The Summer Solstice is celebrated as part of many different cultures, it is the time when people celebrate the lengthening of the daylight. Litha is the time where the sun is at it’s strongest, so deities that are associated with the sun and solar energy from different cultures can be worshiped at this time of year. You can find Solar deities in dozens of cultures, from the Celts, to the Egyptians to the Shinto, to the Aztecs.
Looking online I found a fairly comprehensive list of Solar deities on Wikipedia which were split into mythology/cultural sections, so I began working through this list, and I have gathered as much information as I can about each deity and put in an easy to read manner.
Some of the names in the lists below will be familiar to you, but many of them won’t be. Even though their origins differ, the energy they embody and characteristics they display will be as familiar as the names you do know. AFRICAN TRADITION · Anyanwu is the Igbo god who is said to dwell within the sun, and is one of the principal deities, or spirits worshipped by the Igbo. · Magec is the god of the sun and light, and according to legend was held prisoner inside the Teide Volcano. · Mawu is the Dahomey creator goddess who happens to also be associated with the sun and the moon. In some of the African mythologies Mawu is a dual aspect of a two-spirited being, while others she is the sister and wife. · Ngai is the Kamba, Kikuyu and Massai god of creation, and of the sun. Though the Kamba, Kikuyu have a different view of the tale of Ngai from the Massai’s view. AUSTRALIAN/ABORIGINAL TRADITION · Bila is the Aboriginal sun goddess who was also a cannibal. She caught her victims and roasted them over an open fire which provided light for the world. · Gnowee is the solar goddess who searches for her lost son. Gnowee lived in a time before there was light in the world. One day she ventured too far, and because she couldn’t find her way back she climbed into the sky. She still wanders the sky holding her torch. · Wala is a solar goddess. Her sister Bara accompanied her across the sun each day, but Wala realised she was making the earth too hot. She stored the sun in a bag and kept it until the moon disappeared · Yhi is the Karraur goddess of the sun, creation and light. She slept before the world’s creation in a bare world, a whistle startled her, and after taking a breath she opened her eyes and filled the world with light. AINU TRADITION · Chup Kamui is the solar goddess who was also the goddess of chastity. Originally she was a Moon deity, but she begged to trade places with her brother because she saw the despicable behaviours of humans. ARABIAN TRADITION · Shams/Shamsun/Samson is a hero that was represented as a solar deity, or at least a part of it. It is usually because of his power and strength. He was worshipped by the Himyar and Sabaean people AZTEC TRADITION · Huitzilopochtil is the god of the sun and of war, and is one of the two principal deities in the religion of the Aztecs. He was often represented by a hummingbird or as an eagle. · Nanauatzin is a god of the sun, and his tale is one of sacrifice. He was the most humble of the gods, and so he would continue to shine, he sacrificed himself to the fire, and became the god of the sun. He is also known as the god of illness and disease. · Teoyaomicqui is the god of lost souls, god of dead warriors, the sun and the sixth hour of the day. · Tonathiuh is the god of the sun and the heavens. He is associated with the eagle, and was the Sun deity of the fifth and final era of the Aztec people. · Xiuhtecuhtil is the god of fire, day and heat. He is believed to be the creator god, he is also known as the “old god” which gives an inflection of his age. BALTIC TRADITION · Saule is the goddess of fertility and the sun; she determines the well-being of all the life on earth. She is believed to ride through the sky on a chariot that has copper wheels. She is represented by the wheel or by a rosette. BASQUE TRADITION · Ekhi is the goddess of the sun and protector of humanity. As she travels across the sky she protects the world from the creatures that dwell in the light. BRAZILIAN TRADITION · Meri is a folk hero to the Bororo people in Brazil and god of the sun BUDDHIST TRADITION · Marici is the goddess of the heavens, the sun at dawn and light. In Tibet she is often invoked at dawn, she is known to have some terrifying forms, often with multiple heads. · Surya is the deity of the sun in the Suriya Pariththa, Suthra Pitaka, Pali canon, Theravada Buddhist traditions. (Click here to find more information about Surya) CANAANITE TRADITION · Shapesh is the goddess of the sun and is known as the ‘torch of the gods’; she is also an all-seeing goddess, and leads the souls in and out of the underworld CELTIC TRADITION · Aine is the Irish goddess of love, summer, wealth and sovereignty, associated with the sun and midsummer. She is sometimes represented by a red mare. She is also a goddess of luck, nature and magic. · Alanus is the Gaulish god of the sun, healing and prophecy · Belenos is the Gaulish god of the sun. He represents the healing properties of the sun’s warmth (click here to find more information about Belenos). · Gronw Pebr is a Welsh figure that is occasionally constructed as a god of light. He was a warrior and hunter and was the lover of Bloudeuwedd · Etain is the Irish sun goddess before she became a moon goddess. After a thousand years she took her place as a goddess of love, transformation and rebirth. · Epona is a Celtic horse goddess that is sometimes linked to Etain, the goddess of the sun. · Grannus is a Celtic god that is associated with spas, healing thermal and mineral springs and the sun. He is associated with Apollo, and is sometimes worshipped alogside Sirona. · Olwen is a female figure that sometimes was originally the Welsh goddess of sunlight. It is believed that she leaves a trail of white clover in her wake. · Sulis is the Celtic goddess that oversees all of the natural springs and sacred