Challenge Entry 2: Working with Ra - The Egyptian God of the Sun(Solar Magick Catchup)

Ra: The Egyptian Sun God

Ra (also Re) is the ancient Egyptian God of the sun. His name literally means The Sun in the ancient Egyptian langauge. He symbolises light, warmth, and life. He was one, if not the most powerful of all the Gods and as universally worshipped across the land.

Iconography

Ra is most commonly shown as a man with the head of a falcon, wearing a red solar diss surrounded by a golden cobra. Its head rests on Ra’s brow. The disc represents the sun itself, while the cobra symbolises protection and royal status.

The falcon symbolises many aspects and qualities associated with the Sun and sky. The falcon was significant in ancient Egypt. It represented power, speed, and clear vision. These attributes were linked to Ra to emphasise his role as a powerful deity who could oversee everything.

Falcons were known for their ability to soar in the sky at great heights. This aligned with the idea of the sun travelling through the sky high above. By representing Ra as a falcon, the Egyptians visually conveyed the idea of the sun soaring through the sky, bringing life to the world below.


Image from Canva

The Forms of Ra

Ra took on different forms at different points of the day:

Khepri
Khepri represents Ra as the rising sun in the morning. Khepri is depicted as a scarab beetle or as a man with a scarab beetle head. This form of the Sun god symbolises the sun’s rebirth and renewal as it rises in the East. The association comes from the Egyptians observing that scarabs laid their eggs in balls of dung. They rolled the ball across the ground, representing the movement of the Sun across the sky. When the eggs hatched, they emerged from the ball, representing the birth of the Sun each morning.

Ra
Ra’s form as falcon represents him as the midday sun, at the height of his power and radiance. This form is a symbol of the Sun’s strength, heat, and life-giving energy during the day.

Atum
Atum represents Ra as the setting sun and the evening. At this time, Ra disappears below the western horizon and begins his journey through the underworld, where he faces challenges and threats that aim to prevent his rebirth in the morning. Atum was shown in human form with a muscular physique, illustrating the strength required to overcome the obstacles of the underworld each night. After defeating those who aimed to destroy him during g the night, particularly the Apophis, Atum emerged from the Underworld as the rising sun Khepri once again, brining light to the land.


Image created on Canva

Mythology

Ra is very much associated with the Egyptian creation myth (of which there are many versions):

Before the world existed, there was a vast ocean of nothingness called Nun. It represented chaos. From Nun emerged a pyramid shaped mound, called the Benben, which was the first solid ground.

Ra (as Khepri) then emerged from the Benben, having created himself. He had the power to bring order to the chaos around him. Khepri’s light began to illuminate the darkness around him. Ra boarded his solar barque and began his journey to bring light to the darkness. As he travelled higher, Khepri became Ra in his falcon form.

Ra was lonely so, from his mouth, he spat out a son called Shu. He represented the air. Ra then vomited up a daughter called Tefnut, who represented moisture. Shu and Tefnut became lost in the land not yet illuminated by Ra. In desperation, Ra sent his all seeing eye to find them. Upon their return, Ra was overjoyed and cried. His tears hit the Benben and formed humans.

Ra realised that these humans had no where to live, Together, Shu and Tefnut conceived two other deities: Geb was represented the Earth Nut formed the sky. Ra noticed that humans were suffering from the chaos that existed on Earth. In response, he resided on Earth, brining the laws of Ma’at into being.

Over time, Ra grew old and fragile. His people began to mock him. This made the Sun god angry. He sent his eye, in the form of Sekhmet, to seek revenge. (Bast and Sekhmet were all considered the Eye of Ra and were also seen as aspects of the goddess Hathor).Sekhmet hunted down and killed thousands upon thousands of humans. Ra, realising that she had gone too far, took matters in to his own hands. He knew that Sekhmet loved beer and therefore, filled pools and lakes with red stained beer resembling blood. The bloodthirsty goddess indulged until falling into a drunken sleep. Upon waking, she had transformed into a Goddess of protection and healing. Ra ascended into the sky upon the back of Nut.


