a block of wood or a cinder block either due East or due West of that Southern stake (whichever is most convenient for you).  It will be the same distance away from the Southern stake as the Southern stake was from the center stake.  (In this example, 6.5 feet.)  You can use a carpenter's square to get the right angle for it.  You can also use your compass, and rotate it 90º to the east or west.  Or you can find the correct spot using two tape measures:  The length from the Southern stake is the same (6.5 feet in the example), and you will have to multiply that length by the square root of 2, or 1.414, to get the distance from the center stake.  So in the example, 6.5 feet times 1.414 equals 9.19 feet.  In order to find out how many inches 0.19 feet is, multiply by 12 to get 2.3, or 9' 2.3".  You can round it to 9' 2" if you don't want to deal with the decimal.  (If you do, multiply 0.3 by 16 to get 4.9 and round to 5.  So in this case, it would be 9' 2-5/16".) 

Don't worry if it is not precise.  So the distance from the Southern stake is 6.5 feet, and the distance from the center stake is 9' 2-5/16".  When you line up both measurements from both stakes, you will get the exact point where to place your block.  This will actually be where one of the corners to your pyramid will eventually be.

If you don't have a carpenter's square, or the mathematical abilities to find the right angle, then just use the corner of a large book:  Line up one edge with the string, and line up the other with your tape measure.  (Which will be attached to the Southern stake; and in the example, you would be measuring 6.5 feet.)

Once you know where your block will be, you will need to make sure it is level for when the compass sits upon it.  Use a torpedo level to make it level in the East-West direction, and then rotate it 90º and make sure it is also level in the North-South direction.

After you have leveled your block, place your compass upon it at the proper point that you measured for it, and then line it up according to your magnetic declination.  So in my case, the needle would be pointing to 17.5º.  (In a prismatic compass, simply line it up with the prism with the number you calculated--17.5º in this case--342.5º if it were 17.5º W.)  Remember to make sure there is nothing metal on or near you when you are doing this.

Once your compass is lined up, you will want to measure with the tape measure from your compass in the direction of True North, about 1.5 feet less than the length of your pyramid (only 1 foot less if the length of the pyramid is under 10 feet).  So in my case, it would be 11.5 feet (13 feet minus 1.5 feet).  It only needs to be close.  While the tape measure is extended and laying upon the ground, you will want to have a partner move a stake back and forth from that distance while you are looking through the sites in the compass.  BE SURE NOT TO TOUCH THE COMPASS, unless it is to align it better to True North. 

Once your partner has the stake lined up in your sites, have her pound it in.  You should also line up your sites on one side of the stake for more accuracy, if possible, and then line up the next stake on the same side.  IMPORTANT:  Make sure that the stake is straight up and down when it is pounded in.  You can use a torpedo level for this, or a string with a weight tied to it.  Also make sure that the stake is pounded in deep enough so that it won't move.  You now have your North Stake.

You will now want to pound in your South Stake, which will also be about 1.5 feet away from the compass (unless your pyramid is less than 10 feet at the base--then 1 foot away), in the direction the sites are looking (North).  Follow the same steps for the South Stake as you did with the North Stake, and pound it in, remembering to keep the stake straight up and down, and siting it on the same side as with the North Stake (if possible). 

Note:  The actual distances shown in the picture should actually be 1.5 feet and 11.5 feet--oops!

You can now remove the compass and the block it was sitting upon, as well as the first stake you pounded in to the right side (or left side) of your compass.  You now have your True North-South Stakes, which you can use to push one side of your pyramid up against while you are setting it up.  Hopefully, if you have followed the instructions carefully, it will be aligned to True North to within less than one degree and bring powerful experiences to you in your life.  So be it.

Using The North Star To
Align Your Pyramid To True North

Please note:  You can only align your pyramid to the North Star if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and if your pyramid is going to be outside (unless you can see the North Star through a window in the room where your pyramid will be).

Items you will need:  Four metal fence posts; two 4-foot dowel rods (1-inch wide); string; two plumb bobs, or heavy fish weights; two rectangular or square (not round) wooden stakes, at least two feet long, and not warped or curved.

Tools needed:  Hammer or mallet; scissors; tape measure; torpedo (6-inch) level--a regular level can also work; flashlight; compass (helpful if you do not know where True North is).

