Chapter 2 of 24
So if you look at the pyramid in any depth you find that it is a very powerful symbol because of its 4 square plan and its very simple shapes. If you look in more depth, you find that it has a kind of exact symbolism which makes it again a very profound and resonant one, what I'd call a multivalent symbol, that is to say, it's, on a fundamental level, a representation of the origination myth of the Egyptians. Egyptians believed that the world was a chaos, a watery chaos. And like the Nile which flooded every year, it was a vast sea of black indistinct, well, mud. And this mud which would come every year would bring life with it and as the waters receded, little islands would appear out of the mud and these had the shape of a primitive pyramid, or which you could call a primeval mound. And that primeval mound was worshipped by a stone called the Benben stone, and from that Benben stone the basic pyramidal shape came, just as you get it from allowing sand to fall from your fingers. And you can see then that the basic shape stems from these fundamental cosmic ideas. And this symbol was developed in a further way so that, as it was first built with stepped pyramids you got the metaphor or symbol of steps to the gods, and in the pyramid text you can read the very first idea of a Pharaoh with his people stepping up to heaven. And then the second symbol was one mentioned by Pliny the Elder when he says the obelisk is a petrified sunray. In that sense, the little pyramid at the top of a pyramid called the pyramidion, is another petrified sunray and again when the sun goes down, as you can see, you get a very vivid exact symbol of this meaning, the Sun God basically, Ra who is born and dies every day.