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The ancients knew him well. He generously gave life – and he ruthlessly took it away.
He appeared to all, from the darkest and most bone-chilling conditions of the north, to the parched and shimmering-hot deserts of the south. The ancient peoples of the Americas knew who was in charge of their lives and fates, and so he featured widely across cultures and mythologies. Curiously, though he was dangerous, he was almost always welcomed! He was as reliable as the sun, rising in the east and setting in the west. And that’s no coincidence, because he was the sun itself: powerful, unknowable, and blindingly obvious.
Even in belief systems which incorporated many deities attributed to the natural world, the sun was a mainstay. Worship of solar gods throughout human history in the Americas is easy to see. Ancient, even prehistoric symbolism, ritual, and monuments reveal peoples across varying landscapes, climates, and with cultures and lives that couldn’t have been more different from each other—yet worship of solar gods connects them.
Usually seen as male, the American solar gods were not just life-bringers, they were often warrior gods as well. Their shining nature, powerful and dominant, was symbolized by fire, shields, golden idols and relics, discs, or masks.
The sun was not necessarily the supreme creator; instead, it was frequently the child of creator gods. Sometimes, myth held that the sun and moon were twins. It went that after nothingness came creation, and then generally a sun, a moon counterpart or sibling, followed by additional celestial bodies to inhabit the newborn universe.
Fire was a symbol for the heat, light, and power of the sun. ( Public Domain )
The movements of the sun affected all. The changing of the seasons and the connection to the sun in the sky was cemented in the minds of ancient peoples of America. High temples and monuments in alignment to the sun’s travels were a necessity. Dances and rituals were practiced and passed on to following generations. For, without sacrifice and offerings to sun gods, peril could follow!
The Sun Dance
Before European colonization, the indigenous people of the Americas extensively worshiped the sun. A prominent feature of many religions, often a ritualized dance was the most important ceremony. These were occasions when bands would gather to reaffirm their beliefs about the universe and creation.
The Sun Dance was a vital annual tradition of the Plains Indians of North America. Held in the late spring or early summer, hundreds of people would attend, seeking access to powers or insight from the supernatural world. This concept can be found globally in solar worship. Sun Dance was done to ensure the tribe’s well-being through a physical and spiritual ordeal offered in sacrifice for their people.
The Sun Dance included grueling tests of endurance; for those who pledged to endure in the ritual, dancing might go on for days, with no food or water taken. Skin might be pierced with wooden skewers strung with leather thongs, and then heavy weights were attached, such as a buffalo skull, which would be dragged across the ground. The dancing would continue until the skin ripped or the dancer succumbed to exhaustion.
In the 1800s the Sun Dance was disallowed and discouraged by USA and Canada, however, the dance continued in secret and now sun dancing remains a significant religious ritual among many Plains peoples (although without the more extreme endurance trials).
Illustration of Native American Sun Dancers strung with ropes to a pole in an endurance ritual ( Public Domain)
Who Worked the Hardest?
In the Arizona region of America, the Hopi people believe that in the beginning there were two entities: the Sun-God, Tawa, and Kokyangwuhti the Spider-Woman, the Earth-Goddess. While the sun was indeed a powerful creator, he had to share creative control with the goddess. Tawa controlled everything in the Above, while the Spider-Woman was in charge of all in the Below. It’s said these two were the creators of all living things to come. But in some tellings of the legend, the sun merely watches on as other goddesses create everything. No matter who gets the credit, it is still traditional for Hopi mothers to seek a blessing from the sun for their newborn children.
Tawa, the Sun Spirit and Creator in Hopi mythology. ( Public Domain)
The sun god actually has to work for a living, according to the Navajo people of the American Southwest. Every day Jóhonaa'éí, or sun bearer, must laboriously haul the blazing sun across the sky on his back. He can only rest at night when his work is done, as he hangs the sun on a peg in the wall.
Navajo Yebichai (Yei Bi Chei) dancers. Edward S. Curtis. USA, 1900. Navajo healing ceremonies known as sings, or chants, are designed to restore equilibrium to the cosmos. ( Public Domain )
The Navajo built dwellings made of wood and covered in mud, with the door always facing east to welcome the sun each morning.
Eagles, Turtles, and Bison, Oh My!
In the northeastern United States and Eastern Canada, the Abenaki people believed that "Sun-Bringer" was a great eagle whose wings opened to create the day and closed to cause the nighttime.
For the Blackfoot tribes of Alberta, Canada, Napioa is an important figure in the mythology. The sun god is known by many names including Napioa, Old man, and Napi (Nah-pee). Napioa floated on a river and came across a turtle with a mouth full of mud. It was this mud with which the sun god created the earth. With the same mud he formed the men and women as well. Then Napioa made the bison for the people to hunt.
Bison of North America. (Public Domain)
Land of the Midnight Sun
Celestial twins are sun and moon in the snowy reaches of North America. (©Robert Cocquyt/ Adobe Stock)
The Inuit or Eskimo are a group of indigenous people who live in Alaska, Greenland and the Arctic. Malina, the Inuit solar goddess, was known for her passion, courage, and beauty. However, she was constantly fleeing from her twin brother, Annigan, the lunar god. There are many mythic versions of the reasons behind their strife, including arguments and Annigan attacking her for her beauty, but as night follows day, so does Annigan constantly chase Malina across the sky. It’s believed that during solar eclipses, he has temporarily caught up with the fiery woman, but when the eclipse is done, the celestial chase resumes.
Inuit (Eskimo) woman wearing traditional hooded parka, 1942. ( Public Domain )
Sacrifice to the Sun
The Aztecs of Mesoamerica carefully observed the sun’s movements, and many of the remaining Aztec monuments and structures are aligned to the sun.
In Aztec creation myth, it’s understood that the universe isn’t permanent, but can live and die like any living being. Each time it dies, it is reborn into a new age or “sun”. Each sun was a god with its own cosmic era who would reign until expelled from the sky, and a new god would take over.
Huitzilopochtli, as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis ( Public Domain )
Huitzilopochtli was a Mesoamerican solar deity who also was god of war, human sacrifice, and he featured as the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan – a huge, ancient capital city-state of the Aztec Empire, in what is now the heart of Mexico City.
In myth, Huitzilopochtli was said to have come from his mother Coatlicue, a goddess who also birthed the moon and stars. He was born fully grown and fully armed, to protect himself from his murderous siblings.
