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The sun and the moon are powerful beings that bring life and death to all living creatures. They control when it is day or night, which season it is, and the weather. They fascinate humans and a considerable amount of mythology has been dedicated to the creation of the sun and moon and why or how they travel across the sky during the day and night. This paper will discuss and compare some of these myths and the gods attributed to their care and existence.
The sun and the moon are such influential powers that the creation of them is right along with the creation of the world and humans in some of the better-known mythology. The story of creation in Christian Bible tells of God’s creation of the sun and the moon. On the fourth day “God made two great lights - the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night... God set them in the dome of sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1.16-18).
A similar myth of the creation of the sun and the moon is found in the Qur’an, "It is Allah Who hath created the heavens and the earth and sendeth down rain from the skies... He has made subject to you, the night and the day; the sun and the moon; and the stars in subjection by His command." (Qur’an 14:32-33).
These two myths are from monotheist religions in which the sun is just created out of nothing, they describe the creation but they lack explanation as to how and why the sun and the moon where put in the sky and have no detail about the orbits or movement or them.
“The Creation of the Sun and the Moon” by Michelangelo is a large fresco of God creating the sun and the moon. In the foreground he has one hand pointing towards a large yellow ball, the sun, and in the background he is pointing towards a large bluish ball, the moon. He is looking forcefully at the sun in the foreground. This fresco is just one person’s take on the creation of the sun and the moon as the bible explains it.
The Egyptian sun god was Re. His name meant sun and he represented strength.
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Malina is the sun god of the Eskimos. She lived with her brother, Anningan, the moon god. They got into a terrible fight and Malina spread black grease all over her brother's face. Afraid, she ran as far as she could into the sky and turned into the sun. Annigan chased after her and became the moon. Their eternal chase makes the sun alternate in the sky with the moon. (Fun... 1)
The movement of the sun and the moon across the sky is also a natural phenomenon that is explained using myth. In Greek mythology Apollo pulls the sun behind his golden chariot across the sky each day, rests in a palace in the west in the evening and sails back east in the night, only to repeat the journey the next day.
The sun and the moon are two of the most worshipped beings in the world. They seem to magically appear in the sky day after day after day, and they provide the basic essentials of life, without the sun life would cease to exist. Their power has inspired many myths about their origin and explanations of their behavior in the sky. Humans are fascinated with their presence and as a result have come up with many fascinating myths about them.