Hard, Bright, Light: On Frida Kahlo and the Sun
an deeper look at the Sun through the life and work of one of his children
The ascendant is the starting point of all life. It is what rises, breath-like, to marry heaven and earth into form.
To be born when Leo touches the horizon is to be born into light. It also means that, with Cancer ruling the 12th house, that the period leading up to your birth was most likely a nurturing, protective place. Kahlo talks about her dawning of awareness much like the birth process. She began in a “world of colors, of hard and tangible forms,” yet “everything was mysterious and something was hidden, guessing what it was was a game for me”. Kahlo has her sun in the 12th; part of her feels most alive in this ill-defined border filled with shadows and holes.
Her Leo rising offers less softness. Kahlo likens the coming into consciousness to “as if a bolt of lightning elucidated the earth”. The before and after is stark and unignorable. Something harsh switched on and “as if I had learned everything at once in seconds”. This knowing can be painful. It can be cold. But can you go back to the warm unknowing anymore?
“The person I know best”
Kahlo is most known for her gorgeous, dreamlike self portraits. Spoken like a 12th house Sun, Kahlo tells us she paints self-portraits so much “because I am so often alone”. Because of a horrific bus accident in her teens, Kahlo spent months in bed and the rest of her life with limited mobility. It is in this exiled space that she found painting. But she gives another reason for her frequent self-portraits: “because I am the person I know best”.
The phrase engraved on the gates of the Oracle of Delphi is “know thyself”. I have talked and talked about the Sun as the planet of wisdom and here we see how that manifests; through knowing the contours of your unique and personal soul. Speaking from your specific truth, not trying to arrive at objective fact, is a wisdom only you can offer. It is not selfish. It is generous, to share of yourself over and over again.
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