The grand temple of Tenochtitlan, Templo Mayor was dedicated simultaneously to two gods: Huitzilopochtli, god of the sun, and Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture, safely covering all the bases. If you wanted to eat and thus survive, sacrificing to both sun and rain gods for a bountiful crop seems wise! The infamous bloody human sacrifices at the ancient temples of South America were not relegated only to solar gods, however much they featured in the rituals.
The Tlatelolco Marketplace as depicted at The Field Museum, Chicago. Templo Mayor punctuates the sky at Tenochtitlan. (Joe Ravi/ CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Other Aztec solar deities include Nanahuatzin, the humblest of the gods, who sacrificed himself in fire so that he would continue to shine on Earth as the sun.
Tonatiuh was portrayed as a warrior, with arrows and a shield. He carried a human spine to signify his part in bloodletting and human sacrifice. It was believed Tonatiuh demanded human sacrifice as tribute and without it would refuse to move through the sky. 20,000 people are said to have been sacrificed each year to Tonatiuh (although this could have been spread by the Aztecs as a way to inspire fear in their enemies, or possibly a lie by the Spanish, demonizing the indigenous people).
Tonatiuh from the Codex Borgia. ( Public Domain )
House of the Sun
In Inca mythology, “Inti was the god of the Sun, and one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon. As a solar deity, Inti is closely associated with agriculture, as this heavenly body provides the warmth and light needed for crops to grow. Hence, Inti was quite a prominent god amongst the farmers of the Inca civilization. Moreover, the Sapa Inca (the ruler of the Inca Empire) claimed direct descent from Inti, which further enhanced the prestige and status of this god,” writes Wu Mingren for Ancient Origins .
The founder of the Inca Empire in Peru, Manco Cápac was held to be the son of Inti. ( Public Domain )
Inti was considered a good and generous god, but he could be brought to anger. This was never more evident than during solar eclipses – proof of his displeasure! The Inca would try to appease him with offerings.
Inti Raymi, or Festival of the Sun at Saksaywaman, Cuzco. (Cyntia Motta/ CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Inti was often depicted as a golden statue, a sun disk, or a shining mask. Gold is believed to be the sweat of the sun. One of the most important Inca monuments, the Coricancha Temple, (‘House of the Sun’), in the ancient capital of Cuzco in Peru is dedicated to Inti.
A digital reconstruction of a room in the Temple of the Sun in Cuzao when it was filled with gold. (Martinangel/ CC BY-SA 3.0 )
Eclipse, A Time of Fear
Ancient Americans didn’t just respect the power of the sun god, they also feared what might happen when he disappeared. The impact of solar eclipses, and day turning to night ‘unnaturally’, had huge implications. Pregnant Aztec women believed that the darkening sky would cause their children to be born with deformities, without noses or lips, cross-eyed—or even born as mice.
Death of the Sun Gods?
Even as conquering Europeans brought a literal death of the old ways of culture and belief to the New World, so did they bring with them to the Americas their own version of solar worship. Christianity is thick with links to solar worship as can be seen in iconography and Biblical references:
"The Lord God is a sun..." - Psalms 84:11
"The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays..." - Malachi 4:2.
"And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light." - Matthew 17:2
Mosaic of Christ as Sol or Apollo-Helios. ( Public Domain )
In a text by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi, it is noted that Christians chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December because this was the date of the popular existing festival ‘Sol Invictus’ (or "Unconquered Sun”, which was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers). The text read:
“It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day.”
This means that the many rich cultures and mythologies of the ancient Indigenous Americans, as well as later European immigrants to American shores, all share a history of solar worship, and these traditions survive in rituals and observances to this day. The sun god isn’t dead – he shines on, bringing power and life to the land and its people.
The Neolithic concept of a “solar barge” (also “solar bark”, “solar barque”, “solar boat” and “sun boat”, a mythological representation of the sun riding in a boat) is found in the later myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus. Predynasty Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as the sun-god and Horus as a god of the sky and sun. As the Old Kingdom theocracy gained power, early beliefs were incorporated with the expanding popularity of Ra and the Osiris-Horus mythology. Atum became Ra-Atum, the rays of the setting sun. Osiris became the divine heir to Atum’s power on Earth and passes his divine authority to his son Horus.  Early Egyptian myths imply the sun is within the lioness, Sekhmet, at night and is reflected in her eyes or that it is within the cow, Hathor, during the night, being reborn each morning as her son (bull).
Mesopotamian Shamash plays an important role during the Bronze Age, and “my Sun” is eventually used as an address to royalty. Similarly, South American cultures have a tradition of Sun worship, as with the Incan Inti. Svarog is the Slavic god sun and spirit of fire.
Proto-Indo-European religion has a solar chariot, the sun as traversing the sky in a chariot. [ citation needed ] In Germanic mythology this is Sol, in Vedic Surya, and in Greek Helios (occasionally referred to as Titan) and (sometimes) as Apollo.
During the Roman Empire, a festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun (or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) was celebrated on the winter solstice—the “rebirth” of the sun—which occurred on December 25 of the Julian calendar. In late antiquity, the theological centrality of the sun in some Imperial religious systems suggest a form of a “solar monotheism”. The religious commemorations on December 25 were replaced under Christian domination of the Empire with the birthday of Christ. 
The Tiv people consider the Sun to be the son of the supreme being Awondo and the Moon Awondo’s daughter. The Barotse tribe believes that the Sun is inhabited by the sky god Nyambi and the Moon is his wife. Some Sara people worship the sun.
Even where the sun god is equated with the supreme being, in some African mythologies he or she does not have any special functions or privileges as compared to other deities. The Ancient Egyptian god of creation, Amun is also believed to reside inside the sun. So is the Akan creator deity, Nyame and the Dogon deity of creation, Nommo. Also in Egypt, there was a religion that worshiped the sun directly, and was among the first monotheistic religions: Atenism.
Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religion. The earliest deities associated with the sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Sekhmet, Hathor, Nut, Bast, Bat, and Menhit. First Hathor, and then Isis, give birth to and nurse Horus and Ra. Hathor the horned-cow is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, gifted with joy and is a wet-nurse to Horus.
From at least the 4th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the sun was worshipped as the god Re (pronounced probably as Riya, meaning simply ‘the sun’), and portrayed as a falcon headed divinity surmounted by the solar disk, and surrounded by a serpent. Re supposedly gave warmth to the living body, symbolised as an ankh: a “T” shaped amulet with a looped upper half. The ankh, it was believed, was surrendered with death, but could be preserved in the corpse with appropriate mummification and funerary rites. The supremacy of Re in the Egyptian pantheon was at its highest with the 5th Dynasty, when open air solar temples became common. In the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Re lost some of his preeminence to Osiris, lord of the West, and judge of the dead. In the New Empire period, the sun became identified with the dung beetle, whose spherical ball of dung was identified with the sun. In the form of the sun disc Aten, the sun had a brief resurgence during the Amarna Period when it again became the preeminent, if not only, divinity for the Pharaoh Akhenaton.  
