In honor of the potent New Moon in Virgo, I dug out this article on Ceres, mother of Persephone and mother-in-law of Pluto.
Ceres is traditionally associated with hard work, mothering of older children, nurturing, food – especially fruits and vegetables, farming/gardening and other earthy matters.
However, a recent article in The Mountain Astrologer by Carrie Megginson, “Asteroid Goddesses and Birth Order”, shows Ceres in a different light. She suggests Ceres is far more pragmatic and bent on selecting and refining the characteristics of the external world to meet her needs and moods. The Moon is the place to look for endless warmth and nurturing. I found her idea of relating Ceres to the ever returning cycles of the farming year very sound: cycles of plenty and want, growth and death, preparation and consumption. It’s this awareness of natural cycles that I had in mind when looking at the charts of people I know to see the part Ceres played.
Ceres Aspecting Personal Planets
The first thing I looked for was Ceres forming any type of aspect to a personal planet (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars). Since I have no real sense of how powerful Ceres is I didn’t use an orb of more than three degrees at most. What I found was the type of aspect, either major or minor, didn’t seem to make that much difference; it was the connection that mattered. If there was no close aspect, then it appeared that Ceres was not particularly active in their charts or in their lives.
What emerged was those people with Ceres in aspect to their personal planets have an interest in and an awareness of the cycles of Nature. If they were farmers like my husband and father, then they were very in touch with the weather, the changing of the seasons and how that would affect the crops they were growing. My brother has been involved in research into the ebb and flow of the Arctic ice – very much related to the larger cycles! Others of us have a deep reverence and appreciation for this planet we live on and are always aware of what’s happening out-of-doors. There are lots of gardeners in this group of the sort who need to have some kind of green, growing things around them at all times – inside and outside. There are several people who could be considered pagan in their belief system.
Ceres in the Houses
When I looked to see what house Ceres fell in another interesting pattern emerged. I will stipulate that I only noted the house if I was sure of the birth time.
Two people had Ceres in their first house. One of those is my husband who has his Moon conjunct Ceres and his whole identity revolves around growing crops of one kind or another. He reads National Geographic magazine cover to cover and insists we sit and watch the local weather report together if possible. This is an individual deeply attuned to the rhythms of the Natural World. The other person is our beloved tseka who told us others see her slender self as an “Earth Mother” figure and whose paintings show a profound relationship with cycles, seasons and nature. For both of these individuals the face they show the world is one of a deep connection to Nature.
There were four of us with Ceres in the third house. Of those four, three of us use either photos we’ve taken or carefully selected pictures to illustrate the point we’re seeking to make in regards to the cycles of the world around us. The fourth person is a wordsmith who uses words to evoke the images. All of us are devoted to communicating our deep interest and awareness of Nature and her cycles.
The people with Ceres in their fourth house or on the cusp of the fourth house have sought to reconnect to the old ways in one form or another. Two of them are a gay couple who have a life style based on Wicca belief systems and honor those beliefs as their roots. Another makes the trip every July to the Black Hills in South Dakota to take part in the Sun Dance of the Sioux peoples even though as far as I know he’s not Native American in ancestry. By the way, that’s a very, very grueling way to celebrate the connection to Gaia . . .
The sixth house group is in the health-care field one way or another. My Scorpio sister has spent the better part of her adult life caring for elderly people in their homes, seeing that they have decent food and care and easing the way as their lives draw to a close. She has a strong sense of the cycles of growth and death. Another individual is determined to make changes to our broken health care system from the inside and she’s on her way to becoming a hospital administrator. And we are all familiar with Joe’s deep knowledge of healthy lifestyle and foods.
The two people with a twelfth house Ceres I don’t know well enough to get more than a sense that these are the ones who hold the dream of best possible dance of Gaia, possibly the most important ones of all even if they are not aware of it yet.
In conclusion, I wish to make a further distinction between those individuals that have a “green thumb” and those with an active Ceres. As a person with both, as well as a Virgo Midheaven, from my perspective Ceres energy concerns itself with the big picture, the larger cycles as well as the day-to-day cultivating of growing things, etc. From all the people whose charts I’ve noted, I get the sense they have an awareness of the necessity and importance of connecting to the deep rhythms of this planet we live on. How they apply that awareness is shown by the house Ceres is posited in.
I would love to hear from others on Ceres in their charts too!
posted by Neith . . .
