The Egyptian Scarab was one of the most well-known and sacred of all amulets in Ancient Egypt. It goes back as early as 2345 B.C.
The amulet represented new creation, eternal life and gave immense protection against evil to the bearer.
Millions of Egyptian scarab beetle were produced in Ancient Egypt. It seems the faith in the power of this amulet stayed stable well into the fourth century A.D.
These amulets were carved out of carved in stone or molded in glass or Egyptian faience. They were worn as beads, used as seals, carved in reliefs and so on.
The Egyptians had early on observed the life of the scarab. Scarabaeus sacer is a species of dung beetle.
The act of the scarab’s rolling of a ball of dung across the ground was thought to represent the journey of the sun across the sky.
They also observed that the scarab beetle often laid its eggs in bodies of dead animals. This was a symbol of life being created from dead matter.
The Eygptian scarab consequently became a representation of Khepri, the God of the Rising Sun and eternal life.
Khepri – God of the Rising Sun – The Egyptian Scarab God
The Egyptian Scarab Beetle was associated with the god of the Rising Sun called Khepri.
Khepri represents rejuvenation, divine wisdom and immortality.
He was one of the forms of Ra, the sun god. Khepri was the dawn, Ra was midday and Atum was the evening sun.
He was often shown as a beetle-headed man, a beetle-headed hawk or just simply the scarab beetle.
The name Khepri comes from the ancient Egyptian word kheper meaning “to become” or “to be transformed”. He is the creative power linked with the miracle of the first sunrise every morning. The Egyptians would refer to him as “The Shining One”.
In Egyptian mythology there is a story how the corpse of Khepri is divided and buried every night. Every morning his body is resurrected and he rises in triumph.
There is yet another story that says his mother Nut swallows him every evening and that he is reborn every morning.
In the Book of the Dead, Khepri is summoned to overcome the penetrating fear of disintegration. The deceased proclaims that this corpse will not decay because “I am Khepri. My body parts will continue to exist.”
Khepri gave the promise of a renewable life after death.
The heart scarab amulet was the special amulet placed over the heart of the deceased. It was wrapped inside the bandages covering the mummy.
There are special instructions concerning the heart scarab in chapter 30 in The Book of the Dead. The heart scarab often had an inscription of a spell found in the same chapter of the Book of the dead.
This spell was used on judgment day and would prevent the heart speaking ill of the dead or confessing to sinful behavior.
O my heart of my mother! O my heart of my mother! O my heart of my different forms! Do not stand up as a witness against me, do not be opposed to me in the tribunal, do not be hostile to me in the presence of the Keeper of the Balance, for you are my ka which was in my body, the protector who made my members hale.
Go forth to the happy place whereto we speed, do not make my name stink to the Entourage who make men. Do not tell lies about me in the present of the god. It is indeed well that you should hear! Book of the Dead, spell 30B
It was also thought that the heart scarab would see to it that the life would be resurrected.
The heart scarabs were normally larger than the Egyptian scarab amulets carried in everyday life.
The amulets showing the Egyptian scarab with spread wings were a symbol of extended protection.
The oldest Egyptian scarab amulets did not have engravings. Later during the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650) engravings on the scarab amulets were common.
Khepri did not have a temple of his own, though many temples had large scarab made of stone in the temple complex.
The Egyptian scarab statue in the Temple complex of Karnak seemed to have powers of its own.
It was told that if you told your wish to the scarab and then walked around it three times, your wish would come true.