Using the North Star is the most accurate way to align a pyramid to True North--if you do it right.  Some of you might wonder why the star named Polaris is more commonly known as the North Star.  The North Star is the only "stable" star in the night time sky, meaning of all of the stars in the sky, the North Star is the only one that doesn't move.  Actually, it does move, as all stars do.  It just doesn't move as much as the others, from our perspective.  You see, the Earth spins around its axis, which goes from the North Pole to the South Pole, and that is what creates the apparent motion of the stars, including the rising and setting of the sun during the day, and the movement of the moon across the sky at night.  We're the ones that are really moving that makes the stars, the sun, and the moon look like they are moving across the sky--not the actual movement of these celestial objects themselves.

So, in the case of the North Star, it is a bit special in a way.  It is not the brightest star in the sky.  It just happens to be in alignment with the North Pole.  So when the Earth spins around its polar axis, the North Star moves very little.  And thus, is the reason Polaris is called the North Star.  (Polaris, by the way, means "Pole Star" in Latin.)  And it is also the reason sailors and mariners throughout the ages of time have always used it to navigate by--because when they know where the North Star is, they know where True North is.

So, how do you find the North Star?  Well, the best way is find somebody who knows how to find it to show you.  Also, you can click here for a great site that tells you how to find it yourself.  If you can find the two stars shown at the end of the Big Dipper, then it is about two fists away to the North Star with your arm partially extended.  (Make sure you go the right way from the Big Dipper--up out of the pan.)

Now, you may have noticed from the last website I had you click onto that the North Star isn't exactly in line with True North.  It actually makes a small circle in the sky as the Earth spins around its axis with a radius of about 3/4º.  That may not sound like very much--and in truth, if your pyramid were only off by that much, it wouldn't be that bad.  But, believe it or not, the circle that it makes in the sky is about 3 times the size of the moon.

So, the most that your pyramid could be off by is 3/4º if you align it accurately with the North Star.  And if you're lucky, it will happen to be near the top or the bottom of the circle that it makes when you align it, and be almost exactly True North.  But what if you didn't want to guess? 

Well, there is actually a trick that can let you know when Polaris is nearly aligned to True North.  When the North Star is either at the top or the bottom of the circle that it traces across the sky, it is in direct alignment with the North Celestial Pole.  The North Celestial Pole is an imaginary point in the sky where True North is.  It is the point from which the North Star (as well as all other stars) revolve around from our perspective.  And if the North Star were actually at that point, it would be a non-moving, constant point in the sky.  You can click here to get a better understanding of what the North Celestial Pole truly is.

So there are two times in every 24 hour period as the North Star scribes its circle in the sky around the North Celestial Pole, that it is in direct alignment with this imaginary point--once when it is directly above it, and once when it is directly below it.  So how can you tell when it is in one of these two positions? 

I am going to have you go back to the previous website I had you go to showing you how to find the North Star.  (Click here.)  Look at the diagram that shows the Big Dipper along with Polaris as part of the Little Dipper.  You will notice that at the far end of the Little Dipper, on the opposite side of where Polaris is, there are two somewhat bright stars, one is shown as blue in the diagram, and the other red.  The brighter of the two, the red one (it doesn't seem red in real life), is called Kochab, and is about the same brightness as the North Star.  It turns out that Kochab is almost exactly directly on the opposite side of the Celestial North Celestial Pole from Polaris. 

So if you really want to be accurate when you are aligning your pyramid with Polaris, you simply have to wait until the North Star and Kochab are in vertical alignment with each other.  It doesn't matter whether Polaris is directly above Kochab, or Kochab is directly above Polaris.  As long as they are straight up and down (or close to) then they are in alignment with True North.  (Although both Kochab and Polaris can be in alignment with True North at such a time, always use Polaris to align your pyramid to be the most accurate.)

