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In an attempt to distract Isis from learning his true name, Ra reveals that he takes different forms during the day:

I am the Creator of living flame. I am Khepera in the morning, Ra at noontide, and Atmu in the evening."

"The name of Ra", Ancient Egyptian Legends, by M. A. Murray.

Why did Ra take different forms during the day? How are the Khepera and Atmu forms different than the central one?

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Khepra

Khepra is the Egyptian god of dawn, morning and sun-rise and is often represented as a dung beetle (or dung beetle-headed). As he Ra always emerged from the dark depths of the Duat everyday as his aspect of Khepra, Khepra is viewed as the god of rebirth and renewal as well, akin to how the scarab lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls it to hide in a safe place. From this unlikely substance the Egyptians observed new life emerging, seemingly from the Earth. However, as a god himself, Khepra never really had his own independent cult.

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Atmu

Now, I am not really sure about this deity since I used to think that he and Ra were the same being(Atum-Ra) and that Atum is not really an aspect of Ra. However, it is said that In the Old Kingdom Atum was linked specifically with the evening sun, while Ra or the closely linked god Khepri were connected with the sun at morning and midday.

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Khnum

Now, I know that I already told you about Atum but I am still under the impression that Atum and Ra are the same and that one is not an aspect of another, so, if one who shared my same belief, or just wanted to know more, I will share with you about Khnum. Khnum is the Egyptian god of creation, the Nile, and, of corse, evening.

Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, he was thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter's wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers' wombs. He later was described as having moulded the other deities, and he had the titles Divine Potter and Lord of created things from himself.

As for being the god of the evening, Khnum is mostly said to be an aspect of Ra. Sometimes, he is even said to be the Ba of Ra. However, some legends describe him to be a separate entity from Ra himself, who just accompanies and protects Ra during his journey throughout the Duat.

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  • (copy of my original remark) Technically Khnum is a very old god dating from predynastic time. We find his name referred in the pyramid text; Cheops was actually called Khnum-Khufhu. It is also obvious that Khnum cult vanished, Cheops grandson, Mikerinos (Menkau-RE) attests the precedence of Ra. And basically Ra has been worshipped almost through the entire Egyptian period and melted with lots of god. You know Amon-Ra, Aton-Ra, Horus-Ra (the Atum-Horatkthy of the book of the dead), Pthah-Ra, or for what you can be concerned Khnum-Ra – Gibet Mar 11 '17 at 20:11
  • Atum and Ra are not the same. In the Heliopolis myth factually he created himself and the world. In the later Book of the Dead Atum and Osiris will be the only survivors. Atum-Ra comes from the fact Ra is the rising sun, while Atum the setting sun. So the sun died as Atum and revived as Ra. that resurrection theme is a common backbone in Egyptian myth. In the New Kingdom Atum gained his ram-head. and becomes a distinguishable servant of Ra. – Gibet Mar 11 '17 at 20:17
  • @Gibet I kinda get it. Could you elaborate a bit please? – Vick Mar 12 '17 at 4:11
  • Your answer is perfect. Now Margaret Murray was a pretty strange figure. And she is oversimplifying the facts. – Gibet Mar 13 '17 at 8:30

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