The Religion of the Sun is humanity’s oldest religion. It celebrated the spiritual significance of the sun and its journey throughout the year as an emblem of an inner spiritual journey each person can undertake in their lives and was practiced widely across the world in prehistoric communities.
Remnants of this religion are found in ancient texts, spread down through oral histories, and encoded in hundreds of sacred sites that are physically aligned with the stages of the sun during the solstices and equinoxes, like the famous Stonehenge in England, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
The veneration of the sun by these ancient cultures is commonly thought to be a primitive form of seasonal or agricultural worship, but looking deeper into the profound spiritual teachings and symbols they passed down, along with the massive and intricate temples and structures that have stood the test of time, a much different history is revealed — one that indicates that these ancient people possessed an incredibly advanced knowledge and understanding of spirituality, mathematics, astronomy and architecture.
Compelling similarities across many of the world’s spiritual teachings, sacred sites and ancient artifacts also indicate that our ancestors understood and celebrated the deeper meaning behind the physical cycle of the sun and its connection to a transformative spiritual journey that can take place within each person.
The annual cycle of the sun at the time of the solstices and equinoxes is deeply linked with this inner spiritual process.
Practitioners of the Religion of the Sun in ancient times understood this, which is why they aligned many of their temples and sacred sites precisely to these pivotal points in the sun’s cycle, and enacted ceremonies during these special times of the year. The ancient spirituality of the sun that was practised by our ancestors can still be practised and celebrated today, just as it was thousands of years ago.
The Lost Civilization
The Religion of the Sun traces back to a time well before written history. Oral histories, cultural narratives, ancient texts, archaeological and geological discoveries point to groups of people from a prior civilization who survived a catastrophic event which culminated in mass flooding.1
These survivors were then at various times visited and guided by “wisdom bringers,” who were described by many cultures all over the world as having a distinct similar physical appearance and values.
These wisdom bringers were thought by ancient people to be divine beings in human form who imparted the spirituality of the sun to the survivors of the flood, as well as knowledge on agriculture, architecture and astronomy in order to re-establish civilization.
The wisdom bringers had various names depending on the location. In ancient Egypt, the wisdom bringer was described as Thoth, in North America, the Hopi people spoke of Masaaw, and the Incas described how Viracocha arrived to establish civilization and oversaw the building of megalithic sites, like the ancient site Tiahuanaco.
With direction from the wisdom bringers, the survivors of the flood built stone circles, earth mounds, pyramids, temples and other monuments that all aligned to the solstices and equinoxes in order to celebrate the spiritual meaning of the sun. Remarkably, many of these structures also aligned to the stars, and even to each other, despite being vast distances away.
The wisdom bringers traveled the seas bringing the spirituality of the sun to people all over the earth, and the Religion of the Sun has been passed down throughout the ages to modern times, but in the process has become more and more fragmented over time due to various periods of suppression and persecution.More about the Lost Civilization
Our Connection to the Cosmos
The people who practised the Religion of the Sun understood that we have a deep connection to the sun, stars and the world around us, not just from a physical perspective, but from a spiritual one as well.
Ancient people often conveyed this connection by referring to natural principles of creation in their spiritual texts or by incorporating them into their sacred sites.
They are also often found in their art, pottery or ceremonial objects. They used symbols that corresponded to the movements of the cosmos and its deeper meaning, like the spiral, swastika, yin and yang and many others.
Ancient people understood that the same principles of creation were found on all scales, from the macroscopic to the microscopic.
The same principles in the movements of the planets are found within the structure of an atom for example.
Likewise, the mathematical principles that make up the spiral of a galaxy are found within the spiral of a shell or unfolding of a fern.
They also understood that these creative principles corresponded to what can take place within a person if they go through the process of spiritual creation, which is often referred to as “enlightenment,” “salvation,” “awakening,” “liberation” and many others, depending on the time period or culture.
These connections are what is expressed in the ancient maxim, “As above, so below” and “As within, so without.”3
From a scientific perspective, we’re said to have originated from a massive explosion of light at the time of the big bang, which formed the stars that then created everything around us (including ourselves) through the process of nucleosynthesis.
Many of these ancient cultures have a creation story which corroborates with the scientific theories of the creation of the universe. Ancient cultures like the Hindus, Sumerians, Egyptians, Gnostics, Inca, and Maya, have even referred to themselves as, “children of the sun” or “children of the light.”
They understood that we literally came from the stars, which included the spiritual parts of ourselves — our consciousness — as being sourced from the stars too.
These two things, the spiritual and the material, though we call them by different names, in their origin are one and the same. This sameness is a mystery, — the mystery of mysteries. It is the gate of all spirituality.
