Who Was The Ancient Egyptian Sun God, Ra?

Ra or Re
Ancient Egyptian Sun God

Ancient Egyptian Sun God Ra or Re


Ra can be depicted several ways:
1. With the head of a falcon wearing a solar disk that's circled by a cobra
2. With the head of a beetle
3. With the head of a ram

Ra is sometimes associated with the following:
  • An ankh (symbol of life) and scepter
  • A boat he uses to ride across the sky 
  • The eye of Ra, a symbol of authority and even destruction
  • The tree of life


Most worshipped:
Ra was one of the first gods of ancient Egypt, probably because the sun's life-giving rays were so important for growing crops. He has many incarnations and many associations with other gods. Egyptians loved the idea of secret names having huge powers. They believed Ra created all forms of life by calling them into existence when he spoke their secret names out loud.

Ra in his Solar Boat
Solar Boat:
It's said that every morning, Ra would appear on the horizon in his solar boat and he'd sail across the sky to the opposite horizon. Once there, he would sail beneath the horizon and enter the underworld. Then, the nightly battle began: to survive the underworld journey, he had to fight his greatest enemy, the giant serpent named Apophis. This serpent loved chaos. Apophis would try to swallow Ra and his boat, or to stop him using his hypnotic staring power. Bastet, the cat goddess, often accompanied her father Ra to protect him from this terrible monster.

Detachable Eye:
Ra was famous for having a detachable eye. It was called the Eye of Ra; it was all-seeing and could go off on its own to wage destruction (which it often did). Ra had a forgiving side, though, and when he saw the troubles he caused he sometimes cried magical tears that could heal and bring new life.

The only god to grow old: 
In some stories, Ra lived on earth for awhile among humans. Everything was great when he was young and strong. Unfortunately, though, he grew old and weak, and people began to prey on him. This angered him so much that he sent his detachable eye to attack them. After that, he stopped living alongside humans. 

Aton or Aten -  the one god: 
For a brief time in Egypt's history, the ancient Egyptians worshipped a single god known as Aton under the Pharaoh Akhenaton. Aton was a sun god and was a modification of Ra. Pharaoh Akhenaton tried to erase all of the other gods from existence. It didn't work, though, and after the pharaoh's death, all the old gods were restored.

Scott Peters is the author of 4 Egyptian adventure novels for kids. He is currently working on book 5, a sequel in the Kid Detective Zet Series.

Scott Peters books, middle grade mystery, Kids ancient Egypt, kids mystery books, mystery of the Egyptian scroll

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