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(sîr`ēz), in astronomy, a dwarf planetdwarf planet,
a nonluminous body of rock or gas that orbits the sun and has a rounded shape due to its gravity. Unlike a planet, a dwarf planet is not capable of clearing its orbit of smaller objects by collision, capture, or other means.
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, the first asteroidasteroid,
or minor planet,
small body orbiting the sun. More than 300,000 asteroids have been identified and cataloged; more than a million are believed to exist in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, with many more in the Kuiper belt
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 to be discovered. It was found on Jan. 1, 1801, by G. PiazziPiazzi, Giuseppe
, 1746–1826, Italian astronomer, a Theatine priest from 1769. He became (1781) professor of mathematics at the Univ. of Palermo, supervised construction of a government observatory (opened 1791) at Palermo, and was its first director.
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. He took three distinct observations; on the basis of these the mathematician GaussGauss, Carl Friedrich
, born Johann Friederich Carl Gauss, 1777–1855, German mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. Gauss was educated at the Caroline College, Brunswick, and the Univ.
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 calculated Ceres' orbit with such accuracy that it was found one year later within 0.5° of the predicted position. Ceres is the largest and most massive of the asteroids; it has a diameter of c.590 mi (949 km) and a mass 1/100,000 that of the earth. Its orbitorbit,
in astronomy, path in space described by a body revolving about a second body where the motion of the orbiting bodies is dominated by their mutual gravitational attraction.
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 has a semimajor axis of 2.78 astronomical unitsastronomical unit
(AU), mean distance between the earth and sun; one AU is c.92,960,000 mi (149,604,970 km). The astronomical unit is the principal unit of measurement within the solar system, e.g., Mercury is just over 1-3 AU and Pluto is about 39 AU from the sun.
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 and a period of 1,681 days. From its discovery until the 1850s, when many additional asteroids began to be identified, Ceres was regarded by many astronomers as a planet. In 2006 the reconsideration by astronomers of PlutoPluto,
in astronomy, a dwarf planet and the first Kuiper belt, or transneptunian, object (see comet) to be discovered (1930) by astronomers. Pluto has an elliptical orbit usually lying beyond that of Neptune.
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's status as a planet also led to the reclassification of Ceres as a dwarf planet. The NASA space probe Dawn went into orbit around Ceres in 2015; it revealed the presence of ice and underground brine.


(sîr`ēz), in Roman religion and mythology, goddess of grain; daughter of Saturn and Ops. She was identified by the Romans with the Greek Demeter. Her worship was connected with that of the earth goddess and involved not only fertility rites but also rites for the dead. Her chief festival was the Cerealia, celebrated on Apr. 19, and her most famous cult was that of the temple on the Aventine Hill. There is much argument about the origins and nature of her cults.
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((1) Ceres) The first asteroid to be discovered, found by the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi in January 1801 following the predicted existence by Bode's law of a planet at about 2.8 AU from the Sun. It is the largest asteroid known (diameter 933 km) and has a density of 2.7 g cm–3 and a mass of 9.5 × 1020 kg. It has a low albedo of 0.10 and a spectrum similar to that of the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. It is classified as a G-type asteroid. Unlike the rather smaller asteroid (4) Vesta, it cannot be seen by the unaided eye, attaining only 7th magnitude at opposition. NASA's Dawn mission, set for launch in 2006, is scheduled to visit Ceres. See Table 3, backmatter.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The asteroids are small planet-like bodies that orbit the Sun in a belt that lies mostly between Mars and Jupiter. They first dawned on human consciousness in the early 1800s. The first four asteroids to be sighted were given the names of four of the great goddesses of classical antiquity: Ceres (discovered in 1801), Pallas Athene (discovered in 1802), Juno (discovered in 1804), and Vesta (discovered in 1807).

Many more asteroids were soon discovered, so that by the end of the nineteenth century, over 1,000 were known. The first asteroid ephemeris (a table listing planetary positions) was made available to astrologers in 1973 by Eleanor Bach, and it covered only the original four. Today astrologers have computer software developed by Mark Pottenger that tracks the placements of over 9,000.

