Alchemy of Transformation: Scarab Beetle Symbolizes New Beginnings
When I walk under the huge sandstone gate at the entrance of the temple of Hathor at Dendera in Egypt (KMT or Khemit) I always remember what was told to me by the renowned indigenous wisdom keeper, Abd’el Hakim Awyan. It is the only place in Egypt that you will see the underbelly of the winged Kheper or Scarab beetle. He completely captured my attention when he went on to say that this meant that you were entering a place that held all the answers to the mysteries of the universe.
Not only did I discover the gravity of what this meant after more than a decade of researching the symbolism and mythologies embodied within what John Anthony West once called the ‘womb of time’, but that this temple contained a significant prophecy concerning this very moment for humanity on earth.
Time appears to be linear in a physical reality. However, the indigenous worldwide tell us that this is an illusion. We measure it through the observance of the motion of eternally spiraling masses that we label as solar, lunar and stellar cycles. However, time is relative to each individual and their viewpoint based on the magnetic force of the spinning bodies reflected in the conscious perception of the observer. Time is currency in space. Space is the game board on which we perceive the flow of time. And this is exactly how the ancients envisioned their temples. They fashioned them as living, breathing physical structures designed to reflect cycles and patterns of the day, seasons, years and ages as well as the energetic structure of (wo)man and the universe mirrored within.
In the Egyptian Book of The Dead (more correctly translated as ‘the Book of Coming Forth by Day’), the scarab beetle symbolizes the heart, transformation and new beginnings. It represents the seed of consciousness migrating through stages and ages of conscious awareness in our perception of time and space. This eternally cycling pattern of transformation occurs during every day cycle, each annual year, and also in what Plato labelled ‘the Great Year’.
To the Egyptians the Sun was the symbol of immortality, for, while it died each night, it rose again with each ensuing dawn. Not only has the sun this diurnal activity, but it also has its annual pilgrimage, during which time it passes successively through the twelve houses of the heavens, remaining in each for thirty days. Added to these it has a third path of travel, which is called the precession of the equinoxes, in which it retrogrades around the zodiac through the twelve signs at the rate of one degree every seventy-two years.”
~ Manly P. Hall in The Secret Teachings of All Ages
Khepri, the scarab-headed Neter (force of nature) is the morning manifestation of Ra who represents the process of creation as the rebirth of the sun each dawn. They believed that scarab beetles were androgynous and reproduced by depositing their eggs into dung balls which they in turn rolled up hills in a direct and straight line (to avoid having them stolen by another beetle) utilizing the stars of the Milky Way to determine their course. The nocturnal African dung beetles, Scarabaeus satyrus construct, roll and consume these dung balls throughout their lives. They must be direct on their path in order to avoid losing their precious cargo to other hungry beetles. Their activity was used by the ancients of Khemit to symbolize the movement of the sun across the sky each day and heavens each night of all three cycles of perceived time outlined above.
In a daily cycle, the sun rises at dawn, and begins its descent at noon, sets in the evening and begins its ascent again at midnight in the southern hemisphere. In an annual cycle we Spring into Summer, and Fall into Winter. And we also experience these same four seasons of progression in the Great Year known as the precession of the Equinoxes.
At the height and nadir of every cycle we experience a ‘pause’ or moment of silence. Represented by the Neter, Sokar, this is what the ancients understood as ‘death’, or a metaphorical moment of stillness when there is no breath, color, sound or vibration. We experience this stillness very briefly every day at noon and night at midnight when the disks of the sun and moon appear motionless to us for a moment before they reverse their direction in the sky and begin their descent.
During the year, we celebrate these moments at the Winter and Summer Solstices when days don’t shorten or lengthen for three consecutive days before they ‘reverse’ their pattern. The sun is directly overhead at ‘high-noon’ on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn and on the Tropic of Cancer on the Summer Solstice. This summer event was a celebration of the New Year at the temple of Isis in Philae, located on the Tropic of Cancer. The sun’s place in the sky at high-noon would now reverse its course and move south again.
When the sun and the moon come together during eclipses, we also experience varying periods of time when they both appear to be stationary in the sky. These moments, especially during Lunar Eclipses, were considered to be extremely powerful moments for manifesting intentions. We also experience these powerful moments of silence twice during our Great Year after which we experience a complete reversal of perspective that has profound repercussions.
Khepri means the Emerging One
Above Image: From the ceiling at the temple of Khnum at Esna
In the Egyptian records of about 2000 B.C. the constellation of Cancer was described as a Scarabaeus, sacred, as its specific name sacer signifies (Scarabeus sacer are dung beetles), and an emblem of immortality.”
