The Sacred Scarab of Ancient Egypt

We discovered our blog is being read by people around the world, thanks to Google analytics. The Internet (or what I call “electronic intelligence”) is spread 360 degrees across the globe. And who knows, maybe deep in the cosmos too. Of course people need to read English.  But then again languages are translated in all tongues on the web. Someone in Russia (yes, our humble blog is read over there), asked if we’d elaborate a bit on why the ancient Egyptians worshipped and held the scarab (dung beetle) in such esteem. Glad to oblige.  

What’s amazing is how the ancient Egyptians observed the dung beetle’s behaviour; they must have had a keen awareness. First, they noticed how the dung beetles rolled round balls.   

This reminded them of the Sun and its movement from morning to night. They observed how these remarkable beetles buried these balls, like some kind of funeral, burying the dead.  But when newborn beetles appeared from the balls, it evoked in the Egyptians thoughts of reincarnation.  This lead to their creation of ‘scarabs’ from semi-precious stones, clay or metal, and even gold, which they buried with their dead. The Pharaohs in particular were in awe of this sacred beetle.   

So much so that besides using them as sacred symbols, they had special rings made (“swivel rings”) with their rank and position marked on the bottom side of the scarab in hieroglyphs, to use for sealing documents. They also observed the white beetle grubs in the balls, which inspired them to wrap their dead in white cloth to make mummies. Scarabs can be seen in any museum around the world that has an ancient Egyptian department.   

Trust this information helps to shed more light for our blog reader in Russia about this amazing beetle’s journey and behaviour, and its important role in ancient Egypt, symbolizing the cycle from life, to burial and rebirth.

Henri van Bentum