Among the thousands of asteroids known, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta have a special place. While these are not necessarily the largest asteroids, they were the first to be discovered, and as such they have imprinted themselves on human consciousness in a significant way. They also complete the female pantheon of goddesses, rounding out the system of symbols begun in the usual 10 planets. Of the six great goddesses of Olympus, only Aphrodite (Venus) and Artemis (the Moon) are represented in the conventional astrological symbol system. The other four great goddesses of Graeco-Roman mythology—Demeter (Ceres), Athene (Pallas), Hera (Juno), and Hestia (Vesta)—were missing from astrology until they were reinvoked by their discovery in the early 1800s.

Appropriately, the first asteroid to be discovered was named after the Olympian goddess who most exemplifies the mother—the first human being with whom most of us have contact, the first relationship that we encounter in life. Ceres, the mother, deals with all sorts of mother-child issues. Of the four stages in a person’s life, she signifies the child.

The glyph or written symbol for Ceres takes the form of a scythe. Besides signifying the goddess of agriculture, this tool for harvesting suggests both the roundness of a breast and the themes of separation and death that run through the legend of Ceres. As the mother, she brings us into life, and, like the Christian Mary who grieves over her crucified son, she also lets us go into death, thus starting another cycle. For this reason, she is associated with the imum coeli (IC) of the horoscope, the very bottom of the day cycle, where, in the system of astrological houses, life begins and ends.

Known to the Greeks as Demeter, Ceres was the goddess of agriculture who worked unceasingly to bring food and nourishment to the people of the earth. One of the great classical myths tells of her daughter Persephone’s ravishment and abduction by Pluto, lord of the underworld. Grieving, Ceres wandered over the earth in search of her missing child. In her grief, depression, and anger, she caused a famine, withholding production of all food until her daughter was returned.

Meanwhile, Persephone had eaten pomegranate seeds, a symbol of sexual awareness, thus giving Pluto a claim over her so that she could not be returned permanently to her mother. A compromise was reached whereby Persephone would spend part of each year in the underworld with Pluto caring for the souls of the dead, but each spring she would be reunited with her mother in the upper world as she initiated the dead into the rites of rebirth. For over 2,000 years, this drama was celebrated regularly in ancient Greece as the initiation rites of the Eleusinian mysteries.

Ceres represents the part of our nature that longs to give birth and then to nourish and sustain the new life. She represents the essential bonding, or lack thereof, that occurs between mother and child. She is the impulse not just to nurture, but also to be nurtured by others through the giving and receiving of acceptance and unconditional love.

The story of Ceres and Persephone speaks to the complex mother-child relationship, emphasizing the interplay of closeness and separation, of nurturing, and eventual letting go as the child becomes an adult able to function on her or his own. Once the letting-go is accomplished, the child is free to reestablish the bond in a different key by becoming a friend to the parent and by producing grandchildren.

The Ceres myth also contains the themes of major physical or emotional loss, separation, abandonment, rejection, and estrangement that occur between parents and children, and later in life with other loved ones. One example of this is the anguish we face in cases of divorce or adoption when we need to share our children with their other parent. Ceres symbolizes attachment to whatever we have given birth to or created, and also the agony of losing it. If her myth is one of loss, however, it is also one of return, of death but also of rebirth. Reminding us that loss makes way for new birth, Ceres can teach us the lesson of letting go.

A central part of Ceres bonding is the giving of food as an expression of love. In our early experiences as children, this food and love may be freely given. In other instances, however, it is conditionally awarded, withheld as a form of punishment, pushed upon us, or simply neglected. Then the self-love and self-worth of the child are undermined and underdeveloped, causing a host of psychological problems.

The mythological Ceres withheld food in the midst of her grief and depression. Correspondingly, one typical kind of Ceres wound is an obsessive relationship with food, including the whole range of eating disorders and food-related illnesses. Related to this, there can also be problems with a poor body image.

In her grief, Ceres became immobilized. Thus, another Ceres problem manifests as being plunged into depths of depression or despair, making us incapable of daily functioning, work, and all other forms of productivity. To the extent that depression is associated with incomplete mourning, working through the stages of grief (shock, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimately acceptance) can help to promote healing in times of loss.

An additional theme comes from Ceres’s daughter Persephone being raped by Pluto, her mother’s brother. This event points to fears that parents may have in protecting their children from similar harm. Certain Ceres placements in the chart may also point to one’s having oneself experienced incest or other sexual abuse as a child.

