Winged Sun Disk: One Of The Oldest And Most Important Solar And Religious Symbols

A. Sutherland - - From very ancient times, the winged sun disk is found in many cultures all over the world. As one of the oldest religious and solar symbols, the winged sun disk was seen in many variations, among the Sumerians, the Assyrians and the Hittites just to name a few.

The winged sun is a sign of omnipresence; it is associated with divinity, royalty and supreme power in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Persia. It is interpreted as a solar globe usually carried on the hawk wings of god Horus, surmounted by the spreading horns of the ram god Amun.

Stele to Assurnasiripal II at Nimrud (9th century BC), detail showing the winged sunWinged Sun Disk as depicted on Stele to Assurnasiripal II at Nimrud (9th century BC). Image source

Another variation is the sun disk, flanked by two uraeus snakes (cobras) with opened hoods, sometimes wearing crowns on their heads.

The winged disk represents a singular symbol of the Savior, a winged sun, the Sun of Righteousness, arising with healing on his wings.

It is also a symbol of the sun god - Ra. In Hebrew, 'ra' means transforming good into nothing, disaster, and suffering. In China, it is a symbol of heavenly perfection, and in India and Egypt, it symbolized a metaphorical rise in higher spheres.

In the occult, it has become a symbol of power. It is often used on tarot cards.

Winged Sun Disk In Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia And The Levant

In ancient Egypt, the symbol is attested from the Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BC) and usually flanked (on either side with a uraeus. As a symbol of protection, it is found on stela and above temple entrances since the Middle Kingdom. It was called ‘the Behdety’ and as such, it was associated with the god Behdety, who (after being combined with Horus) became known as Horus of Behdet.

Farvahar i Persepolis.

Farvahar (the "visual aspect of Ahura Mazda") i Persepolis, during the times of  Zoroastrian Persia. Source

The pharaoh Akhenaten tried to eliminate all other deities and introduce the worship of the sun disk alone, personified, naturally, by himself. His attempts failed. Polytheistic system of beliefs in ancient Egypt did not accept Akhenaten’s ideas and visions and erased his name from stelae.

See also:
12 Ancient Egyptian Symbols Explained

Eye Of Ra – Powerful Ancient Egyptian Symbol With Deep Meaning

Eye Of Horus – Powerful, Ancient Egyptian Symbol With Deep Meaning

Cornucopia – ‘Horn Of Plenty’ – Ancient Symbol And Its Almost Forgotten Meaning

More About Ancient Symbols

The sun disk became the main symbol of the chief heaven god, known and worshiped under several names in Egypt. Traditionally, on many Egyptian tombs and temples, the sun disc was carved over doorways.

In the Levant, Mesopotamia, and in Asia Minor, the winged sun disk appeared about 2000 BC.

Assyrian rulers considered it as a symbol for royalty. Its importance was expressed in words: SOL SUUS (in Latin, literally, "his own self, the Sun", i.e., "His Majesty").

Winged sun disk

Winged sun disk. Source

In the 8th century BC, the winged solar disk appears on Hebrew seals associated with the royal house of the Kingdom of Judah, especially the symbol (together with the inscription l'melekh ("belonging to the king") was found on jars and seals from the reign of Hezekiah (715 to about 686 BC), the 13th successor of David as king of Judah at Jerusalem. Hezekiah's royal seals were decorated six rays emanating from the central sun disk and two downward-pointing wings.

Some seals were found flanked on either side with the Egyptian ankh ("key of life") symbol.

Malachi 4:2, refers to a winged "Sun of righteousness", But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings... “ (KJV)

In Zoroastrianism, the winged sun disk was known as ‘The Faravahar’ (the "visual aspect of Ahura Mazda") during the times of  Zoroastrian Persia.

Written by – A. Sutherland  - Senior Staff Writer

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Expand for references


Florence Nightingale on Mysticism and Eastern Religions

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Whitley, John B. "עיפה in Amos 4:13: New Evidence for the Yahwistic Incorporation of Ancient Near Eastern Solar Imagery." Journal of Biblical Literature 134, no. 1 (2015): 127-38. doi:10.15699/jbl.1341.2015.2633.