Photography by Alicia, Copyright 2014
During the day, the deity of the sun harnesses the solar horses and drives a golden chariot across the sky, providing light, safety, and sustenance for humankind. During the night the deity plunges into the dark and desolate depths of the Underworld, temporarily dying, to emerge again the following morning. On another scale, the deity of the sun counts the moments and days of the year, gracing humankind with all the seasons. Order and perpetuity of life exist due to the deity’s strength, wisdom, perseverance, and bounty. Most people are familiar with the Egyptian sun god Ra and resplendent Apollo, who superseded Helios as the Greek god of the sun, but have you heard of these solar deities?
Utu: Sumerian sun god of Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, or modern day Iraq. Utu’s name is used in many of the official names of the Sumerian kings. It is interesting that Utu was the son of the moon god Nanna. You may recall Utu’s famous sister, Inanna, who descended into the Underworld, being forced to relinquish each of her garments and jewels during the dark, cold descent. The most extended mentions of Utu occur in the Epic of Gilgamesh, where he is the one who helps the hero regain his glory.
Arinna: Sun goddess of the Hittites in the time frame around 1700 BCE and earlier, with the weather god Teshub as her consort. Mortal enemies of the Egyptians, the Hittites lived in the area of Anatolia, or modern day Turkey. Arinna and her family were worshipped in older incarnations prior to the Hittites settling in that region, when the Indo European group called the Hatti inhabited it around 2300 BCE.
Surya: Sun god in the Hindu belief system, the oldest of the Indian religions. He is one of the deities depicted in the Rig Veda, an ancient writing well over 3,000 years old. His people visualized Surya as a red male with three eyes and four arms who drove a chariot led by seven sacred mares. He bestows good fortune and has the ability and inclination to heal the sick. He sometimes takes the form of a stallion, particularly when in the company of his wife Sanjina, who has a problem tolerating Surya’s extreme heat and brightness. To escape, she has the habit of transforming herself into a mare and sojourning in the shadowed forest. It is then that Surya the stallion joins her.
Liza: Sun god of the West African people called the Fon. Liza is the brother and also the lover of Mawu, the Moon. Together with the cosmic serpent Da they created the universe. Under Liza’s direction, their son Gu was instrumental in forming earth and teaching humankind how to bend and manipulate metals to their will.
Lugh: Sun god of the Celts, originally a central European people who spread over other areas, including Ireland. Lugh’s name and myth serve as the origin of the story of King Lear. His grandfather Balor was king of the Fomorians, one of the Celtic tribes preceding the Tuatha de Danann, who worshipped the goddess Dana. As is often the case in mythological lineage, Balor resolved to kill Lugh due to a prophecy that his grandson would defeat him. As is also usual, Lugh was hidden and raised by the god of the sea Manannan. Perhaps the sun god’s association with the sea came about as the Celts sought fertile fresh land and freedom near the ocean waters. As he grew to manhood, Lugh became a skilled warrior. He went to the side of the goddess and the Tuatha to fight against Balor and the Fomorians. After his time, when the Tuatha were defeated and vanquished from their territory, they were immortalized as the fair folk of the mounds, or fairies.
Can you imagine the strength required to hold the solar horses in check as you drive the chariot near the scorching, intense heat and light of the sun? Which sun deity most strikes your fancy?
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance