Ra (cuneiform: 𒊑𒀀 ri-a or 𒊑𒅀ri-ia) is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th and 24th centuries BC, he had become one of the most important gods in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the noon sun.
In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the major state god Horus into Ra-Horakhty (“Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons”). He was believed to rule in all parts of the created world: the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon, and many images of him showed him with a falcon’s head. These images can be told apart from images of Horus due to having a sun disk on its head instead of Horus’s usual Pschent headdress.
In the New Kingdom, when the god Amun rose to prominence he was fused with Ra into Amun-Ra. During the Amarna Period, Akhenaten suppressed the cult of Ra in favor of another solar deity, the Aten, the deified solar disc, but after the death of Akhenaten the cult of Ra was restored.
The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its center in Heliopolis and there was a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city.
All forms of life were believed to have been created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names. Alternatively man was created from Ra’s tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the “Cattle of Ra”. In the myth of the Celestial Cow it is recounted how mankind plotted against Ra and how he sent his eye as the goddess Sekhmet to punish them. When she became bloodthirsty Ra pacified her by giving her beer mixed with red dye, which she drank in mistake for blood.
Ra was represented in a variety of forms. The most usual form was a man with the head of a hawk and a solar disk on top and a coiled serpent around the disk. Other common forms are a man with the head of a beetle (in his form as Khepri), or a man with the head of a ram. Ra was also pictured as a full-bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion, among others. (Source: Wikipedia)