Having grown up in South Central Texas I only have a pocketful of them, mostly from my college days where I spent two years on the East Coast and several more in the mountains of New Mexico.
My husband, from Pennsylvania, has many, many more. He knows of the feeling of being surrounded by so much snow and ice that the only place one can go is in…sit down by the hearth, steep a cup of tea, prepare to fall into a good book or long game of chess.
Our sons find it impossible, especially the oldest. For him, the notion of snow is much more concrete but no more proximal than ever. They find it impossible that there would be night after night of below-freezing temperatures, impossible that there would be so much snow that it wouldn’t all melt and be gone by the morning.
And, as we drive to school at the end of January on a day when the high will be in the mid-seventies and the birds are singing and the baby has a change of shorts in the back of the truck because at some point soon it will be too warm for his pants – well, their disbelief seems warranted.
I love snow and winter and always find myself irritated with the typical late January false spring that our region of Texas likes to tease us with.
Winter isn’t over, not yet, but I usually am annoyed at the mild and sunny days interrupting my winter coziness, coaxing me out into the garden, inviting me to have dirt spilling through my fingers as seeds are planted only to find, a few weeks later that we are back in the teeth of winter.
But this year and this time I find that I’m not annoyed at all with the appearance of the Sun. Rather, I’m welcoming it, drinking it in through my hair and my skin as much as I can. As the sparse, skeleton days of Winter feel like they have lasted not for a few months but rather for a full calendar year, I find that I am willing to take the Sun in whatever measure and by whatever means I can get it.
Within the major arcana of the Tarot, there are many stories. One of the stories is about falling from grace and then finding our way back up again, back home again.
The Sun card plays a significant role in that particular story. The Sun is the third to last card in most orderings of the Tarot’s Major Arcana. It is followed by Judgement and The World. The three cards that proceed it are The Tower, The Moon, and The Star. In this sequence the Sun is safety. It is a “home base” for every game of tag and hide and seek.
The Tower is where things fall apart. Where every edifice we thought was sure and certain crumbles before our eyes. We are left with ruins. We must build something new from scratch.
The Moon is our struggle…to move beyond what is familiar and comfortable and known, and to envision through imagination and intuition something that has not yet been tried and then…go for it. The Star is Dante’s Divine Comedy, it is a slow progression, finding our way, anchored by the one fixed compass point we have been able to recover.
The Sun is when we really arrive.
Before we have to sit and assess and critique in Judgement before we get to the grand finale and celebration in the World, the Sun is a returning to life, we have emerged from the realm of the ruinous and the unknown, we have crossed a threshold into something decidedly new.
This is why, when Tarot readers pull the Sun card, if they are sharp and know what they are about, they will always be sure to let their querent know that the card can signify pregnancy – literal and metaphorical both – the epitome of nascence and newness.
Some years are threshold years and some years are years of arrival. Arriving into a new year out of a threshold year can be a daunting affair, especially if you were walking through realms of ruin and struggle, especially if you saw things you held once as certain falter and fall.
When we come out of years like that, a year like what we just experienced, we do not in most cases race across the threshold with arms open wide. We are now wiser and seasoned and we know that the things we once thought we could solidly embrace may not be able to sustain the pressure.
Instead, we remember the wild animal in each of us, the feral cat or dog on the corner who might be brave enough first to look at you in the eye for a moment, and then – often many weeks later – to eat food out of a bowl you put on your steps, and then – many weeks later after that – perhaps, and if you are very lucky, allow you to touch their pelt.
Like such creatures, we exercise caution and trepidation with every step, because so far, it has kept us alive. The warm light and promise of new life and new possibility sound good, but we first ask again and again, can they be trusted?
In truth sometimes yes and sometimes no. Sometimes, like in the land where I live, the Sun showers us with kindness and then snatches it back as quickly as it was bestowed.
Sometimes we make it to home base only to discover that in the next round we have tagged IT one more time and so the game must continue.
But as we come out of this past threshold year I would encourage all of us to open our arms just a little, to point ourselves to what is good and hopeful and possible for us, our loved ones, our neighbors, and all of those we will never know and to make that vision of the good and the possible our guiding light.
Under tonight’s Full Moon in Leo – the sign ruled by the Sun, I would ask that we all let the Sun in and let ourselves be warmed.
In magical circles, The Moon is often privileged above the Sun. The Sun is masculine, rational, and hot, so the story goes.
And of course, that is narrower than a narrow way of viewing the Sun (not to mention masculinity, reason, and heat).
In the depths of winter when the Sun seems weakest we know it is actually growing in strength and that even now the days are getting longer.
If you wish to be seen, heard, or appreciated, if you wish to be a source of life and good living and to experience growth, then the magic of the Sun is magic you want to have in your life.
So here are some ways to bring the power of the Sun into your world and self:
Learn where the sun rises and sets where you live and the arc it makes across the sky
Sunbathe – even inside! Find a window where light is pouring through and let yourself sit in that light.
Wear gold, yellow, orange, or hot pinks and purples – the colors of the Sun, Sunrises, and Sunsets
Eat citrus fruits – it is their season and they are sunshine made flesh!
Wear gold jewelry
Work with the mineral Sunstone
Cense your home with Frankincense
Wake up with the Sun
Create a solar altar honoring the medicine of the Sun and place it in the East or the South
Get to know Holy Helpers with solar affiliations like Jesus Christ, Apollo, Sekhmet, and Amaterasu Ōmikami
And remember, to let the Sun in. Yes, it takes bravery and courage and yes, I know you have both in good measure.