Gods + Goddesses - Get to Know Ra

Get to Know Ra

Who is Ra?

Wikipedia: Ra is the ancient Egyptian solar deity. By the Fifth Dynasty (2494 to 2345 BCE) he had become a major god in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the midday sun.

In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the god Horus, as Ra-Horakhty ("Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons"). He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon or hawk. When in the New Kingdom the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra as Amun-Ra. During the Amarna PeriodAkhenaten suppressed the cult of Ra in favor of another solar deity, the Aten, the deified solar disc, but after the death of Akhenaten the cult of Ra was restored.

The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its centre 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 the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became bloodthirsty she was pacified by drinking beer mixed with red dye.

Name Meaning: 

Ra possibly means "sun" in the Ancient Egyptian language, although no one knows for sure. 

Who Worships the God: 

While Ra was once one of the best popular gods, he is no longer worshipped today. His local cult began to grow in Egypt from roughly the second dynasty, establishing Ra as the sun deity. By the fourth dynasty the pharaohs were seen as Ra's manifestations on earth, referred to as "Sons of Ra."

His worship increased drastically in the fifth dynasty when Ra became a state deity and pharaohs had pyramids, obelisks, and solar 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. The kingdom's money was largely spent on worship to Ra. 

In the New Kingdom, worship of Ra grew and details of his power were shown in tombs. It was said that Ra aged with the sun. 

Fun Fact: 

Ra was also thought to be the creator god and was the most worshipped god in Ancient Egypt.