Sun-Day

In my last post, I was noting how a single concept — in that case, that of “Communication” — is so central to the human experience, that it appears across all three of the major systems of Divination and Occult thought that I enjoy exploring: Runes, Tarot, and Astrology.

Given that today is Sunday, a day named for the Sun itself, and that the Sun is a similarly sweeping, vital concept, I thought I’d commemorate it here in the same way…

Sol: that life-giving fireball we know as simply, "The Sun."
Sol: that life-giving fireball we know as simply, “The Sun.”

If you’re studying the Elder Futhark Runes that I’ve written about here before, then somewhere close to the middle of the set, you’ll come across Sowilo, the Rune that the Germanic peoples used to signify the “S” sound…and also the one tapped with the big task of representing the Sun.  It seems like no major leap to presume that to seagoing types dwelling in the wintry north, the Sun could take on even more of a beloved, life-giving, and life-affirming character than it might in warmer climes (then again, civilizations much closer to the Equator evidence no shortage of Sun-love, as witnessed in, say, the Aztec or the Ancient Egyptian cultures…).  In Rune drawings, Sowilo represents typically “sunny” qualities and results: success, positivity, energy, illumination, growth.  There’s also a very active quality to this Runic version of the Sun: in Norse Mythology, both the Sun and the Moon were driven in chariots ceaselessly across the sky, and a slavering wolf-creature pursued each one, determined to catch and devour the great luminaries.  With that in mind, while the Sowilo-Sun might indicate success, it’s also rarely seen as permission to then rest on one’s laurels — it’s still incumbent upon the recipient of Sowilo’s sage advice to carry on with an unrelenting drive toward further progress…

Sowilo: "The Sun."
Sowilo: “The Sun.”

The Sun also makes a definite and powerful appearance in the Tarot.  An entire card in the Major Arcana section of the deck is devoted to our solar light, and it bears the apt, if obvious, designation of, “The Sun.”  It’s card number 19 in the deck (or the very symmetrical XIX, as it’s usually marked), and the Sun Card’s meanings within Tarot are remarkably similar to Sowilo’s meanings within Runic work.  That is, draws of The Sun generally indicate things such as clarity, triumph, radiance, good fortune, pleasure.  There is tremendous overlap, actually, between the characteristics of Sowilo and those of The Sun Card.  This should serve as notice that one trait of the Sun is that the Great Light can’t really be anything other than what it is.  The Sun is often indicative of pure Truth, and it has little to no use for things like subterfuge or masquerade.  The Sun will be the Sun, and us little mortals down here will just have to deal with that…

The Sun Card, from the Tarot of Metamorphosis...
The radiant Sun Card, from the Tarot of Metamorphosis…

And finally in Astrology, we have…the Sun!  Not only is our local star considered to be a “Planet” for the sake of astrological discussion…it’s often held to be the single most important and influential Planet in any given chart.  The Planets represent drives, urges, imperatives within our psyches, and so just as the real planets in our solar system revolve around the Sun, so, too, do our other drives revolve around those symbolized by our Suns: the drive to exist, to succeed, to create.  As with Sowilo and the Sun Card, the astrological Sun is seen as a very honest, unfiltered Yang energy, “masculine,” and one which never hides its true nature behind a veil of any kind.  Once again, the Sun is the Sun is the Sun…  It represents what we truly are, whether we like it or not.  We can erect a carefully crafted mask and facade from behind which we can see and be seen in the world — this would be our Rising Sign, our Ascendant — but no matter how ingeniously and meticulously that mask or avatar may be constructed, we are still, underneath it all, what our Sun says we are.

The Sun is central.  The Sun is key.  The Sun gives life, and so often will be that which lights our way.  All of the major Occult systems I study and practice embrace and celebrate the Sun, so central is it to our existence as humans and as lifeforms, and as I write this, it’s almost high noon on the day we’ve named in the Sun’s honor.  Happy Sun-Day, everyone!!

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