Ceres at the Crossroads of Civilization

persephone demeter hekate hermes

Krater from 440 BC with Persephone wearing a crown on the left, having arisen from the underworld. Hermes is beside Persephone with his caduceus, while Hekate in the middle carries a pair of torches. On the right stands Demeter carrying her sceptre

Ceres and the 2020 Pandemic

The krater above was created near the end of the life of Empedocles, who declared that forces of love and strife are at the root of creation. On the left is a crowned Persephone, while on the right stands her mother Demeter. In between are Hermes and Hekate, deities who are honored at the crossroads and whose divine service bridges the upper world of life with the underworld of death. Though we yearn for the coming together of love, collective crises remind us that we necessarily must also face the separations of strife. With the COVID 19 pandemic causing mass quarantines around the world and a shutdown of many aspects of local and global economies, we have collectively entered a liminal seclusion at the crossroads of civilization, contemplating how to contain the coronavirus while coming to terms with the irrevocable changes it will cause in societies around the world. Just as Demeter is overseeing the mysterious scene in the krater above, so is her astrological archetype involved in the pandemic through the form of the dwarf planet Ceres.

The COVID 19 pandemic has been connected by astrologers with the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn that formed on January 12 and was volatilized by a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10, as the first reported death from the coronavirus was on January 11. Astrologers have also brought up that Saturn and Pluto were forming an intensifying square aspect with Eris, a dwarf planet named after the goddess of discord. Astrologers have also pointed to the seeds of the pandemic being sown during the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26 as the existence of the coronavirus became more widely known in China at the end of December. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse was also conjoining Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn, signifying that issues such as stocks and speculation, the air travel industry, schools, colleges, congress, conferences, bail-outs, and charity would become activated.

Yet we must also remember that both Ceres and Mercury were part of the Capricorn solar seeding between January 10 and January 13. Mercury was reborn in the heart of the Sun seeding its evening star phase during the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer: thus the star of Hermes carried forward a message gathered from the union of Saturn and Pluto. Robert Hand has remarked that the obstruction of breathing caused by the coronavirus can be linked to Mercury being part of the Saturn and Pluto conjunction.  By the time Mercury became visible as an evening star at the end of January, cases of coronavirus were already being reported in the USA, and then during the dissolution of Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius there were miscommunications in how to prepare to contain the coronavirus until the need for drastic measures to be taken became clear by the time Mercury stationed direct on March 9. The significations of Mercury are clearly involved in the coronavirus fallout,  including the mercantile systems that have been falling apart as well as the Internet technology that has been mobilized to sustain commerce. Moreover, the date given for the earliest known infection from the coronavirus was on November 17, 2019 at the same time that Mercury was retrograde in Scorpio and made an announcement due to returning to visibility in its morning star phase, stationing direct three days later on November 20.

Although Ceres does not carry the same gravity of ancient significations borne by the traditional seven, her archetypal connection with the pandemic is obvious. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses wrote that Ceres “symbolizes the process of birth, death, and renewal” as well as signifies procreation and productivity, food and food related industries, labor unions and workers, strikes, unemployment, GNP, commodities and consumers, issues around nurturance and nourishment, nurses, hospices, and those who serve in social services, childcare, and the education system. The mass stoppage of productivity from businesses, the mass closure of schools that nurture young minds, is not unlike Ceres withdrawing her ripening of food and production of growth following the abduction of her daughter by Pluto. While health care systems and medical professionals have been the most burdened and overwhelmed by the pandemic, panic grocery shopping has also led to a depletion of food within markets.

I have a good friend born with Ceres conjoining Pluto (in the 8th whole sign house, 7th quadrant house) in square with a conjunction of Mercury and Mars in Capricorn (in the 11th whole sign house, 10th quadrant house), with Mercury applying to a partile square with Ceres. He has long associated his professional career working in a local food cooperative with the Ceres signature in his birth chart, and I thought of his Ceres signature as he told me how he had been working overtime hours up to fifty-four hours a week to help stabilize the food cooperative due to shortages in staffing with many staff members not wanting to work as drastic quarantine guidelines were introduced in our city. At the time of this writing, he told me he is having trouble ordering enough supplies to restock the shelves of the food cooperative due to the disturbance the pandemic has caused to the food chain.

Of course, not all of the people putting themselves on the frontline to tend to those infected by the coronavirus have a strong Ceres signature in their birth chart, nor do all those suffering from the widespread impact of the coronavirus. However, there are many astrological indicators that we have collectively entered a time saturated with the living symbolism of Ceres. Coming into deeper relationship with Ceres as we confront the great unknown of the pandemic can be fruitful for nourishing our capacity to grieve our losses, mediate our fears, and open ourselves to the ultimate renewal and return to creative potency that will follow the dissolution of the crisis. Below is the chart for the exact conjunction between the Sun and Ceres set for Washington D.C.:

Ceres Cazimi

Conjunction of Ceres with the Sun in 2020 set for Washington D.C.

Solar Seeding of Ceres with Saturn Pluto

The moment in which Ceres was reseeded with solar light was closely conjoining the midheaven of the chart set for Washington D.C., therefore making the new synodic cycle of Ceres loom large over the unfolding events stemming from the Saturn Pluto conjunction within the USA. In the story of Demeter/Ceres, an inconsolable Demeter consults Hekate (a goddess associated with the lunar cycle, in this case the Lunar Eclipse conjoining the North Node in Cancer, the home of the Moon) over the whereabouts of her missing daughter.  Hekate directs Demeter to consult Helios (a meeting resonant with Ceres conjoining the Sun), leading to Demeter finally understanding that Pluto has abducted Persephone (also known as Kore or Proserpina) into the underworld and out of her reach.

On the same day that Ceres united with the Sun, the first identified case of COVID 19 was reported outside the borders of China in Thailand. Within a week of Ceres conjoining the Sun, on January 20 the first case of COVID 19 in the USA was reported in the state of Washington. Events then rapidly led to quarantine measures around the world that led to many aspects of the economic and educational system to be shut down, mirroring the next phase of Demeter’s story in which she withdraws her powers of procreation and productivity from the Earth as she becomes immersed in grief and rage and enters the darkest depths of her divine being.

The pandemic has laid bare the injustices of modern civilization, and so Ceres symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against societal oppression and inequity. For nine days Demeter refused to eat and mourned, a fasting that Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” The ensuing purgation of Demeter’s emotions can be likened to the threshing of grain governed by Ceres that reveals the essential vitality hidden in the shedded husk. Through coming to terms with the losses that will flow forth from the pandemic, within the collective catharsis we can regain focus on the most essential values to rebuild societal and personal structures around.

Carl Jung connected Demeter, Persephone, and Hekate with the darkest parts of the psyche in his book The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, and Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche declared that Jung’s concept of the shadow is one of the main significations of the archetypal combination of Saturn and Pluto. Tarnas wrote that while Saturn signifies “judgment, guilt and shame, suppression and repression, splitting and separation, denial, the inferior, that which is regretted and negated,” that Pluto simultaneously signifies both “the dark depths of the personality” such as “impulses for power, domination, lust” as well as “healthy instinctually from which healing, wholeness, and a higher consciousness can ultimately emerge.” On a collective level the pandemic has led to a confrontation with the shadow of civilizations while simultanesously calling for us to confront our own personal shadows.

In astrology when Pluto erupts from the depths on a mass collective level, as new forms arise and old forms break apart, we need to allow ourselves to let go of the way things have been in order to reorient with the changing forces taking shape. The union of Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn combined with the South Node of the Moon and eclipses has been challenging due to the emphasis Capricorn has on the ancient and traditional, the structures and beliefs that have endured across time and the figures who have gathered strength and skill through a wealth of experience. On the one hand we need to recover and cultivate the aspects of our myriad civilizations that bring stability and order in ways that meet the needs of people, yet on the other hand numerous aspects of the old order also must now fall apart in order to clear space for new forms and structures to take shape.

