The Sun as a Celestial Body

If we look at the astronomical facts about our Sun, we gain support for the assertion that it is the most important factor in our charts. The Sun contains 99.9% of all matter in the solar system—the planets, their moons, the asteroids, comets, and meteors all together comprise only .1%! The weight of the Sun is 700 times greater than the combined weights of all the planets. Thus the sheer immensity of the Sun dwarfs any other part of the solar system, and the Sun in our chart represents that immense influence.

There can be no life in our solar system without the Sun, and there can be no Sun without hydrogen. Hydrogen is the basic building material out of which stars such as our Sun are formed. Other matter is then produced by nuclear reactions inside the star. Incredibly high temperatures fuse hydrogen into helium, then into increasingly more complicated elements. Hydrogen and helium make up 99% of all matter, and the process of changing hydrogen into helium takes up 99% of the lifetime of a star, while the remaining elements are formed in the last 1% of its life span as a star.

Hydrogen, then, is the basic matter out of which all other matter is formed. It is the simplest of all atoms, a single electron circling a nucleus of one neutron and one proton. I found the diagram of a hydrogen atom and was stunned to see that it looks exactly like the glyph for the Sun. Significantly, scientists designate hydrogen as element No. 1 and place it centrally in the table of elements, just as numerology assigns the number 1 to the Sun. Burning hydrogen keeps the Sun alive, and billions of years from now when its hydrogen is gone, it will collapse in on itself and die. The Sun's heat and light gained from burning hydrogen are what keep us alive. The Sun itself is alive, according to old-time occultists like Vera Stanley Alder. They teach that the stars and planets are living beings, evolved to an extent we cannot conceive of. Most scientists regard occultists and mystics as foolish, yet the borders of modern science—especially quantum physics—are evolving in increasingly mystical directions.

Scientists are discovering that all systems— from single atoms, to cells, to solar systems, to entire galaxies—are organized in the same way. There is a center or nucleus around which all other matter in the system revolves. This principle is shown clearly in the ancient symbol for the Sun, which proves to be a timeless diagram for the understanding of life. It strikes me that when the Bible says that God made man in His own image, it may not be talking about a man-shaped God at all. Instead it may refer to the fact that all life operates out of this same principle of matter revolving around a nucleus, including the atoms and cells that make up the human body.

If all things in life revolve around their center, so must we. In order to live fully and develop our best potential, we must be centered. To be centered is to act out of the innermost depths of our being, out of a sure and comfortable knowledge of who we are. Just as the Sun is the center of the solar system, the Sun in our charts symbolizes our personal center. Studying its sign, house, and aspects can help us find ourselves. Ignoring the Sun in your chart is risking the loss of that center around which everything in our lives must revolve. A good centering technique is to meditate on the Sun symbol itself, focusing on it until you feel yourself drawing deep inside. It is like a simplified mandala3. (The potent symbol for the Sun will have a section all its own, but it is hard to talk about the Sun at all without referring to its symbol.)

To be centered is not the same as being self-centered, as many people with prominent Sun or Leo placements can be. When we are children, we believe that every thing revolves around us. We exist in a state that psychologists call infantile omnipotence. That is, we believe ourselves to be the center of our universe, that we create everything that comes to us, and that everything exists only for us. In short, we believe we are God. Actually, we ARE God, but so is everyone and everything else in the universe. (The Sun rules Leo, and Leos often retain a lifelong belief that everything revolves around them.)

The Sun remains the center of our solar system because of gravity. The force of gravity is the weakest of the forces holding our universe together, yet the Sun's gravity is so strong (28 times that of the earth) that it keeps all the planets in orbit around it. Every planet in our chart also orbits around our own Sun, and its in-drawing force should keep the Sun the center of our lives, rather than letting one of the other planets take over. To be centered elsewhere than in your Sun or to let one of the planets assume more importance than the Sun leads us to become eccentric (literally, offcenter) or self-defeating.

We can gain insight by thinking about the phenomena associated with the Sun. Eclipses were greatly feared in antiquity; today nobody much is afraid of them

3 A mandala is a circular design common in Asian religions that symbolically conveys the Universe, the totality, the deity, and wholeness.

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except those astrologers who see them as "afflictions" of great portent. Since solar eclipses occur in predictable series of 2-5 a year, astronomers prepare well in advance and travel to those spots on earth where the eclipse will be total. During a solar eclipse, they collect information about the Sun's atmosphere and composition. The Sun in our charts represents both the ego and the basic self. Just as it takes an eclipse to show us the true nature of the Sun, we often learn most about our own true nature in times of stress when the ego is temporarily darkened or shut out.

Sunspots are an interesting phenomenon that occurs in regular cycles. A sunspot is a dark area that crosses the face of the Sun and creates magnetic storms on the earth. An astrological colleague, Robert Knight, explained sunspots to me by likening them to acne on the Sun's surface-places where the Sun's grainy surface protrudes from underneath. This analogy interested me because metaphysically skin disturbances represent identity problems, and we get the most acne as teenagers, when we are least sure of who we are. The Sun in our charts represents our basic identity.