– Tao Te Ching, Translated by Lionel Giles4
Mystics throughout history have understood this spiritual connection and how it relates to the process of enlightenment.
They revered these creative physical forces — the sun, stars, movement of the cosmos and other natural phenomena, not for their physical attributes, but because they are the physical representations of the path to enlightenment, which is what they tried to achieve in their lives.
The Spiritual Meaning of the Sun
The sun was venerated by the people who practised the Religion of the Sun, not for being a physical source of creation but for being a spiritual source. Paracelsus described the dual nature of the sun in the 1500’s:
There is an earthly sun, which is the cause of all heat, and all who are able to see may see the sun; and those who are blind and cannot see him may feel his heat. There is an Eternal Sun, which is the source of all wisdom, and those whose spiritual senses have awakened to life will see that sun and be conscious of His existence; but those who have not attained spiritual consciousness may yet feel His power by an inner faculty which is called Intuition.
The spiritual journey that the sun represents has been expressed throughout history as a process (or path) with certain stages, which if achieved enable a person to awaken spiritually and return to our origin, the source of creation, as a fully awakened essence.
Practitioners of the Religion of the Sun understood that the pivotal points of the sun’s journey throughout the year at the time of the solstices and equinoxes reflect the stages along the spiritual journey to reach enlightenment, with the sun representing a spiritual force that a person merges with as they move along this path.
They went to great lengths and used incredible precision to align their sacred sites, temples and monuments to these special times, and enacted ceremonies and rituals to celebrate this deeper, spiritual meaning.
The Cosmic Son
During the big bang, our universe physically gave birth to the sun and stars which are the creative force that enabled all life to exist.
In many of the creation stories in ancient texts this occurrence is described as a male and female force which produces a son that creates the universe and gives life to everything that exists.
The cosmic son that is described in these ancient texts depicts what occurs throughout the universe with the physical creation of the sun and stars, as well as a spiritual force or “son” that is born within us during the process of enlightenment.
Throughout history, there have been spiritual figures — like Osiris, Jesus, Queztzalcoatl, Krishna, Mithras, and many others — associated with the sun who have had this spiritual force within themselves, and whose lives (and teachings) were a physical depiction of the internal stages of the process of enlightenment.
These figures have striking similarities despite existing in completely different time periods and geographical locations — many are born at the time of the winter solstice, and die and resurrect at the time of the spring equinox, for example.
Though these spiritual figures are from different time periods and locations they all represent the same universal spiritual principles in being a “Cosmic Son” or “Christ” and are symbolized by the sun and its movements.
Each solstice and equinox represents a different stage in the journey of the spiritual son which was understood and celebrated by the people who practiced the Religion of the Sun.
Observing and celebrating the solstices and equinoxes was a powerful reminder to these ancient people of what they could experience themselves by walking the path of the spiritual son/sun.
The Significance of the Solstices and Equinoxes
They sun follows a journey throughout the year with varying degrees of light and darkness which corresponds to the inner journey along the path to enlightenment.
At each of these stages something profound is illustrated in the movement of the sun. In The Path of the Spiritual Sun, written by Belsebuub with Angela Pritchard, Belsebuub writes about the spiritual meaning of each solstice and equinox.
Just after the summer solstice, the days start to become shorter and the nights lengthen, as the the sun descends in the sky.
Belsebuub writes that as the sun starts to descend after the summer solstice it symbolizes the consciousness coming out from the spiritual sun and stars and descending into the material world, from heaven to earth, to learn and awaken through the process of life.
He writes that it also symbolizes on a personal level “the beginning of a new journey on the path to enlightenment.”7
As the sun reaches the Autumn equinox the day and night become equal. From that point on the nights are longer than the days, making darkness greater than the light.
Belsebuub writes that “this is the time of inner death within oneself to ego and evil, and the descent into the underworld to face and overcome one’s own inner darkness in preparation for the birth of the spiritual Son/sun within.”9
Once the sun reaches the winter solstice, the darkness is at its peak, with very short days and long nights.
At the winter solstice, Belsebuub says that though darkness is at its maximum at this point, there is a hope in the winter sunrise as the light begins to increase and that this is “the time of the birth of the spiritual Son/sun within, and why so many solar deities were born at the winter solstice.”10 He writes,
The spiritual Son within starts as something small like a child and gradually grows — just as the sun at winter and seed beneath the ground — toward the summer solstice, transforming someone spiritually as it does.
– Belsebuub, The Path of the Spiritual Sun11
But the light gradually begins to increase as it heads towards the spring equinox, making the light and dark equal again when it reaches it.
