Sunday 10 August 2014

The Sun King

The Sun, the astrological ruler of Leo, is also represented in the tarot’s Major Arcana by, of course, the Sun card!  

Mystic Spiral Tarot
Our sun is the source of all warmth and light; it’s the centre of our solar system. It’s a star. All Leonine themes – Leos want to be the star, in the spot-light, on centre stage.  So, how does this show up in the Sun in the tarot?  We associate happiness, joy, child-like pleasure, love of life with this card, all of which fit the image of Leo!

Universal Waite Tarot
In the traditional Rider-Waite-based decks, we have a white horse, representing life.  The child obviously symbolizes child-like joy in the simple pleasures of life, as well as being an image of renewal.   Interesting to think that neither the child nor the horse (we assume!) is concerned about what might happen next – both are very much ‘in the moment’, living for now, taking pleasure in the present.  One could say, well, isn’t that the same as The Fool?  In a sense, perhaps, but there’s a difference.  Astrologically, the sun rules the day, while the other luminary, the moon, rules the night.  The sun shines; we see things in the ‘clear light of day’, so you might say that the sun is linked to the conscious self, or rational thought. The moon, on the other hand, doesn’t shine – we see it thanks to the light of the sun, which is reflected off the surface of the moon.   No wonder, then, that the moon/Moon is linked to what’s not seen clearly, to illusion, to the imagination, the unconscious.  Remember - we looked at The Moon in the tarot earlier in the year, when we were in the sign of Pisces.

Thoth Tarot
The Sun follows The Moon in the tarot – with the break of day comes clarity.  The sun can often carry a sense of optimism. How many people do you know who find their spirits lifting on a beautiful sunny day?  What might have seemed impossible in the dark of the night now seems possible.  Yet we need the dark of the night, the Moon time, to rest – otherwise we might burn ourselves out in all that solar energy!

In some decks we see sunflowers or other gold and orange flowers, as well as oranges – called, by some, ‘solar fruit’.  We might also see signs of laurel, symbolizing success.

In the Thoth, the horse disappears and we see two children dancing instead. They dance for the sheer joy and fun of it, celebrating the freedom of the moment.   
Shadowscapes Tarot

In the Shadowscapes, we see the King of the Birds in all his solar glory...not flying too close to the Sun, though, as Icarus did.

Wildwood Tarot
In the Wildwood, we have a single figure against the backdrop of a blazing sun, with flowers bursting into bloom in the light and warmth of the sun’s rays. Joy, strength, good health... the warmth enters our bodies and ‘lights our fire’, enthusing and exhilarating us!  Go on – go and do something for the sheer fun of it!

Mystic Spiral Tarot created by Giuseppe Palumbo & Giovanni Pelosini, published by Lo Scarabeo
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Universal Waite Tarot created by Mary Hanson-Roberts & Pamela Colman-Smith, published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections

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