The source of the zodiac is based in the northern hemisphere and therefore the signs are thought to align with northern hemisphere seasons. Leo, a sign associated with the sun, occurs in our summer. We should, then, be forgiven for expecting some heat and sunshine. In Amsterdam we hope for a bit of that every year. However this year, the amount of sunshine has far exceeded the norm, as it has in the rest of Europe and worldwide. And even though it is winter down-under, Australia is suffering from serious drought too. Temperature records have been broken across Europe, with some places having temperatures of over 40 degrees centigrade – too darn hot for me – and my plants, my cat and I were very happy when it started raining. Who’d have thought?
Leo is a fire sign, and sadly many countries have suffered terribly from outbreaks of wildfires. Sweden, the UK and the US have all been in the news, as has Portugal. And Greece suffered tragedy in a very fierce blaze at a holiday resort near Athens. I will discuss this one in a bit more detail.
We have also seen other natural disasters. Earthquakes together with tsunamis on the island of Lombok have claimed many lives, flash flooding in many places, including Corsica and France, and a strange and scary mudslide in Switzerland, have been caused by rain after drought conditions. It’s been a terrifying summer holiday for many and my heart goes out to all affected.
What should we make of it?
Climate change is, of course, thought by many to be the culprit, but I wanted to see if astrology has anything to say. To me it is clear that we have become more aware of climate change since 2006, when Ceres was reinstated as a planet, albeit a dwarf one – the same as Pluto. Many have tried to predict weather using astrology, but that’s too big a research project for one astrologer I think. And there are many astrologers who are working with earthquake prediction, again a huge research task. I certainly don’t purport to know about either of these things, however I do like looking back and noticing what was going on in the heavens at time of big events. It adds to my own personal research. Of course, I try to confirm what I think I know already, which is dangerous! It’s hard to be objective about one’s own theories.
The nature goddess
Having said all that, I wanted to see what Ceres has been up to this month. Planets can be used as archetypes or concepts to investigate certain themes. In mythology, she could make crops fail and create ‘winter’, thereby becoming known as the goddess of seasons. So I suspect that she has something to say about weather, and maybe has a hand in other natural disasters. I’ve noticed she has been prominent in different astrological ways at various events, such as the Japan nuclear and tsunami disaster, and the Louisiana oil spill, to name just two.
My suspicion is that she doesn’t act alone. I have a feeling she makes use of other planets to get across a message of purity and protection (including of the earth and for animals). She’s a good negotiator! I discussed this in my Cancer 2017 post. So I wondered whose ear she might have been whispering in during Leo time. There has been a lot of fiery Leo energy around this month as we have had eclipses, and they could play a role in events. Many astrologers have commented on this eclipse season, so plenty to research if the mood takes you. However that’s not my speciality, so I’ll concentrate on what Ceres is up to. I wonder sometimes if she sees humans as a plague on the earth!
Who has she been meeting?
She’s no slouch on the moving front, so she has had a few encounters of note this month as she does every month. Two with Mars, and one with each of her brothers – Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, who is also her son-in-law. If the myth is anything to go by, she can hold her ground to get what she wants from these three. And lastly she had a short encounter with Uranus.
Mars – a fiery god – quick, and warlike. Ceres met him in an aspect that I usually take to mean ‘talent’ – an easy meeting that took place on the 25th July, the day after the tragic Greek fires when the devastation caused became obvious. Although there is now a suspicion that arson (by angry young men – Mars?) may have started the fires, the weather conditions created a deadly environment for fire to spread. On the 6th August, Ceres and Mars met in a more tense aspect and on the 7th the wildfires in the Algarve in Portugal were in the news. Does she ask Mars to start or spread fires?
Jupiter – she had an easy meeting with him on the 1st August. Jupiter – god of religion, politics and philosophy – expands and makes everything larger. Around this date the two big earthquakes in Lombok in Indonesia occurred – one on the 29th of July and one on the 5th of August – the biggest one. As I write there has been yet another one. Is Ceres commenting on religion or politics?
Neptune – a water god of the sea – one of loss, and victims. Right on cue, the Lombok earthquake on the 5th August, when Ceres opposed Neptune in the sky, caused a tsunami. There was other flooding too around this time. One example was in Corsica. And a few days later, monsoon rains in India started causing the worst floods there in a century. Does Ceres think the earth needs a wash?
Uranus – an air god of lightning and quick unexpected shocks. She squared up to him on the 9th August. The day before this there was a sudden mudslide in Switzerland, and on the day itself, a large aftershock was felt in Lombok, causing more panic. Also on the 9th, sudden unexpected flash floods caused devastation in France where a summer camp was being held. Is Ceres using Uranus to create a wake-up call for some reason?
It seems to me that she is making use of the expertise of these gods to help her make a point. Perhaps since she is new to planethood again, she needs the help of more established planets to get her point across. I think as she settles into her planetary promotion she will do her own work, as will women, but it’s always good if men help! However back to the matter at hand – what is her point?
What Ceres wants
When she is happy, Ceres is a goddess who feeds the masses with pure, healthy food. She lobbies for organic food and sticks up for women. She looks after the plebs and negotiates for the disenfranchised. She values democracy and she takes on power and greed. When it comes to the myth, this is most often the masculine kind.
It would be interesting to research these themes in places where there have been wildfires and other disasters. Are these the issues that need addressing? As an example, Lombok has grown very rapidly recently as it is being developed and supported by government as a new tourist destination. The amount of waste in Indonesia has been a problem and the attempt to take over land for hotels has caused tensions. Ceres looks after the land, so she would not be happy about that. And hard-line Islamic attitudes have also caused problems for tourism, not least in LGBT circles. Ceres sticks up for disenfranchised groups – is she commenting on that too?