~ Richard Hinckley Allen- Star Names.
Khepri rides on the primordial waters, called Nun, in his sacred barque (boat) along with a number of other Neteru reflecting planets, constellations and stages of perceived time across the sky, where at sunset he is swallowed by Nut, the Milky Way. He then begins his journey into the night cycle and becomes Atum or the atom and is now contained within a physical perception of reality. Nut gives birth to him again each dawn as the winged Kheper in the non-physical realm where he has earned the right to fly freely in each day cycle.
The scarab beetle was Egypt’s symbol for Cancer and the immortality that speaks to eternal cycles eternal cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth.
The scarab beetle emerges from the leg of Nut (as a recessed image) on the ceiling of the first Hypostyle Hall in the temple of Hathor initiating the New Year which began on the Summer Solstice, which would have occurred around June 28th at the time it is said to have been illustrated around 1 AD. (It also speaks to when the sun rises in the Age of Cancer of our Great Year.) He will fall into the container or womb (or tomb) of Nut’s body (as the Hair of Hathor) and into physical form, shown below as the face of Hathor marking the moment we become self-aware. This face symbolizes the birth of physical form and it sits on the structure with the ‘pillars of Boaz and Joachim’ illustrating the innate duality that exists in a material world. The Ka and Ba as the animating life force and soul descend into the face as the serpent emerging from the lotus flower from an overturned barque overhead. The now animated conscious physical being is ready to embark on the journey of a life played out on the game board of duality. The cosmic serpent represents the foundational roller coaster sine wave pattern of existence in the physical.
Above Image: at the entrance into the tomb of Ramses IX, Valley of the Kings
The Dendera Zodiac that had been placed on the ceiling of a chamber on the second floor of the temple (the original now displayed at the Louvre in Paris), also shows creation of the physical world originating in the Age of Cancer from the center of the spiraling image of the Zodiac citing the moment when we require a calendar to mark time and space.
This eternal cycling through stages of consciousness is illustrated beautifully on a panel in the Sokar Chapel at Dendera. Look closely. Can you see the two outer pedestals with lotus flowers on top? The one on the left is tilted about 23.5 degrees with an image of the Hor or Horus, the falcon on top of it, representing the fall of mankind at the moment when the earth tilts off its axis. Above that you see the scarab beetle as the seed of consciousness beginning his journey of pushing the Sun from its rising in the east across the symbol representing Nut, the sky or Milky Way—to the west. The ancient name for Horus was Heru and he is our hero on the Hero’s Journey.
Egyptologist, Gyuka Priskin tells us in the ‘The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology’ that we are viewing an image of Thoth ‘netting’ the Wadget eye at the beginning or rejuvenation of a new moon cycle. He relates this image to the myth of the wandering goddess who flees to Nubia in the south when Khemit falls out of Ma’at or balance.
The Netert he is referring to is the lioness, Tefnut. Hakim related her to the Sphinx at Giza. Her name means the ‘spit of Nut’, and she represents moisture and the fertility of electromagnetic currency. When she leaves the once lush and beautiful Khemit, she takes the water and fertility with her, leaving a dry and desolate land in her wake.
It is Thoth, symbolizing cosmic consciousness or ‘wisdom from above’ as the Ibis Bird and Shu, Tefnut’s twin brother who represents Air, who are sent by Ra to cajole her to return to Khemit and restore balance and fertility to the land. This myth can be related to the annual flooding of the Nile which insured a rich harvest as well as the cyclical flooding that occurs during the Great Year which restores the breath of life to Egypt.
Underneath the symbol of Nut in the image above and below, Thoth and Shu are holding the net or what I see as the ‘Field of Vision’ of the captured Wadget Eye (the I) or eye of the observer – as consciousness contained in material three-dimensional reality. We are confined by the limitations of our physical senses.
On the now vertical Lotus staff, Thoth sits as the Baboon who has embodied the heart of consciousness as wisdom from within in a newly achieved unity consciousness implied metaphorically as the separated aspects of the moon coming into wholeness demonstrated by the full moon directly above his head. Underneath the field of vision, you can see the Ibis birds (cosmic consciousness) walking the path on earth back to the beginning again illustrating the infinite nature of this cycle.
A similar dynamic was played out within the annual resurrection ritual of the raising of the Djed Pillar, considered to be the backbone of Osiris, and the earth. In the ceremony depicted on a wall in the Osiris Chamber of the Seti I temple at Abydos, we also see the Djed depicted at a slant of about 23.5 degrees. With the aid of Isis, Seti I is able to restore the pillar to its upright position.
