Spiritual Meaning of Dung Beetles

What is the spiritual meaning of dung beetles?

In the animal kingdom, some creatures impose themselves on the human psyche with magnificence, majesty, and magnitude. Lions, tigers, elephants, whales—they do it one way. And the spiritual meaning of such powerful players in the animal kingdom is often discussed. However small by comparison, the dung beetle belongs in such esteemed company. The fascinating life of a dung beetle carries with it a raft of symbols, meanings, and omens. Therefore, considering the dung beetle and its message provides an excellent opportunity for introspection and analysis of your current position in life.

Ancient Egypt: Dung Beetles as Divine Manifestation

First of all, let’s establish the spiritual significance of the dung beetle. In Ancient Egypt, the dung beetle was believed to be a divine manifestation. Specifically, they believed dung beetles were incarnations of their sun god, Khepri. Because the sun rises each day, and is reborn, we can consider the dung beetle as a symbol of rebirth.

Ancient Egyptian scarab amulets symbolized dung beetles
Ancient Egyptian scarab amulet.

Therefore, if you are enduring challenging times, consider the sight of a dung beetle (in real life, TV, a movie, a photograph, wherever) as a possible message that you will emerge from your trials anew: refreshed, re-energized, and ready to start again.

Ancient Egypt: Dung Beetles Move the Sun Across the Sky!

Additionally, the Ancient Egyptians believed the dung beetle—inspired by its way of rolling dung across the ground—moved the sun through the sky. Therefore, we can recognize that dung beetles symbolize fundamental and essential things about our world and its cycles. It is difficult to deny the spiritual significance of dung beetles.

Dung Beetles Symbolize Strength

Imagine a being so powerful and so important that it moves the sun through the sky! Because the Ancient Egyptians believed this, we can look at dung beetles in our modern setting and see them as a symbol of strength. In the mortal realm, dung beetles also display their physical prowess as they roll large balls of dung great distances.

As mentioned above, dung beetles can show themselves to you when you are struggling in life. In addition to representing rebirth from a troubling experience, they also show you the strength you need to endure.

Dung Beetles Symbolize Duty and Hard Work

But, strength isn’t the only trait required to shepherd the sun through the sky. Because the sun rises every day, and because the dung beetle is considered to be responsible for this, we can see the dung beetle as a symbol of unwavering reliability.

dung beetles symbolize hard work
Credit: Bob Adams  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

So, consider taking the dung beetle as a symbol of duty. Perhaps you should appreciate your own unshakable dedication; remember, we all meet the most important of our obligations and we should derive self-worth from that. Also, it could be that others in your life support you with their dedication to daily duties—remember to appreciate them. Lastly, though, it could also be a sign that you may not be meeting your obligations. So, think about what is important to you in life. In particular, decide whether or not you should consider things to be a worthwhile endeavor (and therefore, an obligation), or maybe some things you do routinely aren’t bringing you happiness?

Dung Beetles Represent Utter Persistence and Determination

We aren’t all fortunate enough to live where we can observe dung beetles in the wild. This is a shame, because observing the male dung beetle while he rolls his ball of dung is a rewarding experience. Dung beetles, when rolling dung, remain utterly determined to achieve their goal. No matter the difficulty of the terrain and the obstacles placed in their way, dung beetles will continue to move their stinky cargo relentlessly!

Therefore, consider dung beetles as a sign to remained determined in your various enterprises. This is especially the case if you are undertaking a life-changing task. Perhaps you’re working on a business or studying for important qualifications? If this is the case and a dung beetle appears to you, then stick at it!

While a dung beetle’s determination might represent the need to stay focused on your career, it is more likely that the dung beetle is sending you a message about family. This is because the dung beetle rolls the poop for the purpose of reproduction; its young will feed on the dung as they grow. So, perhaps you should take a dung beetle as a sign you should continue to do your best to provide for your family.

Why Dung Beetles Symbolize Ingenuity, Creativity, and Adaptation

The reason dung beetles symbolize ingenuity is because of their very particular mode of living. Dung beetles have adapted to use the waste of other animals to feed their young. But, they don’t simply lay their eggs directly in the dung. No, they are much more creative than that. Specifically, they roll the dung into an almost perfect sphere. Next, they roll the dung to a suitable location and push it into a burrow to keep their young safe and sound.

