Mercury retrograde periods are a great time for reposting! I’m taking a few days off for some other creative projects so meanwhile please enjoy some of my favorite articles from the past, and please be kind to each other in the comments.
I’ll be writing more about the whole Virgo/Cancer debate later, but there are some interesting facts about Ceres/Demeter and her relationship to the underworld that may be significant. Of course Ceres/Demeter is best known for the tale in which her daughter Persephone/Kore was abducted by Hades/Pluto into the underworld, but Ceres/Demeter herself was instrumental in the concept of resurrection. (The Romans adopted the Greek gods and the names were changed but the myths remained virtually identical.)
Barbara Walker’s amazing book The Secrets of the Tarot reveals that Demeter’s principal temple,Eleusis, was the site of resurrection rituals that may have been the precursor to the Christian myths. Demeter was the Mistress of Earth and Sea, promising to multiply loaves and fishes; her savior-son of various names was called the “Liberator”. During the rituals of the Eleusinian mysteries the seed of Dionysus was killed (reaped), buried (planted) and resurrected (sprouted), with his flesh eaten as bread and his blood drunk as wine. (Sound familiar?) During the ritual, the priestess and hierophant perform the “Great Rite,” re-enacting the coupling between Demeter and Zeus which conceived the child Dionysus. This Great Rite was thought to bring about the regeneration of the earth and the forgiveness of sins.
During Christian times Demeter was informally canonized as St. Demetra who according to legend also had a daughter, kidnapped this time by a wicked Turkish wizard. When a young man tries to rescue Demetra’s daughter he is captured and dismembered, and Demetra resurrects him so that her daughter can be rescued.
Pluto’s discovery in 1930 brought with it the introduction of the atomic bomb and the fear of ultimate annhilation, the ultimate power. In these days of terrorism when a single individual with a toiletry bottle can potentially wipe out thousands of people, our concept of power is changing. In centuries past, whichever country had the biggest guns had the most power. When the US was the only nation with the bomb we were the only superpower. When Russia developed the bomb, they were the other superpower. At this time nine nations have nuclear weapons, with several more to attain that status soon (including Iran). The whole concept of power, as embodied in the archetype of Pluto, is changing and this will become very clear in the 2010-2013 square of Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn. The power of Pluto hasn’t lessened one iota, but it has become universalized rather than being owned by just a few countries and individuals. Perhaps this is symbolized by the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet, a status shared by many others.
Perhaps too the introduction of Ceres/Demeter into the Plutonic archetype offers hope for resurrection and regeneration from Pluto’s threat of total destruction.