Alchemical Study Group - XIX The Sun


"Complexion is of complexion, between two lights, male and female, and then they embrace themselves and couple together, and a perfect light is begotten between them, which there is no light like through all the world."
--Rosarium Philosophorum (pg. 36)

With the Sun we reach the third stage of the alchemical opus, the citrinitas or yellowing, where the spiritual sun rises to join his lover, the moon. The Sun and Moon are the souls of the Emperor and Empress, and are here joined in the second or greater conjunction, the hieros gamos, or sacred marriage.

The Lovers have integrated their shadow, the Devil. As Sol and Luna, they are joined under one crown, the symbol of domination and mastery. They have reached the goal of the Work. The circle with a dot in the middle is the alchemical symbol for gold, and is also the hieroglyph for Ra (hru), the Egyptian sun god, whose names means "sun" or "day." Indeed, a new day is dawning. The image is inspired by the title page of Le Voyage des Princes Fortunez, (The Journey of the Fortunate Prince), 1610.

The alchemical process represented by the Sun is multiplication, or the production of the philosopher's stone. The alchemist reaps what he has sown. The operation is performed by the Stone itself, not by the alchemist, who allows it to happen. Essentially, the substance has been killed and burned in the earth, and now is reborn and multiplies like grain. The power of projection is multiplied to infinity, beyond time. In the mystery of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld (death and rebirth), grains of barley were place on a coffin. When the grains sprouted, Osiris was said to have arisen.

The number of the Sun, nineteen, is unity. It refers back to the initial unity of all things, the Monad, represented by the number one (one plus nine equals ten, which in turn reduces to one.) The Sun marks a complete revolution on the Wheel of Fortune.

Tarot wisdom: The dawn, or the aurora, is a state of radiant health and well-being. We are cleansed of the past as we bask in the healing rays of the new sun. This sun is the internal illumination, that previously we were too blind to see, it dawns when we bring our masculine and feminine sides, our animus and anima, into unity and balance. It is also the ripening of the white stone as it is reddened by the fire of our libido, the Devil. When all four aspects of our personalities--anima, animus, persona, and shadow--are integrated, we can experience the higher self, which is both our center and our collective whole.

In this state we are motivated and inspired by our desires, but have the maturity to see the yearnings of our soul that are at their root. We have gained the patience to remain unattached to the outcome of our quest -- to manipulate no one, and the strength to simply do what is called for in the present.


The Sun has risen while a crescent Moon lingers in the sky. The Empress and the Emperor are united in the second alchemical wedding. This is the yellowing, the final stage before the reddening which is the goal of the work. The couple floats naked above the country-side and below a crown that covers them both. The single crown is the symbol of their union. Now she wears a crescent-moon-tiara like II-The High Priestess showing her new-found connection too the Moon and that the unconscious has integrated with their personae. He wears a laurel wreath showing their victory over the lures of the material world, depicted on XV-The Devil. The rays of the Sun illuminate all, from the purple mountains, to the town in the hills, and on down the lane, because the road is not at end.