As most know, Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god, and is identified primarily with the midday sun. Ra’s chief cult center was Heliopolis where he became identified with the local sun-god Atum. Through Atum or the hybrid Atum-Ra, he was also seen as the first being and the originator of the Ennead (which consists of Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys). His local cult began to grow from roughly the second dynasty. By the fourth dynasty, his worship had increased so that the pharaohs began being called “sons of Ra” and were said to be Ra’s earthly manifestation. By the fifth dynasty, he had become a major deity in the Egyptian religion.
As with many of the Egyptian gods, Ra became aligned with other similar gods throughout his worship. He was most notably hybridized with Atum, Amun, Horus, and Osiris. His representations also vary: while the most usual representation is a man with the head of a hawk and crowned by a solar disk, he is also shown as a man with the head of a beetle or a ram. He is also shown as a full-bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, snake, bull, cat, or lion.
Roderick notes that some of what we can consider Ra’s correspondences include symbols of the sun, scarab beetle, spheres, and eggs. Ra-friendly tools include the wand, candles, sacred fires, and incense. Some of his magical herbs include sandalwood, myrrh, and cinnamon. He is aligned with the east and rule vitality, strength of mind and spirit, potency, and immortality. His animals include the hawk and lion, his foods are eggs, oranges, and red apples, and his stones include topaz and tiger’s eye.
In honoring Ra today, make an altar that includes his sacred symbols. Light appropriately colored candles and intone the single syllable of his name once and again in sustained tones (“Raaaaah….Raaaaah”). Continue to chant his name until you sense his presence around you. Once he has arrived, spend some time contemplating what it might mean to serve this aspect of deity. Ask Ra what it means to live life through his energy. Contemplate how you might live your life if you were an expression of the sun.
Spend the day honoring this god by acting from the knowledge of your immortality.
My Ra altar included my very favorite orange paisley scarf, the beeswax candle given to me at my dedication with Hartwood Grove, cinnamon incense, a Gala apple, a minneola, a pair of tiny honey tangerines, the four eggs my chickens laid today, the carnelian necklace Ted gave to me (he’s always saying I need more sunshine), and a couple tiger’s eyes. All in all, it is a very solar altar.
Unlike my Dionysus devotion, this one was very hard to ‘get into’. I’m thinking this might be because I have a pre-existing attraction to Dionysus that is totally absent with Ra. Nevertheless, I persevered. Eventually, I felt invigorated and had a strong compulsion to go outside and enjoy the day. And so I did.