January 2018. I drew “the sun” as my card for the year from my crisp, new tarot deck. when this card appeared, it was definitely not at the most glorious vignette of my life.
I was in the middle of piecing together part-time jobs to make ends meet and felt like a horse following a carrot as one of my employers kept promising for months that my position was going to be made permanent. exhausted—and financially strapped—I had finally decided to focus my efforts elsewhere and start applying to other places.
but amongst this turmoil, there was also a great deal of new joy and curiosity in my life. my years long flirtation with the metaphysical was quickly becoming a hot and heavy love affair! I had just bought my first tarot deck and was absolutely consumed by a need to read anything and everything on learning how to interpret the cards. I was intoxicated by the rich symbolism in each card and how they continue to tell new stories and sing new songs when in different spreads, asked different questions, at different points in my life! It felt like a chance to dialogue with the divine. I had also just completed my first reiki training where I was able to access and recognize my power as a healer—not just of others, but how I had the ability and power to heal myself.
so when I saw the optimism and radiance of the sun gazing back at me, I couldn’t help but feel relief. finally, things will be easier, I thought to myself. after months of piecing together jobs, stumbling into the field of communications after graduating with a degree in biology and English, I was ready for the waters to become a bit smoother.
but, as you know when you work with the tarot, these energies aren’t so simple—especially when applied over a long period of time. instead of just sunshine and rainbows, this past year has offered an incredible concoction of both hard, painful lessons and crushing grief, directly juxtaposed with radiant rewards, inspiration, and incredible opportunities.
the sun taught me that joy often comes in spite of the memory of pain; that you cannot turn off the lights and unsee the landscape of your life once they’ve been turned on; that life will often provide a reason to celebrate and a reason for suffering—it is also not our responsibility to try to reconcile these two worlds but instead to hold space for each; that we are left with the responsibility to orient ourselves towards what will nourish us.
as i’ve learned about astrology, tarot, and more, i’ve always found the personal stories about how these energies have manifested to be the most informative. as a result, I wanted to share my experiences with how the sun has manifested itself in my life over this past year so that you can potentially draw upon it when you draw this card or see this energy manifesting in your life. let’s dive in!
the sun & ITS MEANING
in the wooden tarot, the sun is depicted as a fox whose head has turned into a sunflower. in the center of the card, this sunflower fox stands with winding vines pining towards the sun that shines brightly and unobscured overhead.
in this depiction, the first question I always face is: why is the fox’s head a sunflower?
the sunflower, blossoming at the height of the summer, is clearly fitting for the sun as it is associated with solar deities. when the sunflower blossoms, its heavy, flowered head also tracks the sun as it travels through the sky. here, the fox is no longer driven by scent, eyes, taste, sound, or even the thoughts that drive its actions. instead, it is in complete orientation towards the sun and becomes a complete embodiment of this orientation. the sun, as a card, asks us to continuously orient ourselves towards its light. perhaps this light is joy, happiness, that pomp and circumstance, but I think its light can also offer truth and literal enlightenment.
furthermore, I find it deeply intriguing that a fox is out in broad daylight in this card! our wise, clever trickster typically roams around at dusk and dawn, living in the liminality between the darkness and the day. seeing a crepuscular animal out in the broad daylight seems to further emphasize the exposure and revealing nature that the sun provides where no one can hide or scurry into the darkness.
after all, during our normal day we have the ebb and flow of light and darkness, there is time to reveal ourselves and a. time to retreat inward. but with the sun, this ever present light is like pandora’s box. once is it opened, you can’t close it. instead, the landscape shifts and transforms under this unyielding brightness. now it is easier to see what brings us happiness, joy, celebration, and offers us a chance to celebrate in these truths—to be nourished by these elements just as the sunflower feeds upon light.
but the sun is indiscriminate in its application. after all, while a bit of a crude metaphor, when the lights turn on the cockroaches scatter. there are no longer ravines or valleys for shadow to collect and hide dishonesties, the things that bring us dread or suck the energy right out of us. it reminds me of surgical light shining on a wound that reveals exactly the extent of damage. whether beautiful or ugly, you cannot diminish the light of the sun and the truth it brings.
now, in its beautiful, blinding brightness, we survey a new landscape. we become almost all seeing in this moment, finally able to truthfully and honestly assess our lives now that all the details have been revealed to us in its splendid beauty, but also its frightening ugliness—it is all there out in the open.