Image: This photo was taken in July, mid-summer where I live – so green and lovely before the August heat drains the colors.
Hmm… interesting. I have Ceres 3 degrees from my Virgo Sun. Not a gardener, though I have a ton of houseplants. Very concerned with food and happy when I’m feeding my friends and loved ones, though I don’t do it that often especially these days.
My bf, however, is another story. He has Ceres conjunct his Ascendant in Aquarius and doesn’t grow anything or cook for anyone nor is he very interested in nature! However, he does take care of his many friends (Aquarius) and does support group work with people with depression (Ceres opposite Pluto).
Thanks for the input, les. :-)
Aquarius in general seems more concerned with the human collective than the natural world. Here’s what my Matrix software had on Ceres in Aquarius (which is where mine is, BTW):
Ceres in Aquarius
You’re an equal opportunity caretaker, someone it’s safe to consult no matter what the nature of the problem or whom it involves. You can confer a feeling of individual legitimacy, whoever the individual, the feeling it’s all right to be just who you are. Every variety of expression finds support in your touch.
Great job, Neith!
I admit that I still do not know Ceres very well. Whenever I do charts, I include her by habit, as she is officially a planet now and every bit as much of an influence as Pluto. I specifically look for house transits and aspects to natal planets. I’ve not seen any patterns yet, as I just haven’t observed enough. I am wary of pronouncements by others of what Ceres in the chart means, because we just don’t have enough data yet. I think it’s best to observe for awhile … which is what you’re doing, and why this type of work is so valuable, for other astrologers as well as our clients.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for this as I am very intrigued by astroid astrology, especially since Ceres is in my first house, in Capricorn, exactly sextile my Scorpio Sun, and exactly trine my North Node in Virgo. I’m not a naturalist, but I am very in tune with natural cycles and cultivation, which is ironic because I live in New York City. When I was little, I desperately wanted to be a meteorologist. (Now I am a designer and an astrologer! How things change!)
This could be my natal Saturn in Virgo speaking, but in the last 7 years I have become very interested in the organic food movement and the production of food. In fact I work for an environmental non-profit and freelance for a food magazine. I love cooking for others — it brings me deep joy and satisfaction.
Thanks for the info on Ceres in Aquarius, Neith! Makes a lot of sense. I have a lot of need to feel it’s okay to be just who I am (Virgo Sun square Saturn, Leo Moon conjunct Uranus and Ascendant) so it really works for me!
I wonder if this explains my growing dismay with the amount of waste, trash, overindulgence and so forth with natural resources. I always have been but it’s really getting to me.
I got so disgusted with plastic forks and spoons when traveling that I bought a reusable set of wooden eating utensils (including a pair of chopsticks) inside a small case. Now to get in the habit of carrying it with me! I may set a fashion trend!
Neith, great article, much to think about. I was surprised as I thought Ceres would be more prominent in my chart but is hiding away in the 12th in Aquarius, 10 degrees away from Chiron, square Sun/Mercury, sextile my Venus and inconj my Mars. I am a greenie from way back so I was surprised Ceres was sorta hidden away in Aquarius in the 12th. I suppose it is quite active nevertheless! I am not a physical mother but definitely a mother hen, may be my little underutilised Mars in Cancer has something to do with that! I’ve studied herbs, love plants & green anything, recycling yet not in any obsessive way, just as an awareness of being connected to everything else. Love yr blog!
I really like this perpective on Ceres. I’ve only read about the astroid’s significance in synastry and I find this to be a much better take on what the archetype really embodies.
Ceres falls in my 12th house in Virgo. I never gave much thought to the placement, but it definitely jibes with my outlook on life & my lifestyle. I was once very interested in pagan, earth-based religions & worked as an aide in a nursing home/rehabilitation center around the same time. It was a gratifying experience for me to work with the elderly.
Currently, I’m working for an animal rights organization (I’m 100% vegan) & studying the raw foods diet.
So, I’d say your interpretation of Ceres and her placement is pretty accurate in my case.
Love, love, LOVE all the excellent feedback on Ceres! Now we’re getting somewhere! Yay!
It takes times and persistence to collect enough information on a relative newcomer to the scene like Ceres. When I was browsing through those charts, it did strike me Ceres felt more impersonal than personal in her affect. In other words, more like the outer planets than the inner ones [Sun thru Mars].