Many civilizations have venerated the Sun since ancient times. Myths slowly evolved to explain the presence of the powerful entity that appeared to control the cycles of night and day, the seasons and the weather.
Each legend offers its own explanation of how this mighty being came into existence. With the knowledge and beliefs that these people held in their own time, to them these traditions were part of an important belief system that pervaded their very existence and gave meaning to their lives. These many different interpretations have percolated down through the passage of time, and have ultimately become legends in the modern world.
EGYPTIAN SUN GOD: Re or also known as Ra
Depicted in human form with the head of a falcon and crowned with the disc of the sun encircled by the sacred cobra. He is said to travel through the sky in a solar barge by day, pass the through the underworld and reappear in the east in the morning.
Heliopolitan cosmology depicts Re as being self created from either a primordial lotus blossom, or on the mound that emerged from the primeval waters. The Egyptian monarch was said to join the entourage of the sun god after his death.
ROMAN SUN GOD: Helios, often confused with Apollo.
He is the son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia and the brother of Eos (Dawn) and Selene (Moon). He is seen as a handsome youth with a halo standing on a chariot which are pulled by four horses, Pyrois, Eos, Aethon and Phlegon
As each night ends, his sister, Eos (Dawn), rises in the east and rides to Olympus in a chariot to announce the approach of her brother, Helios. Once Helios appears Eos changes to the goddess Hemera (Day) and travels with him across the sky until, becoming Hespera, she announces their safe arrival on the western shores of Oceanus.
NORSE SUN GOD: Freyor. The god of Sun and rain.
Depicted as a peaceful god and a brave warrior, he is also considered the patron of bountiful harvests and the Elf ruler. Freyr is the most important and the most beautiful of the male Norse Gods and is also called the God of the World'. Among his many attributes Freyr was also asked to grant fertile marriages.
He rides a chariot pulled by the golden boar Gullinbursti and owns the ship Skidbladnir ("wooden-bladed"), which always sails unerringly towards its target and has the ability to change its size so that Freya can fit the ship in his pocket. He also possesses a sword that had a life of its own and when called upon, would slaughter in any direction that Freyor ordered.
JAPANESE SUN GODDESS: Amaterasu
She ruled the High Celestial Plain (Takamagahara). She cultivated a beautiful garden in heaven. She had a younger brother, Susanoo, who was a very mischievous storm deity.
Long ago Susanoo decided to do mischief in Amaterasu's beautiful garden and totally destroyed it with storms and wind. Having seen her garden totally ruined Amaterasu was very upset, and went and hid in a cave behind a heavy rock door.
The whole world was plunged into darkness and people grew weary of this. After a few weeks a female deity said, "I cannot stand this anymore. I will dance to cheer you all." So she started dancing an outrageous dance that made everyone laugh. Musicians started playing and everyone become much more cheerful.
Amaterasu heard the strange noises outside and was drawn to the door. She heard the music outside and was intrigued. She came even closer to the door so that she could hear better. Outside, a strong deity was waiting for that first line of light coming through the rock door, he pulled on the door with his full strength, drawing Amaterasu out so that she could shine again. That was known as the beginning of the country of Japan.
Legends such as these abound throughout the ancient world these include the legends of:
* Garuda (Hindu) He has the head, wings, talons, and beak of an eagle and the body and limbs of a man
* Huitzilopochtli (Aztec) sprang from his Mother fully armed and slew his siblings. He was the Aztec god of the sun and war.
* Inti (Inca) Ancestor of the Inca was married to Pachamama, the Earth goddess.
* Liza (Africa) Worshiped by the Fon people of West Africa, Liza is male is accompanied by Mawu, the Moon.
*Surya (Hindu) He arose from the eye of the world-giant, Purusa and is the husband of dawn.
* Tonatiuh (Aztec) Tonatiuh He supported the universe and the Aztecs believed that to stop the end of the world, the strength of the Sun god had to come from human sacrifice.
* Lugh (Celt) The Shining one, Fair haired One. He and his nature goddess consort (Rosmerta) were worshiped during a30 day Lugnasad midsummer feast in Ireland every August.
Dr Tyler says "In early philosophy throughout the world, the sun and moon were alive, and, as it were, human in their nature." Professor Rhys refers to the tendency of the savage "to endow the sun, moon, the sky, or any feature of the physical world admitting of being readily acknowledged with a soul and body, with parts and passions, like their own."
And so it can be seen that in all different civilizations and in many different climates the Sun was considered to be a powerful deity and was known by many different names all alluding to the Sun as being the creator and the nurturer of everything.