THE SUN AND ITS ASPECTS:
WHAT WE SIGNED UP TO DO
The Sun’s position in our chart shows what is essential, most significant, and meaningful to us. It reveals much about our lifelong mission and the purpose behind this mission. It is also the type of heart (e.g., compassionate, innovative, powerful) we’re here to express.
The Sun represents what’s at our core — our central life force — and its natal position can disclose our key charac-teristics or the principles we have adopted while growing up. Although the birth chart should be read as a whole, the Sun is the primary astrological indicator of what we’ve signed up to accomplish in this lifetime.
The Sun: Meaning and Mentorship
Rather than a set of adjectives (Gemini is “chatty,” Tau-rus is “stubborn,” Sun–Mars is “active”), the Sun’s position in the horoscope (by sign, house, and aspect) spotlights a deep journey of discovery and a sense of vocation — a personal calling that can take a whole lifetime to explore fully.
Contemplating how the Sun in our horoscope reflects our individual role in life is a luxury and a privilege that most of the world’s population never have the opportunity to con-sider. Although we don’t have to express this role every day, incorporating the major themes of our Sun complex into our regular life means that we’ll be more engaged with and more aware of that deeper purpose. If we define, then participate in, what the Sun illuminates in our life, this is a major step towards feeling alive and fulfilling some specific intention.
Working towards embodying the Sun’s message in our life is a way of becoming the best of who we were born to be. And heading along that path, we also discover that the lessons we’re here to learn are also the very same lessons we’re here to teach others. When the path of the Sun is rec ognised and we’ve assimilated its message into our own life, we are able to lead and mentor others in that area.
The Sun’s Aspects
In this article, I’ll be looking at the Sun’s natal aspects to each of the planets plus Chiron. I tend to focus on the conjunction, square, and opposition primarily (using an 8° orb), and then look at any close trines (under a 3° orb) to the Sun. If our natal Sun has none of these, then any other aspects it makes — e.g., the quincunx, sextile, or sesqui-quadrate — should be considered, although, in my opinion, these won’t have the same clear impact as the main four aspects listed above.
If our Sun has no aspects at all, it is considered un-aspected, which suggests that the Sun’s message (through its sign and house placement) is, at times, either fully “on” (blatant, obvious, or demanding attention) or “switched off” (hibernating, or subjugated by other planetary energies). There don’t seem to be any half measures or moderation with an unaspected planet.
There’sahierarchywhenit comestointerpreting planetary combinations: The fartheraway a planet is, the more it influences/ coloursaplanetclosertous.
There’s a hierarchy when it comes to interpreting plan-etary combinations: The farther away a planet is, the more it influences/colours a planet closer to us. For this reason, I’ve begun with aspects from Pluto to the Sun. If our chart contains more than one major aspect to our Sun, then I would recom-mend prioritising these in the same order as listed below.
The Sun in Aspect to Pluto: The Transformer
With this combination, we’ve signed up to understand ex-tremes both in life experience and in relationship — in order to know the light from the dark, the warmth from the cold, the good from the bad. Early on, there may have been an awareness of tyranny, of the uses and abuses of power, or a feeling of victimisation. Perhaps we had a compelling desire in childhood to change our circumstances, but we were not in a position to do so.
Later, there’s a temptation to choose two very different types of people: those who help us to discover our own po-tency and facilitate our growth or, more likely, those whose control over us takes us to the edge of annihilation. This latter sense of powerlessness could continue until we resign from the role of victim and look at how we have given others dominion over our lives.
With this planetary pairing, we have signed up to undergo a major metamorphosis of empowerment and to face up to the darker areas of life and our personality — to shed light on any taboos or secrets that have made us feel ashamed. Self-acceptance and forgiveness, unflinching honesty, and being in the driver’s seat are essential for living a full life.
We fail when we refuse to learn from the past and, instead, repeat patterns and treat others with ruthlessness. At best, this is the calling of the transformer, the indefati-gable survivor, and the master of reinvention who turns early experiences of being at the mercy of others into helping people find the tools to take greater control of their own lives. Because we have an ability to push people’s buttons and illuminate the areas of their lives they’d rather keep hidden, we can do our best work by helping others to facilitate their own healing journey.
The Sun in Aspect to Neptune: The Visionary
A specific journey or a clear sense of life purpose can elude those of us with this chameleonic, multivalent planetary combination. It’s likely that, at heart, we have a wandering spirit and wondering nature, but we may be tempted to escape our ordinary, habitual, or pedestrian existence — always imag-ining that life is more ideal elsewhere. The challenge, however, is to bring a bit of the magical, the enchanting, and the mysti-cal into our daily life — and to inspire in others the vision that, with self-belief and trust in the universe, almost anything is possible. Some of us do this by raising consciousness through music, fashion, image-making, theatre, poetry, or any field where beauty, creativity, and the imagination are god.
