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Examples of solar deities from different cultures (from top): Ra, Helios, Tōnatiuh and Amaterasu.

A solar deity or sun deity is a deity who represents the Sun or an aspect thereof. Such deities are usually associated with power and strength. Solar deities and Sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms. The Sun is sometimes referred to by its Latin name Sol or by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun derives from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ.[1]

Overview

A solar representation on an anthropomorphic stele from Rocher des Doms, France, Chasséen culture, 5th-4th millennia BC.

Predynasty Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as the Sun god and Horus as a god of the sky and Sun. As the Old Kingdom theocracy gained influence, early beliefs were incorporated into the expanding popularity of Ra and the Osiris-Horus mythology. Atum became Ra-Atum, the rays of the setting Sun. Osiris became the divine heir to Atum's power on Earth and passed his divine authority to his son, Horus.[2] Other early Egyptian myths imply that the Sun is incorporated with the lioness Sekhmet at night and is reflected in her eyes; or that the Sun is found within the cow Hathor during the night and reborn each morning as her son (bull).[3]

Mesopotamian Shamash played an important role during the Bronze Age, and "my Sun" was eventually used to address royalty. Similarly, South American cultures have a tradition of Sun worship as with the Incan Inti.[4]

In Germanic mythology, the solar deity is Sol; in Vedic, Surya; and in Greek, Helios (occasionally referred to as Titan) and (sometimes) as Apollo. In Proto-Indo-European mythology the sun appears to be a multilayered figure manifested as a goddess but also perceived as the eye of the sky father Dyeus.[5]

Solar myth

See also: Solar myths

Three theories exercised great influence on nineteenth and early twentieth century mythography. The theories were the "solar mythology" of Alvin Boyd Kuhn and Max Müller, the tree worship of Mannhardt, and the totemism of J. F. McLennan.[6]

Müller's "solar mythology" was born from the study of Indo-European languages. Of them, Müller believed Archaic Sanskrit was the closest to the language spoken by the Aryans. Using the Sanskrit names for deities as a base, he applied Grimm's law to names for similar deities from different Indo-European groups to compare their etymological relationships to one another. In the comparison, Müller saw the similarities between the names and used these etymological similarities to explain the similarities between their roles as deities. Through the study, Müller concluded that the Sun having many different names led to the creation of multiple solar deities and their mythologies that were passed down from one group to another.[7]

R. F. Littledale criticized the Sun myth theory, pointing out that by his own principles, Max Müller was himself only a solar myth. Alfred Lyall delivered another attack on the same theory's assumption that tribal gods and heroes, such as those of Homer, were only reflections of the Sun myth by proving that the gods of certain Rajput clans were actual warriors who founded the clans a few centuries ago, and were the ancestors of the present chieftains.[6]

Solar vessels and Sun chariots

"Sun Chariot" redirects here. For the racehorse, see Sun Chariot (horse).

Solar boats

Ra in his barque
The Nebra Sky Disc, Germany, c. 1800–1600 BC

The Sun was sometimes envisioned as traveling through the sky in a boat. A prominent example is the solar barque used by Ra in ancient Egyptian mythology.[8] The Neolithic concept of a "solar barge" (also "solar bark", "solar barque", "solar boat" and "sun boat", a mythological representation of the Sun riding in a boat) is found in the later myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus. Several Egyptian kings were buried with ships that may have been intended to symbolize the solar barque,[9] including the Khufu ship that was buried at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza.[10]

Heracles in the golden cup-boat of the sun god Helios, 480 BC.

Solar boats and similar vessels also appear in Indo-European mythologies, such as a 'hundred-oared ship' of Surya in the Rig Veda, the golden boat of Saulė in Baltic mythology, and the golden bowl of Helios in Greek mythology.[11][12] Numerous depictions of solar boats are known from the Bronze Age in Europe.[13][14][15] Possible solar boat depictions have also been identified in Neolithic petroglyphs from the Megalithic culture in western Europe,[16] and in Mesolithic petroglyphs from northern Europe.[17]

Examples of solar vessels include:

Solar chariots

Helios in his chariot, c. 430 BC
The Trundholm sun chariot, Denmark, c. 1400 BC

The concept of the "solar chariot" is younger than that of the solar barge and is typically Indo-European, corresponding with the Indo-European expansion after the invention of the chariot in the 2nd millennium BC. [25] The reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European religion features a "solar chariot" or "sun chariot" with which the Sun traverses the sky.[26]

Gold boat model mounted on chariot wheels, from the tomb of Queen Ahhotep, c. 1550 BC.[27]

Chariots were introduced to Egypt in the Hyksos period, and seen as solar vehicles associated with the sun god in the subsequent New Kingdom period.[28] A gold solar boat model from the tomb of Queen Ahhotep, dating from the beginning of the New Kingdom (c. 1550 BC), was mounted on four-spoked chariot wheels.[29] Similarities have been noted with the Trundholm Sun Chariot from Denmark, dating from c. 1500–1400 BC, which was also mounted on four-spoked wheels.[18]

Examples of solar chariots include:

In Chinese culture, the sun chariot is associated with the passage of time. For instance, in the poem Suffering from the Shortness of Days, Li He of the Tang dynasty is hostile towards the legendary dragons that drew the sun chariot as a vehicle for the continuous progress of time.[33] The following is an excerpt from the poem:[33]

I will cut off the dragon's feet, chew the dragon's flesh,
so that they can't turn back in the morning or lie down at night.
Left to themselves the old won't die; the young won't cry.

The Sun was also compared to a wheel, for example, in Greek hēlíou kúklos, Sanskrit suryasya cakram, and Anglo-Saxon sunnan hweogul, all theorized to be reflexes of PIE *swelyosyo kukwelos. Scholarship also points to a possible reflex in poetic expressions in Ukrainian folk songs.[a][citation needed]

Gender

Goddess Amaterasu

Solar deities are often thought of as male (and lunar deities as being female) but the opposite has also been the case.[35] In Germanic mythology, the Sun is female, and the Moon is male. Other European cultures that have sun goddesses include the Lithuanians (Saulė) and Latvians (Saule), the Finns (Päivätär, Beiwe) and the related Hungarians. Sun goddesses are found around the world in Australia (Bila, Wala); in Indian tribal religions (Bisal-Mariamma, Bomong, 'Ka Sgni) and Sri Lanka (Pattini); among the Hittites (Wurusemu), Berbers (Tafukt), Egyptians (Hathor, Sekhmet), and Canaanites (Shapash); in the Canary Islands (Chaxiraxi, Magec); in Native America, among the Cherokee (Unelanuhi), Natchez (Oüa Chill/Uwahci∙ł), Inuit (Malina), and Miwok (He'-koo-lās); and in Asia among the Japanese (Amaterasu).[35]

The cobra (of Pharaoh, son of Ra), the lioness (daughter of Ra), and the cow (daughter of Ra), are the dominant symbols of the most ancient Egyptian deities. They were female and carried their relationship to the sun atop their heads, and their cults remained active throughout the history of the culture. Later another sun god (Aten) was established in the eighteenth dynasty on top of the other solar deities, before the "aberration" was stamped out and the old pantheon re-established. When male deities became associated with the sun in that culture, they began as the offspring of a mother (except Ra, King of the Gods who gave birth to himself).[citation needed]

Africa

The Kongo Cosmogram

Kongo

In Kongo religion, Nzambi Mpungu is the Sky Father and god of the Sun, while that his female counterpart, Nzambici, is Sky Mother and the god of the Moon and Earth.[36] The Sun is very significant to Bakongo people, who believe that the position of the sun marks the different seasons of a Kongo person's life as they transition between the four moments of life: conception (musoni), birth (kala), maturity (tukula), and death (luvemba). The Kongo cosmogram, a sacred symbol in Bakongo culture, depicts these moments of the sun.[36][37]

Ancient Egypt

Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religion. The earliest deities associated with the Sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Sekhmet, Hathor, Nut, Bast, Bat, and Menhit. First Hathor, and then Isis, give birth to and nurse Horus and Ra, respectively. Hathor the horned-cow is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, gifted with joy and is a wet-nurse to Horus.[38]

Ra Enthroned in the Tomb of Roy

From at least the 4th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, the Sun was worshiped as the deity Ra (pronounced probably as Riya, meaning simply 'the sun'), and portrayed as a falcon-headed god surmounted by the solar disk, and surrounded by a serpent. Re supposedly gave warmth to the living body, symbolized as an ankh: a "☥" shaped amulet with a looped upper half. The ankh, it was believed, was surrendered with death, but could be preserved in the corpse with appropriate mummification and funerary rites. The supremacy of Re in the Egyptian pantheon was at its highest with the Fifth Dynasty, when open-air solar temples became common.

