scarab - in ancient Egyptian religion, important symbol in the form of the dung beetle
(Scarabaeus sacer). This beetle may be seen on sunny days forming a ball of dung and
rolling it over the sand to its burrow, where the ball is consumed in the following days.
The Egyptians apparently shared the widespread belief that the beetle lays its
eggs in this ball of dung and saw in the life cycle of the beetle a microcosm of the daily
rebirth of the sun; the ancient sun-god Khepri was conceived as a great scarab beetle
rolling the sun across the heavens. The scarab also became a symbol of the enduring human
soul as well, hence its frequent appearance, oftenwith wings spread, in funerary art.
Quantities of dead beetles have been discovered in burials of the earliest period,
apparently to ensure the continued existence of the human soul; the later mummification of
scarabs stems from the fact that they were sacred to Khepri at Heliopolis;
scrape - to scratch with the finger-nails or claws.