Sun dogs are astrological sun maneuvers caused by the sun shining through prisms of ice crystals. The sun reflects or refracts - bends - as it shines through cirrus or cirrostratus clouds while sending to astonished earth bound humanity a miraculous show of lights. Nothing is more thrilling than seeing the sun, dazzling as it is when it shines, performing even more delightfully for a welcoming public.
Understanding that the ice crystals are multifaceted in form and each are capable of deflecting light makes it easy to understand the phenomena that so excites onlookers. Some explanations we have heard are of the sun dancing. It's the same effect we often get when we see, on a very minute scale and of course, less energetically charged, the early morning sun shining through the window and dancing on our breakfast table. The sun isn't actually dancing but tree limbs swaying in the air outside intermittently block the sun and this causing the movement of the sun.
Like all other magical, or seemingly so, happenings concerning the sun, the moon, the stars and the interactions between earth and sky, what is seen or what is perceived is not actually what is taking place. We, as thinking and reasoning human beings have always wanted to know more than what was shown. In other words, we wanted to look behind the curtain to see who or what was pulling the strings.
Early Greek society was an earth bound society and even their heavenly creatures took on the attributes of humans or animals. They had a name for everything and for every aspect of what was seen and felt and they had a god governing each. As an example, Apollo was their sun god, although he is also known as Helios, Hyperion and Phoebus. These names are important to us today in that many of our notions, products, actions and whatever is named after this Greek sun god. The Romans know him as Sol. He was one of the twelve Olympians. Also, he was a much sought after eloquent god and his many occupations was to direct the fine arts, music, medicine and poetry. All this along with directing and managing the sun.
Wonder what the myth makers would have made, or did make, of the sun shenanigans that today we refer to as Sun Dogs? Would they have accused him of marital disharmony or would it have been too much of a night out on the town for this important ruler of the sun? Any number of his amours could have been disturbing his peace. A few female deities that Greek Mythology associates with him are: Leucotomy, Daphne, Issa, Bolina, Coronia, Clymene, Cyrene, Chione, Calliope and many others.
Today of course, we know that as earthlings we are not so much responsible for what happens in the solar space as how the happenings in solar space affect us. Among other things the sun does for us is it allows for education and learning about the different aspects of the sun, the moon, the stars, and the other planetary activities. Most everyone know that clouds are rain mists that gather in the sky and when their weight is too much to sustain them up there the rain drops fall to earth.
When the whole cloud falls to earth having been pushed downward by gravity or a force heavier than the accumulated mist, it is known as fog. It hangs around, usually following wet areas such a swamps, rivers, and other low lying places until the sun comes out and burns up the fog. No mystery there, only an inability to see when the fog is extra heavy.
Rainbows are other sun shenanigans. The spectrum of light that follows when the sun shines through the prisms caused by the rain drops are long strands of multicolored lights that are beautiful to behold. Although we know the mystery behind the effect, we non-the-less are in awe of the dynamic proclamation the rainbow seems to make. It is, we would like to believe, the stained glass art of heaven. Apollo, I am sure, would not diagree with us.
Humanity seems to have a need to bring the divine down to earthy levels in order to understand, but often in doing so, we only confuse ourselves more. Therefore sundogs are nothing more than the radiation of the sun that shines and doing so through many layers of interfering matter. If it amuses us here on earth, so much the better, if we are simply not interested, that's okay too.
Yet, what we earthlings cannot ignore is the beneficial effect of the sun now and for a possible new source of energy for the future. Many may still howl at the moon, but most of us will have changed our habits and will instead be basking in the warmth of a beautiful and bountiful sun.