The Sun’s movement across the sky represents a struggle between the Pharaoh’s soul and an avatar of Osiris. Ra travels across the sky in his solar-boat at dawn he drives away the demon Apep of darkness. The “solarisation” of several local gods (Hnum-Re, Min-Re, Amon-Re) reaches its peak in the period of the fifth dynasty.
Rituals to the god Amun who became identified with the sun god Ra were often carried out on the top of temple pylons. A Pylon mirrored the hieroglyph for ‘horizon’ or akhet, which was a depiction of two hills “between which the sun rose and set”,  associated with recreation and rebirth. On the first Pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, the pharaoh is shown slaying his enemies in the presence of Isis, Horus and Hathor. In the eighteenth dynasty, the earliest-known monotheistic head of state, Akhenaten changed the polytheistic religion of Egypt to a monotheistic one, Atenism of the solar-disk and is the first recorded state monotheism. All other deities were replaced by the Aten, including Amun-Ra, the reigning sun god of Akhenaten’s own region. Unlike other deities, the Aten did not have multiple forms. His only image was a disk—a symbol of the sun.
Soon after Akhenaten’s death, worship of the traditional deities was reestablished by the religious leaders (Ay the High-Priest of Amen-Ra, mentor of Tutankhaten/Tutankhamen) who had adopted the Aten during the reign of Akhenaten.
In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh (Nahuatl: Ollin Tonatiuh , “Movement of the Sun”) was the sun god. The Aztec people considered him the leader of Tollan (heaven). He was also known as the fifth sun, because the Aztecs believed that he was the sun that took over when the fourth sun was expelled from the sky. According to their cosmology, each sun was a god with its own cosmic era. According to the Aztecs, they were still in Tonatiuh’s era. According to the Aztec creation myth, the god demanded human sacrifice as tribute and without it would refuse to move through the sky. The Aztecs were fascinated by the sun and carefully observed it, and had a solar calendar similar to that of the Maya. Many of today’s remaining Aztec monuments have structures aligned with the sun. 
In the Aztec calendar, Tonatiuh is the lord of the thirteen days from 1 Death to 13 Flint. The preceding thirteen days are ruled over by Chalchiuhtlicue, and the following thirteen by Tlaloc.
In Buddhist cosmology, the bodhisattva of the Sun is known as Sūryaprabha (“having the light of the sun”) in Chinese he is called Rigong Riguang Pusa (The Bright Solar Bodhisattva of the Solar Palace), Rigong Riguang Tianzi (The Bright Solar Prince of the Solar Palace), or Rigong Riguang Zuntian Pusa (The Greatly Revered Bright Solar Prince of the Solar Palace), one of the 20 or 24 guardian devas.
Sūryaprabha is often depicted with Candraprabha (“having the light of the moon”), called in Chinese Yuegong Yueguang Pusa (The Bright Lunar Bodhisattva of the Lunar Palace), Yuegong Yueguang Tianzi ( The Bright Lunar Prince of the Lunar Palace), or Yuegong Yueguang Zuntian Pusa (The Greatly Revered Bright Lunar Prince of the Lunar Palace). Together with Bhaiṣajyaguru Buddha (Chinese: Yaoshi Fo) these two bodhisattvas constitute the Dongfang San Sheng (Three Holy Sages of the Eastern Quarter).
Pure Land Buddhism also features lots of Solar imagery, focused on Amitābha Buddha, (“the Buddha of Infinite Light”). This Buddha is often portrayed wearing a solar crown, and visualizing the setting sun is one of the common practices to reach the Sukhāvatī, his Pure Land.
In Chinese mythology (cosmology), there were originally ten suns in the sky, who were all brothers. They were supposed to emerge one at a time as commanded by the Jade Emperor. They were all very young and loved to fool around. Once they decided to all go into the sky to play, all at once. This made the world too hot for anything to grow. A hero named Hou Yi shot down nine of them with a bow and arrow to save the people of the earth. He is still honored this very day. In another myth, the solar eclipse was caused by the magical dog of heaven biting off a piece of the sun. The referenced event is said to have occurred around 2,160BCE. There was a tradition in China to make lots of loud celebratory sounds during a solar eclipse to scare the sacred “dog” away. The Deity of the Sun in Chinese mythology is Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun (Tai Yang Gong / Grandfather Sun) or Star Lord of the Solar Palace, Lord of the Sun. In some mythologies, Tai Yang Xing Jun is believed to be Hou Yi. Tai Yang Xing Jun is usually depicted with the Star Lord of the Lunar Palace, Lord of the Moon, Yue Gong Tai Yin Xing Jun (Tai Yin Niang Niang / Lady Tai Yin). Worship of the moon goddess Chang’e and her festivals are very popular among followers of Chinese folk religion and Taoism. Similar to Santa Claus and Christmas in the West, the goddess and her holy days are ingrained in Chinese popular culture.
Those whom practice Dievturība, beliefs of traditional Latvian culture, celebrate the Sun goddess, Saulė and known in traditional Lithuanian beliefs as Saulé. Saule/Saulé is among the most important deities in Baltic mythology/traditions.
Though traditionally gods like Lugh and Belenos have been considered to be male sun gods, this assessment is derived from their identification with the Roman Apollo, and as such this assessment is controversial. [ citation needed ] The sun in Celtic culture is nowadays assumed to have been feminine,    and several goddesses have been proposed as possibly solar in character.
In Irish, the name of the sun, Grian, is feminine. The figure known as Áine is generally assumed to have been either synonymous with her, or her sister, assuming the role of Summer Sun while Grian was the Winter Sun.  Similarly, Étaín has at times been considered to be another theonym associated with the sun if this is the case, then the pan-Celtic Epona might also have been originally solar in nature,  though Roman syncretism pushed her towards a lunar role. [ citation needed ]
The British Sulis has a name cognate with that of other Indo-European solar deities such as the Greek Helios and Indic Surya,   and bears some solar traits like the association with the eye as well as epithets associated with light. The theonym Sulevia, which is more widespread and probably unrelated to Sulis,  is sometimes taken to have suggested a pan-Celtic role as a solar goddess.  She indeed might have been the de facto solar deity of the Celts. [ citation needed ]
The Welsh Olwen has at times been considered a vestige of the local sun goddess, in part due to the possible etymological association  with the wheel and the colours gold, white and red. 
