Sacred Scarab


I found this beetle drowning in a jar on my back patio, so I picked him out. I checked on him periodically to see if he was breathing, which he was, and later he disappeared. I hope he flew off.

He’s from the Scarab family, but more specifically, he’s a June bug, or Grapevine Beetle. They’re not really a pest since they don’t cause too much damage to grape crops, and in our own arbor, I find its something else that seems to be causing an issue. This little guy, however, was only one I discovered.

But it lends to the idea of the value we place on living things- sacred or pest? To the ancient Egyptians, Scarabs represented the Sun, being they ‘rolled’ the sun across the sky. The sacred scarab is specifically a Dung Beetle. You might be thinking ‘ew, that’s gross’, but Dung beetle are vital to the eco system.

Without Dung beetles, we’d have piles of the stuff all over the place, as you can read here on the value of its dung consuming skills.

Popular interpretation in modern academia theorizes the hieroglyphic (the language of Egyptians) image of the beetle represents a triliteral phonetic that Egyptologists transliterate as xpr or ḫpr and translate as "to come into being", "to become" or "to transform". The derivative term xprw or ḫpr(w) is variously translated as "form", "transformation", "happening", "mode of being" or "what has come into being", depending on the context. It may have existential, fictional, or ontologic significance. The scarab was linked to Khepri ("he who has come into being"), the god of the rising sun.


But whether a creature is sacred or pest depends on its relationship with us. Does it benefit us? If not, why is it now less value as a living creature?

It should give us thought to take a moment to appreciate things that do not benefit us, but just are, who are as much a part of the world as we are. After all, we’re a major pest for many living things, while very helpful to others. I’m sure mosquitoes love us for us blood, while dogs/cat appreciate our ability to open cans of food. Winking smile

Thoughts? Post in comments.


2 responses to “Sacred Scarab

  1. Beautifully written; probably my favorite post so far! I agree that it is important to appreciate everything, because we do not always realize how other beings effect us in some form or fashion.

    I remember rescuing these big, black beetles that were trying to swim to the rim of our horse water trough by reaching out to them with a stick. I thought they were creepy, but I didn’t like the idea of them drowning either.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Carrie- Yeah, this bug was literally gasping for breath. I felt horrible, feeling guilty for leaving the jar out. But he was gone later- flown off, I hope. Most bugs in the house end up picked up and put out in the garden, even spiders. Once I even found a Black Widow spider and I put her under my porch with her eggs. I think husband thought I was weird, but she’s part of great Web, and would kill the bugs for me. 😉

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