Once spring equinox arrives, day and night are equal again, with the light increasing over the darkness from this point on. Belsebuub says that, “this is the time of the inner Passion and resurrection, the triumph over darkness, and attainment of eternal spiritual life, which is why so many deities die and later come back to life to live eternally at the spring equinox, when the life of spring bursts forth to overcome the forces of darkness and death in the light of the triumphant sun.”12
By the time it comes back to the summer solstice, the sun is at its highest point in the sky, giving the most light at this time of its annual journey. It then descends afterwards to start its cycle all over again. Belsebuub says that the time of the summer solstice symbolizes enlightenment and awakening. He writes,
This is the time of the ascension from earth to heaven, the return to the wholeness of Being and the spiritual source from which consciousness originated. Like the flowers and fruits of summer, the life of the spirit is at full bloom.
– Belsebuub, The Path of the Spiritual Sun13
This profound relationship between the sun’s journey throughout the year and what it signified to someone walking the path to enlightenment goes beyond the common belief that ancient people were simple-minded nature worshipers, but instead shows us that they were connected to a universal spiritual knowledge that is still relevant to those exploring spirituality today.More about the Solstices and Equinoxes
The Practices of the Religion of the Sun
The ancient cultures that venerated the sun had the aim of achieving enlightenment, and they described certain ways to accomplish this in their spiritual texts, symbolism, in artwork, at sacred sites or through the lives and teachings of their spiritual teachers. Some of these essential practices are the foundation of the spiritual work that can be carried out by practitioners of the Religion of the Sun.
One common element that appears in many of their texts is guidance on how to become a better or more spiritual person by overcoming and removing the negative states within us like anger, jealousy, hatred, fear, laziness and so on, that prevent us from experiencing love, inner peace, empathy, and other qualities of consciousness.
This was described as being achieved by appealing to a higher feminine part of our spiritual being, often referred to as the “divine” or “earthly” mother, to remove or destroy these things within us.
That is why many feminine figures in spiritual texts are depicted not only as nurturing and caring mother figures, but as powerful warriors and destroyers.
Another essential transformative practice is the practice of spiritual alchemy, which is a practice that can be used by a married couple to purify and change the nature of the energies.
Helping others spiritually is another essential component to spiritual progress within the Religion of the Sun. By helping others to advance spiritually, spiritual help is given in return. This is described in many ancient texts, such as The Bhagavad-Gita, for example:
Those seers of truth, whose doubts have been dispelled, devoid of all sins, engaged in self-realization and who are always concerned for the spiritual welfare of all living beings, achieve liberation in the Ultimate Truth.
– The Bhagavad-Gita15
Many other practices are described by the ancient people of the Religion of the Sun which helped them to connect and interact with divinity and expand their consciousness through meditation, out-of-body experiences, prayer, dreams, experiencing the present moment, and even through music and mantras.About Practices of the Religion of the Sun
Practising the Religion of the Sun Today
Today, this ancient religion comes to life in much the same way as it has throughout time: through the celebration of the solstices and equinoxes, the exploration of practices to expand consciousness, living daily life in harmony with spiritual principles, and ultimately walking the internal spiritual path to enlightenment.
Here are a few ways the Religion of the Sun can be practised today:
- Doing spiritual practices to develop and explore consciousness and gain spiritual knowledge
- Celebrating the solstice or equinox or other events around the world
- Exploring Sacred Sites aligned to the sun or creating your own
- Creating a Shrine
Attribution: This page has been largely based on the research in the book, The Path of the Spiritual Sun, written by Belsebuub with Angela Pritchard.
Bayesian chronological analyses consistent with synchronous age of 12,835–12,735 Cal B.P. for Younger Dryas boundary on four continents. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Accessed June 03, 2017. http://www.pnas.org/content/112/32/E4344.full?sid=c3b8be8c-3ef2-47db-9301-0695d1d67242. ↩
“Odin the Wanderer” by George von Rosen, 1886. Public Domain. ↩
Lionel Giles (Trans.), op. cit., p. 19 ↩
Manly P. Hall, op. cit., p.51 ↩
‘Christ Pantocrator’ by Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov, circa 1885-1896. Public domain. ↩
Belsebuub with Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun: Celebrating the Solstices & Equinoxes (Mystical Life Publications, 2016), 20 ↩
Belsebuub with Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun: Celebrating the Solstices & Equinoxes (Mystical Life Publications, 2016), 21 ↩
Public domain image ↩
Bhagavad-Gita: Chapter 5, Verse 25. Accessed June 03, 2017. http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-05-24.html. ↩