In the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Ra lost some of his preeminence to Osiris, lord of the west, and judge of the dead. In the New Empire period, the Sun became identified with the dung beetle, whose spherical ball of dung was identified with the Sun. In the form of the sun disc Aten, the Sun had a brief resurgence during the Amarna Period when it again became the preeminent, if not only, divinity for the pharaoh, Akhenaton.[39][40]

The Sun's movement across the sky represents a struggle between the pharaoh's soul and an avatar of Osiris. Ra travels across the sky in his solar-boat; at dawn he drives away the god of chaos, Apep.[41][42] The "solarisation" of several local gods (Hnum-Re, Min-Re, Amon-Re) reached its peak in the period of the Fifth Dynasty.[43]

N27
Akhet (horizon)
in hieroglyphs
Aker guarding the horizon

Rituals to the god Amun, who became identified with the sun god Ra, were often carried out on the top of temple pylons. A pylon mirrored the hieroglyph for 'horizon' or akhet, which was a depiction of two hills "between which the sun rose and set",[44] associated with recreation and rebirth. On the first pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, the pharaoh is shown slaying his enemies in the presence of Isis, Horus, and Hathor.[45]

In the Eighteenth Dynasty, the earliest-known monotheistic head of state, Akhenaten, changed the polytheistic religion of Egypt to a monotheistic one, Atenism. All other deities were replaced by the Aten, including Amun-Ra, the reigning sun god of Akhenaten's own region. Unlike other deities, Aten did not have multiple forms. His only image was a disk—a symbol of the Sun.[46]

Soon after Akhenaten's death, worship of the traditional deities was reestablished by the religious leaders (Ay the High-Priest of Amen-Ra, mentor of Tutankhaten/Tutankhamen) who had adopted the Aten during the reign of Akhenaten.[47]

Additional solar gods

The Tiv people consider the Sun to be the son of the Moon Awondo's daughter and the supreme being Awondo.[citation needed] The Barotse tribe believes that the Sun is inhabited by the sky god Nyambi and that the Moon is his wife.[citation needed] Some Sara people also worship the Sun. Even where the sun god is equated with the supreme being, in some African mythologies, they do not have any special functions or privileges as compared to other deities.[citation needed] So is the Akan creator deity, Nyame, and the Dogon deity of creation, Nommo.[citation needed]

Asia and Europe

Yazidism

In Yazidism, the angel Şêşims is venerated as the Xudan or Lord of sun and light. He is also linked with fire, which is his terrestrial counterpart, and oaths, which are sworn by the doorway of his shrine. Annually, during the Feast of the Assembly, a ceremonial bull sacrifice is performed in front of his shrine at Lalish.[48][49][50][51] Yazidi religious texts refer to the light of the sun as a manifestation of God's light, therefore, Yazidis direct their faces in the sun's direction while praying. There are daily Yazidi prayers that are recited during the daytime, divided into three main phases of the day, the morning prayers include "Dua Şifaqê" (the dawn prayer), "Dua Sibê" (the morning prayer), "Duaya Rojhelatî" (the sunrise prayer). For the noon there is "Dua Nîvro" (the noon prayer) and at evening there is the "Duaya Hêvarî" (the evening prayer).[51]

Armenian mythology

In Armenian mythology and in the vicinity of Carahunge, the ancient site of interest in the field of archaeoastronomy, people worshiped a powerful deity or intelligence called Ara, embodied as the sun (Ar[52] or Arev). The ancient Armenians called themselves "children of the sun".[53] (Russian and Armenian archaeoastronomers have suggested that at Carahunge seventeen of the stones still standing were associated with observations of sunrise or sunset at the solstices and equinoxes.[54])

Baltic mythology

Those who practice Dievturība, beliefs of traditional Latvian culture, worship the Sun goddess Saule, known in traditional Lithuanian beliefs as Saulė. Saule is among the most important deities in Baltic mythology and traditions.[55]

