Many people are shocked and frightened by current events in today’s world. My way of dealing with what is happening in the world, is to attempt to see the bigger picture and to know that I can have an input in creating a better future – albeit in a small way. We live in a world where we need to make choices every day. These choices affect our own small lives and eventually, I believe, can add to global awareness. However some choices have a greater impact, and the US election falls into this category.
Libra is a sign that represents balance and fairness, so how do we make sense of an election that really has neither of these qualities? Only two candidates in the US get enough coverage – other candidates have little chance of getting their message out, even if they can get past the ridiculous rules for getting on the ballot. Libra likes to listen to all sides, so for many, this time of year can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. But perhaps there is a bigger picture – one that symbolises a struggle for balance. To make sense of this, I want to use an age-old way of finding meaning and guidance in life. Myths to the rescue, because the symbolism can help us. To quote a site on myths:
“Myths present guidelines for living. When myths tell about the activities and attitudes of deities, the moral tone implies society’s expectations for our own behaviours and standards. In myths, we see archetypal situations and some of the options which can be selected in those situations; we also perceive the rewards and other consequences which resulted from those selections.
Myths offer role models.”
The rape of Persephone
The myth I will use to highlight the contest for the presidency in the US, is the one concerning the abduction of Persephone. This is a story with many characters, the main ones being Ceres (or Demeter) and her daughter Proserpina (Persephone). The main male characters are Hades (Pluto) and Jupiter (Zeus).
To cut a long story short, Persephone is abducted into the underworld by Pluto, and Ceres is distraught at the loss of her daughter. Jupiter, Persephone’s father, however, agrees to the match and the story continues. There are many ways to interpret this story, however my focus here is to look at the development of Ceres and how this affects her male counterparts. Myths offer advice at a personal level and also at a global level. To me, they offer guidance on how we can raise consciousness levels, and one interpretation of this one represents how we need to deal with a patriarchal culture. It is interesting to note that in the earlier versions of this myth (perhaps during matriarchal times), Persephone did not require male intervention (abduction and rape) to enter the underworld and become a woman in her own right. She chose the time herself.
The main players
is the mother of an adolescent daughter – Persephone is on the verge of womanhood. The story begins when Ceres is at a point in her life when the time is ripe for her to move on from her mother role to one where she can spend more time in service to the world. She is also at an age where she could become a grandmother. She has gifts she can offer the world: as the goddess of grain she knows how to feed the populace. She understands the cycles of life and death, and she understands cultivation and fertility. She is a protector of all life and promotes democracy in her festivals. You could say that she is the archetypal female wise elder. But at this stage of the myth she is at the beginning of a rite of passage and is still attached to her daughter.
Ceres the dwarf planet
In 2006 the now dwarf planet Ceres was upgraded to be on the same level as Pluto, which I feel is relevant to where we are globally in terms of this myth. The Ceres and Pluto archetypes need to come into balance. Hillary Clinton is a Ceres woman. In astrological terms, her Sun (her vocation) is opposite Ceres in her horoscope, which makes this archetype part of her calling. She is an older woman who is a grandmother. Whether you love her or hate her, her drive to serve the world has included Ceres themes. And it still does.
Hades (Pluto) and Jupiter (Zeus) …
are brothers of Ceres. Pluto is the god of the underworld, while Jupiter is Persephone’s father and also the ruling god. Pluto in astrology represents power, and Jupiter symbolises politics, celebrity and also greed. He is a ‘player’ who is constantly with women other than his wife, Hera. Donald Trump is a fitting representative of the brothers, since money represents power in the US chart, and he is seen as being rich. And he has certainly had power and many women in his life! Interestingly, in his horoscope, Pluto is opposite Ceres. He shares an aspect between these two dwarf-plants with Rupert Murdoch, Woody Allen and Josef Fritzl, the man in Austria who held his daughter, Elisabeth, captive for 24 years and fathered her seven children. Not that everyone who has this aspect has this sort of history, but it can manifest in men as very interesting relationships with women, including their own daughters! Trump is exactly the right person to be opposing a Ceres woman. His power is the very opposite of what Ceres represents.
So what happens in the myth?
Ceres loses her daughter
The brothers assume power. They have arranged the match of Pluto and Persephone and they basically say to Ceres, “Get over yourself. It’s a good match.” This represents male decision-making over all women. Daughters may be abducted and raped. Men make decisions about abortion laws and marriages, and wives and mothers can be ignored. Men may do what they want with both young and old women. The Trump tapes show what he claims to be ‘locker room’ talk. Many men still have these attitudes and many women still think “Oh well, men will be men”. Trump is still at this stage of the myth. At this level of consciousness. He is in for a shock.
Ceres discovers what has happened
When she discovers where her daughter is, Ceres feels powerless and bereft. Her brothers have overruled her and she misses her daughter. In one version of the myth she is raped by another brother – Neptune (Poseidon). Men feel a sense of entitlement at this stage of development and act to emphasise their dominance. Women at this level don’t yet know what to do about it. They too are indoctrinated with the patriarchal rules. Many of Trump’s women supporters may be at this level, buying into the alpha male story.
Ceres goes to work
Ceres wanders the earth and is helped by young women at a well who are instrumental in getting her a job as a nurse for a King’s son. She works tirelessly behind the scenes to help Demophon grow, however she also secretly uses her powers to make him immortal. I think Hillary has had this role for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The power behind the throne, she has been instrumental in supporting them and making them both ‘immortal’ while working hard, with very little recognition for what she has done for women, children, clean energy, and animal rights – all Ceres’ themes.
