by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ceres in Cancer: Soul Seeding

 Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May
by John William Waterhouse (1909)

Still listed at JPL as a main-belt asteroid (though some sites list Ceres as a dwarf planet), without question, Ceres is a goodly sized object. At some 590 miles in diameter, it’s estimated that Ceres’ mass constitutes one third of the entire mass held by the whole of the asteroid belt.

That’s a big asteroid!

Asteroid...perhaps to soon be Dwarf Planet...Ceres
(photo credit NASA, ESA, J. Parker (Southwest Research Inst.), P. Thomas (Cornell Univ.)
L McFadden (Univ of MD, College Park) January 23, 2004)

We're going to be learning a lot more about Ceres not too long from now, as NASA's space craft Dawn is due to have a little rendezvous with Ceres in 2015. It's at that time that scientists will glue down whether Ceres is to be listed as a dwarf planet or asteroid, according to current rules.

(And yes, stand by. Those rules could change!)

But meanwhile, since if anything counts astrological everything should count astrologically (I simply don't understand those who say Saturn counts but Uranus doesn't), at this point we simply have Ceres, a celestial object we will treat as a 'heavyweight' when it comes to contemplation of the Asteroid Belt. 

As for the Roman goddess Ceres…she was given governance of many things, chief among them agriculture and the entire concept of fertility and ‘bringing things to be.’ This power wasn’t just about the harvest per se, either; Ceres was the goddess of the oxen and the yoke they were harnessed under. She was the goddess of the fertility which grants children and which in those days ‘validated’ a woman’s worth in an ancient world which more than anything wanted to protect against life’s ills through strength in numbers as a survival tool…be that the individual family, the community or the nation.

Ceres also the protector of a commoner’s general legal rights. Apparently this had something to do with the idea that the Roman aristocracy held so much power that they were pretty casual about doing away with folks.

Come to think of it, that reminds me of a little story about the Emperor Tiberius. Son of that famous fiddler, Nero (and his not-so-lovely wife Livia Drusilla), the Tale of Tiberius is one of those grizzly Roman stories which starts with much family oddity. Divorce, remarriage, adoption by stepfather Augustus….it was a normally messy Roman upper class life.

But in Tiberius’ case it all led to Tiberius being a general. And – ultimately – Emperor.

Think of it…Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus. It’s a mouthful.

 A bust of the Roman Emperor Tiberius housed at the Museo Archaeological Regionale
in Palermo, Sicily (photo credit: ChrisO, April 2006)

And Tiberius did his best to live up (or down) to the reputation of his predecessors. The murders, intrigues and promiscuous (often fairly disgusting) sexual dalliances which were part of Tiberius’ life (and that of his wife) are worthy of a lengthy XXX-rated miniseries.

Totally apart from that, Tiberius was also an astrologer. That wasn’t unusual in his time – or times since. People don’t seem to realize how many heads of state and Popes and such have been accomplished astrologers. But true to form, Tiberius put a bit of a new spin on things. (Yes, he was just that kind of guy.) This starts with his being (as many modern astrologers are) of a mind to think he was the least qualified person to read his own horoscope. Why such a thought? It’s the same reasoning which tells doctors not to treat themselves or family members: you can’t do a good job as either doctor or astrologer where you suffer from a lack of perspective.

Yes, this means that the people closest to me are the ones I read charts the least for. I’ve come to recognize this as on one hand an in-built flaw…and on the other, a sign of my actually coming to care about someone on a personal level. Once that happens, I start second-guessing myself when I look at their chart.

I take it as a sign that I should stop looking at that chart and pay attention to the relationship. And yes, it annoys some folks all to pieces. Life is full of such weird compliments – I tell them they’re stuck with the process.

As for Tiberius, being that he felt he was not the guy to be reading his own chart, he kept spies, minions and courtiers on the look-out. And when they’d come across a qualified astrological type, said name was duly delivered to Ye Olde (or not-so-old) Imperial Emperor.

But woe be if you were called to the palace to read the Emperor’s horoscope. Tiberius was the ultimate nightmare client. If you did a bad job, he knew it – and he’d have you tossed off a cliff.

And if you did do a good job with the consultation, then Tiberius would figure you knew his secrets. And as a paranoid type, he couldn’t have that.

So off to the cliff you would go.

Obviously Tiberius’ astrologers had very little repeat business – from him or anyone else.

