Egyptian literature from all periods is rich in the symbolism and mythos of Ra's incarnations and journeys. Despite the dangers faced by the Sun-God in many of these theological compositions, we are always assured that the truth and power of Ra overcomes the forces of darkness arrayed against him. The power of Ra is unique, the qualities he possesses are insurmountable. Part of this power exists in the names and epithets owned by the Sun-God and through which his potency and spiritual essence resides. These are the names and appellations chanted by priests during the daily temple ritual, which formed one of the significant ingredients of the cult of Ra throughout Egyptian history. These were not just poetic descriptions composed for the sake of honoring the Sun-God. These were combinations of sacred words that were held to contain the very essence of the god's creative power. To recite them was to summon the vital forces through which the cosmos, gods and living creatures came into being. The recitation of these names and divine attributes was the act of materializing them in the world in order to continue the process of creation, in which the Sun-God Ra played the central role as the self-engendered father of the gods.

My Meditation on Ra was composed in honor of the Summer Solstice of 2009, after an inspired meditative journey I undertook while focusing on my icon of “The Father Ra”. When coming out of my meditation I instantly heard these words forming in the ears of my heart, where the nocturnal journey of Ra, and his triumph in the dawn, were fresh in vivid colors of crimson and lapis. The somber purple-blue of the dawn sky was pierced with the blood-red ribbon of Ra's reincarnation into the world of humankind. The blood of Apep had been spilled on our behalf, and a song of Ra's glory had been painted across the canvas of my heart.

O hail Ra 'The Lofty-One-of the-Two Horizons',

'The Perfectly-Complete', the Lotus-Born,

Rising upon his holy horizon as the seed

Of creation and master of the going forth

Into illumination!

Huw!  Homage to You O Ra the lord of

The two horizons, the Lotus-Born who

In the beginning reared his own form

And created his manifestations, the

Shining countenance coming into being

In the primordial darkness as king of the gods

And father of humankind!

O hail Ra 'The Complete-One', the wearer

Of the holy diadem, His searing eye

Giving birth to the Fire of Heaven!

He is the First-Father, clothed in the

Mantle of the sky, bedecked with the

Ornaments exalted as the Imperishable Stars,

Crowned with the secret power of the cobra


O hail Ra the 'Lofty-One-of the-Two Horizons',

Smiting darkness with the power of His two

Wedjat Eyes, appearing upon the Sacred Zenith

In His indestructible incarnation of light, worshiped

By the screeching baboons of His entourage of


It is Ra, this god of light, who has returned from

The thighs of Nuwt as the Golden-One, the sovereign

Of the heights.

He has smitten the black lake of the serpent-demon

And cast out the rebel.

He has beheaded the serpent of the hours of darkness

And repelled the sons of rebellion.

He has traversed the hours of the night as the

Champion of the Two Worlds, advancing

Golden, divine light.

The power of Truth advances him, and sacredness

Embraces the light rays of his mouth.

O hail Ra the Lord appearing in Truth!

He is Heru the protector of righteousness.

He is 'The Hidden-Light', the mysterious incarnation

Of the Spirit-Power, the lord of the thrones of the

Two Worlds.

He is 'The Complete-One', the Lord-to the-Limits,

Accomplishing creation with the power of his

Great eye, shooting forth Kas from the seed of

His divine hand; making light from darkness,

Making form from the void and becoming millions

Upon millions of evolutions in his one moment of


His heart contains all things; his desire gives birth

To numbers without reckoning.

With one hand he creates, with the other he destroys;

With his divine hand He bestows the breath of life,

And with His great eye He removes life.

O hail Father of the worlds and patron of nations,

The Lord-to the-Limits of Heaven, traversing his

Circuit of millions of years in a single moment of


Beyond transience you assume the mantle of

Multitudinous forms, evolving from body to body,

Surpassing the forms of your children, unknown to

The infinite gods!

O hail Ra 'The Lofty-One-of the-Two Horizons',

'The Perfectly-Complete', the Lotus-Born,

Rising upon his holy horizon as the seed

Of creation and master of the going forth

Into illumination!

When a true disciple of Ra recites this liturgy,

He becomes united with the power of Ra and

Is spiritualized by the divine ka of Ra.

Ra is arguably one of the most recognizable and prolific deities of the Egyptian pantheon, and is certainly pivotal to the cosmological views held by Egyptian theologians from the time of the Old Kingdom (2686-2181 BCE) on. The solar religion occupied a fundamental place in Egyptian cosmogony (see Stephen Quirke, 2001, The Cult of Ra: Sun-Worship in Ancient Egypt pp. 7).

Central to the Egyptian view of rebirth was the nightly struggle of the Sun-God Ra through the shadowy and dangerous nocturnal realm known as the duat. In the evening the elder Sun-God Ra-Atum is swallowed by his mother, the star-spangled goddess Nuwt, whose glittering body forms the firmament, and provides the celestial landscape through which the night boat of Ra- carrying the kernel of the sun's aging form- will make its perilous journey across the twelve hours of the Netherworld.

This is not merely a trial for the Sun-God's survival, but a life and death struggle for the created world itself, and all its living things. For without the triumph of Ra in the Underworld, the sun will cease to be reborn in the East, and creation will die. The denizens of the Netherworld await the passage of the Sun-God through the murky depths, and with them swims the mammoth serpent-demon Apep (or Apothis ), bent on destroying the Sun-God and preventing his vital passage through the twelve hours of the duat.

Meditation on Ra

Invoking the Image of the Sun-God

Images for eternity

Icons of kemet