Want to learn more about the Egyptian scarab? Read on for facts and inform on this unique species of beetles and the significance that the Egyptian scarab had in Egyptian mythology...
The scarab is one of the most important ancient Egyptian mythological symbols. The symbol was derived from a specific breed of beetles popularly known as the dung beetle. It is called so because of the way it lays its eggs and then rolls them up into dung balls.
In ancient Egyptian mythology the scarab is associated with the morning sun. The divine manifestation of this deity was displayed in the form of scarab hieroglyphs. It was believed that scarab deity Boz was responsible for rolling out the disc of the morning sun in the same manner as the beetle rolls dung balls. This act would take place every day towards the Eastern horizon.
The symbol of the scarab was better known as the Khepher. The Egyptians associated many different meanings with this symbol. Some of the most popular beliefs associated with scarabs include manifestation, existence, effectiveness, growth and development. This diverse range of symbolic meanings is one of the reasons why the scarab was a popular design motif for making amulets in all successive Egyptian dynasties.
Egyptian Scarab Characteristics
The Egyptian scarab is classified as Scarabaeus sacer. It is renowned for its habit of rolling balls of dung. The males were responsible for forming dung balls that would be larger than the insect size. The females would then lay her eggs inside the dung balls. The dung would serve as the source of nutrition for the larvae once the eggs hatch. In order to come out into the open the young beetles would have to consume the entire dung ball.
Egyptian Scarab Meanings
The Egyptians observed the young scarab beetles very closely. This saw them to be rising out of the holes in a spontaneous fashion following their birth. Based on this observation they assigned the young beetles the title of “Kephera” which translates as “he was came forth”. Soon enough the title was transformed into a deity that the Egyptians began to worship. According to ancient Egyptian mythology Kephera is linked with another deity known by the name of Atum. The latter was considered to be there Creator God.
The scarab beetles had antennas on their heads that appeared to be like rays. It was with the help of these antennas that they could roll the large balls of dung. Because of the belief that Kephera would roll out the morning sun it can be seen to be doing so in many ancient Egyptian artifacts.
The Egyptians made extensive use of scarab amulets. These would be placed over the hearts of the dead after they had been mummified. It was believed that the heart scarabs would be measured against another symbolic amulet known as the feather of truth when the time for the final judgment of the deceased arrived.
Scarab amulets would have a spell bound upon them from the ancient “Book of the Dead”. They also had the inscription “do not stand as a witness against me”.