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Understanding the Sun
For many people, the sun is astrology.
Whether you “believe” in astrology, chances are you’ve read your horoscope in the newspaper at some point. In fact, this version of popular sun sign astrology was invented by the British astrologer R. H. Naylor in the 1930s to help bring astrology newspaper columns mass appeal. To read about your future, astrologically speaking, you didn’t need to know how to cast or read a chart, you just needed to know your birthday.
If written by an actual astrologer who knows their chops (i.e. not some random content writer making stuff up on the fly) sun sign astrology is by no means worthless. If you have an Aries sun and it’s square Saturn in February, you will likely experience frustration and delays in some capacity; if Venus in Libra trines your sun, it’s fair to say this might be a time when creative projects and relationships are running smoothly, while an opposition to Mars will mean conflict and impatience in one form or another.
Astrology is an incredibly complex system, and sun sign astrology is really just a handful of snow on the tip of the iceberg. Has it made astrology more ubiquitous? Sure. But it certainly hasn’t helped its reputation as a serious, sophisticated discipline.
However, in some ways, all this focus on the sun is not completely off the mark. Both the sun in the moon – called the luminaries in astrology – are of central importance.
While the moon represents the body, emotions, instinct and mental health (more on this later), the sun stands for the essential spark that makes us who we are, our spirit and inner calling if you will; it stands for the light of our mind and how we perceive, as well as vitality in general. Just as the sun is the heart and soul of our universe, it stands for the heart and soul within ourselves.
In their best version, solar people are those who truly shine and garner public attention. They are generous, autonomous, self-confident, perceptive and natural leaders who gain renown and positions of power.
However, when the sun is too strong in a chart it makes people who are arrogant and entitled, selfish and self-absorbed, those who are addicted to the limelight, which they think they deserve without having to put in much effort.
Too little Ssn can mean issues with self-confidence, difficulty being seen (either because it makes you feel uncomfortable or because you’re constantly overlooked and ignored), excessive self-doubt, and problems with (self) perception.
More Astro Deets
The sun rules the sign of Leo and is exalted in Aries; it’s in the sign of its detriment in Aquarius and in its fall in Libra. Please note that this does not mean the Leo and Aries sun signs are “good” while Aquarius (my sun sign, btw) are “bad.” What these dignities – as they are called in astrology – describe are how easily something or someone exhibits solar qualities and how naturally they come to them.
According to The Book of Rulerships, the sun is traditionally associated with fathers, brothers, the famous and acclaimed, monarchs, tyrants and usurpers. The plants it rules include St. John’s Wart, cinnamon, citrus, aloe, rosemary and marigold; its gemstones include rubies, carnelian, sun stone and amber, and its metal is gold; its number is 6 and its colors are yellow and red. In the body, it rules the face, the eyes and the heart.
Planetary Attunements: the Sun
Planetary attunements are a very helpful way to connect with planetary energies in a more instinctual way. Doing them on a regular basis will help you understand astrology on a deeper level as well as help you tune in with these energies more naturally if you are interested in using them in your magical practice.*
A planetary attunement with the sun should be done on Sunday (the day the sun traditionally rules, surprise, surprise) at the hour of the sun. If you want to keep things simple and you happen to be a morning person, it will always be the hour of the sun at dawn on Sundays.
However, if you’re a night owl like me, you can choose out another hour of the sun, which should be about an hour or two after noon and again in the early evening, although the exact time will vary depending on the time of year and your location. To make sure you choose out the right hour, check this handy calculator (make sure it’s set for your location) and look for the hour ruled by the little sun glyph with a dot in the middle.
Suggested attunement ritual:
Light a candle and burn some incense (something sun-ruled, like cinnamon, citrus, amber or frankincense).
Sit down, close your eyes and breathe.
Imagine your body is surrounded by a solar color, either red, yellow or gold, it’s up to you. Take a few breaths.
Now imagine liquid gold is coming up through the ground; it enters your feet and travels up body, coating your bones until it reaches the top of your head.
Above your head, imagine the sun shining down on you.
Take a few more breaths, breathing in its warmth.
Now imagine the sun’s symbol (that circle with the dot in the middle) in the center of your heart.**
Now recite the Orphic hymn to the Sun or a text of your own. If you prefer to keep it simple, you can also just mediate for a bit and then get on with your day.
Please note: this attunement will not be woo woo, all sunshine and light at all times. If you do planetary attunements regularly (for the sun as well as any other planets), you will start getting a sense for the state of the planetary energies at the time when you do the ritual.
In other words, if the Sun is strong in Leo with a nice trine to Jupiter and sextile to Venus, it will feel juicy and full of good vibes and vitality, but if it happens to be in Aquarius making a tight square to Mars, its going to feel much cold, more alienating, frustrating and tense.
No worries though: either way these rituals are really just a quick tune in to the planetary energies, nothing more, i.e. if the energy is not as nice, it’s nothing something that will really affect your day/mood or extend much past the ritual itself.
However, I do them fairly regularly and it has really deepened both my astrology and magical practice, so it’s something I definitely recommend.
*If you do plan to work magically with the sun either for a one-off ritual or on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to put together an altar. Although it can be as pretty, pricey and/or elaborate as you’d like, it can also be super basic (I’m a keep it simple kind of gal myself). I’ll write about this in another post at some point, so watch for it if you’re interested.
**Shout out to my teacher Austin Coppock who suggested this particular planetary attunement meditation sequence.