Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Few people noticed that Ceres was closely co-conjunct the Saturn Pluto conjunction at the beginning of last year, because we tend to think of Pluto as a planet and Ceres as an asteroid, whereas they are both now dwarf planets, so they are both strongly influencing the current cycle of social transformation.
Ceres is the innermost dwarf planet, so she is accessible to us and in many ways stronger than Pluto because she is more in our world, like Mars and Jupiter who she orbits between. Ceres is about nurturing the flow of give and take with our environment to keep us safe and nourished. And she's about grieving the loss of that comfort when this doesn't work.
In myth, her daughter was kidnapped by Pluto and taken into the underworld, and Ceres neglected her gardens and spent her time roving the earth bringing grief and famine as she searched for her lost daughter. And since the co-conjunction at the start of last year, we've seen quite a bit of grief and famine brought about by the pandemic.
Before I jump into the link between Ceres and the pandemic, let's take a moment to re-imagine Ceres with her new dwarf planet power. We can deduce a lot about the astrological influence of a planet from the physical and orbital characteristics and Ceres is a baby planet, she is actually a planetary embryo, the only one still remaining in the inner solar system. She is effectively a ball of water with a skin of matter, so she has a huge inner ocean.
Her axis of rotation is only slightly tilted, just 4 degrees with respect to the plane of her orbit around the sun, which means she spins nearly perfectly upright and so doesn't experience seasons like other more tilted planets. And she is one of the few places in our solar system where scientists would like to search for possible signs of life, because she has a very thin atmosphere and there is evidence it contains water vapour.
However, her composition is not consistent with a formation in the asteroid belt where she now resides. It seems rather that she formed as a centaur, most likely between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, and was scattered into the asteroid belt as Jupiter migrated outward.
So, from these physical characteristics we can see that Ceres has to do with nurturing and with life. She is a baby planet, who was pushed out of her home early by the king of the gods, Jupiter, and has been misunderstood till now as part of the rocky asteroid family, rather than Earth’s life-supporting family.
So, she talks about early development and the growth process and not taking things for granted. And although through the myth she is often linked to creating the seasons, she has no seasons herself, so the withdrawal of nurturance that can be experienced when we are not in tune with Ceres is not seasonal.
If we chart the movement of Ceres through the signs in relation to the pandemic, we had the most rampant spread when she was in the air sign of Aquarius in February, March and April and again in October last year. And we had the loss and grief of the Pisces sojourn from May to September and from November last year to February this year.
Ceres went into the fire sign, Aries, on the 22nd February and will stay there, through until the Taurus ingress on the 9th May. In this period we are in a new phase of learning to care for ourselves. Vaccines are being rolled out around the world, but the restrictions that are keeping us safe are beginning to chafe in many places, resulting in protests and deliberate disobeying or removal of the rules.
It is likely we will see how well this balance between caution and freedom has been struck in different places in the Ceres in Taurus phase coming up. The pandemic started when she was in the earth sign of Capricorn, so the Taurus phase is likely to establish the new reality of this stage of the cycle.
If you are interested in understanding the influence of Ceres in your own chart, check out Alan's new 6-week course, Ceres 101, at the Dwarf Planet University.