Making everything more intense has been the fact that the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto occurred close to the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto, almost exactly conjoining the South Node of Saturn. This means that the movement of Saturn and Pluto around their entire orbital arcs descended to intersect with the orbit of our Earth around the Sun while they came together in conjunction. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes described the planetary nodes as “a focusing channel for the release of . . . a quality of being which is related to the space of its entire orbit,” revealing “the manner in which the essential quality of a planet affects the very structure and the roots of our individuality as a member of the human species.” Due to Saturn and Pluto uniting close to their own South Nodes, it means that the archetypal meaning of their entire orbital arcs was crashing down across the ecliptic together, flooding events with their significations like a great deluge. Therefore the dragon imagined by astrology that appears with eclipses in this case was a truly chthonic combination of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto.

Dane Rudhyar likened the archetypal process of planets conjoining their South Nodes with the death and decay of the Fall season, as well as the importance of incubating and gestating the seed that will bring forth new life. There is a sacrifice necessary, a release of what must die in order to bring forth what needs to be born. We have been simultaneously experiencing the extremes of Saturn and Pluto, the putrefaction of their poisonous toxicity as well as the empowering discipline and reordering of their more ideal significations. With numerous issues sweeping across global societies sourced from an accumulation of oppressive toxicities built up over time, it further stresses the need as individuals within our global civilization to face our collective as well as individual shadows. There is potential to bring a degree of purification and reparation to the intersection of societal inequities with us as individuals, but the gravity and weight of the accumulated toxicity is so overwhelming it can feel difficult for many to muster the agency needed.

Yet there is something about the collective impact of the pandemic that seems to be reawakening within people the power that can be wielded when united by common cause. Just as Demeter forced Zeus and Hades to compromise through withdrawing her procreative capacities, so has there already been news of people beginning to organize labor and rent strikes to protect those vulnerable to the economic devastation brought by the pandemic. The union of Ceres with Saturn, Pluto, and the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto is also a reminder of the more ancient form of Ceres as the Great Goddess who predated the patriarchy. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses described how the rape of Persephone was not recorded in myth until the time of the Homeric Hymns, and that Ceres as the Great Mother in ancient Crete was integral to fertility rituals through giving birth to Plutus, the god of Earth’s wealth.

In spite of the heartbreak of loss we must face from the pandemic, the stasis it is causing within so many societal structures will be opening opportunities to reimagine our relationship with wealth and the natural resources of Earth. Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul wrote that concerning the two gifts that Demeter brought to humanity, “grain and the mysteries, she chooses to withhold the lesser – that which nourishes the mundane body – in order to recover her daughter, who represents the soul.”

Eleusis Mysteries Mystères_d'Eleusis

The Ninnion Tablet (ca. 370 BC) depicting elements of the Eleusinian Mysteries, discovered in the sanctuary at Eleusis. The tablet depicts Iacchus leading a procession of initiates into the Mysteries, received by Demeter and Persephone. It is the only known original representation of the initiation rites.

Ultimately after securing the return of her daughter for part of the year from Hades, Demeter brought the gift of Mystery rites and corn to humanity. Though she endured traumatic wounds she would have to nurture, Demeter delivered a source of profound spiritual understanding to humanity in addition to her gift of agriculture that would provide abundant physical nourishment. Some believe that the Eleusinian Mysteries involved a reenactment of Persephone’s descent into the underworld, Demeter’s search, and Persephone’s ascent and reunion with Demeter. In the Homeric Hymns, Demeter’s search leads her to Eleusis, future site of the Mysteries, where she retreats into a temple built for her and withdraws her procreative force from the world- “the most dread and terrible years . . . for mortals upon the fruitful earth.” There is also an alternative version of Demeter’s search that takes place in Arcadia in which Demeter gives birth to a daughter after being raped by Poseidon, a daughter whose name cannot be known by the uninitiated.

Many cultures today are disconnected from their ancient lineages of initiation into the Mysteries and the sacred realizations they offered for humanity. We find remnants of the transformation of consciousness they brought in the popular use of “underworld initiation” symbolism to describe the meaning gained when enduring experiences of death, loss, and grief that ultimately lead to a rebirth. It is common within astrology to use similar underworld symbolism when discussing the impact of Pluto transits or difficult conjunctions such as between Saturn and Pluto. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses used similar symbolism to describe the influence of Ceres. At the time of this writing it is  impossible to know what levels of death and loss will come from the 2020 pandemic, but the great unknown mystery regarding the future it has stirred up across the world has created something like an underworld initiation we will be traversing as a collective.

In the Arcadian version of Demeter’s mourning she claims seclusion within a cave and does not re-emerge until being finally noticed by Pan, the wild shepherd god of nature who is one of the living images of the Capricorn constellation. After Pan notifies Zeus of Demeter’s whereabouts, the Morai (also known as the Fates) are sent to mediate and are able to coax Demeter back into the world. Similarly the pandemic has brought about a confrontation with our fate, as we are each being asked to discover what wants to emerge from our seclusion within our inner caves. Many are experiencing states of deprivation and emotional overwhelm, yet we can also sense how there is a purging taking place that can bring about a powerful renewal and realization of what is most important to us as a global society beyond the emphasis on national borders brought by Saturn and Pluto. As Demetra George wrote about Ceres:

To prepare for the moment of death, one must learn to experience “little deaths” every day through the process of letting go. While letting go may seem frightening at first, it is actually a necessary part of the cycle of life/death/renewal. In this transformative process, nothing new can be reborn until something old first dies. Thus, whenever we cling to a person, thing, or situation that has outlived its purpose, we only prevent ourselves from experiencing the abundance of renewal. At this point, a Ceres transit will inevitably come along, denoting our need to confront our fears of dying and to realize the truth of the Ceres-Scorpio death secret- that release is the precursor to rebirth.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses

Aries ingress USA 2020

2020 Aries Ingress chart set for Washington D.C.

Ceres in the Aries Ingress Chart

The Aries ingress chart above is set for Washington D.C. and so signifies events in the forthcoming astrological year for the USA. No matter your location, however, Ceres is playing an important role in the Aries ingress due to her proximity with the Moon and Venus. The Moon always signifies the people in mundane astrology, and since it is applying within five degrees to a conjunction with Ceres in Aquarius there is an important relationship between Ceres and the people everywhere. Yet Venus in Taurus is intercepting through a square aspect with the Moon, while Venus simultaneously is also applying toward a square aspect with Ceres. The meaning of this configuration for your locality will depend in part upon the house placements of the Moon, Ceres, and Venus as well as the houses ruled by Venus and the Moon.

Using the Placidus house system shown above, Ceres and the Moon in Aquarius are in the third house signifying topics like communication networks, media, the Internet, transit, and education. With Uranus on the sixth house cusp, it signifies a disruptive shock to associated topics such as public health and sickness, epidemics, workers and labor unions, and the healthcare system. Venus ruling the sixth and applying toward Ceres in a square aspect, while the Moon is also applying to a square with Venus brings conflict around these topics, though there is a degree of reception due to Venus being in the exaltation of the Moon. In addition Venus rules the seventh house of relationships which includes foreign relations on a national level, as well as the eleventh house that is connected with congress and legislation and has already been evident in the U.S. congress attempting to address the pandemic through legislation.

