14 Summer Gods and Goddesses: Ra, Lugh, Sunna and More
As the Wheel of the Year turns, we feel the presence of the gods in each season. In past articles, we’ve met various deities associated with the Winter, Spring and Fall. In this exciting post, we finally get to meet the deities that come alive with the Summer sun and fruiting earth. Here’s our introduction to 14+ of our favorite Summer gods and goddesses from different pantheons.
How We Determine a God or Goddess is Linked to Summer
You might be wondering how to distinguish gods and goddesses by season. Sometimes the answer is clear – this god or goddess personified a season or some aspect of the planting/harvesting process. For summer gods and goddesses, there are a few that are directly linked but others we took the liberty of including. This is because many deities might not be “summer gods” but are solar gods. And, since the sun is at its peak in the Summer, these sun gods are ubiquitous and all-powerful during this season.
7 Summer Gods of Fertility, the Sun and Passion
There are literally hundreds of solar gods from various pantheons. So if you don’t see one here or you’re looking for a specific pantheon, there’s no harm in doing the research on your own. Sometimes it’s as simple as another google search. If that yields no results, I recommend finding a mythology book for whatever culture you’re drawn to and discover your Summer deity there.
1. Belenos: Celtic Summer God of Healing
Belenos is an ancient Celtic god of healing springs, the sun, fire and fertility. And he likely lent his name to the Celtic Summer fire festival and sabbat, Beltane. The etymology of his name, Belenos, brings up some debate among scholars. Most agree it likely means “shining one” or “bright”. In addition to being a healing and fertility god, Belenos is also one who was called on for protection and purification. His cult was so widespread at one time that it stretched from Northern Italy all the way to the British Isles. Call on him today when celebrating Beltane and when in need of healing, fertility, and protection during the Summer months.
2. Lugh: Summer God of Many Skills
Next in our Summer gods list, we have another Celtic deity who lends his name to yet another sabbat. Lugh’s name is apparent in the first Celtic harvest sabbat of Lughnasadh. Lugh is one of the Tuatha de Danann, or the people of Danu, also known as the old gods of Ireland and the faery people. He is specifically known to be a master of many skills, including war and the arts. When Lughnasadh comes around annually at the end of Summer, we honor Lugh as a sun god. Call on him for confidence, vitality and manifestation.
3. Montu: Egyptian Sun God
Montu is a lesser known deity of ancient Egypt but was once an important manifestation of the god Ra. He wears the solar disk on his head and was mostly known as a god of war and vitality. Interestingly, the specific manifestation of Ra that Montu portrayed was “scorching”…so, essentially, the most brutal aspect of the Sun personified. Invoke Montu during the Summer when you need a ferocity in dealing with difficult situations, but also to increase your own vitality via the Sun.
4. Adonis: Greek Summer God of Love
Technically, Adonis wasn’t a god but the human lover of the goddess Aphrodite. Despite his supposed mortality, Adonis was worshiped alongside his divine lover during the festivals of Adonia. This festival occurred annually in late Summer and lasted up to eight days. It was mainly celebrated by women and commemorated the death of Adonis and Aphrodite’s mourning for him. Call on Adonis along with Aphrodite to bring love and passion into your life this Summer.
5. Grannus: The Warming One
Grannus is an ancient Gaulish Celtic god that became syncretized with Apollo. His name means “heat of the sun” and is also linked to fire and passion. One of his epithets is “The Warming One”, and his cult was mainly located in ancient Gaul and Germania. We know a ten-day festival honored Grannus, but we don’t know exactly when it took place. Since he seems to be a fire and sun god, it was likely in the Summer season. Grannus is also associated with healing springs, similar to Belenos, and can be called upon for healing and purification.
6. Ra: Egyptian God of the Sun
“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.” Read more in our full article on Ra here.
7. Freyr: Elven God of Summer and Fertility
What Odin is to the Aesir (the sky gods), Freyr is to the Vanir (the earthly gods). I often associate the Winter season with Odin, but the Summer season? That belongs to the Elven god called Freyr. Freyr is an ancient Norse god and ruler of the Elven realm, the Vanir. He is brother to the goddess Freya and is connected to the earth, fertility, creativity, peace and Summer. Since we celebrate fertility in the Summer months, it’s no wonder Freyr, who’s often depicted with a large phallus, is also celebrated during the sunny season. Invoke Freyr for passion, creativity, vitality, fertility and to connect with the Alfheimr realm.
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7 Summer Goddesses of Love
These Summer goddesses are celebrated in the Summer season and have an inseparable connection to the Sun, love, and fertility. Call on them this season to energize, protect and guide you.
