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Let the Sun Shine In ...
I think sometimes as a witch the moon tends to get pride of place and the sun perhaps takes a back seat? But it is an incredibly powerful source of natural energy and magic. If you assign to the general school of thought about gender (more on that later) the sun is a very strong masculine energy that balances with the feminine energy of the moon.
How does the sun make you feel when it shines on a beautiful spring day after we have been subjected to rain, wind and snow? Turning your face and feeling the warm rays of sun. Having a picnic in the park or sitting on the beach on a warm summer's day. Makes you feel mighty fine, that's how it makes you feel! Now, I must admit I am not one to lie on a beach topping up my tan for hours, I am most definitely an English rose (and by that, I mean white and pasty). Besides, too much sunshine fades tattoos ... However, I do appreciate the sunshine and I love being out in my garden when it is shining. And of course, I love working with sun magic.
The sun provides us with much nourishment not just in the form of Vitamin D which is necessary to keep us healthy but also in providing sunlight for plants and food to grow.
Magically, sunshine rays can be used to charge tools and crystals, to cleanse and purify pretty much any object or even yourself and focused through a magnifying glass onto paper or dry leaves it can even create fire. Just as we work with the phases of the moon for spell work, the sun has special times and phases that can be used to correspond with magical workings too. It also has a whole load of herbs, plants, foods and crystals associated with it.
And just as there is a tradition of drawing down the moon and her power into your body, you can do the same with the sun.CHAPTER 2
The Solar Cycle
Without getting too sciency (because I wouldn't understand it) let's have a look at the solar cycle. The sun is basically a big ball of hot gas that is electrically charged. The gas moves which creates a very powerful magnetic field. That magnetic field goes through a cycle. Approximately every eleven years that magnetic field flips completely causing the sun's north and south poles to swap over, then eleven or so years later it swaps back again. The solar cycle causes activity on the surface of the sun such as sunspots. The changing magnetic field activity affects the amount of movement on the surface of the sun.
At the beginning of a solar cycle there will be the least amount of sunspots and what is called a solar minimum meaning less activity. As time passes the activity increases. In the middle of the solar cycle when the sun has the highest number of sunspots the cycle is referred to as solar maximum (sounds like a Roman soldier ). As the cycle progresses towards its end the activity decreases again, until a new cycle begins.
The sun also has indigestion, these solar flares are huge eruptions on the surface of the sun and these also increase with the solar cycle. A solar flare sends large bursts of hot gas, material and electrically charged energy out into space. These solar flares can cause lights to be seen in the sky from earth, shorten the lifespan of satellites, disrupt ship navigation systems and can even effect radio signals. Particularly large flares can also impact upon electricity grids. I did say the sun was powerful!
Solar cycles vary, some have more activity than others. Our clever science bods try and track, record and therefore predict how strong and how long each solar cycle will be. Being able to predict in detail can help them to do a 'sun weather forecast' which is technically referred to as 'space weather'. Being able to predict space weather can obviously help us to protect our radio communication and keep travelling astronauts safe (solar flares bring radiation with them, which is incredibly bad for people out for a spacewalk).
The sun also has wind (pardon you), and it is spectacularly impressive blowing in at around 600,000 to two million miles per hour. The solar wind flows along the magnetic lines of force; some charged particles fly down into Earth's atmosphere and create beautiful colours of red and green. These colours are the Northern and Southern lights (Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis). You will usually have to be standing near to the North or South Pole to see them though.
Every 1.5 millionths of a second the sun releases more energy than every single human being put together consumes in an entire year. That is quite impressive.
The heat from the sun influences the environments of all the planets, moons, asteroids and comets in our solar system. This is one serious dude. It can create that amount of energy because it is basically an enormous ball of hydrogen held together by gravity causing a huge amount of pressure inside it. Hydrogen atoms collide with each other with enough force to create helium. Which means if the sun were to talk it would probably have a high squeaky voice ... This process is called nuclear fusion, the atoms continually collide with each other creating a chain reaction that happens over and over and over ... and you get the idea. The energy builds and can get as hot as 27 million degrees Fahrenheit in the core (ain't no sun factor for that). The energy travels outwards and on to the photosphere where it sends out heat, charged particles and light. This energy is what allows us to live on the Earth.
Thankfully the magnetic field around Mother Earth and her atmosphere protects us from most of the sun blasts. Otherwise it would get pretty hot and melty on our planet.
Everything in the solar system is continually on the move; the solar system includes the sun, nine planets and their moons, comets and asteroids. Collectively these are called celestial bodies. Sitting comfortably in the centre is the sun. It takes the sun twenty-five days to spin completely around. The earth, which is the third planet from the sun, takes twenty-four hours to rotate, i.e. a day and a night. As the earth rotates it revolves around the sun. It takes the Earth one full year (if you want to be picky 365¼ days) to completely orbit the sun. As the earth orbits the sun, the moon orbits the earth. Do you feel dizzy yet?CHAPTER 3
Sun Phases for Magic
And just like the moon, the sun has phases which can be used to tie in with your magical workings to add an extra boost of power. The sun measures time, where it sits in the sky denotes what time of the day it is, and a sun dial would be quite useless without the sun to cast a shadow! I also think the point between night and day and vice versa, that moment of hand over is quite special.