So you've figured out how to find the North Star, but what about figuring out where Kochab is?  Remember that Kochab is part of the Little Dipper, on the opposite side from Polaris, and that it is almost the same level of brightness.  I actually don't see the Little Dipper when I find the North Star.  But it is very obvious to me where Kochab is:  I can see the two stars that are opposite Polaris in the Little Dipper quite easily, as there are no other stars of the same brightness that close to the North Star.  And Kochab is the brighter of those two stars in the Little Dipper.  (Refer to the diagram again if you are unsure.)  It also helps to know that these two stars are in the general direction of the handle of the Big Dipper starting from the North Star.  And as always, if you are unsure, find someone who can point it out to you.

All right.  Now that you know how to find the North Star, the next step is to learn how to align your pyramid to it.  This is what the end result will look like when you finally have your pyramid aligned to True North:

First, you will want to figure out where you want your pyramid to be.  Mark a point with a rock or other object where you want the center of your pyramid to be.  You will then need to estimate where the east or west side of your pyramid will be (whichever you prefer), for this is where the two North/South stakes will be that your pyramid will be pushed up against.  (Refer to the "Aligning Your Pyramid With a Compass" section for a more accurate description on how to do this if you are very particular on exactly where you want your pyramid to be.  If you don't need your pyramid in an exact position, then you can just estimate it.)

So where you would estimate the south-west corner of where your pyramid will be (or south-east corner if you are aligning your pyramid on the east side), pound in two of the metal fence posts in an east-west direction about 2-3 feet apart.  Neither the direction nor the distance apart needs to be exact, just close.  (If you need help getting an idea where the east-west direction is--or north-south, for that matter--you could use a compass--or the North Star, if you know its direction.)

Now you will want to do the same thing for the north-west corner (or north-east corner, depending on which side you are siting) of where your pyramid will be.  Measure out the length of the base of your pyramid in a northerly direction from your left fence post and pound in the third fence post.  Then pound in the fourth and final fence post three or so feet to the right of the third fence post.  (This is where it would be really helpful if you had a compass to estimate where north is, if you don't already know.  Be sure to look up your magnetic deviation for your area as described in the first part of my article to get a more accurate reading of True North.)  The third and fourth fence posts do not have to be exactly in alignment with True North, just close.  And if you don't have a compass, just estimate.  The worst thing that could happen is that you didn't align them close enough, and then you will have to repound them in the next day (more on that later).

Next, tie a 4-foot dowel rod to the tops of both pairs of fence posts.  Once you do that, tie one of the plumb bobs to each dowel rod.  It is important that the plumb bobs, or whatever weights you use, are heavy enough not to be easily blown around in the wind.  Make sure that each plumb bob is close, but not touching the ground (about 1-2 inches above the ground is good).  Also, do not tie the string tightly around the dowel rods.  Tie it loosely as it will be moved back and forth along the dowel rods.

Now comes the fun part.  Wait for a clear night.  Find the North Star, and determine if Kocheb is in vertical alignment with the North Star.  If it is not, and you want to wait until it is, then the next step is to figure out when it will be in alignment.  (If it is nearly in alignment, i.e. the equivalent of being at one o'clock or 11 o'clock on the dial of a clock, then that is pretty darned close, and I would say is good enough.)  

Polaris and Kocheb are almost like a clock, actually, except it is twice as slow as a normal clock.  Kocheb is like the dial on the clock, and Polaris is the center of the clock.  They are also going in the opposite direction of a clock.  So, for example, if Kocheb is at the equivalent of 3 o'clock, which would be directly to the right of Polaris, then it would take Kocheb 6 hours, travelling in a counter-clockwise direction, before it would get to 12 o'clock and be in vertical alignment with Polaris.  Incidentally, 6 hours is the longest you would ever have to wait.  Another example:  Let's say that Kocheb is at 7:30 in relation with Polaris being the center of the clock.  That is halfway between 9:00 and 6:00.  If you imagine that you are going backwards in time, then it would take 1.5 hours to go backwards from 7:30 to 6:00.  But since it is twice as slow, it would take 3 hours.  Remember, Kocheb can be either in the 6:00 position or at the 12:00 position for Polaris to be in direct alignment with True North.)

OK, so now you've waited for Polaris to be in direct alignment with True North.  Now, you will want to sit behind (or just south) of your Southern String.  I find the easiest way to do this next step is lay down on my back proped up on my elbows with my legs and feet pointing towards the north, but off to one side so that it doesn't hit the string.  In this position, you will want one of your eyeballs about one to two feet away from the southern string.  Actually, you will want to try to get as far away as possible, while you can still look up and line up Polaris with the top of the string.