Brighid has at times been argued as having had a solar nature, fitting her role as a goddess of fire and light. 
The Ādityas are one of the principal deities of the Vedic classical Hinduism belonging to Solar class. In the Vedas, numerous hymns are dedicated to Mitra, Varuna, Savitr etc.
Even the Gayatri mantra, which is regarded as one of the most sacred of the Vedic hymns is dedicated to Savitr, one of the principal Ādityas. The Adityas are a group of solar deities, from the Brahmana period numbering twelve. The ritual of sandhyavandanam, performed by Hindus, is an elaborate set of hand gestures and body movements, designed to greet and revere the Sun.
The sun god in Hinduism is an ancient and revered deity. In later Hindu usage, all the Vedic Ādityas lost identity and metamorphosed into one composite deity, Surya, the Sun. The attributes of all other Ādityas merged into that of Surya and the names of all other Ādityas became synonymous with, or epithets of, Surya.
The Ramayana has Rama as a descendant of the Surya, thus belonging to the Suryavansha or the clan of the Sun. The Mahabharata describes one of its warrior heroes, Karna, as being the son of the Pandava mother Kunti and Surya.
The sun god is said to be married to the goddess Ranaadeh, also known as Sanjnya. She is depicted in dual form, being both sunlight and shadow, personified. The goddess is revered in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The charioteer of Surya is Aruna, who is also personified as the redness that accompanies the sunlight in dawn and dusk. The sun god is driven by a seven-horsed Chariot depicting the seven days of the week.
In India, at Konark, in the state of Odisha, a temple is dedicated to Surya. The Konark Sun Temple has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surya is the most prominent of the navagrahas or nine celestial objects of the Hindus. Navagrahas can be found in almost all Hindu temples. There are further temples dedicated to Surya, one in Arasavilli, Srikakulam District in AndhraPradesh, one in Gujarat at Modhera and another in Rajasthan. The temple at Arasavilli was constructed in such a way that on the day of Radhasaptami, the sun’s rays directly fall on the feet of the Sri Suryanarayana Swami, the deity at the temple.
Chhath (Hindi: छठ, also called Dala Chhath) is an ancient Hindu festival dedicated to Surya, the chief solar deity, unique to Bihar, Jharkhand and the Terai. This major festival is also celebrated in the northeast region of India, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Chhattisgarh. Hymns to the sun can be found in the Vedas, the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. Practiced in different parts of India, the worship of the sun has been described in the Rigveda. There is another festival called Sambha-Dasami, which is celebrated in the state of Odisha for the surya.
The Gurjars (or Gujjars), were Sun-worshipers and are described as devoted to the feet of the sun god Surya. Their copper-plate grants bear an emblem of the Sun and on their seals too, this symbol is depicted. 
Solar gods have a strong presence in Indonesian mythology. In some cases the Sun is revered as a “father” or “founder” of the tribe. This may apply for the whole tribe or only for the royal and ruling families. This practise is more common in Australia and on the island of Timor, where the tribal leaders are seen as direct heirs to the sun god.
Some of the initiation rites include the second reincarnation of the rite’s subject as a “son of the Sun”, through a symbolic death and a rebirth in the form of a Sun. These rituals hint that the Sun may have an important role in the sphere of funerary beliefs. Watching the Sun’s path has given birth to the idea in some societies that the deity of the Sun descends in to the underworld without dying and is capable of returning afterward. This is the reason for the Sun being associated with functions such as guide of the deceased tribe members to the underworld, as well as with revival of perished. The Sun is a mediator between the planes of the living and the dead.
The primary local deity in Theosophy is the Solar Logos, “the consciousness of the sun”. 
Ra — The Egyptian Sun God
Religion: Ancient Egyptian Gods
Realms: Sun god, creator of everything
Family: He even created himself
Fun Fact: Ra’s worship was so central to ancient Egypt that some historians suggest the culture had a monotheistic religion, with Ra as the only supreme diety.
It’s tough not to feel intimidated as you face down the most important god from ancient Egypt. He doesn’t exactly look human despite having the body of a man — he gazes at you with the face of a falcon and there’s a cobra sitting on his head.
Thankfully, the snake is a sign of royalty and authority. It’s not a hat that doubles as a weapon — which is a good thing, because the Sun god Ra is definitely not pleased with you.
Well, you are selling his property.
You tell him (very respectfully) that anyone can make that claim. It’s not sufficient evidence that he steers the sun as his own personal chariot across the sky every day. You can shovel coal into a locomotive and puff it down the tracks — that doesn’t mean you invented and thus own the train.
Ra cannot produce a patent number. This upsets him because the ancient Egyptians needed no such legalities they were convinced that their Sun god had shaped the entire cosmos. True enough, Ra was powerfully connected to the sun, and everything from the disk on his head to his left eye symbolized the fiery ball in space. The people built countless temples in his honour as Ra represented life, warmth, and growth.
Fine, you get it. He was a hot god. It still doesn’t prove anything.
'American Gods' season 3, episode 9 in conversation: 'The Lake Effect'
Natalie: Now this part, which was short, was incredibly impactful to me. Tech is finally able to locate Artifact 1, and it is… not what I expected. And we get a clue (or, for me, a total smack in the face) about the meaning of Shard. Why is it called that? SHARD. Ohhhhh. I was having a melt down.
The truth about Tech is pretty close to what I think we suspected, that he is the god of. human innovation. Not just technology, but human invention, human change, starting with…. fire. Flint and stone to make fire. And Artifact 1 seems to be a piece or symbol of that first development.
Technology literally means the science of craft, the knowledge of technique, the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. And honestly, as World says, that has the potential to make Tech Boy the most powerful being in all history, if only he could remember the sum of his parts. So proud of our little boy.
Brittany: This concept of him evolving so quickly that without an anchor he wouldn’t be able to even fathom the complexity of his history was probably my favorite part of the episode. It ties into this narrative we’ve seen of Tech this whole season which has been very small bits and pieces and it answers our question as to why we are not getting that backstory. It’s too far reaching there is an inciting incident and it is in World’s hands.
