Planetary Magic Practices: The Sun
Over the last year, I have begun to explore more astrological and planetary magic. Witchcraft and astrology have both been part of my life for a long time, but coming from primarily Wiccan and earth-centered pagan traditions, for the most part, the lunation phase and sometimes the sign of the Moon have been the extent of astrological influences on my rituals and spellcraft. Sometimes I would pay attention to planetary days and hours—which I had read about in medieval grimoires like The Key of Solomon the King in high school and college—and I learned about planetary correspondences to chakras, mudras, and mantras in my yoga training, but these rarely shaped my witchcraft. However, the deeper I have come in my study and practice of astrology, the more I’ve come to appreciate the meaningfulness that can emerge from working with astrology as a system of timing and an assemblage of temporalities. Most of all, exploring planetary magic has given me more of a felt experience of astrology, tuning into the subtle sensations and felt sense of each planet and sign.
This week, I’m going to post a series of short practices for connecting to each of the traditional planets on each of the days that they rule. Rather than complex or elaborate operations for working with planetary magic to make things happen, I’m approaching these practices more from the definition of magic that comes to us from Dion Fortune: “Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will.” For each day, I will offer a brief table of correspondences and a few suggested practices for shifting awareness to the sensations of each planet, for tuning into how each planet feels to your body. We’ll start today, Sunday, with the Sun.
The Sun is one of the two luminaries, along with the Moon. It is the life-giving star at the center of our solar system. The Sun emits, it illuminates, and thus is associated with our faculties of perception, with seeing and being seen. It is often associated with the ego or identity, that which persists—because of its steady, continuous motion and because in comparison to the Moon, its shape remains constant. It can also be associated with recognition and honors, achievements, and the father or paternal figures. It rules the sign of Leo and is exalted in the sign of Aries.
For today—or on any Sunday—you might make a small altar for the Sun with the things you have available. You can look to the list of correspondences below for the kinds of colors, stones, numbers, and tarot cards you might incorporate. Add things that you associate with the Sun—maybe sunflowers or photos from the beach or bright lights or candles. Once you build your altar, take some time to take it in as an aesthetic experience. Notice how being with your altar makes you feel. Drop your attention down into your body and observe what sensations arise as you observe the objects you’ve gathered for the Sun.
You might go for a walk in the Sun and feel its light on your skin. This is a wonderful way to experience directly how the Sun feels within your body.
Whether you are working with or without an altar, whether you’re walking or sitting in the Sun or whether you’re indoors, I invite you to take some time to meditate with the Sun. It could be five minutes, ten minutes, or longer. Visualize the Sun in your mind’s eye, or visualize the glyph of the Sun. Notice what your body feels like sitting in the sunlight or imagining the Sun. Remember or call up experiences in which you have felt seen and recognized for who you are; notice what that feels like in your body. Consider visualizing or imagining that sunlight is filling your body—bright, glittering, golden, and warm.
In meditations like this, I also work with mantras coming from the yoga tradition. For working with the Sun, I use the mantra: “Om Sri Suryaya Namaha.” I use a mala and repeat the mantra 108 times. I also sometimes use mudra, described below.
However you spend your time meditating on the Sun—repeating a mantra, visualizing or imagining sunlight throughout your body, recalling experiences that you associated with the Sun’s significations—tune in to the sensations that begin to accumulate. These could be physical or they could be more subtle energetic shifts in your awareness. The practice here is for the Sun to become more than just an abstract symbol or something that we think of as “out there” in space. As you begin to notice what the Sun feels like within your body, this becomes a state that you can return to and work with in your magic, and how you understand the Sun astrologically—in your chart or in its transits—will begin to take on more embodied significance as well.
I will be posting similar practices for each of the planets for the rest of the week, so please follow along as much as you like!
Colors: Yellow and gold
Metals: “Egyptian glass and azernec (cupric oxide)” (Picatrix)
Stones: “albezedi and diamond and red pearls and stones that are sparkling and clear and part of hematite and azumbedich and ruby and the balassus ruby and gold marcasite” (Picatrix); I also strongly associate citrine and other yellow, golden stones with the Sun
Chakra: Ajña, the Third Eye Chakra
Mantra: Om Sri Suryaya Namaha
Mudra: The ring finger is associated with the Sun, so I use Surya Mudra (seal of Sun/life)—bringing the tip of the thumb and ring finger together, with other fingers extended
Tarot: The Sun
Kaitlin Coppock of Sphere + Sundry also has a beautiful series of Sol in Leo talismanic offerings for supporting you in nourishing the light of the Sun in your life: https://sphereandsundry.com/product-category/series/golden-sol-in-leo/
I love Kaitlin's work, which has been a huge support to me as I have developed my own astrological magic practices.
Kaitlin Coppock, “Planetary Magic: A Beginner’s Guide,” WellBeing Astrology 2020, editor Kelly Surtees, Universal Media Co, 2019: 92-95.
Austin Coppock, “Intro to Planetary Magic,” https://austincoppock.com/shop/intro-to-planetary-magic-course/ [online course].
Richard Fish and Ryan Kurczak, The Art and Science of Vedic Astrology: The Foundation Course (Asheville Vedic Astrology, 2012).
Cain Carroll and Revital Carroll, Mudras of India (London: Singing Dragon, 2013).
Gertrud Hirschi, Mudras: Yoga in your Hands (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc, 2000).
Thomas Ashley-Farrand, Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations for Personal Power, Creativity, and Healing (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999).
Richard Palmer, “Delving Into Tarot and Astrology in the Golden Dawn Tradition,” Biddy Tarot, https://www.biddytarot.com/tarot-astrology-golden-dawn/.
Joe Rao, “When, Where and How to See the Planets in the 2019 Night Sky,” December 27, 2018, https://www.space.com/39240-when-to-see-planets-in-the-sky.html.
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Michael J. Morris is a witch, an astrologer, a tarot reader, an artist, a writer, and a teacher.