So, the sight of a dung beetle could symbolize a need to find creative solutions in challenging situations. Perhaps you feel like your life is full of ****? Well, make like a dung beetle and think of ways to turn the negative into the positive. Whatever you’re suffering, there are ways out of that suffering. Let the dung beetle be your guide.

Dung Beetles Symbolize Wisdom and Due Diligence

Dung beetles exhibit lots of fascinating behaviors. Paramount among their interesting habits is the way in which they navigate. Dung beetles will climb to the top of their dung ball and look around to get their bearings. In addition to observing the landscape, dung beetles are known to use the sun, the moon, and even the stars to navigate.

So, in terms of symbolism, dung beetles represent wisdom and due diligence. They don’t simply roll their ball anywhere, instead they know where their burrow is and they will use the distinct features in the sky as a map. Therefore, you too must gather the required wisdom to complete your task. Additionally, you should stop regularly—like the dung beetle—to consider how the journey is going and make sure you’rte still on the right path.

Dung Beetles and the Arrival of Romantic Threats

Male dung beetles lead a challenging existence, literally. Some male dung beetles will carefully craft their dung balls in order to impress a female and feed their offspring. However, other males are thieves!!! Instead of making their own dung ball, they will follow another male as he rolls his poop around the landscape. These “stealer” males will follow their target relentlessly. They are waiting for the other male to fall off his dung ball. If their target does fall from his dung ball, then the thief will rush in and steal the ball for himself!

So, what can we make of this in terms of symbolism? Well, unfortunately, the appearance of a dung beetle—especially a male beset by another—could be a warning of a potential romantic rival. While it would be easy to see this as a bad omen and panic, don’t. Because the original male dung beetle can keep his dung ball through hard work and determination.

Dung Beetles and Masculine / Feminine Energy

In the animal kingdom, it is primarily the male’s job to impress the female. In dung beetles, this is taken to quite an extreme.

Firstly, let’s look at the male and what its behavior can mean to us. Well, the male will create as large a dung ball as possible. The better and bigger the dung ball, the more likely a female is to choose him. Therefore, in romantic terms, a dung beetle can communicate a particular message to men seeking women. That message is that men must work hard to offer what their potential partner wants. Through this behavior, male dung beetles symbolize dedication and offer powerful energy to their partner.

Females, on the other hand, represent true power. The female dung beetle symbolizes independence and power through her choice to accept or reject the male. From there, the female dedicates herself to the young. Specifically, the female dung beetle will provide additional dung for the babies to eat. Additionally, she will seal the burrow which protects the young as they grow. So, female dung beetles can provide a message that women are selective, independent, and have high standards when it comes to interactions with men.

Dung Beetles and the Earth

While dung beetles are strong fliers, they nevertheless maintain a strong association with the ground. This is because their food, dung, is on the ground and created from the ground via herbivores eating and excreting. Furthermore, dung beetles use burrows to raise their young. So, dung beetles rely on the earth, more so than other creatures.

dung beetle retreating into the earth
Credit: jimmyweee licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

In terms of symbolism, the dung beetle’s affinity with the ground can represent a need to ground oneself. For example, if you feel particularly anxious or depressed it could be that you are not grounded. Also, if you find yourself consumed by your own thoughts (especially obsessive, circular thinking), it could be that a dung beetle is telling you to get grounded.

In order to solve a lack of grounding, you should simply go outside more often. While outside, enjoy nature—especially the earth and plants. If it is safe to do so, walking barefoot is a powerful grounding tool. Lastly, try to consume vegetables grown directly in the ground. For example, root crops like potatoes, carrots, and beets are an excellent place to start.

Dung Beetles as a Symbol of Rebirth, Cycles, and New Life

The Ancient Egyptians observed the dung beetles life cycle. In doing so, they noticed that from the ball of dung, the beetle’s offspring emerged. So, they equated this with rebirth. In particular, they viewed the dung beetle’s offspring emerging from the dung like the sun emerged from the horizon. Add to this the belief that the dung beetle god, Khepri, pushed the sun through the sky then a strong association with cycles of revitalization becomes apparent.

So, perhaps a dung beetle appearing in your life means that, yes, things might be challenging—but, you will emerge from tough times to begin a new period in your life with the energy of a newborn day.

Further Reading

*Title image credit Bernard Dupont licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.