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Father of the gods.
Cult Center: Heliopolis and throughout Egypt.
Attributes: From very early times Ra was a sun god. He took on many of the attributes and even the names of other gods as Egyptian myths evolved. A good example of this is the god Ra and Amun merging to become Amun-Ra or Ra and Horus combining to become Ra-Harakhte. Since Ra was a god of great antiquity, there are far to many stories connected with him to relate them all. I will relate some that I find interesting, including the legend of Ra and Hathor.
. . . . .One legend states that each day, Ra was born and began a journey across the sky. Ra was believed to travel in the Manjet-boat. or the 'Barque of Millions of Years'. He was joined on this daily journey by a crew of many gods . The Manjet-boat would sail through the twelve provinces, representing the twelve hours of daylight. At the end of each day Ra was thought to die and embarked on his night voyage. For this journey he was called Auf, which means 'corpse'. Ra sailed in a boat called the Mesektet-boat or night-barque on his journey through the twelve hours of darkness.
. . . . .It was not always smooth sailing on these ships. During the day Ra had to defeat his chief enemy, a serpent or snake named Apep. A great battle was faught between Ra and Apep, and Ra was usually victorious, however on stormy days or during an eclipse the Egyptians believed that Apep had been victorious and swallowed the sun.
. . . . .Because no wind blows in the Underworld, Auf (Ra) had to rely on various unfriendly spirits and demons to help tow his barque along the river in the underworld. Auf's main job in the Underworld was to bring light to the souls of the dead as he passed through their realm. After his departure these souls fell back into a lonely darkness. The Underworld of these early solar myths was a very different place then the fields of peace that we find in the Osiris cults of the later periods.
Representation: He is often pictured as a hawk or as a hawk headed man with a solar disk encircled by a uraeus on his head. He is often pictured wearing the double crown of upper and lower Egypt.
Relations: Father of the first divine couple, Shu and Tefnut. Grandfather of Geb and Nut, whose children were Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nephthys.
Other Names: Re, Phra.