This is the most universally known goddess belonging to every pantheon and culture. Well known throughout the ancient world as one of the primal goddesses, a Great Mother goddess, and Queen of the Heavens, the Sun is worshipped and well loved by everyone. A divine Mother of the solar system, who gave forth life and light, and warmth, nurtures and carries all of us with Her in this part of galactic space.
She's got thousands of names to each of the peoples who love Her. In the Norse myths and legends, Her name is Sol. To the Celts and Saxons, Her name was Sulis. The ancient Britons called Her Aine who was later called Titannia "the queen of the fairy folk". The ancient Greeks called Her Eos or Hemera, goddess of day and sunlight. The Romans called Her Aurora or Dawn. To the East, the solar mother goddess is named Saule and Solnste. The ancient Egyptians knew Her as Sekhmet. Not forgetting how She was revered and idolised in Japan, where She's called Amaterasu. In Buddhism, She is the wisdom and radiant shades of Tara. The goddes Sol has had other names among the northern tribes too. "Everglow", "Fair Wheel", "All Bright" and "Golden One".
To the people of the North, the sun was much welcomed because of the light and heat, fertilising the soil and bringing back life to the forests and fields. During Winter months, Sol was missed. Her light waned and it turned darker and cold, and the landscape was barren. People went into a state of panic and misery, as many died. Crops failed. Leaves fell off trees. Meat was scarce. Animals hid. At the arrival of Spring, people held solar festivals, ceromonies, rites and much happy celebrations to greet the blessing of the sun goddess' return.
According to northern myths, Sol's father is Mundilfari, a god of time. Sol has a brother named Mani, who's a powerful moon god. They have a little sister named Sinthgunt, a gentle girl goddess of the moon's waxing phase and the twilight hours. Their mother is Nott, starlit goddess of night. Now this great celestial family are a different type of gods, as these fall into a catagory of cosmic giants. A race of gods that live in a different dimensional reality, whose words, thoughts and actions have an impact on other lifeforms around them.
The birth of Sol tells a story in a mythical sense of the birth of our solar system and how our sun (goddess) came to be. Sol travels over the sky in a blazing bright chariot, pulled by two divine winged horses. Their names are Allsvin ("very fast") and Arvaker ("early walker"). Both horses have runes of protection chiseled and filled with magical light on their hooves.
There is a constant battle going on the sky, creating this everlasting dance, sun rising and arches over the earth in the day and sets, and the moon rises at night, arches and sets. Both goddess Sol and Her brother god Mani are persued by two killer wolves.
These two wolves are named Skoll ("treachery") and Hati ("hatred"). The wolves are constantly trying to hunt down the sun and moon and according to legend, at the time of Ragnorok, the wolves will devour both Sol and Mani. The wolves are sons of Fenris, the giant wolf, and Larnvidia, a she-wolf from Jarnvidur ("Ironwood").
Sometimes Skoll and Hati catches up with the celestial brother and sister, and bites them, resulting in solar and lunar eclipses. Although the goddess Sol will one day perish, Her daughter named Sunna will replace Her. The solar princess Sunna will become the next sun goddess and will shine even brighter.
In magic the solar goddess is associated with the colours white, red and gold. Her symbols are wheels and disks. A few of Her solar animals are horses, birds, lions and dragons. The worship of Sol happens twice a year during the solstices. Temples have been built for Her worship, including the famous Stonehenge. Her special rune is Sowilo of inner radiance.
For books on the sun goddess:
"Goddes Afoot! Practicing Magic with Celtic and Norse Goddesses" by Michelle Skye.
"The Sun Goddess: Myth, Legend and History," by Sheena McGrath.
"Drawing Down the Sun: Rekindle the Magick of the Solar Goddesses" by Stephanie Woodfield.
"Viking Myths: Stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses" by Thor Ewing.
The art used on this post is by Jonathon Earl Bowser.