A Journal of Inner Work and Therapeutic Arts
Immanence and Identity in Plural Personality

Studies Index...

Sun as Divinity, Sun as Ego
Thoughts on the significance of Sun and the nature of egoic function in the radix.

4-18 June 2016

Archetypal Inferences
Sun: Divinity and the egoic...

In Cosmos and Psyche (2006; 2007:89ff.) Richard Tarnas describes the planets as transcultural archetypal principles.
His description of Sun includes reference to the egoic, deific, and the archetypal.

Sun: the central principle of vital creative energy, the will to exist; the impulse and capacity to be, to manifest, to be active, to radiate, to "shine"; to rise above, achieve, illuminate, and integrate; the individual will and personal identity, the seat of mind and spirit, the animus, the executive functions of the self or ego, the capacity for initiative and purposeful assertion, the drive for individual autonomy and independence; directed and focused consciousness and self-awareness, the centrifugal expression of the self, the trajectory of self-manifestation, ascent and descent; the ruler of the day sky, of the clearly visible, the single source of luminosity that overcomes the encompassing darkness, the monocentric; yang; the part that contains the whole in potentia; Sol and all solar deities; the archetypal Hero in its many forms.

In Astrology of the Seers (2000:57ff.), a popular introductory guide to Vedic astrology, author David Frawley notes that Sun is divine, an immanent presence or 'true Self', but also represents the egoic.

The Sun is a grand symbol, a profound psychological and spiritual archetype. The Sun is the visible form and presence of the deity. It is the image, the face of Truth itself. The Sun is God, the Divine incarnate in nature. The Sun is the Deva, the deity. [...] In our birth charts the Sun shows our divinity, our unity and point of focus, our center and central purpose in life. According to the solar religion of the Vedas, the Sun is the Atman, the Self of the entire universe. The Sun is the Divine Being who dwells in the hearts of all beings as the true Self. The Sun symbolizes cosmic intelligence, pure consciousness, or the enlightened Mind. [...]

[...] The Sun in the chart shows what we really are in our hearts. The Sun shows who we are in ourselves as individuals, quite apart from how we may appear or what roles we may play.

The Sun indicates the level of our self-manifestation. On the lower level, the Sun represents the ego. It shows our impulses towards power, prestige, fame, honor, respect, authority, and control — all things that give value and preeminence to our individual selves. It shows where we shine, how we shine and in what we shine, how we illumine.

On a higher level, the Sun as our soul shows our aspirations, our creativity, our seeking for light and truth. The Sun is who we really are, and the Sun in the birth chart focuses on the problem of identity, the search for the true Self, the great enquiry "Who am I?" [...]

The Sun shows the kinds of authority and the values that shape our lives. [...] It represents law and order on lower or higher levels, rule and reason [...] can represent spiritual authority [...] shows our guiding light, principles, values, and precepts.

The inner purpose of the Sun in our chart is to aid in our transcendence. [...]

Both authors reference deity and ego with respect to Sun. Frawley adds the concept of soul, which holds little relevance for me but, more specifically, he describes the problem of identity as the solar focus in the chart. That clearly resonates. Indeed, I can appreciate many of the ideas in Frawley's description, as if they are of deeper knowledge and memory. But my experience now leads me to a somewhat different view, to apperception of self as a plurality of principals among whom I arise and evolve as egoic function under aegis of Self, a term here used in much the same sense as Frawley and Jung before him, but which I experience as immanent presence, into which I resolve at death. Sun is indeed my experience of divinity, that immanent presence. Sun is not ego, but ego is of Sun. Hereafter, the terms 'Self' and 'immanent presence' are used interchangeably.

