Saturday, 14 September 2013

To Cherish -- Ceres Part One

Mother Rose and her baby. Mary Cassatt (Ceres conjunct MC in Scorpio)
who became famous for her intensely emotional pictures of the mother-child bond
Wikimedia Commons.
To caress the soft downy scalp of a baby, her head small enough to cradle in the palm of your hand, her hands like starflowers...when her fingers curl around yours, her eyelids flutter closed, her face fills with bliss... motherhood can be heaven...

Motherhood belongs to the Moon in traditional astrology. But the dwarf planet Ceres – discovered in the 19th century, promoted to equal status with Pluto by astronomers in 2006 – is profoundly connected to nurturing, parenting, fertility: the cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth.

I'll write about the most obvious application of this first, that is real human babies, and then see what emerges from that.



First birth. From experience, transits and progressions of Ceres are excellent for timing conception and birth. I have found this true repeatedly in the charts of clients. A couple of personal examples: both my children were conceived under transits from Ceres to my natal chart, my partner's natal Ceres exactly conjuncts my daughter's Ascendant – within one minute (so she made him a parent), and my natal Ceres had progressed to 0° Taurus when I started a family. Aries is a barren sign, Taurus one of the most fruitful.

Next growth. To understand how Ceres works in the natal chart, I have been trying to understand how she works for me as a mother.  Most of the literature I read about her could just as easily be applied to the Moon, so we need to unpick those two energies.

Mary Cassatt again.
Wikimedia Commons
I have Ceres in Aries – my only fiery placement aside from Leo Rising, so I can feel her energy as quite different from my normally wet and windy self. Do I take care of my children in an Aries way? That would be directly, physically, passionately, instinctively.

In fact,  when it comes to how I respond to my children on a daily basis, I can feel my Gemini Moon at work – talking, spinning webs of stories and ideas, watching endless episodes of Charmed, reading aloud, taking them to explore strange cities, eat in cafes and generally flane around.  None of that is Aries stuff. This is all about minds and words and people.

So how does the Ceres in Aries manifest?

I mother by the seat of my pants. It's pure intuition. I found looking after babies easy, because I trusted my gut instinct. Babies are, of course, an Aries thing too, as the baby of the zodiac.

And I ended up completely ignoring all the Moon in Gemini stuff I'd done to prepare – like reading every baby book in the library, taking classes and asking everyone I knew about their experience, since I had absolutely none. I knew nothing about babies before I had my own. Yet almost from the moment my child was born, I turned into feral Mama, and ignored the cacophony of advice, learning directly from the babies themselves. My children taught me how to be a mother. This is an Aries thing, acting like a pioneer even when the thing you are doing has been done a million times before. Aries have to do everything for themselves. No matter how much you tell an Aries Sun to learn from your profound experience, they just can't. They need to do it first hand. Mothering for me has been like inventing the wheel.

Ceres in Aries also seems to show how I love my children -- with a hot, immediate, focused ferocity, and, despite the Gemini Moon, pretty non-verbally underneath the gossamer of stories and I love yous. (Thank goodness their dad has Ceres in Cancer, and they actually get fed regularly.)

I don't find Aries stuff personally nourishing, though, and this is contrary to what I read about Ceres. Aries is what I give, not what I need.

So to unpick this a bit. Maybe Ceres is about what and how we cherish. Cherish means "to hold dear." That's all. The Moon, at least in my case, describes the childhood we create for our children, the atmosphere, the womb. Ceres describes the core emotion. So the Moon is the whole garden.

I have a good friend with the Moon in Capricorn and Sun in Aquarius. Her kids are being brought up exactly like her husband was, and you might expect there to be a certain coolness in her attitude to her children with those Saturnine placements. But I know her, and actually she has a kind of instinctive misty-eyed passion for her kids with is completely alien to both those signs. It was not until I noticed her Ceres in hot Sagittarius conjunct Neptune and Lilith, that her secret lava-flow of emotion in this one particular area made sense.

Here's another example. I have friend with a lovely Taurus Moon. She is a great cook and looks like a cuddly, soft bundle of mumsiness. But when it comes to her own (very cute) offspring, she's kind of detached, cool, analytical, not at all touchy-feely – yes, she has Ceres in Aquarius.

