Divine Roles Across Cultures Matrix
Select one common divine role that recurs in world mythology. SUN GOD’s
Complete the matrix by answering each of the five questions for both selected divinities.
Divinity Name: Ra/Re
Culture of Origin: Egyptian
Divinity Name: Helios
Culture of Origin: Greek
1 How is this divinity portrayed? Describe the divinity’s role within the myth.
Ra was the sun god whose name changed as the sun transitioned from sunrise to sunset. He was the creator of all things, including himself.
He is the sun god who rides a chariot and drives his 4 fire breathing horses across the sky.
2 Is the divinity male or female? What function does this gender play?
3 Within the myth of origin, how does this divinity compare with other divinities? How does this divinity interact with or compare to divinities of the same gender and to divinities of the opposite gender?
Ra is the creator of himself and of human kind. The sun god represents warmth, light and growth in Egyptian religion. He is also a great creator of many other god’s. Ra seemed to interact well with most of the other gods but he did have a male and female rival. The goddess Isis and the chaos god, Apep.
Helios was the son of Hyperion and Theia, so he was not self-made. He seemed to get along well with the gods and humans. One thing he did not like is when people challenged or said that they were faster than him on his chariot.
4 What are the divinity’s attributes, such as divine powers or characteristics? What objects does the divinity possess, such as a weapon or animal, that assist him or her?
Ra is typically described as having a human like body with the head of a falcon and sometimes a beetle. He also has the sun disk above his head. The “Eye of Ra” is an extension of his power that he can release to show how powerful he is. It can act independently. He is often depicted carrying an Ankh.
Helios was considered a beardless, handsome man. He typically had a golden crown that that had an aura glow of the sun. His sun-chariot was drawn by four steeds, sometimes winged, and sometimes fire breathing. Some say that he can hear and see everything but prefers not to interfere. For weapons, he has been known to carry a sword and bow with magical arrows.
5 Identify one character from contemporary culture that shares characteristics of each divinity and explain why you chose each character. What real-life ideals does this divine role represent? How attainable are these ideals?
This might sound cheesy but after 6 hours of thinking over this question, my 7 year old daughter said, “Daddy, you’re like the sun to me. You wake me up every morning and put me to bed every night.” So, I thought and said that some of the characteristics of being a father can complement the ones of Ra. I show warmth, light and growth towards my child. I am her sunrise and her sunset, as well as her creator. Being a father and a provider for her and my family is very attainable. Okay, you can stop…