The Key to Nurturing
Ceres in the horoscope shows the early nurturing we received and how we nurture others. It also directly rules food and clothing. I have seen two cases of professional designers who had Ceres aspecting Pallas (which rules the ability to see patterns). Ceres in the Signs shows our nurturing style and the types of things that make us feel nurtured. Ceres in the Houses shows where we are most likely to express our nurturing side and also where we can best receive nurturing.
Asteroids are tiny planetoids orbiting the Sun in a belt between Mars and Jupiter. There are thousands of these cosmic boulders, some as little as a few meters across and some reasonably large. Ceres, the first among them to be discovered, measures about 975 km (600 miles) in diameter, so it would fit nicely into Texas and is slightly larger than France.
In recent times, some of the asteroids have been found to have astrological value, especially, but not exclusively in relation to women’s issues and the development of influences more related to the feminine side and the power of the goddess. A group of modern-day astrologers have argued that the traditional pantheon of astrology, with only the two feminine planets Luna and Venus, is too heavily slanted in favour of a discredited patriarchal view. This idea is controversial, but since the first minor planets (asteroids) discovered in modern times have all been given feminine names—Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and Juno—the feeling was that the ancient goddesses were seeking to right the balance, as the move for women’s suffrage in the 19th Century, leading to feminism and female power strategies in the 20th, began to press forward. Whether or not this is evidence for a sea-change in the collective, redrawing the boundaries of astrology in the New Age, is open to debate, but it does feel as though Ceres at least is once again making her mark…
To get back to science, the principle known as Bode’s Law predicts that a planet should be found where we now see the asteroid belt, and in 1801 Giuseppe Piazzi, following Bode’s formula, discovered Ceres—thinking he had found a new planet. Ceres was duly classed as a planet, just as in 1781 Uranus had been, when it was discovered in the very place Bode’s Law had predicted it would be. In fact, the first four asteroids to be discovered were classified as planets, although they were later demoted to minor planets or asteroids in the 1850’s, when it had become clear that there were so many of them [see When did the Asteroids become Minor Planets? – offsite]. Speculation has it that the asteroid belt may be made up of the remnants of a large disintegrated planet; or it might be that these are the pieces from which a planet will one day coalesce. Science is unsure. The names, however, of the asteroids mostly come from the ancient græco-roman goddesses, though not consistently using either the Greek or the Roman mythologies, more a mixture of the two. Other sources have been thrown in as more asteroids are discovered, but now they are simply numbered, with Ceres being number 1. Ceres, like Pluto, has actually been reclassified by science recently, as a “dwarf planet”, so interest in her astrological effects is growing rapidly, just as women are becoming more able to stand on their own feet as authentic human beings—even scientists and astrologers—in their own right!
Ceres was originally a prehistoric Italian (possibly Etruscan) goddess of the harvest, but was later identified by the Romans with the Olympian mother goddess, Demeter. In Rome in 490 BCE, a Grecian-style temple was dedicated by the Senate as a votive offering, seeking her protection against a life-threatening drought which had been decimating the community. Her worship (performed only in the Greek tongue) was instituted using Italian priestesses of Greek extraction, as ordered by the interpreters of the Sybilline Books. These were a collection of oracular sayings in Greek, brought to Rome by the semi-mythical King Tarquin, the last king of Rome. Unfortunately they were later burnt and so lost to posterity, except for some fragments.
Ceres, the great mother, the principle of unconditional love, is thus the goddess of fertility, protectress of the seasons, the harvest and the crops—we get the word “cereal” from Ceres. Her festivity, held in mid-April, was known as the Cerealia. The myth of Ceres and the loss of her daughter Proserpine (Persephone, a.k.a. Kore) explains the cyclical rhythms of nature—and the deeper mysteries of death and resurrection, the human soul and metempsychosis. Ceres and Pluto thus have a profound connection, as in mythology Pluto, dark Lord of the Underworld, abducted her daughter bright Proserpine, Goddess of Spring, thanks to the spiteful jealousy of Venus!
