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Ceres Retrograde: Re-Parenting, Re-defining Nurturing, & Tending to the Garden

Have you ever felt disconnected from your nurturing side? Maybe you're neglecting self-care, struggling with family dynamics, dysregulated eating, or feeling a general lack of emotional nourishment.  If so, you might be experiencing the astrological influence of Ceres retrograde natally or by transit--occurring May 14/15 through August 26, 2024.

Redefining Self-Parenting and Nurturing

Many of us didn't grow up with secure and stable parental relationships as well as experiencing trauma. Understanding our nurturing style can be a key healing tool for these complex experiences. Allowing us to self-parent--re-parent--and meet the needs that weren't met in childhood and stabilize our attachment system.

I also find it helpful to redefine nurturing not as someone who makes soup and gives hugs--that may be a Cancerian way to do so. Nurturing others and ourselves comes in many forms such as providing inspiration or encouraging vulnerability. Ceres in our natal chart gives us a sense of how to tend in a way that feels most authentic to each of us.

This has been a liberating realization for me, that just because I don't want to cook myself meals everyday doesn't mean I'm not nurturing myself. My self-tending happens through daily walks in wildness and being in therapy and allowing a lot of space and time for my emotional process (Ceres in Scorpio).


Who is Ceres?

In Roman mythology, Ceres is the goddess of agriculture, harvest, and fertility.Long before summer was about vacations and time off from school, the season was associated with the goddess Ceres, whose joy was said to cause the earth to bloom and grow. Mythologically, Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain, fertility, and motherly relationships. In Greek traditions, she was known as Demeter, and most infamous for the relationship to her daughter Persephone. As the well-known story goes, Persephone was abducted—though some myths say she went willing—into the underworld by Hades, and Demeter spent her days mourning.

After she threatened to destroy all crops and food, Zeus heard Demeter’s pleas and allowed Persephone to return to her mother. However, Hades tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds, and therefore, having eaten the food of the underworld, Persephone could never entirely leave, rather spending half of the year in the underworld and the other half with her mother above ground. This was said to create the seasons: fall and winter occur when Persephone is in the underworld and Demeter is unhappy, and spring and summer when Persephone returns.

Archetypally, this myth—and, thus, Ceres—represents cycles of loss and return, attachment in relationships, and ultimately self-nurturing or self-care. This powerful symbolism of self-care also carries over into astrology with the first discovered and largest asteroid: Ceres.

What does Ceres Represent Astrologically?

 In astrology, Ceres represents the nurturing principle within us – the desire to care for ourselves and others, and to feel cared for in return. In our natal chart, Ceres energy recognizes the paradox roles we inhabit as both our own parent and child. Its placement teaches us where we easily provide nurturance and care to ourselves and what we need to feel our best physically, emotionally, and spiritually—a.k.a. self-care.

  • Elevated Expressions: deepest needs and best self-parenting skills, self-nourishment and nurturing, gardening or farming, tending to inner child, natural nurturer

  • Shadow Expressions: jealousy, overly attached to others meeting our needs, nurturing others as a way to avoid our own unmet needs, digestion difficulties, eating disorders

Ideally, we utilize the self-parenting tools of Ceres to heal and work with our attachment and compensatory emotional avoidance patterns of our natal chart found in our moon.


What to Expect During Ceres Retrograde

Just like other planets, Ceres has periods where it appears to move backward from our perspective. This is called retrograde motion.  During a Ceres retrograde, which happens roughly every eighteen months, the themes associated with Ceres – nurturing, self-care, and emotional well-being – are emphasized and potentially challenged. Below are some ways a Ceres retrograde might manifest:

  • Self-care Slump: You might find yourself neglecting your usual self-care routines, leading to feelings of depletion and exhaustion.

  • Family Matters: Old family dynamics or unresolved issues with caregivers might resurface. This can be a time for healing and forgiveness.

  • Relationship Reassessment: You might take a closer look at your relationships, questioning whether your needs for nurturing are being met (and if you're meeting the needs of others).

