Sun Lore of All Ages
By William Tyler Olcott
The Manicacas of Brazil regarded the sun as a hero, virgin born. Their wise men, who claimed the
power of transmigration, said that they had visited the Sun, and that his figure was that of a man clothed in
light; so dazzling was his appearance that he could not be seen by ordinary mortals....
The close agreement in the traditions of many of the primitive inhabitants of the earth, that
there was life in the world before the luminaries occupied the heavens, and that people lived in a state of
semi-darkness, is perhaps the most striking feature of these myths.
In fact, these ancient legends reveal many points that are of interest, especially where
similarities exist in the early traditions of widely separated tribes. It seems extraordinary that men, in
different parts of the world, could have independently conceived the grotesque notions that often characterise the
solar creation myths....
The chief nature of the influence supposedly exerted by the Sun and Moon over men was parental.
In fact, the very basis of mythology lies in the idolatrous worship of the solar great father, and the lunar great
mother, who were the first objects of worship that the history of the race records.
As human beings, the Sun and Moon were naturally distinguished as to sex, although there is in
the early traditions concerning them no settled opinon as to the sex assigned to each, nor their relation to one
another. Thus, in Australia, the Moon was considerd to be a man, the Sun a woman who appears at dawn in a coat of
red kangaroo skins, the present of an admirer. Shakespeare speaks of the Moon as a "she," while in Peru, the moon
was regarded as a mother who was both sister and wife of the Sun, like Osiris and Isis in Egypt....
Swift steeds were associated with the sun in Classical, Indian, Persian, and Hebrew mythologies,
and in the Hebrew worship in Canaan, horses were dedicated to the sun, as indeed they were in Greece at a later
In the Veda the sun is frequently called "the runner," "the quick racer," or simply "the horse,"
This idea of the swift flight of the sun is further carried out by attributing wings to the sun, or dawn, and on
the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments we find the winged solar disk inscribed....
The Egyptians had a legend which in some respects is so similar to that of the Mexican
myth...that it would almost appear as if the two originated from the same source. They told Herodotus that,
according to their records, the sun had four times deviated from his regular course, having twice risen in the
west, and twice set in the east. This change, however, had produced no alteration in the climate of Egypt, neither
had a prevalence of disease been the consequence....
The association of the sun with a floating island is revealed in many legends, and in solar
symbolism we find the sun depicted as seated on a floating lotus leaf.
Herodotus tells us that near Buto there was a deep and broad lake in which was a reputed
floating island. In this island was a large temple dedicated to the sun. The island was once firm, but it is said
when Typhon, who was in the sea, was once roaming round the world in pursuit of the solar deity Horus, Latona, who
was one of the primitive eight gods who dwelt in the city of Buto, received him in trust from Isis and concealed
him in the island of Chemmis, which then first began to float. Afterwards he became sufficiently powerful to leave
his place of refuge and to expel Typhon who had usurped his dominions, and his own reigh then commenced.