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Ra is the sun god and the king of the gods. He is depicted with a sun disk on his head with a serpent wrapped around it, and he is most commonly depicted as a hawk.

Ra did not have parents; he was believed to have created himself, or suddenly appeared from the celestial waters of Nun. The Egyptians held the sun in the highest regard above all other parts of nature, and they believed that Ra traveled through the sky on a boat during the day and then went down into the underworld, or Duat, at night. Sometimes he would have other gods accompany him on his journey.

The ancient Egyptians believed that Ra ruled as the first pharaoh until he became old and rebellions began to brew, chiefly led by the rival goddess Isis. Isis tricked Ra into telling him his secret name, a name so powerful that it would help her increase her own power to resurrect her husband Osiris. She created a poisonous snake which bit Ra, and she refused to help him until he told her his secret name. He did, and she gained Ra’s power.

Ra had affairs with different goddesses, but many of his children are thought to have come from his own powers of creation, rather than through a physical union with anyone else. The most well-known of Ra’s children are Bastet, Ma’at, Hathor, and Sekhmet. The Egyptians also believed that Ra merged with other gods, including Amun, who was originally the god of Thebes, and Atum, another creator-god. Through Amun, Ra also issued Shu and Tefnut, who at first wandered away from him. Ra created his Eye to find them, and when they returned, he cried with joy and his tears created mankind.

Be sure to look at our lesson plans on the Egyptian myths!

Sun God Ra



Power / Domain


Symbols / Attributes

  • sun disk
  • serpent
  • hawk head

Notable Myths

  • Birth as an Obelisk
  • Creation of Man Through Tears
  • Isis’ Trick

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