Now, you may want a helper to shine a flashlight on the string if you can't see it.  It goes both ways, though.  If you shine too much light on it, it could make the North Star hard to see.  But if there is no light on the string, you might not be able to see the string.  You will just have to play with it and see what works best for you.  You might even alternate shining the light on the string, and then taking it off when you need to see the North Star.

So the next step is to line up both strings with the North Star (remember: you are aligning it with Polaris, NOT Kocheb).  So here's the trick:  When you are laying on your back, and you have one of your eyeballs lined up with the string and the North Star, without moving anything but your one eyeball (it takes practice, but you can actually move one eyeball and not the other), slowly lower your eyes so that you are looking at the Northern String.

Now, more than likely, the Northern String will not be in line with the Southern String.  (You may also need your helper to shine the light on the Northern String, or alternate back and forth between strings.)  At this point, you have two options for adjustment:  If you have a helper, you can have that person adjust the Northern String until it lines up; or, if you are by yourself, then you will need to adjust the Southern String until it lines up with the Northern String.

Once it is lined up, look back up the string and line up your eye with the North Star.  Then, without moving, slowly lower your line of sight down the string until you see the Northern String again.  If it is still off, then readjust one or both strings, and then check again.  Keep doing this until your one, single eyeball lines up with the Southern String and both the North Star and the Northern String at the same time.

A couple of notes:  Everytime you have to move one of the strings, you will want to wait until it stops moving before you do your sight check.  Also, if it is very windy, and the plumb bobs are moving around, you should wait for a calmer night, if possible.  And lastly, if when you did your first line of sight check, there was no way to line up the Southern String with the Northern String because the Northern Posts were too far off, then mark the approximate spot where your Northern String should be with a rock or by pounding in a stake, and then pull out your Northern Posts and pound them in on either side of that spot and do the process over the next day (or that night, if you are that ambitious).

All right!  You now have your Northern and Southern Strings aligned to True North.  The last and final step (which can be done the next day unless you are in the middle of a storm) is to pound in your Northern and Southern Stakes, from which your pyramid will be pushed up against to align it to True North.

So the idea is is that you want each of your North and South Stakes about 18 inches inside from the corners of your pyramid.  (Do less than 18 inches if your pyramid is under 10 feet.)  So after you pound in your first stake you will want to measure the second stake 3 feet less than the length of your pyramid from the first stake.  (18 inches times two equals 3 feet.)  So, for example, if your pyramid is 12 feet wide at the base, then you would want your stakes to be about 9 feet apart.  (It doesn't have to be exact.)  Also, if your Northern and Southern Strings are approximately the same distance apart as the size of your pyramid, then you can simply measure 18 inches away from each string.

You will need a helper for this last and final step.  You can be on your stomach this time, sighting with one eyeball, from behind the Southern String, lining it up with the Northern String.  Now, your helper will first pound in the Northern Stake, which should be appoximately 18 inches south from the Northern String and the north-west (or north-east) corner of your pyramid.

Your helper will move the flat, wooden stake back and forth until you say it is good.  You want to line up one side of the stake with the two Northern and Southern Strings that you are sighting down.  Once it is good, have your helper pound in the stake, while you are still watching to make sure it doesn't move out of alignment.  As your helper is pounding in the stake, he/she will want to make sure that it is vertical, which can be checked with a torpedo (or a regular) level.  Also, make sure that the stake is pounded in deep enough where it won't move when you push the pyramid up against it (but also make sure that it is at least 10" above the ground).

Once the Northern Stake is in, your helper will move down towards you and line up the Southern Stake in the same manner.  Make sure you get about the right distance apart from the Northern Stake.  Also, it is very important that you line up the same edge of the stake with the two strings as you did with the Northern Stake.

Once you have completed that step, the only other thing you have to do is to pull out the Northern and Southern Fence Posts, along with the dowel rods and plumb bobs.  You have now successfully completed the steps for pounding in your True North/South Stakes from which your pyramid will be aligned with, which if done accurately and well enough, should put your pyramid in alignment to True North to within about 1/4º.  May you have awesome adventures with your pyramid!


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