From a whole sign perspective, Ceres and the Moon in Aquarius are in the fourth house of land, crops, the people, homes, and the oppositional political party which in the U.S. presidential election this year would be the Democratic party. Venus is bringing the significations of the seventh house of relationships and the twelfth house of hospitals, hospices, institutions of charity and welfare into its contentious square aspect with the Moon and Ceres. Aries is the sixth place in whole sign, making Mars in Capricorn the ruler of the pandemic in the third whole sign house applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter ruling the second house of finance. Jupiter being struck by Mars indicates the devastation the USA will experience with its economy this year.

Altogether it is clear that the significance of Ceres in the Aries ingress chart is relevant for people being sequestered at home, with the Moon and Ceres in signs of Saturn and in the fourth whole sign house. There is also a link to children being constantly home with parents due to schools around the country being closed, as Ceres involves the way we are nurtured by our parents and the way in which we nurture our children. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses stated that psychological complexes such as attachment disorders that are passed down generationally within families are also connected with Ceres. The pandemic has brought a dramatic change to family dynamics within the United States, with parents and children who normally have breaks from one another through work and school now together at all times. While this can bring about positive relational growth within family dynamics, it also presents the risk of neglect and abuse occurring within families overburdened by stress who lack the necessary coping and parenting skills. The Moon’s application toward Ceres in the Aries Ingress chart stresses the importance of mothers and a need to focus on parenting issues and resources.

The Moon and Ceres placed in the third house of the Placidus chart also points toward the use of technology to sustain the engagement of children with their education from home, workers converting to telework from home, as well as the use of technology to nurture the relational needs of people in general through communication that can transcend social distancing. Many people are learning for the first time that they can productively telework from home, which will have major implications for labor in the future. There will be immense changes stemming from the pandemic in the way we work and utilize technology and communicate with one another through our work. The Aries ingress chart suggests that Ceres is tending to the regeneration of the way we work within labor systems that will emerge from the pandemic in the USA, while also calling for a confrontation with the present condition of the healthcare system. As we deepen into the devastating economic impact of the pandemic, we may also witness the presence of Ceres through the use of general strikes and other forms of advocacy to renegotiate housing and labor agreements.


Terracotta figurine of Demeter from the Sanctuary of the Underworld Divinities in Akragas (550 – 500 BC)

Sacred Grove of Ceres

When I presented my webinar Pan’s Return: Jupiter in Capricorn last year when Jupiter entered Capricorn, I shared the story of Erysichton in Tales from Ovid due to the presence of Ceres with the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The manner in which it warns of the overconsumption of natural resources to feed an insatiable hunger brings to mind the devastation to the environment caused by modern industries, and how current anger and activism over pollution, fracking, climate change, indigenous water rights, and other environmental concerns can also be connected with the astrological archetype of Ceres.

Erysichton was an arrogant King of Theassaly who ordered the cutting down of every tree in a sacred grove of Ceres, an ancient wood that had never before had a single tree felled by axe. Among all of the trees, one impressive oak stood out:

“Its boughs were bedecked with wreaths / And votive tributes – each for a prayer / Ceres had sometimes granted. Dryads there / Danced a holy circle around its bole / Or joined hands to embrace it.”

Erysichton nonetheless demanded his men to cut down the oak, and when they reluctantly refrained he grabbed an axe and struck the oak, causing blood to gush out from its bark.  After one of his men protested, Erysichton cut off his head with his axe. The oak then spoke:

“I live in this tree. I am a nymph, / Beloved by Ceres, the goddess. / With my last breath, I curse you. As this oak / Falls on the earth, your punishment / Will come down on you with all its weight. / That is my consolation. And your fate.”

After Erysichton ignored the warning and cut down the oak, the nymphs of the sacred grove mourned in black and cried out to Ceres to punish the transgressor. Ceres listened and sent a mountain spirit in her chariot pulled by dragons to the realm of Hunger, to bid Hunger to take possession of Erysichton’s stomach and curse him with insatiable hunger.

As a result of the curse from Hunger directed by Ceres, Erysichton craved bigger and bigger bowls of food until not even a whole city could satiate him, nor a whole nation, to the extent that as he drained entire continents of its resources his hunger grew even larger until he had converted every one of his possessions into what he could devour except for his daughter.

And so Erysichton sold his daughter into slavery to supply himself with more resources to quell his insatiable hunger. Yet before she was turned over to the highest bidder, his daughter instead turned toward the sea and stretched her arms out toward Neptune who listened to her and disguised her as a fisherman. Since her disguise allowed her to escape slavery, Erysichton devised a scheme of repeatedly selling his daughter into slavery, since her ability to repeatedly transform herself and escape enabled him to continue to sell her into slavery over and over again. Ovid concluded:

“All to feed the famine in her father. / But none of it was enough. Whatever he ate /  Maddened and tormented that hunger / To angrier, uglier life. The life / Of a monster no longer a man. And so, / At last, the inevitable. / He began to savage his own limbs. / And there, at a final feast, devoured himself.”

The balsamic, waning phase occurring for most of 2020 between Jupiter and Saturn is bringing an end to a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs that began in 1802. The most recent earth era of Jupiter and Saturn began midway through the Industrial Revolution and has involved massive plundering of our Earth for natural resources to feed the insatiable drive for power within global empires during the past two hundred years. It’s all been more than enough to enrage Ceres.

The tale of Erysichton is further compelling when we combine the astrological archetype of Neptune with the role played by the god of the sea in the story. There has been a misuse of the gift of Neptune to feed the hunger of empire, deploying illusions to trick and deceive so as to devour and hoard a disproportionate share of natural resources. In the USA we see this in a president who constantly tells lies and then utilizes the deceptive nature of the corporate media to declare that its “fake news” means you can’t trust their coverage of him lying. There are innumerable other examples around the world of global powers manipulating the populace through the illusions of Neptune such as in the use of deceptive media and propaganda.

Since we are in transition of moving from a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs into a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs, it is more important than ever to come to terms with the way global empires have been manipulating people through their control of the Internet and implementation of Neptunian illusions through the world wide web. This is obvious when looking at the chart cast for the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on 21 December 2020, as Neptune will be applying toward a crucial square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes:

Jupiter Saturn USA

Great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 2020 set for Washington D.C.

Ceres and the Great Conjunction

The chart above for the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius in 2020 is set for Washington D.C. and so relates to the United States of America. Just as in the Aries ingress chart for 2020 there is an applying square aspect between Venus and Ceres. However, while it is a waxing square in the Aries ingress, it is a waning square in the great conjunction chart. More importantly, since the USA chart has Taurus rising it means that Venus is representing the people of the United States in the chart. Many astrologers would note that Venus is separating from a sextile aspect with the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction but is out of orb from applying to a major aspect with another planet, leaving it isolated. However, when considering Ceres we can see that Venus is in fact closely applying to Ceres. The square aspect signifies difficulties to work out involving the significations between Venus and Ceres, but since Venus is receiving Ceres into its exaltation and bounds it does suggest there is potential for something constructive to be ultimately worked out between them through an arduous process.

Ceres is located in the eleventh whole sign house, and in the Placidus chart above Ceres is emerging from the suffering and isolation of the twelfth house into the eleventh house of the Good Daimon and hope. As the eleventh house connects with congress and legislation in mundane astrology, perhaps this can point to the populace in the United States demanding legislation connected with significations of Ceres such as policies involving unemployment, labor relations, agriculture, healthcare, and environmental concerns. Remember, since this is a great conjunction chart it relates to the next twenty years in the United States.

