Ra Egyptian God of the Sun: 9 Ways to Work With Him
Ra. His name feels primal when spoken. Powerful when written and read. As an Egyptian God of the Sun, Ra’s cult spanned dynasties and regions in ancient times. Some would argue he is perhaps the most important Ancient Egyptian god, syncretizing with other sun gods over thousands of years and adapting to new politics and belief systems. In this article, we travel to the land of the pharaohs and learn more about Ra the Egyptian God of the Sun, Ra’s symbol, powers, and how to work with him in your pagan or spiritual practice. You’ll find he is a protective, enlightening god with a desire to be honored by modern practitioners.
Who is Ra the Egyptian God of the Sun?
Ra, also spelled Re, is one of the gods of the ancient Egyptian pantheon. While he’s not the oldest Egyptian God of the Sun, he may be the most well-known and definitely the most important. “Before Ra came onto the scene, there was the falcon god Horus. So when Ra emerged, he merged with Horus and became Re-Horakhty. In this form, he was the morning sun. And as the evening sun, Ra merged with Atum. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, he is referred to as Re-Horakhty-Atum-Horus-Khepri. When Upper and Lower Egypt came together during the Middle and New Kingdoms, Ra was once again combined with another solar god Amun and Amun-Ra was born” (The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Wilkinson).
What is Ra the God Of? The Sky, Earth and the Underworld
We know Ra is ancient, but what is Ra the god of? If you hadn’t already figured it out, Ra is first and foremost the god of the Sun; the word Ra is Egyptian for Sun. And moreover, he is the god of the sky. The sun is his eye and is sometimes referred to as the Eye of Ra, yet he also travels across the sky as the sun in his vessel. He is also often depicted as a lion and is connected to the Leo constellation and the star Regulus. Therefore, Ra is the god of the sun and all things in the sun’s domain: light, fire, the earth, the seasons, and crops. And therefore growth and prosperity, life, vitality, day, and healing.
Creation and Destruction
As a creator god, Ra’s myths tell of how he uttered sacred words into the chaos and brought forth life. He created the earth, rain, air, and human beings. In one myth, the humans turned on Ra and he sent his eye in the form of the lioness-warrior goddess Sekhmet to destroy them. Here we see the deep duality reflected in Ra’s existence: creation and destruction. He is ironically a god of order, as well.
God of the Underworld
When his vessel travels under the earth (after sunset), Ra goes into the Underworld and has power over the dead as Ra-Osiris. These additional polarities (life and death, light and darkness) reflects Ra’s complex nature, like many other gods of the ancient world. In the Ra-Osiris aspect, Ra is the god of the absence of light, death, and transition.
Ra’s Magical Associations and Qualities
- Country/Region: Egypt and Nubia
- Domain: sun, sky, earth, underworld
- Powers: balance (creation and destruction), justice, protection, enlightenment, prosperity, revenge, vitality, healing, royalty, political power
- Symbols: Eye of Ra, Sun Disk, Cobra
- Animals: Ram, scarab, cobra, heron, falcon, bull, cat, lion, phoenix
- Goddesses: Bast, Mut, Hathor, Sekhmet, Satet, Tefnut, Ma’at
- Syncretized With: Horus, Amun, Osiris, Atum
- Cult Center: Heliopolis
- Sacred Day: May 26th (Receiving of Ra holiday)
- Enemy/Opponent: Apep
9 Ways to Work With Ra the Egyptian God In Your Practice
Whether you’re a Kemetic pagan or simply feel drawn to work with the Egyptian God Ra, your connection with him will be unique and personal. That being said, here we provide you with ways to work with this powerful Egyptian God of the Sun.
1. Research and Study Ra’s Myths
First and foremost, I always recommend reading and researching your gods thoroughly. Read the Egyptian Book of the Dead, as well as older works like the Coffin Texts, Amduat, Book of Gates, and Book of Caverns. A few of the better books on Egyptian magic and myth that talk of Ra include: Ancient Egyptian Magic by Eleanor Harris, Ra by Markus Carabas, and The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard Wilkinson.
