Long before summer was about vacations and time off from school, the season was associated with the goddess Ceres, whose joy was said to cause the earth to bloom and grow. Mythologically, Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, fertility, and motherly relationships. In Greek traditions, she was known as Demeter, and most infamous for the relationship to her daughter Persephone. As the well-known story goes, Persephone was abducted—though some myths say she went willing—into the underworld by Hades, and Demeter spent her days mourning.
After she threatened to destroy all crops and food, Zeus heard Demeter’s pleas and allowed Persephone to return to her mother. However, Hades tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds, and therefore, having eaten the food of the underworld, Persephone could never entirely leave, rather spending half of the year in the underworld and the other half with her mother above ground. This was said to create the seasons: fall and winter occur when Persephone is in the underworld and Demeter is unhappy, and spring and summer when Persephone returns.
Archetypally, this myth—and, thus, Ceres—represents cycles of loss and return, attachment in relationships, and ultimately self-nurturing or self-care. This powerful symbolism of self-care also carries over into astrology with the first discovered and largest asteroid: Ceres.
In our natal chart, Ceres energy recognizes the paradox roles we inhabit as both our own parent and child. Its placement teaches us where we easily provide nurturance and care to ourselves and what we need to feel our best physically, emotionally, and spiritually—a.k.a. self-care.
While self-care has often been oversimplified, when we look more deeply, it encompasses a holistic approach to becoming our own best caregiver. Without an understanding of our natal Ceres, we may struggle a lot with unmet needs or confusion over how to be the best parents to our own internal children. However, with deeper exploration, this asteroid reveals our deepest needs and greatest self-care priorities.
While the moon in our charts showcases needs and emotional balancing and the sun representing what energizes us, Ceres focuses on the ways we can nurture ourselves on an even deeper level. House placement plays a large role in the other influences to our Ceres; however, the sign and planetary aspects offer clues to different combinations and the baseline needs for our self-care toolbox.
Art by Olivia M. Healy