In one of his many forms, Ra, god of the sun, has the head of a falcon and the sun-disk inside a cobra resting on his head.
|Name in hieroglyphs|
|Major cult center||Heliopolis|
|Consort||Hathor, Sekhmet, Bastet and sometimes Satet|
|Offspring||Shu, Tefnut, Hathor, Sekhmet, Bastet, Satet, Ma'at and sometimes Serket|
|Parents||None (self-created), alternatively Neith (in some accounts) or Ptah (in others)|
|Siblings||Apep, Sobek and sometimes Serket|
|Part of a series on|
|Ancient Egyptian religion|
Ra ( // ; Ancient Egyptian : rꜥ or rˤ; also transliterated rˤw; cuneiform: 𒊑𒀀ri-a or 𒊑𒅀ri-ia) or Re ( // ; Coptic : ⲣⲏ, Rē) is the ancient Egyptian deity of the sun. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th and 24th centuries BC, he had become one of the most important gods in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon sun. Ra was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the Earth, and the underworld.
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian, is the latest stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century as an official language. Egyptian began to be written in the Coptic alphabet, an adaptation of the Greek alphabet with the addition of six or seven signs from Demotic to represent Egyptian sounds the Greek language did not have, in the 1st century AD.
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals that formed an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with many deities believed to be present in, and in control of, the world. Rituals such as prayer and offerings were provided to the gods to gain their favor. Formal religious practice centered on the pharaoh, the rulers of Egypt, believed to possess a divine power by virtue of their position. They acted as intermediaries between their people and the gods, and were obligated to sustain the gods through rituals and offerings so that they could maintain maat, the order of the cosmos. The state dedicated enormous resources to Egyptian rituals and to the construction of the temples.
A solar deity is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and Sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms. The Sun is sometimes referred to by its Latin name Sol or by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ.
Ra was portrayed as a falcon and shared characteristics with the sky god Horus. At times the two deities were merged as Ra-Horakhty, "Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons". In the New Kingdom, when the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra into Amun-Ra.
Falcons are birds of prey in the genus Falco, which includes about 40 species. Falcons are widely distributed on all continents of the world except Antarctica, though closely related raptors did occur there in the Eocene.
Horus is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities. He was worshipped from at least the late prehistoric Egypt until the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Roman Egypt. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists. These various forms may possibly be different manifestations of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasized, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality. He was most often depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner falcon or peregrine falcon, or as a man with a falcon head.
Amun is a major ancient Egyptian deity who appears as a member of the Hermopolitan Ogdoad. Amun was attested from the Old Kingdom together with his wife Amaunet. With the 11th dynasty, Amun rose to the position of patron deity of Thebes by replacing Montu.
The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its center in Heliopolis and there was a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city.
Mnevis is the hellenized name of an ancient Egyptian bull god which had its centre of worship at Heliopolis, and was known by ancient Egyptians as Mer-wer or Nem-wer.
Heliopolis was a major city of ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptian name of the city was I͗wnw or Iunu. It was the capital of the 13th or Heliopolite Nome of Lower Egypt and a major religious center. It is now located in Ayn Shams, a northeastern suburb of Cairo.
All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra. In some accounts humans were created from Ra's tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the "Cattle of Ra". In the myth of the Celestial Cow it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them.
The Book of the Heavenly Cow, or the Book of the Cow of Heaven, is an Ancient Egyptian text thought to have originated during the Amarna Period and, in part, describes the reasons for the imperfect state of the world in terms of humankind's rebellion against the supreme sun god, Ra. Divine punishment was inflicted through the goddess Hathor, with the survivors suffering through separation from Ra, who now resided in the sky on the back of Nut, the heavenly cow.
In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet, also spelled Sakhmet, Sekhet, or Sakhet, among other spellings, is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath formed the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare.
The sun is the giver of life, controlling the ripening of crops which were worked by man. Because of the life giving qualities of the sun the Egyptians worshiped the sun as a god. The creator of the universe and the giver of life the sun or Ra represented life, warmth and growth. Since the people regarded Ra as a principal god, creator of the universe and the source of life he had much influence over the people which led to him being one of the most worshiped of all the Egyptian gods and even considered King of the Gods. At an early period in Egyptian history his influence spread throughout the whole country, bringing multiple representations in form and in name. The most common form combinations are with Atum (his human form) Khepra (the scarab beetle) and Horus (the falcon). The form which he usually appears as is that of a man with a falcon head which is due to his combination with Horus another sky god. On top his head sits a solar disc with a cobra which in many myths represents the eye of Ra. At the beginning of time, when there was nothing but chaos the sun god existed alone in the watery mass of Nun which filled the universe."I am Atum when he was alone in Nun, I am Ra when he dawned, when he began to rule that which he had made." This passage talks about how Atum created everything in human form out of the chaos and how Ra than began to rule over the earth where humans and divine beings coexisted. By having sexual intercourse with himself he spat out of his mouth the god Shu god of air and the goddess of moisture Tefnut. The siblings symbolized two universal principles of humans: life and right (justice). Ra was believed to have created all forms of life by calling them into existence by uttering their secret names. In some accounts humans were created from Ra's tears and sweat. According to one myth the first portion of earth came into being when the sun god summoned it out of the watery mass of Nun. In the myth of the Celestial Cow (the sky was thought of as a huge cow, the goddess Meht-urt) it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. Extensions of Ra's power were often shown as the eye of Ra, which were the female versions of the sun god. Ra had three daughters Bastet, Sekhmet, and Hathor which were all considered the eye of Ra who would seek out his vengeance. Sekhmet was the Eye of Ra and was created by the fire in Ra's eye. She was violent and sent to slaughter the people who betrayed Ra, but when calm she became the more kind and forgiving goddess Hathor. Sekhmet was the powerful warrior and protector while Bastet, who was depicted as a cat, was shown as gentile and nurturing.