At times I write of the ego-Self relation, referring to my experience of immanent presence from which I am not separated — not a 'soul' crying out in the wilderness, though that once seemed the case — yet may think or feel myself at some remove in the extremes of my focus, e.g., in problems of attachment or cathartic crisis. The experience of immanent presence, however, also includes apperception of multiple transpersonal principals in relation with whom I arise and evolve as egoic function in gestalt. These principals vary in number, are not named or given to physical presentment, but they are constant companions. I tend to think of them as agencies both of and working with Self, but in this area of description words do not adequately convey the experience. Perhaps these principals have lived before and now work with me on developmental themes of common significance, to them as to me and the authority of immanent presence. Equally, they might be conceived as of Self, inherent in them, as has been thought Amun in all neteru. So close are these relations that the plural pronoun is sometimes used in journaled or intrapsychic description of specific concepts, for "I" am not sensible except in the context of the principals in gestalt.

Neither Self nor the principals are apprehended in terms of the planets or other points in the radix, though my experience of deity, of immanent presence, is clearly solar in nature. No cognitive schema describes them, yet we're now discussing the possibility that the egoic function, which evolves through these intrapsychically apperceived relationships, might be construed in terms of the planets and the Chara Karakas.

Prima facie, given that it's a moving target, a process that can't be nailed down, it seems at least problematic to so delineate egoic function. But we're not trying to nail it down, so much as challenge and observe, study the process. As we've seen time and again in working with ayanamsas, for instance, that while a simple shift is sufficient to alter the AK, we can nonetheless derive insight and meaning from each result in the context of our study objectives. Thus, given the identity focus consistent in all of the chart variants we create, our objective in this case does not seem out of line.

In Jaimini astrology, the natural Atmakaraka ('soul significator') in everyone is Sun; the Chara Atmakaraka ('moveable soul significator') is the planet of highest longitudinal degree in the chart. Sometimes Sun is both, but often not. The working theory is that the soul goes through life after life in the process of enlightenment, and the Chara Atmakaraka reveals the soul's true desire in each life. That's one way of framing it. Or we can read the egoic function in this context, in terms of the Chara Karakas or all planets in the radix, including Rahu, in relation with Sun. In this sense egoic function encompasses all, in relation with Sun. So, for example, while the personal characteristics ascribed in virtue of the fact that Sun presents in Taurus have applied to some extent in description of egoic function, as does the Krittika Nakshatra where we also find Mercury Rx and Moon, none of these do moreso than those corresponding with the loci of the other planets in the radix.

In all the years I've worked with astrology, Saturn has generally been my egoic rede.

In trop geo the Sabian for Saturn (13Virgo) is:  A strong hand supplanting political hysteria — ME Jones. 1969:312.
And we're in the Saturn Maha Dasa now (see chart below)...

But the challenge with this new perspective is to read all of the planets as players in the egoic function, the organization of which might be sensible along the lines of the Chara Karakas. We shall see...

Shifting the Sidereal Chart —
Ayanamsa = Galactic Equator mid-Mula : 22°42'45"

Rising just before Sun, our 'Scout' planet is Mercury Rx, and Mercury is also the Chara Atmakaraka, planet of highest longitudinal degree in the core chart, calculated for the recorded birth time of 09:09 CST, changed to 10:09 EST for Ottawa (a relocation chart) for purposes of this brief. Sun is the Natural Atmakaraka, same as for everyone. And here we see that these AKs present in different signs and houses, both in Krittika nakshatra, but in different padas. Those are important facts in our analysis. Alternatively, were we to shift ayanamsa to Galactic Equator at 0° Sag, Sun, Mercury Rx, Moon and Lilith would present in Bharani, the earlier nakshatra, a perfectly viable result but clearly not the correct locus for the stellium. In this type of cognitive mapping the objective is to find the apposite chart and work with that.

Atmakaraka = Mercury Rx   |   Moon = Amatyakaraka.

Sun as Divinity, Sun as Ego  Thoughts on the significance of Sun and the nature of egoic function in the radix.

Sun and Mercury Rx

In Key Words for ASTROLOGY (1996) authors Hajo Banzhaf and Anna Haebler construe Sun-Mercury aspects as follows:

ARCHETYPE: The Smart King and His Herald.
SHADOW: The Boss and His Wily Attorney.