Mary Cassatt again.
One of my clients was worried about her son – and with good cause. She has Moon in Capricorn, and again she's bringing her son up just as she had been. Unfortunately, both of them have Chiron exactly on the IC, and this upbringing hurts. She understood her son best when he was a toddler, and in fact has always had unerring instinct when it comes to his physical needs – food, hugs, rest. But the Capricorn Moon over-rode the Ceres in Taurus in this case – he was sent to boarding school – and things haven't turned out too well -- yet. My client needs to get back to the Ceres in Taurus energy, which requires patience and paying attention. Since her son has Ceres-Moon in Taurus, I'm quite hopeful.

I have another friend who has not had children. She would have been a wonderful mother and her friends and family  know that, so she is a godmother and fairy aunt many times over. She has Ceres in Pisces in the third house.

Many of us are not going to have children, parenting is only part of our identities, and our Ceres is still going to be doing something. How would these ideas apply in a baby-free context.  I looked at the chart of a childless client of mine who is a dedicated artist - Ceres conjunct Venus in Libra - and she does indeed cherish beauty.

The question I ask here really is this: does Ceres tell you what or how you cherish? 

Ceres works in charts, both natal and mundane, in several other important ways too, and we have yet to discuss Ceres as one of the guardians of the underworld and her relationship with Pluto.

That is for the next post.

Meanwhile, Michael Wolfstar at Neptune Café has a good page on Ceres.





37 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm still young so I'm not thinking of having children. But I know that how I fed myself, was not right, let's say i was a bit worry of the food I ate. So one of my worrys now is which food will I give to my babies?? How to keep them healthy and eating the right things?.
    After read your article, I thing that's how my Moon and Virgo and Ceres in Cancer manifest, I will want them to eat perfectly and take care of their body (Virgo) by eating right and healthy without feeling hungry or sad? (ceres in cancer)? Well those are my thoughs.
    My mom has moon in libra and ceres in aries.
    Well she's a bit cold (capricorn sun and aquarius rising) but she's always worry about me having all the things I want, she bought me stuff and always wants me to be pretty and look good and I noticed her passion with that jaja.

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    1. It is all pretty food oriented isn't it? Cancer and Virgo are two of the big food signs. In fact, that could work together quite well, as long as you don't worry too much - Moon in Virgo. I would guess that Ceres in Cancer might find looking after children comes very naturally.
      And what a contrast to your mother. I think the Libra-Aries combo could be competitive.

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    2. I know right?!
      Yeah, she doesn't cherish me but I appreciate her advices and more than a mother, she's like my best friend, another girl I can talk to without feeling judge. I dare to say that I'm her mother and she's my daughter. maybe in a past life =)

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  2. Hm... Ceres in the first house, in Scorpio. Not conjunct the Asc. The aspects are an *exact* inconjunct/quincunx (who comes up with these terms?!) to Mercury. Also a close sextile (off by almost 2 degrees) to the Moon, and a distant, seperating aspect to the North Node.

    I do cherish and highly value sincerity, no BS, the quality of intensity. I also do feel like I'd be a pretty smothering mother (interestingly, I feel the same way about how my mum acts towards me!), not to mention a worrying, critical mother (Moon in Virgo).

    The interesting thing is that Mercury doesn't play well with either mother planet: slightly seperating square (off by 1 degree) between Moon and Mercury, and exact inconjunct with Ceres. Lots of worry as a mother, I suppose. Which I do anyway, with the Moon being in Virgo :D

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    1. Yup - that Virgo Moon is a tough one... see above reply! :)

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  4. My Ceres is at just under 5 deg Taurus, about 1 deg above my Asc; she has progressed about 19 degrees, so she's all Taurus now. But I find, on reading Wolfstar's page, that both Aries and Taurus placements describe how I care for others equally well. My Moon is in Aries; it occurs to me that, first, I make sure their physical needs are met, and then I help clear away whatever stands between them and their freedom. Mind you, it's hard to be free when you're homeless or starving, so there's a certain logic to it ;-)

    I just noticed that progressed Ceres is conjuncting my NN; I've been working on getting the message across that I've managed to control 80-90% of the pain of this dreadful disease by nutrition alone.

    Moreover, progression puts the Chiron/Saturn conjunction, which has defined what should have been my most productive years, in the progressed 10th house. Meanwhile, Mercury has progressed to conjunct my natal Jupiter in Gemini - and land on my progressed ASC. I've certainly been pushing my info about CRPS (et alia) out into the world in writing; making it my profession, as it were; and when I walk into a doctor's office with a stack of printout, it does make a heck of a first impression...