wells. She is associated with the sun due to her ever-burning fires in her temples. CHINESE TRADITION · Doumu is the a sun goddess that is sometimes combined with Marici. She is also the universal goddess of heavens. · Yuyi is a sun god (I can’t find too much information on Yuyi) · Xu Kai is the god of the Sun Star · Xihe is a sun goddess, and mother of the ten suns · Zhulong is the dragon deity of daylight EGYPTIAN TRADITION · Bast(et) is the cat goddess associated with the sun. Bastet is one of the daughters of Ra. (Click here to find more information about Bast and Cat Magic!) · Horus is the god of the Sky whose right eye was considered to be the sun, and his left the moon. He began as a god of war who became the opponent of Set, and he became the son of Ra, and even later he became the son of Osiris. · Amun is the creator deity that is sometimes identified as a sun god, he merged with the Sun god Ra to become Amun-Ra · Atum is known as “the finisher of the world” who represents the setting sun. Atum was the first and most important god that was worshipped in Heliopolis. The earliest records of Atum come from the pyramid texts from dynasty five or six. · Aten is a god of the sun, and is represented by the visible disk of the sun. The Aten was worshipped only in one time, and that was in the “Armarna” period, where Akhenaten tore the old gods away and replaced them with the worship of the Sun Disk itself. · Bennu is the soul of Ra, the Sun god. Bennu is also known as the Phoenix, the Sacred Bird of the Sun who song is so beautiful that makes the Sun stop. Bennu ressurects himself from his ashes and rises stronger and rejuvinated. Click here to read more infromation about Bennu – the Sacred Bird of Fire and Sun. · Khephri is the god of rebirth and the sunrise, and was closely associated with the scarab. The Ancient Egyptians made a connection between the movement of the Scarab pushing dung along the ground, and the path of the sun, this was concreted by the ball of dung sitting between it’s antenna. Click here to read more information about Khephri. · Nefertem is the god of healing and beauty who represents the first light. Nefertem was once considered to be an aspect of the Atum. · Ra is the god of the sun, and many other solar deities are aspects of Ra · Sekhmet is the goddess of war and the sun, and sometimes the creator of the desert. (Click here to find more information about Sekhmet) · Sopdu is the god of war and the scorching heat of the summer sun. He was considered to be the King of the Gods, and this meant he was the parton god of the pharaoh. Ra is the central god of the Ancient Egyptian traditions. It is believed that many other deities are different aspects of Ra. · Ptah is the god of craftsmanship, the arts and fertility and is sometimes said to represent the sun at night. He is described as an abstract form who made the universe with a wish. It’s said that Ptah was the god who created the “opening of the mouth ceremony” · Khnum is god of the sunset, and one of the most ancient gods. When the cult of Ra became the more dominant religion, and Khnum was pushed out of the limelight. His height of prominence was during the time of the great pyramid builders of the old kingdom. However his son and grandson took names that were honouring Ra
· Albina is the goddess of the dawn and the protector of ill-fated lovers · Thesan is the goddess of the dawn and associated with new life · Usil is the Etruscan equivalent of Helios
· Sol is the Goddess of the Sun and rides through the sky on a chariot. She is the personification of the sun in Germanic tradition. Sol also appears in other religious traditions as the deity connected to the sun, and solar energy.
· Alectrona is the goddess of the Sun and of the morning. She would appear if a child was in need · Athena is the goddess of wisdom and crafts that also has solar deity characteristics. She was born fully formed out of Zeus’ head. She is often depicted as a stately woman with a sword and a shield. · Apollo is the Olympian god of light, the sun, prophecy, healing and plague, archery music and poetry. Apollo was the prophetic god in Delphi, and he would use his priestess Pythia to pass on his messages for those who sought their help (Click here for more information and how to summon him). · Eos is the Titan goddess who was the personification of the Dawn. She is the sister of Helios and Selene who were the personifications of the Sun and Moon. She was depicted as flying through the sky on a chariot pulled by winged horses, or with her own wings · Helios is the Titan god of light. He is also the god of sight. He lived in a palace at the far side of the world, and each dawn where he emerged he wore the aureole of the sun. When he reached the west he would descend into a golden cup which took him back to his palace in the east so he could ascend from the east once more. · Hyperion is the god of heavenly light. Hyperion is one of the children of Uranus and Gaia, and the father of Helion, Selene and Eos. He is the brother of Cronus who conspired to depose their father Uranus. · Neaera is the goddess of the rising sun, and the love of Helios. She is one of the minor gods of the Greek pantheon whose name means “new-rising”. · Phanes is the protogenoi (primordial god) of life and light and is described with having golden wings surrounded by the signs of the Zodiac. He was the driving force behind reproduction. Phanes was hatched fully formed from the “world-egg” as a mix of elements; and was the first king of the universe – later kings were Uranus (primordials) Cronus (titans) and Zeus (Olympians) · Thea is a Titan goddess that is associated with the sun, and the shining light. She married Hyperion and she gave birth to Helios, the god of the sun and Eos the goddess of the dawn, and Selene, the goddess of the moon. · Zeus is the King of the Olympians, of the gods which has led him to be associated with Helios and in some regional cults it is he who is worshipped as having some solar characteristics.
