The Egyptian Sun God and Goddess

The sun god was an indomitable force that brought life and death. Temples in ancient Egypt venerated Ra as one of their main deities during the New Kingdom period; some scholars suggest that Egypt may have practiced some sort of monotheistic practice with him as its principal deity.

Re was depicted as traveling across the sky during the day and descending into the underworld at night on his barge, fighting off darkness from overshadowing Earth by engaging Apophis in battle to prevent darkness from taking control.


Atum-Ra was the primordial god of creation and renewal. According to Memphise legend, Atum rose out of Nun’s waters by spewing Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture) out his mouth to create himself and the world; later becoming father of gods and humans alike.

Atum was often combined with Ra to represent the sun’s daily journey from dusk through the underworld and into the morning sky, acting as both its guardian and keep of souls in the afterlife. His name also served as an antidote for divine order; often depicted with the uraeus cobra which symbolized protection and power as well as his dual crown from Upper and Lower Egypt; his beard stood out among Pharaohs with its appearance that mimicked that of rising and setting sun!

Pyramid and Coffin Texts refer to Atum as “He who comes forth each evening from the eastern horizon to pass through the western horizon and return in the morning to resurrect himself”. He was closely associated with solar theology and considered as the patron deity of regeneration – symbolizing life, death and rebirth as one perpetual cycle.

He was worshipped across Egypt, with a center for his cult in Heliopolis. Over time, Atum-Ra was combined with Khepri to become Atum-Khepri or Ra-Harakhty-Atum – this composite deity being considered supreme and ruler of all gods.

Atum-Khepri was a powerful god who punished evildoers while protecting those who did right. As protector of souls in death and an intermediary to the otherworld, Atum-Khepri battled off monsters of chaos such as Apep, who devoured hearts from those he met on his journeys to deliver justice and protect souls of deceased souls from mistreatment in this realm.

Atum-Khepri was another god of fertility. He protected animals and plants alike and was responsible for flooding of the Nile to replenish its nutrients – both required for cultivating crops – as well as being an omniscient force within nature and water itself. His followers would pray to him for good fortune and health.


Ra, the Egyptian sun god, was one of the most revered deities. As a symbol of life and growth, Egyptians believed he could help their crops ripen and prosper – this made Ra an invaluable part of daily life and one of their most worshiped deities.

Egypt saw many different manifestations of Ra throughout the day and night. At sunrise he appeared as Khepri, while by sunset he took on Khnum, often called Horakhty. Cult of Ra was closely related to that of kings; often times their emphasis would focus on specific aspects of it when needed most.

According to ancient Egyptian belief, it was believed that an obscure yet secret name within Ra, known as his hidden name, held the key to his power and was therefore very sacred knowledge. According to legend, Isis used her magic and motherly instincts to gain this secret knowledge before passing it along to her son Horus as he became ruler of Egypt after Ra passed on.

When invoked, this secret name allowed pharaohs to gain power over their enemies – thus prompting Ancient Egyptians to fear its presence more than any other name of god.

Over time, the Egyptians began to view the Sun God as being central to pharaonic authority; many likely believed that his invisible power provided their divine authority as rulers. This likely contributed to an intensified connection between Sun worship and divine authority of their pharaohs and Sun worship.

By the 4th Dynasty (c. 2575-c. 2465 bce), Re had become the central deity in Egyptian religion, prompting many forms of syncretism between him and other gods, such as Ra-Horakhty, Amon-Re, Sebek-Re and Khnum-Re. Re eventually took on Horus’ attributes when his falcon-headed form adopted the aspect of Horus.


Sekhmet was one of the most intriguing deities in ancient Egyptian mythology. On one hand, her ferocity and destructive power could strike fear into Egyptians who thought she resembled a fearsome warrior goddess; on the other, however, Sekhmet offered healing medicine to injured and sick individuals alike – both aspects making Sekhmet an alluring figure that demanded respect and veneration.

Ra, the sun god, felt threatened by Sekhmet’s immense power; thus he devised an elaborate scheme to subdue her destructive rampage: by scattering 7000 jars of red beer across the land during the night she thought they were blood of her enemies so drank up until falling asleep and awakening with calmed fury she returned to being a goddess of healing and caregiving.

Sekhmet was a powerful and intimidating goddess often depicted with the head of a lioness while wearing red dresses, representing strength and an angry temperament. Additionally, she would often hold papyrus sceptres and an ankhs as symbols of power and life, acting as protectors against war or plague in ancient Egypt.

Symbolic elements such as Sekhmet’s cobra-crowned crown and solar disk on her head represent her connection with the sun and her association with fire, strength, and power. Red signifies her relationship to bloodshed and death; her roar stands for her powerful energy as it resonates in the desert wind.

Sekhmet was frequently associated with Bastet, the goddess depicted as a cat-shaped figure who represented her nurturing and protective aspect – an excellent contrast with Sekhmet’s usually destructive powers. A statue depicting them can now be found at The Met.


Horus was an integral component of Egyptian pharaohs’ rule, believing they were manifestations of Horus as they rose each morning with the sun. This belief enabled them to govern with confidence and authority knowing that their ruling was guided by divine forces. This connection became particularly apparent during Edfu’s annual Coronation of the Sacred Falcon ceremony where each pharaoh transformed themselves into Horus by appearing as one during this ceremony, reinforcing their divinity before their people and showing that Horus truly was their son!

Horus played an essential part in Egypt’s protection. According to Egyptian mythology, Horus was Osiris’ son by Seth; upon hearing of Osiris’ murder by Set, Horus vowed vengeance for him and killed Set – thus becoming King. Unfortunately in doing so he lost an eye that Thoth (pronounced TOHT) restored later as an udjat protection symbol – making the god Thoth (pronounced TOHT) one of Egypt’s protectors as well.

Horus was not only the protector of Egypt but also patron deity of Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt. Additionally, his cult was practiced across Egypt.

Horus joined with Ra to form Ra-Horakhty, or Morning Sun, the most commonly depicted form being that of Ra-Horakhty depicting him with falcon head and solar disc above head – this image being quite common throughout ancient Egypt and now widely used to symbolize sun worshipping practices and activities.

Horus’ incorporation into their Ennead was vitally important, justifying hereditary succession while serving as an advocate of Maat or truth. This merger played an instrumental role in Egyptian mythology.

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