When I think about Tiberius I become suddenly very happy to be an astrologer in modern rather than ancient Roman times. Then again, I’m not sure he would have called upon a “mere” woman. But maybe. There were a lot of seriously powerful women in ancient Rome.

Anyway, it is to be suspected that many a common person cried out to Ceres for protection when hauled up on charges (trumped up or otherwise) by some powerful or wealthy Roman personage. Would they not be more of an asset to Rome as a fertile living being rather than a dead body planted somewhere as fertilizer?

(Seriously…life in ancient Rome wasn’t cupcakes and flowers.)

From all this, we should understand some important ideas about Ceres - the astrological Ceres, that is. It’s easy to think of Ceres as nurturance and what we have in life as our ‘riches of the harvest.’ But considering that Saturn is everything we do (effort) and all the effort which goes into growing, building, achieving, maintaining and structuring our lives Ceres must be more about the internal attributes and processes which DESIGN the path from stepping stone to stepping stone in reaching our  achievements.

(And while you’re at it, polish the ox harness, will you?)

The above all fits with Ceres as the number one asteroid in the asteroid belt, a region of our solar system which lies between the ‘this is me and my concept of my Self’ inner planets and Jupiter, Saturn (and beyond) realm representing our social, societal and natural world.

And why is any of this of import to us? It’s of import because as of 6:54 am on Wednesday, September 26th, Ceres will move into Cancer.

This is interesting on one level simply because of Ceres’ current transit(ing) ‘pattern speed.’ With an orbital cycle 4.6 years in length, you’d expect Ceres to spend somewhere around four-and-a-half months (or so) in each sign. The difference isn’t huge here as Ceres moved into the preceding sign of Gemini back on June 24, 2012, making it three months (instead of four and a half) of Ceres in Gemini.

Considering that Gemini is all about choosing a plan to make and planning (including figuring out how to plan) that plan, you’d think Ceres would linger in Gemini. But noooo…it scooted right along into Cancer.

And once in Cancer, how long will Ceres linger?

Answer: until June 22rd, 2013, at which point Ceres will FINALLY move on into Leo.

That’s nine months from now – just about twice what we might think of as the ‘mean average’ length of time it takes for Ceres to pass through a sign.

So…does that mean Ceres is stronger or weaker in Cancer? That may be one, that may be the other. But what we do know is that Ceres’ long residence in Cancer tells us that there is a ‘Ceres importance’ being placed on Things Cancerian at this time.

At this time? Do you mean it changes?

Um…yes. In looking ahead at the next time Ceres will pass through Cancer (in 2017), this big mama asteroid will fairly zoom through Cancer in just under two-and-a-half months.

So yes, this is a ‘this year, at this time’ sort of thing which we will do well to think about as a symbolic suggestion, seeing as the asteroid belt represents all the ‘factors’ we need to become aware of and learn about on our way from our personal “I/me” life (the inner and personal planets) to the personal achievement ‘reaching my goal/building my life’ planetary realm of Jupiter and Saturn.

Cancer is the sign of home, hearth and the family as an individual and collective unit. It’s the sign of national culture, cultural heritage and one’s “countrymen” or a national population.

It’s a nation as an expanse of land, complete with natural resources. As the first of three water signs having to do with wealth, Cancer which refers to wealth built or solidified through real estate, or family wealth...which is a little different than inherited wealth, but amounts to much the same thing, that in itself being a natural expression of the trine from Cancer to Scorpio.

(I'm betting you'd like it if I'd write a blog on astrological money versus astrological wealth, right?)

As the sign naturally associated with the bottom slot in the horoscope wheel, Cancer is also indicative of foundational experiences: our childhood (and the family with or without which we experience that childhood).

And Cancer (and the 4th house of the horoscope) denotes attributes, issues and focal points upon which we can build. When you look for the astrological ‘why I’m having trouble in my life as a whole’ you look first to Cancer AND the 4th house (and its rulers and any objects planets posited within). If you have a ‘natural’ horoscope (which is to say, one which has Aries rising and successive signs on each of the 11 other houses) then Cancer, the 4th and the Moon (as ruler of Cancer) is the first thing you look at. But if you have anything but Cancer on the 4th house, then you have to do some combining: find Cancer in your chart (and yes, your Moon).

