Ra was the ancient egyptian god of the son, the solar deity. He became a major of god of ancient Egyptian religion in the years 2495 - 2345, and is usually portrayed by the mid-day sun. Though the meaning of the word Ra is unclear, it either means the sun, or a word or a phrase that means creative power or creator. Ra was centerly worshiped in the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis.
All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively humans were created from Ra's tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the "Cattle of Ra." In the myth of the Celestial Cow it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became bloodthirsty she was pacified by mixing beer with red dye.
o the Egyptians, the sun represented light, warmth, and growth. This made the sun deity very important, as the sun was seen as the ruler of all that he created. The sun disk was either seen as the body or the eye or Ra. Ra was the father of Shu and Tefnut, whom he created. Shu was the god of the wind, and Tefnut was the goddess of the rain. Sekhmet was the Eye of Ra and was created by the fire in Ra's eye. She was a violent lioness.
Gods merged with Ra
As with most of the most widely worshipped gods of Anceint Egypt, Ra was often merged with that of the local gods.
Amun and Amun-Ra
Amun was a member of the Ogdoad. He was the god of creation in Thebes with his wife Amaunet. He created life through breathing, and was considered a god of the winds. Its unclear how and when the two gods were fused to be called Amun-Ra, but the diety became very popular in the upper and Lower Egypt during that time. References to Amun-Ra appear in pyramid texts dating back to the fifth dynesty. Most likely, the Theban rulers adopted Amun-Ra as the state deity to unite the Ra cult and the Amun worshippers in the New Kingdom around the 18th century. Worshippers named Amun-Ra, the king of gods. This title became official.
Atum and Atum-Ra
Atum-Ra (or Ra-Atum) was another composite deity formed from two completely separate deities, however Ra shared more similarities with Atum than with Amun. Atum was more closely linked with the sun, and was also a creator god of the Ennead. Both Ra and Atum were regarded as the father of the deities and pharaohs, and were widely worshiped. In older myths, Atum was the creator of Tefnut and Shu, and he was born from Nun.
In later Egyptian mythology, Ra-Horakhty was more of a title or manifestation than a composite deity. It translates as "Ra (who is) Horus of the Horizons". It was intended to link Horakhty (as a sunrise-oriented aspect of Horus) to Ra. It has been suggested that Ra-Horakhty simply refers to the sun's journey from horizon to horizon as Ra, or that it means to show Ra as a symbolic deity of hope and rebirth.
Khepri and Khnum
Khepri was a scarab beetle who rolled up the sun in the mornings, and was sometimes seen as the morning manifestation of Ra. Similarly, the ram-headed god Khnum was also seen as the evening manifestation of Ra. The idea of different deities (or different aspects of Ra) ruling over different times of the day was fairly common, but variable. With Khepri and Khnum taking precedence over sunrise and sunset, Ra often was the representation of midday when the sun reached its peak at noon. Sometimes different aspects of Horus were used instead of Ra's aspects.
Raet or Raet-Tawy was a female aspect of Ra; she did not have much of importance independently of him. In some myths she was considered to be either Ra's wife or his daughter.
Gods created by Ra
Being a major god of Egypt, Ra was involved with the creation of other gods.
Sometimes known as the cat of Ra, she is the daughter of Ra and his instrument of vengeance, an "eye of the Sun God". She most known for decapitating the serphent and rival god of Ra, Apophis (the God of Chaos) in order to protect Ra. In one myth, Ra sends Bastet to Nubia in the form of a lioness.
Sekhmet is another daughter of Ra. Sekhemet was depicted as a lioness or large cat, and was an "eye of Ra", or an instrument of the sun god's vengeance. In one myth, Sekhmet was so filled with rage that Ra was forced to turn her into a cow so that she would not cause unnecessary harm. In another myth, Ra fears that mankind is plotting against him and sends Hathor (another daughter of Ra) to exterminate the human race. In the morning Sekhmet goes to finish the job and drinks what appears to be blood. It turns out to be red beer, and she is too intoxicated to finish the slaughter.
Hathor is another daughter of Ra. When Ra feared that mankind was plotting against him, he sent Hathor as an "eye of Ra" to exterminate the human race, later sending Sekhmet to finish the job. In one myth, Hathor danced naked in front of Ra until he laughed to cure him of a fit of sulking. When Ra was without Hathor, he fell into a state of deep depression.
Ptah is rarely mentioned in the literature of Old Kingdom pyramids. This is believed by some to be a result of the Ra-worshipping people of Heliopolis being the main writers of these inscriptions. Followers of Ra were known to be jealous of Ptah. While some believed that Ra created himself, others believed that Ptah created him.
Isis frequently schemed against Ra, as she wanted her son Horus to have the power. In one myth, Isis created a serpent to poison Ra and only gave him the antidote when he revealed his true name to her. Ra now feared Isis, as with his secret name revealed she could use all her power against him and have Horus take over the throne.
Apep also called Apophis, was the god of chaos and Ra's greatest enemy. He was said to lie just below the horizon line, trying to devour Ra as Ra descended into the underworld. As he swallowed Ra, this led to the setting of the sun and when he had completely swallowed Ra this lead to nighttime. He never succeeded in completely swallowing Ra however as he eventually spit Ra back out, causing the sun to rise.