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Venus, her Cycles, Symbols and Myths was published October 2006.





CeresThe symbol for the asteroid Ceres is a stylized sickle; a crescent of receptivity resting on a cross of matter. The sickle is a crescent shaped sharp tool on a short handle which was used for cutting grass and crops. Sickle cells are associated with red blood. A stylized pattern of five stalks grain was also submitted as a symbolic representation for Ceres. In Greek mythology Ceres was known as Demeter. The Roman and Greek myths are so similar that distinctions between the two have become difficult. Often a minor Roman deity has grown to encompass the qualities of earlier Greek personification.

Ceres was first spotted by Sicilian astronomer Piazzi on January 1, 1801. At that time Ceres was at 23° Taurus and like Vesta retrograde. The second person associated its discovery is mathematician Carl F. Gauss on the last day of 1801, when Ceres was at the final degree of Virgo. This asteroid has a five year cycle, and moves retrograde at about 15-16 month intervals for about 3 months.


Ceres is the Earth Goddess and patroness of fertility, not to take away from Venus who is also linked to fertility or more precisely to the pregnancy cycle. The most often told myth of Ceres is linked to her daughter Persephone, who was abducted by Hades to become his bride. Mother Ceres in her grief caused the Earth to grow barren. The eventual resolution was that Persephone would get to spend the crop months with her mother on Earth and would return to spend a third of the year (half a year in some versions) in the underworld with her husband. This is linked to the months when the earth is dormant and the soil is regenerating.


It is interesting to note that the same abduction type theme or a descent to the underworld is in most myths, including the ones for various Venus goddesses, such as Inanna and Aphrodite. It seems to be the role of the feminine archetypes to venture into the unknown and face our inner demons either to rescue men or our daughters. In the 1980's lots of books were written on the feminine and for the longest time not one book graced the shelves at book stores. In the last year or two, we had the wildly popular da Vinci code by Dan Brown talk about the divine feminine, and in the past few months, books such as Sophia [1] , Aspects of the Divine Feminine by Susanne Schaup and the Double Goddess by Vicky Noble have addressed the feminine.


Ceres has a strong connection with agriculture and farming. Demeter, the daughter of Gaia [2] was said to have taught man how farm the land. In the Olympian Zodiac she is associated with Virgo, and is often depicted as a woman holding grain much like the image we now associate with the sign Virgo. She is also one of the twelve main gods and goddesses. Ceres is also associated with nourishment, nutrition and mundane task and chores and with nursing and caring for others.


As we have ceased to be an agricultural society, where food was not processed to the extent it is today, we can easily see the connection to allergies becoming more prevalent. Ceres is linked to allergies and sensitivity to our environment. In mythological stories Ceres is said to have looked after her children without the help of their father. The caring for children has been the primary task of women throughout centuries, and while that is somewhat changing now, it is something to keep in mind when looking at Ceres in the chart. Where do you nurture mostly on your own?


Perhaps the role of Ceres was to teach us to live in harmony with mother Earth, and when we do not, we get to experience ailments directly linked to our environment and food. I always think of the statement as you sow so shall you reap, as something associated with Ceres, and so eloquently illustrated by her astrological symbol.


While the asteroids are feminine archetypes, I thought I'd mention a few points about Ceres in a man's chart. I noted that many men who have Sun conjunct Ceres are very nurturing and caring, often being the primary parent for their children. Not averse to cooking and cleaning, and the other menial tasks associated with providing care to another. A Moon conjunct Ceres seems to be prominent in the charts of healthcare workers, especially with alternative healthcare. Like with any single aspect in astrology, when a planet or planetoid is prominent in the chart the influence is more pronounced.


In a career sense Ceres is linked to helping and service type work and profession, and seems to be on the Midheaven for people who have also chosen to call it their avocation.


Perhaps the questions to ask would be where do you provide care and who do you tend to look after? Do bear in mind the symbol for Ceres, the sickle is used to harvest and to bundle, it was a symbol on the flag of the former Soviet Union. Mother Russia, which was the term used, looked after its people, who did not need to do without the basic necessities in life. The luxury items and trinkets that we truly do not need in order to survive used to create those line-ups on the streets of Russia. So look at Ceres by house to see where you can wield your sickle to harvest the plentiful crops.


As I write this Ceres is at 11°Virgo and here are her travel plans through the zodiac [III]:

October 3, 2004 Libra
December 10, 2004 Scorpio
March 21, 2005 Rx in Scorpio
June 26, 2005 Direct in Scorpio
September 23, 2005 Sagittarius
December 11, 2005 Capricorn
February 25, 2006 Aquarius
June 20, 2006 Rx in Aquarius
October 2, 2006 Direct in Aquarius
December 28, 2006 Pisces
March 18, 2007 Aries
June 5, 2007 Taurus
September 20, 2007 Rx in Taurus
December 28, 2007 Direct in Taurus
March 29, 2008 Gemini
June 11, 2008 Cancer
August 19, 2008 Leo
November 3, 2008 Virgo
January 11, 2009 Rx in Virgo
April 12, 2009 Direct in Virgo
August 3, 2009 Libra

October 12, 2009 Scorpio

December 20, 2009 enters Sagittarius

March 19, 2010 enters Capricorn

June 7, 2010 returns to Sagittarius

October 9, 2010 re-enters Capricorn

January 3, 2011 enters Aquarius

March 21, 2011 enters Pisces

July 11, 2011 enters Aries

August 10, 2011 returns to Pisces

January 19, 2012 re-enters Aries

April 9, 2012 enters Taurus

June 23, 2012 enters Gemini


That is just shy of five years and she spends three months retrograde at about 15 month intervals. In light of her story and the infertility on earth, it would be interesting to look at the crops and harvests during these retrograde periods. Was there a poor planting season in the spring of 1996 or perhaps a paltry harvest season in 2002? That is when Ceres was retrograde for the Season, that is how long she stays retrograde - a Season.

