Journeying with The Sun



For the past 2 weeks we have been journeying with The Sun (because clouds and snow and storm caused a travel delay for me on the originally scheduled night of the meditation!).  One of the final cards of the Major Arcana, The Sun is positioned toward the end of a journey of growth (cards 1 – 18) and within what I’ve begun conceptualizing as a final circle of healing.  (More on how I’ve come to this metaphor for the Major Arcana here.)

This final circle of healing starts with The Devil and fosters the integration of the dark and the light within.  The Devil is clearly a “dark” card, but the figure pictured on it is often identified as Lucifer, the Light Bringer.  This issues an invitation to recognize the light here even if it is hidden.  In contrast, The Sun is, well, so sunny.  Most often the figures on the card are happy children or radiant men and women revealing in a lush garden.  This card is clearly an expression of joy.

But just as there is light in The Devil, The Sun has its shadow.  In Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot, the radiant woman stands on her shadow, which appears to me to be as the very foundation of her joy. In Lisa de St. Croix’s deck in progress, Tarot de St. Croix, her Sun card has enormous sunflowers but also a dark figure. St. Croixdescribes her process of creating this card: “I knew what I needed to do: make the figure a silhouette. Show that the shining self also has a shadow side. I think this card is about the wholeness of ourselves in nature – that symbiotic union of our brilliance and our humility.”

And having benefitted from the work done in cards from The Magician to The Moon, both the sun and shadow of the self are accepted, perhaps even recognized as inseparable.

I had my own experience of this on Monday morning as I was brushing my teeth.  I was thinking of the day and all the things to be done.  I have a project of creating a website to share these meditations and the night before I had made a long To Do List.  Now I was experiencing worry about the size of the list. Such worry usually hijacks my feelings and sends me scurrying along unhappily and irritably to get things done.

But I paused.  I remembered The Sun card.  I shifted my attitude to be interested in my shadowy worry and made a new connection.

While it is true that my To Do List is longer, the work on it is actually interesting to me.  Really, I am blessed to have the opportunity to work on this project now.  I’d forgotten to recognize that until I examined my worry. Pausing with the shadow helped me to actually bring more sun into my life.

And the worry had a true caution for me.  I do often take on too many things that all come due at once.  I build up to a frenzy of activity (too much sun!), then I burn out (please let me find some shadow!) and desperately need down time (that I don’t often schedule for myself.)  This has been a pattern for me my whole life.  I’ve tried to cure it, eliminate it, ignore it, but maybe it is just part of the shadow of who I am.  If I accept it, perhaps I can work with it more effectively.  This is a current healing project for me.

What is happening with your sun and your shadow?  Both Marcia Masino and Corrine Kenner suggest bringing together The Sun card and the card of the Major Arcana that corresponds to your astrological sun sign for gaining insight into the positive expressions and highest vibrations of self.  I’m weaving some of their ideas into this little Sun process for you.. (If you don’t know your sun sign correspondence, you can find it here.  If you are interested in exploring this more, Corrine’s Tarot and Astrology is a clear and comprehensive guide.)

Take the two cards and examine their images side by side.  How does The Sun highlight the positive aspects of your sun sign card?  How do you see that playing out in your life?  What positive qualities does it invite you to grow toward (as plants grow toward the sun)?

Now imagine the sun shining too brightly upon your sun sign card images.  What kind of shadow does that throw in your life?  How does it burn you?  (If you want some suggestions for over- and under-developed energy of your card, see Paris Finley’s brilliant work around this here.)

Take some time to be with both the sun and the shadow through journaling and/or using Tarot cards with questions such as:

  • How can I shine forth / lead with my most positive qualities?
  • Are there – or which are – challenging pieces to let fall away?
  • Are there challenging pieces that are intertwined with the positive pieces … how could they be accepted in new way?
  • What can help me to integrate the sun and the shadow in my life?

You may want to conclude by looking at your sun sign card and imaging that a figure in it is speaking to you from the both the sun and the shadow wisdom of the card to give you a message of guidance about how to live out the best and fullest expression of yourself … joyfully! …. without fighting the shadow!

Leave a Comment

March 9, 2012, 1:05 pm judy nathan

what an interesting article, Carolyn.. rich in personal insights.
I couldn’t find the source you used for sun signs and their corresponding tarot cards. I’m guessing that Pisces might be Moon.. is it?

March 9, 2012, 1:45 pm Carolyn

Oops, thanks for the heads up, Judy on the missing link. There were lots in this article and the picture posting was acting up so I missed it. It is up now, and, yes, Pisces is the moon. Your birthday must be nearby in the past or future!

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