Ceres is one of a few Goddess objects in the sky orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Residing here she forms part of the path we follow from our personal motion forward (Mars) into the expansiveness and freedom of the wide world (Jupiter). But why is she here, what is she asking of us before we arrive at Jupiter and what can we learn from her message?
Roughly 600 miles across, Ceres is one of the larger Goddess objects, classified as a dwarf planet, NASA recently released some beautiful images of her etherical glowing core I thoroughly recommend you take a look. She comes from a prestigious lineage: Daughter of Ops Goddess of bounty and Saturn Lord of Karma she is also the sister of Jupiter, Juno and Vesta so ‘right up there’ in the zodiac royalty.
As with all of our zodiac archetypes we find the nature of duality leading to integration of the self which simply put means a positively polarised and negatively polarised version of Ceres can be found in all of us. As the original Italian fertility Goddess she rules bountiful times of plenty during the summer and sparse barren cold ground in the winter, real contrast between being sustained by the land and feeling bereft. This relates to the story we are all perhaps familiar with, the ‘stealing’ of Persephone. According to ancient myth Persephone the daughter of Ceres was taken by Pluto with the permission of Zeus her father, knowing full well Ceres would not allow this. Ceres in retribution and mourning left the land barren refusing to bestow upon it the good grace of fertility as Ovid describes in his Metamorphoses:
“The goddess knew that her daughter had been taken, and tore her hair into utter disorder, and repeatedly struck her breasts with the palms of both hands. With her daughter’s location a mystery still, she reproaches the whole earth as ungrateful, unworthy her gift of grain crops, and Sicily more than the others, where she has discovered the proof of her loss; and so it was here that her fierce hand shattered the earth-turning ploughs, here that the farmers and cattle perished alike, and here that she bade the ploughed fields default on their trust by blighting the seeds in their keeping. Sicilian fertility, which had been everywhere famous, was given the lie when the crops died as they sprouted, now ruined by too much heat, and now by too heavy a rainfall; stars and winds harmed them, and the greedy birds devoured the seed as it was sown; the harvest of wheat was defeated by thorns and darnels and unappeasable grasses”
This left Jupiter in quite the bind with a bereft furious Mother Goddess and hungry humans to satisfy, he was made to recant his deal with Pluto and had Persephone brought home. Hurrah you might think? Perhaps not so much because Pluto had in fact given her food of the underworld- pomegranate seeds meaning she was now beholden to Pluto for at least part of the yearly cycle. Sneaky.
This is the story which gives rise to the seasonal provision of the land and in astrology of course we have the following themes centred around maternal love nurturing and support which as we all know can actually be a double edged sword :
Defence of our children: In her positive attribute Ceres is the fierce mother protecting her child from suspicious lurkers hanging around in the shadows and lets be honest they don’t get much more shadowy than Pluto. Where we have Ceres in our charts can give further insight into how we were nurtured and protected as children and conversely how we would do the same.
Divine feminine as a commodity: Within the story of the abduction of Persephone both Ceres and her daughter can be viewed as a commodity. The lack of regard aimed at them both is indicative of the lack of respect mankind has had for the feminine in all of creation- Ceres calls us to set the bar high.
Nurturing vs Overbearing: Being nurtured is necessary for us to function well and reduce our stress response to the world. It bolsters us to know that we have someone who loves and supports us. However this must be balanced with our own personal autonomy, maternal love’s hardest lesson can be the acknowledgement that we don’t own our children but learn to see them as an individuals unique unto themselves. Is there such a thing as too much nurturing? Perhaps not, however will we ever truly have the confidence to be out in the world confident as an individual if we are overly smothered with an underdeveloped sense of identity?
Freedom vs Abandonment: Do we know that Persephone didn’t want to reign as queen of the underworld? After all it’s a cool title. Were her desires for personal autonomy overridden by her mother’s needs and possessiveness? Again, we can perhaps look at more potential learning curves in motherhood, this time the empty nest syndrome which is seen by some as abandonment by others a sense of freedom Balance and compromise: For me this is the crux of Ceres energy.
We take the rough with the smooth, in as much as we need to be accepting of cyclical change which is the one constant within our lives, knowing that eventually things always come full circle. This given what can we make of Ceres current location in the zodiac? Certainly we could look to her for some guidance, if there are two thinks we could perhaps use in 2020 its nurturing and balance!
Ceres finds herself in the dreamy watery world of Pisces sextile Black moon Lilith and Uranus, coming in to conjunction with Neptune early next month. In the house of Pisces Ceres has no boundaries in emotional undercurrents, there is the potential for sensitivity to feel almost painful at times if we perceive ourselves to be bereft, cut off or lonely- Pisces can be the hidden house the cold dark barren soil to the blooming vegetation of Summer. Perhaps we are feeling the needs of the whole collective in terms of the sustenance and love we all want and equally can all provide. As suggested in her aspect to Uranus and Black Moon Lilith Ceres can help us when we are undergoing radical change and confronting shadow aspects within humanity In Pisces she calls for emotional nurturing and beneficial escapism into the land of fantasy and make believe. Escapism is not always negative or a waste of time instead it is a period of recharging our imagination and reconnecting to divine inspiration, after all it is the abstract mind which can come up with the most ingenious of solutions and ways forward for growth and healing. Where is your natal Ceres and how has she made herself known in your life?