The Reclamation of the Sun in the Feminine Circle and Healing from the Phase of Supremacy
by Lauren K. Clark
For many years the Sun has become symbolic as a beacon of enlightenment and nourishment in various eras and cultures of the ancient world. The sun was viewed in many areas of the world as the symbol of hope; and as that which would save humanity from the darkness, and all of the evils which were considered to be associated with it. In various ancient civilizations, (specifically where there was still the stance of the sun as the divine feminine, but with careful analysis can understand the progression of male-centeredness and domination) we are also presented with the sun in the masculine form.
Examining ancient Egypt we are presented with the deity Ra/Re. In Greece and Rome, we have Apollo. Then let us not forget Mithras of Persia, and Sol Invictus who is also of the Romans. Throughout our understanding of "pre-historic" feminine, spiritual practices, today's modern servant of the Goddess is highly attuned with the female connection to the Moon. However, it has become apparent that today, and even in ancient civilizations existing after the era of women-centered societies (all over the world), the sun has become symbolic of masculinity. Even in this particular form, it has taken on a connotation of supremacy, and the being which is the sole reason for human existence. Such interpretation of the Sun has even contributed to the establishment of hierarchies in the various communities. Could it be that as humans we have actually deviated from our natural understanding of the sun in relation to its existence with other planets and beings that exist in the Universe? In what ways has the Sun lost the archaic, feminine understanding and principles in retrospect to its existence, which accentuates the true meaning of the Circle of Life.
One of the things which makes the Sun so endearing in this existence called life is the fact that it comes in a circular form of being. Its roundness and equality allows for continuation, and equality; not allowing one segment or area to be considered more important than another. In addition, the roundness of the galaxy (and the circular motions of energies and forces) allows for the sun to also form relationships with other spherical figures in a form of harmony, and the reciprocation of energies. This particular understanding eradicates any state of ruling over something, and replicating such on Earth in people's relationships with each other.
A beautiful aspect concerning the Sun is that, like the Earth and Moon, it also embodies the circular form of the woman. The spherical (or circular) form of the Earth allows for life to exist. This particular shape also allows for the Moon and Sun to provide their contributions to life as well, in their own unique processes. Some would presume that the planets’ circulation (specifically the Earth) is an indication of the Sun as the center, and the main supreme being. However, if persons were to observe the galaxy from another angle, they would notice that all of the planets maintain some form of centeredness in relation to the other planets that surround it. The fascination surrounding this paradigm is that there is no one being in that circulation that is considered to be more significant than the others. Even those which are on the outer facets of that rotation are surrounded by hidden matter, and other planetary life.
As we look and continue to learn about the connotation of the sun in male imagery, our minds are consistently presented with auras pertaining to war and destruction. The fire of the sun is also associated in this manner. This interpretation highly contradicts the positioning, life sentiments, and circle of life that it embodies. There are some who would articulate that various mythical, male images of the sun have also been presented as symbols of knowledge and enlightenment. However, even in this interpretation, one can recognize the hierarchy which is perpetuated. Hierarchy is in the linear form, which deviates from the natural cyclical form of life, and our understanding of knowledge. What has also come to be is that there are interpretations of the sun (specifically in its male form) as ruling over the Earth. Maintaining a linear understanding of life establishes an atmosphere of domination and control. It became depicted as being over the Earth because of the fact that our limited view of the Earth and the Sun through our naked eye, creates the illusion that the Sun is over the Earth; when in actuality it is across from it. Being that the Sun is surrounded by other spherical, life forms, it continues into the circular motion that is indicative of the reciprocation of energies, equality, and the sharing of greatness present in the Universe. With the fact that women's bodies were replicas of the Earth, in many areas; this false, patriarchal interpretation of the Sun was used to justify men's leadership and rulership over women.
Making reference back to the presentation of the Sun as the epitome of enlightenment, and as the savior of all humanity, it must be stated that such a form of hierarchy presents darkness as what is ignorant and in need of being saved. Being that the Moon is highly vigilant in the nighttime (darkness-but sometimes also can be seen during the day), it creates ideologies which equates women as ignorant, dangerous, evil (especially with the female menstrual cycle connected to the lunar cycle), and in need of being saved. It also established a hindrance for people to understand the beauty of bringing in life from the darkness. Furthermore, the presentation of the Sun in a hierarchical, patriarchal manner also impedes into the activities of life on Earth as there begins a hierarchy of living beings with human beings positioned as the top. Lastly, such a hierarchy also disassociates living beings (particularly human beings) from their connection with plants, animals, and the Earth itself; learning from them, and truly emerging ourselves in their existence so as to know that what happens to these living beings will also affect the humyn species.
