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In very ancient times, Ceres, the Great Mother, was originally an Italian fertility goddess who gave the knowledge of agriculture to mankind. Later she became identified in Rome with the Greek goddess, Demeter. In modern astrology, she stands for the cyclical structure of the natural world and the rhythms of womanhood and fertility, parenting and reproduction, a protector of children and the environment—though she does have a dark side...
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.
"Lo! I am that Demeter who has share of honour and is the greatest help and cause of joy to the undying gods and mortal men."
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.
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.
"Golden-haired Demeter sat thereapart from all the blessed gods and stayed, wasting with yearning for her deep-bosomed daughter. Then she caused a most dreadful and cruel year for mankind over the all-nourishing earth: the ground would not make the seed sprout, for rich-crowned Demeter kept it hid. In the fields the oxen drew many a curved plough in vain, and much white barley was cast upon the land without avail. And so she would have destroyed the whole race of man with cruel famine... had not Zeus perceived and marked this in his heart...
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...!
"Astrologically, Ceres describes the ways in which we face the issues of self-worth and self-esteem, relationships to our parents and children, attachment, dependency, loss, separation, rejection, grief, sharing, work and productivity."
NOTE: Ceres, discovered in relatively recent times, is not a traditional planet, so has no essential dignities, and no long history of research. Interested astrologers are at variance with regard to her influence, although research is crystallizing since her promotion to a "Dwarf Planet".