Our relationship to the celestial body Ceres is as complicated and volatile as our relationship to that which it rules: food and nourishment. Ceres was discovered by the Italian astronomer Giueseppe Piazzi on New Year's Day, 1801. Piazzi named it after one of the Roman goddesses most deeply connected to the scientist's native Sicily. Ceres ruled plants, the harvest, fertility, and motherly love.
Pluto is not the first orb to lose its planetary status. For approximately fifty years after its discovery, Ceres was also considered a planet before being downgraded to an asteroid. In 2006, however, it was once again reclassified by the International Astronomical Union, along with Pluto, as a dwarf planet. Interestingly (and somewhat confusingly), it is still simultaneously deemed an asteroid by NASA.
The intertwined fates of Ceres and Pluto as heavenly bodies mirror the myths that gave rise to their names. Ceres, the Roman equivalent of the Greek Demeter, was happily living with her daughter Proserpina, and Earth enjoyed a year-round bountiful harvest. One day, Proserpina was kidnapped and taken to the underworld by Pluto, who desired to marry her and make her his queen; this caused her mother, Ceres, infinite grief and sorrow. In the pain that resulted from being separated from her daughter, Ceres stopped the growth of all crops and fruit trees, while Proserpina entered into a fast, refusing all food and drink. Without food, the entire human race was at risk, so Jupiter commanded Pluto to release Proserpina, and Pluto acquiesced. Before leaving to return to her mother, Pluto offered Proserpina a few pomegranate seeds to quench her thirst, which the girl gladly accepted without realizing that that those who ate from the underworld were bound to it forever.
As a compromise, Proserpina spent part of the year with her mother on Earth, during which time plants bloomed and food grew, and the other part of the year in the underworld, when the land would grow desolate and barren. Today, words such as cereal are derived from this goddess of the harvest.
In astrology, Ceres represents how we approach nourishment—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It also represents nurturing, the mother principle, and the way we receive and give emotional support. The word nurturing comes from the Latin nutrire, "to feed," and one of the most innate acts of nurturing humans experience is when the mother instinctively holds her newborn to her chest to feed. Proper parental love should be secure and unconditional. If it is not, low levels of self-esteem, anxiety, fear, dependency, perfectionism, or control issues may manifest. All of the above are also root causes of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, and it is no surprise that Ceres rules not only nourishment, but also eating disorders and our relationship to food in general.
Negative manifestations of the Ceres energy may result in the manipulative use of food as a control mechanism, such as withholding food or using food as a reward device. In such cases, the naive will stop listening to their own hunger instincts and instead seek to nourish themselves guided by external programming, in an almost Pavlovian way. By becoming aware of this cultural or domestic conditioning, people can free themselves from unhealthy eating habits and move to a better state of overall wellness.
In its best, most harmonious manifestation, Ceres represents food that is used as a conduit of love, such as a home-cooked meal, as well as the use of good nutrition as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Here we examine how Ceres manifests itself through the signs. Search the Internet for sites that will give you a free natal chart based on your time and date of birth in order to find out your natal Ceres sign and that of your loved ones. You may need to choose an option to display secondary asteriods or lesser bodies in order for Ceres to be drawn into your chart.
People with Ceres in Aries use food not so much for nurturing others but for gaining a competitive advantage, as well as acceptance and increased popularity, with their family or social group. Due to their generous and encouraging natures, they may also use food as a form of motivation, such as by giving a piece of candy to a child for finishing their homework. Ceres in Aries people are highly active and may feel trapped at the dinner table, probably preferring to eat on the go. Mealtime is not really a focal point of their lives, but a process they must undergo to keep the machine humming smoothly. Therefore, they are happy eating fast food just to get full so they can quickly move on to more exciting things. Individuals with this placement may also be extremely spoiled and impatient—they want their din din and they want it now! They can have a childlike innocence toward proper nutrition and may want to eat their dessert before finishing their peas; if they don't get their way, they may throw a temper tantrum. Imbalances can occur if their independence was restricted by a family member who overnurtured them with food, which may have caused them to rebel. For this reason, these people might refuse food from others, as they don't want to have to eat by other people's rules or deal with the strings that are involved by accepting generosity. By supplying the flow of nourishment to others, they maintain self-reliance for themselves.