COMPARISON:SunMindOrganizationVenturingCourage to face lifeWill to live

GENERAL: Perceiving, understanding, thinking through, ordering, and formulating (all Mercury) what is essential (Sun). The distance between critical perception (Mercury) and subjective wanting (Sun). Self-criticism (Sun-Mercury). Making oneself understood (Mercury). Since the Sun and Mercury are never more than 28° apart from each other, there are no tension aspects between these two planets. Their concurrence is judged by other criteria:

If the Sun and Mercury are in different signs, this increases the objectivity of the thoughts because thinking (Mercury) can take another standpoint than the will (Sun). If they are in the same sign, thinking loses the critical distance to the character and is subjectively colored by the will.

The most favorable distance between the Sun and Mercury is considered to be an interval of 3° to 8° because here — expressed in images — Mercury's power of thought can develop in the Sun's best light. If the distance is less, it is called a "combust Mercury": it no longer produces any achievements of its own but stands completely in the Sun's service, exclusively concerned with justifying the Sun's activities.

That last paragraph presents ideas of immediate interest to me and not encountered previously. The authors do not source their assertion that 3° to 8° is the most favorable distance between Sun and Mercury, or even define what favorability might mean in this respect, but even so, applied with some degree (or minutes) of flexibility, I like it.

As to the second idea — that closer in but not yet cazimi ("in the heart of the Sun", ≤ 17' arc), Mercury might be exclusively concerned with justifying the Sun's activities and no longer produce any achievements of its own — I would note that while Banzhaf and Haebler's specific phrasing (in this case, a translation from the original German publication, Schlüsselworte zur Astrologie, 1996) strikes me deeply — beyond the common wisdom that subjectivity increases with proximity to the Sun, and objectivity, with distance from. What presents for me internally, however, is whether the proximity of Sun and Mercury Rx, the Natural AK and the Chara AK, affords insight on the ego-Self relation.

Retrograde and  Combust?

In my radix, about 6 hours before New Moon and at inferior conjunction, Mercury Rx (Promethean-Retrograde) is ~2°55' from Sun, a proximity thought to qualify Mercury as 'combust', overwhelmed or diminished — indeed, that seems the standard view. The following, for example, is Barbara Pijan's interpretation of Budha yuti Surya. Her use of the term 'solipsism' is misapplied, I think, as well as problematic in the sense that other factors in the chart would likely mitigate against the development of solipsistic perspective. Perhaps we might say that a deeper introversion is at play, but consider...

Smart and bright. Budha is vulnerable to moudhya-dosha ["combustion"] if Budha is too close to Surya. "Too close"= within 13 degrees [or] if retrograde: within 11 degrees. If Budha suffers asta "burn-out", one remains clever but becomes too self-focused — literally "solipsistic". [T]he native is intelligent and mentally adaptive with verbal fluency and quick response to five-senses stimuli. Yet, one may not easily comprehend the perceptions and feelings of others. The closer Budha gets to Surya, the more self-referential the native may become. One's own experience is less integrated with the experience of others. Solipsism is not always a bad thing for highly placed social leaders, whose duties may require a "full steam ahead" level of self-confidence unimpeded by the feelings or opinions of others. But for those located in the rank-and-file, such a person may be considered rather selfish or unaware.

In a similar but less extreme construal of 'combust', from the Astrology Encyclopedia at Astrology Weekly, we read that:

The probabilities are that the effect of the combust condition is to combine the planet's influence more closely with that of the Sun, until it is no longer a physical emotion capable of independent control, but an integral part of that consciousness of Destiny that the Sun imparts. Thus Mercury combust imparts to the mind a capacity for concentration upon what it deems its own destiny, but robs it of its receptivity to distracting or diverting influences. Hence it is no bar to the achievement of its own objectives insofar as the ability to achieve them is within its own powers, but it robs the native of the cooperation of those whom he alienates by his particular species of obtuse deafness to any or all argument that runs counter to his own concepts. Edison and Kant both illustrate this interpretation.

