With its tail ending in a poison-sac feeding a sting which is permanently unsheathed and ready to strike death into anyone who touches it, the scorpion's nocturnal aspect is the embodiment of aggression and of a malevolence which always lurks ready to kill. In its diurnal aspect it symbolizes a mother's self-denial and self-sacrifice, since legend affirms that her young come to birth by digging through and eating their way out of her belly.
In Ancient Egypt, this dangerous insect’s shape was used for one of the oldest hieroglyphics and its name was borne by one of the pre-dynastic kings, ‘King Scorpion’. Some of the Pharoah’s sceptres were tipped by scorpions with the head of Isis. Divine honours were paid to the insect in the shape of the goddess Selket, ‘a fundamentally benevolent person in as much as she gave power over her earthly manifestations to the “Charmers of Selket”, an ancient body of sorcerer-healers’. In this context the scorpion possesses all the symbolic ambivalence of the serpent.