Monday, February 19, 2007

The Lowly--and Lofty--Scarab

Did you ever wear a scarab bracelet? They were a must-have item when I was an eighth-grader. I later heard that they had some sacred symbolism, but never investigated further.

This afternoon, doing some research on my E. Chant biography, I turned up a detail about a close friend of Chant's. Her name was Margarethe Heisser and the two of them shared a studio that was an arts center in Minneapolis around the turn of the previous century. Heisser, I learned from an online profile, always wore scarabs.

A scarab is a dung beetle (or representation thereof), revered in ancient Egypt, all the way back to prehistorical Egypt, as a symbol of the sun god, and of creation and transformation.

Here's the part that I seized upon: the Egyptian word for this insect was hprr, which meant: "rising from, come into being itself."

That concept is exciting to me--of continuing to come into being, in this life. Growing into the largest possibilities of oneself.

And a dung-beetle that becomes the sacred emblem of the sun god is a pretty good example of a positive transformation.


billie said...

Also, one of the most known stories about Carl Jung and his synchronicity theory had to do with the scarab beetle.

Very cool about Miss Chant's friend and the coming into being.

I love it.


Peggy said...

Do you recall the Jung scarab story, Billie? I don't know it.

billie said...

My memory is foggy here, but I think Jung was meeting with a client, who was reporting a dream about a scarab - and at the moment the client began to describe the scarab, one of those greenish beetles flew into the window.

It apparently made quite an impact on the client. :)

And on Jung.

Peggy Payne said...

I would imagine so.

Billy The Blogging Poet said...

Greetings from Greensboro! I always wondered what those bugs were all about.

Since you invited: my books.

And please feel free to do the same. As a matter of fact, send an e-mail and I'll tell you how you can do more for free.

Peggy said...

Hi, Billy the Blogging Poet, I'm glad you linked us to your books. Promotion of one's art is always welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peggy,
I had one of those scarab bracelets in grade school too. The scarabs were small and each was a different color. It was always my favorite.

Interesting about the "dung" beetle representing transformation. In astrology, Pluto represents transformation and also represents elimination, or waste (dung).

I would suppose the scarabs were very popular around the early 20th century when the Egypitan tombs were being opened.

Kalifornia K

Peggy said...

Thanks for the scarab history, KK. Good to hear from you. Do you still have your old bracelet? I still wear a bracelet from college--looks like tiny green jade beads alternated with faux pearls, real delicate.

I think we choose our own amulets and emblems--or maybe it's just my contrary streak. I could never be persuaded that a rabbit's foot was lucky.