But as philosopher and classical astrologer P. James Clark argues persuasively in A Question of Combustion,

[...] anyone who believes that Mercury has anything to do with thinking or intelligence will need to explain why Albert Einstein's Mercury is Combust, not in a good sign and applying to Saturn in Aries! [...] Some will tell you that a planet cannot be combust if it's in a different sign from the Sun. Another will tell you that anything within 15 degrees of the Sun in either direction is rendered virtually useless. Others give the number of degrees at eight and some as little as three. [...] It's clear that we need to consider the nature of the planet Under the Beams in a variety of ways in the context of the entire chart. Mars Combust might share some Solar traits depending on Sign or other considerations. We would be foolish to downplay the power of a combust Mars with other forms of strength, including reception.

Some view retrograde as freeing Mercury from any such debility, regardless of distance from the Sun, because the energies are directed inward and in that capacity, enhanced. I am of this persuasion. In Atmakaraka & Karakamsa,
Sanjay Rath writes that on the basis of his experience:

The sign/navāṁśa occupied by the ātmakāraka gives us a clue as to the desire of the ātman and the nature of the ātmakāraka gives us vital information about the nature of the ātman, its spiritual development etc. [...] If a malefic planet is the ātmakāraka, it indicates a high level of spiritual development [...] A retrograde atmakaraka indicates a deep-rooted desire as being the cause of the birth. This has to be seen from the nature of the planet which becomes the AK. [...] Combustion of AK gives spiritual insight. [...]

We note that in the above chart, with the Cancer Ascendant, Mercury Rx is a functional malefic in Aries and is conjunct the malefic waning Moon (Balsamic, almost New), so takes on that influence. But Mercury Rx is AK and Moon, AmK. Saturn and Venus also qualify as functional malefics. The work is challenging. In Shadbala (% strength) we see Sun, Mercury Rx, Saturn, Venus, Moon...

Saturn-2 is a functional malefic and participates in a grand square to the 5th, 8th and 11th. The Sabian (20°Leo) is:
The Zuni sun worshipers, referring, as Jones (1969:288) puts it, to "recognition of higher and natural forces from which [one] receives [...] life and strength". Saturn-2 is triseptile Sun-11, which aspects every planet.

The chart shows major hubs of activity with multiple interconnections at each planet, as might be seen in most charts. The nature of those connections informs of egoic activity. There is a pattern of aspect formations going to self-work and psychospiritual development. It seems quite clear that each of the planets may be read to participate in an egoic process, a developmental initiative descriptive of challenge and conflict.

Again, on the matter of proximity to the Sun...

David Coleman's insightful interpretation at Cazimi, under the sunbeams & combust: the conjunctions of the Sun (7 June 2013) is a pleasure to read. There are no strong solar conjunctions unless virtually exact, but that results from a read of 'combust' or 'under the beams' on a material predicate, not psychospiritual. Consider:

[...W]hen in the very core of the Sun at 0° 17' or less, a planet is cazimi and is briefly strengthened by its contact and union with the solar principle, being reborn and re-forged in its own depth of being and these are conjunctions finding a true alignment between the inner self of the individual and the principle of the planet. [...] This seems rather unfair since it means that there are no strong solar conjunctions except those which are almost exact, until you realise that the mainstream writings on astrology have a political philosophy which evaluates strength and power purely in material terms. A 'good' chart is one that makes us rich easily, ensures our perpetual emotional bliss and provides us with all that we want. The view is materialistic. But with the conjunctions to the Sun, the attachment to materialisation itself is dissolving.

