Why there are crabs, turtles or scarab at base of obelisks.

This post adresses the meaning of obelisks. Not as a phallic symbol but as the pillar of heaven.

After an 2016 article of Bibhu Dev Misra (links to credit below) where he links mount meru to the cosmic turtle and bixi turtle i started digging deeper in this particular worldly symbolism.
 Fb post


No mention or link was made to Egyptian obelisks or the sacrada familia pillar.
This needed deeper research.
I visited rome and all obelisks there and noticed the turtle symbolism at the base in relation to carrying egyptian obelisks in Florence and the Vatican.  However not all obelisks had turtles.
The London obelisk had a seemingly unrelated bronze  khepri beetle Egyptian style ornanement at the base holding it up.
Then by coincidence i came across the New York central park one. Londons sister twin obelusk.  I thought yes turtles but again something different. Crabs.

Cleopatras needle in New York central park is held up by crabs at the base instead of turtles like the Boboli obelisk in florence.

But then i linked it all together. It was astronomy. Crab, Snapping turtle and Khepri is all the cancer constellation

The obelisk is related to the world pillar of heaven. In pairs as they were extremities of ecliptic. Crab, snapping turtle and scarab (at base of london obelisk) are all the same old summer solstice constellation. Now crab is in winter. (makes sense to put at bottom of obelisk as tip would be mid summer now) Yet in old days khepri was mid summer. The dung beetle rolling the sun across the sky.

And That’s also why crab/cancer is at bottom of obelisk. Its opposite capricorn or makkara around the year 0. Now taurus/orion is our summer constellation and … Winter. In 6000bc khepri or cancer was the spring constellation. Egyptians call khepri Zet tepi or the first time.

The following quoted article is relevant as background knowledge in my argument.

Quote article: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physics/160-our-solar-system/the-earth/seasons/15-what-is-the-significance-of-the-tropic-of-cancer-tropic-of-capricorn-arctic-circle-and-antarctic-circle-beginner

“What is the significance of the Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Arctic Circle and Antarctic Circle? (Beginner) The Tropic of Cancer is the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees north, where the sun is directly overhead at noon on June 21, the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere. The Tropic of Capricorn is the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees south where the sun is directly overhead at noon on December 21, the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. When the lines were named 2000 years ago, the Sun was in the constellation of Capricorn during the winter solstice and Cancer during the summer solstice (hence the names). Now due to the precession of the equinoxes the Sun is no longer in these constellations during these times, but the names remain. The equator is the circle where the Sun is directly overhead at noon on the equinoxes. “


Khepri the dung beetle, a metaphore for pushing the sun through the skies.

The crab constellation Khepri has the sun as its an ecliptic constellation just like taurus has the sun between its horns, the crab has the sun between its legs and thus is important as a solar constellation.

The dung beetle pushed the sun through the heavens.






  1. London obelisk – Scarab


2. New York central park obelisk. Roman crabs.

Good article here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cleopatras-needle-has-crabs


Quote met museum website:

“The two bronze crabs 81.2.1 and 81.2.2) are from a set of four originally used in Roman times as supports for the broken corners of the obelisk that now stands in Central Park. Thutmose III erected the obelisk about 1443 B.C. in Heliopolis, now part of modern Cairo. It was re-inscribed by Ramesses II and later moved to Alexandria by the Romans, who inserted the crabs when they re-erected it.

The Roman crabs were replaced with newly cast substitutes in 1881 when the obelisk was moved to New York and placed in Central Park behind The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The originals were given to the Museum by Lieutenant Commander Henry H. Gorringe, who brought the obelisk to New York; the obelisk itself was a gift from Egypt to the City of New York.

The claw of 81.2.1 has an inscription in Latin on the inside and one in Greek on the outside. Both state that the Roman prefect Barbarus and the architect Pontius re-erected the obelisk in Alexandria during the eighteenth year of an emperor, probably Augustus, who also built the Temple of Dendur.

Donated to the Museum in 1881 by Lieutenant Commander Henry H. Gorringe, who brought the obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle to New York.”




3.Boboli obelisk Florence – turtles




4. Hindu pillar churning of milky ocean. Kurma turtle. 

Hercules(orion/taurus)  and crab story, zodiac opposites equals shiva(with cow)  and kurma. (Durga is virgo and leo) left and right sun and moon or zodiac two halves.

