Why we should greet the Sun each morning
“The Sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” Galileo Galilei
The ancients have always known that the Sun is the center of the universe, yet how often do we wake up in the morning and greet it?
How much do we even know about it?
The Sun grows our food, brightens our days, affects the earth’s climate and our health. But we don’t think about it much except to cover ourselves in summer with toxic sunscreen that we don’t really even need [see next week’s post on that].
The Sun is also a great force of spiritual energy and spiritual teaching. So we should take the time to learn more about it!
Some interesting Sun facts
- The Sun is a Yellow Dwarf star at the centre of our solar system and is responsible for the Earth’s climate and weather.
- One million earths could fit inside the Sun
- Light from the Sun takes 8 minutes to reach earth
- The distance from the Sun to the earth changes throughout the year because the earth travels on an elliptical orbit around the Sun.
- Age: 4.6 billion years
- The Sun is middle aged. At around 4.5 billion years old, the Sun has already burned off about half of its store of Hydrogen. It has enough left to continue to burn Hydrogen for approximately another 5 billion years.
- If the Sun were to “turn off”, within a week the earth would be 0 degrees F
- In a year’s time it would dip to -100 degrees F and millions of years later it would be a stable -400 degrees
Galileo faced the Inquisition over the Sun
Although ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, Greeks and Hindus had always viewed the Sun as the center of the universe, early Western scholars and the Church believed the Earth to be the center of the universe.
Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish mathematician and astronomer who lived from 1473 – 1543, had the revolutionary idea that the Sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe.
But, without the internet to spread the idea, it went unnoticed until long after his death in 1543.
Galileo Galilei [Italian, 1564-1642] was another proponent of the Sun as the center of the universe.
He wrote a book, Dialog on the Two Chief World Systems, in which he made a case for the Earth revolving around the Sun and not the other way around. The book was a success, and thus attracted the attention of the Vatican.
As a result, he faced the inquisition in 1633. Aging, ailing and threatened with torture by the Inquisition, Galileo recanted his beliefs about the Sun on April 30, 1633. Still, he was tried, found guilty and lived the last eight years of his life under house arrest.
His book was burned and the sentence read in every university
Legend has it that once he was set free from prison, on his way to house arrest, he looked up to the sky and down to the ground and, stamping his foot, said, “Eppur si muove” [“And yet, it moves.”].
There is no real evidence he actually said it, for why would he risk his freedom offending the Inquisition?
But it shows the passion surrounding the debate over whether the earth, or the Sun, was the center of the universe.
The Church officially denied Copernican Theory until 1922.
In October 2009, the Vatican corrected the record with a “not guilty” verdict. Thus ended 359 years of formal condemnation of scriptural heresy against Galileo for holding the truth that the Earth revolves around the Sun!
Spiritual Teachings About the Sun
Native American tribes generally refer to the Sun in the masculine [Elder Brother or Father Sun] and the Moon in the feminine form.
There are Native American legends that the Sun and Moon got married and gave birth to a daughter: The Morning Star. She came down to earth as the White Buffalo Calf Woman and brought the Sacred Pipe to the people.
Mayan spiritual teacher Hunbatz Men teaches that we should pray every morning to Father Sun, using the Mayan name for Sun over and over because the vibration of the Mayan name activates good energy.
This is what the one-thousand year old Seneca Thanksgiving Prayer says about the Sun:
The Great Mystery fashioned a sky above us and put a helper in the Sky who moves about across the earth, yet lives in the Sky.
This helper always comes from the east and travels to the west.
His heart is so big and strong, and his love for his relations so great, that he lights the entire sky when he passes by.
This light is our Elder Brother, the Sun.
He takes his obligation seriously and with great regard, for he never misses a day of this journey.
The Sun brings us warmth and light and allows growing things to flourish.
Let us be of one mind that we may do this properly: We give thanks for our Elder Brother, the Sun.
The things we take for granted are the things that give us life. We would do well to give such thanks every day. This ensures their continuing
Ancient cultures celebrated solstices and equinoxes, which are measures to mark the Sun in relation to the Earth.
The spiritual power of Solstices and Equinoxes
The journey of the Earth around the Sun is marked by four distinct events; the spring equinox, the summer solstice, the autumn equinox and the winter solstice
Winter Solstice is the day when light is reborn out of the darkness of winter. Our days start to become longer and lead us back to the beauty of spring and the warmth of summer, stretching towards their peak at the Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year.
The equinoxes mark the half-way points, when light and dark are equal – a time of balance.
The Ancients celebrated all four events with great ceremony honoring the Sun’s journey. [Even though it’s really the Earth’s journey, we think of it as the Sun’s, even to the point of saying the Sun rises each morning and sets each night].
The Winter Solstice in particular was a time of prayer asking the Sun to return and bring back long days, light and warmth
Ancient cultures venerated the Sun because the journey of the Earth around the Sun symbolizes our journey to enlightenment. It was that inner journey that was celebrated, not the physical Sun itself.
Temples Built to the Sun
Most ancient cultures celebrated the Winter Solstice and the return of light and life with feasting, music, light and fire, and for many, it was the true beginning of the New Year.
It was so important to the pre-Celt ancients of Ireland that they spent over 30 years building a monument to the returning Sun: Newgrange.
Older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza, it was designed so that on the Winter Solstice, the rising Sun shines directly along the long passage into the inner chamber and for 17 minutes illuminates the chamber floor and the symbols etched on the back wall.
What did the Ancients know that we don’t?
It’s hard for the modern mind to imagine spending 30 years building something to celebrate a three-day event. Yet, that’s how important the return of the Sun was to the ancients.
There are thousands of such ancient sites aligned to the solstices and equinoxes. Many of the ancient mystery schools conducted their initiation rituals and mysteries on the equinoxes and solstices—times of great spiritual energy.
So, tomorrow morning, upon rising, take a moment to look to the Sun. Thank it for its steady dedication to bringing light into our lives.
“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the Sun.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com