You can read an introduction to the light & shadow series and find links to its other installments >> here! If you aren’t yet familiar with my interpretation of the Sun you might want to read up on its meanings before you continue with this article.
The Sun is among those cards which at first glance seem to be exclusively positive, especially when interpreted along traditional lines. To me, it was an impotent, treacly feel-good card for a long time, inapt at inspiring true insight. It only became truly useful in readings when I stopped overlooking its negative implications.
Yes, the Sun does indeed represent many productive, positive, issues and goings-on. If you are a person who prefers summer and heat to winter and cold, the literal interpretation of the Sun means something very pleasant to you: warmth, and light. Emotional warmth, and figurative light, are almost by definition pleasant and almost always productive, just as happiness, joy, and celebration seem inherently good. At least if the card relates to a person who is not wont to suppress or overlook the dark side of life or darker aspects of themselves or others, then it very likely points to something good!
If the Sun represents awareness, this awareness will be experienced as something positive, pleasant, if the awareness is of something we welcome. And even if the awareness is of something we don’t welcome, I would still argue that awareness is almost always productive. In my experience it is in the long run much better to be aware of the facts early, even if they cause some pain, than being “blissfully” unaware of them until it is too late to do something or until a lot of damage has already been done because not knowing meant we were unable to act appropriately.
When the Sun represents obviousness in a reading, this can often be a very productive thing, both when that which is obvious is something pleasant, and when it is not. For often, we don’t allow ourselves to admit that something is obvious – because admitting it would also mean that we’d then have to act accordingly – for example, accept obviously deserved praise, or split up with an obviously abusive partner. Especially if the Sun relates to a person who tends to sit on the fence, or to doubt themselves, the Sun is likely saying to trust that yes, things are as obvious as they seem, and to act accordingly.
As for charisma, success, and confidence, they are similar to happiness and celebration in the sense that they seem implicitly positive. Who wouldn’t like to have charisma or success, and who wouldn’t like to be confident? Now, in any concrete reading, we need to have a good look if the success in question is honestly earned, if the confidence is well-founded, or if someone’s charisma is used to do honest and good deeds. If the answer is yes, then they are indeed good things!
While many of the Sun’s meaning seem inherently positive, depending on the context of the reading the card has quite a few negative, unproductive implications. A simple example is that if you are a person who doesn’t bear heat well, who prefers autumn and winter to summer, the literal interpretation of the Sun means something very unpleasant to you: unbearable heat. And I mentioned above that understood metaphorically, as emotional warmth, and figurative light, as happiness, joy, and celebration, the Sun may seem to represent something which is implicitly good. Maybe it’s this seeming implicitness which makes the few exceptions – when the Sun points at something unproductive – so momentous, so poignant. Here is what I’m speaking about. If you draw the Sun, it is not unlikely to be saying that someone is truly happy, that a situation is truly bright, full of light. But it might also be saying that someone is only acting as if this were the case – because they can’t bear the truth; because they cannot deal with the fact that in reality things aren’t going well, that a situation is rather dark, that something disturbing is going on below the surface. The Sun could be saying that someone is glossing over something dark by pretending that everything is super-duper happy and bright. And if that’s the case, the Sun represents something very, very unproductive.
Above, I argued that awareness is almost always productive because being aware of the facts, even if they are unpleasant facts, enables us to act appropriately, in accordance with reality. However, in a few cases, the Sun could still point at something unproductive. If someone is aware of something but doesn’t have the (mental, emotional, physical etc.) means to deal with it productively, then it might indeed have been better if they had remained unaware. For example, a child is unlikely to profit in any healthy way from knowing one of their parents is having an affair. Instead, their awareness is likely a huge burden to them, and possibly quite destructive.
If the Sun represents obviousness, this can be something quite negative if obviousness shows itself in the form of superficiality, shallowness – if the person the card relates to only looks as far as the surface. The Sun can stand for someone who thinks everything is very simple and obvious – because they never bother to look any further than the tip of their own nose, because they never bother to dig deeper.
As for charisma, success, and confidence, I mentioned above that they all seem very positive. In any concrete reading, however, we need to have a good look if the success in question is honestly earned, if the confidence is well-founded, or if someone’s charisma is used to do honest and good deeds. If the answer is no, if the Sun relates to a person who is dishonest, manipulative, or has an unrealistically grand self-image, then this person’s success, charisma, or confidence, are bad news for everyone else (and, probably, even for themselves).