In ancient Egyptian religion the scarab was also a symbol of immortality, resurrection, transformation and protection much used in funerary art. The life of the scarab beetle revolved around the dung balls that the beetles consumed, laid their eggs in, and fed their young represented a cycle of rebirth. When the eggs hatched the scarab beetle would seem to appear from nowhere, making it a symbol of spontaneous creation, resurrection, and transformation. A scarab amulet provided the wearer with protection and confidence in the certain knowledge of reincarnation. Khepri was the scarab headed god who represented the power of the scarab symbol.
Facts about the ancient Egyptian Scarab Symbol
The Scarab Fact File
Name: The name of the common scarab beetle, or dung beetle, is the scarabaeus (Scarabaeus sacer). The word 'scarab' derives from the Latin word scarabaeus meaning "a type of beetle". It is also called the the dung beetle because of its practice of rolling a ball of dung across the ground.
Description of the scarab beetle: The scarab beetle has a smooth black body that reaches 1.5 inches (4 cm in length). The appendages of the beetle are sharply serrated
Symbol: The Scarab Symbol was one of the most potent symbols of ancient Egypt primarily symbolizing the sun, resurrection, transformation and protection
Heart Scarabs: Scarab amulets (heart scarabs) were much larger than ordinary scarab amulets, and usually flanked with falcon’s wings, were often placed over the heart of mummies inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead which entreating the heart "do not stand as a witness against me."
Significance: The sacred Scarab Symbol ensuring the deceased would be unafraid when the heart was weighed against the feather of truth during the ceremony of justification in the Hall of the Two Truths. The scarab aided its wearer with the power of "eternal renewal of life."
Facts about the Scarab Symbol in Egyptian Mythology
Picture of Khepri, scarab headed god
Facts about the Scarab from Mythology and Egyptian History
Fact 1: A "scarabaeus" is now an outdated term for an object in the form of a scarab beetle in Egyptian art
Fact 2: The heart scarab was placed in the tomb of the deceased in order to guide and protect them in the afterlife
Fact 3: Millions of amulets were made in Egypt depicting the scarab beetle. Scarabs were used by both the rich and the poor. The scarab and Solar worship were inseparable in ancient Egypt
Fact 4: The heart scarab was believed to secure exemption from the terrible consequences of leading an evil life. Ammit, the crocodile-headed goddess and "Devouress of the Dead", attended the Judging of the Dead and devoured those deemed to be sinners.
Fact 5: The symbol of the scarab was also known as the Khepher
Fact 6: Winged scarabs were designed to provide a safe journey into the Afterworld of the gods
Fact 7: Scarab seals were commonly used in ancient Egypt. Scarab seals were quite small, generally less than none inch in length. The name of a particular person, pharaoh, or official title was inscribed on the flat base of a seal to ensure protective powers would be given to the owner and to the owner's property.
Fact 8: The flat underside of scarabs, used as amulets, were usually inscribed with names, magical spells, images of deities, sacred animals and other religious symbols.
Fact 9: The Egyptian name for the dung beetle was 'hpri' meaning "rising from, come into being itself, to change" became the divine name Khepri, given to the creation god, who represented the rising sun
Fact 10: There were many different types of scarabs including ornamental scarabs, heart scarabs, scarab seals, winged scarabs, marriage scarabs, scarabs with spells, scarabs with good wishes and scarabs decorated with figures of gods and animals.
Facts about the Scarab Symbol from Mythology and Egyptian History
Scene from the Book of the Dead
Picture of the Scarab headed god