Sun Symbolism (7 Meanings in Culture & Spirituality)

Sun is the life-giving energy that’s necessary for us to survive. It gives us energy and the much-needed vitamins that will keep us going strong against the influence of negative symbols. These include rain, clouds and fog.

As such, sun symbolism represents life, energy, positivity, clarity, confidence, and more. It’s an ever-present symbol that always formed a large part of people’s lives. Even in the centuries past, people from all over the world appreciated this symbol. It became one of the most highly revered symbols.

sun symbolism in spirituality and culture

Egyptians used the sun to connect it to several gods, such as Ra and Horus. It also became a symbol of power but also peace and was used in many instances where it needed to portray this symbolism. For instance, Louis XIV, also known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, chose the sun as his symbol as he set out to restore peace and assume total control of his lands.

> This article is from our series on weather symbolism

Sun Symbolism and Meanings

There are many different interpretations of the sun.

1. Life

Sun is the ever-present energy that will always be present. Without it, creatures and beings on Earth would not be able to survive, as they would not get enough light to grow and prosper. Additionally, the sun is also an important contributor to life’s energies, especially in the form of many nutrients it provides.

Plants, animals, and humans all rely on the sun to provide the energy that will help us survive. It’s the main driving factor that enabled us to survive through the thousands of years of our existence.

To have the sun’s energy means to have the energy in life to succeed and thrive. It gives us a much-needed boost to our spirits. Vitamin D deficiency is created when we don’t get enough sun, and that’s when we feel down and depressed. Up to 50% of the world’s population suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.

> Read also: Sunrise Symbolism

2. Energy

Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular, especially in areas where the sun tends to shine for the majority of the day. It’s becoming one of the main driving forces for producing other types of energy – especially electrical energy.

But the sun is also commonly associated with the feeling of having energy in how you live your life. To be energetic means that you’re someone who likes to have fun in life and always feels positive and energetic about things in your life. 

The sun can enable you to be more energetic, which is linked to the many nutrients it provides to us. Not only does the sun enable us to survive, but it allows us to thrive – when it’s not too strong, of course.

3. Positivity

Sunshine can bring about positivity and a good feeling about ourselves. This is opposite to the clouds and rain, which tend to bring melancholy and sadness. The sunshine is the exact opposite of depression.

Sunny days tend to be happy days. It’s estimated that being in the sun for just a few minutes every day, if not several hours, can make you a happier person. It’s said that those who carry the sun as their symbol are happy and positive personalities that “always look on the bright side of life”. 

It’s the opposite of darkness, and we know that darkness brings negativity, fear, and melancholy. When the sun shines, we always tend to feel a bit happier than when it’s raining. It’s affecting your mood without you even realizing it.

4. Clarity

While fog and clouds bring confusion and a lack of clarity, the sun brings clarity. It clears all of the confusion that’s created by the clouds and the fog. Every obstacle is clearly visible in front of us, and we can see far, far away from us.

This symbol is also sometimes used like this in literature. It’s often perceived to be the symbol of clarity and clearness, so it’s sometimes used to portray sometimes when the proceedings are quite clear. That’s sometimes seen at the end of novels and crime stories when the air is clear and all mysteries are resolved.

5. Confidence

To have the sun in your hands means to be positive and confident. Those who prefer the sun over the clouds tend to be more outgoing and confident. That’s why we often connect the sun to confidence and outgoing nature. 

Perhaps there’s a scientific explanation for this, but standing in the sun can give you a feeling of power and confidence.

6. Power

The sun is undoubtedly a powerful symbol. It represents the brute force of nature that cannot be controlled by us. We can just adapt to it, but the sun will go its way and will have whatever effects on us it wants.

As such, the sun was sometimes used in history to portray the feeling of power. For Louis XIV, the sun was his main symbol and he was called the King of the Sun. His meaning of the sun symbolism was that of peace and control.

For Egyptians, the sun carried a different meaning of power. For them, the sun was the center of all power and it was connected closely to some of their most important gods, such as Ra and Horus. 

7. Peace

There aren’t many things more peaceful on Earth than standing in the sunshine and waiting for the sun to set. Similarly, it’s extremely peaceful in the morning when the sun shines on us and gives us positive energy to start the day peacefully.

> Read Also: Sunset Symbolism

8. Direction

Today, people often use sun tattoos as reminders of the direction they’re going in life. We look to the sun as our guiding light that helps us stay on track while traveling.

The origins of this symbol is in cartography, time telling, and traveling. Early explorers would use the sun to know east from west, and the earliest clock was actually a sun dial. Thus, the sun keeps us oriented and staying on the correct true path.

Some Negative Meanings

While the sun is usually seen overwhelmingly positively, I explore in my article on sun metaphors some negative meanings as well. Sometimes, when the sun is beating down, we see the sun as an enemy – here to harm you when you’re in need of respite. It’s slow, beating heat seems to mock us when we’re in need of shade and water. This might be true, for example, when you’re stuck on a deserted island or walking through the desert. 

> Read Also: Shadow Symbolism and Darkness Symbolism

Animals, Flowers, and Other Symbols Linked with Sun

The sun is a powerful symbol, which is why we sometimes connect it to other powerful animals, flowers, and symbols that are used to portray similar concepts and symbolic meanings as the sun. 

In the animal world, some animals are closely connected to sun symbolism because they either portray similar qualities or because they live in areas with a lot of sun. Some of the main sun symbols in the animal world include:

  • Lion – power, confidence
  • Hawk – power
  • Horse – confidence, freedom
  • Swan
  • Ram
  • Dragon
  • Spider

Some flowers are also seen as sun symbols. The main one is the sunflower, of course, which tends to turn its head to wherever the sun is as it tries to catch its power and the positive energy that allows it to grow and survive. Other flower symbols of the sun include:

  • Rose
  • Lotus
  • Chrysanthemum

Throughout history, the sun was one of the most powerful symbols and it has become linked to some other symbols, such as:

  • Swastika (stemming from Buddhism)
  • Star
  • Spiral
  • Wheel
  • Disc
  • Heart
  • Chariot
  • Face
  • Eye

All of these meanings come from historic developments and were parts of cultures from all over the world. For example, the Swastika symbol of the sun stems from Buddhism, while the Face and Eye sun symbols come from Ancient Egypt.

Read Also: Summer Symbolism

Conclusion

The sun symbolism gives you the power and life energy to overcome obstacles and live your life with positive energy. It’s seen as the positive symbol and the opposite of the clouds and fog, which tend to create confusion. The sun, on the other hand, creates clarity and brings positive meanings to your life.

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