Thus, what is being made combust is the detritus and silt of the planet, the outer material crust which interacts with the physical material world in which power and strength are measured very tangibly and crudely. The power of these planets is not destroyed it is simply being transferred to more spiritual and intangible realms which are sourced within. This transference is made by the fusion of our conscious awareness to and with what the planet represents, by the casting of our inner light upon it in a dazzling illumination of its entire realm and a command of that realm in our own being. The dross burns away in the light of awareness and we see the principle of the planet with brilliant illumination, but within ourselves. [...] Combust planets are unorthodox and often willfully defy external direction because they are confident in their own inner unique grasp of the planets essential meaning. They are either aloof from or disinterested in the material agenda of the planet concerned but will still display its power radiantly and forcefully but somewhat enigmatically and individually.

Understanding egoic function — or the field of consciousness as focused at center — in the radix

Of Mercury and 'ego'

Tarnas writes (op.cit., p.90) of Mercury:

[...] the principle of mind, thought, communication, that which articulates the primary creative energy and renders it intelligible; the impulse and capacity to think, to conceptualize, to connect and mediate, to use words and language, to give and receive information; to make sense of, to grasp, to perceive and reason, understand and articulate; to transport, translate, transmit; the principle of Logos; Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods.

Frawley (op.cit., pp.68-73) treats of Mercury as "the lower or concrete mind, the intellect of informational mentality", but adds that "He also shows the higher mind in its discriminating ability and connects us with the Divine Word", whilst Jupiter represents the higher or abstract mind.

As Mercury Rx-10 is Scout, Jupiter-8 is leading-edge planet in the locomotive pattern of the radix, and first slow-mover to rise before Sun-11. Mercury Rx-10 and Jupiter-8 are trisemiseptile.

Minor aspects can be carried to an extreme is assessments such as this, missing the forest for the trees, so they're treated rather as indicators. The septile series is instructive here. We considering the idea that egoic function might be apprehended with respect to all planets, ordinated with respect to the Natural and Chara AKs. Again, such a static formulation cannot delineate the ineffable, deific or egoic, but will it lead to productive insight at this point of transition?

Here we're reading Sun and Mercury Rx as AKs, questioning whether they afford some degree of insight with respect to the ego-Self relation. In Frawley's terms, Jupiter must also be considered in the context of ego. So we have the Scout and the first slow-mover to rise before Sun, both of which go to egoic orientation. That might be treated as descriptive, perhaps even typologic.

But without the other planets, we have no depth or dynamic.

H10 Mercury Rx (AK) and Moon (AmK) are biquintile Neptune Rx-4 (singleton in trop geo), to which Sun-11 (nAK) is septseminovile. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Pluto all link with Neptune Rx, as does stationary Saturn by undecile (elftile), attending, listening to and and working through inner chaos. We might frame similar patterns at every planetary hub in the chart.

And consider Mars-3, which is AK in several ayanamsas, trine Sun-11 and the balance of the stellium-10, square the H5-6 complements, binovile Uranus-12, quadronovile Jupiter-8 and quindecile Homam-8. Mars-3 is also parallel Venus-9 and Lilith-10, but counterparallel Neptune Rx-4. Here we see the drive of the system. In trop geo the Sabian for Mars
(23Virgo) is:  An animal trainer — ME Jones. 1969:322.

Almuten Figuris...

The Worksheet shows three circular charts for purposes of comparison: sid geo reloc, helio trop, and trop geo. Note the Almuten Figuris in each case, and the fact that Venus is always a focal point, in detriment in trop geo, but exalted in sid geo. Note also, e.g., that Pluto is singleton in helio trop, and always trine Venus, 10th from karakamsa in D-1.


Assessment of singletons is useful in the study of egoic function. In previous work we looked at several singletons, e.g.: Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune Rx, Saturn, Uranus... Each of these may be seen as a focus for interpretation and coordination of effort in the plurality, and joined in aspect dynamics, descriptive of egoic function.


An assessment of house placements is also helpful in this context, though of course offers different results depending on the system we use. Here, in the sid geo reloc chart, we're working with whole signs, a foundational rede. What might specific houses tell us of ego?

In The Twelve Houses (2009; PDF, 1998:43ff.) Howard Sasportas refers to the development of body-ego and mental-ego in context of the 2nd and 3rd.