  • Inner Critic: Your inner critic might be louder than usual, making you feel unworthy of love and care.

How to Navigate & Nurture during Ceres Retrograde

While a retrograde can feel disruptive, it's also an opportunity for growth. Ceres has a subtle but potent archetypal influence and can be a great place to focus on self-intimacy in the natal chart. I also find it helpful to redefine nurturing.

Prioritizing Self-Parenting Skills listed below by sign, aspect, and house:

  • Ceres in Aries :: Mars-Ceres Aspects, 1st House

    • How to nurture self and others: inspiration, autonomy, independence, goals

    • Attachment Imbalance: Pushed out of nest too soon

    • Self-parenting Skill: self-care through movement, exercise

  • Ceres in Taurus :: Venus-Ceres Aspects, 2nd House

    • How to nurture self and others: self-worth, stability, beauty

    • Attachment Imbalance: pleasure eating, sweets, materialism

    • Self-parenting Skill: sensuality self-care, massage, physical touch

  • Ceres in Gemini :: Pallas Athene-Ceres Aspects, 3rd House

    • How to nurture self and others: listening, encouraging curiosity, sharing wisdom

    • Attachment Imbalance: intellectually insecure, overanalyzing, hoarding materials

    • Self-parenting Skil: Self-talk of compassion and care, hear and validate self

  • Ceres in Cancer :: Moon-Ceres Aspects, 4th House

    • How to nurture self and others: holding space, emotional attunement sharing wisdom, food

    • Attachment Imbalance: smothering or depresived/neglected, neediness

    • Self-parenting Skill: Food, nourishing oneself, cooking, express needs and feelings

  • Ceres in Leo :: Sun-Ceres Aspects, 5th House

    • How to nurture self and others: confidence, cultivated creativity

    • Attachment Imbalance: rejection, lack of self-confidence

    • Self-parenting Skill: self-expression, authenticity, inner child/teen, creativity

  • Ceres in Virgo :: Mercury-Ceres Aspects, 6th House

    • How to nurture self and others: problem solving, helping, creating order

    • Attachment Imbalance: critical, overly disciplined, perfectionism

    • Self-parenting Skill: discipline, health habits in self-care

  • Ceres in Libra :: Astraea-Ceres Aspects, 7th House

    • How to nurture self and others: cooperation, staying neutral, egalitarianism

    • Attachment Imbalance: co-dependency, fear of discomfort

    • Self-parenting Skill: Focus on self-harmony, inner belonging

  • Ceres in Scorpio :: Pluto-Ceres Aspects, 8th House

    • How to nurture self and others: depth, emotional connection, empowerment

    • Attachment Imbalance: obsessive attachment, shame, emotional intensity, lack of trust, jealousy

    • Self-parenting Skill: self-compassion, reflection, deep emotional connection with self

  • Ceres in Sagittarius :: Jupiter-Ceres Aspects, 9th House

    • How to nurture self and others: encouragement, exploration, philosophy, learning, adventure

    • Attachment Imbalance: lack of meaning, sense of aimlessness

    • Self-parenting Skill: reflection, holding optimism and difficulty

  • Ceres in Capricorn :: Saturn-Ceres Aspect, 10th House

    • How to nurture self and others: commitment, support, help achievement, feeling responsible

    • Attachment Imbalance: rigidity, coldness, perfectionism

    • Self-parenting Skill: contentment, take responsibility for self

  • Ceres in Aquarius :: Uranus-Ceres Aspect, 11th House

    • How to nurture self and others: individuality, encourage eccentricity

    • Attachment Imbalance: restless, activated nervous system

    • Self-parenting Skill: self-acceptance, discipline

  • Ceres in Pisces :: Neptune-Ceres Aspect, 12th House

    • How to nurture self others: spirituality, faith, music, creative flow

    • Attachment Imbalance: disassociated, addictions, victim-martyr

    • Self-parenting Skill: meditation, flow states, self-assurance

By using Ceres retrograde for introspection and self-care, you can emerge feeling more connected to your nurturing side and ready to cultivate a more fulfilling life.


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