In a desire to keep their children safe, parents with strong Ceres placements can become overly controlling and restrictive. In order to establish their own identity, their children may then struggle against the parental attachment. This, in turn, can bring up the Ceres theme of loss of the child.

On a transpersonal level, Ceres as the “mother of the world” moves us to care about the homeless and hungry, and also about the destruction of the earth’s resources. She urges us to take compassionate action to provide for fundamental human needs, and to care for the body of the earth that supports and sustains us.

Ceres not only gave birth to the living, but in her aspect as Persephone she received the souls of the dead back into her womb to prepare them for rebirth. Thus Ceres can also express as a vocation for either midwifery or hospice work, facilitating the transition from death to life and back again on either the physical or the psychological level.

Ceres embodies the great truth of transformation that from death comes new life. This comes not just from the Persephone part of her story, but also from the nature of food, which always requires the taking of plant or animal life in order to sustain our own lives.

Ceres also teaches the wisdom that over-attachment and possessiveness can eventually bring loss, whereas sharing and letting go lead ultimately to reunion.

—Demetra George


Dobyns, Zipporah. Expanding Astrology’s Universe. San Diego: Astro Computing Services, 1983.
Donath, Emma Belle. Asteroids in the Birth Chart. Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers, 1979.
George, Demetra, with Douglas Bloch. Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology and Astrology of the Reemerging Feminine. 2d ed. rev. and enl. San Diego: Astro Computing Services, 1990.
George, Demetra, with Douglas Bloch. Astrology for Yourself: A Workbook for Personal Transformation. Berkeley, CA: Wingbow Press, 1987.
Lehman, J. Lee. The Ultimate Asteroid Book. West Chester, PA: Whitford Press, 1988.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



asteroid no. 1, discovered by G. Piazzi on Jan. 1, 1801. Ceres, the largest asteroid, was the first asteroid to be discovered. Its diameter is 770 km, its mean distance from the sun is 2.77 astronomical units, its period of revolution is 4.6 years, and its mean stellar magnitude at opposition is 7.4. Minor fluctuations of its brightness with an amplitude of 0.04 stellar magnitude and a period of 9 hr 5 min have been detected by photoelectric observations.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The largest asteroid, with a diameter of about 960 kilometers, mean distance from the sun of 2.766 astronomical units, and C-type surface composition.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


goddess of agriculture. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 13]
See: Farming


grieving over the loss of her daughter Persephone, she withholds her gifts from the earth, thus bringing on winter. [Gk. Myth.: Hamilton Mythology, 49]
See: Grief


goddess of the season. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 130]
See: Summer
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the Roman goddess of agriculture


the largest asteroid and the first to be discovered. It has a diameter of 930 kilometres
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
While she dwelt in the king's palace, Mother Ceres had been so continually occupied with taking care of the young prince, that her heart was a little lightened of its grief for Proserpina.
Now, as not so much as a head of asparagus ever presumed to poke itself out of the ground, without the especial permission of Ceres, you may conceive what a terrible calamity had here fallen upon the earth.
The cook's made dishes and artificial dainties were not half so delicious, in the good child's opinion, as the simple fare to which Mother Ceres had accustomed her.
Mother Ceres had returned to her deserted home, and was sitting disconsolately on the doorstep, with her torch burning in her hand.
"Does the earth disobey me?" xclaimed Mother Ceres, indignantly.
When their hearts had grown a little more quiet, Mother Ceres looked anxiously at Proserpina.
"Ah, unfortunate child, and miserable me!" exclaimed Ceres. "For each of those six pomegranate seeds you must spend one month of every year in King Pluto's palace.
The match was already decided at halftime as Ceres Negros raced to a 5-0 lead in the first 45 minutes thanks to mid-first half strikes from Bienve Maranon (20th minute), Stephan Schrock (25th), and Robert Mendy (30th) and a brace from Mike Ott (40th and 45th minutes) later in the half.
Spaniard Bienvenido Maranon scored his league-high 17th goal off a spot kick for Ceres in the 80th.
Ceres jacked up its tally to 25 points, three ahead of Kaya, which has played one more game than the Busmen.
The deal, worth GBP8.0 million, will see Ceres work with their fellow fuel cell manufacturers to develop a solid oxide fuel cell system for the building market.