modern "civilized" society, woman's role as a loving person
is divided. The sensuous, erotic function (woman as lover) has been
disassociated from the maternal role (woman as mother). One example
of the suppression of the sensuous aspect of the mother-child bond is
the use of plastic pacifiers. Few people feel it is socially acceptable
for a mother to breast-feed her child openly in public, but if she is
apparently enjoying the process, it is considered somewhat pornographic
and even incestuous. Yet science tells us that women are not divided
biologically. There is a physiological behavior that is common to both
lovemaking and nursing, as well as natural childbirth. The hormone oxytocin
is released during orgasm, lactation and childbirth.
modern society developed such a separation between erotic and maternal
love? While mothering is generally held as the initial model of social
relationship, the sexually expressive woman is often associated with
wildness, primitive behavior and a less-than-civilized order of being.
We find endless support for this divided image of woman in religion,
law and social standards, but the most obvious evidence can be traced
back to ancient mythology.
mythology, the goddess of mothering was Demeter, "Mother Earth"
(Ceres was her Roman name). The Greeks and Romans also held Demeter-Ceres
to be the goddess responsible for civilizing humanity through agriculture
(cooperation with the Earth). The Greek goddess Aphrodite (Venus), on
the other hand, was symbolic of the sexual attraction that leads to
reproduction. Aphrodite-Venus was also considered a disturbing influence
on the socially-approved state of matrimony. In ancient myths, Venus
herself was not happily married; she conducted numerous extra-marital
affairs and spent much of her time causing unlikely partners to fall
in love with each other.
division is likewise symbolized in astrology. The planet Venus represents
attraction, the biochemical-hormonal level of sexual reproduction and
the earliest stages of social interaction via the senses. In astro-mythology,
Venus is primarily interested in the sensual pleasures of relating.
She promotes sexuality for procreation, yet she is never the goddess
of its consequence, pregnancy. Astrology considers the asteroid Ceres
and the Moon as the rulers of childbirth and mothering, and all the
responsibilities they entail. Venus is often associated with prostitution
("the oldest profession"), while Ceres and the Moon represent
what some have called the "second oldest profession," motherhood.
and Ceres in Conflict
myths show Venus in constant conflict with Ceres, symbolizing a disjunction
between female sexuality-sensuousness (love between adults) and maternity
(love between mother and child). In our own lives, this conflict has
become unavoidably apparent in the issue of birth control, which essentially
allows sex without the reproduction that leads to mothering. It is therefore
not surprising to find Venus and Ceres as prominent features in astrological
charts drawn for events and people involved in birth control. It is
particularly common for such charts to show Venus (female sex/reproduction)
and Ceres (mothering) in aspect to Saturn (the planet of control or
limitation) and Chiron (the wounded healer).
woman to open a birth control clinic was the American feminist Margaret
Sanger. Sanger's British counterpart was Marie Stopes, who opened the
first birth control clinic in England. Both had strong aspects involving
Ceres, Venus, Chiron and/or Saturn in their horoscopes.*
first oral contraceptive drug ("the pill") went on sale in
the United States in late 1960, Venus was conjunct Saturn in Capricorn,
and Ceres was conjunct Chiron. In early 1970, when congressional hearings
and the media focused attention on the pill, Venus, Ceres and Chiron
were all conjunct. In the decision of Roe versus Wade
of January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time to legalize
abortion nationwide. At this time, Venus was square to Chiron and in
semi-square with Ceres.
mainly responsible for inventing and promoting the "morning after"
abortion pill, RU-486, was Emile Baulieu.** At the time that
Baulieu developed RU-486 (early April 1980), Ceres and Chiron were conjunct.
When the patent was obtained for RU-486, Ceres was square Chiron, and
Venus was square Saturn.
Venus and Ceres
Ceres epitomize two aspects of the feminine nature that are biologically
integrated but that have been deliberately separated on the social level.
To accept them as joined implies a concentration of power that threatens
the status quo. Consequently, most modern cultures (which are patriarchal)
have developed morality structures that promote the distancing of women's
sexuality from the civilized ideal of motherhood. Women are "kept
in their place" when the power of their love is divided, and they
are deprived of biological autonomy through restrictions against birth
always like this. There is evidence from earlier cultures that shows
there was once an acceptable synthesis of sensuality and maternity.
Can we hope for a future that would re-synthesize this deep and natural
connection? Only when women have the right to govern their own bodies
can they face and resolve the socialized differences symbolized by Venus
Sanger was born with Venus in sextile to Ceres and opposed Saturn. Marie
Stopes was born with Ceres opposed Saturn, and Venus opposed Chiron.
Baulieu’s birth chart shows Ceres precisely conjunct his Ascendant,
and Venus is trine Chiron.