There she'll be: in green sun, on blue earth under warm running water.
--"Martha" Paul Kantner
Happy birthday baby Sun! Tomorrow will be the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Tonight is the longest night. For some pagans, this time represents when the slain god is about to be reborn from the goddess in the form of the Sun.
There are many deities, both god and goddess, associated with the Sun. The Japanese have the goddess Amaterasu, the Celts have Lugh and Brigid, the Greeks have Helios and Apollo, the Egyptians have Ra, and the Aztecs and Incas have a long history of giving human blood and suffering to their solar deities.
Sun worship is nothing new. Our early ancestors recognized the importance of the Sun and the gifts that it gave them. It was a natural extension to worship it and the energies attached to it. Even today, we worship the Sun by tanning our bodies. Some people even gaze at the Sun. While many members of this growing practice would probably not say that they are worshipping the Sun, the amount of time that they spend looking at and meditating upon the Sun borders on worship. Sun gazing is nothing new either. Many ancients practiced it in conjunction with Sun worship.
I first became aware of sungazing several months ago when I caught the last half of the movie "Eat the Sun" on the Documentary Channel.
|Eat the Sun|
My interest was peaked. When I was finally able to catch the whole movie, and I became fascinated by the practice. The movie's really good too. I started out thinking that these folks were idiots. Then I became engrossed with the idea. I almost became convinced that it was a good idea when the movie visited the optometrist. Now, I'm torn between wanting to sungaze but not wanting to ruin my eyes.
The modern Sungazing movement owes its impetus to this man:
Hira Ratan Manek (HRM), of the Solar Healing Center, is how many people became involved in Sungazing. For a time, and maybe still, he held workshops and conferences all over the West Coast of the US. He has a very strict protocol that he wants folks to follow. His claim to fame, so to speak, is that he claims that sungazing helps lower your appetite to the point that you no longer want to eat and that the sun provides all the nutrients that you need so you no longer need to eat. Unfortunately, he's been somewhat discredited. I've never contacted the man, although perhaps I should. He just strikes me as being very haughty.
Mason Dwinell, on the other hand, I have emailed twice, and I've never received a response. I don't know if he's tired of being interviewed, if he finds my blog socially inappropriate (as some Sungazers have), or if he's dead. I just don't know. Mason was the subject of the documentary Eat The Sun. According to the documentary, Sungazing has really altered his life. It broke up a relationship he was in, it caused his appetite to be greatly diminished, it caused him to feel isolated somewhat, and it damaged his eyes. On the other hand, according to his website, it seems to have brought him some spiritual satisfaction as well.
Mason's instructions for sungazing, which are based off of HRM's protocol are as follows:
Depending on the weather and the level of commitment this is only a nine month to a year practice. Once you reach 44 minutes of sungazing you are finished. You should not have the need to stare at the sun any longer, your sungazing is complete. Sungazing is to be practiced standing bare footed on bare earth. Without shoes you can stand on sand, gravel, mud, or bare earth. Your bare feet should be in contact with the bare earth. Try to avoid standing on tar, concrete, granite, stone or even on grass (the grass absorbs the solar energy). If you happen to stand on any other surfaces, that is fine, the results may simply be a bit different or arrive a bit slower. While the sun is low on the horizon the intensity of the rays will be at a minimum. During this time, the sun's rays are tolerable, and the UV radiation is lower, so the potential of harming your eyes is lower. Use common sense within these parameters, if the sun is too bright and it feels as though it may be burning your eyes, don't stare at it. The best time to learn about your limits is right as the sun rises or a minute or so before it sets. According to HRM the sunrise holds more energy, vitamins and minerals then the sunset. Go figure. Personally I recommend the sunrise, energetically it is a beautiful balance of yin and yang. You only need the sunrise or the sunset, both may be a bit much. By rushing about you will not find what you are looking for any faster. Be careful and always listen to your body.
To Begin As the sun rises over the horizon simply gaze at the whole glowing ball of light for 10 seconds only. The key is to be relaxed, just like in mediation, let go of all thoughts and become immersed in the moment. Simply, look at it. No stress or strain on the face, facial muscles or eyes. Relax your jaw. Stand at peace, knees bent with your arms at your sides. Let go. If you choose to get up with the chickens, and try gazing at the rising sun. Stay relaxed and receptive for greater assimilation of the beneficial aspects of the sun's rays. Try to become aware of what your body is feeling, how is your mental, emotional and physical state as the sun fills every atom, every electron, and every cell in your body. Feel every tissue filled with the regenerative and healing properties that the sunlight imparts on your body. You may notice an amazing increase in your overall energy as well as your physical stamina and positivism. Be aware of how the sunlight actually cleanses and rebuilds the whole of your being, your mind and thoughts, your feelings and your physical body; total rejuvenation. By completely surrendering to the suns greater power, and as the minutes of sungazing increase, the awareness of your energetic being may heighten dramatically. There is no need to maintain an unblinking, stare. Blink as and when it naturally happens, sort of like watching television. For the first few moments you look into the sun it may be very bright, after about 3-7 seconds of continuous gazing all the brightness generally goes away and you are left staring into a soft ball of pure white light; a beautiful pulsing orb. Don’t squint. If you feel yourself squinting, relax the muscles in your face and eyes. Let the light in. The more open and relaxed the muscles are in your body the more oxygen and energy is able to flow within your cells, and then more light will be allowed in. You have at your disposal an incredible amount of electricity to make things happen in your world. With the aid of sunlight, you can recharge each cell and atom to its full potential. Increase the time you gaze at the sun by a few seconds each day - say by 5 seconds or so per day, until you are comfortable and relaxed with the entire concept of staring into the sun. Once you are comfortable with the concept of sungazing feel free to increase gazing time at a constant rate of 10 seconds per day. You may find it helpful to get a watch or employ a friend to keep tabs on your staring time. Subtle slow increments of time are important for allowing for the rods and cones within the anatomical structure of the eye to adapt to the intense levels light. Increase the sungazing time by 10 seconds each day until you have reached 44 minutes, at which point you should be fully charged. At 44 minutes you are finished with the HRM’s method of sungazing. Depending on weather this may only take nine or ten months.
According to Mason, "Sungazing can be used as a tool for tapping into your human potential. Some change will occur to reach these peaks; your perceptions may alter circumstances, you may begin to change from the inside out. Change can be uncomfortable. Nonetheless, when we release our physical and emotional energetic blockages these changes will become trivial relative to the incredible expansiveness of the universe. If at least three months are committed to the sungazing practice (reaching 15 minutes of staring time) some sort of change of your perception of your world will occur. We are all energetic beings, vibrating at different frequencies, so we should be comfortable with the concept that all of us are different. There may be many different reactions, sensations and experiences. Remember, whatever happens to you is perfect. It is yours and yours only. At every turn there are lessons to be learned. It may be helpful to become objective in your approach to life, awareness may prove to be an essential ingredient. Be positive and open-minded; feel all there is to feel."
|Real life Sungazers on a commune somewhere in the US|
Sungazing sounds very Pagan, doesn't it? Maybe the Druids did it. A brief look at the rising Sun on the morning of the Winter Solstice could be a very powerful tool for meditation and energy work. In theory, it could energize you for the coming year. What better way to welcome the infant Lord (if you're following a Wiccan or Neo-Pagan belief about the Sun's death and rebirth at the Solstice) than to gaze lovingly upon it?