While not one of the more prominent dream symbols, the sun is quite a potent symbol when it does rise in dreams. Sometimes, the sun may be overlooked, appearing as part of a dream's supporting background scenery, when in actuality it might deserve a starring role--no pun intended! Here is some information about the sun's role in mythology as well as some ideas about what it may symbolize in dreams.
Since the sun gives and sustains life, it is a perfect symbol for deity, and most cultures recognize it as such. Often the deity symbolized was a male god, however, this was not always the case. Some cultures saw the sun as goddess rather than god. Given that the the sun is one of the primary forces responsible for giving life to the people and the planet, some peoples viewed it as a powerful symbol of motherhood--a sort of planetary mother.
No matter what gender the deity, the most important mythological consideration for dream interpretation is the power of the sun, its ability to give life, vitality, light, warmth, etc. All the sun's literal powers were transferred to the solar deity and in dream interpretation, a similar transference may be appropriate. (For more information on solar deities, please see the links below.)
As seen in mythology, our ancient ancestors recognized the importance of the sun as a life force. Similarly, in dreams, the sun may symbolize life, vitality, or anything which provides one sustenance. Seeing the sun in a dream may indicate a period of feeling especially vital, alive and filled with energy.
Whereas the moon reflects the light it receives, the sun actually produces light on its own. (For more information on the moon as a dream symbol see this article: Moon, Moon Dreams.) The sun's ability to produce light is what causes many to view it as a symbol of activity which is associated with what is called the "masculine" principle.
The masculine principle is not the same as male gender, just as the feminine principle is not the same as the female gender. The masculine principle is associated with the active force, the force that propels, whereas the feminine principle is associated with that which is passive, that which receives what is propelled. There is no hierarchy within the principles; each are equal powers serving equal functions. Action has no place without reception. Reception is non-existent without some form of action.
This association with action may symbolize a mind in motion as opposed to a still mind that is open to receiving intuition. While mental activity is usually perceived as a good thing, it is important to remember that the mind, like all other parts of the body, needs rest and that the sun, while providing light, can also scorch and burn.
Sun Spirituality and Enlightenment
Since the sun is so established in our collective unconscious as being associated with deity, the sun in dreams may symbolize enlightenment or a high degree of spiritual development.
However, the sun's association with deity is not the only reason for interpreting it as a spiritual symbol. Whereas the moon is associated with the unconscious mind; the sun is associated with the conscious mind and things that are out in the open, that which is revealed rather than hidden. The sun, therefore, often represents that which has been fully integrated into one's consciousness. The idea that it is a symbol of openness coupled with its circular appearance also makes the sun a powerful symbol of Self integration.
Whereas the sun is normally a positive symbol of light and life, one should remember that the sun can destroy as well as create. Too much activity without rest is likely to wreak havoc on one's life. If you dream of a scorching sun, you might ask yourself if there is someone or something that is "burning you out."
Never underestimate dreams' propensity to speak in puns and wordplay. The sun may be standing in for the word "son," a word which in and of itself may have different meanings. For example, the son could refer to one's family member, or it might refer to some behaviour or duty that one sees as "son-like," or alternatively the sun might refer Christ, known in Christianity as the son of God.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at: web.mac.com/aisling.ireland
Amazon's Kindle is a wireless portable reading device that allows you instant access to books, magazines, and more - learn more about it by following the link below. Shiva Rea's yoga dvd is one that I personally use to work out and includes a "sun salutation" pose! You can find it as well by following the link below.