Tarot Reading for June 2022: The Sun with Herbal Pairing Saint John’s Wort

Riding a white horse and carrying a large red banner, a child celebrates the ecstatic power and energy of the sun, which rises behind the child with a wise, serene expression. Sunflowers line a brick wall behind the horse and its youthful rider – absorbing the sun’s life-giving energies while also praising it through their yellow petals and dial-like shapes. The child is naked, free, and exuberant. Too young to be afraid or clouded by bitterness or cynicism. Not yet hampered by rigid opinions, judgments, or caution. The most innocent and joyful card in the entire Tarot deck, the Sun comes after the Tower and the Moon cards, both of which symbolize darkness, fear, illusions, and confusion. When our way of life turns upside down (the Tower), or we confront our traumas and weaknesses (the Moon), we may feel like our world is bleak, harsh, unfamiliar, or frightening. But there is a gift waiting for us if we have the courage to pick ourselves back up and assess ourselves honestly. A gift that may seem hidden at the time of crisis, but once the chaos has ebbed, a flash of insight awaits, perhaps blinding us momentarily, but freeing us as well. A flash of Wisdom. Clarity. Forgiveness. Love. These bright insights can strangely bring us back to a childlike state when all we knew was acceptance, love, and openness.

The Sun reminds us that these states of mind are a choice. A choice we can make at any time, but perhaps most importantly after we have experienced hardship, loss, or injury. We can become even more bitter, or we can adapt, change, be humble and grow. We don’t have to be young to embrace the warmth that love gives, the tranquility that forgiveness offers, or the confidence that wisdom provides. In fact, as adults, choosing to love and be vulnerable is more meaningful, since we are all too familiar with the easy emptiness of a judgmental or rigid perspective. The Sun reminds us of the simple and yet rapturous joy that exists in life when we are open, accepting, and as willing to grow and learn as we were when we were children.

When the Sun shines through in a reading, it is very much like the true sun showing itself after a long, hard rain. There is clarity, growth, excitement, and joy. The world sparkles. The answer is yes. Obstacles will be overcome. Success is ours. Luck is all around us. Use this time to visualize what is most desired, for the powerful and optimistic Sun will help turn it into a reality. 

Indeed, the increased presence of our solar system’s only star leads to longer and warmer days until late June when at last Summer Solstice occurs. A popular plant that blossoms during the longest day of the year is St. John’s wort, so named after a feast day celebrating Saint John the Baptist. Looking at a sprig of the plant with the sun behind it will show a multitude of perforations in the leaves, lending themselves to its Latin name, Hypericum perforatum, which symbolizes how the plant makes us feel when we consume it – as if we are letting the light in. 

For St. John’s wort behaves similarly to many anti-depressant drugs. A study done in 2016 found that St. John’s wort extract was as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), but that it was safer, with fewer adverse effects or withdrawal. Traditionally, it was one of the best wound-healing herbs and can today, as then, be used externally as a salve for burns, ulcers, skin irritations, and even herpes. It is important to note, however, that this herb can interfere with or weaken many prescription medications, such as birth control pills, blood thinners, heart medications, some HIV and cancer drugs, and pain killers like oxycodone. The unassuming yellow flower, where the medicine is strongest, is quite powerful, harnessing the sun’s light to help relieve any mental darkness or anguish we may experience in life. 

The crown which circles the head of the child in the Sun card was certainly made of St. John’s wort flowers, as both the herb and this card remind us of how much joy, peace, and love await us when we have the courage – and the wisdom – to let the light in.

*Tarot reading is based on the Rider-Waite Tarot Card deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

References

Davidson, Jonathan R.T., M.D., Hopp, Craig D, Ph.D, Mischoulon, David, M.D. “St. John’s Wort and Depression: In Depth.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Updated December 2017. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/st-johns-wort-and-depression-in-depth

Geer, Mary K. Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for the Inward Journey, 2nd Edition. New Jersey, The Career Press, Inc, 2002. P245

Tierra, Lesley Lac. Healing with the Herbs of Life. Berkeley, The Crossing Press, 2003. P121-122

Yong-hua Cui, Yi Zheng. “A Meta-Analysis on the Efficacy and Safety of St John’s Wort Extract in Depression Therapy in Comparison with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Adults.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 11 July 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4946846/

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