Bastet or Bast was a goddess of ancient Egyptian religion, worshiped as early as the Second Dynasty. Her name also is rendered as B'sst, Baast, Ubaste, and Baset. In ancient Greek religion, she was known as Ailuros.
Ra was thought to travel on the Atet, two solar barques called the Mandjet (the Boat of Millions of Years) or morning boat and the Mesektet or evening boat.These boats took him on his journey through the sky and the Duat, the literal underworld of Egypt. While Ra was on the Mesektet, he was in his ram-headed form. When Ra traveled in his sun boat, he was accompanied by various other deities including Sia (perception) and Hu (command), as well as Heka (magic power). Sometimes, members of the Ennead helped him on his journey, including Set, who overcame the serpent Apophis, and Mehen, who defended against the monsters of the underworld. When Ra was in the underworld, he would visit all of his various forms.
The Atet was the solar barge of the sun god Ra in the mythology of the ancient Egyptians. It was also known as the Mandjet, the Boat of Millions of Years, and, during the night, as the Mesektet.
Sia or Saa, an ancient Egyptian god, was the deification of perception in the Heliopolitan Ennead cosmogony and is probably equivalent to the intellectual energies of the heart of Ptah in the Memphite cosmogeny. He also had a connection with writing and was often shown in anthropomorphic form holding a papyrus scroll. This papyrus was thought to embody intellectual achievements.
The Egyptian god Hu was one of the minor gods in some respects, but he was one of the most important gods for those serious about Egyptian deities. Hu is the power of the spoken word. He personifies the authority of utterance.
Apophis, the god of chaos, was an enormous serpent who attempted to stop the sun boat's journey every night by consuming it or by stopping it in its tracks with a hypnotic stare. During the evening, the Egyptians believed that Ra set as Atum or in the form of a ram. The night boat would carry him through the underworld and back towards the east in preparation for his rebirth. These myths of Ra represented the sun rising as the rebirth of the sun by the sky goddess Nut; thus attributing the concept of rebirth and renewal to Ra and strengthening his role as a creator god as well.
When Ra was in the underworld, he merged with Osiris, the god of the dead.
Ra was represented in a variety of forms. The most usual form was a man with the head of a falcon and a solar disk on top and a coiled serpent around the disk.Other common forms are a man with the head of a beetle (in his form as Khepri), or a man with the head of a ram. Ra was also pictured as a full-bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion, among others.
He was most commonly featured with a ram's head in the Underworld.In this form, Ra is described as being the "ram of the west" or "ram in charge of his harem.
In some literature, Ra is described as an aging king with golden flesh, silver bones, and hair of lapis lazuli.
The chief cultic center of Ra was Iunu "the Place of Pillars", later known to the Ptolemaic Kingdom as Heliopolis (Koinē Greek : Ἡλιούπολις, lit. "Sun City") and today located in the suburbs of Cairo. He was identified with the local sun god Atum. As Atum or Atum-Ra, he was reckoned the first being and the originator of the Ennead ("The Nine"), consisting of Shu and Tefnut, Geb and Nut, Osiris, Set, Isis and Nephthys. The holiday of "The Receiving of Ra" was celebrated on May 26 in the Gregorian calendar.
Ra's local cult began to grow from roughly the Second Dynasty, establishing him as a sun deity. By the Fourth Dynasty, pharaohs were seen as Ra's manifestations on earth, referred to as "Sons of Ra". His worship increased massively in the Fifth Dynasty, when Ra became a state deity and pharaohs had specially aligned pyramids, obelisks, and sun temples built in his honor. The rulers of the Fifth Dynasty told their followers that they were sons of Ra himself and the wife of the high priest of Heliopolis.These pharaohs spent much of Egypt's money on sun temples. The first Pyramid Texts began to arise, giving Ra more and more significance in the journey of the pharaoh through the Duat (underworld).
During the Middle Kingdom, Ra was increasingly affiliated and combined with other chief deities, especially Amun and Osiris.
At the time of the New Kingdom of Egypt, the worship of Ra had become more complicated and grander. The walls of tombs were dedicated to extremely detailed texts that depicted Ra's journey through the underworld. Ra was said to carry the prayers and blessings of the living with the souls of the dead on the sun boat. The idea that Ra aged with the sun became more popular during the rise of the New Kingdom.
Many acts of worship included hymns, prayers, and spells to help Ra and the sun boat overcome Apep.
The rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire put an end to the worship of Ra.
As with most widely worshiped Egyptian deities, Ra's identity was often combined with other gods, forming an interconnection between deities.
Khepri is a god in ancient Egyptian religion who represents the rising or morning sun. By extension, he can also represent creation and the renewal of life.
Atum, sometimes rendered as Atem or Tem, is an important deity in Egyptian mythology.
Tefnut is a deity of moisture, moist air, dew and rain in Ancient Egyptian religion. She is the sister and consort of the air god Shu and the mother of Geb and Nut.
The Ennead or Great Ennead was a group of nine deities in Egyptian mythology worshiped at Heliopolis: the sun god Atum; his children Shu and Tefnut; their children Geb and Nut; and their children Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. The Ennead sometimes includes the son of Osiris and Isis, Horus. It rose to importance in Dynasties V and VI and remained prominent in Egypt into its occupation by the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty established by Alexander the Great's successor in the area, Ptolemy I.
Hathor was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion who played a wide variety of roles. As a sky deity, she was the mother or consort of the sky god Horus and the sun god Ra, both of whom were connected with kingship, and thus she was the symbolic mother of their earthly representatives, the pharaohs. She was one of several goddesses who acted as the Eye of Ra, Ra's feminine counterpart, and in this form she had a vengeful aspect that protected him from his enemies. Her beneficent side represented music, dance, joy, love, sexuality and maternal care, and she acted as the consort of several male deities and the mother of their sons. These two aspects of the goddess exemplified the Egyptian conception of femininity. Hathor crossed boundaries between worlds, helping deceased souls in the transition to the afterlife.
Meretseger was a Theban cobra-goddess in ancient Egyptian religion, in charge with guarding and protecting the vast Theban Necropolis — on the west bank of the Nile, in front of Thebes — and especially the heavily guarded Valley of the Kings. Her cult was typical of the New Kingdom of Egypt.
This is an index of Egyptian mythology articles.
The Eye of Ra or Eye of Re is a being in ancient Egyptian mythology that functions as a feminine counterpart to the sun god Ra and a violent force that subdues his enemies. The Eye is an extension of Ra's power, equated with the disk of the sun, but it also behaves as an independent entity, which can be personified by a wide variety of Egyptian goddesses, including Hathor, Sekhmet, Bastet, Wadjet, and Mut. The Eye goddess acts as mother, sibling, consort, and daughter of the sun god. She is his partner in the creative cycle in which he begets the renewed form of himself that is born at dawn. The Eye's violent aspect defends Ra against the agents of disorder that threaten his rule. This dangerous aspect of the Eye goddess is often represented by a lioness or by the uraeus, or cobra, a symbol of protection and royal authority. The Eye of Ra is similar to the Eye of Horus, which belongs to a different god, Horus, but represents many of the same concepts. The disastrous effects when the Eye goddess rampages out of control and the efforts of the gods to return her to a benign state are a prominent motif in Egyptian mythology.
Iusaaset or Iusaas is a primordial goddess in Ancient Egyptian religion. In Egyptian texts, she is described as "the grandmother of all of the deities". This allusion is without any reference to a grandfather, so there might have been a very early, but now lost, myth with parthenogenesis as the means of the birth of the deities from the region where her cult arose near the delta of the Nile. There are many alternative spellings of her name, including Iusaaset, Iusaas, Juesaes, Ausaas, and Jusas, as well as in Greek Saosis.
Ancient Egyptian deities are the gods and goddesses worshipped in ancient Egypt. The beliefs and rituals surrounding these gods formed the core of ancient Egyptian religion, which emerged sometime in prehistory. Deities represented natural forces and phenomena, and the Egyptians supported and appeased them through offerings and rituals so that these forces would continue to function according to maat, or divine order. After the founding of the Egyptian state around 3100 BC, the authority to perform these tasks was controlled by the pharaoh, who claimed to be the gods' representative and managed the temples where the rituals were carried out.
Werethekau was an Ancient Egyptian deity. She served as the personification of supernatural powers.
Deities depicted with horns or antlers are found in many different religions across the world.
Egyptian mythology is the collection of myths from ancient Egypt, which describe the actions of the Egyptian gods as a means of understanding the world around them. The beliefs that these myths express are an important part of ancient Egyptian religion. Myths appear frequently in Egyptian writings and art, particularly in short stories and in religious material such as hymns, ritual texts, funerary texts, and temple decoration. These sources rarely contain a complete account of a myth and often describe only brief fragments.
Ancient Egyptian creation myths are the ancient Egyptian accounts of the creation of the world. The Pyramid Texts, tomb wall decorations and writings, dating back to the Old Kingdom have given us most of our information regarding early Egyptian creation myths. These myths also form the earliest religious compilations in the world. The ancient Egyptians had many creator gods and associated legends. Thus the world or more specifically Egypt was created in diverse ways according to different parts of the country.
Ancient Egyptian deities that have appeared in popular culture include Set, Thoth, Khonsu, Ra and Horus.
The Gate deities of the underworld were ancient Egyptian minor deities charged with guarding the gates of the Egyptian underworld.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ra .|