· Agni is the god of fire and is associated with the sun because of this fire. Agni is the messenger to the other Hindu gods, and if you made a sacrifice to Agni, it would go to the other gods due to this messenger status. (Click here to find more information about Agni). · Aryaman is the god of the sun and hospitality, and from tales of Aryaman say he was a kindly fellow that was always a happy-go-lucky good guy. · Mitra is the god of honesty, friendship, contracts, meetings and the morning sun. He was the guardian of the cosmic order with his brother. · Ravi is a synonym of Surya the god of the sun. · Saranyu is the goddess of the dawn · Savtir is the god of the sun at sunrise and sunset. He is the father of Savitri who was the wife of Brahma. At times he is associated with Surya, but at other times he is distinguished from Surya, and as a distinct deity away from the associations with Surya · Surya is the god of the sun and was once ranked along with the likes of Shiva, Vishnu and Shakti. (Click here to find more information about Surya). Many other deities in Hinduism display solar characteristics, and eventually was combined into one single solar deity · Ushas is the goddess of the light of dawn, she wards off the evils that hides within the night, riding in a golden chariot on her path across the skies.
· Arinna is the goddess of the sun, and the chief goddess in Hittite mythology. She offered protection in times of war or disasters. · Istanu is the god of the sun and judgment, and was depicted as crowned with a winged sun, and carries a crooked staff.
· Inti is the god of the sun and the patron deity of the Incas, however it is more accurate to say that he is an amalgamation of other aspects of the solar energies. The Inca would divide his identity into the different stages the sun takes to cross the sky. · Chaska (Chaska Quyllur) was the goddess of the dawn and the twilight, and is the Incan version of the Roman goddess Venus.
· Akcha is a solar deity worshipped in Alaska · Malina is the goddess of the sun found most commonly in Greenland. One day Malina got angry at her brother, covering his face with a black grease; fearing his wrath she fled into the sky and became the sun. Her brother chased her through the sky to became the moon.
· Amaterasu is the Shinto goddess of the sun, and according to Britannica.com she is the goddess from whom the Japanese royal family claim they are descended from. She is one of the principles of the Shinto religion. Like Athena she was born fully formed from her father’s head, but in Amaterasu’s case it was his eye. Her brother Susanoo wasn’t nice to her after they produced children, and after he threw a flayed horse into her weaving hall she withdrew to a cave and refused to come out. The other gods tried to coax her out, but nothing worked until they placed a mirror before the entrance when she heard the other gods laughing and was curious to see what could be making them so gleeful when all the world was in darkness. Before Amaterasu could hide again, they threw a sacred rope of rice before the entrance of the cave.
LUSITANIAN TRADITION (Modern Day Portugal)
· Endovelicus is the god of good health and safety, he is worshipped by the Lusitania, but was eventually adopted by the Roman Empire. He was also a god of light. He was worshipped in many temples, and to those who worshipped him benefited from his protection. · Neto is said to be a solar deity and of war. He is the Lusitanian equivalent of the Roman god of war, Mars. His name may have been derived from the same root meaning as the Celtic god Neit.
· Ao is the personification of the ordinary world and of light, Ao is opposed to the darkness and the underworld. It was one of the Maori deities that were the unborn forces of natures. · Tama-nui-te-ra is the personification of the sun, he was ensnared by Maui who beat him so he would not travel so fast across the sky.
· Ah Kin is the god of the sun, bringer of doubt and the protector against the evils associated with darkness, he is also a god that is connected to drought and disease. · Kinich Ahau is the god of the sun, who every morning would bring the sun up, and at the end of the day he would bring it down. · Hunahpu is one of the Maya Hero Twins; he transformed into the sun while his brother transformed into the moon. He is said to have had amazing adventures in the Underworld. · Tohil is the god associated with thunder, lightning and sunrise. He is part of a trinity of gods, the K’iche’ elite.
