19. The Sun

The Sun (XIX) is a Major Arcana in the tarot deck.


The Sun card expresses a great joy of living, vitality, warmth, and confidence. It also stands for the illuminating powers of the conscious mind with which we achieve clarity and overcome problems, annoyances, and uncanny fears. It is additionally a symbol of youthful freshness and the feeling of being reborn. On a deeper level, it challenges us to overcome the darkness in ourselves, expand our sunlike nature, and free our “darkened” brother or sister and bring them into the light. A. E. Waite suggested that this card is associated with attained knowledge. The conscious mind prevails over the fears and illusions of the unconscious. Innocence is renewed through discovery, bringing hope for the future.


The Sun is the giver of life, nothing can live without the suns warmth and beams of light. The child of life holds a red flag, representing the blood of renewal while a smiling sun shines down on him, representing accomplishment. The white horse upon which the child rides represents strength and purity of spirit. The horse is without saddle or bridle. It is controlled without the use of the hands, either. This is a symbol of perfect control between the conscious and subconscious. The walled garden is the cultivated garden of mankind. He is riding away from it, leaving it behind. The sunflowers in the background represent life and the fruitfulness of the spirit under the nourishment of the Sun. There are four sunflowers, representing the four suits of the Minor Arcana, as well as the four elements. The wreath and the feather are the same wreath and feather the Fool wears.

The Sun in the Tarot of Marseilles
Alternative Decks

In the Mythic Tarot deck, the Sun is depicted by Apollo.

Opposing cards

Moon – confusion, disorientation, illusion
Eight of Cups – weariness
Six of Swords – depressed, listless
Five of Pentacles – being rundown, tired

Reinforcing cards

Tower – enlightenment, revelation
World – accomplishment, great achievement
Two of Wands – personal power, vitality, brilliance
Six of Wands – acclaim, prominence


The Sun is an energetic card, a simple card as well: no elaborate scheming, plain and simple is the best option. When the Sun turns up in a reading, it indicates a boost forward and the fact you can trust that work can and will be done, with relative little effort. You take pleasure in the simple life. This card is also a sign of success and completion. It can be a herald of joy, happiness, a good marriage, the birth of a child, a stable family, material prosperity or almost any other end that is positive – but above all it shows completion. One cycle is over and, before the next begins, there is a period of light and relaxation that you can and should properly enjoy. Success comes if you are confident and bold in the use of your creative energy.
Sun reversed indicates that finding the warmth and positive aspects may prove to be a little difficult. But, the Sun is never a negative card, and this is only temporary. The obstacles you see can be easily removed if you put your mind to it.


As soon as I perceived the Sun, I understood that It, Itself, is the expression of the Fiery Word and the sign of the Emperor.
The great luminary shone with an intense heat upon the large golden heads of sun-flowers.
And I saw a naked boy, whose head was wreathed with roses, galloping on a white horse and waving a bright-red banner.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I shut my eyes for a moment and when I opened them again I saw that each ray of the Sun is the sceptre of the Emperor and bears life. And I saw how under the concentration of these rays the mystic flowers of the waters open and receive the rays into themselves and how all Nature is constantly born from the union of two principles. – The Symbolism of the Tarot by P D. Ouspensky (1913)


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