5. Sacrada familia Barcelona 

Again a turtle and pillar. Astronomy.

6. Bixi turtle

China has the same symbolism as well. There is it the Bixi turtle carrying world pillar. A statue is also in front of harvard university.





A good writeup on Crab/Scarab is quoted here:


Cancer: The Crab & The Scarab

Cancer the Crab

Cancer the Crab

We are familiar with the sign of Cancer being associated with a crab through the Greek and Roman traditions.  Indeed the Latin word cancer means crab, and this well-known crustacean expresses the Cancerian temperament very well.  It lives on the cusp of earth and sea, scuttles sideways, cautious in its movements and has a protective shell covering the soft vulnerable flesh within.  In order to grow, the crab must periodically shed its shell and grow another.  The crab rocks to and fro with the ebb and flow of the tide, which is itself pulled by the ever waxing and waning moon, just as the typical Moon-ruled Cancerian will tend to be pulled more than most by their lunar moods and cycles.  I had a lovely vision during last year’s Cancerian weekend of the humble crab actually being the unsung conductor of the moon and the tide, dancing its dance, in tune with the inward and outward flow of life.  During our Cancerian Weekend, we actively embody the crab, becoming crab-like in our movements and learning the subtle dance of this unassuming yet symbolically potent creature of the shore.

The Beetle with its Ball of Dung

The Beetle with its Ball of Dung

For the Egyptians, Cancer was represented not by a crab, but by a scarab (or dung) beetle, sacred to the Egyptians as a creature of immortality.  The beetle is clearly linked to the moon’s twenty-eight day cycle. It deposits its ball of eggs, rolled in dung in the earth, for the space of twenty-eight days, which is the time it takes for the moon to complete a full revolution through the twelve zodiacal signs.  The Egyptians considered the twenty-ninth day to be a day of resurrection, and according to lunar markings, there occurs the baptism of the beetle, when the scarabeus casts his ball into the water, opening to give birth to the young beetle.  This immersion and baptism became naturally associated with renewal and regeneration.  In this way, the lunar god was always declared to be self-created, never born.  This symbolism seems to fit very aptly for the sign of Cancer, so seemingly introverted and self-contained.

The Scarabeus

The Scarabeus

The Summer Solstice marks the entry of the sun into Cancer in the tropical zodiac on 21st June and we can find this symbolism highlighted through the behaviour of the scarab beetle.  The creature certainly carries solar symbolism, perhaps on account of its ray-like head and the dung ball representing the Sun.  The scarab-beetle god was known as Khepera and was believed to push the setting sun along the sky in the same manner as the beetle pushes his ball of dung, a scene frequently depicted in various artefacts.  The beetle would, for example, push the dung ball to the top of a sand ridge and then allow it roll down again, a motion that would seem to reflect that of the Sun rising to its zenith in the sky at Summer Solstice before descending again.  The scarab can be seen in various depictions apparently holding the sun aloft, suggestive perhaps of the solstice sun.

Khepera, The Creative Beetle God

Khepera, The Creative Beetle God

Whether as crab or dung beetle, Cancer is always represented as a humble creature, yet one with significant powers, whether as conductor or the moon and tide or as bearer of the Sun. It is easy to overlook the humble being in our quest for success, as Hercules famously did when he crushed the divine crab beneath his clumsy feet as he wrestled with the hydra. The crab was placed in the heavens as a mark of loyalty and service and its placement at the crucial turning point of the Summer Solstice highlights its importance, however unassuming its constellation of stars may be. Its star Acubens is the only one we are ever likely to see in our light-polluted skies. Even in our Glastonbury Zodiac, the Cancer figure is the least prominent and the most easily missed. Represented as a ship (rather than a crab) its shape is drawn by the waterways created when the land upon which it stands was reclaimed from the sea in centuries past. Walking that figure last year, several of us felt that we were actually walking in the sea – the earth, just a few feet above sea level, seeming to bounce with each step – in this low-down liminal sign where the margin between earth and sea is fragile to say the least.

Please follow and like us:

2 thoughts on “Why there are crabs, turtles or scarab at base of obelisks.”

  1. Wonderful article, I would like to add; the pillar may have greater symbolism as the tunnel of life we experience here.in this dense reality. Cancer and Capricorn are, respectively, the portals the soul navigates to and from this realm at birth and death.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Become a Patreon!