This exploration of the Sun as a celestial body should demonstrate that it is by far the most potent force in the solar system and in our charts. As stars go, the Sun may be fairly small and faint, but we couldn't exist without it. The Sun is the only real source of light in our solar system; the light of the planets is only reflected sunlight. If you want to find the true source of light in your own life, focus and meditate on the Sun in your chart.

The Sun Glyph and Its Power

The glyph for the Sun is the most powerful of all astrological symbols and the richest in meaning. I taught astrology in a center for the treatment of alcoholism and once devoted an entire session to this symbol. We kept pushing deeper and deeper to see what lessons we could learn from its form and shape, and we finally reached such a profound level of understanding that several of the men were moved to tears. I only hope I can recapture some of the spirit of that session with you.

The symbol for the Sun is at least 50,000 years old and most likely a great deal older than that.4 The evidence for this comes from tablets discovered in Mexico by archaeologists, who place the tablets in the tertiary geological era because of the conditions that surround them. On the tablets, the symbol stood for the Sun, which was worshipped as the god named Ra. In later tablets, the symbol also represented the king; powerful kings were given the title Ra and regarded as divine. This equation of the king with the Sun/Godhead is seen in many countries and many eras—in the Egyptian Pharaohs, in the Sun kings of China, and in the European concept of the divine right of kings. In astrology, the Sun rules the regal sign, Leo. Interestingly, the outer layer of the Sun is called the corona (Latin for crown) because of its crown-like protrusions.

In occult symbolism, the circle represents totality, infinity, eternity, and all there is. The dot in the middle of the Sun symbol indicates a specific point, place, individual, or time within that totality. Yet we never experience a true totality, because there is always

4 Bans Stefan Santesson, Understanding MU, Paperback Library, N.Y., 1970, p. 51.

something greater. For instance, the glyph could represent an atom, the dot being the nucleus. If you were an electron, that atom would seem to stretch to infinity. It could also represent a cell; from the nucleus, your boundaries would seem to stretch to infinity, yet there are millions of cells in one human being.

From the point of view of a human being in our solar system, the sun seems to stretch to infinity, yet there are at least 100 billion solar systems in our galaxy, which is so vast that our Sun takes 200 million years to rotate around the galaxy's center. Galaxies are not even the outer limits of Creation, because they occur in clusters of up to 10,000 and are very likely to be revolving around some vast, undiscovered center. My favorite playpen on the Internet is the Astronomy Picture of the Day, which abounds in images of galaxies, nebulas, and other astronomical phenomena. A session spent looking at their archives helps us grasp the vastness of creation. (Visit it at:

In addition to all the systems traced above, the astrological Sun represents the self. It therefore is a symbolic confirmation that we are part of All That Is, as well as a pointed reminder that there are far greater things in the universe than we can ever know. We are divine, yet miniscule. If the dot in the center represents us, the circle that represents totality shows that we are separate, yet one with everything there is.

For the person who is heavily self-centered, however, that circle represents a wall between the self and all that is—a separation from the oneness. In astrological symbolism, the circle is also said to represent spirit. The dot in the circle is the center of our being, the soul, so the Sun symbol reminds us that we are spiritual at the core of our being. The dot is surrounded by spirit, and God is all around us. The circle is a boundary or ring that keeps us from getting lost, and we can never escape our spirituality.

Leaving behind traditional symbolism and letting intuition go to work, the symbol for the Sun also suggests an egg. The egg is another source of life force out of which something develops. The egg is dormant, yet once fertilized contains all that is needed to produce an adult. The egg represents the total potential of an individual, and so does the Sun in the chart. Our oneness with all life is seen in the course of development of the human embryo, for it goes through stages of looking like an amoeba, a fish, a reptile and a bird, before passing into an irrevocably human form about seven weeks after conception.

Another idea the symbol makes me think of is a target with a bull's-eye, and the Sun in our charts is what we aim for. This is another reminder that we must focus and center ourselves if we want to hit the target. It is also like looking down into a funnel or tunnel, both of which require concentration if we need to remain in the center.

The Sun symbol also looks like the human eye. The eyes are said to be the windows of the soul and are especially revealing of the person's true character and intent. Likewise the Sun in the chart represents the soul and the true character. The Sun in the chart is both the I AM and the ego. The ego can get in the way of real self-development. If you are

too self-centered, you lose sight of the spiritual center, the I AM.

Then, too, the symbol reminds me of a rapidly spinning wheel. The Wheel of Fortune and the Mayan Wheel of Incarnation come to mind. The circle reminds us that life is cyclical and that history is always repeating itself. The dot in the center shows that the only way to get off the wheel is to become centered in spirit. I believe that the sign, house, and aspects of the Sun in the chart show the most important tasks and goals of this soul in this particular incarnation and the place where the greatest development can occur.

As you can see, the Sun symbol is extremely rich in meaning. What we've discerned so far is not the totality, but only the egg. If you keep meditating on this symbol, still deeper levels of meaning may unfold.


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