You might think that The Sun would relate directly to ᛊ (Sowilo), the Rune of the sun, but again the symbolism of the Tarot differs from that of the Runes. This card is closer to ᚹ (Wunjo) the Rune of joy. There is a little bit of Sowilo’s warmth, tempered with some of the vitality from ᚢ (Uruz). This is a Rune of the energy a child has to run around their parents. This is a happy, positive Rune.
The Fool’s Journey
The Major Arcana card The Sun represents Baldur. He was a grown man when he died, but to Odin he will always be the child who was so precious that Frigg went out to ask nearly every thing in the universe not to harm him.
You can’t see the horse’s legs in the Waite-Smith deck, so it is hard to tell how many there are. I would wager there are eight legs carrying Baldur back to Asgard as he returns after Ragnarok. There is some irony in the thought that Sleipnir may carry Baldur home: Sleipnir is Loki’s son, and not only was it Loki’s trickery that killed the shining god, but it was also Loki’s callousness that kept him in Hel.
A symbol that appears in many Sun cards is a child. The Thoth deck (Left) shows two cherubim (a choir of Angels in Abrahamic mythology) soaking up the rays of the sun. The Pagan Tarot (Center) shows two boys building a sand castle. The Fountain Tarot (Right) shows a naked child seemingly held up by the rays of the sun. This isn’t the symbolism of new beginnings we get from ᛞ (Dagaz), although one would think that Rune would connect somehow to this card, but instead appears to show a kind of helplessness or passivity. The sandcastle will be washed away, and the naked child isn’t even able to lie on the grass for the sun’s power.
The most common symbol on The Sun is a horse and rider. As mentioned above, the rider is usually shown as someone helpless or in a helpless state, such as a child. The horses in the Sensual Tarot (Center) and the Darkwood Tarot (Right), however, are ridden by people who appear to be competent and in control. This is especially true for the Darkwood Tarot in which the woman looks like some of the classical images of the Welsh goddess Rhiannon, as she is depicted during her courtship of Pwyll. Rhiannon is associated with beauty and sexuality, like Freya.
The symbolism of the horse is nearly identical between cultures, and so sometimes the Sun card has the meaning of ᛖ (Ehwaz): cooperation and being greater than the sum of one’s parts. The child is happy being carried by the horse, of course, but the decks that show a competent rider on a strong horse really exemplify the idea that the two together can accomplish feats that neither a wild horse nor a human athlete could accomplish on their own.