Natalie: Yes, the idea of him updating and rewriting and having the past innovations become obsolete is a really perfect metaphor for what he is, isn’t it? It just makes sense. And of course for many people the belief in human innovation is stronger than any sort of religion or god, so the idea of him bridging old and new — that he’s always been with humanity, and was probably the first IDEA they believed in rather than something mystical
It made me think about the differences between Old and New gods not so much as being about age, but about being like… conscious vs unconscious human attention. Odin is a named god that people formed stories about and believed in, a traditional god — or Demeter, or Jesus, or whatever. It isn’t about age, it’s about belief structure.Those who were worshiped as gods on purpose, and those who came into being because of humanity’s focus on an idea. Godhood is real, but they didn’t form a god of technology on purpose. It’s about belief in an idea and manifestation.
People believed in an idea (or MANY ideas) of Jesus, and we saw they all manifested as real in season 1 for example. People believed in the idea of innovation, so Tech pops up. The difference between old and new is more about storytelling than anything else – a god made up as an explanation for XYZ becomes real, but really they are no differently formed than the belief in a self-made idea. Almost makes the old gods seem more…. fictional, if that makes sense.
Brittany: Yeah, it does. No one is walking around blaming Demeter because the price of avocados went up due to a bad harvest. In fact, they are probably thanking technology that they can have avocados in a region where they don’t naturally grow in the middle of winter. And it’s just this one boy — as we see him at least — who doesn’t have time to age because innovation does not slow down.
Natalie: Basically, World has been keeping a being probably a lot more powerful than him in the dark, and now it seems like his aim was to basically use Tech Boy as a conduit to run Shard through. Use all of his essence locked in this cage, to basically harness him as the power source.
Brittany: I hope Bilquis can help him out when she is done sorting out the rest of the mess she has to deal with. Finally finds herself and has to do all of this leg work. She did see Tech in her vision trip back to her body though, so I feel that their paths will cross.
Natalie: Touching the rock once was not enough to give Tech back the full force of his history – World calls it a totem. Tech clearly needs it, and I wonder when it was taken from him or who found it.
Brittany: It seems like it would have been pretty early on, he definitely does not remember who he was at the fair in Chicago. Perhaps that was the first time we are seeing him without memory, reduced to this scared innovator without a past who hides himself away?
But could have definitely been sooner. If it was that late I imagine he would have been pretty much all-powerful.
Natalie: I think it might have been even earlier if we are going back to the birth of like, fire. But what we DO know is that World has trapped him and vanished the rock into… the ether. And World has shown his cards a little more, just as Wednesday on the plane revealed how callous and self serving he actually was.
World admits that he is more invested in trickery and manipulation than what he’s posed as — a bigwig for new change and all that. And he whistles the Baldur tune while leaving Tech locked in his energy field cage, presumably to be a massive battery for his project.
I think this really sets Tech up as one of the good guys, if the “good guys team” is like, people who aren’t World or Wednesday and side with stopping their nonsense and actually being good gods in touch with their subjects, such as Bilquis, or the people who just want them to stop, like Laura. I hope Bilquis is able to take him under her wing despite his ridiculous attitude. Seeing him turn the page will be interesting.
Brittany: Since he has some semblance of an answer from World, I feel as though he will be a little bit less abrasive to Bilquis, however, he may still want her to “fix” him. He’s always going to be interested in answers, and unfortunately this is not the show for a person like Tech to be on if he wants them.
What did you think of the season as a whole? I was thinking about what we got here and how we ended up at the vigil and overall I feel satisfied with how the stories tracked week to week, even if I wasn’t particularly thrilled with most of the finale. It didn’t diminish what I took away from the other nine episodes. But I also think that is because I refuse to let Wednesday into my cold little heart. I know you had many feelings for him and were swayed by McShane’s acting. So how did the events of the series shake out for you as a whole in light of where we end and might pick up in season 4?
Natalie: Well, I don’t know. Like we talked about before – what was the point of all that Wednesday softening? Does him doing this to Shadow mean everything we spent time with him on was fake? I truly do not know.
What I do think is that story wise, they’ve left the season on somewhat of a dare. They didn’t write an ending that could serve as a series finale at all, they left it on a full mid-drama cliffhanger. I don’t know how I feel about that choice? But I think that the harsh reveal of Wednesday on the plane deserves more deconstructing from Shadow and Cordelia and those who knew him.
Brittany: I don’t think Laura is going to be the right person to deconstruct this with, so I think you’re right, Cordelia would be a good person for Shadow to turn to first after this. While Shadow needs a good “I told you so,” it shouldn’t be the first thing he hears.
I also agree that it was a BOLD choice to end here. I know I mentioned last week that I kept checking to make sure I wasn’t watching the season finale because that episode worked so well as one.
It did a lot to shakeup what we’ve been talking about as well — how can they flip the endgame? While I don’t necessarily believe it is or even will be flipped, how we get there is proving to be a much more complicated and interesting journey.
Natalie: For me, what I’ve struggled with a bit, or need to understand, is showing the same events (like the Klunker and the Tree) with a totally different emotional angle, or motivation, or knowledge. A lot of these moments haven’t felt how I expected them to feel because there was not the same mentality behind the experience. This does not mean it was bad television on its own. But it’s where I have gotten tripped up. And I think whether this finale works for me will hinge on what we see in 4.01, if it occurs.
American Gods season 4 has not yet been announced. Check back for more news!
Sacrifice and the Ball Game
For the Maya, human sacrifices were associated with the ball game. The game, in which a hard rubber ball was knocked around by players mostly using their hips, often had religious, symbolic or spiritual meaning. Maya images show a clear connection between the ball and decapitated heads: the balls were even sometimes made from skulls. Sometimes, a ballgame would be a sort of continuation of a victorious battle. Captive warriors from the vanquished tribe or city-state would be forced to play and then sacrificed afterwards. A famous image carved in stone at Chichén Itzá shows a victorious ballplayer holding aloft the decapitated head of the opposing team leader.
Legba or Elegba, Eshu, Ellegua.[Papa Legba]
God of crossroads, singer, fighter, fool, guardian of the door into the spiritual sphere - he appears as either a child or a hunched old man (old man with a crutch).
In Haiti voodoo Legba is worshipped in two different forms: as a child or as a hunched fragile old man. Both these forms express his speed and unpredictable behaviour. He is seen as a cheater but also as a messenger of destiny. He is a rebellious child and a wise man at the same time. In some myths Legba is a thief as he has stolen the secrets of gods and gave them to people.
Every ritual starts with invoking him and ends by saying goodbye to him. This is because he is the guardian of the door, therefore the contact with him enables better communication with other gods. During the ritual he is acting as a messenger of gods as he is translating the words of gods (ghosts) into human language. Those who died can return back to the world of living people if they obtain Legba's blessing.