Ceres is also co-present with Neptune and the Moon in Pisces in the chart for the great conjunction. Venus, representing the American populace, is applying toward a square aspect with Neptune eleven degrees away while also applying toward a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon twelve degrees away- in both cases Venus is heading toward a dissolver. Due to the square aspect formed with the transiting lunar nodes, Neptune is presenting as a fundamental issue in need of addressing in the great conjunction chart. This is not only the illusion of the “American Dream” or what exactly is meant by “Make America Great Again,” but a radical exploration of what we imagine is possible to create together in the United States. The great conjunction chart warns of the danger in being swept up in the illusory excitement of new technology and the popular ambitions of the times, at the cost of deep descent within to uncover what we truly wish to create from our imagination.

The square between Neptune and the transiting lunar nodes is further complicated through the asteroid Vesta in Virgo being in a partile opposition with Neptune and also forming a square with the lunar nodes. You may have also noticed in the previous chart shared for the Aries Ingress in 2020 that Vesta is angular and conjoining the descendant in the chart for the USA.  In the chart for the great conjunction, Vesta is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, while Neptune is at the southern bending, with both of them on the cusps of the difficult sixth and twelfth houses in the Placidus house system (from a whole sign perspective they are in the much more positive fifth and eleventh houses). The opposition between Neptune and Vesta suggests nebulous difficulties that need to be sorted out, but we can find hope in the presence of Vesta who is capable of gathering community around her hearth fire to focus attention on a unified goal.

The deeper significance of Ceres in relation to the chart for the great conjunction is found through considering the nodes of Ceres. The heliocentric north node of Ceres is close to twenty degrees of Gemini, while the heliocentric south node of Ceres is close to twenty degrees of Sagittarius. This means that the transiting lunar nodes will be aligning exactly with the nodes of Ceres, further meaning that Neptune will also be forming a square aspect with the nodes of Ceres. Similar to how in 2019 the transiting lunar nodes and eclipses aligned with the nodes of Saturn and Pluto, we will be entering a period in which eclipses and the lunar nodes will be aligning with the archetypal significance of the entire orbital arc of Ceres. In fact, a week before the great conjunction on 14 December 2020 there will be a total solar eclipse in Sagittarius occurring within a few degrees of the South Node of Ceres.

Since Ceres will be approaching the southern bending of her own nodes as Jupiter and Saturn form their conjunction, the dawn of a new era between Jupiter and Saturn will also be a critical time to question and reimagine our relationship with Ceres and her mythopoetic meaning.

Inauguration Day 2021

Chart cast for the inauguration of the U.S. President in 2021 set in Washington D.C.

Ceres Neptune 2021

Chart cast for the 2021 conjunction between Ceres and Neptune set in Washington D.C.

Ceres will eventually form an exact conjunction with Neptune on 21 January 2021, one day after the next President of the United States will be inaugurated on January 20. The union between Ceres and Neptune will also occur at the same time that Ceres is beginning to form an exact square with her own nodes as well as the transiting lunar nodes. Issues rooted in the union between Ceres and Neptune will be inescapable during this time period, and suggests an underlying theme involving the next administration in the United States as well.

With Neptune and Ceres at the southern bending of the lunar nodes as well as the nodes of Ceres, we will need to enact a deep dive into subconscious depths to get at the root of the issue. Jupiter in Aquarius is the ruler of the south nodes of Ceres and the Moon, making our relationship with the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn an intrinsic crux of the matter. There could be archetypal re-enactments of the relationship between Ceres and Neptune in myth, such as the transfiguration of Erysichton’s daughter by Neptune or the rape of Demeter by Poseidon. Fundamentally it is a profound opportunity to reimagine our relationship with Ceres as a global society.

Altogether this brings a strong connection between Ceres with the shift into 2021 and the new era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in the air triplicity. As a global society we we will need to figure out how to nurture ourselves and provide for the needs of our community through the symbolism of the air triplicity. While the ascending sign of the Ceres Neptune conjunction is in the air triplicity in the chart cast for the USA above, its ruling planet Venus is in earthy Capricorn receiving an exalted Moon into its earthy home of Taurus through a superior trine. Since both the Moon and Venus are also applying toward a sextile with the conjunction between Ceres and Neptune, it re-emphasizes the need to reimagine our relationship with the earth element in the new era of the air element we are entering.

As an interesting aside adding to the mythopoetic connection of Ceres with this time period, there is also a co-presence in the great conjunction chart between Ceres and her daughter Persephone in Pisces, as the Persephone asteroid will be at 22 to 23 degrees of Pisces when Jupiter and Saturn form their great conjunction. This also places Persephone at the southern bending of the nodes of the Moon and Ceres, and also in a catalyzing square aspect with the total solar eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14.

[Note: in case you are wondering, Ceres never quite reaches a conjunction with the Persephone asteroid while direct- they get closer and closer to one another until both end up stationing retrograde around 9 November 2021 with Ceres at thirteen degrees and Persephone at 15 degrees of Gemini. They will not finally form an exact conjunction until both are moving direct on 23 March 2022 at 10º17′ Gemini close to the fixed star Aldebaran. While some sort of archetypal reunion may take place between Ceres and Persephone around the time of the Aries ingress in 2022, it’s fascinating that Ceres and the Persephone will be traveling for so long in such close proximity to one another]


Demeter in her chariot with Kore from Selinunte, Sicily (6th Century BC)

South Node of Ceres in Sagittarius

“What happened in Eleusis was the separation and reunion of the dual goddess Demeter-Kore (Deó), she who sometimes appears as two barely differentiated figures, cloaked in the same mantle. It was the drama of the reflection that detaches itself from the body, from every object from the earth even- to then be reunited with its origin. But only in certain recurrent moments. Like the eclipses.”

— Roberto Calasso, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, p. 210

Demetra George has taught that there is a curious significance between the fact that the heliocentric nodes of Ceres in Gemini and Sagittarius form an exact square aspect with the heliocentric nodes of the asteroids Juno and Pallas Athena which are in Virgo (North Node of Juno and Pallas Athena) and Pisces (South Node of Juno and Pallas Athena). One compelling deduction involves the fact that Mercury is the ruler of the north nodes of Ceres, Juno and Pallas Athena, while Jupiter is the ruler of their south nodes. During a talk on Ceres that Demetra gave at the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, Demetra theorized that the meaning of Ceres having her North Node in Gemini and South Node in Sagittarius could involve an evolution from faith to reason.

Whatever meaning we can draw from Ceres having her South Node in Sagittarius and North Node in Gemini will be more fully felt when we experience the total solar eclipse in Sagittarius conjoining the South Node of Ceres on 14 December 2020. Demetra’s idea of balancing faith with reason is interesting, as it suggests a need to draw upon our intuitive abilities and capacity for faith without neglecting our rational side that can use reasoning to gain a more objective perspective regarding our circumstances. This makes a great deal of sense in relation to the pandemic, as it has brought the importance of listening to scientists and medical experts rather than those who are simply following their gut over how to navigate the crisis. It also makes sense due to us entering a new cycle of Jupiter and Saturn beginning in Aquarius, as Aquarius is perhaps the most rational air sign and its rulership by Saturn will demand utilization of reasoning when addressing humanitarian concerns.

Since we are entering a new era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in the air triplicity, it is compelling that the North Node of Ceres is in Gemini and that Ceres was in Aquarius forming a flowing trine aspect with its own North Node in the Aries Ingress chart for 2020. The North Node of Ceres in Gemini conjures the torch-bearing, relentless searching of Demeter who the Homeric Hymns tells us “sped like a bird over land and sea, searching.” There is a pull for Ceres to be curious, to ask questions and demand answers, to forge new connections across diverse fields and harvest deep meaning through the swing of her sickle.

