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Sun April 28 2005
Subject: The gender of the sun
In many religions there are male sun gods, but they actually appeared quite
late on the scene, when male priesthoods became dominant over the older
priestesshoods of the Sun Goddess. They tried to downgrade the power of the
feminine by assigning it to the Moon of lesser light, claiming the power and
brightness of the Sun for themselves. That is why later Sanskrit-related
languages (e.g. Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Portuguese), assign a
masculine gender to the Sun and a feminine to the Moon. Whereas in older
languages of the same Indo-European family (e.g. Sanskrit, German and old
Goidelic) the Moon is masculine and the Sun feminine. Similarly, in the very
ancient, pre-Babylonian Sumerian tongue, the word for moon is explicitly
masculine, as it is in Arabic, in which the word for "sun" is feminine.
Some tribes of Arunachala Pradesh believe the Sun is feminine as it is the
source of all creation.
To the German, Japanese, Oceanic, Maori, and Cherokee cultures the Sun is
The chief of the Etawah Cherokee, Hugh Gibbs, says :
" Mankind itself was created by the female sun. She along with the male moon
(her brother) are God's greatest angels before mankind "
In Lithuanian mythology, the Sun is feminine and the Moon is masculine. The
Moon and Sun were husband and wife and, their daughter was Zemyna, the
Earth. The two were divorced, over the Moon's inability to stay faithful to
The Sun is Saule, and is one of the most powerful of the goddesses. She it
is who provides the warmth of nature, and fertility. As well, Saule is
patroness of all misfortunates, especially orphans, since she is the only
substitute of a mother's warmth. Because of her association with growth and
fertility, Saule was remembered in prayers by the farmers at both sunrise
and sunset. The major event in her honour was the Ligo feast, a midsummer
festival celebrated on June 23 (now St. John's Eve). Great fires were lit on
the hills to ward off evil spirits who might threaten health and fertility.
Young people, wearing wreaths of flowers, danced and sang Ligo songs and
leaped over the fires.
Of greatest importance is the similarity in both functions and attributes of
Saule and the ancient Indian god Surya. Similarities between the two deities
are so great that, were not the two peoples separated by several thousand
miles and several millennia, direct contact between them would be indicated
instead of only a common origin.
According to Baltic myth, Saule, the sun, rides each day through the sky on
a chariot with copper wheels, drawn by horses that neither tire nor rest nor
Her farmstead on the sky mountain borders that of Dievs (note the similarity
to the Hindu Deva=god!). Lithuanian Dievs or Dievas, Old Prussian Deivas, is
the sky god in Baltic religion. In name, Dievs is cognate with the Vedic
Dyaus-Pitr, the Latin Dies-piter (Jupiter), and the Greek Zeus, denoting
originally the bright, daylight sky. The word dievs was also used by the
ancient Balts to denote god in general and in modern usage refers to the
Among the Lapps the Sun is feminine, the Geat Mother who blesses the land
with plants and the reindeer with fertility. She is called Baiwe (Beive,
Paiva). Uniquely among the Lapp deities she is never represented in human
form, but as certain geometric shapes.
In cultures like those of the Buriats of Western Mongolia, the Greenlanders,
Maori and Nigerians, it is believed that the Moon could impregnate women.
Thus women of the Greenlanders had the custom that they would not sleep
outside under the moonlight unless they had rubbed spittle on their bellies
beforehand to prevent the Moon's impregnation. The Maori held that the Moon
was the true and permanent husband of all women, more important than the