The mental equation would go like this: Cancer + Moon + theme of the house with Cancer on the cusp + sign on the 4th house cusp + 4th house themes + 4th house cusp ruler + celestial objects in the 4th house + celestial objects in the house with Cancer on the cusp. That will give you the overview of the strengths and weaknesses in your life. (And yes, if that boggles your brain that’s why you consult with a professional astrologer!) It’s not always pretty, but it’s always accurate.

So with Ceres traversing Cancer, what we have is an ‘awakening’ of all the pluses and minuses which are helping or hindering us in our pursuit of a happy, successful life. To use the farming parallel, as Ceres moves into Cancer this will be like buying a farm (no slogan references intended!)…about which you do or don’t know xyz amount.

Ceres arrives in Cancer on September 26th, and we walk around the property. We take in the lack of irrigation, the fact the tractor is dusty, the weeds in the fields. We also note that we do have some implements and there is water on the property.

In other words, there are some native positives…and some things which need working on.

As Ceres passes through Cancer (which I should comment will include a Ceres retrograde period, hence Ceres’ long stay in the sign)…during this time we will either roll our sleeves up and attend to basics or we’ll just continue staring at the problem. Or we’ll ignore it. 

Or maybe you’ll gather up your friends and have something of a free-for-all hoedown, figuring that things are already in disrepair so what the hey! (Or hay, should you have a hay bin.)

Whatever you do, try to remember that Ceres is the sign of planning and laying down and providing the basics…all that which supports the empire we call our life. This is your Ceres and your Cancer and your life, so you can’t ‘blame’ anyone – not even yourself. The land is what it is, our life is what it is at any given moment.

What we do is work with it…and work it. We look at where we are and we look at where we want to go and we think through what it will take to get from here to there. With Ceres retrograding back into Gemini during the months ahead we also need to consider what we have chosen prior to now and what we choose to do going forward as part of growing our life and whatever we need to sustain us in that life.

Those who come into this time with a plan already in motion will be weighing out what they have and don’t have to invest in their efforts.

Some of us will come to this time with a plan and realize it isn’t working. Indeed how, because of where we are in the greater expanse of time and society (or your life) how that plan now can’t work. Such folks will, like or not, recognize during the Ceres retrograde that they need a new plan – some new way of sustaining the empire of their existence.

Some of us will come into Ceres in Cancer with things going along well enough. Then, for whatever reason, the lay of the land changes. A storm destroys the barn, the river overflows its banks and floods the fields, destroying everything you’ve planted. Never mind that in some areas of the world floods are a major source of soil renewal, this is your soil, your life and you need to survive right now.

What are you going to do?

This incoming long (long!) transit of Ceres through Cancer is yet another sign of the times. It tells us that fixes aren’t simple. That it will take time and thought and effort mental and physical to get where we want to go and take care of our needs in the interim. Those who are thinking that the economy is going to straighten out or that an election or political shift is going to fix everything – think again.

In fact, there is some metaphysical argument to be made that the more you think something (or someone) else is going to ‘fix’ things, the more challenges life has to throw at you. The more you think it’s okay not to rotate your crops, maybe the thinner will be your harvest and resources.

And as for those who think they can fiddle and play by night and by day? Think again. There’s an Aesop's fable on this subject…The Ant and the Grasshopper. Basically, the grasshopper has a good time partying around while the ant works and works and works. The seasons (times) change and the ant retreats to its well stocked home while the grasshopper begins to starve. When it turns up at the ant's door, the ant (according to many versions of this story) gives the grasshopper a stern lecture on its idle ways and tells it to dance through the winter.

We should take this story at least figuratively when it comes to Ceres, remembering that we are both sides of this story: we are the ant and we are our own grasshopper and whatever recriminations are going to occur they will be harshest in terms of the recognitions we deal with regarding our Self and whether we have worked hard (or hard enough) or whether we have prioritized 'fiddling around' (ah, fiddling....shades of Nero!)

 The Ant and the Grasshopper, illustration by Milo Winter (1886-1956)
published prior to 1923 (courtesy of Project Gutenberg)

Ceres spending so much time constructing the ‘whole’ of a Cancer passage (folding in a retreat into Gemini) is a statement that the months ahead will bear fruit for those of us who treat our lives as resources, taking on not just that which is easy, but that which needs doing. If that means we need to learn (Gemini) something new or get a new plan, then that’s what we need to do.

Our future is ours to build. But then, it always has been – times are simply now ripe to show that to us in ever-more Earthy terms.

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