The Meaning of Scarabs in Ancient Egyptian Mythology

Have you ever said a word so many times in a row that it starts to sound all weird like it’s not even a word at all?

Such is my current situation with the word scarab. A word that I hardly ever used or even heard before is now all of a sudden the main focus point of my research. The word started coming about as I was drafting a blog post about synchronicities.

Synchronicity is used to describe the acausal connection of psychic and physical phenomena where thoughts created in the mind are mirrored by external events.The concept of synchronicity came to Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung while studying a patient’s case where a patient was describing a dream that she had in which she was given an expensive piece of jewelry, a golden scarab. The next day, Jung noticed something tapping against his office window. As he went to see what it was, he was surprised to see a scarab – a live one this time. The appearance of the scarab outside of his office window at that time in that climate was considered a rare presence.

RELATED: Synchronicities: Your Soul’s Personal Navigation System Powered By The Universe

After spending a few hours researching information, I wanted to unwind with a movie. I was scrolling through the Amazon Prime movie list when I stumbled upon The Mummy, the 1999 film about an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaptra that accidentally awakens an ancient cursed mummy, Imhotep, that has been ‘asleep’ for thousands of years and releases the plagues that come along with opening its sarcophagus.

One of these plagues was the release of a legion of scarabs as Imhotep was mummified and buried alive with hundreds of them. These creepy crawlers appeared a few more times throughout the movie, and also starred in the sequel, The Mummy Returns (2001).

The appearance of scarabs in the movie right after I learned about how scarabs influenced the birth of the concept of synchronicities had to be a synchronicity in itself. So I took took this time to learn more about the relationship between scarabs and Ancient Egypt.

SCARAB SYMBOLISM IN ANCIENT EGPYT

Symbolically, the scarab to ancient Egyptians is as sacred as the cross is to Christians. The scarab beetle was associated with the divine manifestation of the Egyptian diety, Khepri, also known as ‘He Who is Coming into Being’, the god of the early morning sun, creation, and rebirth.

The scarab beetle lays its eggs on the ground and covers them in a ball of dung on which the larvae feed. The beetle then rolls the ball around until the eggs are ready to hatch. As the soft dung is rolled across the ground, sand and dust stick to it thus hardening the ball. This action is observed by the ancient Egyptians to be similar to the sun god rolling the disk of the morning sun over the eastern horizon.

The scarab hieroglyph, Kheper, represents ideas of:

  • Spontaneous Creation
  • Regeneration and Reincarnation
  • Existence
  • Manifestation
  • Development and Growth
  • Energy and Transformation
  • Good omens
  • Safe journey into the Afterworld after death

After the eggs have hatched, the newly born beetles emerge from the dung ball as fully-formed, self-generated creatures. The ancient Egyptians believed that the scarab beetles appeared from nowhere, the same way they believed that their creator god appeared from nowhere, making that special connection. This was represented as the renewal and endlessness of life where life and death isn’t linear, but a part of a continual cycle.

 

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