Shango or Xango, Chango [Nago Shango]
God of fire, fighter, judge, lord of the lightning and thunder - brave, healthy looking man.
Initially Xango was worshipped by Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. Althoug he belongs among seven most powerful loa, he is not invoked in Haiti as often as other gods. He was born as one of the gods of earth and lived as a king of Oyo land on the earth with people.
Today he is worshipped as a god of justice. On the home altar Shango is symbolised by double axe or ram's horn. Invocation of Shango can help with legal proceeding or it can give more power and courage.
Oshun or Oxum, Ezili, Erzulie [Erzulie Freda]
Goddess of love and power of creation, abundance and passion - beautiful, seductive young woman.
Oshun is African Venus of Afrodite. She is the beauty, sensuality and love. Erzulia is a lady of visual arts and her attribute are jewels. She spreads the joy of life and passion. She heals diseases with cold water upon which she rules. Her generosity feeds the hungry. She spreads universal abundance so that everybody can enjoy the beauty of creation.
Careful, though, she is also a mother of witches and she colours herself with the blood of her enemies, she is the ruler of a vulture.
Oya or Yansa, Aida-Lenso, Olla.
Goddess of wind, fire, water and rainbow ruler of the nature, fighter - courageous, beautiful, passionate and unpredictable.
Oya is a goddess of sudden change. Her energy is shown also in the destructive power of wind storms, floods and earthquakes.
The Power of Oya stems in her speed and her ability to change things immediately.
Yemaya or Imanje, La Balianne [Yemalla]
Goddess of the sea - motherly, she gives nutrition, loving and desirable.
Yemaya is a ruler of the sea and personification of female power. She is watching all the powers that give nutrition and food and she takes care of female affairs. Yemaya protects child in the womb and also protects home. She has the powers to nurture and to destroy. Her task is constant renewal. In many countries people celebrate her on the days of full moon.
Obatala or Oxala, Batala, Blanc Dani
Goddess of heavens, personification of creative energy - old with white hair, kind and extremely powerful.
Obatala is goddess of creation of Yoruba tribe. Her/his name is the word for god as such. Obatala is man and woman at the same time. He/She is direct descendant of the highest and onmipresent god Oludumar. He/She personifies highest ethical principals such as justice, wisdom, abilities and generosity. He/She brings wealth and well-being to people, heals the most serious or even deadly diseases. Obatala is constantly trying to create therefore always fights for protection of sources and nature.
Ogun or Ogum, Ogu [Ogoun]
Wild man of woods, god of iron and smithery, protector of wealth and work, peaceful and dangerous man.
Nigerian god Ogun transforms wild forests into new land for gods. He uses machete and axes for making way through the woodland, thus he is called a god of pioneers and "The one who prepares the way“. Ogun teaches people how to use knife for self-defence in the jungle. He teaches the smith craft, he helps people to build houses for shelter. He is the father of civilisation and technology. According to the legend he was initially crowned as a king, but once people learned everything from him, he returned the crown and left for the forests.
Agwe or Agwe-Taroyo
God of waters, lord of the seas, handsome, proud, he likes order, he takes care of his look.
He has strong character and tasks. He protects all the animals and plants and he preserves the harmony in nature. He is often compared to European god of sea, Neptune, from whom he probably took the trident as an attribute.
Agwe is called to calm the waves of the sea or ensure happy sailing, but mainly he is worshipped by those who fish and whose life depends on the life in the waters. People under his protection will never drown and water will never harm them.
Damballah or Aida-Wedo
Primordial god, god of snakes, he has a form of snake, he is universal power, protector of trees and waters- vivacious, strict and brave.
Damballah is a primordial and constantly renewing creature. He is the protector of universal knowledge, he is the original creative power (energy).
Another primordial god is Loco. He is the spirit of vegetation and male form of plants. According to the legend he was the first priest, who transformed from a human being into a loa. Therefore he is the intermediary between people and gods.If Loco appears at a ceremony, he could be recognised by a gnarled stick that he always carries with him or by his companion who always smokes a pipe and always accompanies Loco.
He is the loa of white magic. Simbi is depicted as a green snake and he is very wise. A person obsessed b y Simba is turning like a snake and is attracted by the water, because he is more than Damballah depending on the element of water. Simbi is also providing certain connection between people and ghosts, because among voodoo people the mythical other side is deep in the sea.
Mesopotamian Theology and Religious Rituals
The Mesopotamians did not study or analyze their religious views. They believed in the existence of gods, ghosts, demons, and monsters without question. The Mesopotamians practiced rituals designed to keep the gods fed and comfortable, by making offerings in a temple dedicated to each particular god. It was their belief that mankind had only been created in order to serve the ruling gods. If the gods were not pleased with their service, humankind would suffer evils such as plagues and earthquakes. If the gods were content, humankind would thrive and be protected.
Male Mesopotamian Worshipper 2750-2600 BCE
Rituals were an important part of Mesopotamian religion. Many texts have been discovered describing religious as well as “magical” rituals. Some were performed on a regular basis, daily or yearly, while others were performed only when required. Mesopotamians believed humans were created to work in place of the gods and were also required to serve the gods. Maintaining the gods by providing daily feeding and offerings was considered a fundamental duty. The mis pî, a purification ritual, was performed whenever a person or object came into contact with a deity, and was performed when a new temple statue was created. The Sacred Marriage ritual symbolized the union of a human being, usually the king, and a goddess. Magical incantations and amulets were used to protect against the wrath of the gods, demons, witchcraft and evil omens. All these rituals were common aspects of Mesopotamian religion.
Our understanding of the Mesopotamian world view has been derived from the study of their ancient texts, including mythology, prayers, incantations, literary works, and even royal inscriptions, as well as artwork, and archaeological evidence. The Mesopotamian myth of Atrahasis explains the creation of man. Atrahasis tells of a rebellion of the lesser gods against Enlil (Akkadian Ellil) because their workload was too great. “For 3,600 years they bore the excess, hard work, night and day.” The lesser gods declared war, “Every single one of us gods declared war! We have put [a stop] to the digging. The load is excessive, it is killing us!” Ellil demanded the sacrifice of one rebel to ease his displeasure. “Call up one god and let them cast him for destruction!” Enki (Akkadian Ea) sympathized with the rebels and suggested a worker be created to toil in the gods’ place. “Let her (Nintu) create primeval man so that he may bear the yoke…Let man bear the load of the gods!” It was agreed that the rebel god Ilawela would be sacrificed and the goddess Nintu would create mankind from clay. “Ilawela who had intelligence, they slaughtered in their assembly. Nintu mixed clay with his flesh and blood. They heard the drumbeat forever after.”
