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Khepri
 
In Egyptian mythology, Khepri (also spelt Khepera, Kheper, Chepri, Khepra) is the name of a minor god. The origin of belief in Khepri lies in the observation that Scarab beetles have a habit of pushing large balls of dung around, and so some Egyptians came up with the idea that the sun moved across the sky because it was being pushed by such a beetle. Since Khepri was considered to push the sun, he gradually came to embody aspects of the sun itself, and therefore was a solar deity. To explain where the sun goes at night, such pushing was extended to the underworld, Khepri's pushing of the sun being ceaseless.     

Since the scarab beetle lays its eggs in the bodies of various dead animals, including other scarabs, and in dung, from which they emerge having been born, the ancient Egyptians believed that scarab beetles were created from dead matter. Because of this, they also associated the Khepri with rebirth, renewal, and resurrection. Indeed, his name (kheper in Egyptian) means to come into being. As a result of this, when the rival cult of the sun-god Ra gained significance, Khepri was identified as the aspect of Ra which constitutes only the dawning sun (i.e the sun when it comes into being).

Subsequently, when Ra and Atum became identified as one another, Khepri, which was Ra's young form, became conflated with Nefertum, which was Atum's. This lead to a cosmogony where Ra, as Khepri, a beetle, resulted from the Ogdoad's activities, and emerged from a (blue) lotus flower, only to immediately transform into Nefertum, a youth, who, after growing up, masturbated the Ennead into existance.

Khepri was principally depicted as a whole scarab beetle, though in some tomb paintings and funerary papyri he is represented as a human male with a scarab as a head. He is also depicted as a scarab in a solar barque held aloft by Nun. When represented as a scarab beetle, he was typically depicted pushing the sun across the sky every day, as well as rolling it safely through the Egyptian underworld every night.

As an aspect of Ra, he is particularly prevalent in the funerary literature of the New Kingdom, when many Ramesside tombs in the Valley of the Kings were decorated with depictions Ra as a sun-disc, containing images of Khepri, the dawning sun, and Atum (the setting sun aspect of Ra).

    

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This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.

 

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