Your natal Moon and Ceres are two facets of how you experienced your mother. If natal Pluto aspects both in your chart, you have a specific scenario that describes nurturing, threat and loss, in mythic proportions. This will impact your adult relationships; your feelings about your partner will be layered with pain, fear and and powerful love.
Establishing the Myth
Your Moon describes baseline needs and emotional reactions. It is most often associated with your mother, although it can apply to any primary childhood nurturer (including your father). For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on mother. I’ve discussed Ceres in another article, but as a quick review, she is named after a crop goddess whose daughter (Persephone) was taken by Pluto, Lord of the Underworld. Ceres mourned and the crops died, until her daughter was allowed to return and live with Ceres for part of the year. When Persephone was above ground, the crops grew. When she periodically returned to Pluto, the crops died. Hence, the cycle of growth, death, and resurrection. Ceres in your chart describes a very specific experience of this cycle, as well as of your mother (whether you are male or female). If your Pluto aspects Moon and Ceres, you can see how the Ceres myth will be a key part of your relationship with your mother and of your future relationships.
Any aspect between Moon and Ceres will make the nurturing (or lack thereof) that your mother provided a big issue. The shadow of death (real or threatened) or the smothering mother will also be issues. Pluto will intensify those early experiences, emphasizing transformation through loss. When Pluto aspects the Moon, there is a lesson about emotional dependency. You’re meant to become emotionally secure and independent, but the path to self-sufficiency will trigger the opposite experiences first. You learn through contrast.
Let’s say you have a Pluto/Ceres conjunction, and it squares your Moon. A conjunction is usually considered to be a harmonious aspect, since it implies unity. But you always have to look at what energies are being unified. By itself, this conjunction could imply a deep understanding and acceptance of inevitable endings. Nothing lasts forever, and you’re acutely conscious of this. That understanding may have arisen from an incident with Mom. The specifics will vary, but you directly connect the experience of being nurtured with loss.
Now, add in the square to your Moon. This suggests a crisis involving your mother. There may have been a direct or indirect threat to your survival. Maybe there was a risk that you would be taken away from her. Ceres was so intensely attached to her daughter that she allowed those crops to die when Persephone was kidnapped. So the sub-theme of Ceres is a refusal to let go. The active tension of the square suggests nurturing as a control mechanism: smothering care from Mom, perhaps overcompensating for the earlier trauma. Or, her nurturing may have been distorted to the point where it became the threat to your security. Somewhere at the root of it all was your mother’s fear of losing you.
Carrying the Myth Forward
As an adult, you may unconsciously mimic your mother’s patterns in your relationships. That square between your Moon and Pluto makes your needs quite intense. You unconsciously approach any intimate situation as a life or death scenario. Pluto triggers all-or-nothing impulses, so when you express feelings for your partner, you go all the way, crushing them with your love and concern. This sets up the lesson that Pluto is attempting to teach. When you hug someone too hard and too long, eventually they will try to wriggle free. You tighten your embrace as a reaction, and they fight harder to get away. Suddenly, you’re in a life and death struggle, but are you protecting your partner, or are you the threat? This is all a metaphor, but you get the idea. Eventually, you lose the smothered partner. Or, you react to the threat of impending loss by abruptly cutting off your feelings, thereby punishing your partner and reasserting your power. You become the domineering mother who controls the flow of emotional sustenance.
The flip side to any Pluto aspect is transformation. Add in Ceres’ theme of resurrection, and you can see the potential for hope. The path towards rebirth may involve your own trip to the Underworld. You may have to confront what happened with Mom, especially if those issues are buried. You may have to go through a loss in one or more of your relationships, until you are able to live with the concept of letting go. The phrase “embrace the fear” has never been more apt than with these aspects. Rather than squeezing your partner in a death grip, you embrace the specter of loss, and emerge with a renewed sense of emotional resiliency. You see that you’re still standing, no matter what happens. You learn that you can depend on yourself, and this realization allows you to approach your current or next partner with true nurturing: a supportive embrace that is loose enough to allow the other person to breath, but powerful enough to make them feel protected. Because you know, you feel, that inevitable change is not the end of your world.[/show_to]
Related: Natal Indicators for Absent Parents