The worship of rocks, hills, trees, and animals naturally developed up through fearful veneration of the elements to the deification of the sun, moon, and stars. In India and elsewhere the stars were regarded as the glorified souls of great men who had departed from the life in the flesh. The Chaldean star cultists considered themselves to be the children of the sky father and the earth mother.
Moon worship preceded sun worship. Veneration of the moon was at its height during the hunting era, while sun worship became the chief religious ceremony of the subsequent agricultural ages. Solar worship first took extensive root in India, and there it persisted the longest. In Persia sun veneration gave rise to the later Mithraic cult. Among many peoples the sun was regarded as the ancestor of their kings. The Chaldeans put the sun in the center of “the seven circles of the universe.” Later civilizations honored the sun by giving its name to the first day of the week.
The sun god was supposed to be the mystic father of the virgin-born sons of destiny who ever and anon were thought to be bestowed as saviors upon favored races. These supernatural infants were always put adrift upon some sacred river to be rescued in an extraordinary manner, after which they would grow up to become miraculous personalities and the deliverers of their peoples.