Image from Medium.com

Ra traveled across the sky during the day and through the underworld at night, battling various forces of chaos, such as Apophis, the serpent-like creature representing darkness and destruction.


Image from 2moons ai


Image from Artstation

Ra’s journey through the underworld was dangerous but he always emerged victorious each morning, ensuring the rebirth of the sun and the continuation of life. He forbade Nut and Geb to have any children on any of the 360 days of the year. Thoth, the God of wisdom, helped them out by winning some of the Moon’s light in a game of Sent, He used this light to add 5 days to the year. This mean Nut and Geb were able to have their own spring after all:

Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephtys were born and resided on Earth among the remaining humans. They ensured that Ma’at was adhered to while Ra sailed the skies, providing light and heat.

Why and How Ra was Worshipped?

Why?
Ra was worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians for many reasons:

The sun was seen by the Egyptians as the giver of life. It brought warmth that nurtured their crops, light that eliminated darkness and sustained all living things. By worshipping Ra, the Egyptians believed they were honouring the source of life.

Ra maintained cosmic order. His daily journey across the sky, his battle with Apophis each night and his return at dawn ensured the that the universe continued to function. By worshipping Ra, the Egyptians were maintaining the stability of the world.

Ra was considered the king of the gods, mirroring the pharaoh’s role as the ruler on Earth. The pharaoh was seen as Ra’s chosen representative(some times his son - although Pharaohs were often seen as sons of Horus). Worshipping Ra reinforced the pharaoh’s authority and legitimacy. It created a strong connection between the divine and the Earth. Pharaohs would replicate elements of Ra on Earth. Early pharoahs built pyramids, which replicated the Benben mound of creation. Even the stone at the top was called the Benben stone. The same stone was placed at the top of obelisks:

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Own images (note the missing benben stone on the pyramid)

Pharoahs were buried along with a barque, replicating that used by Ra. The pharaoh Khufu was transported to his pyramid on a barque that was then buried under his burial site. It has been since excavated and rebuilt. I have circled me standing next to it to give an idea of its size.

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Own image

Ra’s dangerous nightly journey through the underworld and his emergence the next day offered hope for the afterlife. By worshipping Ra, the Egyptians hoped to share his power to ensure a safe journey through the underworld and into the afterlife.

The Egyptians believed that Ra’s blessings were essential for bountiful harvests and a successful society. Worshipping him was seen as a way to secure these blessings and ensure prosperity in their lives.

How?
As the morning Sun rise above the horizon, Egyptians would raise their arms in gratitude to Ra for the new day, a bit like Sun salutations.

Throughout the day (sunrise, midday sun and sunset), priests performed rituals in temples dedicated to Ra. These would involve cleansing and dressing his statue, offering food and drink, burning incense and chanting prayers and hymns. At night, the statue in would be undressed, painted with oil and redressed before placed inside a cabinet, almost like getting him ready for bed. It was believed that the God would consume the essence if the food offerings and therefore, after rituals the physical offerings would be shared among the priests to consume.

Egyptians celebrated many festivals throughout the year that were dedicated to Ra. These involved grand processions, music, and theatrical performances to honour the Sun god and ensure his continued presence. Wepet Renpet was the Egyptian New year. Its timing was linked to the annual flooding of the Nile, which was seen as a blessing from Ra. The festival expressed gratitude for this life-giving event and the agricultural prosperity that it brought. The New Year was also seen as a time of renewal, and Ra, as both the sun god and creator, was linked with these new beginnings.

The pharaoh, seen as Ra’s representative (or son) on Earth, played a huge role in the worship of the Sun god. He would take part in rituals, make extravagant offerings and ensure the smooth running of grand displays of devotion such as festivals and processions A particular ritual involved the “solar boat” of Ra. Priests would parade a sacred boat representing Ra’s baroque through the streets, symbolising his journey across the sky and allowing people to pay homage.

