The Sun is the 19th Major Arcana tarot card and signifies the feeling of joy, success, and liberation from a previous struggle. The child riding the horse under the Sun’s brilliant rays embodies our own inner child, the aspect of self who longs for creative self-expression, celebration, and play.

The Sun Tarot Card Upright and Reversed Keywords
The Sun tarot card upright and reversed keywords.

The Sun’s element is Fire, and its astrological correspondence is, unsurprisingly, to the Sun—the center of our solar system—representing our conscious ego and the impulses toward the creative expression of our will. In horoscopes, it’s also the ruling planet of the Leo zodiac sign. The Sun is worshiped in many different cultures as a symbol of the Godhead, as both the Sun and the divine are synonymous with sustaining life on Earth.

The Sun Keywords

Upright keywords

Reversed keywords

creative willpower, accomplishment and success, liberation from struggle, authenticity, inner child

latent but untapped potential, difficulty accessing creativity, re-connecting to the inner child, hubris 

Description of The Sun Tarot Card

The Sun represents the process of conscious self-actualization that can be achieved through the confrontation with darkness, which began with The Devil in Line 3 of the Major Arcana. This is one of several reasons why The Sun is often viewed as a positive card. Whereas the preceding card, The Moon, represents an encounter with our subconscious, The Sun represents the harmonious integration of instinct and ego and the ability to see clearly in the light of day.

Underneath the Sun’s brilliant rays, a naked child (representing innocence and spontaneity) rides a white horse inside a walled garden. The safety of the enclosure is what allows for this freedom of self-expression and the ability to access play. The sun shines while the child waves a red banner, symbolizing the pride he feels in sharing his authentic self, and his crown represents the enlightenment of his consciousness.

The sunflowers emerge from a walled enclosure, which speaks to the boundaries necessary to cultivate inner joy. Young sunflowers will grow and face toward the rising sun, allowing them to soak up the fullness of its warmth. Like the sunflowers, the child seems to wholly embrace the joy and vitality available to him.

The Sun Upright Meaning

The Sun speaks to our inner spark of vitality, our creative willpower, and the joy of connecting to and expressing our true nature. It heralds a time of receiving recognition for accomplishments and success in our undertakings. It represents the process of self-actualization, where we become more fully and authentically ourselves by integrating aspects of our unconscious and our shadow (as represented by The Moon and The Devil).

When The Sun is in an upright position, life is no longer a challenge to overcome but an experience to be enjoyed, appreciated, and celebrated. This card illustrates a world of play, where we can recapture our desire for freedom and spontaneity and rediscover an inner harmony and ease that we felt as children before we encountered the conditioning and judgment from the outside world.

This card’s tarot meaning speaks to the bright side of life: the fulfillment of desires, attainment of success, and recognition for achievements. It can signify a time of healing from a previous time of darkness or loss. It is a reflection of your radiant spirit and a reminder that you can mirror the Sun’s outpouring of light when you share yourself and your creative expression confidently and freely with the world.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, the word love is written in tiny letters underneath the artist’s signature in the lower right-hand corner of the card. Smith left a clue as to one of the key qualities of The Sun, which is the ability to radiate and attract love. You can embody this potent spirit of love by being your natural, free, and creative self.

This card can signify a strong and loving partnership built on a solid foundation. The container you have built around your partnership, symbolized by the walled enclosure, allows you to thrive as individuals and as partners. There is a sense that each person enjoys the ability to freely express themselves according to their own authentic nature, which is the foundation for your joyful partnership.

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

The Sun represents a deep connection to your creative purpose and the self-assured desire to radiate this expression outwards. The feeling of confidence in sharing your gifts grows as you gain recognition and appreciation from others. Your work is part of how you share your talents with the world, and it helps you to feel connected to your larger purpose.

This card can symbolize that you are experiencing the successful realization of a project or career-related goal and that this is being met with accolades. It can speak to work in creative fields and signifies prosperity in creative undertakings.

Love/relationship upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

radiating and attracting love, strong partnership, solid foundations, authentic self-expression  

connection to creative purpose, confidence, recognition, success

The Sun Reversed Meaning

When The Sun appears reversed in a tarot reading, you may be temporarily disconnected from your inner vitality or sense of purpose. If you feel creatively uninspired or blocked, this card suggests that you can reconnect to your spirit by creating more of a sacred space (or walled enclosure) around your creative practice or time spent doing what brings you joy.

This card can suggest that you have latent talents and skills but are not utilizing them to the fullest extent of your abilities. Fear of judgment from others or negative self-talk may be causing you to hide or deny your gifts. It suggests reconnecting to the truth of who you are and to your child-like sense of optimism and joy.

At times, this card can suggest an excess of solar (or yang) energy in the form of self-centeredness or self-importance. To combat this shadow side of The Sun, consider that divinely inspired creative ideas come through us from a higher source and are meant to be shared and appreciated by all. When you think of yourself as a vessel for the creative energy and inspiring vibes that flow through you, you can avoid the potential for hubris.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

The Sun reversed can indicate that you are feeling temporarily disconnected from the sense of ease and joy in your partnership. If your tarot love reading shows a reversed Sun and you have recently been through challenging times, this card reminds you that the Sun will rise again, bringing renewed faith, positive energy, and optimism with it.

At times, it can indicate that one or both partners are feeling withdrawn and are having difficulty fully expressing themselves. This card encourages authentic communication in order to overcome this feeling of disconnection. There’s a need to restore enthusiasm for a relationship by working through the challenges you face with openness and honesty.

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

In a tarot card reading, a reversed Sun can suggest that you have untapped potential for success and achievement. Your perspective on your talents and gifts may have become clouded by negativity or apathy, but this card is a reminder that the ability to share in and radiate the warmth of the sun is your birthright. Try to reconnect to your inner child and a sense of wonder, awe, and possibility.

This card can also suggest that you may be feeling frustrated because of delayed success in a project or undertaking. It is an encouragement to be patient, focus on the gifts in the present moment, and stay the course because the Sun rises again each day, bringing with it the possibility for new growth, perspectives, and opportunities.

Love/relationship reversed keywords

Money/career reversed keywords

feeling disconnected or withdrawn from your partner, difficulty expressing oneself, need for authentic communication, need for reconnection

untapped potential for success, negativity, delayed success, patience