Meatloaf, a baked potato, maybe even a piece of apple pie for desert—those born with Ceres in Taurus are all about comfort food. For them, food is a grounding experience, and eating is their way of plugging into the security of life's routine cycles. Anything too outré or nouvelle is not their thing. That is not to say they do not indulge from time to time in luxury products, but when they do, it is not for the food's inherent status, but because they realize that laziness cannot produce first-grade comestibles. While they might be put off by the price tag at first, they ultimately admire the effort involved in creating high-quality foodstuffs and the hard work needed to prepare something so complex and top-notch that they will gladly pay the fair market price for such goods. This is one placement where a person may have a tendency to put on weight and not really care—possessing a few extra pounds merely signifies they are fully taking advantage of Earth's abundance. A slightly rounded figure may also conjure up idyllic images of nurturing, home, and mother. In any case, they are put off by superficial appearances and care more about everyday living and achieving results; they don't have time to be sitting around counting calories. They care for others in a pragmatic way by providing necessary nourishment, but they don't place too much importance on chic presentation, new dietary trends, or exotic spices. They prefer food that is healthy, hearty, and filling.
Ceres in Gemini has an intellectual approach to food. They may prefer to indulge in complex, slightly fussy foods such as French cuisine, where their mind, even more than their taste buds, can fully appreciate the interesting, complicated flavor combinations and culinary methods. They enjoy cooking most when tackling a highly involved recipe where each step must be mastered in order to create the final, spectacular result. They may develop an anxiety to food preparation if asked to create a meal off the cuff, and they'd rather learn the craft through cooking classes and careful study. When dieting, they prefer to research the underlying hows and whys of each meal plan in order to fully understand the logic behind the hype. Gemini Ceres folks tend not to be taken in by junk food, because they cannot rationalize eating something that does not give any nutritional content in return. They also have a slightly sophisticated or even snobby attitude toward food, and they would not want to be seen with a lowly takeout hamburger. A high metabolism and tendency toward agility and movement also helps these individuals burn calories; foods that are overly heavy or high in fats and carbs tend to drag down their naturally vibrant energy and so are intuitively avoided. Food is often best when used as an accompaniment to great conversation. Dining can be synonymous with socializing and intellectual engagement with one's companions, and eating alone may be a more isolating experience for this placement than for other individuals.
For the Ceres in Cancer individual, food is highly connected to nurturing. They are the family member most likely to be given grandma's recipe box in order to keep long-standing traditions alive and make sure these treasures are passed down to the next generation. While their siblings may have spent their childhoods outside playing, Ceres in Cancer individuals were most likely to be found in the kitchen next to their parent while they prepared the evening dinner. As an adult, food is synonymous with family, and they insist that mealtimes are an almost-sacred occasion when the entire clan can spend time together engaging over home-cooked goodness; they will not put up with children wanting to eat on their own schedule in order to attend sports or after-school activities. Food has a highly emotional quality for them, so they should beware of using it as a kind of reward mechanism. Perhaps when they were growing up, they were awarded dessert if they ate their vegetables or did well in class and have kept this link between nourishment and self-confidence into adulthood. This can lead to an unhealthy relationship to food if they are not aware of it; once they become conscious of this connection, however, it will be easy to control it. They should also try not to use food as a guilt mechanism with their children, as it could lead to the development of complexes for their offspring as well. Instead they need to nourish their youngsters with their culinary output and love—but without strings.
Ceres in >Leo individuals have a joyful, hedonistic approach to food that would rival Epicurus himself. They see food as the fundamental nourishment—for the body as well as the soul—that is the spring of life itself. They love highly luxurious foods, not for the snob factor, but for the sheer enjoyment of delighting in the apex of human culinary creativity. These individuals are highly inventive and able to whip up delicious concoctions from the most basic ingredients. When cooking, they are probably better at the preparation of savory foods that can be put together intuitively rather than baked goods that require precise measurements or heating instructions. Individuals with this placement are also very generous with food and enjoy hosting lingering, festive dinner parties that are lively and decadent—and accompanied by plenty of wine. While normally drawn to foods that are prepared with fresh, nutritious, and quality ingredients, they won't say no to indulging every now and then in a bit of low-brow junk food—after all, life is too short not delight in all its pleasures. People with Ceres in Leo have an overriding inner confidence in their relationship to food and will not use it to influence their self-esteem. They may put on a few extra pounds here and there but prefer to enjoy life rather than count calories. The best diet for this placement is one in which herbs and spices are used as flavor enhancers instead of salt and fat, so that low-cal food can still have a zesty tastiness to it. A home herb garden would be perfect for Ceres Leos.