Out of the great disruption and catharsis we will experience during the transition of moving from an era of earth into an era of air, Ceres can help in tending to the renewal of our societal structures that will emerge.  We will receive an initial impression of the meaning to be found through the North Node of Ceres in relation to all of this when Venus stations retrograde conjoining the North Node of Ceres in Gemini on May 13.


Ceres fresco from Pompeii

Ceres Retrograde in 2020

Finally, it is worth noting the section of 2020 during which Ceres will be retrograde. Ceres will station retrograde on 6 July 2020 at 12º49′ Pisces about eight degrees away from Neptune, and will station direct on 18 October 2020 at 28º36′ Aquarius. This means that Ceres will be stationing retrograde during the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn that will be taking place on July 4 or 5, depending upon your time zone.  If the degree range of Ceres retrograde sounds familiar, it is because it is the exact same degree range as the Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius that we experienced from February 16 through March 9, 2020.

With regard to the United States of America, it’s significant that Ceres is stationing retrograde during a Lunar Eclipse that will be taking place on the Fourth of July holiday in most time zones in the country. Furthermore, Ceres will ultimately station direct close to the same degree as the Aquarius Moon in the United States chart cast for July 4, 1776, such as the famous Sibley chart. Once again we find yet another sign of Ceres being an unusually important influence on the United States in 2020.

I asked my friend and colleague Jason Holley to share some of his thoughts on Ceres retrograde in 2020, as he previously inspired me to give more importance to periods of time when Ceres is retrograde during a lecture he gave on Ceres. Jason generously shared a few paragraphs with me that I will now share with you:

“Ceres transits in general seem to correspond to the need to descend, something that both Persephone and Demeter do in the Greek story. Persephone is taken just before she plucks the narcissus flower: narcissistic identifications fall and are defeated when Ceres transits – we are brought ‘down to earth’ and back to basics if we have ascended too high; or we are brought to the underworld if we have denied and avoided it.

In my work as a therapist, I have seen that retrograde Ceres periods seem to correlate to times when unconscious and implicit material comes forward in what are called in relational psychoanalysis ‘enactments’. These are experiences where a person or group, unable to meaningfully articulate or symbolize particular traumatic experiences, instead re-enacts them with whoever happens to be around. There is often a serious rupturing of the relational fabric, sometimes unrecoverable, but often recoverable with perseverance and leading to profound gifts such as those Ceres gave to humankind at the end of the story: Agriculture (a new relationship with the earth) and the Mysteries (a new relationship to spirit).

The upcoming Ceres retrograde in Pisces feels to me like the tsunami of collective grief, anger, and emotional overwhelm that will follow and accompany the seismic level of loss of human life and economic instability of the coming weeks and months. It is in the midst of this wave that we will be challenged to find the deep and embodied groundedness that Ceres represents. Those of us who can access this, even if only transiently, will be called upon to help the even greater numbers of individuals whose coping resources are quite simply overwhelmed.”

Jason Holley

Jason’s description of a “tsunami of collective grief, anger, and emotional overwhelm” is prescient, as Ceres will be retrograde during an incredibly volatile phase of Mars being retrograde in Aries that will be forming a discordant square aspect with Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto in Capricorn. Furthermore, Ceres will be stationing direct on October 18 during the beginning of an intense Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, with Mercury retrograde in Scorpio forming an opposition with Uranus in Taurus as Ceres stations.

The section of 2020 beginning in September already looked immensely volatile and chaotic when looking ahead to 2020 long before the emergence of the pandemic. Jason’s illumination of the implicit material that can erupt during Ceres retrograde means we will need to place extra importance on nurturing our inner life, as those able will also need to be nurturing and protecting the vulnerable among us.

There is something different about Demeter from the other deities of the Greek pantheon. Her love and grief were so enormous she made herself an incarnated mortal to feel it all. Due to Demeter’s complicated mythology in various versions, Tim Addey wrote in The Seven Myths of the Soul that as “mother-sister-wife-daughter of the Creator God,” Demeter is “especially concerned with the proceeding into life by the soul.”

Addey also wrote that as goddess of fruitfulness, Demeter is most closely aligned with the phase of the hero’s journey in which the hero returns from the other world with the elixir to bring into their home community. To Addey, the hero under the influence of Demeter “is no longer serving his own perfection but the universe’s perfection,” operating “essentially” and “from his very being” rather than out “of mundane conquest.” From now until we are on the other side of the pandemic, consider what elixir you are gathering and tending to return with.

Torch bearing, universal mother, bringer of seasons, nurse of humanity, goddess of seeds and abundant fruit, Demeter, may your ancient strength and compassionate heart be present in each and everyone of us.

Of Dioh divine mother of all, divinity with many names,
Holy Dimítir, nurturer of children, bestower of bliss,
Oh divine one, who cultivates the grain, who apportions all good things,
You who rejoice in peace and our difficult labors,
Presiding over seeds, bequeathing abundant grain, thresher, producing the green fruit,
You dwell in the hallowed valley of Ælefsís.
Oh charming, lovely one, you give nourishment to all the mortals;
You were the first to yoke the ploughing oxen,
And you produce a lovely and abundant life for mortals;
You promote growth, familial companion of Vrómios, splendidly honored,
Torch-bearing, holy one, you rejoice in the summer’s fruit of the sickle.
You are from the earth, you appear, you are gentle to all.
You bless us with progeny, oh lover of children, holy one, maiden who nurtures the young,
You yoke dragons to your chariot with a bridle,
Whirling and circling about your throne as you cry out in ecstasy.
Only-begotten, Goddess bearing many children, mighty queen of mortals,
Creator of many things, you bloom with flowers, blooming with holiness;
Come, happy one, pure one, heavy with the fruits of summer,
Bring down peace and lovely order to our world,
With riches and blessings and a life governed by good health.

Orphic Hymn to Demeter

Ceres with snakes

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Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by SM Trzaskoma, RS Smith, and S Brunet. Hackett.

Calasso, Roberto. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. Knopf.

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides. Stellium Press.

Hughes, Ted. (1997). Tales from Ovid. FSG.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.


Pisces Solar Eclipse 2016


courtesy of The New York Public Library

O you tender ones, step now and then
into the breath that takes no heed of you:
it will part as it brushes your cheeks
and then tremble behind you, united again.

O you who are blissful, you who are whole,
you who seem the beginnings of hearts.
Bows for arrows and arrows’ aim, through tears
your smile will glow more eternal.

Don’t be afraid to suffer- take your heaviness
and give it back to the earth’s own weight;
the mountains are heavy, the oceans are heavy.

Even the trees you planted as children
have long grown too heavy; you couldn’t bear them.
But the breezes . . . and the spaces . . .

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

In the darkness of change and loss, the shadow of what we consciously envision in the light of day, lies the void that sources our suffering and liberation.  When forces beyond our control overturn every aspect of our life, when what formerly held grounded security becomes flooded and dissolved in unconscious waves, we arrive in the moment.  In the morning waking up with a heart broken in the pang of death, grieving what has been sacrificed in the arising change, there remains the crisp scent of morning air tingling the skin with the sound of multitudinous birdsong heralding the dawn.  Some fall free fall into literal death, some resist and deny in delusion and addiction, while some fully aware of the suffering suffocating this world step bravely forward into the chaos with a heart open though overwhelmed by pain.  In the cavernous shifting that comes in March 2016 there is a necessary letting go.  In the release, in the ceaseless change of river currents, looms Saraswati riding her swan of the essential, communing with her peacock who devours venomous serpents and transmutes the poison into wisdom and art.

The Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on March 8 has been deeply felt this past couple weeks, and as it arrives we will begin to sense its meaning that will reverberate far into the future.  Eclipses vary in intensity, normally happening four times a year, every six months, and though they are always more powerful than the regular New Moon or Full Moon, some are more potent than others.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is of epic proportion, and the change that arises in its shadow can not be resisted.  The Solar Eclipse is total, less than three degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, less than two degrees away from Chiron in Pisces.  Jupiter, the ruler of the eclipse, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and is opposite the Solar Eclipse by less than one degree.   There is tremendous loss and letting go associated with these aspects, going into the gone beyond of the Heart Sutra, and yet if we enter fully into this darkness there is a realignment of personal truth and vision to be uncovered.

This Total Solar Eclipse is part of the saros series 130, with the last eclipses in the series being 26 February 1998,  16 February 1980, 5 February 1962, and 25 January 1944 (the series originated in the year 1096).  If you were alive for these previous Eclipses, it is worth the time to ponder the related events and if there are any links to the current moment.  Most importantly, investigate the location of 19 degrees of Pisces in your birth chart to discern the house location as well as the aspects made.  Whatever house the Eclipse is located in will be a place of release that creates an opening for a new beginning, and whatever aspects are made (focus on conjunctions, squares, oppositions, but also take in sextile and trines) will bring sweeping change to the associated meaning of the planet or chart calculation impacted.


Michael Maier’s Emblem #14 from the Atalanta Fugiens

Solar Eclipses have been feared for millennia because of our great solar light becoming consumed by darkness.  Ancient sky watchers who interpreted celestial phenomenon as omens noted time and time again the tumultuous chaos and change that would erupt in accordance with the blackening of the Sun.  As astrologer Bernadette Brady has taught, astrologers across ancient cultures connected dragons with eclipses, viewing the solar or lunar light as becoming consumed by a monstrous serpent.  In ancient Babylon, it was Tiamat the sea dragon of chaos who inundated the world with disorder as she turned the Sun black.  Marduk, associated with the planet Jupiter in Babylon, helped restore order by severing the great sea serpent, an archetypal theme reiterated innumerably in myths cross-culturally.

Ancient astrologers also attempted to bring greater order by learning how to predict eclipses in order to communicate forewarning, and this is how the lunar nodes were originally discovered.  However, just because one can predict an eclipse, and further know how it will impact one’s birth chart, does not bring control and order to the energies that emerge at eclipses.  Some may fight against, resist, or attempt to control the confusing drama that dawns with a Total Solar Eclipse, yet even when extremely painful it is necessary to flow with the changes in order to realign with the actual developing reality. The modern hero adventure Harry Potter contained an apt metaphor as Harry, Hermione, and Ron did not slay the dragon, but instead freed the dragon and rode the dragon into their destiny.

The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release, whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution.  In a Total Solar Eclipse, the Moon crosses between our Earth and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens all light.  In keeping with the dragon symbolism of eclipses, the ascending North Node of the Moon became associated with the Head of the Dragon in astrology, while the descending South Node of the Moon became associated with the Tail of the Dragon.

Total Solar Eclipses are essentially the most powerful possible New Moons, yet there is clearly a significant difference between whether the Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon or the North Node of the Moon.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, making its impact even more confusing in terms of making important decisions and holding previous plans together.  Solar Eclipses still carry the intention setting of the traditional New Moon, but a potent one like this Pisces Solar Eclipse has a strong pull toward clearing out the past in order to make space for the new. With Chiron and Ceres also conjoining the Solar Eclipse, it is likely something we had been securely holding that now needs to be released.

The lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse being at the Tail of the Dragon magnetizes a release of built up energy, yet there is also a karmic element of doing so with compassion, giving rather than taking.  If the changes arising now feel hurtful and wounding, it is vital to compassionately nurture yourself and transmute the pain through selfless purification rather than egoic greed or anger.  With Ceres and Chiron connected to this Pisces Solar Eclipse, there is likely a huge, ancient wound of the psyche being triggered that could lead to unhealthy self destruction if not handled with care and love.

Though the South Node of the Moon in Pisces is linked to this Solar Eclipse, the North Node of the Moon is also activated because this Total Solar Eclipse is in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter is tightly opposite the eclipse and conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  This brings Jupiter’s focus on stabilizing vision to the Dragon’s Head of the Solar Eclipse, a point of inrushing gain and desire in the material realm that can feel amplified and stormy.  In Evolutionary Astrology, Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon at this eclipse also signifies new choices to make on our path leading into the future unknown.  With Ceres, Chiron, and the Solar Eclipse in opposition to Jupiter, however, there is a wound that needs nurturing and it may be difficult to have faith and believe we can receive the help and healing we need.  This Solar Eclipse is almost exactly opposite the Virgo Solar Eclipse on September 13, 2015 that was aligned with the North Node of the Moon at the beginning of Libra.  Although not a total Solar Eclipse, since this September 2015 Eclipse was aligned with the North Node of the Moon you may find that elements of the desires you were pursuing forward at that time now need to be let go, as well as that the issues arising in September 2015 now shift directions or deepen in meaning.

Fludd black square

from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Since Jupiter is conjoining the North Node of the Moon and is also the traditional ruler of the Solar Eclipse, it is significant that Jupiter is in the home of Mercury and that transiting Mercury is conjoining Neptune in Pisces, the modern ruler of Pisces and this Solar Eclipse.  Mercury also being in Pisces while conjoining Neptune means that there is a throbbing oceanic wave of unconscious forces and extrasensory perception contained in this Total Solar Eclipse.  This can go along with a blissful plunge into the deep of the void, where there is blurry fogginess more so than clarity.  While the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces has been ongoing these past several months, the Solar Eclipse tips the scales in favor of Neptune as the Sun in Pisces is in square to Saturn and Mercury is applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  It may seem as if everything is dissolving, but it is also worth realizing if you can that this is only one point of a process that will be bringing far greater change than what is happening now.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to inner Soul and the symbolic poetry of life, and so flowing into the shifting occurring now is favored more so than resisting the currents.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse also marks the entry of Mars into Sagittarius, where it will station retrograde a month from now.  Mercury in Pisces is separating from a square to Mars in Sagittarius at this Solar Eclipse, and though wide in orb the tension of its aspect is still in effect.  While Mars in Sagittarius may want to lustfully rush forward in self-centered vision, there are far deeper realizations signified by Mercury and Neptune in Pisces that will be needed to take into account.  As a result there is likely to be a lot of confusion centered around this Total Solar Eclipse, as the changes that seem to be overwhelming now most likely are not even the changes that are actually on the way and only one shift amongst a series of unexpected shifts.  If there is a goal or target you desire to focus on going forward, it will be necessary to remain open to the need to make adjustments to additional changes that will be on the way as Mars shifts into retrograde.  As Pisces is the home of Jupiter and the exaltation of Venus, the best we can do at this Solar Eclipse is to attune to our inner feelings and be open to the unknown.

Malevich black square

Kazimir Malevich (1915) Black Square

Saturn, the giant ringed planet of structure and boundaries, death and transcendence, is occupying a pivotal place as it is in square to the Pisces Solar Eclipse, in square to Jupiter in Virgo, in square to the lunar nodes, and in trine to Uranus in Aries.  This placement of Saturn significantly ramps up the karmic significance of this Solar Eclipse and the symbolism that whatever we need to let go of and pass away as the Sun turns black will become fecund fuel for our future.  The last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter will be building in intensity in the liminal space between this Pisces Solar Eclipse and the Libra Lunar Eclipse coming on March 23, as Saturn and Jupiter will reach their exact square on the same day as the Lunar Eclipse.  This is the second of three initiations into the last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter, the first having occurred at the beginning of August 2015 in alignment with the Venus retrograde.  The last quarter square brings about a crisis, and as it is occurring between Jupiter and Saturn it is about the very meaning we bring to our lives and discover about ourselves.  Dane Rudhyar called the last quarter square a “crisis in consciousness” because it forces a clearing out of beliefs that no longer serve us in order to bring about reorientation of meaning.  The third and final exact square between Saturn and Jupiter will be in May of 2016, and so there are more changes to come and it will be at least until then that we will be able to gain clarity for the coinciding shifts.

