Missing Sun motif

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The missing Sun motif is a theme in the myths of various cultures. It may have served to explain any of several natural phenomena, including the disappearance of the Sun at night (the Egyptian version of the motif described below is an example), the shorter days during the winter (for example, the Japanese one mentioned below), or even solar eclipses. Most myths following the motif involve the disappearance of a solar deity, through imprisonment, exile or death.

Some other tales are similar, such as the Sumerian story of Inanna's descent into the underworld. These may have parallel themes but do not fit in this motif unless they concern a solar deity.


Ra in his solar barge.
  • In Egyptian mythology, Ra passes through Duat (the underworld) every night. Apep has to be defeated in the darkness hours for Ra and his solar barge to emerge in the east each morning.
Amaterasu finally emerges from the cave.
Odin is devoured by Fenrir.