Father of the Spirits
Also known as: Kephera; Kefri
Deities come in all forms. Khephri is a deity in the form of a dung beetle. (Species: Scarabaeus sacer or Ateuchus aegyptiorum.) Khephri is the spirit of life, resurrection and the sun. He is invoked for spiritual protection; resurrection into the Afterlife and to keep the sun shining in the sky.
Dung beetles, also known as scarab beetles, lay their eggs in dung, which they then roll into a ball and move so as to hide them in a safe place. The ancient Egyptians interpreted this action to be akin to the ball of the sun moving across the sky daily. Dung beetles fly during the hottest part of the day, furthering their associations with the sun.
Khephri’s name derives from an Egyptian word meaning “to come into being.” Because baby dung beetles were witnessed emerging from this ball of dung, rather than from a mother or directly from eggs and because dung beetles were believed to be exclusively male, they were perceived as self-generated just like the solar deity Ra. Khephri is a spirit of creation; a progenitor of life.
Veneration of Khephri was eventually grafted onto the state cult of Ra. Khephri is described as being an aspect of Ra; specifically the morning sun. However veneration of a deity in the form of a scarab beetle predates veneration of Ra. Some Egyptologists believe that Khephri was among the most ancient deities of Egypt and that, at one time, a giant stone scarab on a plinth, appeared in most, if not all, Egyptian temples.
Khephri’s power and blessings are transmitted in the form of scarab amulets, formed in his image. Scarabs were among the most popular amulets serving both the living and the dead. Scarabs were considered protectors of the heart, thus a scarab amulet was placed within a mummy’s heart cavity.
• Placing scarabs within a tomb invoked the blessings and protection of Khephri.
• If scarabs were placed beneath the coffin, it was believed that nothing, no spiritual or magical force, could harm the deceased.
• Scarab amulets allegedly provide longevity to the living.
• Scarab amulets are worn or carried to protect the heart: whether physically (heart disease), spiritually or romantically.
Iconography: Khephri is depicted as a man with a scarab beetle on his head; as a man witha scarab beetle head or as a scarab beetle. Sometimes he is depicted wearing a crown more usually associated with Osiris.
See also: Osiris
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
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