Below, professional tarot readers tell us exactly what the sun tarot card means—and how it might translate in a reading.
What does the sun tarot card mean?
For starters, the sun card is part of the major arcana, one of the two subsets of the tarot deck, with the other being the minor arcana.
There are a total of 22 cards in the major arcana, and each card represents a different stage of the fool’s journey or “the journey of the soul,” Dante Sabatino, an NYC-based tarot reader with 40-plus years of experience, tells Well+Good. When you pull the sun card—or any card from the major arcana—they are often indicative of an important event or influence in your life or a crucial message or lesson. The sun is the 19th card, appearing before the judgment tarot card and after the moon tarot card, and when pulled in a reading, you can think of it as a dawning of a new day, according to tarot reader and astrologer Maria Sofia Marmanides.“There’s a brightness, positivity, and optimism that comes forth when you draw the sun card,” she says.
It wouldn’t be surprising if someone were to figure out the sun card’s meaning just by looking at its imagery, though—it is undeniably happy. In the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the card depicts the sun shining down upon a smiling child, with arms outstretched, on a white steed. Generally speaking, the child can symbolize unrestrained joy, says Marmanides, while the horse may symbolize victory, whether over a challenge or in celebration of a success, reinforcing the sun tarot card’s positive message. Sabatino calls attention to the direction the child and the horse are facing, too. “The horse is moving away from the wall [pictured in the card], so it could be that the child is boldly moving forward and away from a situation that was not going in their favor,” he says.
Sabatino and Marmanides also associate the sun card with the zodiac sign Leo, who is ruled by the sun. The sun card radiates what Marmanides refers to as “ Leo energy” in terms of its confident and heartfelt expression. Whether you were born under Leo (or you regard the sun card as your tarot birth card), the sun card can pertain to you being in your element, in the same way your sun sign might reflect your essence as an individual. When viewed in this light, it can represent the happiness that comes from living in alignment with one’s true self. She adds that since Leo is also ruled by the fifth house of creativity and pleasure, one can also associate the sun card with the pursuit and expression of creative endeavors and, of course, pleasure.
Even the sun’s numerological meaning is a positive one. The sun, as the 19th card in the major arcana, equates to 10 and 1 in numerology. According to Marmanides, this relates it to the wheel of fortune and the magician tarot cards. “The wheel of fortune is all about abundance, and the magician is all about manifestation and being able to actualize and realize your dreams,” she says.
Overall, “it is usually one of the most favorable cards in the deck,” says Sabatino. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that—as with all tarot cards—there are many ways to construe the sun tarot card meaning, and each reader will likely have their own interpretation on what it means in relation to the tarot spread, be it a Celtic cross tarot spread or a one-card pull, whether it appears in an upright or reversed position, and the context of the question you ask in your reading.
The sun upright meaning
Generally, when the sun tarot card appears upright in a tarot reading, then the more straightforward interpretation might apply. As mentioned, it is often seen as a good thing. You can take it as a sign that the universe is on your side, which may be encouragement enough to embody—or continue to embody—its positivity and embrace it with open arms. You might even take it as an invitation to let your inner self or child come out to play or pursue your heart’s passion, whatever that may be. The sun card assures you that only joy can come of it.
The sun could also suggest that you look at things in a new light, whether that means expressing gratitude for what you have or looking to the future with excitement. “Even if some of the other cards present more challenges or things are looking or feeling a little bleak or hopeless, when you pull the sun card, it usually indicates that things will take a turn for the better,” says Marmanides. So if you’re experiencing hard times, consider the sun as a sign that brighter days are coming. Anyone looking for guidance can also find solace in the sun card, which assure that you will receive the shining clarity needed to move ahead or that you are on the right path.
And if your inquiry involves a yes or no question? More often than not, “it’s a bold yes,” says Sabatino.
The sun reversed meaning
If you choose to use reversals in your tarot reading or practice, it generally indicates the inversion of its meaning. In the case of the sun tarot card, says Marmanides, it could mean a variety of things, depending on the context of the question. “For example, it could indicate that somebody is not able to fully see or access their sun qualities, or they see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full,” she says, and if this resonates with you, it may require some introspection. “‘What’s dimming your shine?’ is a question I would ask somebody if I were to pull the sun [in a reversed position] for them.”
The sun reversed, Marmanides adds, could also indicate that the seeker is embodying too much of the sun qualities. “Maybe somebody is being boastful, which is the underbelly of Leo as a zodiac sign,” she says. “It could also be someone who is maybe leaning too far into ego.”
If the sun card comes up in a relationship reading, says Marmanides, it can denote that you are content in your current relationship or that any challenges in your relationships will come to light, so you can come to a resolution. It can also mean that you are ready to take your relationship to the next level in a relationship, she says, which might involve a serious commitment. If you are single, it can also mean that you are happy to be in your own company, or if you are looking to enter into a partnership, that it will bring you joy.
“In a career reading, if someone were to pull the sun card, it likely indicates an increase in terms of visibility [or] responsibility in a positive way,” says Marmanides, adding that from a predictive perspective, it could pertain to a promotion, a celebration of an achievement, or a reward coming your way. Conversely, if you are looking for a new job, the sun is your biggest cheerleader, and so long as it aligns with your joy and simultaneously allows you to do what you are passionate about, why not take the chance?
“In terms of a health reading, [the sun card] would indicate a period of vitality, a period of strengthening, or if there was perhaps an illness or sickness, it would indicate that the situation would be healed or alleviated or improved in some way,” says Marmanides. This could also pertain to your mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and the sun card denotes that you may experience a renewed sense of vigor, if you aren’t already experiencing it.
When the sun card comes up during a money-related inquiry, it can denote abundance or good luck, says Marmanides, adding that it might indicate an influx of money coming in. It can also suggest happiness and gratitude for one’s current monetary position, and if there have been any financial-related factors that have left you in the dark, the sun card can also imply that these will be brought to light—if not right away, then in good time.
How to intuitively read the sun tarot card
Whether you are new to tarot or know the traditional tarot card meanings by heart, a lot of wisdom can be taken from professional tarot readers. That said, there is no right or wrong way to interpret tarot cards—and if the above sun tarot card meaning doesn’t resonate with you, that’s okay. Your intuition is enough to glean the information you seek. After all, what are tarot cards if not vehicles for receiving and interpreting messages from our inner selves?
To perform an intuitive tarot reading, it’s important to set a clear intention and keep it top of mind as you shuffle the tarot cards. When you pull a card, take a look at the imagery and pay attention to the story it tells you, listening closely to what comes up for you. Using this process will help you draw your own meaning.
Frequently asked questions
What does the sun tarot card mean?
Traditionally, the sun tarot card can denote vitality, happiness, positivity, and optimism, though every reader’s interpretation will vary according to the tarot card spread, whether it appears in an upright or reversed position, and the context of the seeker’s inquiry.
What does the sun symbolize?
According to Marmanides, the sun is the source of our life force, radiating light, warmth, and positivity. From an astrological perspective, she also correlates the sun with one’s sun sign, which represents a person in their truest essence. As such, the sun card can also symbolize a person living as their truest self.
Is the sun and moon a tarot card?
The sun and the moon tarot cards are two separate cards in the tarot deck, and each has a unique meaning. Both, however, belong to the major arcana to tell the story of the fool’s journey, which is a metaphor of one’s individual life quest.