Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Goddess Archetypes: The Ceres Myth

by Milky Way Maid

Recently I posted some brief entries on the asteroid goddesses; one was on a historical note regarding responsibilities held by the Vestal Virgins. Today I want to go back to the original myths and try to tease out some themes pertaining to each of these goddesses. (For this series of articles I am using the excellent “Goddesses in Every Woman,” by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.)
Next up: Ceres, also known as Demeter. Let's go up close and personal with the goddess of the grain.

PEDIGREE: Second child of Rhea and Cronos, and therefore second in being swallowed by father Cronos. Zeus and Demeter's only child was the girl, Persephone aka Proserpine. Want to hear the sticky part? Her daughter was abducted by her brother, Hades. Yuck. No wonder she went into a funk when Hades took her daughter away.

HABITAT: Cultivated fields. Chiefly found at home or the day-care center taking care of the kids. Also her need to provide food and drink to her guests means that natives with a strongly placed Ceres may have a talent for the restaurant or bakery business.

FASHION STATEMENT: Usually pictured in a blue robe. Carries sheaf of wheat around. Everything has wheat-ear motif. Is that monotonous, or what? Really needs to break out and try on different outfits for different occasions.

SYMBOLOGY: Wheat and cereal grains in general. (The word cereal comes from the word Ceres.) Pictured as a woman holding a sheaf of wheat in one hand. Animals: Dolphin, pigs. Birds: Dove and crane. Insect: The industrious ant. Emblems: scythe, torch, or sacrificial knife. Special fruits of the earth: wheat or bread, of course, but also honey. Pictured as British nanny, nurse, farmer. Chakra: Thyroid. Colors: Green and gold fields. Direction: West. Element: Earth. Number: 49. Ray: Third ray of intelligent activity. Icon is a circle enclosed by an equilateral triangle.

RULERSHIPS: Ceres or Demeter were long worshiped in ancient Greece and Rome as the goddess of fertility and agriculture. The Eleusinian mysteries, established by the Goddess herself, “ensured not only fertile wheat fields, but also the ennoblement of human life on earth and the cultural gifts which enrich earthly experience.” Ceres is most at home in the earthy signs Taurus (which rules farming) and Virgo (which rules the domestic arts like bread-baking and is symbolized by a woman holding a sheaf of wheat). Not only are Ceres people devoted parents, they are natural conservationists who a concerned with environmental issues and saving our mother earth.

MARRIAGE: Demeter was the fourth royal consort of her brother Zeus, the one who had rescued all his siblings. (She preceded Hera, who was seventh and last in the series of royal wives.) Zeus and Demeter's only child was the girl, Persephone aka Proserpine. The fact that Demeter had only one child, upon which she invested her whole being (since she separated from her erstwhile husband), led to a very unbalanced psyche. Geez, you'd think that she could've adopted a dog or cat from the local shelter or something.

WOMEN FRIENDS: If a Demeter-type woman is childless for whatever reason, she will feel pangs of envy towards women friends who get pregnant easily or who have several children, who have close relationships with their children, and who gather a skein of grandchildren. So this tends to poison her friendships with those other women.

CAREER: On the other hand, if she is psychologically healthy, can be very supportive of women's issues, may be a doula or provide prenatal massage services, run a shelter, manage or serve as chef in a restaurant, or provide food service in any number of settings, or run a motel/hotel.

POLITICAL LEANINGS: Resents the “women's libbers” for devaluing motherhood. On the other hand, she is very supportive of things like shelters for abused women or children, and protecting children from all types of abuse. May also be an ardent conservationist or animal rights activist. Can be the type who becomes the crazy old cat lady if she's not careful.

PERSONALITY: Tends to feel depressed and useless after her children leave the nest. May not act supportive of her kids as they develop independence. Defines herself mainly as Earth Mother-type who takes care of other people's kids when their mom is laid up in the hospital or whatever. Really needs to develop other aspects of her personality and identity.
The keyword here is NURTURING. She feeds the people of the planet with the fruits of the fields and orchards. She raises and protects children. She conserves and protects the earth itself as the source of our sustenance. Women who have a large Ceres component in their personality feel incomplete without being able to feed someone or something, and can end up overfeeding themselves or terribly depressed. I recommend feeding birds, taking care of a pet, becoming a foster parent or getting involved in child-protection issues or women's shelters to restore a sense of purpose to one's life. One might go into the hotel or restaurant/catering business, too, as another option.

So what themes can we deduce from all this? We can list some of them here:
1- Needing to be needed
2- Not encouraging independence on the part of her children, ie wanting her kids to stay children and never grow up
3- Defining herself solely as a mother
4- Generally does not have close, supportive women friends who help each other grow as people
5- Narrow interests include the kids, the home, hubby, and mom, probably in that order
6- Can be politically or socially active in support of social services or environmentalism.

How might Ceres, the asteroid, operate in the various houses? The question becomes, where does she nurture others? First House: Really likes to play the earth mother role. Simplicity of dress with a minimum of adornment. Usually little makeup if any.

Second House: A careful conservator and saver of money and other resources, with steady growth. May have lots of flowers or house plants if in Taurus, lots of children if in Leo.

Third House: Great organizer of local events, block parties, family picnics. They often talk to their pets or house plants.

Fourth House: Quite good at meal planning with proper nutrition in mind; may be a professional nutritionist. May put up preserves, have a well-stocked freezer and larder, buy cases of canned foods on sale.

Fifth House: Usually have a couple of children naturally but may adopt if not fertile. Bird-watching or pet care or training appeals to them. Often has healing ability.
Sixth House: May be a nutritionist or in the health sciences. May work in a spa environment in any capacity. Is often the one who cleans up the business office even if they are not a cleaning lady.

Seventh House: May be called upon to nurse mate through a serious illness at some point in their relationship.

Eighth House: May work as a doula (midwife) or practice prenatal massage. Some possibility that they are very curious about topics like reincarnation or other esoteric matters. Interested in health foods as cures for various illnesses or disease conditions. May have career in the medical or biological sciences, often in the research wing.

Ninth House: Practical application of philosophical ideas, usually ones related to social or legal status of women, children, and the homeless. May have a career in higher education. Likes long trips or camping out in the country.
Tenth House: As an executive is very organized but may be dull when it comes to inspiring the troops. Best chance of advancement is in civil service where their conscientious service is recognized.
Eleventh House: Involved in humanitarian, non-profit, social welfare, or New Age causes and projects. Not a rabble-rouser kind of activist, but one that is good at getting corporate and governmental support.
Twelfth House: Often found in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and other care facilities. May choose a religious calling although this is a less popular option than in past eras. Supports mental health initiatives but prefers that patients not be committed to institutions as was done in less-enlightened eras.

PLEASE ALSO SEE: Article on the Pallas Athena myth and archetype at

AND article on the Vesta-Hestia myth and archetype at:
PLEASE ALSO SEE: Article on the Vesta/Hestia myth and archetype at