Symbol of wealth, rebirth, and protection.

The scarab originated in Ancient Egypt. A scarab is shaped like a dung beetle. There is a head, wing case, and legs. It is sometimes rounded and sometimes flat. The scarab was associated with the god Khepri who was the god or rebirth, creation, and the sun. Dung beetles were the earthly personification of Khepri as they lay their eggs in dung balls and then roll them all around until the eggs hatched. Early hieroglyphics depict Khepri as a scarab holding up the sun. There were hundreds of memorial scarabs created to memorialize Amenhotep III’s deeds. These included the bull hunt scarab, symbolizing strength and victory over chaos.

Later, around 2000 BCE, the scarab was used in jewelry and as seals. The amulets were worn as protection against the dangers of this world and the afterlife. The scarab represented the sun god Ra that rolled across the sky daily. Between the 16th and 11th centuries, heart scarabs were created to be placed on a mummy’s heart. When a person reached the afterlife, their heart was weighed by the goddess of truth. If the heart was heavy with sin, they could not move forward to the afterlife. The heart scarab would convince the gods that the person was trustworthy and should move into the afterlife without having their heart weighed. Other heart scarabs were used as general protection in the afterlife.

Scarabs have been found drawn on walls, graves, and worn on necklaces, bracelets, and belts. They were used as paperweights and talismans. Some, usually the scarabs used in graves or as commemorative scarabs, were engraved with hieroglyphics. Scarabs were also created with wings. The wings represented rebirth. The beetle was associated with protecting the written word, so seals were made with scarabs.

The Egyptians taught Phoenicians and Greeks about scarabs, and they started appearing in their culture. Later the Greeks showed the Etruscans the scarab and it became a part of their culture. Scarabs can now be found around the world.


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