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Author Topic: BEETLE OF THE GODS  (Read 5289 times)
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« on: April 18, 2008, 08:57:26 am »

Scarab-headed god Khepri

                                                 Khepri and the pyramids

The Egyptian civilization was formed from meeting and melding of wandering, cattle-bearing nomads, from the prehistoric green Sahara, with sedentary farmers from the Nile Valley. It is possible to speculate about these peoples' beliefs, and to suggest that both of them share shamanic ideologies. They would have noticed large bright metallic beetles; Buprestids on the Acacia trees, and a golden-green scarab which made large balls of cattle dung. We know of a number of hard stone pendants dating back from prehistoric Egypt that are often in the shape of Buprestid beetles. Although prehistoric Egypt does not show the use of the scarab beetles, early 1st dynasty (ca. 3000 B.C.) Egyptian culture produced a small alabaster case in the shape of a scarab. According to the British egyptologist Flinders Petrie, the case was designed to be attached to a necklace and might have been made to contain a true beetle.

In Egypt, the primary symbolism associated with scarab was solar. The first scarab worshiped, was probably the bright metallic Kheper aegyptiorum. The decisive symbolism came from the association of the dung ball to the sun: the scarab rolling his dung ball provided an explanation of the sun's movement in the sky. However, this solution was neither "logical" (where is the scarab in the sky?) nor exclusive: Egyptian culture embraced their old and new beliefs with an equal and non conflicting faith.
  The capital of the solar religion was the city of On, which Greeks called Heliopolis ("the City of the Sun"). It was probably at On that Khepri, a scarab god of the sun, appeared in the predynastic epoch. Khepri might have been associated with the brilliant Kheper aegyptiorum, (whose name was coined by André Janssens, in 1940) or to the black Scarabaeus sacer, which was more often figured later. Nowadays, only the latter occurs in this region; the former being a more southern species probably due to significant climactic changes since Egyptian civilization.

The name Khepri (or Kheperi, or Khepera) means "The Being, The Extant." The name Khepri is related to other words of the same root, e.g. kheper "to exist, to come to existence" andkhepru "transformations, metamorphoses."

Originally, Khepri represented the sun from sunrise to sunset, although the oldest texts describe him setting in the western horizon at dusk. He quickly lost some importance, and became confined to the associative role with the rising sun, which he maintained throughout the entire Egyptian civilization. He is represented as a man with a scarab topping or replacing his head (right).

Khepri lost his association with the "dying" evening sun, to the god Atum, who is often figured with a ram head. For this reason, the ram-headed scarab represents the sun in the double aspects of rising/setting, or birth/death.

To Khepri and Atum is often added Re, "The Sun," who subsumes them.
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