· Shamash is the Akkadian god of the sun and justice; he is one of the trinity of divinities in the Akkadian religion alongside Sin and Ishtar. · Utu is the Sumerian god of the sun and justice. Utu is the Sumerian variant of the Akkadian god Shamash
· There is a solar goddess in Minoan mythology that is possibly the Snake Goddess, but little is known about this deity.
· Sue is the Muisca god of the sun, and is the husband of Chia, the moon. Chiminigagua created the world and light he created Chia and Sue to represent the Moon and the sun respectively.
NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITION
· Wi (or Wi Akan) is the Lakota god of the sun. He resides above the world and is the patron of bravery, Endurance, honestly and reliance.
· Baldr is the god associated with the light, beauty, love, happiness and purity. He is one of the son’s of Odin and Thor’s brother. Loki tricked Baldr’s blind twin brother Hodr into killing him with a dart made of mistletoe · Dagr is the personification of the daytime, and his name became a noun meaning day · Freyr is the god of fertility, sexuality, peace and sunlight. His name is pronounced FREY-ur, and sometimes shortened to Frey. The well-being and prosperity depended on his benevolence. His role in the sexual and ecological fertility, abundance and the like was represented by an erect phallus. · Sol is the Goddess of the Sun and rides through the sky in a chariot. She is the personification of the sun in Germanic tradition. Sol also appears in other religious traditions as the deity connected to the sun, and solar energy.
· Nahundi is the god of the sun and of law. He is a little known deity from what I can tell.
· Atanua is the Marquesan goddess of the dawn · Atarapa is the goddess of the dawn
· Apollo is the Greco-Roman god of light, the sun, prophecy, healing and plague, archery music and poetry. Apollo was the prophetic god in Delphi, and he would use his priestess Pythia to pass on his messages for those who sought their help. Click here for more information about Apollo and how to summon him. · Aurora is the goddess and personification of the dawn’s light. She is the Roman version of Eos, the Greek goddess. It is said that dew appears because she is mourning the loss of one of her sons. · Sol is the Goddess of the Sun and rides through the sky in a chariot. She is the personification of the sun in Germanic tradition. Sol also appears in other religious traditions as the deity connected to the sun, and solar energy.
· Beaivi is the goddess of the sun, and the mother of mankind. She is the goddess of the spring season, fertility and sanity. At the Winter Solstice a reindeer would be sacrificed to ensure Beaivi would return to the world and bring an end to the long winter months.
· Belobog is the reconstructed deity of light and the sun who may or may not have been worshipped by pagan Slavs. He is the opposing force of Cernobog, the god of evil. · Dazbog is the god of the sun, and is one of the seven gods whose statues was erected by Prince Vladimir. · Hors is the god of the winter sun, and is said to represent the old sun that dies at the winter solstice, and the new sun is resurrected. Hors is believed to pass across the sky during the day, and through the underworld through the night. · Radegast is the god of hospitality, fertility and crops, he is associated with war and the evening sun, who may or may not have been worshipped by pagan Slavs · Zorya are the two daughters of Dazbog, and are known as the Auroras. · Zorya Utrennyaya is the morning star, who opens the palace gates each dawn for the sun-chariot’s departure · Zorya Vechernyaya is the evening star, who closes the palace gates each night after the sun chariot’s return.
· Gun Ana is the Turkic solar goddess, and is mentioned in one of the earliest written sources in Turkish mythology. She is one of the most powerful goddesses. She is the goddess of life. She is also the patron goddess of orphans. · Koyash is the god of the sun. Gok Tanri created the world using the rays of the sun, so essentially he used Koyash to create the earth. To worship Koyash the Turks turn towards the sun at dawn.
· Hvare-khshaeta, which means “Radiant Sun”.
· The Zunbil dynasty worshipped the sun, which they called Zun. They believed that the sun was the god of justice, the force of good in the world and consequently the being that drove out the darkness and allowed man to live another day.
SOURCES: Magical Recipes Online, Wikipedia, the White Goddess.co.uk, Britannica.com, Theoi.com, gods and goddesses. Encyclopedia Mythica.
Nixie Vale is the creator of the Ramblings of a Rainbow Witch page and group on Facebook. Nixie has always had a gift with words, and she has combined that with the deep love and passion for her craft, and her fascination with history. Nixie has a profound connection to colour and it”s use in magic and it”s psychological effects, she has always had an interest in the natural world, from animals to crystals, and Nixie has taken all of these and fused them with her love of literature. As a teenager Nixie began learning Tarot and she has also learned about other forms of Divination and incorporated these into her repertoire of skills. Nixie is also a very creative person, having crafted jewellery, sewing and a plethora of other interests. Nixie has been writing about witchcraft for the last 6 years, and after being urged to share these “ramblings” she created her page. Nixie is a trusted member of the facebook Pagan community and has worked with many in different ventures