Spiritual Meaning of the Sun (Symbolic Meaning of the Sun)

Last week, as I waited in line for my coffee, I overheard a conversation between two women. They chatted happily about how their outdoor yoga session raised their moods. One shared how being in the sun made her feel more alive and optimistic.

Their conversation reminded me of something I read in The ancient religion of the Sun by Lara Atwood. I couldn’t help but wonder if we are seeing the rise of sun worshipping in our culture today.

As a theologian, I found the prospect both frightening and fascinating. So I grabbed my coffee and dashed home, where I explored the question, “What is the spiritual meaning of the sun?”

Many cultures and religions have attached spiritual significance to the sun. The most notable is among sun-worshipping cultures. These communities believed the sun was the source and sustainer of life, so they worshipped it as a god. According to these cultures, the sun symbolized renewal, rebirth, power, and spiritual awakening, all attributes linked to the divine.

This article explores the symbolic meaning of the sun. Join me in learning about the superstitions surrounding the sun and much more.

What is the symbolic meaning of the sun?

Spiritual Meaning of the Sun 
What is the symbolic meaning of the sun? Image source: Freepik


This symbolism is drawn from the sun’s role in supporting life on Earth. Its rays are a source of vitamin D for humans, and its light and warmth support plant and animal life.

Consequently, various cultures upheld the sun as the source of life. This idea was prevalent in ancient societies that didn’t have an in-depth understanding of the sun’s role in supporting life.


Nothing speaks hope and new beginnings better than a sunrise. We see this in various art forms and even religious writings. Many cultures associate problems and struggle with darkness.

They associate the penetrating rays with hope dispelling the darkness of despair. No wonder we have sayings like, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Strength and power

Sun worship is a well-documented fact today. We have historical records from Egypt, South America, Greece, Rome, China, and Japan that lend credence to the worship of the sun (or at least the sun-gods). Ancient civilizations associated the sun with divine power and strength.

This was likely because of the life-sustaining power of the sun. Additionally, the leaders of the day associated themselves with the sun to firmly ingrain their authority in the minds of their subjects.

We see this in medieval kings like Louis XIV, who called himself the sun king, and Louis the Great, who used the sun as his emblem.


It’s undeniable. There’s something about waking up to a sunny day that says, “It’s going to be a good day.” This is more apparent when you juxtapose a sunny day with a cloudy one.

Consequently, ancient and modern cultures associate the sun with positivity. They manifest this belief through pendants and charms bearing the sun symbol, which they believe will raise their moods.


Mystics associate the sun with enlightenment and spiritual awakening. They equate the sun’s penetrating rays to the light of knowledge dispelling ignorance. You’ll notice this in their art, where an enlightened person has a halo or the sun in the background.

What is the spiritual meaning of the sun?

Many cultures and religions believed and worshipped the sun as a deity. Among the Bahai, for instance, the sun represents the creator, and prophets like Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Zoroaster, Bab, Moses, and Bahaullah were reflections of the creator.

This understanding isn’t limited to those in the Bahai faith. Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, Hittites, Hindus, and Persians worshipped the sun. These cultures believed their sun gods were the most powerful in their pantheons.

Superstitions about the sun in different cultures

Spiritual Meaning of the Sun 
Superstitions about the sun in different cultures. Image source: Pixabay


According to the Chinese, there were initially ten suns, symbolized by three-legged crows. They were the children of Di Jun, the god of eastern heaven, and Xi he. The suns lived in a valley in the east on a 10,000ft-high mulberry tree called Fusang.

According to legend, each sun had a day to accompany Xi across the sky. This system worked out great. Each sun got a chance to see the world and provide light and warmth to the people.

However, the suns quickly got bored of this routine. They decided to come out at once; the result was catastrophic. The rivers dried up, and the plants withered. Their rebellion plunged the world into a prolonged drought.

Emperor Yao begged Di Jun to reign in his sons. However, the suns wouldn’t listen to their father. Di Jun summoned the archer Hou Yi and gave him 10 magical arrows to scare his sons into submission. Hou Yi set out to find them.

He saw the destruction the suns caused and decided to shoot the suns down. He killed nine suns before Emperor Yao stopped him, explaining that the Earth needed light.

Hou Yi spared the sun and was hailed as a hero. The remaining sun was so frightened of Hou Yi that he never rebelled against his parents again.

The Chinese used this story to explain the sun’s rising and setting.

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians worshipped Ra as the supreme deity. They believe Ra created the world and the other gods. After human beings rebelled against him, Ra left the Earth. The Egyptians believe Ra sailed across the sky for 12 hours from east to west. When he reached the western horizon, the world went dark.