1. Aine: Fairy Goddess of Summer and Love
In a recent article written by our resident writer Allorah Rayne, she talks all about the Celtic Summer goddess and fairy queen Aine (pronounced Ahn-yah). Aine’s sacred place in Ireland is at the hill Knockaine, and she was once the patron and sovereignty goddess of Munster. She is tied in myth to Manannan Mac Lir, the Celtic sea god as either his wife or daughter. When she manifests, she has long red hair and wears a headband made of stars. According to Allorah, “this is a nod to her association with the sun and moon.” And she is most present during the Summer season around the Summer Solstice and Lughnasadh.
2. Macha: Ulster’s Sovereignty Goddess of Summer and War
As Aine is to the province of Munster, so Macha is to the province of Ulster (two ancient kingdoms of Celtic Ireland). Macha is a goddess of Summer, war, love, motherhood and death. Her sacred places in Ireland are Eamhain Mhacha (Navan Fort) and Ard Mhacha (Armagh). What’s interesting is Macha is considered one of the three Morigna (or The Morrigan) and was feared as a war and death goddess. However, she also features in tales as a mother and lover. In one tale she curses men who force her to ride a horse while pregnant. So, while she has her loving side, her ferocious side is quite evident.
3. Amaterasu: Japanese Sun Goddess
While Amaterasu might not be called a “Summer” deity in Japanese lore, one thing is for sure. She is a goddess associated with the sun. She is one of the major deities in Shinto and beloved by many Japanese today. Many of her epithets reinforce her inseparable link to the sun, including “Wife of the Sun”, “Sun, day”, and “Great Woman of the Sun.” Amaterasu is an ancestress to the royal Japanese line and is honored by devotees today.
4. Sulis: Goddess of Healing Baths and the Sun
During the Roman Age, the city of Bath in England was a central cult location for the goddess Sulis. Sulis was syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva and her domains included healing, wisdom, decision-making, thermal springs, and cursing/revenge. Apparently, in addition to her presence being felt within the healing springs at Bath, people also brought curse tablets to her to ask for her to take revenge on thieves and the like. She is a goddess of the Sun and therefore of Summer and has been depicted as such.
5. Mawu: Dahomean Sun Goddess
Similar to Yemowo of Yoruba religion, Mawu is a creator goddess who is linked to the Sun and therefore Summer. She had divine children that she sent out among the people of the world to teach them different lessons of life and survival. When her patience was tested by the monkey Awe, a being she created, she reminds him that she can also take life away. Mawu is life and death. And her love and power radiates through the sunlight.
6. Saule: Baltic Goddess of the Sun and All Life
Saule is a sun goddess of the Baltic pantheon, originating in the ancient people who lived in the countries known today as Latvia and Lithuania. She is considered one of their most powerful deities, since she is the Sun itself and therefore gives life to everything and everyone on earth. Saule’s feast is celebrated during the Summer solstice and involves many beautiful traditions like making flower wreaths, wildflower picking, leaping the bonfire and rising with the sun. If you choose to honor Saule this Summer, include colors of gold, silver and red. And provide her offerings of flowers.
7. Sekhmet: Goddess of the Hot Sun
Sekhmet is an ancient Egyptian goddess who was made from the sun god Ra’s fiery eye, according to the Egyptian Museum. She is considered one of the most fearsome of the Egyptian deities – a protector of Ra himself and a deity who was created for the purpose of destroying humanity. Bastet is sometimes called Sekhmet’s “softer” domesticated side and some scholars believe Sekhmet became Bastet over time. Mothers and children were more comfortable with a domesticated cat with motherly qualities than a lion-headed goddess who once let loose her wrath upon human-kind. Either way, Sekhmet is the goddess of the hot desert sun but also of healing. If you provide her with appropriate offerings, she may grant you a remedy or cure.
Why Work With Seasonal Summer Gods and Goddesses?
Who you choose to honor in your pagan or witchcraft practice is entirely up to you. But personally, I work with various deities as the Wheel of the Year turns. I find it brings me closer to the earth, and the sun, and their cycles. Every god or goddess has a season they become more active, in my experience, and also correspond with certain festivals and sabbats. If you’re a polytheist, believing in many gods, incorporating Summer gods in your practice this sunny season will be simple. You don’t have to build altars for each god, and it can be as simple as invoking these deities at the Summer solstice. Or studying a specific deity’s mythos, ancient culture, etc. Working solar magic in general is a way to connect with Summer gods.