Discovered on January 1st, 1801, Ceres (a Capricorn) by Giuseppe Piazzi, started out as a planet, actually being classified as a ‘missing planet’ between Mars and Jupiter at the time by many astronomers, but was reclassified as an asteroid with the discovery of more objects within the main asteroid belt.
It was the debate surrounding Pluto and the constitution of planets that led to another reclassification of Ceres yet again. She is the largest object in the main asteroid belt, but the smallest of the newly classified dwarf planets.
Ceres takes four and half years to orbit the Earth, spending roughly four or so months in each sign. Interesting piece of trivia. If one was to seated on Ceres, they would see the inner planets, including Earth, cross the Sun. The next such transit will be Mercury, which will actually happen this year.
Ceres is the daughter of Saturn and Ops, wife/sister of Jupiter with whom she mothered Proserpina, she was also sister to Juno, Vesta, Neptune and Pluto. She is symbolised as the Goddess of grain, forming a union with Liber and Libera, the other agricultural Gods. With twelve minor Gods governing the prosperity of the lands under her realm, Ceres ensured she ran a tight ship. She was adopted by the Romans during a time of harsh famine and was worshiped by women, in secret ritual, every month of May.
In mythology, the story of Ceres resembles that of Demeter/Persephone and Hades, except we insert Proserpina and Pluto as the key players. However, Hades is a separate asteroid and in my following of myths, a separate entity to that of Pluto. This I will cover in a later article. Persephone and Hades have their own unique love story that should not be tainted by adopted myth.
However, as we equate Ceres with that of motherly love, we must share the maternal tale of the stolen daughter and the mother’s gut wrenching search and subsequent division of the seasons as was the result of this search.
Whilst Proserpina was out frolicking with the nymphs in the spring sun with the nymphs, picking flowers and flicking her hair about, Pluto rose to the Earth with four black horses and spied the stunning princess, stole her and tucked her away in the Underworld. Ceres was in despair and furious, leaving the heavens in search of her daughter. Roaming the Earth, each step she took turned to a desert and the crops of which she was patron, began to wither and die.
Jupiter was concerned, so sent Mercury to the Underworld to strike a deal with Pluto. An agreement was made but Pluto, being the sly dog that he is, insisted that Proserpina partake in a pomegranate before she leave. This she did and since the seeds of the pomegranate were deemed the food of the dead, she was thus tied to the Underworld for eternity. Ceres, so happy for the return of her daughter, accepted this fate but with condition. The Earth was now divided into seasons, with Autumn/Fall and Winter being the time that her beloved daughter returns to the Underworld.
To locate Ceres in your natal chart, head to astro.com and add her from the additional objects table. As she is a dwarf planet, orbs can be as wide as you normally use, same with the aspects.
Ceres is the true symbolism of the ‘mother’ in the chart. Cancer and the Moon work but that is more a compulsion and instinct, whereas with Ceres it is more about the attitude and approach to motherhood that comes into scope. As Ceres is the symbolism of grain and agriculture, it is about your seeds and how you will tend them after they have been sown. It relates to the possessiveness of the young, the coping mechanism when they move outside of the maternal sphere and the protective reaction.
With Ceres in harsh aspect, you find a smothering maternal tendency or one that is quite neglectful. In positive aspect, you find a hard working maternal who wishes nothing but prosperity for their young. The possessiveness is still there, as is the protectiveness, but it is tempered and within the realistic expectation that the young will move on and life is to continue as one of productive growth.
Ceres is a key factor to consider when one is determining the maternal and deep concerns involved there and also the subsequent approach to motherhood that results from that.
It should also not be ignored that Ceres is a serious consideration when working with career and finance. Here, it will indicate ambition and staying power, how well and how hard you will work to achieve your goals. Ceres was a boss and team manager, so can indicate aspirations for management, or even success in the home business in your chart. One would expect that a heavy Ceres influence could be found with those who are excellent teachers, or even find solace with working with children.
Artwork – John William Waterhouse
© Karen Piscitelli