People with Ceres in Virgo can be finicky eaters who have a very complex, almost controlling relationship with food. They are fussy eaters whose quirks may veer into OCD territory—that person who won't allow the various foods on their plate to touch may very well be a Ceres in Virgo. They can be extremely regimented in their eating plan, preferring to eat three meals every day at the same time, and perhaps with a set, stringent diet. They are not ones to go off the beaten path into the exotic or decadent but prefer the security and safety of the well-known and routine. They have an austere approach to food and most likely do not enjoy anything too spicy or fatty. They may do very well with a macrobiotic regimen, as they prefer to eat nutriments in their natural state so as to enjoy their natural flavors without any added herbs or finery. Their restraining attitude towards nourishment, however, may lead to anorexia or other eating disorders based on withholding and control. By following a natural, wholefood eating regimen, they will be able to get all the nutrition they need without the discomfort of eating overly calorific food. They also have a tendency to possess an active metabolism caused by excessive anxiety and should be careful of nervous snacking. Their one downfall may be baked goods. They can find comfort and clarity in the precision of baking but then may also indulge in eating the results.
Those born with Ceres in Libra will be the first ones to open the caviar and pop the champagne but the last ones to don the apron. They enjoy the hedonism and decadence of luxurious food but are a bit too lazy to cook anything too fussy. Luckily, they don't mind spending lavishly on restaurants or hiring a private chef or caterer for a special occasion. When they do prepare their own meals, however, they are capable of making exquisite concoctions out of relatively few—but high-quality—ingredients that require as little preparation as possible. These folks also understand the inherent diplomacy of food. After a misunderstanding, they will be the ones that show up on your doorstep with a tin of cookies or a bottle of wine. When trying to close that must-do business deal, they realize it will be easier over a lingering lunch rather than in an austere boardroom. Libra is a highly aesthetic sign that enjoys the good life. These individuals are, therefore, blessed in knowing how to balance an indulgent culinary lifestyle with their weight on the scales, and a few extra pounds will not be the end of the world. In a way, they are saved from excessive weight gain by their own extravagance—by spending a lot of money on high-end food, they cut down on their ability to overeat. Also, the high-quality nature of the food they enjoy tends to be inherently tasty, and thereby satiates with less quantity.
Ceres in Scorpio individuals will not readily buy into food snobbism. That is not to say they do not enjoy good food, but that they are not going to be fooled into paying a bloated price at the specialty store for what they can get at the farmers' market much cheaper; sure, gas may be quite costly these days, and they may need to drive over an hour to get there and will probably only eat a small fraction of that bushel of green beans—but at least no one took advantage of them! Ceres in Scorpios love hunting for a bargain and may be happiest when buying foods at discount outlets with names like The Dented Can. In fact, it will fill them with a feeling of warmth to save these little culinary rejects by giving them a loving home in their pantry. Scorpio is a highly intense sign, and these individuals may link food to mood—especially bad moods. If upset, they need to be careful not to overeat in order to wallow in their misery. These folks can also harbor secret eating habits, especially binge eating, that would surprise those who know them because they always seem to have everything under control. Ceres in Scorpio may enjoy eating alone or only with their family. These individuals will be found inside the dark interior of an eatery instead of on the sunny garden terrace, because they don't like people watching them eat; likewise, they may prefer takeout to actually eating in restaurants.
