Ancient Sun Goddesses

When people think about the Sun from a Pagan perspective, especially here in Western Europe the focus tends to be very much on the Sun as a masculine energy, while the Moon is feminine. But in some cultures the Sun isn’t  or wasn’t male, it was feminine. Tthe didn’t have a Sun God, they had a Sun Goddess.

In honour of the Solstice (Summer here in the northern hemisphere/Winter in the southern hemisphere) the Pagan Experience has this week asked us to write about a Sun God we work with. Since I don’t tend to work directly with any solar Deities I decided to instead look at four Solar Goddesses to be found around the world.

Amaterasu

Amaterasu emerging from her cave

Amaterasu emerging from her cave

Where:

Japan

Who:

She is the ruler of the Sun and of the rice fields which feed the people of Japan. She is also the divine ancestor of the Japanese imperial family. Amaterasu is an important Deity in the Shinto religion.

Discover more about Amaterasu.


Hepa/ Hebat

Hebat sitting upon a throne of lions

Where:

Asia Minor, assimilated by the Hittite to their Solar Goddess Arinna.

Who:

She was the mother Goddess of the Hurrian, who lived in ancient Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. She was often portrayed seated upon a throne or two lions.

“To the Sun-goddess of Arinna, my lady, the mistress of the Hatti lands, the queen of Heaven and Earth. Sun-goddess of Arinna, thou art Queen of all countries! In the Hatti country thou bearest the name of the Sun-goddess of Arinna; but in the land which thou madest the cedar land thou bearest the name Hebat.” – prayer of Queen Puduhepa of the Hittite people.

Discover more about Hepa/Hebat


Saulé

Saulé pouring sunlight upon the Earth

Where:

She can be found in the Baltic areas of Latvia and Lithuania.

Who:

She is the Goddess of life and fertility, warmth and health. She is also the patroness of the unfortunate, especially orphans.

Discover more about Saulé


Shemesh/Shapash

Shapash riding Her chariot across the sky

Where:

Canaan/ Phoenicia

Who:

She is the daughter of El and Asherah, sometimes called “torch of the Gods”. In ancient Hebrew law, worship of Shemesh was forbidden and punishable by stoning. Worship of Shemesh included bowing to the East and rituals relating to horses or chariots, both of which were associated with Her.

Discover more about Shemesh


I have talked here about just a tiny sample of Female Solar Deities to be found across the globe. Evidence of Sun Goddesses have been found on every inhabited continent. Here you will find a more comprehensive list of Sun Goddesses to be found around the world.

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