Celtic mythology

The sun in Insular Celtic culture is assumed to have been feminine,[56][57] and several goddesses have been proposed as possibly solar in character.[58] In Continental Celtic culture, the sun gods, like Belenos, Grannos, and Lug, were masculine.[59][60][61]

In Irish, the name of the Sun, Grian, is feminine. The figure known as Áine is generally assumed to have been either synonymous with her, or her sister, assuming the role of Summer Sun while Grian was the Winter Sun.[62] Similarly, Étaín has at times been considered to be another theonym associated with the Sun; if this is the case, then the pan-Celtic Epona might also have been originally solar in nature,[62] though Roman syncretism pushed her towards a lunar role.[citation needed]

The British Sulis has a name cognate with that of other Indo-European solar deities such as the Greek Helios and Indic Surya,[63][64] and bears some solar traits like the association with the eye as well as epithets associated with light. The theonym Sulevia, which is more widespread and probably unrelated to Sulis,[65] is sometimes taken to have suggested a pan-Celtic role as a solar goddess.[56]

The Welsh Olwen has at times been considered a vestige of the local sun goddess, in part due to the possible etymological association[66] with the wheel and the colors gold, white and red.[56]

Brighid has at times been argued as having had a solar nature, fitting her role as a goddess of fire and light.[56]

Chinese mythology

Statue of the sun goddess Xihe charioteering the sun, being pulled by a dragon, in Hangzhou

In Chinese mythology (cosmology), there were originally ten suns in the sky, who were all brothers. They were supposed to emerge one at a time as commanded by the Jade Emperor. They were all very young and loved to fool around. Once they decided to all go into the sky to play, all at once. This made the world too hot for anything to grow. A hero named Hou Yi, honored to this day, shot down nine of them with a bow and arrow to save the people of the Earth.[67]

Sun and Immortal Birds Gold Ornament by ancient Shu people. The center is a sun pattern with twelve points around which four birds fly in the same counterclockwise direction, Shang dynasty

In another myth, a solar eclipse was said to be caused by a magical dog or dragon biting off a piece of the Sun. The referenced event is said to have occurred around 2136 BC; two royal astronomers, Ho and Hi, were executed for failing to predict the eclipse. There was a tradition in China to make lots of loud celebratory sounds during a solar eclipse to scare the sacred beast away.[68]

The Deity of the Sun in Chinese mythology is Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun (Tai Yang Gong/Grandfather Sun) or Star Lord of the Solar Palace, Lord of the Sun. In some mythologies, Tai Yang Xing Jun is believed to be Hou Yi.[citation needed]

Tai Yang Xing Jun is usually depicted with the Star Lord of the Lunar Palace, Lord of the Moon, Yue Gong Tai Yin Xing Jun (Tai Yin Niang Niang/Lady Tai Yin). Worship of the moon goddess Chang'e and her festivals are very popular among followers of Chinese folk religion and Taoism. The goddess and her holy days are ingrained in Chinese popular culture.[69]

Germanic mythology

In Germanic mythology, the sun is personified by Sol. The corresponding Old English name is Siȝel [ˈsijel], continuing Proto-Germanic *Sôwilô or *Saewelô. The Old High German Sun goddess is Sunna. In the Norse traditions, Sól rode through the sky on her chariot every day, pulled by two horses named Arvak and Alsvid. Sól also was called Sunna and Frau Sunne.[citation needed]

First century historian Tacitus, in his book Germania, mentioned that "beyond the Suiones [tribe]" a sea was located where the sun maintained its brilliance from its rising to its sunset, and that "[the] popular belief" was that "the sound of its emergence was audible" and "the form of its horses visible".[70][71][72]

Greco-Roman world

Main articles: Helios and Sol (Roman mythology)

Hellenistic mythology

In Greek mythology, Helios, a Titan, was the personification of the Sun; however, with the notable exception of the island of Rhodes and nearby parts of southwestern Anatolia,[b] he was a relatively minor deity. The Ancient Greeks also associated the Sun with Apollo, the god of enlightenment. Apollo (along with Helios) was sometimes depicted as driving a fiery chariot.[73]

The Greek astronomer Thales of Miletus described the scientific properties of the Sun and Moon, making their godship unnecessary.[74] Anaxagoras was arrested in 434 BC and banished from Athens for denying the existence of a solar or lunar deity.[75] The titular character of Sophocles' Electra refers to the Sun as "All-seeing". Hermetic author Hermes Trismegistus calls the Sun "God Visible".[76]

