The Sun arrives after a period of upheaval and transformation (in The Hanged One, Death, and The Tower). An unruly time where things are dismantled that used to provide structure and even though it may have been false prophets we caught ourselves worshipping, belief can be a comforting bed in which to rest. The Moon took us into the void and The Sun arrives in the aftermath to reveal that all the ghosts we encountered in that illusory moonscape are only haunting us because we keep pretending we don’t believe in ghosts.
In my experience with the cards, the energy of The Sun is less soothing, more revelatory and I’ve never chosen to go there, it has always come to me. I used to conceive of shadow work as something I needed “to do” but I think it’s more something that shows up when the conditions are right. We can’t stop the sun from rising, but we can choose to not look away once it has done the work of illuminating things.
It occurred to me that most of the overtly planetary tarot cards, The Star, The Sun, and The Moon are traditionally pictured in natural scenes with rivers, forests, and fields as the backdrop to the action of creatures and figures. But perhaps these natural environments are actually the main character? The landscapes tell us how to prepare for the arrival. They are cues on how to behave so we’re equipped to make eye contact with what we find: bathe in the nurturing waters of The Star so we are connected to our undefended hearts; know our edges enough to walk into the forest with the Moon and float in the void without becoming it; and finally, step into the day-filled meadow with a sense of wholeness so we can meet what we find harbouring in the sunflowers with curiousity rather than fear. The Sun is not the respite from shadow work, it is where we greet it and know we won’t unravel in the company of shadows.
If you’ve been following along here, you know that I’ve been deeply inspired lately by Jessica Dore’s book, Tarot for Change. What she wrote about The Sun inspired the artwork above and she says this about the card: “The task here is to shine and light on, and in doing so come into real relationship with, the creatures that we long ago relegated to the bottoms of the damp wells on the edges of our awareness. It is to courageously follow the bouncing ball into the shadowy forests and see what’s there”
I used to feel haunted. I wasn’t sure what was stalking me, but I knew it was true and whether something is “real” is irrelevant if it feels true. Turns out my ghost was my inner child patiently waiting for me to pay attention. But I wasn’t ready to be a parent. I needed more equipment and resources before I could enter that particular forest and all the responsibility and acceptance it would require. I didn’t know how to tend properly. But when I was finally at home enough in my self, she came to me. So perhaps it was me who was waiting patiently. I was the ghost.
I wonder if the point of life is figuring out how to come home to ourselves. My list of strategies will probably look different than yours but I think it starts with a desire for a way out of something. It’s impossible to even imagine the destination but the urge for movement is undeniable. A catalyst for me was the almost unbearable experience of aloneness after the loss of three relationships quite close to each other. I needed a new refuge, one that was stable and consistent, so I started making it. I don’t think we can never know when we’re “ready”, the shadows just show up and we decide what to do with them. Looking away is valid and always an option. But on the other side of looking is seeing and that can be a true homecoming.
As we edge toward the Spring Equinox and the daylight stretches there is a natural feeling of emergence. How do we meet these urges for movement as they begin to reach for the sunlight? Maybe our only job is to be pulled along by the reaching and try not to look away.
Images: 1. Digital illustration by me. 2. The Star, The Moon, and The Sun from Modern Witch Tarot.