Ceres: The Bottom Line for Everyone

We’re in the last few days of the Sun’s transit through Libra. It’s been interesting, hasn’t it? The past few weeks has included a total lunar eclipse in Aries, Mercury retrograde, and now a sequence of conjunctions in Virgo (Mars-Jupiter, Venus-Jupiter, Venus-Mars).

Ceres (Summer) painted 1717-1718 by  Jean-Antoine Watteau, now kept at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Ceres (Summer) painted 1717-1718 by Jean-Antoine Watteau, now kept at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Before the Sun ingresses Scorpio on Friday, Oct. 23, it will pass through the late degrees of Libra. The sky is clear of major planets in the late degrees of signs, though Ceres, now called a dwarf planet, is in late Capricorn. All week the Sun will be approaching a square to Ceres.

Previously Ceres was considered an asteroid (before that, a planet, and before that, mainly for political reasons, a comet); it seems less dwarf-like when you consider that it makes up one-third the mass of the main asteroid belt.

The next 10 largest asteroids make up another third of the mass, and the remaining tens of thousands of objects make up the remainder. It’s true that size isn’t everything, but it’s worth knowing about.

More significantly, Ceres was one of the most important goddesses of the classical Roman era. She meant many things to many people, and her role changed over the centuries, making her an exceedingly complex mythological figure, involved with everything from equality between the classes to her best-known feature, agriculture. However, more than the ‘goddess of grain’, Ceres was regarded as she who makes things grow.

And, significantly, Ceres was associated with rites of passage, or what in anthropology is called liminality. Think of this as emerging from one state or stage of life to another — something our society fails to recognize almost entirely, but without which cultural life cannot function (and we’re seeing plenty of that dysfunction). Part of our culture’s obsession with marriage is that we have no other rites of passage.

Over the years that Ceres has been used by astrologers (this is relatively recent), she has come to represent the nexus of nourishment where food and the emotions merge into one idea. Parents nourish children with food; food is an important part of courtship rituals; when society is healthy, food is a center of community life and activity. (Note, there is more to the astrological delineation of Ceres, though that’s for another time — let’s stick to food.)

Our entire world is what it is because of the invention of agriculture. Our cities and empires are built on the backs of farms and farmers. At the dawn of civilization, writing was invented to record instructions for the production of food.

But we have a little problem in our society: food has been almost entirely divorced from its emotional content. It’s now rare that people consciously choose to nourish one another with food. It’s easier to call up for a pizza or Chinese. The family dinner table is virtually nonexistent except for the most ardent traditionalists who see how important it is.

The skill of preparing a meal, so recently knowledge as basic as walking or getting dressed, is now a kind of esoteric subject, best left to experts (nutritionists, graduates of the Culinary Institute, etc.).

Meanwhile, for many people, that dinner table was one of the most tumultuous and painful places of their childhood, where all the conflict of the family was expressed with the most emotional violence. This has had a way of emotionally contaminating what should be one of the friendliest and nourishing aspects of life.

Over the past century our food has been increasingly sprayed with toxins, which is now reaching a new peak thanks to the use of glyphosate (Roundup) and 2,4-D (Agent Orange) on nearly all genetically-modified plants — which you end up eating.

Suffice it to say that our society has Ceres issues. And now the Libra Sun is square Ceres in Capricorn. We have the intersection of our personal relationships with Ceres in a sign that really does describe the problem of government and corporate control over our food supply.

We still have plenty of influence here. Most places, it is actually possible to buy fresh and alive food. It is possible to prepare food for another person, or people, with loving intention. It’s possible to have hand-made food be an emotionally sincere gesture.

It is one thing to consider food a practical necessity, or a kind of medical defense system, or a lavish art form. It’s another to see it as a matter of survival.

It’s something else entirely to consider food one of the most basic and beautiful experiences of life, offered in a gesture of friendly intimacy. As Paul Simon said, food is the bottom line for everyone. It’s good to remember that — and to choose some way to express it lovingly.

11 thoughts on “Ceres: The Bottom Line for Everyone

  1. Amy Elliott

    In another sense, emotional eating is a huge problem. Eating disorders of various kinds are rife, and are connected with the warped dualistic thinking characteristic of organised major religions and soi-disant “conservatives”. Investing emotion into meal preparation is another good way of healing the schism between mind and body.

  2. Shelley Stearns

    I dont know how people get by without preparing food. I notice that Im way off course when I havent spent an entire day cooking in awhile. The other piece of that is actually taking the time to eat as an experience in itself and not while doing something else like driving or walking or working in front of a computer, something Im guilty of lately.

