Why did the people of Egypt rebel against Ra?

In ancient Egyptian mythology, there’s a story where Ra, the sun god, grew old and weak, leading to humanity’s rebellion against him.

Ra’s Age and Humanity’s Rebellion

Ra, becoming old and weak, was derided by the people. They rebelled, and Ra transformed into a cow and ascended to the heavens with the help of other deities. Image: Ancient Egyptian god Ra with the sun disk atop his head

As the sun god Ra aged, his authority began to wane. He was no longer the vibrant, powerful deity of his youth, and humans, whom he had created from his tears, began to mock and defy him. Their rebellion was not only against his rule but also against the cosmic order (Ma’at) that he represented.

Ra’s Retribution


Egyptian goddess Sekhmet often symbolized the destructive aspect of the Eye of Ra

Deeply angered by this defiance, Ra decided to punish humanity. Instead of transforming into a cow, Ra sent his daughter, the “Eye of Ra” — often identified as the goddess Sekhmet or Hathor — to unleash vengeance upon the rebels.

In her lioness form, Sekhmet became a force of destruction, slaughtering humans and drinking their blood. The massacre was so great that the fields were awash with human blood.

READ MORE: Differences between Sekhmet and Hathor

Ra’s intervention saves humanity

Seeing the extent of the destruction and realizing that the Eye of Ra might wipe out humanity entirely, Ra felt compassion and decided to intervene. He ordered for a mixture of beer and red ochre (to resemble blood) to be poured over the fields.

The Eye of Ra, in her lioness form, drank the mixture, becoming intoxicated. This halted the slaughter, and when she awoke from her drunken state, her fury had subsided. Humanity was saved from complete annihilation.

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