In relating to the fact that in many civilizations (specifically those existing after the destruction of many women-centered communities) there was the presence of feminine, divinity figures related to the Sun, one can begin to inquire into how their positioning in the transition phase, has contributed to the linear hierarchy. Referring to ancient Egypt (as previously stated), we have a supreme, male figure (and Creator) known as Ra/Re. It again establishes the Sun as being over something as opposed to harmoniously and equally interconnected with other circular forces around it (which is indicative of a circle). In ancient Egypt (also known as Kemet), we are presented with Hathor, Bast/Bastet, and Sekhmet (and others who were not as prominent) as feminine forms of the Sun. When examining Sekhmet, we are presented with a feminine, lioness figure who was depicted as a hunter and warrior figure. This female divinity was also credited with leading pharaohs into battle. We also see a similar presentation of Bast/Bastet who in the beginning was a lioness-goddess who was the protector and defender of pharaohs. Then with the goddess Hathor, the observer is also provided with a depiction of a woman wearing a Sun disc over her head. One of the common themes with the association of these female images to the Sun is that of war and violence. It presence the fire associated with the Sun in a manner of destruction. This false sense of power in killing a being which contributes to the life cycle (again, supporting a linear theory of hierarchy) views Creation as weak. Even though goddess figures such as Hathor are not associated with such, the wearing of the sun-disc articulates a form of loyalty, and even under something which is considered to be greater (i.e. masculine) Being that the Sun is referred to as the Supreme being (the term "Supreme" indicating a state of hierarchy), it leads one to conclude that even in their divinity these feminine characters are subordinate to male imagery. What has become unfortunate is that something (hence: the Sun) which was associated with the life cycle in the time of women-centered societies, has turned into a being of destruction and "evidence" which supports the hierarchy. This hyper-masculinist and patriarchal conception establishes an artificial form of power which is keen on dominating something, as opposed to aligning and intertwining with it (in this context we have the Sun dominating over the Earth, and other planets in the existence of the galaxy, as opposed to sharing, being intertwined, and reciprocating with those energies). Because archaic feminine practices of life are associated with the circular motion of forces (those seen and unseen) with other living beings and of creation, it is of no surprise that the suppression of women's practices are deemed "necessary" in "ruling." It has become apparent that the envy for women to create resulted in the establishment of seeing conquering and ruling over creation, and those who embody Creation, as the "Supreme" form of power.
Even in the context of the Sun as the "Supreme" being in feminine energy (i.e. the Japanese, feminine energy of Amaterasu) there is once again, a perpetuation of being over, and "ruling." In this particular connotation, one could state that such figures have maintained a "trickster" format-embodying the unnatural and hyper-masculine traits in the female skin. When understanding the Sun in the concept of the Sacred Feminine, we can then observe how this being can also embody the feminine, and engages in the circular spirit of life. Also, in understanding the rotation of the Earth around the Sun, we then know that the Sun does not go up or down (which is the linear perception previously discussed). In addition, it must also be articulated that the Sun, too, is rotating. The make-up of the Sun (as with other stars) is a big fire. The interpretation of fire in archaic feminine spiritualities can be understood as one of the elements which shows how the physical and spiritual are intertwined as one. It was not a symbol of destruction and evil that it has now come to represent.
Our understanding of the Sun in the feminine allows for us to also reconnect with this living being which has been reshaped and reformed in an image (and activities) that are not of our own. In all fairness, it must be taken into consideration that there were (and still are) divine, feminine Sun figures which have maintained the natural and non-hierarchical conception of life, and our interaction with other living beings. Through this more humane recognition of the Sun, men are also able to gain healing from an unhealthy form of masculinity which is not only stressful and oppressive, but also out of sync with the patterns of life. There are those who would convey that there are feminine energies which have taken on the Mother role of the Sun. While such is true, one could often expect the Sun to take on the Supreme, male figure. In reclaiming sacred, feminine spiritual practices associated with the Sun, women have often been left to find empowerment in those feminine energies that fall in line with the linear model. In honing into spiritual progression, it is highly significant to further diverge into the sacred feminine that dates back as far as we can imagine. What feminine energies have existed, that we are unaware of, which portrayed her in the light that we are speaking of? There are those who would rely on certain evidence, however, our own unique expression of Mother Sun is right before us. Just like the Earth and Moon, we are able to see her, feel her, and understand her circular position in the galaxy. She is a loving nurturer, a bold and exuberant being, a giver of life, and a contributor in the ever-growing circle of life. She is us. She works with the Moon in securing the growth of the Earth's jewels. We return to the loving sun, in all her beauties in recognizing that she illuminates the work of the Moon, and the Earth, which was formulated out of darkness.
©Lauren K. Clark
Miss Clark is also the founder of WUFF (Women United in Faith and Feminism), an organization dedicated to using the Sacred Feminine in activism. She will begin her graduate studies with the American University in Cairo, Egypt in Gender and Women's Studies and Forced Migration and Refugee Studies in the summer of 2010. Miss Clark enjoys traveling, fully engaging with other cultures, and community service!
Latest posts by Lauren K Clark (see all)
- The Rearranging of the ‘Rising’ Sun - 25th September 2010
- “When Darkness Was the Light” - 21st May 2010
- Avatar, Religious Oppression of Women, and the Syndrome of the Male Messiah - 20th March 2010