Sunrise – Basically when the sun wakes up and peers over the horizon. This phase is all about new beginnings, changes, health, employment, renewal, resurrection and finding the right direction. It can also be very cleansing.
The morning – This is when the sun is growing in strength, so it brings the magical power for growth, positive energy, resolutions, courage, harmony, happiness, strength, activity, building projects and plans, prosperity and expansion of ideas.
High noon – When the sun reaches its peak in the sky at midday – work magic for health, physical energy, wisdom and knowledge. It is also a good time to pop your tools or crystals out that need charging. (Note: some crystals can fade in strong sunlight so check first before putting them out.)
The afternoon – The sun is heading back down, and the energy now is good for working on business matters, communication, clarity, travel, exploring and anything professional.
Sunset – As the sun takes itself off down below the horizon, work magic for removing depression, stress and confusion, letting go, releasing or finding out the truth of a situation.CHAPTER 4
Magical Properties of the Sun
If you want to work with the overall magic of the sun these are some of the intents that it can help lend its energy to:
Success Empowerment Ambition Enlightenment Goals Generosity Spirituality Male energy Health Vitality The Gods Joy Freedom Leadership Matters of the heart Creativity Friendship Growth Personal fulfilment Self-confidence Wealth Individuality Pride Energy Power
The second day of the weekend, and the last day of the week or in some beliefs ... the first day of the week. Sunday gets its name from ... the sun! The days of the week get their names from Hellenistic astrology. Seven planets being Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon each lent their name and energy to an hour of the day. The planet that was reigning during the first hour of any day of the week gave its name to that day. The Romans originally used an eight-day nundinal cycle but liked the idea and took on the seven-day week at some point during the first or second century, and as Romans like to do, they gave them the Roman names. The Germanic people also jumped on the idea taking it from the Romans but obviously changed the names of the days to suit them, changing them to Teutonic deities. The Latin Dies Solis became Sunday.
Before 1250ish (the year not the hour ) the English word was sunedai which evolved into Sunnandaeg which literally means suns' day. Old Saxon used the term Sunnandæg and Old Norse was sunnudagr. All variations on a theme.
In most of the Indian languages the word for Sunday is either Ravivara or Adityavara, vara means day and Aditya and Ravi are both a manner of addressing Surya the Sun and Suryadeva the main solar deity.
The modern Greek word [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.], is derived from Greek: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] which means 'Kyrios, Lord'; a day to mark the resurrection of Jesus, therefore 'the Lord's Day'.
Sunday was a day for the ancient Romans to worship the Sun god and they would pray at dawn to catch the first rays of sun for the day.
It was apparently a Roman Emperor (the first of Rome's Christian Emperors) that decided Sunday would be a day of rest. Shabbat or Sabbath is the day of rest and seventh day of the week in Judaism. But the name has also been used by other traditions as a day of rest and of course modern pagans use the term sabbat for the eight festivals celebrating the equinoxes and solstices.
The usual calculation of a calendar day is measured from midnight to midnight but from the second century CE until 1925 the day was calculated from noon to noon. Ancient civilisations would often use dawn to dawn, counting the succession of days or suns. Later on, the Babylonians, Greeks and Jews used sunset to sunset. The Teutons counted the nights and it is from them that the term fortnight began, being fourteen days. Ancient Babylonians and other cultures liked to divide the day into watches. The length of each watch would vary depending on the time of year. In summer the watches were longer, in winter they were shorter, now we call them seasonal or temporal hours. They corresponded to the length of time the sun was above the horizon, maximum in summer and minimum in winter. The invention of mechanical clocks changed it all!
It was believed by most cultures that the seasons related to the sun and could be determined by observing the solar movements.CHAPTER 6
Let's go with generally the sun is seen as masculine and the moon as female. I say generally because in some cultures and myths it is reversed and in some it has no gender at all. You really have to follow your own intuition on this one. I am going to cover myths and other beliefs in this book, but my personal view is that the sun is a masculine energy and the moon female, it works for me, it might not for you. I could be wrong, or right ... let's be honest no one knows for sure and at the end of the day it is a big hot fiery star, it can be whatever it wants to be, I ain't gonna argue with it.
In a lot of myths, the sun and moon are seen as husband and wife or brother and sister. They are usually seen as opposites bringing balance. I don't think anyone is right or wrong and I don't believe our ancestors had a definitive answer either. Go with what works for you.
The sun is often seen as the active, energetic, warrior, go get 'em, action type of star. Full of oomph and abundance, creating warmth and helping the crops to grow. On the other hand, the moon can be seen as passive, ruling water and the emotions, no less powerful mind you.
If you check out the list of solar deities in this book (or anywhere else) you will find both gods and goddesses that are associated with the sun, so it seems no one could or would make a final decision.