    I think thats one of the reasons I like going to a nice restaurant, where you dont get your entree rushed to you before the appetizer is finished. We pay to be slowed down and brought to basics rather than extravagants, as this sort of experience is sometimes perceived.

  3. Donna Boyle

    I teach a class at The Vibrant Health Institute among others, called Emotional/Conscious Eating. One of the things I say is…”You can grow food with LOVE. You can nourish food with LOVE. You can harvest food with LOVE. You can prepare food with LOVE. However…Food is NOT love.

    Thanks for insightful articles, as always. Such an opening for people to use food as a spiritual practice.

  4. Patricia Proctor


    Speaking of food, this is one of the most interesting newscasts I’ve seen in a long while, regarding the urban farm. This particular family is making a living with their large garden. They make their own bio-diesel fuel for the vehicles; the kitchen gadgets are cranked by hand, and a few solar panels on the roof provide other electrical needs.

    Their monthly electric bill is $12. Seeing that all of the seniors are facing big medical bill increases in the face of a ZERO cost of living increase, it seems the idea of living with what we have has reached critical mass. Maybe less is more, especially if we reach out to neighbors and figure out how to be a community again.

  5. Mary

    Ceres has been prominent in my life this past year, I experienced a Ceres return in a rather dramatic way.
    A yearly blood work-up showed a decreased ability to absorb protien from my diet, and I am not celiac. I eat clean (organic, non processed, and mainly food from my own kitchen).
    Working with a naturopath, employing an elimination and reintroduction diet, and not eating wheat products processed in the United States (I get my flour from Italy) has reset my absorption of nutrients.
    Yes, I agree, there is vital energy in preparing food for yourself, a labor of LOVE really. I felt my Nana’s presence as I attempted to make my own pasta for the first time tonight. It was sublime

  6. Joanna

    Just today, as previously announced, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, or “Doomsday Vault,” the seed bank — operated by the Norwegian government and containing a seed of just about every known crop in the world — meant to be humanity’s backup in the event of a catastrophe that devastates crops, had to open and release ancient seeds of wheat and grain to Syria. Syria’s agricultural areas were devastated by the war, as was their own seed bank, and had to be rescued. WAR, not natural disaster, caused this land devastation. Ceres is certainly highlighting the importance of the food chain and basic food needs. I hope She helps to awaken those who need to see what is being wrought on Earth at this time.

  7. Barbara Koehler

    Excellent article Eric, thank you. I’d not connected the depth of the U.S. Sibly chart’s Ceres-conjunct-Nessus in Pisces from the perspective of food consumption, preparation , production and tampering with in this way but now you have made it so clear. Your thoughts have given a whole new perspective (for me) regarding the U.S. Ceres square the U.S. Uranus in Gemini, as I usually refer to her, Ceres, more generally in her motherhood role. or her role as Mother Nature. You’re a good teacher.


    It seems like a tragic irony that the convenient marriage of Ceres, Inc. & Monsanto has helped to create the unhealthy food culture of mindless eating of cheap food, deplete of nutrition yet abundant of chemicals. I wonder where the planet Ceres was astrologically on the day this marriage came about? Here’s a link to the announcement on 04/03/2002:



    I also want to mention how much I am resonating, most powerfully right now, with Ceres being associated with liminality. I am feeling like I am at a threshold of something big & just opening the door to enter into what I feel is my unconscious self which is ultimately about discovering my true self. Thank you Eric & the PW team, your articles & horoscopes are as insightful as ever & they have been such a gift for me in my process of growth, discovering & individuating.

  10. Robyn Landis

    This is a beautiful and wise article about food (and rituals). I am especially passionate about good, whole, clean food and how crucial it is for people and the planet that food is grown, distributed and prepared in loving, nourishing and sustainable ways. It’s vital to health, energy, and joy. I feel so strongly about people having education and access that allows them to understand and experience these things and relate to food in a constructive way, from the practical to the pleasurable. I am dismayed by so much about the way food is handled and related to, on so many levels: personal, cultural and corporate (although heartened by many movements toward betterment of the situation, from local ones on all fronts to larger shifts). I am deeply fortunate to have achieved a healthy and happy relationship to food at a relatively young age (after a pretty typical disordered one in childhood/teenagerhood and early 20s ) and just want to share and do my part to heal some of the many obstacles and rifts in knowledge, awareness, empowerment and infrastructure. It’s a huge hairball. It’s good to have this additional insight from an astrological POV.

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