What Is the Symbolic Meaning of a Scarab Beetle?

The scarab beetle, or dung beetle, is associated with death and rebirth or eternal life. Though the best-known culture revering scarab beetles was ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle is a widespread symbol throughout the ancient and prehistoric world.

Scarab beetles lay eggs in balls of dung, which they bury. Ancient observers, seeing beetles roll and bury balls of dung which later produced more beetles, associated the ball of dung with the sun’s daily movement. The later hatching was a symbol of rebirth, as most ancients also believed the dung beetle buried itself and died with its ball of dung. The dung beetle thus became a symbol of immortal life and regeneration throughout the ancient world, from the Nordic Germans to the Buddhist Indians.