Hathor, Isis, Ptah, Sokar, Atum
& the “Sun of the Night,” Atum-Ra

Gegenschein = Atum-Ra

Atum was later synchronised with with Ra to become Atum-Ra (or Re-Atum). The question is, why? The answer lies with the cousin of the zodiacal light… Gegenschein!

Gegenschein (German for “countershine”) is a faint brightening of the night sky in the region of the antisolar point. Like the zodiacal light, the gegenschein is sunlight scattered by interplanetary dust. Most of this dust is orbiting the Sun in about the ecliptic plane, with a possible concentration of particles at the L2 Earth–Sun Lagrangian point.

It is distinguished from zodiacal light by its high angle of reflection of the incident sunlight on the dust particles. It forms a slightly more luminous, oval glow directly opposite the Sun within the band of luminous zodiacal light. The intensity of the gegenschein is relatively enhanced, because each dust particle is seen in full phase. (Underline emphasis)

Gegenschein countershine zodiacal lightThis deep exposure made under the extremely dark sky over Paranal Observatory in Chile not only shows the gegenschein (brighter patch above centre) but a portion of the zodiacal band. ESO / Yuri Beletsky


Ecliptic countershine zodiacal light

Approximate location of the sun of the night Gegenschein (Atum-Ra) around the middle of the each month.
Credit: Stellarium background plus Gary Gilligan.

Gegenschein’s approximate shape and size around the middle of each month. Similar diagrams can be found here (scroll down), here & here.

Gegenschein solar system diagram

Diagram of Solar system dust by Gary Gilligan.

Illustration of the solar system as seen from above; interplanetary dust forms a huge disk reaching nearly to Jupiter. Gegenschein appears brighter because it’s squarely lit by the Sun. The phenomenon isn’t a real feature of the disk, only a brightness enhancement due to our perspective from Earth. Orbits and planets sizes not to scale.

aprroximate location of the Lagrange 2 point

Diagram showing the the Lagrange point 2 (L2), the location of the Webb telescope and rough location of the countershine.


A diagram featuring Pioneer 10 observations of the gegenscheinA diagram featuring Pioneer 10 observations of the gegenschein. Image credit: NASA/JPL


Gegenschein – Atum-Ra, the Sun of the Night

Time to shed a little light on yet another aspect of the god Atum.

It is a challenge to see gegenschein today, this however, wasn’t the case just a few thousand years ago. The thick concentrations of ecliptic dust meant that Ra’s countershine was often a spectacular feature of the night sky, especially around the winter solstice when it would appear almost directly above. It frequently appeared amidst Atum’s primeval mound as an oblate (flattened) spheroid, sometimes white, sometimes yellow, other times red. When seen, it physically mirrored the actions of Ra (red Sun) in almost every sense as it rose in the east, sailed across the night sky and set in the west – a true Sun of the night (Saturnists take note). In taking on the attributes of Ra and since it was a manifestation of Atum, it is with no wonder the Egyptian’s deified it in the name of Atum-Ra.

The God Atum Ra GegenscheinThe god Atum/Gegenshein (his name written before him) seated in his boat sailing across the heavens. Note the relatively large oval shaped ‘Sun’ and the symbol for sky supporting the boat (the dark colour signifying night). The colour of the disk isn’t shown here but a safe guess would be red, which should be taken at face value. It means that the gegenschein occasionally shone red, probably due to the refracted red light.

Accurate color images of the gegenschein (and of zodiacal light) show either white or faint yellow (due to secondary scattering in the Earth’s atmosphere- the same thing that makes the Sun appear slightly yellow).


In both the Pyramid and Coffin Texts Re-Atum was he who “emerges from the eastern horizon” and “rests in the western horizon.”


Such descriptions have led Egyptologists to erroneously deduce that Atum-Ra is yet another aspect of the Sun god Ra. The mind boggles as too how the Egyptians managed to keep track of so many so-called ‘solar aspects’ when scholars today need a degree to even begin to recall them let alone understand them. I would strongly suggest adopting my catastrophist idea that these “sun gods” actually derived from astral bodies or phenomena appearing or taking on similar traits to a hazed red sun. As in the case here, “Ra” is naturally added to Atum as in “Atum-Ra” (or Re-Atum) simply because the countershine not only rose and set like the Sun but also looked like the Sun.

Sir Wallis Budge described Atum (Temu) thus…

Temu was a sun of night.

Budge, Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection , Dover, New York, 1911-1973, Vol. 1, pp. 65, 104.

He also said…

Temu was the Sun after it had Set

The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Dover, New York, 1895-1967, p. 246, note 2, where Temu, here called Tmu, is described as “the night sun, at the twelfth hour of the night.”

Ra-Atum placed the eye on his forehead so that the eye could rule the world; thus becoming associated with the sun.


Atum was the first and only god. Lying deed in the watery chaos, he thought himself into existence. He emerged from the chaos, shining like the sun, and looked around. (link)

It is often said Ra is the rising sun of the day and Atum is the setting sun of the evening. I would put this down to the setting Sun appearing as a squashed disk as it set in the west – this due to the thick dust in earth’s atmosphere, a phenomenon that occurs even today. Thus Ra would appear oval-shaped similar to that of Atum. Added to this, the defuse nature of the Sun as it is further veiled and we have a role reversal… Ra taking on the attributes of Atum. One could imagine a situation close to where Ra’s diminishing light would be on a par with the gegenschein.

squashed sun at sunset

An oval-shaped Sun at sunset. The thicker atmosphere on the horizon bends or refracts the Sun’s light warping it into an oval.

O Ra-Tem, in thy splendid progress thou risest, and thou settest as a living being in the glories of the western horizon; thou settest in thy territory which is in the mount of sunset (Manu).


The equatorial and ecliptic gods identified above is only part of the story. As you would expect, there were many other cosmogonical gods. Some literally filled the skies, such as the god of auroral manifestations Amun. His shimmering neon lights were seen above almost all else (day and night) earning him the title ‘King of the Gods.’ The composite god, Amun-Ra is merely electrical disturbances (aurora) shimmering during the day. And then there’s the serpent Apophis (embodiment of chaos) which I identify with the jet stream. A perennial adversary to Ra – forever observed (day and night) traversing from west to east (in opposition to the sun) chasing the sun up and down the horizon (as it physically does today) to seemingly do battle with the Ra on a daily basis. For further information on these and more take a look through my GKS site.

Ancient Egypt consists of some two thousand gods in all – the Egyptians didn’t need a degree to understand them, they merely looked up.

A follow up of the god king planets association with Atum’s ecliptic dust will follow later plus once I get to grips with the Benu bird (Phoenix?) I’ll report back.

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