But our mission has a deeper side, too. We signed up to be of service to humanity in some way, and this could be achieved by working in the caring professions, pursuing ar-tistic endeavours, or finding a way to highlight the pain and address some of the suffering in the world.
Ours is a compassionate, philanthropic, Good Samari-tan heart, and if this spirit is nurtured, we can develop into an empath or a visionary born to show others that we are all interconnected and more alike than we’re unalike. We can inspire people to treat each other with sensitivity, tenderness, and understanding.
Yet, in being “called” to give wholeheartedly to the pow-erless or disenfranchised, it’s imperative that we do not lose ourselves in the process. The drama that this creates can be exhausting (and less than ideal), so protective boundaries and recovery time are essential for this life calling, particularly if we find ourselves in a competitive or ruthless environment.
Withthe Sun–Plutopairing, self-acceptance and forgiveness, unflinchinghonesty,andbeingin thedriver’sseatareessential for living a full life.
The Sun in Aspect to Uranus: The Awakener
At our core beats the heart of an activist — and it’s the beat of a very different drummer. We signed up for our lives to be electrified by the power of change: firstly, for us (whether this is from out-of-the-blue circumstances that turn our life upside down or from “coming out” to become our au-thentic self), and later, for us to act as a catalyst for others to achieve a “Eureka!” moment in their lives, too.
With this combination, it’s likely that many of us grew up an outsider — feeling born into the wrong time, place, or family — or were brought up in a conventional, judgemental, deterministic, or strict environment where people tried to pigeonhole or bully us. It’s uncomfortable territory, and our in-stinct may have been to play people-pleaser in the hope that we would eventually be accepted into the tribe. But a sense of rejection forced us to wake up and break free from others’ narrow definitions or our own self-imposed constraints.
Eventually, we learn that our ability to see the world differently from how those around us see it is the key to em-barking upon the exciting, independent life path waiting for us. The trick is to reject the need to fit in and realise that, ironically, differences are something we all share.
Another realisation — that the only constant in life is change — will help us to understand that life is not predict-able, and with our desire for excitement, this may suit us quite nicely. But we should resist the temptation to shake things up or sever ties needlessly just because life is getting a little stale. Some parts of our life benefit from remaining stable.
This is the combination related to tearing up the rule-book and adopting progressive ideas — ones that may be shocking at the time but later become more mainstream. It’s the planetary pairing that’s destined to tell the emperor that he has no clothes on.
The Sun in Aspect to Chiron: The Healer
Chiron the Centaur is linked to the pain of rejection and of feeling that we’re not good enough — something we all experience but rarely allow into the open for self-enquiry and self-forgiveness. But paradoxically, it’s this pain that, once recognised, can become our identity badge — we carry it around as an excuse, refusing to process it or turn it into something worthwhile.
Astrologically, Chiron is linked to an ongoing wound we have but one that we can only heal indirectly. Our solar jour-ney is to shine a light on the nature of that wound and go out into the world to help others (who experience similar pain or suffering) to process their own wound. In healing others, the pain we carry in ourselves becomes more manageable.
This journey is one of teaching and fostering wisdom, ac-cepting the unacceptable, and shining a light on, as Howard Sasportas once declared, “the wounds that make us wise.”
The Sun in Aspect to Saturn: The Master
With Sun–Saturn comes the weight of high standards and a searing self-criticism that can be unduly harsh and un-forgiving. We may have grown up with an internal wagging finger telling us what we “should” do, or caring too much about what others think. The need to go easy on ourselves and act spontaneously is something that we have to work on over and over again! Comparisons to others will only bring unhappiness. We must learn that what others think of us is none of our business.
We can have ambivalent feelings towards achievement: A dread of failure and disappointing others is mixed with a fear of success and the responsibilities or pressure it could bring.
This is a planetary pairing that can begin life struggling with inhibition and trying to live up to others’ expectations of us, but it’s a combination that matures well. We get more com-fortable in our skin as we grow older, particularly when we feel that we have delivered results or achieved something meaning-ful. The life lesson is to be self-disciplined, to choose an area that we can master, and then, with integrity and a strong moral compass, mentor others to be the best they can be.
At best, this combination offers us a strong work ethic, an understanding that hard work pays off, and a compelling de-sire to build something of substance that will stand the test of time. But the trick is to be someone — to build character and integrity — rather than aim to be a “somebody” in the eyes of the world. And what we do and what we become must come from us … and us alone.