Ra proceeded into the afterlife, where he brought light to the dead. In the afterlife, Osiris regenerated him before resuming his trip around the Earth 12 hours later. Ancient Egyptians believe that this story explains the 12-hour split we have for our days.

Additionally, the Egyptians believe that Ra took several forms throughout the day. At sunrise, he was a falcon called Horus or a scarab called Kheper; at midday, he was Ra; in the evening, he was Atum.

Ancient Greek

The Greek sun god was Helios. According to Greek mythology, Helios had a son called Phaethon by a mortal, Clymene. Phaethon constantly bragged about his father, the sun god (who wouldn’t). His bragging annoyed his friends. One day, someone challenged this claim.

Phaethon was enraged and went home. He demanded that his mother let him find Helios and get proof that he was his father. Clymene let her son go to Helios’s palace in the east country.

At the Palace, Phaethon confronted Helios and made his request. The deity assured Phaethon that they were related. Additionally, Helios promised to grant any request Phaethon had. Eager to prove his friends wrong, Phaethon asked to drive Helios’ chariot across the sky.

The Greeks believed Helios dragged the sun across the sky in this chariot. This arduous task required a lot of strength and skill, things Phaethon lacked. Helios tried dissuading his son, but he was unsuccessful. Phaethon was adamant, so Helios granted his request.

Phaethon grabbed the reins, positioned himself behind the horses, and off they went. The horses quickly noticed the stranger. They went wild and grazed the sky, forming the Milky Way galaxy.

Phaethon tried controlling the horses but flew too low and scorched the Earth. This commotion caught Zeus’ attention, and he hurled a lightning bolt at the chariot.

Phaethon fell into the Eridanus River, never to be seen again. Zeus steered the chariot across the sky that day. Phaethon’s disappearance affected Helios and his sisters deeply, resulting in prolonged gloomy days because Helios mourned his son.


The Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu was at the center of their Shinto religion. According to the Japanese, Amaterasu was conceived from the left eye of the deity Izanagi.

She had two siblings, Tsukuyomi (the moon god) and Susanoo (the storm god). These deities ruled the heavens with Amaterasu as their leader.

Amaterasu married her brother Tsukuyomi. Together, they ruled the day and night. However, Amaterasu soon banished her husband for murdering the goddess Uko Mochi. The Japanese use this story to explain the permanent separation of day and night.


The most famous Celtic sun god was Lugh. According to the Celts, Lugh was a skilled warrior. He was the son of Cian and Eithne. Cian was the son of Dian Cecht (the god of healing), and Eithne was the daughter of Balor (leader of the Fomorians).

Legend has it that Lugh led the Tuatha De Danann (a race of Irish gods) in a battle against the Fomorians. He is famed for killing Balor, the Fomorian leader, and his grandfather. His victory secured 40 years of peace and prosperity.

Native Americans

The Native Americans had several prevailing superstitions about the sun and their sun gods. This was because there were several communities, each with its own culture and religion. I’ll focus on Navajo superstition.

The Navajo’s sun god was Tsohanoai. According to Navajo mythology, he carried the sun on his back across the sky. At night, he rested the sun on a peg in his house.

Legend has it that Tsohanoai was estranged from his children. Like most gods, he insisted his children prove themselves before accepting them. We see this in a story about his twin sons Nayenezgani and Tobadzistsini, who tracked him down so he could help them defeat some demons.

According to this story, Tsohanoai’s home was heavily guarded, and he didn’t help his sons navigate the treacherous road to his house.

However, when they made it past his traps and guards, Tsohanoai gave them a quiver filled with magic arrows that they used to defeat the demons and restore peace to the land.


Early and medieval Christianity had its share of superstitions surrounding the sun. One of the earliest was creation started on March 25th (the spring equinox). We find this argument in the De Pascha Computus.

The writers argue that the sun was created on the fourth day (March 28th). They use this reasoning to propose that Jesus was born on March 28th. Furthermore, these writers cite Malachi 4:2 in support of their argument.

Here, the prophet uses the term “Sun of Righteousness,” a reference to Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to dream about the sun?

Symbolic Meaning of the Sun
What does it mean to dream about the sun? Image source: Pixabay

Mystics have varied interpretations of what a dream about the sun means. These interpretations depend on the position and color of the sun.

For instance, they will interpret a black sun to mean the dreamer will experience a period of sorrow. They also suggest a black sun points to impending illness, and a rising sun denotes new beginnings.

Is the sun a good or bad omen?

Most cultures believe the sun is a good omen. As mentioned, the sun is often associated with hope, positivity, strength, enlightenment, and power. With these connotations, it’s easy to see why people consider the sun a good omen.

But what does this mean for believers? Christians shouldn’t worry about the sun being a good or bad omen. Remember, this idea of omens has its roots in divination, a process the Bible prohibits (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

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