Ra

Ra was the Egyptian god of the sun, order, kings, and the sky.

Symbols: Sun disk, falcon
Cult Centre: Heliopolis
Consort: Hathor, Bastet and Sekhmet
Children: Shu, Tefnut, Hathor, Sekhmet, Bastet, Satet, Anhur
Greek equivalent: Zeus
Roman equivalent: Jupiter

Imentet and Ra from the Tomb of Nefertari.

Ra was portrayed as a falcon and shared characteristics with the sky god Horus. 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’.

Creator God

The Egyptians regarded the sun as the giver of life, controlling the ripening of crops. Because of the life giving qualities of the sun they 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 a strong influence on them, which led to him being one of the most worshiped of all the Egyptian gods and even considered King of the Gods.

Pyramidion of Khonsu with Ra as a falcon.

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.

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 who were all considered the eye of Ra who would seek out his vengeance.

Relief statue of Ra from Abu Simbel.

Underworld

Ra was thought to travel through the Underworld during the hours of night. The night boat, Mesektet, 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. Sometimes, other gods helped him on his journey, including Set, who overcame the serpent Apophis, who tried to destroy the sun every night, and Mehen, who defended against the monsters of the Underworld. 

Ra travelling through the Underworld in his Ram form, from the Book of Gates. Tomb of Rameses I.

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