They are brilliant metaphorical depictions of consciousness experiencing itself as an eternal cycling pattern into and out of Ma’at — or state of AT-ONE-MENT (ATON – MENT or ATONEMENT). Aton/Aten was the Khemitian term for our highest stage of consciousness. The Hebrew concept of Atonement, always translated from the Hebrew word Kaphar in the Old Testament, is an integral part of the pathway to salvation—and is debatably derived from this ancient Khemitian teaching.
This ‘all seeing eye’ as the Moon Eye, represents the reflected light of the sun during a night cycle. Our physical eyes can only view the world as the shadows cast by the reflected light off physical forms during the night cycle of awareness. Our eyes actually view the physical realm upside-down and backwards. Even the colors we think we see are reversed. If we believe we are viewing red, our eyes are actually viewing the reflected light off of the color green, which is opposite to red on the color wheel.
Above Image: Tomb of Ramses IX
This ancient knowing is the basis for Plato’s Cave. The allegory of the cave was presented by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work Republic (514a–520a). He illustrates how we are viewing reality as a movie or ‘moving picture’ formed by shadows dancing on the walls of our caves. Our conscious perception is altered when we escape our earthly domain and are activated by the light of the sun.
Like the fire that cast light on the walls of the cave, the human condition is forever bound to the impressions that are received through the senses.
This allegory presents that if we were to escape our bondage, we would find a world that we could not understand—the sun is incomprehensible for someone who has never seen it. In other words, we would encounter another ‘realm’, a place incomprehensible because, theoretically, it is the source of a higher reality than the one we have always known. This is akin to Maya the great illusion.”
~ Ferguson, A. S. Plato’s Simile of Light. (Part II.)
The moment the full moon reaches completion, there is a pause before a great Reversal. It will begin to wane again into separation consciousness until we reach the proverbial sixth hour when there is no moon or no-thing.
We are currently at nadir in our precession of the Equinoxes. The earth is now tilted toward Polaris after moving through the six ages of Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, Aries and Pisces. We are arguably more isolated and separate from each other than we’ve ever been. Is it time for us to turn over and rise? Will we experience a pause or moment of silence, followed by a reversal of perspective before moving into a new dawn where we see the world as it really is and not as hidden shadows on the walls of our dark caves?
This dynamic is mirrored beautifully in the myth of the Resurrection of Osiris. Osiris is murdered by his jealous brother, Set who then cuts him into 42 pieces in the earliest telling of the myth. There were 42 nomes or divisions of Khemit along with 42 original tribes. Set buries a part of Osiris in each nome (district) marking the moment when we fall into separation consciousness in this Tower of Babel story. His distraught partner, Isis turns into a kite bird and retrieves all of her lover’s body parts (except his phallus which is eaten by two fish possibly representing Pisces) and puts him back together.
When Osiris, a symbol of the land and its people, is lying flat on his back on his death bed, Horus tells him “Raise yourself and turn over on your bier!” We are reminded that we must cease our devolution into separation consciousness and change our outlook before we can begin our journey into the higher realms of conscious knowing. Isis magically creates a new phallus. She flaps her wings to restore the breath of life to Osiris and this resurrection results in the virgin birth of his ascended self as the winged Horus, initiating a new cycle of the Son/Sun.
It is an alchemical journey of conscious perception. Osiris must pause, or die and reverse his perspective in order to be reborn into a more enlightened version of himself.
How do you turn Lead into Gold?
From Kircher’s Oedipus Aegyptiacus
The priests of Egypt not only used the scarab as a symbol of regeneration but also discovered in its habits many analogies to the secret process whereby base metals could be transmuted into gold. They saw in the egg of the scarab the seed of the metals, and the above figure shows the path of this seed through the various planetary bodies until, finally reaching the center, it is perfected and then returns again to its source. The words in the mall spiral at the top read: The Spiral Progress of the Mundane Spirit. After the scarab has wound its way around the spiral to the center of the lower part of the figure, it returns to the upper world along the path bearing the words: Return of the Spirit to the Center of Unity.”
~ Oedipus Aegyptiacus by Athanasius Kircher
Does the Scarab beetle’s dung ball represent the ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ referred to by alchemists? If the ball of dung represents the sun on its journey of transformation, it could quite easily mirror the idea of the transmutation of base matter or lead into gold. Esoteric alchemists often point out that what is really being referenced here is a transformation in conscious perception, or the process of raising awareness.
Leo is ruled by the Sun which rules Gold. On the opposite side of the ceiling at Dendera we see our Winged Kheper emerge from the womb of Nut, the Milky Way, in the Zodiac sign of Leo. The scarab beetle was known to have represented our five senses and the two hemispheres of the brain. When it spreads it wings, it marks the moment we can transmute our polarity and balance these two hemispheres and enjoy the use of newly awakened senses granting us heightened awareness.