The Minotaur has been interpreted as a solar deity (as Moloch or Chronos),[77] including by Arthur Bernard Cook, who considers both Minos and Minotaur as aspects of the sun god of the Cretans, who depicted the sun as a bull.[citation needed]

Roman mythology

During the Roman Empire, a festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun (or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) was celebrated on the winter solstice—the "rebirth" of the Sun—which occurred on 25 December of the Julian calendar. In late antiquity, the theological centrality of the Sun in some Imperial religious systems suggests a form of a "solar monotheism". The religious commemorations on 25 December were replaced under Christian domination of the Empire with the birthday of Christ.[78]

Much more ancient was the cult of Sol Indiges, supposed to have been introduced among Roman deities by the Sabines at the times of Titus Tatius.

Modern influence

Copernicus describing the Sun mythologically, drawing from Greco-Roman examples:

In the middle of all sits the Sun on his throne. In this loveliest of temples, could we place the luminary in any more appropriate place so that he may light the whole simultaneously. Rightly is he called the Lamp, the Mind, the Ruler of the Universe: Hermes Trismegistus entitles him the God Visible. Sophocles' Electra names him the All-seeing. Thus does the Sun sit as upon a royal dais ruling his children the planets which circle about him.[76]

Pre-Islamic Arabia

The concept of the sun in Pre-Islamic Arabia, was abolished only under Muhammad.[79] The Arabian solar deity appears to have been a goddess, Shams/Shamsun, most likely related to the Canaanite Shapash and broader middle-eastern Shamash. She was the patron goddess of Himyar, and possibly exalted by the Sabaeans .[80][unreliable source?][81][82]

Americas

Aztec mythology

Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of the sun and war.

In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh (Nahuatl languages: Ollin Tonatiuh, "Movement of the Sun") was the sun god. The Aztec people considered him the leader of Tollan (heaven). He was also known as the fifth sun, because the Aztecs believed that he was the sun that took over when the fourth sun was expelled from the sky. According to their cosmology, each sun was a god with its own cosmic era. According to the Aztecs, they were still in Tonatiuh's era. According to the Aztec creation myth, the god demanded human sacrifice as tribute and without it would refuse to move through the sky. The Aztecs were fascinated by the Sun and carefully observed it, and had a solar calendar similar to that of the Maya. Many of today's remaining Aztec monuments have structures aligned with the Sun.[83]

In the Aztec calendar, Tonatiuh is the lord of the thirteen days from 1 Death to 13 Flint. The preceding thirteen days are ruled over by Chalchiuhtlicue, and the following thirteen by Tlaloc.[citation needed]

Incan mythology

The Emperor Pachacútec worshiping Inti in the temple Coricancha, drawing by Martín de Murúa of 1613.

Inti is the ancient Incan sun god. He is revered as the national patron of the Inca state. Although most consider Inti the sun god, he is more appropriately viewed as a cluster of solar aspects, since the Inca divided his identity according to the stages of the sun.[citation needed] Inti is represented as a golden disk with rays and a human face.

The Inca dedicated many ceremonies to the Sun in order to ensure the Sapa Inca's welfare.[84] The Incas would set aside large quantities of natural and human resources throughout the empire for Inti. Each conquered province was supposed to dedicate a third of their lands and herds to Inti as mandated by the Inca. Each major province would also have a Sun Temple in which male and female priests would serve.[84]

World religions

Christianity

Horus left and Jesus right, both presented as "solar messiahs" in Zeitgeist: the Movie.

