The 1st we see perfection of a single aspect, Mars square Uranus, but oh, that’s likely to grab us by the hair or other body part and give us a swing or two! In this equation, Mars retrograde in Aquarius is like the pull of an open drain, and Uranus in Taurus is our own Willfulness firmly dug into some facet of our material reality; Mars’ backward slide threatens our comfort, our sustenance, our resource. What we may not realize right off is that what’s happening is caused by our own choices or actions, and so can be changed by us at any time. It’s a wee lesson in just how much control we do have over our own lives–it makes it obvious, it’s much much more than we usually like to admit.
I’m a little put off when I see astrologers and others putting so much emphasis on Ceres/ Demeter as a mother figure. Yes, she’s Mother Nature, making her a kind of overarching symbol of fertility and Life in all its forms, but it’s in her as a personal mother figure that I have complaints. She’s probably best known from the story of how autumn and winter came to be (apparently, it was summer all the time before this). Her beloved adult daughter, Persephone/ Proserpina was abducted by Pluto, plunging Ceres into mourning, until she negotiated 6 months for her daughter above ground with her, and 6 below with her new captor–and the seasons were born, with spring and summer the times when Persephone was above ground, and her mother satisfied.
Now first of all, what kind of mother negotiates the terms of imprisonment for her daughter–what mother says, ‘Okay, kidnapper, you can have her for a while, and then I get her for a while’? That validates a kind of ‘might makes right’ mentality, as if because Pluto was capable of overpowering Persephone, he then had a right to ‘own’ her. Of course, Ceres’ own rule about eating when in Hades preventing one from leaving was part of the reason–Persephone had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds, condemning her to remain–but the real question is, Was Persephone kidnapped at all?
I have this idea that kidnapping is a cover story for elopement–it saves Ceres’ pride if she believes her daughter left her involuntarily–and a mother who doesn’t want to see her daughter grow up and exercise her free will (she ran off with Pluto–sex!–after all) is propagating a dysfunctional relationship, to say the least. So in my mind, Ceres is not so much an indicator of caring motherhood as she is a figure of inappropriately controlling ownership of another human being. She commands her daughter live at her side in enforced innocence, then insists she be given back, like a thing, then uses her power to finagle a deal where her child must spend at least part of her time in her childhood circumstances–and never once is Persephone asked what she wants.
We may tend to dismiss Ceres’ extremity of reaction and that of someone who cares deeply as showing Love–but caring deeply doesn’t remove the need to recognize the validity of others’ choices, their right to Self-determination, or negate their right to be autonomous. It’s an important distinction in all relationships: just because someone cares doesn’t mean they get to control who you are. Notice where Ceres is in the natal chart, with what it interacts, and think of personal authority, negotiative ability, connection to Nature, and inappropriate intrusion on the autonomy of others, especially offspring; leave the mothering to the Moon.
Speaking of Ceres, on the 2nd we have a single aspect perfecting, this time it’s Ceres sesquiquadrate Black Moon Lilith. Everything we’ve been trying to ignore or deny, or that has enraged us, pops back up in difficult ways when we try to exercise our authority, or when someone else who believes they should have a say over us makes their wishes known. Ceres is smack in the middle of Virgo, and BML is at 29 tense degrees; this implies those ignored matters are at a bursting point and can no longer be pushed aside, and it also means that our own critical faculties may make it very clear what’s wrong, and what must be done. For a number of us, this may spell reactive upsets related to diet or allergies, or even to the smoke from a multitude of fires burning around the globe, and some of these reactions may cause a true emergency. Proceed with care.
Someone asks, ‘Do we need to worry about whether an asteroid is retro or direct?’ I don’t think so, not yet–we haven’t had enough time to monitor each one sufficiently to know if this has an astrological impact. Since a retrograde is apparent, rather than literal, it’s nothing so much as a statement of viewpoint, not something that truly defines meaning. I find our attention is much better spent on learning the potentials of interactions among the planets, delving into the nuances, as so far (thirty plus years in) I’m finding that everything is already presented by planetary relationships–the asteroids only add definition and specificity to ‘statements’ already made in the basic natal chart.
Dora Babali said:
Dear Julie, I’ve been following and reading your blog for quite some time and I deeply appreciate all the content you put in here but your take on Ceres is way more contemporary psychology than what truly lies beneath Demeter ‘s myth and Persephone. The myth was created to explain the coming of spring, this is no forced, manipulated return, it is a time for celebration in the ancient -and natural- world and reading it otherwise is what feels forced. Also, Pluto’s original connotations had nothing to do with procreation, it’s death once and for all. In any case, as much as there is always room for re-interpreting stmbols and I thoroughly enjoy it, this one disregards a huge chunk of what the myth is all about to begin with
Kind regards, Dora
Actually, I note that the myth is about explaining the existence of seasons–which it is–and I don’t say anything about Pluto and procreation–but about his connection to sex–there’s a reason they call orgasm ‘the little death’ in French. The entire point of the piece was to address what I see as Ceres’ unfitness to stand for a nurturing mother astrologically, and I believe my conclusions are firmly rooted in the myth.
