(Originally appearing in Crow’s Calling)
When I look into the night sky, I feel a sense of wonder and awe, as if the universe is staring back at me with millions of brilliant lights. From ages past, humanity has stared at the sky, seeking wisdom and answers. Through much observation, study and testing, we created a system to see the patterns of the universe reflected in life on Earth. The system is called astrology, a science and art of interpreting the sky. Many cultures have variations upon this once central theme. The ancient people revered astrology more than our modern culture, using it for planning and counsel. Most 21st century people see astrology as strictly entertainment, asking a potential mate, “hey baby what’s your sign?” to search for a surface compatibility. For those of us reclaiming the spiritual traditions of the past to forge a new future, astrology can be more than simple entertainment. It can be a valuable addition to magic, meditation and ritual.
Astrology is a vast topic, so for this series of articles, we will focus on the planets and their practical application to those on a magical path. By looking to the astronomy, mythology, folklore and correspondences, we get a wealth of inspiration.
The Sun is considered the first “planet,” though it is technically a star. In astrology, the Sun, along with the Moon, is called a luminary, meaning light. It is the center of the solar system. As the center, it represents our personal center, or core, in this lifetime. The Sun represents our primal fire, and who we are learning to be. It also denotes our physical health and aspects of the personality.
Out of the seven energy centers of the body known as chakras, the Sun corresponds to the solar plexus, our place of personal power, self-image and ego. Here we illuminate and heal our fears. The Sun is also connected to the heart chakra, as the center of the chakra system. The physical heart provides the energy, in the form of blood, like the Sun provides energy in the form of light. Each planet is associated with one or more zodiac signs. The Sun rules Leo, the lion, the sign of developing our sense of self and identity, to interact with others. The lesson of Leo is the development of the healthy ego. Leo also corresponds with the physical heart and healing heart ailments.
By looking at the five elements, earth, air, fire, water and spirit, the Sun obviously resonates with fire, an energy of purification, passion, guidance and protection.
It is the largest “planet” and therefore has a great importance on us magically. The Sun can ultimately be seen as the source of life on Earth, providing the energy for all chemical reactions. Even though we may lose sight of it in times of darkness, or obscure it with the mental cloudiness, the Sun always continues to shine, being a constant guide.
Solar figures are found in many mythologies. In the Greco-Roman tradition, Apollo is associated with the Sun, as a young god assuming the mantle of the old god Helios. Apollo is a god of light, prophecy, healing, archery and music. He rides the chariot pulling the Sun across the sky. In Egyptian lore, Ra is not only the Sun god, but also the great creator and supreme force. Ra is the father creator and king of all gods. His great grandson, Horus, is later associated with the Sun. In Norse myth, Balder is the figure akin to Apollo, a god of light and life. He is the son of Odin, as Apollo is the son of Zeus. Balder is protected from all harm, except from weapons of mistletoe, and the god of mischief, Loki, tricks a blind archer into killing Balder with mistletoe and sending him to the land of the dead. Lugh of the Long Arm is one of many Celtic solar gods, also associated with the harvest, grain and light. He is one of many skills, including blacksmithing, magic, poetry, chess, athletics, warfare and carpentry. The Romans associated him with Mercury, but he is equally comparable to the solar deities. Modern pagans celebrate his rites at Lammas, or Lughnassadh. Although most cultures view the Sun as male, and the Moon female, the ancient Japanese look to the Sun goddess Amatarasu, as the queen of heaven and goddess of light. The Japanese flag is based upon her symbol, the rising Sun.
The attributes of the planet, through astrology and mythology, show us many facets and talents under the Sun’s domain. The Sun is associated with life, health and healing. Talents that help you shine, and develop a healthy ego and self-image are also appropriately ruled by the Sun, such as performance, music, art, and drama. The light of guidance and illumination is an important magical symbol. Solar energy helps you center in your own power, like the center of the solar system. Magically, the metal associated with the Sun is gold, as are the colors gold, yellow and orange. Gold is traditionally used to denote wealth, and thereby power and status. Magic and ceremony to increase your success are appropriate forms of Sun magic.