Perhaps we should also start taking note of Ceres for fertility? As a mother of four I noted that each time I conceived Ceres was in strong aspect to my natal Venus and Ceres. When I didn't and had wanted to, or had a miscarriage, Ceres seemed to be poorly placed.


You need to know people very intimately to have the actual conception chart; lucky for me I actually have others. In one case the woman's natal Sun in an earth sign received a partile trine from Ceres, who was conjunct the Moon the night she conceived. Chiron was a busy boy in that event, as he appears to have a role in conception and likewise was making close aspects. Sometimes we do get asked about good conception times, maybe adding Ceres in your arsenal can be helpful.


So back to our natal Ceres for some final thoughts; perhaps, we can also look at our Ceres by sign, house and aspect and see what we can make grow or cultivate for a good harvest. The Volvo Corporation has Ceres in Taurus in the 4th house, and they were the first to launch all those important safety features in vehicles. It's a stretch I know as there is ton's more factors in the chart, and the asteroids haven't made it to the mundane world of astrology.

It is interesting to note that when I looked through my database for individuals with Ceres at an angle, I found lots of people I know, who can enter their pantry; yes, the one that looks poorly stocked, and whip up a sumptuous feast, where I'd just think of running to the store for ingredients.


On a personal note I gave up sugar and similar goodies from my diet when my progress Moon reached my natal Ceres. Lost around 20 pounds off my body, and have never looked back. Up until that point I used to have a drop of coffee with my sugar. Ceres is strongly linked to allergies with food products, especially over refined, processed and treated food. I grew up on rye bread but with the North American ways had become overly fond of white bread with nutrients more or less removed.


I talked about the different houses in my little write up on Vesta, the keeper of the flame, so I won't repeat myself. Instead let's look at the elements. Ceres is associated with the element of Earth and more specifically Virgo. The images we see of her are very similar to the images used for Virgo. Often it is simply a bale of grains, the kind we no longer see as crops are quickly bundled inside white plastic wrap rather than left to be dried by the wind and the Sun. Naturally Ceres would be at home in one of the Earth signs, at the time of discovery she was in Taurus. Taurus is the sign we associate with sustenance and having our basic material needs met. Note that I mentioned mother Russia and making certain that the people did not go hungry. I visited Moscow in 1984 and at the local market place was asked to extend my hand for honey as I had not known to bring a jar or a bag with me. There was a lot of produce but no containers to be had. Similarly as we traveled and I was pregnant with our fourth child I was treated like the queen and offered extra portions. Sugar by the way was something that was rationed, but I was offered extra pieces. Sugar in Russia like in Finland is best served in cubes. It was as if in contrast to the normal ways of Ceres, I was offered Venusian treats.


When we look at the symbols the circle on the Ceres glyph is just shy of Venus. I firmly believe that these glyphs we use are not by chance. Ceres is far earthier than Venus, and perhaps we should note that in the charts of individuals with Ceres in Taurus or the 2nd house. Perhaps that gives them an extra boost of Earth even if none of the actual planets are in earth signs. Ceres to me is practical it gives us what we need not all that we necessarily desire, that is Venus' role.


Ceres was in Virgo when her discovery was confirmed and that is where she is at present as I write this. The essence of Virgo is about refining, perfecting and improving. This summer I became acutely aware how difficult it was to buy white bread, the bakeries at the supermarkets are offering a variety of home-style bread and hardly any processed or refined products.


I think the asteroids provide us with extra clues, and in terms of mythology they used to hold higher office in the hierarchy of ancient gods and goddesses than Venus for example. Let's face it Ceres could make the earth go barren…


© Anne Massey August 27, 2004, All Rights Reserved.


End Notes:

[I] The word means wisdom, which is associated with Venus but more so collectively with the feminine archetypes
[II] Mother Earth
[III] Calculations for ephemeris with Kepler 70 by Cosmic Patterns Software

© Anne Massey 2004

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Anne Massey

Anne Massey, CAP (ISAR)

is a certified astrological professional. who has maintained an astrological practise since 1988. To learn more about Anne read her bio and to learn about consultations click here. To book a consultation with Anne call her office at 1.604.574.9545 or send an email.


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Photograph: Ritva Sillanmäki August 2007


Anne is the the founding president of the Fraser Valley Astrological Guild, an International VP for ISAR in Western Canada (International Society for Astrological Research), a member of the Finnish Astrological Association, and a member of the Canadian Association for Astrological Education and of the National Council for Geocosmic Research