(A portion of this post comes from this much longer article if you’d like to read more.) . Ceres was first discovered in 1801 and immediately classified as a planet. When Neptune was discovered in 1846, it was much larger than the other asteroids and was therefore retained as a planet and the others were demoted to the asteroid belt along with thousands more asteroids that were discovered over the next 200 years. In 2006 when Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet, sending astrologers everywhere to quake in their boots for fear of Pluto’s retribution (just joking, friends!), Ceres was reclassified by the Astronomical Union as a dwarf planet along with Pluto. However, NASA still classifies Ceres as an asteroid.
In any event, Ceres emergence as a dwarf planet coincided with the Kyoto agreement on climate change and the second hottest year on record. Al Gore produced the film “An Inconvenient Truth” which arguably began the politicization of the climate debate. You may remember from your mythology that Ceres is the Roman name for Demeter, the Goddess of the Grain. Demeter is an archetype for Mother Earth – unlike Gaia, a rather formless deity representing the Earth and likely was associated with pre-Olympian matriarchal religions, Demeter and then Ceres were human figures. Ceres is a mother goddess, representing the sustenance of the Earth to feed humanity, as well as the cycles of life and fertility as well as deprivation symbolized by the loss of her daughter to the Underworld which resulted in starvation.
As I work with Ceres more in personal readings, it is becoming more clear to me that Ceres acts as a higher octave of the Moon. With Ceres, the emotional security of the Moon is transmuted to a sustenance and nurturing of our spiritual security and sense of place on Planet Earth. As we become more disconnected with the Earth and our sense of the natural rhythms and cycles of the seasons, we lose touch with a part of our own internal being. This can create a desperate sense of spiritual starvation within us as we stuff ourselves with bioengineered food that is loaded with chemicals that leaves us feeling undernourished and thirsty for a life that has meaning.
In mythology, Ceres was the goddess of plenty – the bearer of fruits and grain that nourished the world. But on the dark side, her grief over her lost daughter caused her to roam throughout the world, ignoring the crops and causing devastation and famine everywhere she went. For this reason, I believe that Ceres is associated with prosperity and abundance. Jupiter signifies the optimism and sense of meaning in life that brings about an abundant life, but Ceres represents the actual bounty – the foods, the flowers, the birds and plants, and the desperation that results when the bounty is withdrawn.
I look at Ceres as the place in our chart that connects us to our natural selves. Difficult aspects to Ceres show challenges to our ability to feel safe in our bodily incarnation and denote areas where we need to make a more direct effort to honor the rhythms of nature and to feed and nourish ourselves. On a more global level she reminds us that without a connection to nature we cannot survive as a species.
Capricorn is the sign that teaches us to master the material world, and we are in a Capricornian period right now. Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008. Saturn entered Capricorn in 2017 and will move into Aquarius in 2020. Jupiter will shift into Capricorn in early December. And Ceres enters Capricorn November 15, 2019 and will remain in Capricorn until January 31, 2020. While Ceres is in Capricorn, the human role as caretaker of the Earth will come under careful scrutiny. Segments of society have attempted to ignore the crisis in the ability of the Earth to feed her people, and this will no longer be possible. The effects of the lack of care to sustain the balance required for human life will become known to an even greater extent. Action will be required in order to rebalance the ecology of the Earth so that she can provide food and a healthy climate for life.
Ceres is associated with the seasons and the cycle of plenty and deprivation of traditional agriculture. In the summer when the crops come in, there is celebration and abundance. In the winter, when the crops lie dormant until spring, if we have not carefully and practically allocated enough nourishment for the long period of cold, we could starve. Under Capricorn’s influence these truths are even more true. Capricorn periods are not times for reckless expenditures or risktaking – they are times for being practical and diligent.
Sustainability is a keyword for Ceres in Capricorn. In our personal lives, it will be even more important to consider our relationship to our own bodies and the way that we feed and nourish ourselves – not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Capricorn teaches us to Do What Must Be Done in spite of personal desires or emotional resistance. The ecological balance of our personal lives is a reflection of the ecology of the planet, and both must be attended to in equal measure.
The gift of this attention and effort will be a greater sense of inner balance and connection to the world around us.
Capricorn stellium, January 2020
I’ll be writing more about this as the time approaches, but Ceres will be part of the January stellium of five planets in Capricorn that accompanies the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. We can prepare now for this heavily Capricornian period by emulating the squirrels and other animals who are busy this time of year (in the northern hemisphere) gathering nuts and saving for a winter which could be long and cold and dark.