2. Set Up An Altar for Ra Egyptian God of the Sun
Setting up an altar for the god Ra is a great way to invite him into your spiritual practice and life. It creates a meeting place for you and your god to connect and communicate. Any flat surface will work such as a table, nightstand, bookshelf, counter, etc. Then add things to represent Ancient Egypt and the god Ra to your altar including: crystal pyramids, a statue of Ra, the Eye of Ra symbol, candles, incense with an incense burner, sun decor, a bowl of water, etc. Cleanse and bless your Ra altar before use.
3. Appropriate Offerings
The Egyptians provided offerings to their gods on a daily basis. You don’t have to do that, if you can’t afford the time and materials. However, try to provide regular appropriate offerings to Ra. Offerings might include frankincense, myrrh and kyphi incense, water, candle light, bread, fruit, beer, poultry, linen (traditional), gold, and other fine metals and materials. Making your own kyphi incense is a challenge, but it is a traditional offering to Egyptian gods. The process of making the kyphi incense is also an offering in and of itself. The ancient texts also say that voice offerings were common, meaning prayer, song, poetry, spoken mythology, etc.
4. Solar Rituals
Because Ra is a sun god, solar rituals aren’t just appropriate…they’re powerfully effective. When you want to talk to Ra, call on him at sunrise, high noon, or sunset. In addition, perform any kind of ritual or cast spells at these times and invoke his presence. Yoga, meditation, and other sacred exercises are best done at sunrise or sunset when working with this creator god. I’ve also found sunbathing aids in communication with sun gods. You’re literally basking in Ra’s glory when you bathe in the sunlight.
5. Sun God Ra Symbol
One of the easiest ways to call upon his energy is by using the sun god Ra symbols. The sun disk is a potent symbol that can be used when calling upon Ra. If you’re a lifelong devotee, consider tattooing the sun god Ra symbols somewhere on your body. To pagans, tattoos serve as our tickets to the Otherworld. In addition to the sun disk, the Eye of Ra is another of his sacred symbols and pictured below. This particular symbol is a representation of Ra’s feminine, violent counterpart and sometimes as its own independent goddess. Bast, Sekhmet, Hathor, and Mut are linked to the Eye of Ra. The Eye of Ra and the Sun Disk are intertwined and often illustrated together on temple walls, tombs, and in ancient texts.
6. Work With Ra’s Sacred Animals
The Egyptian gods were anthropomorphic or partially anthropomorphic, meaning they were depicted as animals or part animal. Ra is no exception to the rule. Before the Amarna Period, Ra was depicted as a sun disk with wings, encircled by a cobra OR as a man with the head of a falcon. And there are also a few other animals sacred to Ra that should be considered: birds, scarabs, rams, bulls, cats, lions, herons, and the phoenix. Connect with the spirits of these animals to work more closely with the Egyptian sun god Ra.
7. Wearing Ra Amulets
Traditionally, amulets were worn by Ra worshipers to invoke their beloved deity and to show their dedication. Select an amulet that means something to you, but also reminds you of the sun god’s unique qualities. Perhaps a stone the Egyptians revered such as lapis lazuli, quartz, turquoise, or onyx. More appropriately, a sunstone would make a great Ra amulet. Cleanse your new amulet, then ask Ra to imbue his power into it. I like to set my amulets on my gods’ altars to really soak up their energy. Then wear the amulet daily or during special sacred rituals in honor of Ra.
8. Spells for Balance and Justice
The Egyptians called on Ra for balance and sometimes to right their wrongs or wrongs that had been done to them. Being that Ra is a creator and destroyer, he IS balance. Therefore, if you need more balance in your life, this Egyptian god might be the right guy to work with. In addition, working in the justice system is right up his alley. He is a protector of police officers, judges, jury panels, clerks of the court, etc. If you’re a devotee of Ra and unsure what occupation to go into, consider a degree in the justice system.
9. Purification Rituals
The Ancient Egyptian deities were very much fond of sacred purity. So much so that many of the priests and priestesses would purify themselves and their gods’ temples before even addressing the deity him or herself. Purity meant physical and spiritual. When working with Ra as your god, consider taking a ritual bath or shower beforehand and performing a purification ritual of the space you plan to work with him in. Then call on him after your sacred space is purified.
More on Gods and Goddesses:
- Cernunnos Celtic God: 8 Ways to Work With His WILD Energy
- Odin: 9 Ways to Work With the Norse Germanic Allfather
- Thoth: Egyptian God of Wisdom & Writing From Atlantis and Beyond