    Excuse me while my head explodes.

    Lilith is conjunct my progressed MC. I'm not at all sure what to make of that. It's a disease that disrupts the body's regulatory systems at a primitive level -- my only clever thought on the subject.

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    1. Yes, Ceres is most definitely associated with nutrition. I'm going to tackle this in the post after next. I want to do some chart comparisons for this.

      One of my strongest memories of you as a child is of how you were with wounded animals. You cared for them in a perfectly practical way - totally unsqueamish. In particular, I remember you feeding that gull hard-boiled egg. Was that a ramble? But it does seem to fit.

      I will look at that Lilith.

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    2. Good point. I remember learning that that was what the London Zoo fed their sick birds. The minds of others made the connection to cannibalism; I just thought, "well, egg is their first food; makes sense to me" and it worked, and that *really* was all I cared about. So I think you're right :)

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  5. Hi Christina,

    Never had children of my own, which was really difficult for me to accept - have Chiron and Ceres conjunct in my 5th house - my mother had the same conjunction but in Aries in her 8th house.

    I certainly feel I am her child and she became my child when in old age she suffered from dementia. I loved caring for her as if she was my child.

    mimi

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    1. sorry, - forgot to mention - I have Ceres conjunct Chiron in Sag. in 5th house.

      mimi

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    2. That's really interesting. I wonder how your mother's Ceres-Chiron conjunction differed from/was the same as your own. Theoretically, yours would be the better placement for having children despite the conjunction.

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    3. my mum :
      - her Ceres/Chiron conj. is at 4 and 6 degrees Aries, my Sun is at 7 15 Aries.
      - Ceres/Chiron conj. square her Mars/Pluto/Sun conj. and
      a nice Moon/North Node/IC conj. in Sagittarius in triangle to her Ceres/Chiron conj.

      Me:
      - a sextile from Ceres/Chiron conj. in Sagittarius to Venus/Jupiter conj. (in Aquarius 7th house) and
      - Ceres/Chiron conj. opp. Osiris in Gemini in 11th house.

      I guess the most important placing in my chart would be my 12th house Moon in Cancer. My mum was a Cancer with her Jupiter conj. my Moon.
      My ascendant is at 9.40 Leo, she had Neptune/Mercury conj. 9 degrees Leo.

      But the most fascinating for me was to see that when she died transit Sun was exactly sitting on my progressed Sun at 9 degrees Gemini and transit Chiron was exactly conjucting transit Osiris in my 8th house.

      How about that ?

      mimi

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    4. It describes rather a beautiful daughter-mother relationship, I think. I wonder if there's some kind of ancestral healing going on.

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  6. I have read that Ceres is sometimes associated with addiction. My natal Ceres is conjunct my Sun-Moon midpoint, all in Pisces 2nd house, and the focus of a yod from Neptune and Pluto - some fun, eh what? With those aspects one might think "alcoholic" but my fix is anything made from flour ("I never met a cake I didn't like"). You could leave a case of Guinness at my house and find it untouched 10 years later, but do not trust me with your Mint Milanos. Bread, "once bitten," creates a craving that can't be satisfied. The only way for me to have peace is to avoid grains altogether.

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    1. Also very interesting. Neptune-Pluto-Ceres sounds like a recipe for grain addiction to me. I'm going to be looking at Ceres and food in another post. I have found that Vesta has a lot to do with cooking, but that is not quite the same thing.

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    2. My first thought was something I read years ago by Richard Idemon. We already know how addiction seeks nurturing. He simply put it in astrological terms.

      If I remember correctly (It's been 10 years) he mentions few planets but specifically, he connected addiction to the Moon and that many addictions, have an oral connection: smoking, eating, drinking...being some of the most common. So need of nurturing and emotional nutrition make a case for Ceres here. I agree with neptune and pluto as well.

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    3. Well, here's a relevant titbit, so to speak...

      In people who have a particular genetic tweak, when gluten and gluten-like proteins get into the gut, they aren't completely broken down, and they leave fragments called "peptides" which plug neatly into our opioid receptors -- just like a narcotic.

      With this kind of "narcotic", though, you get the side-effects (goofiness, gas), but not necessarily the benefits (eliminating pain.) You do get the withdrawal symptoms, which can last for weeks. Gluten is very persistent in the body, taking ~9 months to clear altogether, but having that sparklingly clear mind and all that natural energy and upbeat-ness was really worth it for me. Also, I hurt a whole lot less, my periods got better, and my immune system has never been that weak again.

