Mythology Of The Sun
he Sun is the furnace of the solar system, the heart that allows Gaia to support unfolding creation. It is the heavenly body we bask in but it is so bright we may not look at it. Four hundred times further from the earth than the Moon, yet four hundred times the size. To us, they appear with the same diameter.
The Sun governs our daily and yearly rhythms in a generous display of warmth and light. Like the Moon, he varies in strength over the year, but unlike the Moon he never changes his shining appearance.
The state of his strength governs the seasons, and the time of his rebirth in deepest winter is a cause for great celebration in the lands that experience his distance most.
The Sun In Mythology
Celebrated in mythologies across the world, he has been variously represented as Ra by the Egyptians.
Ra and the sun
To 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 eye of 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.
Mithras by the Persians
Sol, Helios, Sol Invictus
Mithras is always described as “sol invictus” (the unconquered sun) in inscriptions. But Sol and Mithras were different deities. The vagueness of the term invictus means that it was used as a title for a number of deities. Mithraism never became a state cult, however, unlike the official late Roman Sol Invictus cult.
Although Mithras himself is called Sol Invictus, “the Unconquered Sun”, he and Sol appear in several scenes as separate persons, with the banquet scene being the most prominent example. Other scenes feature Mithras ascending behind Sol in the latter’s chariot, the deities shaking hands and the two gods at an altar with pieces of meat on a spit or spits. One peculiar scene shows Sol kneeling before Mithras, who holds an object, interpreted either as a Persian cap or the haunch of the bull, in his hand.
The Greeks knew Helios as the Sun, constantly on the move.
Helios was described as a handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. (Wiki)
At the end of each day he was transported to the country of the Ethiopians, where he would be woken by Eos to harness his horses and set off across the sky for the country of the Hesperians. His main quality was being able to see everywhere. He told Aphrodite’s husband that he had seen her and Ares in embrace, and he told Demeter what had happened to her daughter Persephone, carried off by Hades.
Helios, Apollo, Sun
Helios is sometimes identified with Apollo.
Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. (Wiki)
A more recent and perhaps more human sun-figure is Apollo, the bright one, son of Zeus, who slew the giant earth-serpent Python. Python, a son of Gaia, has associations with goddess worship, and this is one more example of the myth-making behind the rise of the patriarchy. Apollo was certainly a creature of the Athenian culture of worship of the male, and several times the handsome youth became the slave of mortal men.
Resplendent in his sun-chariot, he is celebrated for his powers of healing and prophecy, his love of archery and his devotion to music. Apollo’s love for the young man, Hymaenaus, distracted him sufficiently that Hermes was able to steal his cattle. When confronted, Hermes offered to trade them for the three-string lyre he had just invented. Apollo readily agreed, and then added four more strings to create the instrument the ancients used.
Hermes took the cattle to pasture, and there occupied himself inventing a shepherd’s flute. Apollo was so taken that he traded his golden wand, Caduceus, as well as the art of divination for this new instrument.
For his skill in music, healing and the arts of love, Apollo, together with his twin sister Artemis, goddess of wild nature, was regarded as the leader of the Muses.
Apollo taught two of Greek mythology’s greatest healers, his son Asclepius and the centaur Chiron. Asclepius’ skill was so great that he was able to bring back the souls of the dead. Hades, afraid his dominion of the underworld was at risk, complained to Zeus. The greatest of gods, aghast that his punishments might be undone, slew Asclepius with a thunderbolt fashioned by the Cyclopes.
The Sun In Astrology
Astrologically, the Sun represents the vital centre, our identity and strength. He is the spark in each of us, the urge for differentiation. He is generous and great-hearted. Shining with the vitality of life, he is playful, affectionate and proud. He is the male of the primal Sun-Moon archetypes within us all.
Last updated on July 31, 2016 at 7:05 pm. Word Count: 936