Ceres gets caught
When Ceres is caught putting Demophon into the fire to make him immortal, his mother, Queen Metaneira, is outraged. This forces Ceres to drop her disguise as an old woman and reveal herself as the true goddess she is. Now I’m not saying that Hillary is a goddess, but she is stepping up to the plate and showing us who she is and that she wants to take her power. In this way she is a role model for many women. The fact that a woman can even run for president is hugely important, as is the fact that the UK again has a woman in charge. Many other women leaders are important in this story too. They are not perfect, but their positions demonstrate possibilities for younger women.
Now she is really angry
Ceres does her goddess duties for a while and gets a temple built in her honour (as you do!) But on a serious note – many women accept money and gifts, possibly as a replacement for real love and respect. But Ceres realises that her anger about her missing daughter is growing stronger. She decides to express her rage by refusing to let any food grow. Without food, the people will starve and there will be no-one left to worship the gods! She realises that her gift for providing food, and knowledge of agriculture is a powerful one. She confronts her brothers. “No food until my daughter is returned!” The gods try everything, but she’s not budging. An impasse – the gods finally realise they will not win this one.
So here we are on a personal level with Hillary against Donald. On a global level this is incredibly important. It’s not about Clinton and Trump. She is a symbol of women who have had enough of the patriarchy. Confronting male privilege, greed, sleaziness with women and a sense of entitlement. Yes, women are angry – Trump is performing his role perfectly. I have never seen so many women on social media expressing their anger towards Trump and his way of dealing with women. It is gratifying that many men are expressing their anger about this too – President Obama and Robert de Niro to name just two. We need Trump. He is making us angry enough to step into our real power. And we are not going to worship power, greed and celebrity any more. Anger is useful. And women have gifts to share – especially older women!
So this is where we are …
but we must go further. Balance must be restored! The brothers have seen the light and so they are prepared to negotiate. Importantly, so is Ceres. And she is a tough negotiator. One of the things that is often said of Hillary, is that she will work with Republicans and other ‘enemies’ to get a job done. Ceres is earthy – she wants a result. So Ceres gets her daughter back in Summer and everything flourishes on earth. In Winter, Persephone is with Pluto in the underworld and nothing grows. We get seasons – no wonder our weather has been weird since 2006! Ceres is demonstrating her new status.
Republicans and Democrats (and of course other parties) need to negotiate in the future. The moral here is that unless that happens nobody gets what they want. And women need to step into their power and say no to male dominance. A good example of this is Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. After having lost her family and being dominated and locked up by men, she has negotiated with the military leadership and is now herself a leader. She too has a Ceres calling (the Sun and Ceres in aspect in her horoscope), which in her case focuses on democracy. It is gratifying to see this happening and to see many men of power being brought to justice for their abuse of power in the past. Women (and many men) are not prepared to accept the situation any longer and the US election is making this crystal clear.
Meanwhile back in the US
It can’t be easy for either candidate in the US elections but they are performing their roles admirably! Trump was brought up by a tough, dominant father who instilled a sense of ‘winning at all costs’ into him. The US is a culture that, until now, has valued competition and money above most other things. He needs to win to show he is a man. And perhaps a less ‘tough’ woman than Hillary would be unable to challenge this culture. She is showing us that she is on the same level as Bill and Barack, just as Ceres does in the myth. And it is also encouraging to see both men saying Hillary would be a better president than Bill ever was! (I note that Obama didn’t say better than he is.) This is what conscious men need to do – support women so they can fulfil their calling. As an aside both President Obama and Michelle have the Ceres archetype as part of their calling too.
The next steps
Ceres teaches cultivation of crops and, together with her daughter, leads the Eleusinian mysteries. The cycles of nature and life and death are crucial to these initiation rituals. The celebrations were open to everyone – men and women. The only condition of entry was that you could understand the language, and the details of what happened were to be kept secret. To me this suggests a few things to further consciousness development.
- We should understand how nature works and honour it.
- Older women should work with younger women.
- Older women are teachers.
- Men and women should work together on the mysteries of life.
While this change is huge and is causing painful upheavals and vicious attacks, it does seem to be necessary. If we can empower more women, this change may be swifter and less painful.
Here’s to further consciousness evolution!
Websites of the month
Ok I got carried away this month!
On Hillary Clinton
An endorsement of Hillary from the New York Times highlighting her record.
On these times
And a great article from another perspective and very much in line with my thoughts (but she says it better!) from Danielle Egnew – Why voting in the 2016 presidential election is the biggest spiritual act of our time.
On angry women
On why we need men
A Washington Post article – Many men talk like Donald Trump in private. Only other men can stop them.
The myth of Ceres and Persephone
Quotes of the Month
“In the face of patriarchy, it is a brave act indeed for both men and women to embrace, rather than shame or attempt to eradicate, the feminine.” Alanis Morissette – Canadian singer and actor.
“While there is mutual respect between the two partners – between the goddess and the king, between the land and the people, between nature and culture, between feminine and masculine – then all is in harmony and life is filled with abundance. But when the contract is broken, the fertile land becomes the Wasteland.” from a longer wonderful article called Marrying the Land.