The scarab beetle was the image of self-creation for ancient Egyptians. Worshipped under the name Khepri (also known as Khepry or Khepera, meaning ‘he who came forth from the earth’), the ancient sun god was conceived as a great scarab beetle rolling the sun across the heavens. Ancient Egyptian history suggests that the sunrise is caused by the scarab unfolding its wings, which stretch out as glorious colors on each side of its body, and that when if folds its wings under its dark shell at sunset, night follows.
The scarab also became a symbol of the enduring human soul as well, hence its frequent appearance, often with wings spread, in funerary art and also within the Egyptian rituals of burial, especially mummification. The Egyptians believed that intelligence came from the heart and not from the mind, and the winged scarab made sure the mummy went into the afterlife with its wits intact, and when an Egyptian was embalmed, the heart was removed and embalmed separately, with a stone scarab beetle put in its place!