A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows. – St. Francis of Assisi
Lately, I’ve been pondering the Sun symbol.
I think it started a few weeks ago, as I was working on—and finished—The Sun chapter for my upcoming book Naked Tarot.
The funny thing about writing a book, especially a non-fiction one, is that you get quite intimate with your topic. Fascinating and surprising information turns up during research and contemplation.
So it has been with the Sun symbol.
In the past, I wasn’t a fan of the Sun—or The Sun Tarot card. Because I fare much better in cooler weather—and have adverse reactions to extended sunlight exposure and hot temperatures (thanks to medication)—my husband often jokes that the only Sun Tarot card for me is the one below from The Vampire of the Eternal Night!
Meditations on The Sun card, the spread I created for my book and the hot star itself—not to mention associations like sunflowers, shade, golden yellow, vibrancy and radiance—revealed important aspects I’d been missing by avoiding things connected to the solar realm.
It didn’t help that I was in a bit of creative funk, feeling a bit of the “Van Gogh blues”…
I felt to actively meditation on the Sun symbol and related correspondences, especially when I wanted to remain positive, hopeful, confident and energetic towards my creative undertakings.
This has been a surprising development on my spiritual path because as a confirmed night owl, recovering Hermit and quintessential Scorpio—I tend to prefer things dark, cold and mysterious.
With the Sun, there’s none of that.
Night is usually associated with passivity, the feminine, the unknown, the unconscious. It’s the dark Yin that defines the light, active, masculine energy of Yang. The Yin/Yang interplay—a whirlwind and counterbalance of opposites—produces perpetual motion and metamorphosis. It fuels the Universe, incites growth and engenders progress.
One without the other leaves a static, barren, changeless landscape.
Sure, there’s a time to submerge into the dark, watery depths of the subconscious, entranced by the dreamlike state of reflective Luna—or to bury ourselves in the moist coolness of the feminine Earth.
Just as important, though (especially for women), is setting our faces towards the Sun, rising up in confidence—willing to become our own hero, our own savior—asserting our right to create, to shine, to achieve.
Instead of fighting patriarchy (real or perceived) and gender imbalances in the social sphere, we can internalize the male principle. We can become our own protectors, our own promoters, our own validators—and do the same for our sisters, everywhere.
Fast forward to a few days ago, when Philip Carr-Gomm posted a guest blog by Maria Ede-Weaving titled “Are You Your Biggest Fan?”. This, too, was a revelation for me, especially concerning the Solar Plexus Chakra. Normally, my 3rd Chakra is quite strong (arguably, a bit too robust)—but this last year, it’s really taken some hits—energetic “hits” that I didn’t realize were hijacking my creativity, undermining my self-esteem and perforating the usually solid “lining” of my Solar Plexus Chakra.
No wonder I’d been inexplicably drawn to (enamored with?) my former quasi-foe!
So if you happen to need a boost from (or an entire season in) the bright, active, energetic, passionate, courageous and confident Sun symbol, here are some ways to welcome and incorporate its energy:
1. Surround yourself, or meditate upon, the color yellow—especially golden, bright hues (as opposed to washed-out, pale or muddy ones). Hang up curtains or art featuring brilliant yellows (like a print of Van Gogh’s Vase with Twelve Sunflowers). Paint your walls, tape yellow cellophane over a window (that, preferably, allows in a lot of sunshine), add decorations—anything to add a punch of brightness to your personal space. Don’t forget clothes and jewelry—scarves, shirts, socks, hats—or even sun-themed bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings.
2. Eat yellow fruits and vegetables like bananas, lemons, spaghetti squash, Golden Delicious apples, star-fruit, peppers and pineapple. Imagine the vibrant, healing energy of the Sun infusing every cell of your being as you chew, savor and swallow.
3. Look through your Tarot, Lenormand or oracle decks to locate The Sun card or anything associated with solar energy. Use the card for meditation on traits associated with “sunniness”, vitality and self-propulsion. If a companion book/let to your deck exists, consult what the author or artist wrote about that card—and feel free to incorporate the wisdom in your contemplations. (Below are yellow-hued cards from The Secret Language of Colour Cards)
4. Keeping a vase of fresh flowers on a table, planting a “solar” garden (a bed with all-yellow blooms) or installing a flower box filled with flora like sunflowers, dandelions, honeysuckle, buttercup, marigold, St. John’s Wort, daffodils or chrysanthemum supports joy, optimism, personal authority, vitality and the power of the 3rd Chakra. But planting, smelling or displaying lovely blooms aren’t the only way to use “flower power”. In her book The Magic of Flowers, Tess Whitehurst offers that we can use sunflower (aka Helianthus, named for the Greek God, Helios) to boost solar energy and its related traits by cultivating them, eating sunflower seeds, sprinkling their petals in a bath or adding sunflower essence to drinking water. Any of these—or even utilizing a small image of a sunflower—can be incorporated into rituals, spells or contemplative practices. Interestingly, St. John’s Wort is used to treat SAD (Season Affective Disorder—the kind that descends in cold, snowy weather) in capsule form.
5. Listen to songs that mention the sun, sunshine, yellow or anything related to the solar traits you wish to promote. My personal favorite is “Life is a Flower” by Ace of Base, but you could listen to songs like “Ray of Light”, “Walkin’ on Sunshine”, “I Can See Clearly Now (The Rain is Gone)”, “Mr. Golden Sun (Please Shine Down on Me)” and “Lithium Sunset”.
