Written By By Nyssa Grazda
Discovered in 1801 and having initially been deemed a planet by astronomers, Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. Named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, its astrological interpretation by sign and house speaks to how we nurture those we love, as well as how we deal with loss and process trauma.
Ceres & the Myth of Persephone
The mythological Ceres is the counterpart to Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest, whose daughter Persephone was famously stolen to the underworld by Hades/Pluto in the origin story of the seasons. Grieved by their separation, as well as the loss of her purpose as a mother, Ceres withered the crops, subjecting the countryside to famine.
Upon learning of his people’s suffering and starvation, Zeus ordered Persephone to be returned to the upper world. But by virtue of some last-minute trickery by Hades, she was obligated to spend a third of the year below ground. During this time, Ceres would mourn and the earth would become barren in accordance with the winter months. When Persephone was permitted to return to the world above, spring would arrive, and life would begin to flourish again.
Ceres/Demeter and Pluto/Hades share a connection with cycles of renewal and rebirth, life and death. Ceres’ symbol is the sickle, similar to that of the Plutonian grim reaper. While Ceres’ domain is what grows out of the soil (food as sustenance), Pluto’s domain is what is buried within it (oil and precious metals as sustenance).
Amusingly, Ceres’ contemporary astronomical designation was upgraded from asteroid to “dwarf planet” in 2006. At the same time, Pluto was similarly reassigned and effectively demoted from its former position as the solar system’s ninth planet. In a way, this is a modern confirmation of their ongoing feud.
Ultimately, Ceres’ mythology articulates what it means to lose something or someone you love, and regain it in harmony with natural cycles. Persephone experiences her innocence, returning home having undergone a transformation via her encounters with the world’s darker side. The mother-daughter dynamic is forced to mature, as Ceres grapples with a child’s departure and a maiden’s return.
Ceres in Astrology
In astrology, Ceres defines how we mother those we care about, and how our role must change as our relationships evolve and become more complex. We might ask ourselves what it truly means to nurture a bond. How do we respond to others “leaving the nest”? How do we greet them at their homecoming?
As the goddess of the fertility of the land, Ceres also deals with resources we accrue for our survival, and how we assess our own value when we run up against feelings of lack and bereavement. Her archetype is thus deeply layered and nuanced, outlining how we support, as well as how we grieve death, as well as plant new seeds.
Over the past three months, while Ceres passed through Aries, we showed our support for others by championing their causes. Yet in our eagerness to facilitate a “win” for our loved ones, we also risked fighting their battles for them, inadvertently robbing them of their agency. This can be likened to a mother who so wants her child to achieve academically that she does their schoolwork. Like this over-zealous mother, our intentions during Ceres in Aries may be noble, but our approach sends a message that we do not trust others to achieve their milestones on their own.
Unlike planets, asteroids do not have zodiacal correspondences. However, because Ceres is associated with agriculture as well nurturing instincts and motherhood, we can assume a comfort level within earthy Taurus, which allows for easy expression.
Ceres in Taurus Meaning
On May 8, the asteroid Ceres leaves trailblazing Aries to enter sensual and stoic Taurus.
Over the next three months, our primary mode of care lies in holding space for others and creating atmospheres that are conducive to their growth. Ceres in Taurus is in tune with rhythms and seasonal cycles, of knowing when to provide a strong presence and when to step back and observe. Patience is our ultimate virtue, as we become increasingly aware that should we offer others shelter, we give them the ultimate gift: permission to act naturally. In this way, we become more akin to a mother putting a roof over their child’s head, knowing this enables one to learn and make mistakes in a safe environment.
One pitfall to be aware of while Ceres travels through Taurus deals with rejection and abandonment wounds manifesting as feelings of scarcity. What happens when we want to cultivate a bond and we are denied? How much of our worth is truly wrapped up in the act of caring for another? And how do we achieve or lose a sense of purpose if someone says that they are capable of taking care of themselves? Ceres in Taurus may be an “easy” expression, but it also can cause us to be baffled when someone asserts they do not want our help or assistance.
Our relationship with money is similar at this time. This is an ideal transit for making investments, as we can accrue savings through prudent planning.
The Shadow Side of Ceres in Taurus
Yet, Ceres does not react to loss well, and any suggestion of devaluation or forfeiture can cause us to question whether we are capable of supporting ourselves. Lack, in any form, makes us believe we are not good enough “mothers” or caretakers, and scarcity is punishment for our failings. Whether it is relational or financial, we must trust that what we lose will be returned to us per organic cyclical progressions. Instead of doubting our worth when situations don’t go according to plan, we should strive to trust in the process of renewal.
Ceres will move through Taurus until August 1 before entering Gemini. But due to its retrograde cycle, it will retrograde back to Taurus on December 22. Themes that crop up now related to sustenance, security, and sustainability should be noted; as they may reemerge to impact our personal decisions or the cultural zeitgeist at large before year’s end.
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