Because mankind was created with the blood of the god Ilawela, he was given a “soul” that would exist after death as a ghost. Mankind was fated to suffer death as a means to control population. The gods also decreed there would be a king to organize mankind. The king was responsible for providing the gods with whatever they needed as well as ruling his subjects. A kind of mutual dependency existed between the gods and mankind. The gods needed humans to provide them with a comfortable existence, while the humans needed to serve the gods properly or they would have to face the consequences of the deities’ anger.
The king was required to provide and maintain the god’s house, or temple. There were many temples in each city, but there was one main temple which was the seat of the city’s patron god. Each temple had kitchens where food was prepared for the god. Later temples were designed to accommodate every activity of the god by including reception areas, sleeping areas, and even stables. A large staff was required to maintain these elaborate temples. The king and other wealthy citizens would help pay for temple expenses and the temple could also trade items grown and produced on its land.
Each temple had a wooden statue of the main god. This human-like statue was dressed elaborately and was decorated with gold and precious stones. The statue was kept in a sanctuary chamber in the temple, in a wall-niche behind an altar made of brick. There were also additional brick offering tables and benches which held votive statues in the sanctuary. These statues were also ritually washed for purification before the feeding ceremony. Texts have been found that inventory the ornate clothing and jewelry worn by the god. These statues would be taken out of the temple during processions and the occasional trip to visit a god in another city.
The mis pî, translated as the “opening of the mouth” ceremony, was used to infuse the spirit of the god with a new statue. The ritual would occur over two days which would begin with the transportation of the statue from the workshop where it was created to a specially built reed hut in an orchard on the riverbank. In this hut the statue would be ritually purified and become a living god. One incantation that has been discovered mentions Ea, called here Niššiku, giving birth to the divine statue, “Niššiku, creator of everything, begat images of their great divinities, and they took up their daises.” After the ritual was complete, the god would be transported and installed in its temple sanctuary. The mis pî ritual was also used to purify humans, animals and sacred objects before coming into contact with the god. If a statue was irreparably damaged, the god could be considered “dead” and mourning would begin. If the statue could be repaired a renewal ceremony would take place. The desecration or removal of a divine statue was a devastating event for the city since it was believed the city was left unprotected.
A high-ranking member of the priesthood would be charged with feeding, dressing and washing the god. The priesthood was considered a profession and was open to men and women. High-ranking positions could be passed down from father to son. Marriage was allowed except for some high-ranking priestesses who were saved for the gods. Each priest was assigned to one god in a specific temple. There was a connection between the priest and his god, where the priest functioned as kind of an alter-ego for the god.
One of most important duties of any priest was the feeding of the god. Prayers were said during the food preparation. Two meals, each consisting of two courses, were served each morning and evening. The extravagant cooked meals consisted of beer, wine, milk, meat, grain products, and fruits. Many tablets from the late third millennium have been discovered at the site of Puzuris-Dagan, near Nippur, listing the large amounts of provisions stored for the gods, including livestock, grains, fruits and vegetables. Most likely the priest served the meals to the statue of the god on silver or gold dishes. Unfortunately no records of the actual feeding ceremony have been recovered. It is known, however, that the god would be protected from view by a curtain while eating, possibly due to the secret process by which the god absorbed the meal. All meals included the ritual burning of incense and musical accompaniment for the god’s enjoyment.
Besides the daily rituals of serving the temple deity, there were rituals during the yearly festivals. These festivals were the only time the common Mesopotamian citizen would be able to see or communicate with the god. One text says “The people of the land will light fires in their homes and will offer banquets to all the gods. They will speak the recitations.” The oldest and most important festivals were the Ak?tu festivals held twice yearly. The Ak?tu festivals were held in the first and seventh months of the year, corresponding with the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. Celebrations in the first month lasted for five days, while the festival in the seventh month, known as the New Year festival, continued for eleven days.
An early ritual practiced during the New Year festival, which originated in Ur, included a reenactment of the patron city god assuming control of the city. As time progressed, new political changes influenced modifications to the New Year rituals. In later Babylonian accounts, the king would be brought before the god Marduk and tested by the god to determine if he had sinned. These later New Year’s festivals would also include the reading of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Epic of Creation, to the god Marduk, a ritual slaughter of sheep, and temple blessings and prayers.
Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi
One of the most mysterious of the New Year’s rituals was the Sacred Marriage. It was a reenactment of the marriage of the goddess Inanna and her lover Dumuzi, by the king and a representation of the goddess, possibly a high-priestess or a statue. There are some texts that describe the Sacred Marriage as an actual physical union rather than a symbolic union, but there is little evidence to understand the meaning of the ritual. It is possible the Sacred Marriage was a fertility or coronation ritual. Other theories include the deification of the king or possibly the production of a royal heir to the throne. This may have taken place in either the temple or the king’s palace. The spouses would take part in a large banquet the next day to celebrate the event, which was customary for all marriage ceremonies.
Magic was considered a normal part of Mesopotamian religion. Since the people were subject to the changeable moods of the gods, incantations and amulets were necessary for protection and cures. A person could unknowingly offend a god and be forced to suffer the god’s wrath normally in the form of some type of sickness. People could also be threatened by demons. There were different classes of demons but usually they were not individually named. Each class of demon was responsible for a different area of human experience, such as disease or domestic misfortune. It was believed demons were always waiting to take control of a person’s body and mind. Groups of seven demons were common, as in this spell which says, “They are seven, seven are they, in the depth of the primeval waters they are seven, the seven are its adornment. Neither female are they, nor are they male.” One rare individually named demon, Lamashtu, preyed on pregnant women and babies. Amulets depicting Lamashtu’s image were used for protection against her. This protection incantation describes her, “She comes up from the swamp, is fierce, terrible, forceful, destructive, powerful: [and still,] she is a goddess, is awe-inspiring. Her feet are those of an eagle, her hands mean decay. Her fingernails are long, her armpits unshaven. She is dishonest, a devil, the daughter of Anu.” Besides the incantations, ritual texts describe various techniques where Lamashtu’s effigy is destroyed or buried to deter her from attacking the innocent.
