Ceres is the archetype of the mother. She is the nurturer and provider not only of food (grain), but also of spiritual sustenance and a faith that life will be reborn from our journeys to the underworld. Ceres symbolises not only the nurturing qualities of the mother, but also the rhythm of life through the seasons and the internal rhythm contained within a womens’ menstruation cycles which are connected to the Moon.
The generous and abundant offering of food, at harvest time, represents the Ceres archetype. In this way she represents the abundance of the earth and how it provides for us on all levels. The dark side of the Ceres archetype includes depression and loss. The depression of Ceres/Demeter after the loss of her daughter was so great that she withdrew and would willingly have caused the death of all humanity through famine. She cannot bear to lose her adult child who leaves the home to begin her own life and marriage (in most versions of the story Persephone/Kore ultimately finds happiness with Hades/Pluto and settles into a life of comfortable domesticity as Queen of the Underworld). Ceres/Demeter became virtually possessed by her grief and legend in her destructiveness. That which nourishes becomes that which destroys.