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The Sun in Shadow

“Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life...If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature...Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.”

― C.G. Jung, The Red Book: A Reader's Edition.

We love it when we get the Sun card.

It doesn’t matter which deck we work with, the Sun card is often radiant, chirpy and colourful. I have rarely heard a description of this card that is dark or foreboding. However, I think the archetypes have deep roots in the dark, the shadow, and I also wonder about whether our primal beginnings are not also swathed in shadow. Sometimes it feels that to understand a smidgen of what the light is truly about is a privilege.

As holistic practitioners we often have the messy and mucky stuff to work through if not for clients then certainly for ourselves.

How do we take the obligatory positive inferences of a card like the Sun and consider the implications of it not being so light after all?

The Sun, as part of its meaning and symbolism brings us closer to the concept of light. It is a hugely powerful image of knowledge, well-being and spiritual unfoldment. Wrapped up in the glorious picture of celestial radiance are ideas about self-awareness, enlightenment and growth. Drawing this card reminds us of an awakening that will lead to happiness, good mental health and clarity and we reach out to embrace the positive influences promised by its placement in the spread.

At this point just take a moment to reflect on what that positivity means to you.

Perhaps you are investing in yourself through study or pursuing the creative arts. Maybe fortuitous friends have entered your life or your home is about to be upgraded. These mundane aspects hold us in their enthral as we work our way through our daily trials and tribulations.

The bottom line is that life would perish without the life giving rays of the sun.

The ancients saw this burning star as a God force and to this day we worship it in our own inimitable way.

Yet, the shadow that can be cast amidst all this heat, light, gas and gamma is one that speaks of the abuse of power. The shadow side of the sun can speak to us about an overinflated sense of self, a fragile attachment to power which when challenged falls into the mire.

The need for experience that overrides the call to wisdom and shows an appetite for self-aggrandisement that can’t be easily satisfied.

Imagine our inner world all scorched and burned away, the charred wreckage of many good intentions, the flame of passion became a funeral pyre for ideas and concepts that were not built to last but somehow carried all the hopes for a future…

The toxic ego that lives beyond its spiritual ken and like Mad Max makes its home amongst the nuclear fallout from previous attempts to rule the world, a world, any world.

The innocent and the childish are swept away by a total eclipse, the flame no more than a spark can only be spark and can’t be passed off as a bonfire!

The Sun is a reminder of our concealed potential waiting to be revealed.

It is the illumination that we seek in all things. It is the mystical self, developing insights through happenstance in chaos.

In its shadow we are asked to look at our inhibitions, to question an ego that doesn’t allow self-esteem or a system of values.

Do we live in our head, are we being too cerebral?

The highway points to the heart, the longest journey yet it is only of 14 inches. Compassion is a living force in the universe and we are asked to reconnect to this and to attempt to understand the interconnectedness in all things.

When the Sun turns up in a spread...

Just take a moment to think about the dark corners of our life that we glimpse through the falling ray of sunshine. Reach into the shadow as there we will find our liberation. Let go of dusty opinions and views, step into the transformative essence of light and breathe.


1. Where do I need clarity in my life?

2. What has caused the confusion or conflict?

3. What will assist me to see with clarity?

4. What do I have to illuminate in order to succeed?

5. How can I bring order into my situation?

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