(Tribute to Khepera)

By Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani
No part of this article may be copied or reproduced
without my written permission.


The scarab beetle (scarabaeus) is the symbol of the Egyptian god Khepera, or Khepri, (a solar deity), who is believed to roll the ball of the sun across the heavens as the beetles roll their balls of dung on the ground. Khepera is also the sun god who first rises. When he reaches the zenith he is called Ra. When he sets he is called Atum. Horus is another one of his names. He is reborn each morning through birth of the celestial cow/sky goddess.

"Male priesthoods seized upon the notion that the scarabaei are never female, and that the male beetles hatch offspring incubated in their dung balls. (Actually, scarab beetles hatch from eggs laid by the females under the sand.)" [Walker, 1988:418] This interpretation emerged from watching the beetle push its egg out in front of it; the message being the cycle of creation in being able to be born out of itself. Khepera supposedly said that he was the sole creator who has no one else working with him. He is the one who becomes, 'he who created himself.'

The symbol of the scarab is found on seals, amulets, jewelry, and a carved scarab was placed inside the deceased's body in place of their heart during the process of mummification. According to Walker, women today in Egypt and the Sudan believe that the dried and powdered beetles act as conception charms when ingested in water.

The beetle was also symbolized as the double spiral path to the center of the universe, based on the movement the beetle makes while rolling its ball of dung.

Each year Khepera pays me a visit. The Egyptian scarab shows up at my home the end of each summer. But, they usually have impeccable spiritual timing whenever they show up. They follow me around, try to fly into my car, into my house. They hover within inches of my face for several minutes so I can relish in watching their iridescent wings and hearing their loud buzz. Their color is electric - a sandy beige shell base covered with malachite green and turquoise - bright and appealing. Their glow is awesome. Sometimes they walk on me and their feet are prickly and sticky, strange feeling.

This past week they have been showing up in droves. Trying to get into my home and flying all around me. One fell into my dog's water dish and I fished it out and put it on a plant to dry out. I extended my index finger sending him love and healing energy and he extended one leg to touch my finger in an exchange of appreciation. Each time I came near to him, he extended his leg to touch me. They have taken turns being here; one would come and then leave as another was flying on in. I never cease to be amazed by them. This year the beetles have decided to officially indoctrinate the rest of my family into their annual ritual. They feel comfortable around all now. What a treat.

At the end of each summer they donate their bodies to me. It may sound a bit macabre, however I see them as a fabulous gift. They come here on their last flights of life and die, leaving their shells for me. Their messages to me are to remember that each year, each day, each moment is an opportunity for renewal, transformation and rebirth. A cycle has ended and a new one is beginning. Each year I can be grateful for my life and what I have accomplished and learned. The shell is like our own bodies, a temporary vehicle for the soul to experience. We are eternal. And let me tell you, by the end of summer, I need to be reminded of these messages! By their yearly return to me, I do feel a renewed sense of my own life. I am also reminded that I always have the choice when and how I choose to recreate my Self, with heart, in the sacred spiral dance of life.

Thank you, Khepera.

© Copyright 1999, 2002, Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani
Click here for more on the scarab. It's been nine years since I wrote this article, and
true to the cycle of Khepera, the scarab has returned every year at the same
time, coming to say hello and get into my home!