The sun god was the ultimate source of light, energy, and life. The first sunrise, when the sun emerged as a shining bird or golden child from dark watery chaos, was the most important event in Egyptian myth. Ra merged with the primeval form of the creator to make the cosmos and its laws. He ruled as King of the Gods, first on earth and later from the heavens. Ra was born to his mother the sky goddess each morning. He passed through many transformations before being absorbed back into her each evening. Alternatively, the progress of the sun was pictured as a voyage across the skies above and below the earth. Each night the divine crew of the solar barque had to overcome the forces of chaos so that Ra could revive the sleeping dead and renew the world.
— Egyptian Mythology; A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses and Traditions of Ancient Egypt by Geraldine Pinch