      So, when Jamma speaks of a bread addiction, she's not kidding. It's a food-based source of an actual narcotic compound, made from flour by the muddled gut.

      Here's a fairly human-friendly link, discussing it in the context of neuro issues like ADD and Aspberger's: http://www.celiac.com/articles/21635/1/Gluten-Celiac-Disease-and-the-Brain/Page1.html

      And here's a stultifyingly scientific one which identifies the exact types of peptides involved, those from the "gliadin fraction": http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6099562

      T

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    4. Thanks so much for the links!

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  7. Ceres in h1 in Pisces, conj Chiron. Part of a grand cross with the Sun & outer planets and also trines Neptune. I think Ceres is expressed most strongly in her grief phase in my chart. Under stress I've tended to lay waste to particularly my body's potential for fertility and abundance. I stop eating if really troubled. I don't tolerate grains very well. Yes she's quite broadly focussed as Michael Wolfstar says.

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  8. Beautiful Post. I love Mary Cassat paintings, is hard to imagine she didn't have children of her own.

    Yesterday was a difficult day for me as a Mom. I had to seat with 5 women from my child's school. Director, Teacher, Counselor and so on. Trying to find a way for my child to have a better experience of his new environment, to have a more harmonious relationship with it. Is not the first time I have to face this kind of meeting. But this time, for a brief moment, tears were running quietly. Thank God I felt understood and supported. They seemed genuinely willing to make it work.
    I cast the chart for yesterdays meeting and well, my natal moon falls in the transiting T square with the transiting moon approaching Pluto and Mercury in libra clossing it. Lilith would make it a grand cross though. Not sure what to think about that.

    Ceres was the most elevated planet, trining the moon/pluto and sextiling Saturn in scorpio. Opp neptune in the IC. (My husband intended to be in the meeting as well but he really couldn't) so it was Mom seating with teachers and directors.

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  9. I have Ceres in Aries too. You mention it being a barren sign. I never, ever wanted children at all. With a stellium in Pisces, causing me to often feel not of this world and overwhelmed by it, I felt it was all I could do to take care of myself. And I wanted independence. I've never understood how parents manage it.

    My cats are my children - fiercely independent creatures. One of them was called Persefone. I did not name her that. She came to me with her name already given to her. I almost lost her to death once, but she resurrected and lived several more years before finally passing on. She and I had a very special bond.

    One of the ways I nurture myself and others is cooking. I cook quickly, without spending much time on it, and usually without recipes. Aries reinventing the wheel again. I use lots of spice and hot sauce.

    I have Moon in Aquarius.

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    1. I can honestly say that Laura is an outstanding cook, speaking as a sometime housemate and occasional guest and knowing the inordinate pleasure of sharing her table.

      And I remember Persefone very fondly. She was special, a real fur-person. :) (I imagine Arthur is catching gophers in his tuxedo and white bloomers, bringing them to her with his awkward adoration, and she's licking and cuddling them back to life with her usual sweet aplomb.)

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    2. Thank you, sweetie. I love the image of Arthur and Persefone in the afterlife.

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  10. Really interesting comments...
    I've just attended a paediatric feeding workshop and have been looking at the parent/child emotional interaction as essential to feeding. I liked the comments from the presenters that the baby had just as much power as the parent - if the child didn't want to feed, it wouldn't, it really is a partnership. I too, have Ceres in Aries - in the 10th, it's conjunct the MH, Chiron and Saturn. I don't have any children, but work with young families and their babies.
    I absolutely adore the pastels. I haven't seen these before, they're beautiful.

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    1. It's wonderful to see that laid out so clearly. In the health professions, we're pretty good at reflexively dehumanizing people, especially young ones, and forgetting that inner life is a necessary part of physical life :)

      If you don't mind my saying so, feeding as a partnership is worth mulling in many directions...

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  11. Beautiful portrayal of nursing! Pure heavan! I have ceres conjunct sun and neptune in 7th. I have one child, and pets which I also consider children. Feel like I'm always nurturing someone (friends,dogs, humanity at large,etc) since I also do massage therapy!

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    1. Aha - yes I include pets in the Ceres world.