Human sorcerers could also cast malevolent spells on others. There was no difference between black and white magic in Mesopotamian magic. The same spells were used for good and evil purposes, except malevolent spells secretly invoked the gods, and defensive spells openly invoked the gods. This meant the victim of an evil spell had to inform the gods of the illegitimate secret invocation to remove the spell. This incantation against witchcraft complains to Enki, “On account of him, O Enki who made me—he has brought hunger, thirst upon me, he has cast chills and misery upon me—if it please you, then tell him your wish, that, by [command(?)]of Enki, who dwells in Eridu. …, I may establish the greatness of Enki. On account of him, lest he harm me.”
A series of texts called the Maqlû, or “Burning” contain a ritual which describes a witch’s trial followed by an effigy burning to destroy her power. The text says, “I will scatter your sorceries, will stuff your words back into your mouth! May the witchcraft you performed be aimed at yourself, may the figurines you made represent yourself, may the water you drew be that of your own body! May your spell not close in on me, may your words not overcome me.” Even though there were Babylonian laws against witchcraft, there is no evidence of actual criminal persecution. This may be because it was dangerous for a victim to come forth and accuse another of sorcery. It was difficult to prove guilt and a false or erroneous accusation could result in the accuser’s own death.
For those who incurred the wrath of the gods, there was another compendium of rituals similar to the Maqlû, called the Surpu, which was used to purify the victim. Surpu also means “Burning” but in this case objects were burned that were considered “carriers of the sufferer’s misdeeds.” One spell from the Surpu requires the offender to hold a flock of wool and ask, “May invocation, oath, retaliation, questioning, the illness which is due to my suffering, sin, crime, injustice, and shortcomings, the sickness that is in my body, flesh, and veins, be plucked apart like this flock of wool, and may the Firegod on this very day consume it altogether. May the ban go away, and may I (again) see light!”
Other magical rituals included the transfer of evil from a person who had received a negative omen. The gods communicated their will or intentions through these divine signs. The gods could be contacted for advice on a certain matter through extispicy, the reading of animal entrails. The gods could also send omens in the forms of solar eclipses and other unexpected events. It was important to determine which god had sent the negative omen so offerings could be made to regain his approval and protection. The ritual would include an incantation such as, “Because of this dog who urinated on me, I am in fear, worried, terrified. If only you make the evil (portended by) this dog pass by me, I will readily sing your praise!” The ritual was designed to send the portended evil to a disposable object and then the subject could be purified.
An official magician, called an ašipu, performed all but the most simplistic rituals. The ašipu may have also been a member of the priesthood or in direct service of the king. It is not clear if payment was required for his services as no such evidence has been found. Amulets have been discovered in all areas indicating that magical rituals were important to the rich and poor citizens of Mesopotamia.
The Mesopotamian world view that humans were made to serve the gods can be shown in all aspects of their religious rituals. The daily service to the gods, which included washing, dressing, and feeding, was an important responsibility of temple priests and priestesses. Special rituals such as the mis pî were performed as needed, either to install a new god statue in a temple or to purify someone who came in contact with the god statue. The Ak?tu festivals were celebrated twice yearly, including the New Year’s festival on the autumnal equinox. The Sacred Marriage ritual was included as part of the New Year’s festival and represented the physical or symbolic union of the king and the goddess, Inanna. A variety of rituals were used for cures and protection against curses sent by the gods, demons, sorcerers, and evil omens. The magical compendiums, the Maqlû, which included rituals for protection against witchcraft, and the Surpu, which purified offenders of the gods, were common tools of the professional magician, called the ašipu. Rituals were a daily part of life for all Mesopotamians, which ensured the favor of the gods and the belief all was right in their world.
Inside ancient Egyptian temples, there was a segregated system of sanctuaries, divided by the spiritual level of the people allowed to enter them. Those who had not yet reached spiritual worthiness were not allowed to enter the innermost chambers. Some Egyptian temples also had an exterior complex comprised of gardens and courtyards.
Obelisk - carved monuments that pharaohs put up near pylon entrances.
Pylon - giant gateway that provided entrance to a temple with carved images of the pharaoh.
Inner Sanctuary - the place where priests placed the god’s statue. It contained a box where priests kept the statue at night. An altar was near the box and priests put the statue on the altar every day and presented it with offerings.
Barque Chamber - the storeroom for the miniature boat that carried the god’s statue.
Storerooms - the places for goods used in rituals.
Courtyard - the area where people placed statues and votive offerings dedicated to the god.
Statues - images of the gods or pharaohs.
Votive Offerings - amulets, steles or statues dedicated by people to the gods. These could include a prayer for help or thanksgiving. Sometimes priests removed these items from the courtyard and buried them. One of these caches at the temple of Karnak contained over 17,000 items.
Hypostyle Hall - covered hall filled with carved columns. Most of the columns had carved tops that resembled plants.
Sacred Pool - a pool of water where priests bathed to ensure their ritual purity.
Processional Way - used during festivals when priests carried the god’s statue in a barque. They were often lined with sphinx statues which the Egyptians considered guardians.
Barque Shrines - way points along the processional way where the barque stopped.
Workshops - places where people manufactured ritual objects and temple furniture.
Enclosure Wall - wall built around the temple precinct to separate it from the city and limit access to the precinct.
© psulibscollections - Temple of Amon -- Plan
Pyramid of the Sun
Surrounded by smaller pyramids and platforms, the Pyramid of the Moon is situated at the northern end of the Avenue of the Dead and faces south. Standing at 140-feet (43-meters) high with a base measuring 426 by 511 feet (130 by 156 meters), the Pyramid of the Moon is the second largest structure in Teotihuacan.
Less than half a mile south of the Pyramid of the Moon stands the largest structure in Teotihuacan, the Pyramid of the Sun. Facing west, the pyramid stands at 216 feet (66 meters) with a base measuring approximately 720 by 760 feet (220 by 230 meters).
Theiudadela is situated at the south end of the Avenue of the Dead. The 38-acre (15-hectare) courtyard contains multiple elite residential complexes and is dominated by the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, a kind of truncated pyramid that is adorned with numerous stone heads of the Feathered Serpent deity.
Aztec Sun God Summary
The Sun God had a key role in the Aztec pantheon and creation mythology. Of the many creation myths believed by the Aztecs, one centred solely on the Sun Gods.
According to this myth, the creation of the Earth and its inhabitants have happened five times in five eras of five different Sun Gods.
Each of the first four eras had ended in disaster and destruction of the Earth. Each subsequent era had a new Sun God.
The Aztecs believed that they lived in the fifth era under the fifth Sun God called Nanauatzin. In some versions, this Sun God was protected by the Sun warrior Huitzilopochtli.