Since Saturn is in square to the lunar nodes and in trine to Uranus in Aries, there can be a sense of standing at a crossroads while receiving intimations of a liberated future path.  The Pisces Total Solar Eclipse is fully capable of overwhelming the dogmatic vision that can be linked to Saturn in Sagittarius, creating space for an entirely new way of approaching our life and trajectory going forward.  The shadow side of these aspects is on the side of Sagittarius crusaders and ideologues who will react defensively and narcissistically in the face of contention and change, provoking conflict over contesting beliefs.  The mix of hard aspects between Saturn with Jupiter, Neptune, and the Solar Eclipse in combination with the trine to Uranus in Aries can feel incredibly disruptive, yet can also force us to make the necessary change now that helps us to reorient most effectively to the shifting tides of our reality.

Profoundly, while Saturn is in trine to Uranus, Jupiter in Virgo is moving retrograde toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  This means that the Pisces Solar Eclipse also connects to the massive Uranus and Pluto square that has been dominating astrology for the past several years and changing the underlying structures of our lives.  Furthermore, the Pisces Solar Eclipse, as well as Chiron and Ceres in Pisces, are all in sextile to Pluto in Capricorn.  For those who are suffering with the changes arising now, the harmonious aspects to both Pluto and Uranus present at this Eclipse signifies that things are beginning to change in ways that we cannot control and do not fully understand, but in the end will connect us to a more authentic, individuated, and liberated path.

Fludd light from black

from Robert Fludd’s Ultriusque Cosmi (1617)

Chiron and Ceres are not taken into account by many in astrology, but both are intimately linked to this Total Solar Eclipse.  The myths of both Chiron and Ceres time and time again reveal themselves to be resonant with the impact made by the astrological Chiron and Ceres, and this again seems to be the case at this Total Solar Eclipse.  Both Chiron and Ceres had to make sacrifices neither felt prepared for, and yet by opening to the release they each birthed monumental change.  In the story of Chiron, it is his willing sacrifice that leads to the liberation of Prometheus.  In the story of Ceres, it is her loss of Persephone as her constant companion that leads to Persephone assuming her vital role as Queen of the Underworld.

While outrage may overcome us with the changes occurring at this eclipse, and though we may feel we deserve to be angry, it will be most important to regenerate ourselves as Ceres did in river currents so we can regain our capacity to be productive and effect change in our surroundings. Ceres is an activator between the personal planets of Mars, Venus, and Mercury with the large gaseous planets of expansion and contraction, Jupiter and Saturn.  Ceres conjoining the Pisces Solar Eclipse thus brings up the importance of nurturing all of the wild passions and perceptions being stirred up by Mercury, Venus, and Mars.  Ceres can signify both abandonment and attachment issues, wounds at our core that can make it difficult to ground and make the choices that will bring opportunities for greater happiness, as well as have the capacity to receive the love and care being offered. As the realm of Jupiter and Saturn is entering into the crisis of their last quarter square, Ceres signifies the visceral importance of nurturing our body, mind, and desires.

Chiron is an activator from the realm of Jupiter and Saturn to the far beyond of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and so the Pisces Solar Eclipse will include experiences that propel us into the transpersonal realm, creating the need to return to the mundane world while integrating our far out realizations. Chiron’s story in myth begins with abandonment and rejection, as the half human, half horse Chiron was seen as an abomination by his divine parents and left to raise himself in mountainous caves.  For many in the collective at this Total Solar Eclipse, issues of being rejected, of not being wanted, of not feeling seen or respected for our inherent value and intelligence could come up.  Chiron teaches the lesson of resiliently following our path no matter how unorthodox it may seem to others in the materialistic mainstream of society.  Chiron not only learned from the wisdom of the stars shining above and the green growth of nature below, but gave his teachings to others and nurtured the unique, undervalued gifts of his students.  This lesson of the Solar Eclipse can be found in the dialogue of the film Brother Sun Sister Moon about Saint Francis, when Clare calls out to Francis: “I am not seeking to be understood, I want to understand! I am not asking to be loved, I want to love!”


9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces II Decan

The second face of Pisces holds this Total Solar Eclipse, a decan associated with the 9 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a rather smug and opulent man seemingly gloating in front of his carefully exhibited nine golden cups.  The 9 of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure, luxury, and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Since Mercury is conjoining Neptune at the Solar Eclipse, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the Solar Eclipse will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.

Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, notable at this eclipse as Jupiter is receiving the eclipse through an opposition, is conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and is square to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.  In the last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn, Jupiter is in the superior position and receiving the karmic lessons of Saturn. Jupiter’s potent placement at the Solar Eclipse reveals that to access the fortune contained in the blackening of the Sun, we must flow like water in line with the cosmos above and the soul of the material world in the moment.  Attuning to where we are inwardly directed in the now, we can act with integrity and bridge our inner feelings and realizations with our external actions.



Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

New Moon in Aquarius


Greek water jar (490 B.C.) with Triptolemos bringing wheat to humanity in his winged chariot

Aquarius New Moon

The New Moon in Aquarius on February 8, 2016 ushers in the Year of the Fire Monkey in Chinese culture, and similarly holds an array of aspects facilitating bursting forth with new endeavors.  Mercury remains in its retrograde shadow zone, yet has separated from triggering the Pluto and Uranus square.  Venus is close behind Mercury in Capricorn, and also separating from its conjunction with Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding this New Moon.  While January and the first week of February this year contained heavy, chthonic, cathartic astrological aspects, a New Moon in Aquarius brings a moment to detach from feelings in order to objectify and envision pioneering intentions.  Aquarius is the sign of the purifying idealist who can bridge diverse worlds, crossing intellectual boundaries such as time and space, finding the future through exploration of the old.  Aquarius is a fixed sign of yang energy that can help foster the setting and achievement of goals that will bring stability.  However, since this particular Aquarius New Moon is in square to Mars in Scorpio, we will also need to beware of a shadow side of self-righteousness.

This New Moon is in the home of Saturn, and the transiting Sagittarius Saturn is in sextile to this Aquarius New Moon.  In addition, the modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, is also in sextile to the New Moon as well as in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius.  These aspects highlight the innovative nature of Aquarius that can not only brainstorm progressive ideas and solutions, but also create the necessary structure to bring inventive concepts into material manifestation.  In the past month collectively we have passed through intense astrological transits that brought up core issues, fears, and desires.  In the dark of this Aquarius New Moon we can  begin to separate from past compulsions and enter a more objective mental space. Here in the cool, airy mentality of Aquarius we will not be completely free of the feelings we have been overly fixated upon, but the influence of these gripping, irresistible desires can be less restrictive on our vision going forward.

Klee inner forces

Inner Forces (1939) by Paul Klee

Mars holds significant influence over this New Moon as it is in a superior square to the lunation as well as fully fulfilled in its own domicile of Scorpio.  The New Moon arrives following a crashing wave of Mars, as the Sun will have formed a square with Mars a day before the New Moon, and the Moon itself will square Mars about an hour before the exact timing of the lunation.  This can bring a more righteous, fervent quality to the intentions and goals we are envisioning, and also signifies that incredible effort and determination will be needed in achieving them.  While anger over what appears to be in the way of goals could come up, the activated Mars embedded in this New Moon contains the impetus necessary to launch bold ventures.  As we simultaneously enter the Year of the Fire Monkey, this New Moon evokes the feeling of fireworks traditionally associated with the dawning of a New Year.

