Sunlight is usually a symbol of life, growth, happiness.
However, I seem to have a kind of “reverse” seasonal affective disorder because I get happy during times of clouds, wind, and rain, and sad under the summer sun. August is my time of withdrawal and hibernation.
In fact, the Sun has become, for me, a symbol of tyranny, death, illness, and depression – not a smiling, warm, life-bringing emoticon. Let me explain why:
The Sun God
The Sun is traditionally a male symbol associated with male gods like Helios, Apollo, Ra, and Initi. (The Feminine in our culture is most often associated with the moon.)
The Son God
The Sun/Son also associated it with a Judeo-Islamic-Christian God, and Moses, Jesus, and Mohamed as the ultimate straight, white, cisgender, middle-aged males.
As I’m sure you know, straight, white, cisgender, middle-aged male is a brand with stock at an all-time low.
The Sun King
The personified sun is often made literal. “The Sun King” is another name for Louis XIV of France, who is famous for his egotism, arrogance, opulence, paranoia, warmongering and absolute power.
With his penchant for gold and opulence, as well as his arrogance, egotism, and childishness, our own “Sun King” is Donald Trump.
Thus, “The Sun” as symbol takes on all the qualities of Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby (or for that matter Bill Clinton): the straight, cis-gender, abusive, dirty old man who embodies “The Tyrant” archetype. The sun’s “growth” is just the inflation of ego.
Furthermore, Jared Kushner is a “Sun Prince.” Here “sunlight” or “son light” is a symbol of privilege and nepotistic power.
I am, alas, a straight, white, cis, middle-aged man, and so “The Sun” is a symbol of toxic masculinity that leaves me without symbol, archetype or role model with which to identify.
“Enjoy The Sun”
The Sun as a symbol of happiness, health, and growth has been co-opted by advertising as a trigger for consumption. “Enjoy the Sun,” which is free to all, has been replaced by “Enjoy Coca-Cola.”
“Growth” and Capitalism
Unrestricted and neverending “growth” is the fuel for capitalism, which only can sustain itself if the economy continually expands – if our own production and consumption continually grow. This kind of growth is not healthy. Plants and animals do not grow this way. The only thing that grows unrestricted and neverending is cancer.
Sunlight and Global Warming
In the last 50 years, both wild animals and rainforests have reduced by half. From an environmental perspective, the human race is an ever-growing cancer, killing all other forms of life. The Sun is now a symbol for global warming and the Anthropocene.
Lastly, I’m fair-skinned so The Sun has a literal association with cancerous radiation. Laying out in the sun only gives me a painful, burning rash. Give me fog and gloom any day.
The Black Sun
So, The Black Sun, as a symbol, even though it is still linked with melancholy and grief, offers a weirdly comforting light, an uncanny freedom in darkness, and an opportunity for transformation.
For more on the Black Sun read my other posts: