18. RA- The Sun God

Ra (alternatively spelled Re) is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the fifth dynasty, he had become a major deity- identified primarily with the mid-day sun.

The meaning of the name is uncertain. But it is thought that if it were not a word for ‘sun’ – it may be a variant of or linked to words meaning ‘creative power’ and ‘creator’.

Heliopolis was the chief cult center of Ra and was was called Iunu, “Place of Pillars”, in Egyptian. There he was identified with the local sun-god Atum.

In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the God Horus as Re-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world namely the sky, the earth and the underworld.

He was associated with the falcon or the hawk. When God Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra as Amun-Ra.

The cult of 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.

All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names.

Alternatively 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 a goddess to punish them.

When Sekhmet (the eye-turned- to the goddess) became blood thirsty she was pacified by mixing beer with red dye.

[Despite trying in Gazini style, I am unable o to include the image of RA. Please visit Google images of RA for some stunning pictures of him]

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