Ceres, daughter of Saturn and Ops (Kronos and Rhea), and sister to Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, was also the sister of Vesta and Juno. Bountiful Ceres, queen of the mysteries, rules the cyclical structure of the natural world and the rhythms of womanhood and fertility, parenting and reproduction. Like all the ancient Olympians, Ceres represents at one level a force of nature. She has two sides, the one blessing humanity with nature’s gifts and the other blighting the world by withholding her powers of fecundity. However, she also has a deeply spiritual side. The myth of Ceres and Proserpine (Demeter and Persephone) lay at the heart of Eleusinian Mysteries, initiations celebrated for more than two thousand years in the sacred groves and temples of Eleusis, near Athens—and evidence for her worship is found long centuries earlier in neolithic Crete, the earliest known European civilisation. It is interesting that Demeter, the snake-goddess, is also the goddess of the poppy. Her ancient worshippers well knew the mind-altering effects of this divine plant! The emergence of her influence in recent times has brought a resurgence of interest in the Divine Feminine, adding a dimension of awareness and nourishment. In some ways Ceres can be seen as the saviour of children, for in the myth she refuses to give up on her lost daughter Proserpine until she has been recovered and reclaimed from the Underworld.
The astrological Ceres, while carrying these sacred characteristics, has nevertheless a seriously malefic side, especially when afflicted, which anyone can see from examining her position in disaster charts. Even a quick reading of the mythology also reveals that, in her sorrow and grief, she can actually blight the entire world—in order to regain what she has lost.
It is true that the placement of Ceres in the chart is a harbinger of loss, but it always holds out the promise of return, or reclamation. It is interesting that Ceres was originally considered a true planet, under the auspices of Bode’s Law. In fact, following the success of this principle (no longer considered a law by science) in predicting the position of Uranus, a group of 24 astronomers, including Giuseppe Piazzi, were actually looking for a proposed planet where the asteroids are now known to flock. She later lost this planetary status, but under new astronomical definitions, Ceres, the first discovered of the asteroids, has finally been reclaimed — as a “dwarf planet”. She has this in common with Pluto also…!
Ceres in Aries
Ceres in Aries nurtures independence; they show their love through physical activities rather than cuddling. They help others become self-sufficient through encouragement. Those with this combination may feel inadequate or incompetent at times if they had to compete with their own parent at some point. They are very protective of their family. They are assertive and like physical action. They may end up with a challenging partner in some kind of relationship. Ceres in Aries must be nurtured in an active, independent way by their family and partners in order to feel loved. If they feel dominated or pushed to take on responsibility before they are ready, they may develop issues. They value self-determination, and do their best to support that trait in those they care for.
Ceres in Taurus
Ceres in Taurus feels nurtured when they are fed and pampered. A good massage helps them feel grounded and cared for. They nurture others by giving them the necessities of life like food, shelter and financial stability. They may become overly dependent on their belongings or may equate self worth with what they own. Touching is an important part of nurturing for this combination. If they can relax, it is beneficial to them. They feel worthwhile if they can provide for themselves.
Ceres in Gemini
Ceres in Gemini feels nurtured when someone takes the time to talk or write to them. They need to communicate with others. Traveling with them or even going along on errands will make them feel that you care. They like to nurture others through education, sitting down for a good talk, and the gift of travel. They share important information whenever they can. When things aren’t going right, they may suffer from mental confusion or try to be intellectually superior. They love to learn and be listened to. They feel good about themselves when they feel smart or intellectually competent for the task at hand.
Ceres in Cancer
Ceres in Cancer creates a nurturing home environment. It is where they feel the most comfortable and nurtured themselves. They enjoy being mothered and mothering others. Hugs are popular. When they don’t feel nurtured, they can feel like the whole world hates them. They provide both physical and emotional support. Food can play a large role in nurturing themselves and others. They are very sentimental. Those whose needs were met at a young age will in turn take excellent care of others. Those who were deprived or smothered with too much affection may end up being overly needy. Self-acceptance is important.