There are many ways to align with the power of the Sun. If you do visionary meditations or shamanic journey, you can ask to meet with a solar god and ask for his or her blessings. You can also choose times that resonate with the Sun. Each of the seven main planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) have a day of the week. Sunday is literally the Sun’s day and an appropriate time to do solar rituals. When any planet is in the sign of Leo, it will have a solar flavor to it. Check an astrological calendar.
Like the Moon, the Sun waxes and wanes. From the Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice, solar energy is building, so it is a great time to grow with the Sun. The rest of the year, it is waning. Personally, we each have periods of the year that correspond with the seven planets, divided into periods of fifty-two days. The first fifty-two days from your birthday is considered a time of the Sun, a time of empowerment, success, health and prosperity. In general, for the Northern Hemisphere, the first fifty-two days after the Spring Equinox is a hemisphere solar period, lasting roughly from March 21 to May 11. Take a few moments to figure out your own personal Sun period.
Other ways to harness the vast power of the Sun is to include solar items in your rituals, ceremonies and magic. Call upon solar gods. Do rituals during the daylight hours. Honor sunrise, noon and sunset. For those familiar with drawing down the Moon, try drawing down the Sun. Use the colors of the Sun on your altar, candles, altar cloth and tools. Magical texts have many resources of metals, minerals and plants “ruled” by the Sun, meaning their energy is in alignment with the Sun, although each item may have more than one planet associated with it. Use these correspondences for charms, talismans and potions. Here is a list of some common solar items:
- Minerals: Amber, Ametrine, Boji Stone , Orange Calcite, Carnelian, Cat’s Eye, Citrine, Diamond Herkimer, Diamond, Pipestone, Pyrite, Quartz, Ruby, Sunstone, Tiger’s Eye, Topaz
- Herbs: Adder’s Tongue, Agrimony, Alfalfa, Allspice, Almond, Angelica, Ash,
Banana, Bay, Birch, Blackeyed Susan, Borage, Cactus, Caraway, Seed, Celandine, Centaury, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Citron, Copal, Daisies, Eyebright, Fir, Frankincense, Galanga Root, Garlic, Ginseng, Goldenrod, Goldenseal, Heliotrope, High John the Conqueror Root, Hops, Juniper Berries, Marigold, Mistletoe, Mustard Seeds, Red Oak, Oat, Orange, Peony, Pimpernel, Pineapple, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Rue, Saffron, Sage, Shepherd’s Purse, Sundew, Sunflower, Tarragon, Tea, Thyme, Vine, Walnut, Yarrow
(Be sure to consult a reputable medical herbal book before using any herbs topically or internally. I suggest using herbal charms by carrying a small cloth bag filled with herbs and/or stones, infused with your intention through a solar ritual.)
Try this simple Sun ritual to feel the power of light, life and success in your life. First, you will need a piece of gold jewelry. Cleanse the gold, smudging it in sage, anointing it with water or bury it in the ground for a few days. Ask to remove all harmful and unwanted energies. On Sunday, at dawn or noon, go outside, hold up the gold jewelry and feel the energy of the Sun resonate with the metal. Focus on thoughts of health, prosperity and happiness, and feel those thoughts fill the gold. Ask for the Sun’s blessing in your life. Meditate with these energies for as long as you would like. When done, you can wear the jewelry whenever you need some light and energy. For those suffering from winter depression, I suggest doing this in the spring or summer, and wearing it during the deep winter, to help bring guidance and light as needed.
Next: The Moon, Manifestation and Psychic Ability
* A Salem Witch’s Herbal by Laurie Cabot. Celtic Crow Publishing.
* Archetypes of the Zodiac by Kathleen Burt. Llewellyn.
* Astrological Magick by Estelle Daniels. (Samuel Weiser)
* Astrology From A to Z by Eleanor Bach. Evens and Company.
* Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic, by Scott Cunningham. Llewellyn.
* Lifting the Veil: Practical Kabbalah with Kundalini Yoga by Gurunam. Rootlight Publishing