Fossil sea-urchins, according to Pliny (Natural History 29: 52-4), enjoyed great popularity in Gaul. He terms them ova anguinum (serpents' eggs) and discounts the druidical belief that they were engendered from the spittle of masses of serpents coupling together in the Summer; and from direct personal experience he disproves the belief that they were sovereign charms to conciliate the powerful and to win court cases.
Archeologists excavating burial mounds have discovered fossil sea-urchins within cists where there is no human burial and this practice finds its parallels in Iran.
The basic symbol of the sea urchin is the World Egg, but there are close links with the general symbolism of eggs, serpents, stones and trees. Because of the shape of the sand-dollar there are further developments in cavern and heart symbolism and again in Rosicrucianism and the symbolic meaning of Easter-eggs.
The primal egg, the symbol of concentrated life, in Cathar doctrine stood for Christ’s dual nature, the union of divine and human powers.
In its symbolic history the fossil sea urchin has followed the most perfect ascending curve from serpent’s egg, through World Egg to manifestation of the Word. Unlike regression, it symbolizes evolution destined to reach its peak.