Ceres in Leo
Ceres in Leo takes pride in nurturing others. They are cheerful and optimistic, at least in public. They provide a living example of the self-assured personality. They have a way of infusing others with confidence as well. While they aren’t the best at nurturing emotionally, they are dedicated. Nurturing others also helps Ceres in Leo feel good about themselves, especially when they receive accolades for it. They love attention, admiration and respect. They are creative and independent, and foster these traits in others. When they feel down, they may feel inadequate and unappreciated. They help others find their creative muse and make the most of it. Self-expression is all important to them.
Ceres in Virgo
Ceres in Virgo don’t mean to be critical, but it may be the approach they take to nurturing others. They are really just trying to help. They feel good when they are busy, especially with detailed work. They can also take a nice detailed criticism in a constructive way most of the time. They want to nurture others through service. At worst, they become perfectionists who never can be satisfied with their work or that of others. They are well organized and can help teach this talent to others. They feel nurtured by good quality clothing, food and health. They can teach others to be competent, proud of their work, and to be self-disciplined.
Ceres in Libra
Ceres in Libra is nurtured by beauty. They notice the small subtle things that others do to show they care. They do the same for others, nurturing in small ways and surrounding others with beauty. They like everyone to cooperate and share. Having a good relationship is very nurturing to Ceres in Libra. They may get caught up in need acceptance from others and forget to work on themselves. Good manners and sensitivity towards the feelings of others go far in nurturing this combination. They appreciate the effort. Luxury is not wasted on them either they truly appreciate fine dining, fine fabrics and beauty all around them.
Ceres in Scorpio
Ceres in Scorpio feel nurtured through touch, especially intimacy. They enjoy anything mysterious or being part of something transforming. Healing others is fulfilling for them. They form deep bonds with their loved ones that make them feel whole. Emotional self control is important to them, and helping others through transformational experiences is very powerful for them. They may become jealous, possessive or resentful when they don’t feel nurtured. Stable relationships are an important part of their nurturing. Isolation causes problems.
Ceres in Sagittarius
Ceres in Sagittarius hides their nurturing qualities. They tend to reflect the drive and passion of those around them. They want those around them to succeed. They are not good at taking the initiative when it comes to nurturing. They prefer to share wisdom, adventure and knowledge as a form of nurturing. They may be excellent at giving advice or teaching. They may feel their life is meaningless when stressed. Part of their nurturing nature is to encourage optimism in others. They show their concern by taking part in social issues. They feel nurtured when they have the freedom to explore and broaden their horizons.
Ceres in Capricorn
Ceres In Capricorn feels nurtured when they are organized and in control. They help others learn how to succeed. They take great comfort in every achievement they make. They have learned to take responsibility, now they will teach this to others. When stressed they can be overly dependent on their status in an effort to make themselves feel better. Surprises turn their world upside down. Goal setting and working hard is more their thing. They try their best to get others to realize how beneficial this path is to meeting your goals. It is hard for them to accept themselves sometimes. They equate feeling loved with how well they perform in life.
Ceres in Aquarius
Ceres in Aquarius finds their solace in the strange and offbeat. They also love being around friends. When they are down in the dumps, there is nothing better than when their friends show up. They may have felt abandoned as a child, and they taught themselves to distance themselves from that feeling. It is hard for them to admit that they need someone else. Intimacy may be difficult. When Ceres in Aquarius nurtures others, they help them develop a sense of social justice. They also want their loved ones to appreciate and accept their own uniqueness. They feel nurtured when they are accepted by a group or help out in a cause. When stressed they may feel disconnected or inept socially. They value personal freedom. They also love to serve their fellow man. This makes them feel they are doing well.
Ceres in Pisces
Ceres in Pisces reflects the emotions of those around them. They want to understand and help people through emotional crises. They are truly compassionate and they supply this through nurturing. They love anything imaginative. It fills them with good feelings and makes them feel nurtured. When feeling down, they may feel helpless or abandoned. They need time alone to de-stress and re-energize themselves. Water is calming. Self-acceptance may depend on their ability to be selfless.