Once again you have unraveled something for me, Jewels! Your take on Ceres et al really hits my thoughts all along about it- and we know those Old Gods took care to present themselves in their best light no matter what. To my (possibly way too smoked at this point) mind, this explains the dynamics in a very sensible way without contravening any, uh, historical points. This was truly Insightful! and the drain image is awesome. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
Thank you so much, boo! To my way of thinking the Old Gods had very human inclinations–so it only seems natural they would spin it their way 🙂 Protect yourself from the smoke (and the heat)! This morning I had the unwelcome sight and smell of smoke billowing from the neighbor’s front yard. The house has been getting an addition/ renovation for almost a year now, and I could not for the life of me figure out what construction method entailed burning things!! Live and learn, I guess. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
A very interesting piece ! No doubt Ceres brings issues of inappropriately controlling ownership of another human being as if they were a thing.
At a personal level, this is shocking and I completely agree with you.
But at a symbolic level, the fact that she needs her daughter may point to something different : Ceres/Demeter was powerless to prevent the rape of her daughter and she was herself raped by Poseidon while searching for Persephone, so we have a goddess who is basically powerless in a male gods’ world .
Only after recovering her own daughter (someone else’s child won’t do, as her caretaking of Demophoön shows) can she play fully her role of provider of food/fruitful goddess and, what’s more, provider of spiritual sustenance through the Eleusinian Mysteries .
Then Persephone could stand for Ceres’ ideas, creations, lured away from her, needing to be tested by the fire of the underworld to then come back to her, different, making her even more fruitful and creative (and her spiritual guidance takes into account dealing with death).
« Leave the mothering to the Moon » also raises questions, since the moon has different phases.
In astrology, the Moon is supposed to be feminity, our Mom, emotions, mood swings, instinct… but which Moon are we talking about ?
Selene/Luna, the full moon, mainly known for her love affair with a mortal with whom she supposedly had 50 daughters ?
Artemis, the waxing moon, the more independant aspect of the feminine, who protects and rescues those who appeal to her for help ?
Or Hecate, the dark moon, the guide in the dark who straddles conventional boundaries ?
Or all of them ?
This is important, in order to understand what mothering really is – childbearing and caring or more than that ?
Thanks for shedding your light on this !
Hi Katia! You make some really good points. I do like the idea of Persephone standing for Ceres’ ideas/ creations lured away from her, and her need to recover them, but I don’t think that completely covers all the bits of the story. Indeed, Ceres being powerless to prevent the rape of her daughter would be a true tragedy–but that presumes that rape is what happened. Since we never hear from Persephone, we only have Ceres’ word for it–and that makes me hesitate, considering Persephone’s never consulted, never speaks in any version of the myth, about what happened or her fate at all–and in my view that speaks volumes about how we should interpret the content of the myth itself. I would not agree that Ceres is powerless in a male-god dominated world–she controls all of Nature, for goodness sake! The only god who is theoretically more powerful is Zeus–so in that regard, I don’t for a moment believe Ceres is a second-class citizen, or at any disadvantage–in fact, her strength is equal to that of Pluto, which is why she is able to negotiate with him in the first place. As to the Moon, the only facet I was considering was its mothering function–I believe someone can have a full and complete experience of the Moon without mothering/ nurturing, as it’s only one Lunar attribute. Just as mothering/ nurturing is just one facet of a human being’s potential, so is it just one expression of the Moon. An individual’s idea of mothering can take many forms, some healthy and some less so, informed by their own personality and experience. When we seek to label Ceres a mother and attribute little else to her, we’re making a mistake–we have to consider she has many other characteristics–to see all her actions through a ‘mother’ lens is to miss that she might have other, Self-oriented, even selfish, motives as well–which is my contention, that the fullness of personality and personal Self-interest may inform and shape her story as much as any role she plays or relationship she has.
Hi libramoon! Though I kind of think Persephone didn’t actually write this 😉 I do think it’s likely how she felt. Wonderful work–thanks for sharing! And btw, this was in spam–I just happened to check and found it.
My mother’s Ceres is conjunct my own Moon, and I associate none of that energy with her mothering qualities (of which she has plenty as well). In fact, it’s why I never stay home very long. Her Ceres is ensconced within a very tight matrix of other planets, including being within a few minutes of exact aspect with her Sun, so is a clear part of the…kind of tidal force that is her personality. And when she’s coming at you, good god. Fight or flight, to say the least.
Hi Zack! How do you think Ceres’ offspring perceived her? I think, “And when she’s coming at you, good god. Fight or flight, to say the least” is probably very accurate in describing Persephone’s viewpoint–so it makes sense to me that through your emotional lens, you see your mother as a formidable force–which is the essence of Ceres–so when you say you associate none of Ceres’ qualities with her, I think you actually do, but just don’t realize it yet.