Magico-religious role of beetles


The beetles found very early place in the iconography and in a bestiary accompanying the construction of a cosmogony, a philosophy and a literature as well oral as written thus that, consequently, in the craft industry and the trade. Without entering in detail, I will quote only some examples.

The first Egyptian shepherds, a few 4000 years before our era, have been struck by the cycle of the scarabaeus, its seasonal reappearance after the fertilizing floods and by its tireless activity of rollin dung pills, as by the use which it made of the excrements. The scarabaeus played a major religious role in old Egypt.

Ateuchus sacerAteuchus sacerAteuchus sacer

Nowadays, many people still have recourse to talismans, perhaps sometimes simply decorative, manufactured with beetles: at Antandroy of Madagascar, two species of snout beetles are cut down by their legs, locked up in a sachet in rag and carried to the neck. They carry happiness as long as they are alive. Laos carry in the same way pendentive made fore-part of scarab beetles (Chalcosoma atlas).

Chalcosoma atlas. CAMBODGE, 1998.

In other countries, they can enter the composition of the ritual meal of initiation of the young boys in Laos (Onitis ), or are used for their hallucinogen properties. They proceed thus from the magic and religious uses to the most domestic uses and the beetles become even simple ornaments. The use is very widespread, in South America, to carry pectoral brilliant facts of elytra of metallic wood-borer beetles or click beetles. The elegant women carry of fireflies or luminous click beetles in their hair.

Pyrophorus noctiluca