Ceres in 1st House
People will always be mistaking you for their mother, even if you are a guy. That’s because Ceres in the 1st house people just seem to be nurturing. This effect is lessened if Ceres is located more towards the end of the house, or in a different sign from the Ascendant. There can be a problem if you happen to have a lot of planets in Gemini, like a friend of mine. She would rather talk than nurture, but emotionally needy people gravitate towards her constantly.
Ceres in 2nd House
If well aspected, your physical nurturing needs will always be provided. And you will tend to nurture others in the same way. And nothing makes you feel more nurtured than a large bank balance and a full refrigerator.
Ceres in 3rd House
Nurturing could have been provided for you by brothers and sisters, or even neighbours. Conversely, you could have been the one nurturing them. Your words tend to be nurturing. This could be a good placement for a therapist or counsellor.
Ceres in 4th House
Being home nurtures you, and there is a tendency to nurture anyone and everyone in your home. It’s as simple as that. But you could also feel nurtured by the homes in general, so this is a good placement for dealing in domestic real estate.
Ceres in 5th House
The tendency with this placement is to feel nurtured by fun, sports, games, romance, children, gambling and speculation, you name it. Any form of excitement will do. There will likely be a need to feel nurtured by romantic partners, and, conversely, to nurture them. Be careful, though, about getting a nurturing feeling through gambling.
Ceres in 6th House
Work could easily give you that nurturing feeling. People with this placement would either tend to nurture co-workers or feel nurtured by them. This placement can also feel nurtured by doctors and other health care workers.
Ceres in 7th House
This placement would either tend to nurture partners (both marital and business) or attract partners who nurture them. Strive for a balance if you have this one, otherwise either you or they will be doing all the work, and that could eventually cause resentment.
Ceres in 8th House
You poor thing. You need sex to feel nurtured. Oh well, we each have our cross to bear. Carry on (and I’m sure you will). Actually, you might also nurture your partner with this one. The 8th house also rules other things besides sex. This placement is also good for nurturing people who are undergoing a process of rehabilitation. Demetra George points out in her excellent book Asteroid Goddessesthat Ceres in the 8th house might also be found in the horoscopes of those who work in a hospice providing nurturing to those who are dying.
Ceres in 9th House
You would tend to feel nurtured by taking long trips, either physically or mentally. Travel will do it, but so could study and discussion of religious or philosophical matters.
Ceres in 10th House
Well, this placement can make you popular (even if you don’t want to be). As soon as you set foot in public, people will start coming to you for nurturing. Not in private, thankfully. At least you will be safe in private. Even the boss could come to you for this (or you might have a tendency to nurture the boss). Conversely, you could tend to attract bosses who like to nurture you (hopefully with constant raises). You could also be attracted to careers ruled by Ceres, namely anything connected with food or clothing.
Ceres in 11th House
The tendency here is to nurture your friends or attract friends who nurture you. Since the 11th house also rules your hopes and wishes, you could easily have a wish to nurture large groups of people, perhaps by joining (or founding) a humanitarian group of some sort.
Ceres in 12th House
This is the house of hidden things, psychological problems and “restrictions.” Whatever is in this house shows what we don’t want to show to the world, or even to ourselves. Ceres in the 12th house can show that nurturing needs were suppressed. This could also make it difficult to nurture others. On the positive side, this placement could channel these frustrations into charity work where you provide nurturing to the poor, the sick, and the unfortunate.
Nurturing will tend to be part of your character. With the harmonious aspects (conjunction, sextile and trine) the effects are smooth and easy. You probably had a nurturing father, and the nurturing you received was compatible with who you are (the Sun). The stressful aspects (square and opposition) show problems. The opposition could mean that you tend to nurture others, but not yourself. Conversely, it might be an indicator of someone who always expects others to nurture them. The square means that the early nurturing you received (especially from the father) was not compatible with the type of person you are, or that you tend to be suspicious, or even reject the nurturing that you really need. For example, suppose the Sun is in Aries and Ceres is in Cancer. This person needs lots of soft, emotional nurturing, but that is not in accord with the self-sufficient image that Aries has of itself, so the needed nurturing is rejected.
