“Everyone plants their own happiness, everyone sows their own joy, and everyone holds their own destiny.”
The Bruegel Tarot, by Pietro Alligo and Guido Zibordi Marchesi
The Sun is the 19th Major Arcana, and the third of the celestial Trumps.1 This is perhaps the happiest card in the Tarot, and indicates that things are going extremely well. This week, I’m giving myself an additional challenge by looking at the Sun as depicted in a deck that’s brand new to me: the Bruegel Tarot.
The House You Built
The nice thing about the Sun is that it’s not telling you to simply sit back and relax, but that the happiness and joy that comes to you is because of your own labors and efforts. The background of this card is filled with people enjoying the fruits of their labors. We can see a farmer hard at work in the field, a woman seeming to enjoy tall trees, and somebody hanging up their laundry in the Sun’s warm rays.
This card is also a reminder to enjoy the good times when they happen. In the foreground, a man and a woman are building a wall. The tools of the trade are scattered about them, and the wall is obviously unfinished. However, they are happily rejoicing. This is also mirrored in the background, where crowds gather on the hillside and gaze up at the Sun in admiration.
The unfinished wall indicates that happiness and joy don’t need to wait until the completion of your work. You should find ways to also enjoy the process. The means to an end need to be as good for the soul as the end itself. A wall built with faulty materials is not going to be a great wall.
Strong Celestial Influence
This card also carries some potent esoteric symbolism. In the sky, the Sun shines brightly, illuminating the rest of the imagery in the card. Peeking over the horizon are a crescent moon and two planets, one of them ringed. This is a reminder that while the influence of the Spheres may be overshadowed by the power of the Sun, they lurk forever on the edges, waiting for darkness to fall and their power to increase. The happiness of the Sun must be worked for. While you can stop and enjoy it, you still need to sow the seeds of joy in order to reap the fruits of happiness. Like all things, the Sun is part of a cosmic cycle.
What are your thoughts on the symbolism of the Sun? How does this interpretation differ from other decks? Discuss!
In the photograph, the card is from the aforementioned Bruegel Tarot, copyright 2003 Lo Scarabeo. The image in the background is the Tower of Babel from Athanasius Kircher’s Theatre of the World: The Life and Work of the Last Man to Search for Universal Knowledge by Joscelyn Godwin (Inner Traditions, 2009).
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I drew it randomly. It’s a weird coincidence to have the Moon last week and the Sun this week, but sometimes that’s how the Tarot works. ↩
The sun card seems like an always positive one. The image of the sun with rebirth. My card deck has a young child on the back of a horse. The sun has a face, rather odd as we don’t think of the sun as having a face unlike the moon. I would see the sun standing for divine wisdom and us having a childlike confidence in the wisdom and strength given by God. Back to the face on the sun, like the moon – perhaps this is showing the merging of wisdom and intelligence with a childlike faith in the good things to come.
The wall on my card deck is complete. A wall exists to separate something, keep something in or out. Perhaps the wall is there to show we need to set a limit on our wisdom, or that we cannot have complete connection with the above so as below in our limited human capacity.
I feel more in this card, every time I feel like I can’t fully explain what I’m sensing.
Russell, that’s a very insightful look at the Sun card. I usually superficially look at the Sun as a card meaning happiness, but your association with divine wisdom and confidence is a solid interpretation. Light is definitely a symbol of wisdom, and the Sun has long been a symbol of divinity. Good catch.