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Author Topic: On The Worship of Ra  (Read 427 times)

Riothamus12

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On The Worship of Ra
« on: May 29, 2019, 08:13:24 pm »
One of the great things about doing research into ancient Egyptian religion is that they wrote down quite a bit, yet in helping a friend set up a ceremony dedicated to the God Ra I seem to have run into some trouble finding historical information. It is impossible for there not to be written accounts of religious ceremonies and what kind of offerings were dedicated to the most important God in the eyes of many ancient Egyptians, so is there anyone who can provide me with any historical information about the worship of Ra? Namely info on offerings and ceremony historically done?
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Darkhawk

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Re: On The Worship of Ra
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2019, 09:05:37 pm »
One of the great things about doing research into ancient Egyptian religion is that they wrote down quite a bit, yet in helping a friend set up a ceremony dedicated to the God Ra I seem to have run into some trouble finding historical information. It is impossible for there not to be written accounts of religious ceremonies and what kind of offerings were dedicated to the most important God in the eyes of many ancient Egyptians, so is there anyone who can provide me with any historical information about the worship of Ra? Namely info on offerings and ceremony historically done?

There is not a lot of variation in offerings and procedures for Egyptian temple gods; the same basic procedures were good for most everyone, modulo local variations and taboos and customs.  It's why Kemetics say "fire, bread, clean water, incense are good for everyone"; that's what everyone got in the temples.

The idea of a customized, unique, these-are-the-particular-favorites ritual tailored to a specific god does not really apply to formal Egyptian ritual.  The gods - whoever they were - lived in closed private shrines.  A priest would come into the place the shrine resided in the morning, open it up, clean the icon, swap over clothes and cosmetics, and share breakfast, close the shrine, then leave, sweeping their footsteps away.  Abbreviated rituals at lunch and dinner were performed before the closed shrine.  Next day, repeat.  Sometimes festivals made a variation.

Personal rituals are just that, personal, not formal.  Many people base them in substantial part on temple rituals - and for that I would recommend Reidy's Eternal Egypt which has a number of ancient texts and stage directions - anything that's personal and "what in particular is good for this job" is 99% likely to have at least that part be a modern creation.

Old Kingdom sun temples - from when Ra actually was the preeminent god - may have had different procedures, but I don't know if we know what they were.
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Failivrin

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Re: On The Worship of Ra
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2019, 12:31:05 am »
...is there anyone who can provide me with any historical information about the worship of Ra? Namely info on offerings and ceremony historically done?
I am not an expert on this subject, but I know that water lilies/lotuses were popular offerings for the gods in general and Ra specifically. The lilies naturally close at night and open at dawn, so they represent the rhythms of day/night and the concept of death/rebirth as it pertains to Ra's nightly passage through the realms of chaos.

SunflowerP

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Re: On The Worship of Ra
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2019, 03:22:12 pm »
... Ra's nightly passage through the realms of chaos.

What Ra passes through in his night boat is the Duat, which is not 'the realms of chaos(/isfet)'.

I'm not an expert either, and have no opinion either way about what you said about water lily/lotus symbolism, but there are Cauldronites who do have expertise in such matters and might chime in here.

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Failivrin

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Re: On The Worship of Ra
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2019, 11:41:47 pm »
What Ra passes through in his night boat is the Duat, which is not 'the realms of chaos(/isfet)'.

I'm not an expert either, and have no opinion either way about what you said about water lily/lotus symbolism, but there are Cauldronites who do have expertise in such matters and might chime in here.
I understand the concept of isfet; I was speaking loosely. But the subject of the lotus offerings is definitely well founded. I first read about it in the "Ancient Egypt" reference by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin, but the best source is Egyptian art itself (also Canaanite/Hebrew art). The gods were commonly depicted holding lotuses and smelling their perfume. This tends to get overlooked, according to Oakes and Gahlin, because the lotus and papyrus look similar in Egyptian art, so people have assumed the lotuses are papyrus plants.

Shewhoseeks

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Re: On The Worship of Ra
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2019, 07:01:04 am »
One of the great things about doing research into ancient Egyptian religion is that they wrote down quite a bit, yet in helping a friend set up a ceremony dedicated to the God Ra I seem to have run into some trouble finding historical information. It is impossible for there not to be written accounts of religious ceremonies and what kind of offerings were dedicated to the most important God in the eyes of many ancient Egyptians, so is there anyone who can provide me with any historical information about the worship of Ra? Namely info on offerings and ceremony historically done?

Stephen Quirke, The Cult of Ra: Sun-Worship in Ancient Egypt: Sun-worship in Ancient Egypt from the Pyramids to Cleopatra

Jan Assmann, Egyptian Solar Religion: Re, Amun and the Crisis of Polytheism (Studies in Egyptology)

Historical Info on Re and syncretism.
As Darkhawk well said, ritual would have had similar key components in all temples. For more info without resorting to a book list:

Richard Reidy, Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World

The literature list in it is a good way to start research into the ancient rituals. Reidy’s book is modern Kemetic (reconstructionist) and not an Egyptology treatise.


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