2. Ra (Atum) “God of Sun” was the ancient Egyptian deity of the sun. By the Fifth Dynasty, in the 25th and 24th centuries BC, he had become one of the most important gods in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon-day sun. Ra ruled in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was believed to have ruled as the first pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.He was the god of the sun, order, kings and the sky. Ra was portrayed as a falcon and shared characteristics with the sky-God Horus. At times the two deities were merged as Ra-Horakhty, “Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”. In the New Kingdom, when the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra as Amun-Ra. The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its center 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. In some accounts, 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 humankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them.

Sun as a creator the sun is the giver of life, controlling the ripening of crops that were worked by man. Because of the life-giving qualities of the sun, the Egyptians worshipped the sun as a god. The creator of the universe and the giver of life, the sun or Ra represented life, warmth and growth. Since the people regarded Ra as a principal god, creator of the universe and the source of life, he had a strong influence on them, which led to him being one of the most worshipped of all the Egyptian gods and even considered King of the Gods. Inlay depicting the squatting Ra with the sun-disk placed atop his falcon head.
At an early period in Egyptian history, his influence spread throughout the whole country, bringing multiple representations in form and in name. The most common form combinations are with Atum (his human form), Khepri (the scarab beetle) and Horus (the falcon). The form in which he usually appears is that of a man with a falcon’s head, which is due to his combination with Horus, another sky-God. On top of his head sits a solar disc with a cobra, which in many myths represents the Eye of Ra. At the beginning of time, when there was nothing but chaos, the sun-God existed alone in the watery mass of Nun which filled the universe.

In the underworld

Ra in his ram-headed form traveling through the underworld in his solar barque on the subterrestrial Nile, from the copy of the Book of Gates in the tomb of Ramses. Ra was thought to travel on the Atet, two solar barques called the Mandjet (the Boat of Millions of Years) or morning-boat and the Mesektet or evening-boat. These boats took him on his journey through the sky and the Duat – twelve hours of night which is also the literal underworld of Egypt. While Ra was on the Mesektet, he was in his ram-headed form. When Ra traveled in his sun-boat, he was accompanied by various other deities including Sia (perception) and Hu (command), as well as Heka (magic power). Sometimes, members of the Ennead helped him on his journey, including Set, who overcame the serpent Apophis, and Mehen, who defended against the monsters of the underworld. When Ra was in the underworld, he would visit all of his various forms.