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I'm wondering what the difference is between Ra and Horus. I know there are both the gods of the sun/sky.

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    Egyptian mythology is not my area of focus, but I think this is a very good question. Welcome to Mythology! – DukeZhou Aug 2 '17 at 17:48
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Egyptian Mythology is not my area of focus, but I'll attempt a high-level answer.

Both are associated with the sky, and they even seem to merge in the form of Ra-Horakhty. Merging of gods is not uncommon, as civilizations often need to absorb multiple gods with similar functions and domains. [See Pallas and Athena--in this model, Athena "accidentally" kills her friend and takes on her name, in essence, absorbing Pallas. Syncretism would be the fancy term;]

  • Ra's function is more primal, and his domains are wider than Horus

Ra's domain is not just the sky, but the earth and underworld, and Ra is held to be the creator of all life on earth, in addition to the seasons.

  • Horus, although very ancient, becomes the son of Isis and Osiris, no less important, but of more limited domain

Horus is said to be associated with the sky, war and hunting, all of which are reflected by his fierce falcon visage. Where Ra is also a god of the underworld, Osiris takes on this function in relation Horus.


Sorry for not providing more links--I was having trouble finding reliable online resources. Although I relied largely on the wikis for Ra and Horus, which have some citations, hopefully, in providing general mythological context, this answer will be of some value.

  • Horakthy (Hr-Axt(y/j) = Horus the Lord/denizen of the horizon, or simply Horus of the horizon) is the name Horus receive in Heliopolis. Hence his semi popularity. That said Horus is long and vivid in Egypt and you find WAY more fusion than Re-horakthy. judge: Hr-wr (Horus-Our = Horus the Elder), Hr-sa-ast (Horus-sa-aset: Horus son of isis, or Horus the Young); Hr-Jwn-Mwtf (Horus-Ioun-Moutef = Horus pilar of his mother), etc, etc... He has probably more than 20 additional name, and I/we probably ignore a lot of them... – Gibet Aug 2 '17 at 19:31
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The comment above stated already that mixing Deities and attributes was not uncommon (astralistic bionic statues, appeal and invocation rites and ancient magic) and depending on the region and temple (Noma) and the period on age with which we concern ourselves it would be interesting to retrace and compare the attributes of Ra - commonly identified with the Sun disk - and Horus - the Falcon-Headed Cosmic God of the Ennead, son of Isis identified as one with Sothis: Sirius - in different dynasties. We might explore many occult meanings, but let's keep to the narration pursued in this academic text, to keep it succinct:

Although the left eye of the supreme cosmic deity is the lunar eye of Horus, and his right eye the solar eye of Re, there are numerous associations of the two eyes. In the Coffin Texts Hathor even states that she "is that eye of Horus". The two eyes are both protectors of their cosmic lord, and in this capacity they combine in a class of amulets taking the form of the Udjat-eye, with the figure of a goddess on one side. An understanding of these amulets clarifies several obscure text passages referring to the apotropaic eye; the amulets also appear to relate to the heliacal rising of Sothis (Sirius Star) and the celebration of the coming of the new year

Darnell, J. C. (1997). The Apotropaic Goddess in the Eye Goddess in the Eye. Studien Zur Altägyptischen Kultur, 24, 35–48.

The possible relation between Ra and Horus is represented here, not inflating or deflating any analogies in metaphysics or mystery schools:

Although the left eye of the supreme cosmic deity is the lunar eye of Horus, and his right eye the solar eye of Re, there are numerous associations of the two eyes. In the Coffin Texts Hathor even states that she "is that eye of Horus". The two eyes are both protectors of their cosmic lord, and in this capacity they combine in a class of amulets taking the form of the Udjat-eye, with the figure of a goddess on one side. An understanding of these amulets clarifies several obscure text passages referring to the apotropaic eye; the amulets also appear to relate to the heliacal rising of Sothis and the celebration of the coming of the new year.

The religious importance of the eyes of the supreme cosmic deity for the ancient Egyptians is well known, and certain convolutions and interchanges between the two eyes and various cosmological interpretations are well attested and acknowledged, though perhaps less well understood.

For the ancient Egyptians the sun and the moon could represent the right and left eyes respectively of the supreme deity. The lunar left eye can appear as the eye of Horus, the solar right eye as the eye of Re. Both the solar eye and the eye of Horus can be the avenging eye who shoots arrows of fire into the enemies of the solar deity; the solar eye is also a goddess, the wandering daughter of the sun, and the womb of the solar mother from which the morning Sun is born. which the morning sun is born. In the nature of the raging, angry goddess of the solar eye the Horus eye and wandering daughter merge. There are many associations and interchanges of the eye of Horus and the goddess of the eye of the sun in Egyptian texts and representations, some more explicit than others. A goddess associated with the fiery power of the sun may protect the eye of Horus"

Darnell, J. C. (1997). The Apotropaic Goddess in the Eye Goddess in the Eye. Studien Zur Altägyptischen Kultur, 24, 35–48.

  • Great answer! This led me to look up Darnell, and what I found was quite impressive. – DukeZhou Aug 4 '17 at 20:10
  • Could you explain "astralistic bionic statues"? I tried finding a definition of astralistic in this context, but didn't find anything helpful. – DukeZhou Aug 4 '17 at 20:14
  • it would be interesting to retrace and compare the attributes of Ra... Ra's attributes depends on the kingdom, let's make it short, Ra is all powerful in the New Kingdom (he... Ra-mses...), there is, by the way, a book found in a LOT of tombs (NK) called the Litany of Ra/e, which presents its 75 forms... including Ra-Horakthy yes... And so its indicates to you that Ra-Horus is an NK fusion. It is not present in either OK or MK. one of the best example you find is in the tomb of Nefertari (Ramses II wife)/ – Gibet Aug 5 '17 at 20:15
  • In Greece all statues and figures of Gods, in accord with Egyptian tradition were not only the representations of Gods but living magickal tokens, astralistic talismans and statues consecrated to Deities were supposed to capture their attributes as in sympathetic magic. Through the depiction of a given Deity, or portraying its masks, one achieved a bionic statue. Or a living statue of a Deity that in ceremonies interacted with the priesthood. Not in the real "physical" sense as in moving marble, but in a certain communion that the priest or priestess entered with the given Deity; – Wolves' Shepherd. Aug 6 '17 at 1:17
  • The Greek World edited by Anton Powell contains a chapter on Bionic Statues: Chapter 20 by Nigel Spivey. It is interesting from the perspective of Early Hellenic Mysteries. Orphism supposedly had Egyptian roots and was introduced by one Egyptian Tyrant into the "Greek World", from which Eleusinian, Herculean and Dionisian rites sprang. Early Hellenism might be under influences of the Egyptian religion and mystery schools, therefore it is likely that the way to construct bionic statues was conveyed, and later developed into finest of Greek sculptures. – Wolves' Shepherd. Aug 6 '17 at 1:20
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Ra represents the exoteric or outer ideal of a concept, whereas Heru, represents its esoteric /inner nature which is why he is always linked with his source/Mother/Au Set/Golden Seat!

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