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Author Topic: BEETLE OF THE GODS  (Read 5289 times)
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« on: April 18, 2008, 09:06:20 am »

The first hour of the book Amduat

                                                The auspicious scarab

  The Egyptians made a distinction between the "old" scarab, who sinks into the ground, and the "young" scarab, who rises up to the sky with, or rather as, the sun. Osiris, king/god of the dead, was identified to the "old" scarab.

His son Horus, the falcon god, was identified primarily with the midday sun, whereas Khepri remained associated with the morning sun. However, according to a Pyramid Text inscribed on the inside walls of the royal pyramids in the 5th and 6th dynasties (ca. 2465-2150 B.C.), the two animals were sometimes combined to produce the surprising hybrid of a scarab body, with falcon wings, legs, and tail:

"I fly up as a bird and alight as a beetle;

I fly up as a bird and alight as a beetle on the empty throne which is on your bark, O Re!"

From this time on, the scarab became the most powerful symbol of the victory life wins over death. The "Funeral Books" of the New Kingdom consecrates this role. An excerpt of the most important of them, the "Book of What is in the Underworld", or Amduat, is painted on the wall of Tutankhamun's tomb, behind the pharaoh's head (above right). It shows the ark of the sun sailing on nocturnal waters. The sun is represented as a beetle, a promise of his next morning rebirth, as well as of the young pharaoh's resurrection.

Later on when the idea appeared on a post-mortem judgement, before Osiris' tribunal, the scarab had a new role to play.
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