A child rides a white horse alongside a garden wall. Four sunflowers have burst open in bloom behind the child, and the sun shines brightly, her mystical countenance emanating 21 rays. The child is naked but apparently knows no shame; she looks at us with a smile on her face and a headdress of six sunflowers with a red plume. Her arms are thrown open as if to invite us to join her on her sojourn to wherever she is going—perhaps to the garden on the other side of the wall? A red sash or cloak flows to her left; perhaps she has just cast it off because she realizes she no longer has any need for it, for all guilt and shame have departed from her, never to return.
As The Moon submerges us into a Dark Night of The Soul, with all of its frightful apparitions, The Sun then reveals to us the eternal light of Eden, liberating us from all thoughts and emotions that separated us from the Divine. It is the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” of consciousness into which we emerge after shedding our earthly vessel of flesh and bone. We have become as Adam and Eve again, unashamed in our nakedness.
The Hebrew letter attributed to The Sun is Resh, meaning “head,” or more generally, “consciousness.” In this case, we are talking about the state of God-consciousness which we have so long sought and which now we claim as our own. Case refers to this as “countenance,” or the outward expression of consciousness—the look on our faces, or the gleam in our eye. If this is so, then surely the consciousness of The Sun is the consciousness of heaven, for the deity looks upon us serenely, and the little child whose path she illuminates radiates pure joy.
The four sunflowers behind the wall represent the four emanations of consciousness as taught in the Kabbala; the four seasons, the four cardinal points, the four suits of the Tarot and the magic square of perfection, the four-lettered name of God, and the four stages of human consciousness in Jungian psychology that we’ve reviewed previously. The six sunflowers that the child wears in her headdress correspond to the hexagram, the six-pointed star the symbolizes the reconciliation of polar opposites and the unity of God and man in Tiphareth. Added together, they equal the number 10, the number of Sephiroth on the Tree of Life.
On the subject, Trump XIX can be reduced to 1 + 9 = 10 = 1:
These three Trumps are, in essence, the sum of all kabbalistic teaching as it is manifested in the Tarot: Creation is put in motion, passing downward through several stages of consciousness from the purely archetypal to the chaotic world of matter, where nothing seems to make any sense to the eye of man, and all seems random and without reason; and which, after undergoing a process of spiritual “reassembly,” returns to the perfection with which it was originally created. In kabbalistic terms, the “vessels of light”—the Sephiroth, which stand as symbols for stages of consciousness—are shattered by an unanticipated “power surge” of Divine energy so that we might restore the broken vessels to their original state. We do this by being as imitations of God, taking the light upon ourselves, and in so doing, we help return Creation to a state of perfect equilibrium: As above, so below.
The Sun is unique among the bodies in the heavens, for besides giving us warmth and light, it also “collects” and attracts bodies upward. Look at the sunflowers in the card, and at all the flora that grows in the world; unlike us, they know no pull of gravity, but reach only upward, in the direction of the sun, and this is why the path of the Sun, which conjoins mercurial Hod and lunar Yesod, is known as the Collecting Intelligence. So too with the living God, whom The Sun personifies; He sends His love unto us as healing rays of light, and at the end of our days, he comes to gather His harvest. This is represented on the card by the alternating rays of The Sun’s light. May we, like the sunflowers, be ever fruitful, and always looking upward!
The 21 rays of the sun correspond to the 21 Trumps that are given a numerical value. Curiously, the one Trump that has no numerical value features another traveler who also wears a headdress with a red plume on it.
Thus we have come full circle on the royal road of transformation. The alchemical prima materia, the un-individuated psyche, has been made whole and transformed into the Philosopher’s Stone.
Meanings of this card in a reading can include: the kingdom of heaven awaits, fruitfulness and fulfillment, victory over death and the grave, joy and happiness, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the limitless light of God, the Garden of Eden restored; but also, progress stunted, blessings rejected, emotions misplaced, cynicism, frustration and denial. Our time among the archetypes has nearly ended, but we still have some unfinished business to which we must attend before we can begin to apply their wisdom in our everyday lives.