In the next seven months Mars will become one of the most significant planets in transit, as it will be retrograde from April 17 through June 28.  About a week after the New Moon, Mars will enter the shadow zone of its upcoming retrograde, and so this New Moon in square to Mars opens a window to the torrential storm of Mars brewing outside.  As the upcoming Mars retrograde will begin with Mars conjoining the red star Antares, found in the heart of the Scorpion constellation, we will experience another Royal Star retrograde activation such as we did last July when Venus stationed retrograde conjoining Regulus.  Mars retrograde periods tend to bring pivotal twists of fate, and so beginning with this New Moon it will be worthwhile to begin intuiting what could be coming in tandem with the approaching retrograde of Mars.

Mars has been conjoining Juno over the past couple weeks, and though still in range of a conjunction at this New Moon, Mars has now separated from Juno.  At the same time Mars and Juno are both in sextile to Venus and Pluto in Capricorn.  Altogether, these aspects suggest that Mars and Venus are stirring up the core relationship desires that we will be needing to focus on and process over the next seven months.

Klee may picture

Paul Klee (1925) May Picture

Venus in Capricorn like the New Moon is in a sign of Saturn, though in Capricorn more focused upon initiating from an inner sense of value.  The Aquarius New Moon arrives at a harmonious time in the transiting cycle of Venus and Mars, as Venus will have entered into a Crescent, waxing sextile with Mars.  In 2015 we experienced three conjunctions between Venus and Mars, meaning that it took most of the year in order to fully initiate their new cycle.  Now in a Crescent sextile, Venus in Capricorn can facilitate the structuring of the deep Scorpio Mars desires in order to help lay down solid roots to bolster new growth and resist the pull of past patterns no longer serving our developing purpose.  There is tremendous potency between transiting Venus and Mars at this New Moon, as Venus is carrying the tumultuous energy from its conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus into the formation of its sextile with Mars.

Venus is also in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Capricorn, following the blazed trail formed by Mercury’s back and forth movement in retrograde.  In the predawn sky we can now glimpse both Mercury and Venus as brilliant Morning Stars, in addition to the morning appearance of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Mercury and Venus will remain within five degrees of one another over the next couple of weeks as the Moon waxes Full in Virgo on February 22.  Venus following in the footsteps of Mercury means that much of what was stirred up by the Mercury retrograde in January will be revisited within our emotional body and Venusian passions, ultimately helping to clarify the associated issues.

While most of the pivotal aspects formed by this New Moon are “after effects,” meaning aspects that perfected before the time of the New Moon, Venus in Capricorn is applying toward a trine with Jupiter in Virgo.  This means that the trine between Venus and Jupiter is intensifying at the New Moon, whereas most of the other major aspects discussed here will have already occurred.  For example, Mercury in Capricorn is also in range of a trine with Jupiter, only separating.  Mercury and Venus coming into range of a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon, following their conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus, means that out of the recent cathartic transits there is now an opportunity to seize and integrate the myriad material dredged up into a regenerated vision.  This New Moon supports being resolute in pursuit of new opportunities and growth leading into the unknown future, rather than relying upon the old and familiar ways of being.

Redon Upon walking

Upon Walking, I Saw the Goddess of the Intelligible, with Her Severe and Hard Profile (1885) by Odilon Redon

The conjunction of Jupiter with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo is also becoming tighter in opposition to the conjunction of Chiron with the South Node in Pisces, and the opposition between Jupiter and Chiron will continue to build with intensity in the coming lunar cycle.  While Jupiter conjoining the North Node clearly signifies opportunities to develop new belief systems and philosophies to live from, the opposition with Chiron implies we will be arriving at our new vision through a process of old wounds re-emerging not to hold us back, but rather to provide circumstances for us to have breakthrough experiences that liberate us from past restrictive beliefs.

A powerful aspect of the Aquarius New Moon supporting this process is Ceres in Pisces applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  The day after the New Moon, the Moon will pass over both Ceres and Neptune, and every day as the Moon waxes Full in the coming cycle Ceres will get closer to Neptune.  At the coming Full Moon in Virgo on February 22, Ceres will have culminated in her conjunction with Neptune.  Ceres is in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and among other things signifies how we nourish and manage our willful, sometimes angry, desires of Mars into the Jupiter vision of life we live from. Neptune will dissolve whatever we have been carrying in our emotional and physical bodies that needs to be released as Ceres  approaches Neptune.  Our imagination will be activated, and Ceres can use imaginal forces most effectively when we are willing to enter into our full range of feelings without taking Neptune escape routes such as addictions and delusions.  The book The Eyes of the Skin contains a lucid description of the interplay between mind and body:

In The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura gives a subtle description of the multi-sensory imagery evoked by the simple situation of the tea ceremony: ‘Quiet reigns with nothing to break the silence save the note of the boiling water in the iron kettle. The kettle sings well, for pieces of iron are so arranged in the bottom as to produce a peculiar melody in which one may hear the echoes of a cataract muffled by clouds, of a distant sea breaking among the rocks, a rainstorm sweeping through a bamboo forest, or of the soughing of pines on some faraway hill.’ In Oksakura’s description the present and the absent, the near and the distant, the sensed and the imagined fuse together. The body is not a mere physical entity; it is enriched by both memory and dream, past and future. Edward S Casey even argues that our capacity of memory would be impossible without a body memory. The world is reflected in the body, and the body is projected onto the world. We remember through our bodies as much as through our nervous system and brain.

— Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, p. 45

Ceres is often interpreted in astrology through her mythic associations, an apt association as the planetary body was discovered in a lab near the site of Persephone’s abduction.  The Ceres of myth holds symbols we can associate with the astrology of Ceres: grains (the stabilizing gift of agriculture), opium poppies (solace from grief), and snakes (regeneration). I saw Demetra George lecture about the meaning of Ceres in astrology through connection with her myth, and one of the most powerful moments to me was when Demetra described the ability of Ceres to heal herself and regenerate within the waters of the Ladon river. The capacity of Ceres to heal herself, purifying her anger and rage in the ceaseless currents of water, correlates with the potential Self-nourishment which is available at this New Moon.


6 0f Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the 6 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the 6 of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and independence:

Once again we see Mercury as ruler of this decan, for the swift planet’s sacred space is every road but no place. Mercury is lord of dualities and the space between them. Unlike the other decans which emphasize dualities, this one, being the middle decan of a fixed sign, is usually fixed, and stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth…

This face is one of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles. There is thus a certain royalty to this decan, for its residents connect worlds without becoming beholden to them. There is great benefit to plying these waters between, for they allow the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown. The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 233 -234

Mercury, the ruler of the second decan of Aquarius is separating from a trine with Jupiter, traveling a few degrees ahead of Venus, and also separating from its square to Uranus and conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Aquarius New Moon.  The recent exact trine in which Mercury in Capricorn received Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo serves as a fitting symbol for the ability of this face to bridge divides, as Mercury entered the trine with Jupiter after triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus, and being in sextile with Mars in Scorpio.  As a result this Aquarius New Moon supports striking out from a place of empowerment and principle, capable of independently acting when necessary to weave together divisions.  This is the final New Moon before we enter the eclipse season of March, and so a time to come to clarity and prepare for the unknown to come.


Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Pallasmaa, Juhani. (2005). The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. John Wiley & Sons.