my key word for the sun is revelation: an act of revealing or communicating the divine truth.
what’s challenging but beautiful about this revelation, is now that we have all the pieces and the truth has been revealed, it is now our time to act upon that information. we become the fox, our heads turned to sunflowers. we get to blossom, to shine bright, beautifully, fully, but also we are asked to track the sun. what is bringing us joy? what is asking us to live to our fullest potential? furthermore, we can see any threats that were lurking in the shadows—people can be see for who they really are and their motives out in the open and now you have the chance to act upon that as well.
along with this loss of darkness, there is a sense of stage lights being turned on you. the curtain has been pulled away, what can nourish and fulfill you has been revealed, and it is your time to step onto the stage to embody this role! there will be that demand and push to embody that divine truth that’s been revealed for you. it’s time to become a sunflower.
living under the sun
i’m grateful for the lessons that the sun has taught me, in both its pain and the deep happiness that it has granted me.
I feel so much stronger and resourced after this year—the constant process of reorienting towards what is working, what is shining, what fills me with life, lest I succumb to the darkness and challenges that were revealed to me when the lights were turned on.
the most challenging and painful aspect of this year has likely been becoming estranged from my family.
with the sun casting light onto all aspects of my life—and forcing parts of it into view—I reached a point where I just could no longer make excuses for my family and its entirely dysfunctional dynamic. instead of brushing away the emotional pain I would feel every time I would visit my parents, I started to actually listen to it. I could feel my body tense just stepping into the doorway; I felt the weight of my exhaustion in every conversation becoming a therapy session that I would provide; I felt the devastation of realizing that I had been emotionally abandoned years ago, that I was waiting for them to finally show up, and how I was always disappointed. but finally, after years and years of making excuses, of believing that I could somehow “fix it,” a different path was revealed.
I could no longer bring myself to make excuses as I could plainly see the dynamic at play—that my parents, while certainly not happy in this dynamic, found it more comfortable that breaking free. I finally saw that I could walk away; the obstacles I had imagined that blocked me from this path melted away. while it was painful to embark on that path, I mostly felt freedom in choosing something that made me feel stronger and happier rather than depleted and used. this feeling of empowerment, strength, joy has far outweighed the grief I have experienced. and this is what I meant by that joy often comes in spite of the memory of pain. the freedom, the joy, the empowerment that I have felt comes from the memories of entrapment, manipulation, paralyzation, pain, guilt, and disappointment and how I now get to revel in their absence.
this year of revelation has also graced my life in the most bountiful ways. my magical practice has evolved exponentially—it almost feels like this door was opened that I could finally step through and find all the resources I was searching for. I have found a beautiful, loving, supportive, and cozy community of fellow witches, metaphysical practitioners, and healers who inspire me on a daily basis. i’ve also had the amazing opportunity to offer some of these resources through craft night, which gina from incandescent tarot and I developed as a way to continue growing and connecting this community.
I also found my voice. i’m confident calling myself a witch and, even more so, calling for the respectful and accurate documentation of witchcraft, paganism, and metaphysical practices in the south. from this inspiration, I started the origin story project and am honored to partake in and preserve the life stories of incredible witches, pagans, and metaphysical practitioners. I even felt so called to and passionate about this subject that I applied to graduate school for folklore so I could better serve this community!
i’m grateful for the love, the joy, the celebration, and also the strength and power to face emotional darkness and pain head-on knowing that I will, eventually, come out on the other side. the journey of the sunflower has been deeply illuminating and offered the lesson of learning how to orient towards and embody the light that feeds you. I feel that this light has lit my soul on fire, inspired me, and allowed me to realize exactly what I am capable of, worthy of, and here on this earth for—a transformation that couldn’t have happened without allowing the dark, hidden parts of myself get cast in the sunlight and to excise what I no longer felt like embodying.
have a reflection you want to share?
each of our stories hold so much power and knowledge, so I would love to hear the energetic themes you’ve been experiencing for the past year by either writing me a note or sharing via instagram! you can also take some time to draw a card that represents this past year, write out what you notice, and send it on!
while i’ll be continuing to write and share my thoughts in the meantime, but i’m nervous and excited to say I will be sharing what my card is for 2019 come January—so stay tuned!