An Altar for The Sun God
An Altar for The Sun God
The sun god has many different names in many different cultures, in ancient Egypt he was known as Ra, Atum-Ra or Re, in ancient Greece and Rome he was known as Apollo and Helios and later in Rome he was known as Sol Invictus. Whatever name you want to give him, we think it is a necessary thing to honour the sun every day and thank it for its warmth and light, for it is the light of our lives and after all the Sun is simply the personification of the Great Spirits (Gods) power. To us the sun is like a father; it is a father to all life on earth and they earth is the womb that we grew from.
There are solar goddess as well, and they include Saulé, Baltic goddess of the sun and fertility, Étain, Irish sun goddess, Hathor, Egyptian goddess of the west represented with a solar disk on her head, Bast, Egyptian cat goddess associated with the sun and Alectrona, a Greek goddess of the sun, morning and waking up. These are just a few of many of course.
In Greek and Roman mythology Apollo is seen riding across the sky in his chariot of fire and in Egyptian mythology Ra crosses the sky in two solar boats, the morning boat was called Mandjet (the boat of millions of years) and the evening boat was called Mesektet. The ancient Egyptians and the ancient Greeks had a different cosmology to us and they thought the gates to the underworld were on the western horizon as that it where the sun dies. They did not know that when the sun died it was only shining on the other side of the earth, as they saw the earth as just a plane of existence, the underworld was just that “under the word”. Every night in ancient Egypt the sun god would go through the twelve gates of night and battle with the enormous serpent Apophis to re-immerge in the eastern sky. This was seen as a kind of re-birth from the sky goddess Nut.
Whoever your Solar deity is, it is nice to have an altar dedicated to him. First you need to choose a place for your alter to go, the sun room, if you have one would be a perfect place. Whatever room in your house gets the most sun should be the place you put his altar, this means you may have to move it depending on what time of year it is.
Ra’s altar should be a place for honouring him and paying homage to his beauty and splendour, although his presence in the sky is felt and it illuminates our surroundings, we cannot look directly at him as his brightness will blind us, so an altar to honour him is useful.
Once you have chosen the surface for your altar you may want an altar cloth. For Ra you should get the most beautiful piece of material for his altar cloth you can find, preferably of gold, yellow or white. Next get some candles to have on either side, they can be white, yellow or gold pillar candles, the bigger the better.
There are many different personifications of the sun and it is up to you which one you would prefer to dedicate the altar to (if any) but it is a good idea to make it a sort of general altar to the Sun and that way you can have different things on it representing different solar deities.
Objects you may want to have on the altar are hawk or falcon feathers, as Horus is represented as having the head of a hawk. You may want to have a representation of the solar disk as your altar tile, if you can find something suitable. It’s wonderful to have a statue of whatever solar deity you feel most connected to, if you don’t have a preference a picture of the sun will do. Animals sacred to Helios are the rooster, a bird which heralds the coming of the sun, white horses, as his flaming chariot was drawn by white horses. Plants that are sacred to him are heliotrope, a sacred flower for it always turns its head towards the sun, the poplar tree because the daughters of Helios were transformed into amber-weeping poplar trees. Frankincense is also sacred to Helios. The sun can also be symbolised by a circle with a dot in the middle, that is an astrological symbol for it. A circle with a cross in it is also a good symbol to represent the sun, the flower of life is another good one. It would be nice to have some sunflowers on our solar altar, or any yellow flowers. A censor is needed so you can burn frankincense and sandalwood. Crystals that have been left out in the sun for ever solstice are also appropriate.
Herbs ruled by the sun are:
- St. John’s Wort
- Witch Hazel
Stones ruled by the sun are:
- Calcite, Orange
- Quartz Crystal
Any of these plants or stones would be suitable to put on your sun altar. Have some bunches of herbs and some crystal points. Honey calcite points are good for your solar altar. It is also a good idea to have a sun altar outside with a sundial on it. If possible it would be good to have your outside altar a circular shape so you can have the sundial in the middle.
Your Solar deity altar is a place you should do any rituals to the sun in front of at night; light the candles, burn some frankincense or myrrh and do your adoration to Khephera at the midnight hour of the sun. Sunday is his day so perhaps burn some incense for him and acknowledge his presence at sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight. For the four adorations of the sun ritual see our daily ritual section here.
Brad & Saskia