The scarab is one of the most important symbols in Ancient Egyptian belief, but why? What relevance, if any, does it have today? Modern Egyptians still believe that dried and powdered scarabs will help them to become fertile. However, it is as the sacred animal belonging to the God of the Rising Sun, Khepera, that the scarab is important. The Ancient Egyptians observed that the scarab beetle rolled its own ball of dung along the ground in the same way that the Khepera rolled the Sun across the sky. They also believed that the scarab hatched itself from this dung ball, symbolizing death and rebirth. As a God, the scarab was depicted with the wings, legs, and tail of a falcon. The scarab was placed on top of the heart when a corpse was mummified. This was so that the heart, symbolizing the conscience, would not be able to speak because the scarab was in the way. Therefore, the soul could say nothing that might otherwise hinder its access to the Afterlife. Such was the power of the scarab that its image appears everywhere in Ancient Egyptian art and artifacts, on seals and amulets and on pieces of jewelry. The prominence of the scarab for the Egyptians, however, seems to be a very recent trend when we realize that the beetle has been an important symbol since the Paleolithic period, between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.
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Animals main description
THE SECRET SYMBOLS OF THE ANIMAL REALM
This section not only encompasses real animals, insects, and birds, but also takes a look at some of the more fantastical creatures that occupy a significant space in our collective psyche. The attributes of all our animals, real or otherwise, give us an incredibly rich and diverse catalog of symbols. Sometimes, the reasons behind these symbolic meanings are due to historical misconceptions about the habits of certain creatures, and probably date back to a time when we were less well informed than we are now. These curiosities—such as the beaver being a symbol of chastity because of the notion that it would rather eat its own testicles than be captured—give us a delightful insight into the minds of our ancestors.