Sun

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The sun is at the heart of our solar system

Symbol: A39_209.gif

Astronomy

The sun is the star at the centre of our solar system. It has a diameter of 1392 million km and its average distance from the earth is 149 597 870 km. Against the backdrop of the 360 degree circle of the zodiac it has a diameter of around 32 degrees of arc, or half a degree (similar to the Moon). Its average Diurnal Movement is 59.1 minutes of arc.

The sun is a ball of glowing gas and is the source of the earth's light, warmth, and life itself. The earth and the other planets are held in their orbits by its gravitational pull.

Astrologically (in a chart), neither the sun nor the moon can move retrograde - from the earth's perspective. Although neither is a planet in an astronomical sense, both are classified as planets to astrologers. They are also called the luminaries.

Mythology

The sun was the supreme planetary god in many ancient civilisations such as Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and the Mayan people. The Greeks and Romans, however, gave this honour to Jupiter, and Babylonian astrology focused particularly on movements of the moon.

Apollo, shown with his lyre and slain python

In Greek mythology two gods embodied the solar principle: Helios and Apollon (Apollo), the twin brothers of the moon goddess Artemis (Diana). Every day Helios left his palace in the East and drove a chariot across the sky drawn by four fiery steeds to another palace in the West. His journey was heralded by Eos, the dawn. He was able to see and hear everything and was therefore a witness at oaths. One morning, Phaeton, one of Helios' numerous sons, climbed into his chariot wishing to emulate his father, but he climbed too high and crashed down to Earth.

Apollo in earlier Greek literature was not specifically the sun god. He was particularly the god of prophecy, notably on behalf of his father Zeus (Jupiter). He was also one of the gods of arts (above all of music), the healing arts, and archery. Apollo was the son of Zeus, king of the gods and the female titan Leto. He was fed nectar and ambrosia as a child, a divine form of nourishment which imparted eternal youth and beauty. His most important worship was at Delphi, the place at which he had killed the clairvoyant snake Python. He also played the lute and the lyre, which he received from his half-brother Hermes (Mercury).

The subsequent association of Apollo with the sun probably stems from the similarity of his functions and nature with the Egyptian sun-god Horus. The ancient Egyptians called the sun the Eye of Horus.

Despite Apollo's beauty and artistic talents, the young men and women he desired tried to avoid him, just as when the sun is able to radiate in all its glory it is too much for mortals to bear who must protect themselves from its dazzling light.

Apollo's oracle in Delphi had the maxim: "Know thyself, so that you may know God!". This is a fitting description of the sun's symbolism in the horoscope.

Interpretation

The sun symbolizes the life force itself and the central aspect of the personality. One of the principal tasks in life is to develop one's innate potential represented by the sun by sign and house position. It stands for an individual's basic identity. It indicates one's ego, or sense of self. This might help explain why most astrological newspaper columns mention only the so-called star sign or sun-sign: the sign of the zodiac in which the sun is placed.(Popular Astrology). The sun does indeed have special significance in the horoscope, but it is not the basis for an entire chart interpretation.

The moon and ascendant are equally important as the sun, although they have different qualities. The sun plays an active and creative role in the person's life, the moon shows how her needs can be met to best express her lunar nature. The ascendant indicates the person's body and outward personality. Depending on the sun's position, the native's sense of identity may be readily apparent to observers or be well-hidden from view.

The sun acts as the conductor in the orchestra of planets and has an integrating function. The sun's house and sign positions describe how and where an individual will feel and develop this energy. Any planets or axes the sun aspects will be integrated into this area of life.

Traditional astrologers generally view a planet conjunct the sun, with the exception of Mars, as weakened by its proximity to the sun's overwhelming light. Modern astrologers, in contrast, believe that a planet conjunct the sun will indicate qualities with which the person identifies. Planets in sextile or trine to the sun suggest heightened self-confidence; whereas hard aspects to the sun may indicate self-esteem issues.

A small child is not yet in a position to tap into the full energy of the sun, and the development and process of active integration usually begins from about the age of seven.

Any transits by the sun last only one or two days and signify a process of increased awareness in the area concerned. Longer-lasting transits to the natal sun by other planets can either be times of enhanced self-confidence (trines, sextiles) or identity crises (square, opposition.)

The sun stands for the fatherly, masculine principle. In a more concrete sense it stands for the actual father or other figures of authority. In a man's horoscope the sun is part of his masculine identity, together with the planet Mars. Conversely, in a woman's horoscope the sun and Mars reveal her perception of the masculine principle and ideal man.[1] The sun and Leo also rule a range of emotions related to pride and even arrogance, honour, and political power.

Egyptian sun god Ra

Mundane Astrology

Because astrology emerged in highly structured societies of the past, where few people could hope to fully express their unique identities in powerful ways, the sun also indicates the people who could self-actualize: one's king or political ruler. In matters of a nation or a country the Sun particularly "represents the Prime Minister, aristocracy, magistrates, judges and all persons in authority and of distinction, Cabinet ministers and the like. It also represents public heroes and national champions."[2]

Medical Astrology

The heart, circulatory system, back and spine are associated with the sun.

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an important solar herb. Also Calendula officinalis (English marigold).

Its metal is gold.

Rulerships

The sun is domiciled in Leo, in detriment in Aquarius, exalted in Aries, and in its fall in Libra.

See also

Rider-Waite Tarot deck

Weblinks

Bibliography

  • Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas, 1992, The Luminaries: The Psychology of the sun and moon in the horoscope, Samuel Weiser, Inc.
  • Paul, Haydn, 1991. Lord of the Light: Exploring the Astrological Sun, Element Books.

Notes and References

  1. Although today her sun also stands for her own sense of self independently of the men in her life
  2. Skyscript (Deborah Houlding, Tom Callanan, Sue Toohey)