The comparison of Christ with the astronomical Sun is common in ancient Christian writings.[85] By "the sun of righteousness" in Malachi 4[86] "the fathers, from Justin downward, and nearly all the earlier commentators understand Christ, who is supposed to be described as the rising sun".[87] The New Testament itself contains a hymn fragment in Ephesians 5: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."[88] Clement of Alexandria wrote of "the Sun of the Resurrection, he who was born before the dawn, whose beams give light".[89]

The pseudodocumentary Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007) asserts that Judas Iscariot is an allegory of Scorpio (with Jesus being a personification of the sun passing through the twelve constellations).[90] When the sun transits Scorpio, Judas schemes with the Sanhedrin to arrest Jesus by kissing him.[91] In the metaphorical sense, as the sun exited Libra in late autumn it enters Scorpio to be "kissed" by its stinger, which signifies the sun getting weaker as winter approaches.[92][93][94] The three days after December 21 are the darkest as the sun is low in the sky, under Sagittarius's arrow, and therefore it is allegorized that, at this time, Jesus (the sun) dies for three days.[95] After December 25, the Sun moves 1 degree north, which indicate longer days or Jesus's resurrection.[96]

American theosophist Alvin Boyd Kuhn had postulated that Jesus or the Abrahamic God is a sun god, with other figures in the Old Testament such as Samson (whose name means "sun" in Hebrew), King David, Solomon, Saul (meaning soul, or sol, the sun), Abraham, Moses, Gideon and Jephtha also being solar allegories. To corroborate his argument about God being a solar deity, Kuhn cites the Psalm's verses such as, "Our God is a living fire," "Our God is a consuming fire", "The Lord God is a sun", in addition to Jesus's "Christ will shine upon thee!", "I am come to send fire on earth" and "I am the light of the world".[97]

Christianization of Natalis Invicti

Main article: Christmas § History of religions hypothesis

According to one hypothesis about Christmas, the date was set to 25 December because it was the date of the festival of Sol Invictus. The idea became popular especially in the 18th[98][99] and 19th centuries.[100][101][102]

The Philocalian calendar of AD 354 marks a festival of Natalis Invicti on 25 December. There is limited evidence that the festival was celebrated at around the time before the mid-4th century.[103][104]

The earliest-known example of the idea that Christians chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December because it was the date of an already existing festival of the Sol Invictus was expressed in an annotation to a manuscript of a work by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi. The scribe who added it wrote: "It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day."[105][106][107][108]

Christian iconography

Mosaic of Christ as Sol or Apollo-Helios in Mausoleum M in the pre-4th-century necropolis beneath[109] St. Peter's in the Vatican, which some interpret as representing Christ.

The charioteer in the mosaic of Mausoleum M has been interpreted by some as Christ by those who argue that Christians adopted the image of the Sun (Helios or Sol Invictus) to represent Christ. In this portrayal, he is a beardless figure with a flowing cloak in a chariot drawn by four white horses, as in the mosaic in Mausoleum M discovered under Saint Peter's Basilica and in an early-4th-century catacomb fresco.[110] The nimbus of the figure under Saint Peter's Basilica is rayed, as in traditional pre-Christian representations.[110] Clement of Alexandria had spoken of Christ driving his chariot across the sky.[111] This interpretation is doubted by others: "Only the cross-shaped nimbus makes the Christian significance apparent".[112] and the figure is seen by some simply as a representation of the sun with no explicit religious reference whatever, pagan or Christian.[113]

Hinduism

Worship of Surya

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Further information: Saura (Hinduism)

The Hindu solar deity Surya being driven across the sky in his chariot

The ritual of Surya Namaskār, performed by Hindus, is an elaborate set of hand gestures and body movements, designed to greet and revere the Sun.

In India, at Konark in the state of Odisha, a temple is dedicated to Surya. The Konark Sun Temple has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surya is the most prominent of the navagrahas, or the nine celestial objects of the Hindus. Navagrahas can be found in almost all Hindu temples. There are further temples dedicated to Surya–one in Arasavalli, Srikakulam District in Andhra Pradesh, one in Gujarat at Modhera, and another in Rajasthan. The temple at Arasavalli was constructed in such a way that on the day of Ratha Saptami, the Sun's rays directly fall on the feet of the Sri Suryanarayana Swami, the deity at the temple.

Chhath (Hindi: छठ, also called Dala Chhath) is an ancient Hindu festival dedicated to Surya, unique to Bihar, Jharkhand and the Terai. The major festival is also celebrated in the northeast region of India, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Chhattisgarh. Hymns to the Sun can be found in the Vedas, the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. Practiced in different parts of India, the worship of the Sun has been described in the Rigveda. In the state of Odisha, there is another festival called Samba Dashami which celebrates Surya.

