Come day and night, I battle the dreaded Apophis. A task suited to me, and me alone. A task which none of my fellow gods can achieve. Why you may ask? Because I am the Sun. The light which shines upon the world. And I have no use for death.
~ Ra

RaHorakhty.jpg

Ra is the Egyptian Deity of the sun and creation.

Summary

The meaning of the name Ra is uncertain, however if isn't a word that relates to or means "sun" then it could possibly linked to the words 'creator' and 'creative power'. Ra’s daily course was a cycle of death and rebirth. When he fell below the western horizon in the evening, he died and entered the realm of the dead. But every dawn, he was born anew and waxed in majesty and brilliance, enabling all life on earth to flourish along with him.

Appearance

Ra had many different forms but his most common form was that of a falcon or falcon-headed man, especially when the deity being depicted was the composite Ra-Horakhty. But he was also often portrayed as a bearded man, a man with the head of a ram or scarab beetle, a solar disk with or without an encircling cobra as a symbol of power, or the benben, the pyramid-shaped hillock

Personality

Power and Abilities

History

Myth and Legends

In some myths Ra was self-created, and had created everything else as well, either directly or indirectly. In other myths he is the son of Khnum and Neith, making him the brother of Serket and Sobek. Most of the other gods were descendants of, or extensions of, Ra. According to one popular liturgical formula, Ra (and the sun god more generally) was “the one, from whom came millions,” in all myths he is the brother of the chaos snake Apep.

As the primary identity of the sun god, that most widespread and potent symbol for the divine in ancient Egypt, Ra’s status among the gods was virtually without equal. It was only fitting that it would have been he who created the cosmos, ruled it, and provided the model for all later rulers. And one can see how it would have been a great source of prestige for another god to be combined with Ra, the uttermost wellspring of cosmic power.

Ra’s power was therefore far greater than that of any of the other gods, and it was inevitable that someone so able in every way would have become their king. His right to this position was sealed by the fact that, since the ancient Egyptians thought that the “natural” order and the political order were two inextricably intertwined aspects of a single, overarching cosmic order, Ra had created the political order and the institution of kingship along with the rest of the cosmos. Even after Ra’s own kingship ended, he remained the head of the divine council, and the ruler ship was passed to his son Shu, then to Shu’s son Geb, then to Geb’s son Osiris, and finally to Osiris’s son Horus.

Ra was the model for the human pharaoh. The human pharaoh was even identified as a god himself, and a descendant of Ra. Typically, this took the form of the pharaoh being hailed as the incarnation of Horus. Sometimes the pharaoh was also referred to simply as “Son of Ra.” In either case, the point was that the current pharaoh, and only the current pharaoh, had both the right and the ability to rule the cosmos due to his being from the line of the one who created it in the first place.

Fusions with other gods

Ra is often fused with other gods to become more powerful, so that he can continue to rule over Egypt though the forms are temporary.

Amun and Ra (Amun-Ra)

Amun-Ra looks exactly like Amun, but he has the sun disk. Amun was a member of the Ogdoad, representing creation energies with Amaunet, a very early patron of Thebes. He was believed to create via breath and thus was identified with the wind rather than the sun. As the cults of Amun and Ra became increasingly popular in Upper and Lower Egypt respectively they were combined to create Amun-Ra, a solar creator god. The most common belief is that Amun-Ra was invented as a new state deity by the Theban rulers of the New Kingdom to unite worshipers of Amun with the older cult of Ra around the 18th Dynasty. Amun-Ra was given the official title "King of the God's" by worshippers, and images show the combined deity as a red-eyed man with a lion's head that had a surrounding solar disk.

Atum and Ra (Atum-Ra)

Atum-Ra, or Ra-Atum, looks exactly like Ra, since Atum is commonly said to be his human form. He was another composite deity formed from two completely separate deities, however Ra shared more similarities with Atum than with Amun. Atum was more closely linked with the sun, and was also a creator god of the Ennead. Both Ra and Atum were regarded as the father of the deities and pharaohs and were widely worshiped. In older myths, Atum was the creator of Tefnut and Shu, and he was born from ocean Nun.

Horakhty and Ra (Ra-Horakhty)

Looks exactly like Ra, sometimes with Horus' hat, Ra-Horakhty was more of a title or manifestation than a composite deity. It translates as "Ra (who is) Horus of the Horizons". It was intended to link Horakhty (as a sunrise-oriented aspect of Horus) to Ra. It has been suggested that Ra-Horakhty simply refers to the sun's journey from horizon to horizon as Ra, or that it means to show Ra as a symbolic deity of hope and rebirth. In some versions it is just a fusion of Horus and Ra.

Khepri and Ra (Ra-Khepri)

Khepri was a scarab beetle who rolled up the sun in the mornings and was sometimes seen as the morning manifestation of Ra. The idea of different deities (or different aspects of Ra) ruling over different times of the day was fairly common but variable. With Khepri taking precedence over sunrise Ra often was the representation of midday when the sun reached its peak at noon. Looks like Khepri but with the sun disc. Sometimes different aspects of Horus were used instead of Ra's aspects. 

Khnum and Ra (Khnum-Ra)

Similarly, the ram-headed god Khnum was also seen as the evening manifestation of Ra. With Khnum taking precedence over sunset, Ra often was the representation of midday when the sun reached its peak at noon. Looks like Khnum, but with the sun disc.

Sobek and Ra (Sobek-Ra)

Has the body of crocodile and the head of Ra, not a lot is known about Sobek-Ra, it makes Sobek apart of the sun god.

Montu and Ra (Montu-Ra)

Not a lot is known about Montu-Ra, Montu is a very ancient god, and so he was originally a manifestation of the scorching effect of Ra, the sun — and as such often appeared under the epithet Montu-Ra.

Raet-Tawy

Raet or Raet-Tawy was a female aspect of Ra; she did not have much importance independent of him. In some myths she was considered to be either Ra's wife or his daughter.

Shedet-Ra-Horus

Also known as Shedet-Re-Horus, it's a fusion of the most powerful deities in the Egyptian pantheon (aside from Isis), it is a fusion of Sobek, Ra, and Horus (Shedet being a title of Sobek). It has never actually been seen by anyone, not even the gods themselves, it is possibly his form during The Final Conflict.

Extra Information

Gallery

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.