Ceres Goddess of Agriculture

Areas of Influence: Ceres was the Roman Goddess of agriculture and grain. The word cereal is derived from her name. 

She is accredited with the discovery of spelt, an ancient strain of wheat and the knowledge of how to grow, fertilize and harvest cereal crops. 

After a terrible famine in 496 B.C. the Sibylline books were consulted and a recommendation made that Rome adopt of the Greek Deities Demeter, Dionyisus and Persephone. Their identities were changed to Ceres, Liber and Libera. Together they formed the Avertine triad.

This Goddess also adopted Demeter's mythology as she also lost her daughter to the God of the underworld, for six months of the year.

Her early Italian cult was similar to that of Tellus the Earth Goddess. She was aided in her agricultural duties by twelve minor Gods and Goddesses.

Ceres was also Goddess of law and order. At first this may appear a strange area of influence for this grain goddess however, she was accredited with the founding of agriculture and a move away from a nomadic hunter gatherer society. This necessitated a need for new laws to divide the land and protect property ownership as settlements grew into villages, towns and cities.

This Goddess was also Goddess of transitions, protecting woman at the vulnerable points in their lives: between girlhood and womanhood and the time of change between unmarried life, marriage and motherhood.

Her main temple is situated on Aventine Hill, one of seven hill tops that surrounded ancient Rome.


Origins and Genealogy: In Roman mythology she was the daughter of Saturn and Ops. She had several brothers and sisters: Juno, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto and Vesta. She married her brother Jupiter and together they had a daughter named Proserpina.

Strengths: Fertility, abundance and endurance.

Weaknesses: Lived her life through her daughter.

Greek Equivalent: Demeter, other Harvest Goddesses

 Symbolism


Pictured carrying a scepter or a farming tool in one hand and a basket of fruit or grain in the other.

Sacred Animal: Pigs. Ants were used in her temples to predict the weather and the future.

Sacred Plants: The chaste trees, corn and pumpkins. She was also offered the first fruits of the harvest. Poppies were her emblem as the grow in cornfields. All other flowers were banned as she had lost her daughter to the underworld when she was out picking flowers.

Festivals: Her festivals marked the different stages of the agricultural calendar. At the Paganalia festival when the seeds were sown,  a pregnant sow was sacrificed to her and the earth goddess Tellus to ensure an abundant crop yield. Her main festival, the Cerealia was celebrated over seven days in late April. This encouraged the ripening of the crops and prevented pests and diseases. This Goddess was also celebrated both by communities and households in the Ambarvalia which was held each May. 

Ceres Archetypes

The Mother:

The Mother Archetype is a life-giver and the source of nurturing, devotion, patience and unconditional love. The ability to forgive and provide for her children and put them before herself is the essence of a good mother.

In its shadow aspect the Mother can be devouring, abusive and abandoning. The shadow Mother can also make her children feel guilty about becoming independent and leaving her.

Ceres is a grain Goddess who teaches people how to nurture and harvest her crops. Later she also takes on the Mother role of her Greek counterpart Demeter.

Rescuer:

The Rescuer provides strength and support to others in crisis. They act out of love with no expectation of a reward.

The shadow Rescuer expects the rescued party to be grateful and will often try to keep that person needy.

Ceres is distraught when her daughter goes missing and does not rest until she has found her. She is frustrated as she is unable to save her daughter and is forced to compromise.

Please follow this link to the Archetypes page to discover which other Goddess Archetypes resonate with you.


How To Work With These Archetypes

The Mother:

It is not necessary to be a biological mother to have this Archetype. It can refer to anyone who has a lifelong pattern of nurturing and devotion to living things.

You are exhibiting the features of the shadow Mother if you smother your children and are over protective. Encourage independence and allow children to make mistakes but be available to give care and advice when it's needed.

The other shadow Mother is the one that abandons her children, or is so busy that she has no time for nurturing her young.

Rescuer:

The Rescuer is one of your Archetypes if you are always trying to save and help people.

What you need to ask yourself is what motivates you to act this way? Are you expecting a reward for your trouble or do you love helping others?







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