The sun is prayed to by South Indians during the harvest festival.[114]

In Tamil Nadu, the Tamil people worship the sun god during the Tamil month of Thai, after a year of crop farming. The month is known as the harvesting month and people pay respects to the sun on the first day of the Thai month known as Thai pongal, or Pongal, which is a four-day celebration.[115] It is one of the few indigenous worships by the Tamil people.[116]

In other parts of India, the festival is celebrated as Makar Sankranti and is mostly worshiped by Hindu diaspora.[117]

New religious movements

Solar deities are revered in many new religious movements.

Thelema

Thelema adapts its gods and goddesses from Ancient Egyptian religion, particularly those named in the Stele of Revealing, among whom is the Sun god Ra-Hoor-Khuit, a form of Horus. Ra-Hoor-Khuit is one of the principal deities described in Aleister Crowley's Liber AL vel Legis.[118]

Theosophy

The primary local deity in theosophy is the Solar Logos, "the consciousness of the sun".[119]

Other

In Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, folklorist Charles Leland alleges that a pagan group of witches in Tuscany, Italy viewed Lucifer as the god of the Sun and consort of the goddess Diana, whose daughter is the messiah Aradia.[120]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Колесом сонечко на гору йде ("The Sun goes up, as a wheel") and Горою сонечко колує ("Above (us) the Sun is wheeling/rotating").[34]
  2. ^ see Colossus of Rhodes.

References

  1. ^ In most romance languages the word for "sun" is masculine (e.g. le soleil in French, el sol in Spanish, Il Sole in Italian). In most Germanic languages it is feminine (e.g. Die Sonne in German). In Proto-Indo-European, its gender was inanimate.
  2. ^ Ancient Civilizations- Egypt- Land and lives of Pharaohs revealed. Global Book Publishing. 30 October 2005. p. 79. ISBN 1740480562.
  3. ^ "Ancient Egyptian Gods & Goddesses Facts For Kids". History for kids. 18 June 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  4. ^ Minster, Christopher (30 May 2019). "All About the Inca Sun God". ThoughtCo.
  5. ^ Sick, David (2004). "Mit(h)ra(s) and the Myths of the Sun". Numen. 51 (4): 432–467. doi:10.1163/1568527042500140.
  6. ^ a b William Ridgeway (1915). "Solar Myths, Tree Spirits, and Totems, The Dramas and Dramatic Dances of Non-European Races". Cambridge University Press. pp. 11–19. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  7. ^ Carrol, Michael P. (1985). "Some third thoughts on Max Müller and solar mythology". European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie / Europäisches Archiv für Soziologie. 26 (2): 263–281. JSTOR 23997047. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
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Works cited

Further reading

  • Azize, Joseph (2005). The Phoenician Solar Theology: an investigation into the Phoenician opinion of the sun found in Julian's Hymn to King Helios (1st ed.). Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press. ISBN 1-59333-210-6.
  • Frazer, James G. (1926). "Chapter XII: The Worship of the Sun Among the Aryan Peoples of Antiquity". The Worship of Nature. London: Macmillan & Co.
  • Hawkes, Jacquetta (1962). Man and the Sun. Gaithersburg, MD: SolPub Co.
  • Kaul, Flemming (1998). Ships on Bronzes: a study in Bronze Age religion and iconography. Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark, Dept. of Danish Collections. ISBN 87-89384-66-0.
  • McCrickard, Janet E. (1990). Eclipse of the Sun: an investigation into Sun and Moon myths. Glastonbury, Somerset: Gothic Image. ISBN 0-906362-13-X.
  • Monaghan, Patricia (1994). O Mother Sun!: A New View of the Cosmic Feminine. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press. ISBN 0-89594-722-6.
  • Olcott, William Tyler (2003) [1914]. Sun Lore of All Ages: A Collection of Myths and Legends Concerning the Sun and Its Worship. Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 0-543-96027-7.
  • Singh, Ranjan Kumar (2010). Surya: the God and His Abode (1st ed.). Patna, Bihar, India: Parijat. ISBN 978-81-903561-7-6.
  • Zhu, Tianshu (2006). "The Sun God and the Wind Deity at Kizil". In Compareti, Matteo; Raffetta, Paola; Scarcia, Gianroberto (eds.). Ēran ud Anērān: Studies presented to Boris Ilich Marshak on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday. Venice: Cafoscarina. ISBN 88-7543-105-1.