The harmonious aspects (conjunction, sextile, and trine) are really easy to deal with here. One’s emotional needs and nurturing requirements are compatible and work well together. The nurturing received from the mother tended to be favourable. There will probably be an instinctive need (the Moon) to nurture others. The stressful aspects (square and opposition) are indicators that the early nurturing from the mother was not compatible with your emotional needs. With the opposition, there is usually some issue with “others” over nurturing. Perhaps someone with the Moon opposite Ceres will concentrate on nurturing others in order to avoid their own emotional needs. It could work in the other direction as well, with the person always searching for (even demanding) constant nurturing from someone else, demands that can never be satisfied by any amount of nurturing because there is an emotional void that never seems to be filled. The square means that the nurturing the mother gave was not right for your emotional needs. For instance, if the Moon is in Leo and Ceres is in Taurus, you would tend to have an emotional need for attention and respect while all you got was lots of food and clothing.
This is a nice aspect for a therapist to have because you can nurture others with your words. It is also good for a salesperson or someone who writes advertising copy for the same reason. The stressful aspects indicate that the words you heard as a child were not very nurturing. Be careful that you don’t do the same to your own children.
Oh for a lover with the harmonious aspects (conjunction, sextile, or trine) between Venus and Ceres! The ability to express love and affection and the nurturing nature are in harmony. They can love you and feed you at the same time. These people will tend to be nurtured by beauty and beautiful things, as well as by pleasant social gatherings. The stressful aspects (square and opposition) indicate that what you need to feel happy and your nurturing needs are out of alignment. Perhaps the clothes you were given as a child made you feel ugly. There will tend to be nurturing issues with partners and lovers. With the stressful aspects, you could constantly attract partners and lovers who always seem to require nurturing from you. Conversely, the nurturing you get from them never seems to be right. As always with the stressful aspects, do not look upon this as some terrible fate, but rather as a problem that needs to be solved or as an obstacle that needs to be overcome.
Energy, action, and nurturing combined. This person feels nurtured through physical action, adventure, and even combat. When it comes to nurturing others, they can dive right in and nurture you whether you want them to or not. The stressful aspects (square, opposition, and, here, the conjunction as well) are an indicator that the early nurturing tended to be in conflict with the need for assertion. The parents could have withheld nurturing when the child was in an angry mood, causing the anger to be repressed. Conversely, at least one parent could have expressed anger at the child’s nurturing needs, affecting the child’s sense of self-worth. Adults with the stressful Mars/Ceres aspects may get angry when asked to nurture others. They may even get angry when they have to nurture themselves!
Jupiter expands whatever it touches. At least there will tend to be plenty of early nurturing, whether the kid wanted it or not. Even in a poor family, where there is little to go around, this will be the child that gets more of the goodies. The nurturing given will also tend to be excessive. The stressful aspects (square and opposition) could be an indicator of much too much early nurturing, and generally not the kind the child wants or needs (especially with the square). For instance, if Ceres is in Libra (feeling nurtured by beauty) and Jupiter is making a square from Capricorn, the child could feel suffocated by getting excessive nurturing of the “practical” kind (ugly, but practical clothing for example). As an adult, they could nurture others in the same excessive, uncaring way and never be aware of what they are doing. Jupiter under stress aspects shows where we never listen because we think that (in that area) we “understand” everything already. If the rest of the chart agrees, Ceres/Jupiter aspects could be an indicator of someone who joins (or starts) organizations to fight for the rights of the underdog to be nurtured. If the aspect is a stressful one, they will nurture those poor underdogs whether they want it or not.
Saturn organizes and restricts. With the harmonious aspects (sextile and trine) between Ceres and Saturn, the early nurturing received will be adequate, efficient, and well organized. As an adult, this person will tend to nurture in the same way. The stressful aspects (square, opposition, and, here, the conjunction) tend to diminish the early nurturing. Many with this combination will say, “What early nurturing?” Even in a wealthy family where there was plenty of everything, those with this combination usually get the short end of the stick. As adults, they could also withhold nurturing from others, regarding it as too “sentimental” or “impractical.” If you come across anyone like this, tell them that it is really impractical to be miserable.
