Oroboro Pyramid Plans

Years ago, sleeping on a futon after a long night of reading about Sierpinski Gaskets and Pascal’s triangle, I had a dream about a pyramid. Rotating in three-dimensional space like a computer simulation, I could see that it was a pyramid made of pyramids, with letters running along the edges. It was a name I’d invented years earlier: OROBORO, a stylized version of OUROBOROS.

I was attracted to the name because it was a palindrome, and because you could place the letters around a circle to create a loop that had no beginning or end:


In my dream, each one of the letters of OROBORO were placed at the vertices of the pyramid, arranged so that when you read along the edges of the pyramid, you looped around the whole pyramid and came back to where you started, creating an infinite loop.

When I woke up, I immediately drew what I’d seen in my pocket notebook. It became one of the key images of my stories, a sort of keystone that brought together trigonometry and eternity. You’ve probably glimpsed it a few times already in my notes:

What makes this frightening and interesting, though, is that once I was awake, I couldn’t figure out how to put together the 3-D jigsaw puzzle I’d seen in my dream. Maybe it was mathematically impossible–in the dream, the number of letters and vertices on the pyramid had matched up perfectly, but I’d never run those numbers before. Ten vertices, seven letters, but repeated how many times? Even stranger than that, when I tried to write it out on paper, I couldn’t visualize the layout in three dimensions, or figure out the right arrangement of letters to create the infinite loop. Maybe it couldn’t be done, and I was just operating on the flawed memory of dream logic.

But if it was possible to arrange those letters on the pyramid to create the infinite loops, that would mean my mind was designing puzzles and patterns that I couldn’t figure out when I was awake!


Finally, I figured it out. It was possible. Each face of the pyramid could spell OROBORO, and, when read from the correct starting point, could spell it in three dimensions.


The pattern only works because the first ‘O’ in OROBORO can also function as the last ‘O’. Two full OROBOROs can fit on the pyramid, which would normally add up to 14 letters, but because of the dual-purpose ‘O’s, there are only 10 letters needed.

The amount of insane coincidences and patterns is mind-boggling. OROBORO, from Ouroboros, the worm that eats its own tail and the symbol of infinity, has just the right number of letters to fit on the pyramid in perfect loops, becoming exactly what it’s meant to represent. The fact that I was obsessed with triangles to begin with, and that a figure made of triangles could fit the name I had come up two years earlier is also bizarre. But strangest of all was that I had figured out how to fit it all together in my dreams.

So now I’m working on a new project: a real Oroboro Pyramid, made of folded black paper, wires, and white beads placed at the vertices, with each of the letters written on them. The plans are below:

IMG_1596 IMG_1598 As I start assembling the pyramid, I’ll post some pictures of the progress. It’ll bear a lot of resemblance to the ANATMAN pyramid, but will hopefully be sturdier.


You ever seen Hellraiser?