The scarab beetle is an ancient Egyptian symbol of creation, renewal and transformation.

I chose this striking image of a golden scarab to represent the generative work I do with individuals, groups and organisations:

Scarab beetle

Image credit: Meks.

Read about my mysterious encounters with a rose chafer, a type of scarab beetle found in the UK.

Rose chafer, a type of scarab beetle

I found one of these creatures on my bedroom carpet. I didn’t know what it was, and thought it was dead. After scooping it up and putting it outside, I did a bit of Googling and discovered it’s a rose chafer, a type of scarab beetle.

The arrival of the shiny green beetle seemed significant, particularly as I was living above a shop on a busy shopping street in Bristol, a largish city in the west of England. So I investigated further, and discovered that in Egyptian mythology the scarab represents death, rebirth and transformation:

The hieroglyphic image of the beetle represents a trilateral 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 setting sun. The ancients believed that the dung beetle was only male in gender, and reproduced by depositing semen into a dung ball. The supposed self-creation of the beetle resembles that of Khepri, who creates himself out of nothing. Moreover, the dung bal rolled by a dung beetle resembles the sun. As Plutarch wrote in his essay ‘Isis and Osiris’ (collected in his Moralia): “The race of beetles has no female, but all the males eject their sperm into a round pellet of material which they roll up by pushing it from the opposite side, just as the sun seems to turn the heavens in the direction opposite to its own course, which is from west to east.”

The ancient Egyptians believed that Khepri renewed the sun every day before rolling it above the horizon, then carried it through the other world after sunset, only to renew it, again, the next day. Some New Kingdom royal tombs exhibit a threefold image of the sun god, with the beetle as symbol of the morning sun. The astronomical ceiling in the tomb of Ramses VI portrays the nightly ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’ of the sun as being swallowed by Nut, goddess of the sky, and re-emerging from her womb as Khepri.

A scarab as seen on the walls of Tomb KV6 in the Valley of the Kings.

A scarab as seen on the walls of Tomb KV6 in the Valley of the Kings.

The image of the scarab, conveying ideas of transformation, renewal, and resurrection, is ubiquitous in ancient Egyptian religious and funerary art.

Source: Yahoo! Answers.

A week later, an identical rose scarab flew in (they are bigger than a bee and fly very fast), banged my head, landed on the floor in exactly the same spot as the first one, remained there for a few seconds, then flew straight out of the partly-opened window into a main road filled with heavy traffic. Have you ever tried to direct a flying insect towards an open window?

To illustrate what he meant by the word synchronicity, [the eminent psychoanalyst] Carl Jung brings up an experience he shared with a patient of his. This particular patient was very caught in her head, and the analysis was seemingly going nowhere. She was stuck, trapped in the self-created prison of her own mind. Jung realized there was nothing he could do. In Jung’s words, “I had to confine myself to the hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort in which she had sealed herself.” She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone offered her a golden scarab – a valuable piece of jewelry. At the moment she was telling Jung the dream, there was a tapping on the office window. Jung opened up the window and a scarabaeid beetle, whose gold-green color closely resembles that of a golden scarab, flew into the room. Jung caught the beetle in his hand, handed it to her and said “Here is your scarab.”

Source: Catching the Bug of Synchronicity, by Paul Levy, on Awakening the Dream website.

Visit Wikipedia to read more about the religious significance of the scarab beetle.