Stressful aspects between Ceres and Uranus indicate that the early nurturing was erratic. Like stressful aspects between the Moon and Uranus, this could cause contact difficulties as an adult. When these people feel a need for nurturing, they could simply run. What is happening is that, as an infant, the unstable nurturing caused panic (if I don’t get nurtured, I’ll die). The panic is frequently dealt with by denial (I don’t need them). Sure, the child survives, but when they grow up and start dating, they eventually meet someone that they start feeling close to. At that point, up comes the emotion-laden thought, “If they find out I need them, they’re going to leave me and I’ll die!” Solution: leave first. Except Uranus doesn’t just leave. It ejects. People with stressful Ceres/Uranus aspects are more likely to get romantically involved with unstable types who are incapable of providing nurturing. Then they go to an astrologer and complain that they can never find a good person, and when are they ever going to meet their soul mate. At that point, the best thing to do is tell them that if they were to meet a soul mate, they would probably mess that relationship up too. The instability is a diversion. Their real goal is to avoid and ignore their own nurturing needs and the childhood panic they felt by not having those needs met. Once this is recognized, steps can be taken to break this self-destructive pattern.
If you have this combination, you can feel nurtured by your imagination. When it comes to nurturing others, you will tend to add a note of fantasy. Parents with this one can play imaginary games with their children. Watch out for the stressful aspects (conjunction, square, and opposition). Neptune is the planet of sympathy, and, when Ceres is in stressful aspect, it could indicate a tendency to try to “nurture” people who are constantly draining you, like the alcoholic who is always falling off the wagon and needs you to pick them up “just one more time.” It could easily work out the other way as well. The person with Ceres in stress aspect with Neptune could be the one who is “needy” and constantly drains everyone around them, until those people get fed up and leave. Then, they search for another sympathetic soul to con into providing “nurturing” and the cycle repeats. The irony is that no amount of nurturing will ever feel satisfactory because the Ceres/Neptune stress aspect means that, deep down inside, there is a feeling that the nurturing is undeserved. Neptune is also the planet of escape. The stressful aspects could also indicate a tendency to feel nurtured (or avoid the pain of not feeling nurtured) through alcohol or drug abuse. Needless to say, in cases like these, therapy is a necessity. The positive side of Ceres/Neptune can be very loving and giving. There is real feeling behind the nurturing, and people will notice it. A good outlet would be doing volunteer charity work with a Ceres quality, such as working to collect food or clothing for the poor and needy.
The stressful aspects (conjunction, square, and opposition) can indicate what I call negotiation nurturing. It goes something like this. “You want some nurturing? OK, first you have to do this for me. You want some more nurturing? Then you will have to do that for me.” In other words, the nurturing is not given freely. There is frequently a power struggle. A negative Ceres/Neptune (see above) will drain or be drained. A negative Ceres/Pluto, by contrast, will coerce or be coerced. On the positive side, a Ceres/Pluto person can nurture others back to health even if (especially if!) they are at death’s door. They can transform others through nurturing. On the negative side, they may never want to let go (remember the myth of Persephone).
If Ceres makes any aspect to your Ascendant, people will come to you for “nurturing” whether you want them to or not. This is especially true of the conjunction. The harmonious aspects (sextile and trine) generally do not cause problems here. Neither do the conjunction and opposition, for that matter. Nurturing can be both given and taken smoothly. The square aspect is the real problem. There will tend to be battles with partners over who is giving and who is getting more nurturing. Remember that an opposition to the Ascendant is a conjunction to the Descendant. Someone with that aspect could make nurturing the centerpiece of their partnerships. On the positive side, that means they just like to nurture partners. On the negative side, it could indicate that are neglecting nurturing themselves, or that they attract partners who drain them.
This could indicate a career that is ruled by Ceres: professional chef or other jobs connected with food, work in the clothing industry, or any sort of activity where nurturing is done. The only aspect that may be a problem here is the square, which could indicate that the parents disagreed over the best way to nurture you.