Lay Egyptians believed in keeping a good relationship with Ra through daily prayers and offerings, seeking his blessings for health, prosperity and a safe passage to the afterlife. They displayed his statue, image or items representing him in their homes.

Syncretised Ra

Ra was often syncretised (merged) with other deities, resulting in various combined forms. This was done for different reasons including:

Raising the status of lesser deities;

Creating unification across different parts of Egypt that held different beliefs;

Creating harmony among deities that held similar roles.

Here are some examples of merged deities that included Ra:

Amun-Ra
Amun is a the god of air and wind. He merged with Ra to form Amun-Ra. This elevated Amun to a supreme deity and emphasised solar aspects of both gods.

Atum-Ra
Atum, the creator deity merged with Ra to form Atum-Ra. This emphasised their joint roles in creation and the sun’s journey across the sky.

Khnum-Ra
Khnum is associated with water, creation, and fertility. He was combine with Ra to form Khnum-Ra. This highlighted the creative and life-giving aspects of both gods.

Ra-Horakhty
Ra-Horakhty combines Ra and Horus. It means Ra of the horizon and emphasises the solar and kingship aspects of both Gods.

Sobek-Ra
Sobek was the crocodile god associated with fertility and protection. He combined with Ra to form Sobek-Ra.This elevated Sobek to a solar deity and emphasised his connection to the sun’s power.

Ra-Osiris
In some cases, Ra was merged with Osiris, the god of the afterlife and resurrection. This combination represented the solar and regenerative aspects of both deities. It symbolised the sun’s journey through the underworld and its rebirth at dawn.

Why Work With Ra Today?

There are many reasons why we may choose to work with Ra in modern times:

Ra is associated with solar energies, which symbolise light, warmth, and vitality. Working with Ra may help you to tap into these energies to rejuvenate and invigorate yourself physically and spiritually.

Ra is often seen as wise and knowledgeable figure. Work with Ra to seek his guidance and wisdom in decision-making, problem-solving or gaining clarity and insight in various aspects of your life.

Ra can shield us from harm or negative influences. Work with him to invoke his protective energies for physical, emotional or spiritual well-being.

Ra’s association with the sun and light can be connected to spiritual awakening and higher consciousness. Work with Ra to see a clearer path towards spiritual growth and self-discovery.

You can seek Ra’s blessings for aspects of life such as success, prosperity, fertility or harmony. Invoke him to attract positive energies and bring favourable outcomes.

How to Work With Ra in Your Practice

Here are some suggestions for working with Ra in your practice:

Working with Ra, the ancient Egyptian god, can be approached in various ways depending on one’s beliefs, practices, and personal preferences. Here are a few general suggestions on how to work with Ra:

Get to know Ra by learning about him and his mythology. Read books, articles or talk to others to gain a deeper understanding of the Sun God.

Make offerings to Ra to help establish a connection. Traditional offerings included fruit, bread, honey, wine and beer. You can create an altar dedicated to Ra. Decorate it with items linked to Ra such as a statue or image of him, images of the Sun, scarab beetles, falcons, feathers and gold jewellery. Burn red,.orange or gold candles and incense such as frankincense or sandalwood. The following difusser blend can also be used:

Develop personal rituals or prayers that honour and invoke Ra. I anoint my statues in the morning with oil before dressing them in white linen and saying a prayer. At night I remove the linen and cover them while saying a night time prayer. Lots of prayers and hymns exist or you could write your own.

Practice meditation or visualisation techniques to connect with Ra. Close your eyes, focus your attention and imagine his presence. Visualise yourself absorbing his light, warmth and wisdom. Talk to him if the feeling arises.

When faced with challenges or when you need guidance, invoke Ra and ask for assistance. Create a sacred space and state your intentions, questions, or desires. Be open to insights, inspiration, or signs that may come your way.