People who have Ceres in Sagittarius use food to expand their consciousness. They love to travel, explore new horizons, and encounter new cultures through a firsthand experience with exotic foreign foods. They will be the first to step up to taste anything strange, eccentric, and hard-to-find, from Indonesian Fruit Bat Soup to Thai Deep-Fried Grasshopper or Bolivian Broiled Alpaca. They prefer to eat foods that are rooted in cultural authenticity as opposed to dreamed up by a celebrity chef and are happier at the street-level noodle bar in China Town rather than at a Michelin-star restaurant. They may find long seated dinners a bit of a bore, and prefer to partake in tapas while standing at a vibrant bar filled with interesting people, live Spanish guitar, and maybe even some flamenco dancing. People with this placement may rebel against lovers or family members who try to nurture them with food; for them eating is an act of freedom and adventure. It is best for those who live with these Ceres signs to not insist on a strict eating schedule or serve bland, tasteless food—and not take it to heart if their place at the dinner table is often empty. If you are in love with a Ceres in Sagittarius, instead of vainly trying to domesticate this wild beast, join them in their culinary globe-trotting adventures—if you dare to break the boundaries of polite food etiquette, you will win their heart faster than baking them a five-course luxury meal from scratch.
For Ceres in Capricorn individuals, food should always bring with it a certain status and respect for tradition; there exists the proper food for the proper occasion. When entertaining people of a certain hierarchy, the correct food must be offered to suit their standing. If they need to impress their boss, they will take them to the best and most stuffy French restaurant in town—the one where the waiters refer to everyone as Monsieur or Madame—and order the full tasting menu, complete with a different wine for each course. When hosting friends of a lower income bracket, however, a more relaxed, low-budget spread is possible. This does not mean that they look down upon certain individuals; it's just that they respect the social order and know what they need to do to most efficiently maximize their position in the system. People with this placement are sticklers for tradition. The latest trendy restaurant with stark minimalist design and ethno-fusion cuisine is the last place you will find them. There will also be no tofu turkey at Thanksgiving; instead, everything will be served properly, and with that certain grace and dignity that comes from following historical conventions. These individuals do not believe the culinary status quo should be challenged; certain foods and eating habits developed over centuries for a reason, and they are not arrogant enough to call into question these habits. As much as they find comfort in the rituals of eating, they do not indulge in comfort food, as it may seem too lowly and calorific.
Individuals born with Ceres in Aquarius are fascinated by innovative food products and the use of technology to transform the way in which food is used in society. Instead of keeping issues regarding health and diet to the individual, home, and family, they prefer an impersonal, universal approach to the culinary realm that embraces the entire global community. They envision the entire world's population sitting at one universal banquet table—and therefore wish to increase the bounty of the earth so that everyone can be fed equally. They may particularly enjoy engaging in humanitarian aid, such as community gardening or working for a nonprofit in Africa. They are not afraid of "Frankenfood" and believe technology and genetically modified food products—if used in an ethical, charitable way—can greatly help in the fight against world hunger. These folks are not massive "foodies" and bristle against the exclusivity and costliness of the celebrity chef culture—but they are deeply fascinated by food science. For them, the most delightful food comes from a high-tech lab filled with a scientist instead of a mere kitchen. They greatly appreciate cutting-edge concoctions, such as those that could be found at Spain's famous elBulli restaurant, where technology transformed food and flavors into a completely new experience. Food technology that is used for evil, corporate, or strictly monetary purposes, or that crushes small farmers or messes up the natural ecosystem, is an anathema to these individuals. They may find a great sense of purpose as activists against the agro-chemical industrial complex.
People who have Ceres in Pisces often have a deeply emotional attachment to food, and they may view mealtime as a sort of spiritual communion with the highest vibration of Earth's bounty. Food can have an almost messianic quality for them, and people with this placement often approach food with a eucharistic sanctity. The poetry and beauty of the food chain, with its cycles of birth, harvest, and regrowth, are not lost on these individuals. They realize that nourishment starts far before the food arrives on our plate. Sometimes, there may be psychological issues relating to food that arise if the individual is harboring any repressed feelings regarding a lack of proper nurturing from their parents. Food addictions may create a sort of mask used to hide emotional pain, and they may replace love with food. These folks truly understand the meaning of the phrase "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." They may use food to create the illusion of nurturing, when in fact they are using it as a means of manipulation in order to achieve their own emotional aims. In the kitchen, Ceres in Pisces is a highly inventive and fantastical chef who can take commonplace ingredients and transform them into one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen creations. They also value the aesthetic side of food preparation and will decorate and garnish their dishes in a way that is as inspired and unique as the recipe itself.
Excerpted from Llewellyn's 2014 Moon Sign Book. For all current-year calendars, almanacs, and datebooks, click here.