Understanding Tarot: The Sun

the sun tarot
Tarot card art from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot Deck

The Understanding Tarot series is written by Claire Chilvers. It follows the Fool’s journey through the Major Arcana. You can find out more about Claire’s insights and readings at @ClaireChilversTarot

The sun feels like a distant memory for me as I sit looking out of my window at the snow flurries dancing outside in the sub-zero temperatures.

But, I know that (just because I cannot see it) the sun is always there in the sky providing warmth, life, and energy for us all. 

I was certainly reminded of this when I had a Skype call with a friend of mine, who is currently in Kenya enjoying the sun in its full glory. And when another friend of mine posted pictures on Facebook of a beautiful sunset from her home in Hawaii. 

The sun connects us all, no matter where we are in the world, and not just us humans, but all life on earth. In fact, our whole universe revolves around it.

There are times in our lives when we do feel that the sun is not shining for us, but, that simply isn’t true. It is always there, but, sometimes the clouds get in the way and prevent us from connecting with it. 

When people see The Sun tarot card, they are drawn to its positive, happy, joyful scene.

It certainly is a welcome change to some of the darker-themed cards that we have been working through in the second phase of this Fool’s Journey.

Unsurprisingly, it is the card that follows The Moon. Reminding us that no matter how dark the night gets, the sun will always follow. 

As we have followed The Fool on this long, enlightening (yet sometimes challenging) path, we are encouraged to join in his celebration as he completes this last part of his journey and reaches a point where he should be incredibly proud of his achievements.

At this point, for the Fool, he has accomplished everything he wanted to whilst managing to stay true to himself, and has completed what his soul set out to do when it returned to human form and began this life so many years ago.

He certainly should enjoy this celebration of his life and rejoice. And, as we have followed and resonated with his lessons card by card through this journey, we should all feel the elation that is symbolised by this card. 

We could be fooled into thinking this is the end of the journey for The Fool, but The Sun is numbered nineteen in the Major Arcana of the Tarot, which indicates that he has not quite finished learning all his life lessons just yet.

But, the positivity that exudes from this card gives the opportunity to enjoy the moment and not worry about what has passed or is about to come. It signifies a break to enjoy life’s pleasures – in a reading this card often pops up if a client has had, or is planning, a holiday.

A week or two in the sun, feeling free, and spoiling ourselves by relaxing, indulging in good food or drink, or exploring new cultures is a wonderful way to ‘switch off’ from reality, regroup and refresh oneself ready for the next chapter. 

But, the card has deeper layers than this first glance of a period of ‘fun in the sun’.

The card depicts a naked child, sitting on a horse; this child can often signify allowing our inner child to play and have fun. But, I often relate him and the horse to a card we have seen before. 

Cast your minds back to the Death card, with Death riding in on his white horse, holding a flag in his cold hand, and being met by a little child innocently offering flowers to him.

Strangely, the Sun card has many similarities to The Death card with some obvious changes. The small posey of flowers have been swapped for tall, proud and bright, cheerful sunflowers.

The boy is now sitting on the horse holding a flag – this time it is a bold red and far bigger flag and it would seem that the boy has also taken the red feather that poked out of Death’s helmet and placed it in his own flowery headband. He is sitting on the horse, no longer menacing with his red eyes, but, looking as pure and at ease as his rider.

The sun even made an appearance in the Death card too, peeking at us in the distance reminding us that he is never really too far away. 

We last saw these characters at a time when first impressions made us feel that all was lost. It was a transformational and traumatic time when people often believe that good times will never flourish again. But, the similarities between these two cards – which seem polar opposites in their messages -would suggest this is never the case.

It is a fitting reminder that life is filled with dark and light and we cannot move throughout our lives without experiencing them both.

In times of trouble, it is helpful to know that they will pass and not last forever, and in times of great joy, it is important to remember these moments are also temporary and make the most of them! 

Because, after all, we cannot stay partying in the sun forever which is the warning message in this card.

Nowadays, we are very aware of the negative elements of too much sun. And, this card can also show as a warning if someone is enjoying a party atmosphere a little too much which can eventually cause someone to feel burnt out in many different ways. 

As with all the tarot cards, the sun has this duality which we need to be aware of. And the lesson for us to absorb here (along with the warmth and vitamin D) is to ensure we allow ourselves just enough time to rejuvenate and revitalise ourselves when we have the opportunity to. 

Of course for most of us at the moment, joyful events are a little thin on the ground. Memorable family birthday celebrations, weddings, parties, and holidays are only something we can plan, rather than attend, at the moment. But, as I have mentioned above – the time will come and, when it does, be sure to enjoy every minute.

Read more of the Understanding Tarot Series here

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About the author

Claire Chilvers

Claire Chilvers is a writer and tarot reader and lives in Essex, UK. She offers tarot readings to clients in the UK and around the world via video calls (Skype usually), if you would like a reading please contact her at clairechilverstarot@yahoo.com. Claire also has a Youtube Channel where she shares daily readings- https://www.youtube.com/@dailytarotwithclaire