6. Work with yellow crystals or stones—especially citrine. In their book Healing with Crystals & Chakra Energies, authors Sue and Simon Lilly have this to say about citrine:
Whatever its origin, citrine quartz is invaluable as a healing stone…Citrine is gently warming, soothing and integrating. Working in harmony with the Solar Plexus Chakra, it is effective at increasing self-confidence and the achievement of personal goals. This crystal smoothes away areas of irritation and friction, creating more optimism and relaxation through the body, emotions and mind….The Solar Plexus chakra, with which yellow stones work so effectively, is the seat of our sense of personal power. From this centre arise our beliefs or doubts in ourselves. From here, confidence or anxieties, optimism or fear modify all our beliefs and our behaviour. Working with yellow stones like citrine can be an effective way to strengthen the positive aspects and release the fears within the body.
7. Invoke and work with solar deities. Most are connected to resurrection (since our ancestors likened the rising and setting of the sun to death and rebirth)—Ra, Khepri, Helios and Jesus are but a few. Other solar deities are associated with the arts (Apollo), healing (Belenus), physical strength (Kalvis) and purification (Silibo). See Judika Illes’ excellent book Encyclopedia of Spirits for an in-depth overview of hundreds of gods, goddesses, fairies and genies—some that can help you support your connection with the Sun.
8. Draw images of the Sun on your body—two inches above the navel (site of the Solar Plexus Chakra), on your palms or the soles of your feet. Or, paint or draw images of the Sun—finger paints, watercolors, crayons markers—on pieces of paper that you can stick on the wall or mirrors, place in your wallet/purse, use for rituals or to decorate an altar. You can also carve images of the Sun on yellow candles for rituals or spells (or use white or orange candles if you don’t have any yellow around). When cooking soups, stews or sauces, “draw” the image of the Sun as you stir to imbue your food with solar energy (even better if you use a wooden spoon emblazoned with images of the Sun). Creating and/or coloring mandalas—especially with hues of red, yellow and orange—will help strengthen your lower (survival) chakras, which in turn supports the “bridge” Chakra (Heart Chakra) that connects the lower and upper energy vortices.
9. Focus on directly visualizing and balancing your 3rd (Solar Plexus Chakra). Below is an excerpt from my eBook The Chakras:
The Solar Plexus Chakra is associated with the color yellow and its Sanskrit name is Manipura. Its symbol is represented by a lotus of ten petals. The 3rd Chakra takes us further into the individuation process. As a result, this chakra deals with issues of personal power and self-esteem. What accompanies issues dealing with self esteem include the fear of rejection, and how we handle criticism. This is the realm of self-understanding and self-acceptance—as well as the realm of the “inner critic”. If we do not truly like or accept ourselves, we can “give our power away” in many areas. For example, if one is concerned about image, decision-making power is essentially “given over” to what others think about us. We define ourselves by others. As a result, our self-esteem suffers, and we can find ourselves in relationships that devalue us. When we don’t really like ourselves, our decision making capabilities are affected. We have a dense set of nerves in our solar plexus that serves as a “belly brain”, or lower “gut intuition” (which is later refined in the brow, or Third Eye Chakra—the 6th Chakra). The more we follow our gut instincts, the greater our confidence and sense of personal power, because it governs how we relate to the world.
Location: Solar plexus
Body Parts: Digestive system, liver, gall bladder
Glands: Pancreas, adrenals
Malfunction: Digestive troubles, chronic fatigue, and hypertension
Lesson: Related to the ego, personality, and self-esteem
Mental and Emotional Issues: Trust; fear and intimidation; self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect; care of oneself and others; responsibility for making decisions; sensitivity to criticism; personal honor
Orientation to Self: Self-definition
Sacred Truth: Honor Oneself
Primary Fears: Rejection; criticism; looking foolish; failing to meet one's responsibilities; fears related to physical appearance such as the fear of baldness, obesity, or aging; fear that others will discover our secrets.
Primary Strengths: Self-respect, self-esteem and self-discipline; ambition; ability to generate action and handle crisis; generosity; ethics; courage to take risks; strength of character
Gemstones: Amber, topaz, citrine and apatite
Incense: Ginger, woodruff
Planet: Mars (also Sun)
Affirmations to Support the 3rd Chakra:
- I release all fear to God [or Universe or solar deity of your choice].
- I am strong.
- I am confident.
- I have what it takes to make my way in the world.
- I respect and care for myself.
- Judgments from others say more about them than me. I release all critical judgments placed upon me.
- I am able to make decisions, and choose with awareness. I can always choose again.
- I trust the Divine in me.
- I release intimidation.
- Courage flows through me.
- I can stand on my own two feet.
10. Egg-centuate the positive. A simple meditation and form of practical magic involves the humble egg. Crack a raw egg into a clear or white bowl—or onto a clear or white plate. Gaze at the bright, golden center, contemplating the life-giving energy of both the egg before you (micro) and the larger archetype of the Sun (macro). Say:
Egg before me, like the Sun,
Allow your energy to make life fun.
Give me hope and joy today,
Let vitality and courage light my way.
Then, scramble or fry the egg—or incorporate it into a recipe. As you eat the final product, contemplate the meditation above. After eating, say the meditation again. You have consumed the power of the Sun, and will allow it to nourish, support and transform you. (If you're vegan, bless the egg and the chicken who gave it bury it in the ground or within the soil of a yellow flower. Or, use it in egg tempera paint to create sun-based art).
It’s been a surprising few months, working with the Sun symbol and its companion energies. I’ve more than made peace with the Sun: these days, I call it Friend (although, admittedly, I still prefer his presence in either symbolic form—or when it’s 70 degrees F or below outside!).