I don't want to draw a definitive conclusion here and in fact I couldn't if I wanted to. It is your pathway and your belief; you are the only one that can decide what is right for you. Male, female, trans, Vulcan, alien, genderless or otherwise, the sun is a powerful source of energy and magic whether it has a gender label or not.CHAPTER 7
Mankind has been worshipping the sun since he saw the first sunrise ... probably, because although I am not young, I really am not old enough to remember that particular event.
The sun was, and still is a source of light, power, energy and warmth. It was and is a source of life. You need the sunlight to grow the crops to feed the people. And when the sun was particularly hot, I suspect that many people wanted to know what they had done to make the sun so angry it would burn their skin ...
Across the globe cultures honoured sun deities and prayed that the sun would come up and present itself each day. From the Babylonians to the Native Americans and everywhere else in-between.
The sun has an ability to see everything, this would have given it great power (and still does) and may also be why we see so many connections throughout myths and legends between the sun and the image of an eye.
The gods of the skies and the heavens, those that ruled the sun, were worshipped and it seems often had chariots they rode across the sky. The Egyptian sun god Ra had a chariot that he drove across the heavens and the Greek god Helios was honoured by sending a horse-drawn chariot off the top of a cliff and into the sea (poor horses).
The ancient cultures of the Aztecs and Mayans worshipped celestial bodies and even created detailed calendars based on the movements. The Incans had a festival called Inti Raymi that has been suggested was celebrated to anchor the sun to stop it from moving further north, to keep the days longer and prevent them from shortening. Some cultures credited the sun as the creator of all things, giving birth to the stars. Early Persians from the cult of Mithra included sun worship and honouring in many of their rituals and ceremonies.
Archaeologists have uncovered a whole host of ancient structures, temples and buildings that seem to have been built to align with celestial bodies suggesting that the builders worshipped the sun, the moon and the stars.
During the early seventeenth century there was a bit of a scientific argument going on about the place of the sun in the universe. The Church at the time believed that the Earth was at the centre of the universe (because of man living on it) and therefore the universe must revolve around the earth. One of the key scientists of the day, Galileo, was condemned for his belief that this was incorrect ... science won out of course ... eventually.
There are many ancient sacred sites and structures that seem to have been built wholly or in part to worship the Sun or Sun gods, here are some of the most well known.
Stonehenge – one of the most well-known stone circles, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England has, it seems, been a sacred site for an incredibly long time. No one really knows exactly what it was used for, but evidence does suggest that it has a link to prehistoric sun worship. When viewed from the 'heel stone' two large pits that have been uncovered align with the sunrise and sunset on the summer solstice. The suggestion is that a ritual procession may have taken place walking around the perimeter between the two pits. The sun at midday between the pits aligns directly with the centre of Stonehenge.
Temple of Karnak – A temple dedicated to the gods in Egypt is actually a city of temples dating from around 2055 BCE to 100 CE. This place is seriously huge. At the end of the yearly agricultural cycle the gods were thought to be exhausted and would require energy to rejuvenate them, understandably. The Opet festival was held at Karnak lasting for twenty-seven days. The central area was dedicated to Amun-Ra and the area around his sanctuary is called the Ipet-Sun which translates as 'the most select of places'. A further area is dedicated to his wife the goddess Mut and another to the god of war, Montu. There is also a temple to the child of Amun-Ra and Mut, Khonsu. In the east is an area set aside for Aten, the sun disk. During the reign of Hatshepsut (1479 to 1458 BCE) she renovated the main sanctuary and created a palace to the goddess Ma'at. The structure contains an open solar court above ground and subterranean rooms that symbolise the sun's passage through the Underworld.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Pagan Portals Sun Magic"
Copyright © 2018 Rachel Patterson.
Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Who Am I? ix
Let the Sun Shine In 1
The Solar Cycle 2
Sun Phases for Magic 5
Magical Properties of the Sun 6
Sun Gender 9
Sun Worship 10
Solstices & Equinoxes 14
Solstice Magic 16
Equinox Magic 17
Solar Eclipse 18
Eclipse Magic 20
Solar Water 22
Journey of the Sun through the Wheel of the Year 23
Sun Signs 24
Sun Herbs and Plants 27
Solar Tea Blends 31
Sun Incense Blends 33
Sun Oil Blends 36
Foods Ruled by the Sun 38
Crystals Associated with the Sun 42
Sun Crystal Grid 45
Mirror Magic 48
Sun Animals 49
Meditation to Meet a Solar Animal 59
Solar Deities 61
Meditation to Meet a Sun Deity 76
Sun Invocations 78
Drawing Down the Sun 79
Sun Ritual 81
Solar Plexus 87
Sun Altar 90
Sun Symbols 92
The Sun Tarot Card 95
Solar Offerings 96
Rainbow Meditation 101
Solar Spells 103
Celebrating the Sun 108
Sun Meditation 109
Solar Divination 111
Sun Runes 112
Sun Superstitions and Myths 113
And to the Dark Side … 115
Solar Crafts 116
Sun Magic Recipes 120
And Finally, to the Sunset 127