Before I begin today I would like to thank everyone who has taken the trouble to comment or send an email over these last few days, it has been very sincerely appreciated.
The Jupiter effect is a well-known shortcut to experiencing any given planetary contact; the theory being that as the expanding power of Jupiter contacts a specific point in your nativity, it begins to make itself felt. I myself discovered this principle in a less pleasant manner as Orcus transited across my Jupiter a few months back and my dreams became a frightful flight from an ursine monstrosity through a forest of obsidian trees. Less apprehensible, except by the keenness of its absence however, is the Saturn effect: as the constriction of Saturn applies to a point in your astrology you might become aware of the effect and influence of that particular force in your nativity too as the difficulty and restriction of the archetypal principles become increasingly onerous.
Ceres is not a study to which I have been especially predisposed in the past, not least because it felt somewhat of a halfway house between Hygeia and the Moon, seeming to allude to already catered for principles, thus, its superfluosity, on casual inspection, made it a poor candidate for investigation. As Saturn approached 19 degrees of Virgo however, I began to wonder at it and so, in keeping with my usual methodology, began to investigate the underpinning mythology, for therein lie the deeper clues to any astrological probability. Ceres is, of course, the Roman facsimile for Demeter, and there is little question that the myth of Demeter and Persephone is among the most persistent, profound and intriguing of all the Greek tales.
The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (which is a reference to style and not authorship incidentally) is certainly one of the most complete and influential of all the original sources. Demeter, an older sister – and consort – of Zeus was also a sister to Hades (Pluto) and Poseidon (Neptune). Her power and influence ought not be easily discounted therefore and certainly, her ability to control the seasons of the earth is extremely potent: without her consent, the grain would not ripen; this observation is of profound relevance in the development of her story. Zeus fathered by her a daughter, Persephone, who was her mother’s joy, but as the only child of Zeus and Demeter, Persephone was Epikleros, a sole heir to her parents’ estate. In keeping with the social mores of Athens therefore, the marriage of an Epikleros was frequently constrained by expedience, the father would very often marry his daughter to an uncle in order to keep the wealth in the family and since a woman’s consent was neither required nor much valued in the arrangement of marriages, Zeus would have felt no need to tell either Demeter or Persephone of his plan to wed Persephone to his brother Hades.
As the myth goes, Persephone was picking flowers in a meadow when Hades, wearing a mask of invisibility, rose up from out of the earth and dragged her down to Tartarus. The ‘rape of Persephone’ as it became known was not so much descriptive of a physical assault as it is resonant with a somewhat brutal and insensitive wrench from innocence (picking flowers in a meadow) and a descent into – literal – darkness. There are so many archetypal themes connected with this story, and so much Plutonic material too, that it is a rich vein of insight for the astrologer into themes of Pluto, Scorpio and the 8th house too.
The point though in this context, is that Demeter – Ceres – was utterly distraught. At first, not knowing what had happened to her beloved daughter she wandered the earth “making a desert at every step.” Eventually she found a shepherd who had witnessed the abduction and immediately confronted Zeus on Olympus and demanded that he restore her daughter to her. Zeus however was constrained by another attendant reality: any soul, once conveyed down to Tartarus was not allowed to return, it was sacrosanct and designed that way to ensure that the dead stayed dead. Demeter, in her anger and rage, threatened to make an eternal winter on earth so that nothing might grow and all life would end and through this grave threat Zeus was finally forced to broker a deal whereby Persephone would be allowed to return to Demeter’s side for 6 months of the year. Our seasons are thus characterised by 6 months of fertility – where Ceres in her joy promulgates abundance, and 6 months wherein she mourns the absence of Persephone (or Proserpina in the Roman) and nothing will grow.
One of the most key themes of Ceres therefore, is concerned with the abduction or loss of one’s children.
A Saturn contact of course creates a burden and a test, so it is not entirely a surprise to find that my children are being kept from me at this time, and certainly, with Saturn transiting Ceres at 19 degrees of Virgo and fast approaching Pluto at 21 Virgo, these are dark days in prospect. If Ceres (the loss of one’s children) becomes burdensome enough through the attentions of Saturn then the promise of Saturn conjunct Pluto (Ebertin’s aptly named hard-labour), which promises extreme anguish and cruelty seems to loom large. Indeed, with Saturn Pluto going near partile on Christmas Day it appears to be a profound hardship indeed: to be living apart from your children is hard enough, but to be denied even the ability to speak to them will no doubt be very hard to bear, most especially at Christmas.
I hold out little hope for progress. I have taken to writing to my children at their schools in hope of establishing some sort of a reasoned dialogue. Yesterday I received a solicitor’s letter from my wife threatening to take out an injunction preventing me from even being allowed that much contact. My own solicitor has told me that it is laughable in the extreme, certainly without grounds, but it does demonstrate the mindset of my wife, who incidentally has Libra Sun conjunct Virgo Mercury conjunct Pluto. I need say no more really.
If I stand far enough back from the situation I glean some hope from the passing influence of transits, My Saturn transit of Ceres/Pluto has a year in it at best, but within that time frame there are some powerful subsidiary contacts to consider which might give me pause, but beyond this, the key themes of Ceres do include the promise of a reconciliation whereby Zeus (Jupiter, thus commonsense and goodwill) reaches a compromise with Pluto. I pray for that very possibility, without expecting it to happen any day soon.