Ra was the sun god as well as the king of the gods, depicted as a man with the head of a falcon or hawk with the sun disk, with the royal cobra coiled around it, resting upon his head. His main cult center was in Iunu (Heliopolis to the Greeks). Due to his association with kingship, he was considered a close ally to the pharaoh. Identified with the noon sun, Ra was seen as a creator, giver of life, sustainer of life and a provider. He was considered self-created; he arose from the primordial waters along with his brother Apep, the embodiment of evil, chaos, and disorder, with whom he battles nightly in the Duat to keep the universe safe from destruction.

Some of Ra's epithets include: All-Lord, Father of All, Far-Reaching One, Father and Mother of All Living Things, He of the Horizon, King of the Gods, Lord of the Heavens, and He Who Has No Opponent Among the Gods. Ra was said to have spawned his children Shu and Tefnut from either his spit or semen and Sekhmet and Bastet from His eyes, which he tore out in rage. He is consorted with Sekhmet and Bastet.

Ra was syncretized with other major deities, forming syncretisms such as Ra-Horakhtyus, Amen-Ra, Atum-Ra, Sobek-Ra and Khnum-Ra.