It’s summer, the sun is starting to shine it’s glorious light in the sky and bodies are showing as we dig out the shorts and tanks. With all the hype about sunscreen and skin cancer I am beginning to wonder if it is sunscreen we are talking about or a big Sun Screen? It’s one thing to be cautious under the powerful yellow ball and honor the possibilities that exist with exposure to it; but it’s quite another thing to scare everyone skittless about the source of all life. (Do you still have your skitts?)
Since time began cultures have been worshiping the sun for all it’s life giving gifts and honoring it as a symbol of consciousness. Because of the close relationship ancients had with the land and agriculture it only makes sense that the sun would become an important and even deified aspect of their lives.
Ancient Egyptians called the sun god Ra, the source of life, and was believed that he created himself into existence simply by will. Ra was believed to be the supreme power of the universe. Even as the setting sun and the night sky, Ra was believed to have descended into the underworld in order to bring his light to those who lived there, what a benevolent figure. Other traditions called the sun by other names: Helios to the Greeks, Brahma or Lord Hari to the Hindus, Mithras to the Persians and Bel to the Chaldeans. Native American as well as the Mayan and Aztec worshiped the sun as the bringer of the life and gifter of gifts.
We have a different relationship with the sun than the ancients did. Today we have learned to fear it’s powerful rays and take endless precautions to shade, cover and block it out of our lives. True, we still love the sun and are excited for the summer to appear, bringing warmer weather and longer days, yet culturally we have been conditioned not to trust it and certainly not to honor it.
What is true is that media and propaganda in favor of more sunscreen and warning us about melanoma and serious conditions supposedly contracted by too much sun have caused us to fear of the very thing that sustains our lives. So are we applying sunscreen or is it more of a Sun Screen? Are we screening and filtering out the live-giving benefits from the sun while trying to avoid harm?
Dr. Christopher, a popular early doctor and herbalist in this country (who still has a school today) taught about the healing power of the sun when dealing with many health conditions including cancers. His procedures were mild, as he recommended building up exposure to the sun just one minute per day adding up to 15 minutes. In this way, the body could produce necessary pigments and avoid UV damage, but still benefit from the massive amount of healing that could be had from the giant disc in the sky. He taught that all of us had cancer cells in the body, most likely, and the sun was trying to help us in bringing toxins to the surface for release, rather than letting them stay inside the body. Accompanying practices such as dry brushing, juice fasting and oil massage are recommended to assist the sun in it’s detoxifying effect on the body.
Proponents of sun-gazing, a practice of looking into the sun during it’s zero UV-index times (an hour after sunrise and before sunset), claim miraculous health benefits from basically ‘eating’ the nutrients from the sun through the practice of gazing into it. This is not a new technique, and has been known to civilizations around the world for centuries, and probably longer. By taking in nourishment from the sun in this way, the body, apparently, starts to lose the need for ingesting food, as it is sustained through the energy of the sun.
Yogis in India from what is known as the ‘Solar Dynasty’ have been honoring and benefiting from the healing gifts of the sun for thousands of years. Those of this tradition call it the highest and fastest path to union with the divine. Some of the practices include ‘drinking the sun’, by opening the mouth wide to the high noon sun and feeling it’s rays in your throat; sun gazing at sunrise and sunset and Surya Namaskara – the yogic sun salutation, a series of prayerful movements which stretch the entire body and energize you with the power of the sun.
Surya Namaskara is practiced in many yoga studios today, though much has been diluted or lost about this ancient technique. Traditionally, Suryas are practiced facing the sun at the rising or setting phase, done with the intention of activating the solar principle, or life force, within yourself.
Yes, there are many of us who have sensitive skin, whose susceptivity to the powerful UV rays should be monitored so as not to over-expose. As far as sunscreens go, we have created formulas which are full of toxic chemicals to lather on the most receptive organ of the body – the skin, and named them protection. There are likely more dangers from applying today’s toxic sunscreens to the body than there is without them. On the healthier side of things, you can find chemical-free, natural sunscreens as an alternative including simple coconut and sesame oils which are great for your skin.
Recently I read an article suggesting if you eat a diet high in antioxidants, such as leafy greens, green tea, and foods high in Vitamin C and E, you will create your own natural SPF and not be as susceptible to burning.(This article is sourced below) We can all do better with eating naturally, tuning into our own receptivity to the suns rays and rediscovering the healing potential of the sun in our lives, this way we don’t have to worry about sunscreen or screening out the sun.
Enjoy the summer!
Written by: Stasia Bliss