With the 1st house, the initial spark of individual identity has been defined. Now the task at hand is the further elaboration of who we are, the forging of a more solid sense of 'I' or the personal ego [which] can be defined as 'the center of the field of consciousness' (Jung's definition). We are born into an ego-less state, because we are unconscious of existing as a separate entity. In the 2nd house, we become aware of our own distinct body; therefore it could be said that we have a body-ego. In the 3rd house, the mind differentiates from the body, and we develop a mental-ego. Once established, the boundaries of the ego can keep expanding.

The 2nd house shows what we desire. Desire-energy is a mysterious and powerful force: in fact, what we desire, value or appreciate largely determines what we attract to our lives. [...] through valuing and appreciating the qualities associated with a planet which falls in the 2nd house, we are likely to create situations which draw this principle to us, or bring it to the fore. Transits and progressions to the 2nd house indicate those times of shifts and alterations to the desire-nature. [...] On a more basic level, the 2nd house is an indication of what constitutes our personal security. Different things represent security to different people. For instance if Gemini or Mercury is in the 2nd house then possessing knowledge may be what makes the person feel safe. Those with Pisces or Neptune in the 2nd could derive their security from a 'spiritual' philosophy or religion. If something makes us feel more safe and secure, then naturally we will want to acquire it.

Signs and planets in the 2nd serve as guidelines indicating the kinds of inherent faculties and capabilities which we can develop and concretize, and through which we gain a greater sense of self-worth. The 2nd house depicts our innate wealth which can be tapped — our substance or soil which can be tilled productively. [...]

In Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology (PDF, 2003:39-40), Bepin Behari refers to the 2nd with respect to the Gnostic concept of Bythos, meaning 'depth', the Great Deep, or Abyss of Profundity, from which everything has emerged.

The Second House is related to speech, family relations, faith in sacred tradition, eyes, gems and other forms of wealth, jewels, metals, and death. But it is also related to the sacred word Om, the Pranava [...] which [...] links the evolving entity with his eternal counterpart and opens the channel for the downpour of tremendous spiritual force. Speech, eyes, wealth and family relations are indeed an efflorescence of the everlasting life force expressed by the Gnostic term Bythos, which means 'depth', the Great Deep from which everything has emerged. Speech is a link between creative energy and creative action. [...] the Second House refers to creative potential as distinct from creative action, and [...] links the individual's life with his eternal component [...] as it does to death.

Or we might simply read it as the quotidian, the things that follow upon life, the business of living.1, 2

So, when we assess the sid geo chart above, we note that Pluto and Fortune present in the 1st, Saturn in the 2nd.
The close conjunction of Ascendant and Pluto ties cathartic transformation to self-concept, all in Azlesa nakshatra,
ruled by Mercury.

End Notes...

Mercury Rx-10 is biquintile Neptune Rx-4, as is Moon-10.
Sun-11 is binovile Jupiter-8 and both are septseminovile Neptune Rx-4.

The break-free is Uranus-12 square Rahu-9 and Ketu-3, opposition and contraparallel Vertex-6, with redirect via trine Jupiter-8, Pallas-4 and Ptah-10, parallel Pluto-1, quintile Saturn-2, binovile Mars and Venus, and novile Mercury Rx.

Brahma is Mercury Rx, Rudra Rahu, and Maheswara Ketu.

Venus is 10th from karakamsa, while Mercury Rx and Moon are 9th from karakamsa in D-1.
Saturn is 10th from swamsa lagna (atma) in D-9.

AC is binovile is binovile Moon and Mercury Rx, which is also parallel. AC is trine Venus, conjunct PoF, Spirit and Pluto, contraparallel Chiron Rx-5, sentagon Destiny-10, and sesquiquadrate Galactic Center-6, which is trine MC-10, which is conjunct Destiny-10, tredecile Pluto-1 and Spirit-1, trine Vertex-6, sentagon PoF-1, and biquintile Identity-5.