In Egyptian mythology, the sacred scarab beetle came into being from a ball of dung. He was worshiped in the form of the god Khepri, ‘he who came forth from the earth’, who was believed to roll the sun across the sky, just as the dung beetle rolls balls of dung on earth. The scarab became a popular amulet for its association with the sun, light and warmth and was commonly placed with the deceased, symbolising new life.
Scarab amulet from 2nd Intermediate period (1700 - 1570 BCE)
The selection of amulets in pottery case 33 in the Petrie Museum demonstrates the scarabs important role as an amulet motif and its surrounding mythological/religious significance:
• PC33: displays a selection of scarab amulets.
• PC32: displays a winged scarab as used in one particular tarot card.
Scarabs can be seen in the following tarot examples:
‘Khepri’s Glory’ (4 of wands) – shows Khepri with outstretched wings “symbol of the rising Sun and the continuing alteration of day and night, life and death.”
‘The Goldern Scarab’ (9 of wands) – Described in terms of tarot cards as being “one of the most important amulets, Kephri’s scarab protects the heart and emotions in particular”.