Atbest,Sun–Saturn offers us a strong work ethic, anunderstandingthat hard work pays off, and a compelling desire to build something of substance.
The Sun in Aspect to Jupiter: The Explorer
This is an exuberant combination born to enthuse others. Whatever we do for a living, part of our journey is to be an evangelist, a crusader — for within us all, there’s an optimist wanting to sell our vision to the world, promote a cause, or rouse interest in a philosophy we’ve adopted. We were born to ask the big questions in life and to stir up pas-sion in others; a natural mentor, we can guide people down the path that is right for them.
With Sun–Jupiter, we may have experienced early con-ditions as stifling or people around us with a narrow outlook, only to gain an inner understanding of the greater possibili-ties out there in the big, wide world. If some others around us were unable to see beyond first base, we were born to achieve a home run. But with this aspect, it’s essential to live a life of authenticity and integrity — no shortcuts!
Our life lesson is to enjoy the journey and to live in the moment, rather than always wanting or expecting more. Our lifelong mission is a call to adventure — to break from the past and explore the world, to participate fully in life, and to create a life bigger than others ever imagined it could be. There’s an epic, (s)heroic, and benevolent quality to this com-bination as long as ego, grandiosity, greed, or a compulsion to be recognised doesn’t get in the way. The challenge is to develop confidence and self-belief and not to worry about the judgements or narrow-mindedness of others.
The Sun in Aspect to Mars: The Warrior
With Sun–Mars, many of us grew up feeling overlooked or needing to fight for our individuality, to stand up and be counted, or defend our right to express ourselves. Whatever the motivating factor, we have an independent streak that is called to do battle for ourselves and, later, to fight on behalf of others. The key to success is to DIY (Do It Yourself) and not wait for others to defend us nor allow them to take the driver’s seat in our lives.
This is a planetary pairing with a clear, definite mission: to assert ourselves and to exhibit daring and spirit. We have signed up to be trailblazers in our field, to be unapologetic pioneers who lead by example. As Sun–Mars individuals, we know that interest leads to energy: Once a mission, a cause, an underdog, or an injustice has been identified, there’s a dy-namic motivation, a call to action.
We are in a hurry to achieve and can ruffle the feathers of those in authority. Often, accomplishments come early, but we later understand that the more significant battles (for freedom, independence, or gender/sexual equality) are fought later in life, once we have more experience in dealing with authority. Speaking up against social injustice or political hypocrisy may also be part of our calling. The keyword for this combination is “courage,” and it’s essential, even though we may encounter some setbacks, that we not throw in the towel and be defeated.
The Sun in Aspect to Venus: The Bridge-Builder
With this combination, beauty, comfort, pleasure, and luxury assume greater importance for us, and it can also indicate a sweet tooth or a lazy, indulgent streak. There’s charisma and often vanity, too.
Some of us were born into conflict (expressed or unexpressed) or a lack of warmth and appreciation, and our mission is to create harmony and maintain amicable relationships at home or at work. It’s also likely that, because we need to be liked and popular, we’ll attempt to be a peace-maker, a people-pleaser, and indulge others who are not worthy of our attention.
One of the big life lessons for us is to put our values cen-tre stage, to focus on self-love, to feel gratitude, and to at-tach importance to our talents. Developing self-esteem and an awareness of personal needs will also be primary. Rela-tionships will often be unconventional with this pairing, and balance, harmony, acceptance, and equality are important re-lationship aims.
As we experience various relationships, we learn that we are already “whole.” Others do not “complete” a miss-ing half of ourselves, as love songs proclaim. We are already
complete, but it is through interaction and having the courage to love others that we realise this. All we need to do is invite the other to walk alongside us. Over time, we learn that re-lationships are the great mirrors of the self: They give us the chance to reflect on what we truly value in ourselves, as well as our own talents as a person, partner, and confidante.
The Sun in Aspect to Mercury: The Messenger
More than one in four of us will have this combination (the conjunction). We signed up to be a messenger, an agent, or perhaps a salesperson. We have a story to tell or a com-modity to sell; it’s in our nature to trade, barter, exchange services, and make deals. Many of us will want to write for a living or work in areas that require research and the accumu-lation of evidence.Some of us were born into a family that didn’t commu-nicate effectively. Perhaps, when growing up, there were unanswered questions or ideas that were never allowed to be aired or shared. From childhood, we’ve seen what goes wrong when things are unexpressed, so we realise how im-portant communication is and how knowledge is power. We’ve grown up understanding the importance of asking for information and of being well informed. At best, we share opinions, learn from others, question the official ver-sion, and find solutions. At worst, we become attached to a rigid point of view and see differing opinions as personal criticism.