F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 4 R E T R O G R A D E W A T C H
by Maya del Mar
Asteroid Ceres is the only body to turn direction this month. On February 25, she turns direct at 12 Cancer, atop the U.S. Sun.
Ceres (Demeter) is an ancient goddess. She is the goddess of fertility, of nurturing, and of the harvest. Ceres was the mother of the beautiful young girl, Persephone, whom she dearly loved. According to myth, Persephone was abducted by Pluto and taken to his underworld kingdomwith permission of Jupiter, King of the Gods. Ceres was distraught, and overtaken with grief. She suspended the productivity of the earth, and refused to allow anything to growthe first strike. In her grief, she wandered the earth, and became a nursemaid and a servant. She begged Jupiter to restore Persephone to her, and finally she and Jupiter made a dealthe first collective bargaining. Persephone would stay with Pluto four months of the year, and spend the rest of the year with Ceres.
Ceres was revered for thousands of years. The story of Mary, who had her son taken from her, the son who also arose from the dead, is a later version of the Ceres story. This story is about the human cycle of life, death, and rebirth, with death and redemption. The "Eleusinian Mysteries," celebrating this experience, was a major religious season celebrated by people in all walks of life for 2000 years, well into the Christian era.
Ceres is involved with all the processes of planting and cultivating, and getting food to the table, including transporting and cooking. She represents labor. She is a productive principle, giving form to things. Ceres is apt to be prominent in the charts of people involved with food.
Ceres also includes sharing. She taught humankind the art of agriculture so that there would be no more hunger. She has communal concern.
She also has individual care and concern, and figures in all the caring professions, such as nursing, doctoring, teaching, social services, counseling services, and spiritual healing. She is a mother, bearing and caring for her child, and this extends to all caring.
Ceres is not a revolutionary, but she will protest over unfairness, injustice, and practices injurious to her charges. She is easily aroused to grief at human suffering. She is particularly protective of women.
Now, turning direct in the family sign of Cancer, she has her work cut out for her.
Ceres turned retrograde November 23, 2003, at 26 Cancerthe degree of GWs Saturn, and very close to the U.S. Mercury. Now she turns direct on the U.S. and on GWs Suns, at 12 Cancer, which she first traversed on September 14-17. She will travel ahead again, and on May 10 she will return to 26 Cancer. We are seeing, then, an eight-month journey of a triple meeting of Ceres with the very identities of the U.S. and of GW.
In mid-September, the Cancun WTO meeting, which was primarily about food trade, ended in failure. The U.S. did not get its agenda through. Also at that time the Yerkes Laboratory (monkey research) reported that Capuchin monkeys will consciously go on strike to get what they want! Shades of Ceres!
However, the U.S. is continuing to work on its agenda bilaterally, behind closed doors, and is having success. By May they may have what they want.
The retrograde turn marked another Ceres involvement. It was then that Congress passed the terrible Medicare prescription bill, which was a bonanza to drug companies and HMOs, and made reasonable prices for drugs impossible for seniors using Medicare by forbidding the government to bargain with drug companies. It also shifts responsibility for drug coverage for retirees from large corporations to the government, thus saving the companies millions. AARP, with huge insurance investments, recommended voting for the bill. Many members quit AARP, feeling that their interests were betrayed. My Congresswoman, who voted against the bill, is helping to gather Congress members and people together to protest. Ceres is not happy about this lack of concern for seniors.
Many Ceres issues are simmering. A notable one is the months-long grocery store workers strike in southern California against large grocery corporations, such as Albertsons, Krogers, Ralphs, and Safeway Vons, who have raised health care costs for their workers astronomically, to literally impossible levels. For instance, a single worker earning $19,000/year is to be charged $5,000/year for health benefits. A single mother with 2 children earning that $19,000/year would be charged $9,000 for health benefits. The Safeway CEO, Mr. Byrd, who is standing firm, says he wants to run a Walmart-style operation. Mr. Byrd had a salary of $21,000,000 this last year. Ceres is surely not pleased.
During this retrograde time, Ceres has been journeying with asteroid Hygeia, who is especially concerned about health matters, and particularly public or communal health. In the grocery store strike we see Ceres and Hygeia working together.
Other community health issues have been in focus. The AIDS epidemic, on a worldwide level, is calling for attention. As have the conditions for survival in Iraq and in Palestine, where basic needs such as food, clean water, and sewage facilities are lacking. Global warming and global pollution, both destructive of our food supply and our health, are also much in the news. And Kofi Annan is holding a UN meeting to discuss world hunger.
The Mad Cow Disease scare changed some practices of the slaughtering trade for the better, at least in theory. The myriad abuses in the food industry were recently dramatized by Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation, a must-read for Americans (read Daykeeper's review).
In California, nurses have been having much difficulty getting regulations and enforcement which would promote adequate patient care.
Another big Ceres issue is the so-called Immigration Bill. This bill cuts off all roads for permanent resident or visa status, and makes the worker beholden, during this three-year contract, to the employer who has hired him. It is similar to the Bracero program of the 40s, which opened the door to horrendous worker abuse. Further, the program provides a surveillance system for the government.
There was some talk from the some of the Democratic presidential candidates about universal health insurance, but that seems to have died away.
Ceres has a very big job to do! Hundreds of situations daily call for her assistance. Let us see what the Ceres direct station brings.
It falls at a crucial timebetween the Mars square of Neptune and the Moon occultation of Mars. Mars, then, will be a major player in the picture. Mars is energy, and Neptune can be cloudy and chemically.
Ceres direct turn occurs at 1:38 p.m. EST on February 25 at 12 Cancer, with Ceres conjunct Hygeia and close to Saturn, who is at 7 Cancer. She is in close opposition to Juno at 11 Capricorn. Saturn puts blocks and obstacles in the way of direct action. We have seen this in the grocery strike, where the stores refuse to negotiate. Juno in Capricorn is willing to suffer abuse if she can be allied with the power structure, so shes not much help. (Our Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, is a Juno figure.)
Ceres only real ally, besides Hygeia, appears to be Moon in Taurus, who at this moment is giving Ceres the encouragement of a sextile. Moon refers to the people, who will be involved here. But Moon is a busy one, and she will be on to other work shortlyjust as the attention span of the public is short.
But events may draw and focus our attention. Tonight Moon will conjoin the North Node of the Moon in Taurus, and she will occult Mars (visible in the South Pacific). Both of these hits speak of destiny stepping in.
So what will happen with this direct turn? I dont know. The last time Ceres turned direct in Cancer was in 1981. Shortly afterwards, the grain embargo to the USSR was lifted. The Supreme Court said that women could sue for equal pay. And the first woman to the Supreme Court was appointedSandra Day OConnor. Times, however, are much different now. The U.S., for the first time, has no grain reserve, thanks to government policies. And womens rights are moving backwards.
Keep your eye on Ceres concerns. Her concerns relate to the survival of all of us. Ceres will travel direct for a very long time, until March of 2005, and she can accomplish a lot. She will pick up speed and move through the rest of Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, and turn retrograde at the end of power sign Scorpiojust after the next inauguration.
Want to know the planetary retrogrades for the year, in advance? Maya's extremely handy 2004 Retrograde Guide shows you at a glance the upcoming retrogrades, and how to best apply your energies during each one.
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