I wanted to research just one of these in more depth, so as the Mars encounter with Ceres was very close on the date of the tragic fires in Greece, I chose that one. Additionally, Greece is a Leo country and Tsipras, the country’s leader, just had a birthday!
A more in-depth look at Greece
As always in astrology the question is: why there and why now? In a previous Cancer post of 2015, I wrote about the links between Greece and the current leader Alexis Tspiras. Just as Greece was finishing the austerity measures imposed by the EU, the sad news of the fires hit global headlines between Greece’s democracy birthday on July 24th and Tsipras’ birthday on the 28th. The Sun in the sky, putting Greece in the global spotlight, was highlighting leadership issues in Greece and the authority of Tsipras. I was pleased to see a quote in the news from him, after one of his ministers blamed citizens for building unauthorised structures for the difficulties caused by the fires. He is taking responsibility. This from the Guardian:
Tsipras said he was determined to deal with the chronic problems that triggered the tragedy, starting with illegal construction and society’s abuse of the natural environment. “We will proceed with speed and determination to draw up a national plan which will finally deal with the construction anomalies that go back decades,” he said.
It was crucial, he added, that the country overhauled its civil protection agency. “If we need to put bulldozers to work and face confrontation, so be it. We are not going to sit back with our arms crossed, taking half-measures, waiting indecisively for the next tragedy.”
I hope he means it. Fire crews had warned of problems in the area but their pleas went unanswered. It seems that arson is common in forest areas in Greece as it clears land that then allows illegal structures to be built. The government, particularly with the suffering caused by austerity measures, had not policed policies that don’t allow illegal construction. I was pleased to see Tsipras mention the natural environment too – that would appeal to Ceres – although it is so sad that a disaster of this scale needs to occur before these problems are tackled.
Ceres was in cahoots with Mars, but what were they triggering in the charts? Because Greece and Tsipras have very similar charts, being born 4 days apart, the themes for them are very similar.
Ceres in Virgo, an earthy sign associated with discernment and keeping what is useful, is closely picking up Saturn in Cancer in both charts and also Mercury in the Greek chart. Saturn concerns rules and responsibility as well as government and management. Cancer is the sign of homes and families. It is clear Ceres wants those areas looked at and Tsipras seemed to have got the memo! The rules should be clarified and applied and he needs to take responsibility for that. The Greek people need to be clearly informed (Mercury with Saturn) and take responsibility too.
Mars is going backwards in Aquarius, an air sign of opinions. Anger had been expressed before about the situation in Mati and the illegal construction and arson. It appears Mars has had to revisit (retrograde) these themes. Mars’ closest encounter is with the Moon and Pluto in the Greek chart, and just Pluto in the chart of Tsipras. Mars is giving the people (Moon) a kick to become empowered and to be enraged. The people need to have an influence in Greece and Mars is, in his way, getting them angry enough to act.
Tsipras is also being encouraged to take back control – as a leader within the EU and also in his own country as a leader. He may feel a bit powerless at times, but it seems Mars wants him to use his power.
Does Ceres like disasters?
Perhaps she does. Because, despite all the heartbreak and damage caused by these events, there are benefits to many natural disasters, and all of them are in line with Ceres goals. Fires are necessary for some plants to germinate. They also clear land which could be taken over by one species such as trees. Burning allows more species to thrive in the plant world and therefore provides habitats for more animal species. Ceres is an advocate of natural bio-diversity in all forms. Fire is a natural occurrence in nature and traditional fire management used to be practised by many traditional tribes. Man’s need to control fire has caused the fires to be more deadly, destroying much more than necessary.
Floods allow for nutrients to be spread. In ancient Egypt this was well known. The benefits of the regular Nile floods were obvious for the growing of crops. People worked together with natural cycles. Floods can also move populations of wildlife and this can balance eco-systems. Ceres is the goddess of fertile soil. She would be happy with the soil being improved naturally.
Volcanoes too enrich the soil, and they can also release natural resources from the earth and chemicals into the air – also balancing natural cycles.
Hurricanes – devastating for humans, animals and plants – can also have benefits. Sometimes the topsoil gets redistributed, which can be advantageous. They can also wipe out structures that are obsolete. Earthquakes can do that as well. As with all natural disasters, people are brought together and are required to negotiate solutions. Ceres would like that too, as long as the solutions are ecologically sound. But mainly, I think she is unhappy when we move too far away from nature and try to control her areas. Or when we overpopulate and trash her beauty. Nature will always be cleverer than we are!
Websites of the Month
On the wildfires around the world
On why fires can be useful from BBC Earth.
As Ceres squares Uranus – a strange mudslide hits Switzerland.
I’m not a big fan of this sort of music but this song kept going through my mind during the heatwave and this is a nice version, if you like that sort of thing!
Quote of the month
“It is really only within the last few centuries that we have become detached from the importance of fire in the landscape, and lost sight of the value it has for the proper functioning of nature.”
“Intense fire, while obviously destructive, is vital for maintaining biodiversity in some regions.”
Both quotes from the article mentioned in the website section above, on BBC Earth, written by Claire Asher.
Ceres exact aspects (Amsterdam dates) – bq Mars July 25, sextile Jupiter August 1, opp Neptune August 5, sesquiq Mars August 6, square Uranus August 9, Trine Pluto Aug 13.
Greece – democracy – due to collapse of military dictatorship: 24 July 1974, 4:00 am Athens, Greece. Source Book of World Horoscopes by Nicholas Campion, time is swearing in of Karamanlis as Prime Minister.
Alexis Tsipras: 28 July 1974, 1:30 am, Athens, Greece. C rating. (Yes 4 days after Greece!)