Prayers to Ra

Self Written:
Ra, glorious sun god,
You illuminate the world with your golden rays,
You bring forth life and banish darkness.
Grant me your strength and vitality,
Awaken wisdom and creativity within me.
May I walk in your light,
Always seeking truth and justice.
Dua Ra

From the Tomb of Shep-En-Mut
You God of Life, you Lord of Love,
All men live when you shine.
You are the crowned King of the Gods.
The Goddess Aset embraces you,
and enfolds you in all seasons.
Those who follow you sing to you with joy,
and they bow down their foreheads to the earth
In gratitude for your radiant blessings.
Oh RA, You the King of Truth,
the Lord of Eternity,
The Prince of Everlastingness,
You Sovereign of all Gods,
You God of Life, you Creator of Eternity,
You Maker of Heaven.
All the Gods rejoice at your rising.
Oh RA, You giver of all life,
The Earth rejoices
when it sees your golden rays
People who have been long dead
come forward with cries of joy
to behold your beauties every day.
You go forth each day over Heaven and Earth.
Oh RA God of Life, you Lord of Love,
All men live when you shine.

From the Papyrus of Nekht:
Homage to thee, O thou glorious Being,
thou who art dowered with all sovereignty.
O Tem-Heru-Khut, when thou risest
in the horizon of heaven
a cry of joy goeth forth to thee from all people.
O thou beautiful Being, thou dost renew thyself
in thy season in the form of the Disk,
within thy mother Hathor.
Therefore in every place
every heart swelleth with joy
at thy rising forever.

From the Book of the Dead:
Hail, thou Disk, thou lord of rays,
who risest on the horizon day by day!
Shine thou with thy beams of light
upon the face of Osiris,
who is victorious;
for he singeth hymns of praise
unto thee at dawn,
and he maketh thee to set at eventide
with words of adoration.
May the soul of Osirs, the triumphant one,
come forth with thee into heaven,
may he go forth in the Mātet boat.
May he come into port in the Sektet boat,
and may he cleave his path among
the never-resting stars in the heavens.

Ra Correspondences

Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Colour: Gold, Orange, Red
Metal: Gold, Brass, Copper
Stones: Citrine, Sunstone, Carnelian
Animals: Falcon, Scarab beetle
Plants/Herbs: Sunflowers, Marigolds, Rosemary, Bay
Essential Oils: sandalwood, myrrh, Frankincense, Orange, Lemon
Incense: Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Amber
Offerings: Oranges, Lemons, Bread, Honey, Water, Wine, Beer

15 Likes

Awesome! I love the Egyptian deities even though I haven’t worked with any. I had an art history class in college that discussed how their art and architecture reflected their culture. We talked about the gods too. I fell in love with Egypt. I would love to go but I don’t think that will happen now. Excellent challenge entry! :hugs::smiley::blush:

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Thank you. Im glad you enjoyed the entry. I hope that it will help people to learn abiut and work with Ra, especially if they were considering it but didnt quite know how to. I love Egypt. I always have since childhood. It pulled me in and never let go. I would love to go back but I am put off by safety concerns in the area at the moment.

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Once I have a more solid relationship with my deity I want to explore the Egyptian deities

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Well I am here if you want any info or assistance.

PS @MeganB @Susurrus @BryWisteria could I ask that the main post be added to the Egyptian master post?

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Absolutely! :clap: I’ve added it - thank you for this, Alan! It’s a great addition to our Egyptian Deity collection and a wonderful way to learn about Ra :sun:

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@Cosmic_Curiosity great job!thanks a lot! :dizzy: :dizzy: :dizzy:

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You are welcome. I hope it is useful

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From the prayers to the ways to devote oneself, to the advice about working with Him and all of the beautiful pictures in between - this is a true buffet of valuable insight on the God Ra! :sun_with_face:

I see Megan has already added this lovely post to the collection of Egyptian Deity resources - I know it will be very useful and helpful for those interested in working with Ra now and in the future! Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together and share it, @Cosmic_Curiosity - it’s a blessing! :pray: :sun: :sparkles:

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