Currently, from a northern hemisphere perspective we’re beginning to experience the passage of the Vernal Equinox with the sun in Aquarius and so we recognize the earth moving into the Age of Aquarius. However, if we live in a southern hemisphere location at the same moment, we would be looking in the opposite direction toward Leo.
The emblem of the Papacy used by the Catholic Church
The Silver Key opens the portal between Capricorn and Cancer the Silver Gate of Man that lies on the horizon of polarity and the Gold Key unlocks the portal between Aquarius and Leo to open the Golden Gate to Unity consciousness and heaven on Earth. The crowning moment is always the pause or crossing point at the vortex in the center when we attain complete Gnosis or knowing.
We are currently entering a pivotal moment in our perceived reality when a portal to the Age of Leo is opening and we may only need to flip our magnetic perspective and look to the south to find our treasure. South is up according to the ancient Egyptians. We find the gold, Nebu, or Nub, meaning ‘the precious’, or gold itself, in Nubia, the place where Tefnut fled in Upper Egypt. This is also where we find the temple of Isis, the Netert who wears the throne or ‘seat of power’ on her Crown Chakra and is known to have magical powers.
If our focus was reversed, we would begin our journey into Ma’at in the Age of Leo. Would we also experience a reversal in Spin and proceed directly into the Age of Virgo for our purification before coming into balance in Libra? The possibilities are endless when we re-member that this is all an illusion and we are not our bodies. Does any of this have to happen in perceived time?
Maybe we move from a left-brain dominant patriarchal society to a right-brained matriarchal approach to life in any given NOW moment? This would require a reverence for the qualities of the divine feminine that exists within every one of us exemplified as the powerful and protective, nurturing and healing love of the archetypal mother. We literally have the opportunity to go for the gold if we embody these qualities, and begin to resolve our polarity within.
The Egyptian Netert, Sekhmet, has the head of a lion (Leo) and the body of a human (Aquarius) and represents the fierce rays of the sun (solar flares and micro novae) that spark destruction on earth, opening a path for renewal and great healing. Have you ever witnessed a mother cat of any species fiercely defend her offspring? Sekhmet’s rage destroys the old cycle of patriarchal patterns that create chaos and disharmony making way for a new cycle.
As legend has it, Ra becomes angry that no one is revering the Neteru, or forces of nature –and earth and its inhabitants are out of Ma’at. He takes his eye, which represents the nurturing rays of the sun as Hathor and as he throws it angrily down to earth it becomes her sister and alter ego, Sekhmet. She is bloodthirsty with rage and destroys everything on her path. Ra worries that she will annihilate everything and turns the Nile into wine. Unable to resist, Sehkmet becomes drunk and passes out—for three days. She awakens after this pause to see Ptah. Wearing the blue cap symbolizing the primordial waters of Nun or no-thing, Ptah represents the process of coming back into physical form from out of the blue.
Nefertum is the result of their passionate union. His name translates as the Harmony of the Atom and his birth initiates a new dawn and cycle of prosperity and peace. This return to Ma’at and restoration of the nurturing eye of Hathor to the sun was celebrated in a great Festival of Drunkenness. Sekhmet was revered as the loving mother who destroys in order to open a space for healing, not unlike the Hindu, Kali.
I believe it will be the magnetic influence produced by the Sun which will usher in what is described by our ancient ancestors as ‘the transition’ bringing us to a new state-of-being”.
~ Mitch Battros of Earthchanges Media
The androgenous Neter, Hapi represents the fertility of the Nile— and Aquarius on the Zodiac depicted on the ceiling at Dendera. In Philae he is depicted in his cave, said to exist below the island of Bigeh that sits across from Philae (in one telling of an ancient myth). He is releasing the water or currency contained in two jars (the waters of heaven and earth) to initiate the annual flooding of the Nile. At the time that this was carved, the Nile flooded during the summer month of July, ruled by Cancer. Was the use of Hapi (as Aquarius) symbolizing the much larger cycle of the Great Year? Will Spirit finally be released from its containment?
Will this come with a global CATastrophe and a great flood? Will Earth’s Magnetic Poles flip?
And will this initiate a Grand Return to a lush and bountiful Khemit?
Only time will tell…
Interested in the scarab beetle, sun cycles, Egyptian art and culture? Be sure to check out TGR Egypt Tours! Egypt Sol Tour 2023 led by Patricia Awyan Lehman.
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i loved this article! thank you!