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    2. One of my cats loves to be held like a baby ... he puts his "arms" aound my neck and tries to nurse on my ear (no matter how many times I've tried to "wean" him). His desperate need is almost heart-breaking. After a few seconds of this ritual, I can feel him relax. Then I set him down and he happily runs off to eat his crunchies.

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  12. Christina, thanks so much for your Ceres in Aires description... which I have in the 5th house. I can relate to how you described the Aires factor in nurturing. I had always felt confused about how I felt I cared for my children with the Aires placement.I thought my nurturing was do to my care giving sun sign. You have given me a to the point explanation and now I understand the connection. I too have Gemini Moon ( Pisces Sun) but I used my Moon in the mix ... constantly engaged in conversation or dialogue with my 4 children-- sharing information about art, music, family, food, history and the world around. My opinions were not always welcomed once they matured but I shared none the less. l - which once I divorced and they went off to College caused some painful drama and I wondered if having Ceres conj Eris had any thing to do with some of the hardship. May be you can do a Post of the Eris effect in the future. I enjoy all your writing. You are very insightful and present such interesting subjects. Wonderful Post.. this hit home.

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    1. Oh Anon, you are my astro-twin (Pisces Sun, Gemini Moon, Ceres in Aries). I haven't done much work on Eris yet. But the conjunction must mean something.... Eris has a very slow cycle... hmmm

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  13. that's soooo sweet, kitty must have been weaned too early

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  14. those are my thoughts too, Somehow I've always felt as a sort of mother to my mother. I truly believe it was my task to guide her to the moment when she died. Life can be strange.

    mimi

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  15. My 2nd house Ceres is in Libra and is part of my chart's Mystic Rectangle involving my 8th house Eris-True Lilith, IC-Antares and MC-Aldebaran. It also trines my Aquarius Moon (5th) and forms an exact quintile with my 4th house Saturn (ruler of my 5th).

    While I absolutely value beauty in an asthetic sense, as I've gotten older I find there's a greater beauty in the universal values of love, justice and truth expressed in practical ways. As the former office and benefits manager for a small, non-profit school that served kids with IEPs (special-education), an important part of my job was making sure staff and kids stayed safe. Then I took on responsibilities for both parents, first my father and later, my dying mother when she was diagnosed with dementia. My resources (including financial ones) were put to use making sure she was well cared for; no detail was too small - I even kept track of what she ate and when she used the bathroom. Though I often fell short, I wanted her to have some quality of life, and more importantly, to feel unconditionally loved and valued at a time when she was so absolutely vulnerable.

    Now I'm an alternative healer who not only works with energy, but also tries to validate and encourage those I come into contact with. And I'm always involved in advocating in some *small* way for something - peace, universal healthcare, social justice, non-GMOs . . . Right now it's encouraging people I know to only purchase slave-free chocolate (cocoa) produced ethically, without using African children as slave-labor. Halloween is next month, so it's a good time to talk about it. It kind of fits with Libra in the 2nd, doesn't it?:)

    I'm very naturally tuned into people who seem to need something extra, just never in an unhealthy, enabling kind of way.

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    1. Yes, that's a very well expressed Ceres. Either you are particularly tuned into her, or she aspects a lot of your planets. On a really straightforward trad astro level, you have earned a living through expressing Ceres - is she the planet of caring? Caring is the same etymology as cherish, of course, and I can't help thinking it sounds a bit like Ceres too.

      Both you and mimi have brought up caring for parents as well as for children, and I think that's an important part of this energy. Also Ceres is not like Chiron, who's more of a doctor. She is more like a nurse, someone who gives continuous love and attention, whereas Chiron is more of a catalyst.

      Thanks for sharing this.

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    2. I agree, Christina. To care, to cherish and also to *commit* all seem very Ceres-related. In the mythology, Ceres' loving commitment to her daughter was unconditional, though it also involved the creation and acceptance of certain natural cycles and limits. Maybe Ceres' lesson involves teaching us how (and where) to accept endings, set healthy limits, and make necessary sacrifices in order to sustain and protect. Also how to let go. It's how we grow - food, people, awareness, even love.:)

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  16. This is a great write up! (Per usual). I love how you included the Cassatts. I just love your combination of astrology and art history.

    I am dealing with a serious case of baby fever so this article was extra fun. I never noticed I have Ceres conjunct Uranus in Sag the 12th house. Ceres is also inconjunct my Saturn and Sun. Frustration due to having baby fever and not being in the right place in my life financially to have them? That kind of stings :/ I need to mull on this...

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