Aspects of Life

Maritha Pottenger

We continue our discussion of aspects with a look at Letter Six through Ceres and Vesta. Both Ceres and Vesta function as symbolic keys to one’s need for productivity, pragmatism, concrete accomplishments and work in the world as well as a properly functioning body. However, Ceres has overtones of nurturance and caretaking. (The Virgo style of service is a more practical approach, tending to focus on physical needs and necessities. The more emotional style of caretaking evokes Cancer.) Ceres is connected to work for the sake of the people involved. Vesta, by contrast, represents work for its own sake. It can indicate incredible tunnel vision; a single-minded focus on getting the job done. That obsessive quality can be a problem if it spills over into areas of the life needing empathy, tolerance and a more open approach. But it is tremendously valuable in the career in terms of success and achievement.

CERES and/or VESTA to CERES and/or VESTA

The conjunction points to a focus on efficient functioning and productivity within the life. The arena calling for attention may be the actual work in the world, or it might be the physical body in terms of health. Concentration and attention to detail are usually important. Analysis and discrimination are appropriate qualities to be manifested. However, one must be sure that the critical nature is directed toward objects and material accomplishments rather than toward people or feelings.

With Ceres/Vesta blends, the work could be combined with children, in occupations ranging from family businesses to teachers, housekeepers, nannies, etc., or simply a nurturing attitude on the job, playing the Earth Mother role. Or, a service role could appeal, especially one involving healing—through traditional medical, nursing channels, nutrition, holistic health or other avenues to helping the body become more effective. Some people will turn the mother role into a job, dedicating themselves to raising children as a career (their own children or other people’s).

In a natal chart, a Vesta/Ceres conjunction indicates that the mother or mother figure is a role model for the handling of this efficiency theme. If mother expressed this in a fairly positive way, she was probably a hard worker, dedicated, practical, efficient and good at supplying the necessities of life. If she carried that drive to an excess, she could have been a workaholic, obsessive about details, overly critical and flaw-finding and generally never satisfied with the state of things. The other extreme is a mother or mother figure who was ill or inefficient in such a marked manner that the child had to look after the parent to a large degree and learned about reality and practical coping with the world through having to manage for this inefficient parent. The judgmental energy which Vesta represents is not easily handled in personal, emotional relationships. All too often, it can indicate stress, strain and estrangement. However, families that DO manage to work together in a mutually supportive (PRACTICAL) fashion find it a cohesive glue, the sense of shared labor adding to the firm foundation of the relationships.

Generally, the period of a conjunction, whether progressed, transiting, directed, etc., is one of discipline and thoroughness. The individual needs to be organized and systematic and usually has a sense of hard work being demanded. As long as we are able to relax and have fun between jobs, the time can be a very rewarding and productive one.

Conflict aspects suggest inner ambivalence between different working roles. Perhaps some of our assignments conflict with others. It might be that productivity on the job seems at the expense of accomplishments at home or vice versa (Cancer opposite Capricorn or Fourth House opposite Tenth). We may be unsure as to what manner or style of work and efficiency is best for us (e.g., cautious and careful [Taurus] versus freewheeling and revolutionary [Aquarius]). We may be unsure as to where our true responsibilities lie.

If the aspect is also separative (i.e., an opposition or quincunx), the person may be inclined to make a change in the working situation. The career may be altered; they might leave one job and start another, or simply do things differently than they did in the past. Often, the feeling is that moving in a new direction will resolve the ambivalence. That may help, but we must be sure that the underlying inner struggle has been faced and integrated. Otherwise, the ambivalence will simply follow us to the next position—and the next.

Conflict aspects can also point to a lesson regarding the theme involved. If the chart is largely lacking in earth (by sign, planet emphasis AND house), perhaps Ceres/Vesta aspects are illustrating the need to learn to work, to become more efficient, to pay more attention to the boring, nitty-gritty details of life. The challenges could include expecting things to come too easily and needing to learn discipline. Another potential is a tendency to skim the surface and go quickly with a need to learn patience and thoroughness. There could be an inclination to play and have fun with the lesson being to learn control, delayed gratification and paying one’s dues by dealing with the not-always-exciting parts of life. If the chart has an overabundance of earth, the challenge may be to keep the work attitude (of being responsible and focused on the details) in the job and not make everything one does into a job. In such cases, the person may be learning to take vacations, to be more lighthearted and casual, to do ONLY his/her job and not everyone else’s as well, etc.

Harmony aspects show the potential of much accomplishment, productivity, positive handling of the material world. However, if we carry the need to work and achieve too far, this can be a period of overwork and the health could suffer as a consequence. Nutrition, self-discipline and a systematic regime can be very healthful, but anything can be carried to an extreme. Becoming obsessive about what we eat, or how we exercise, or the need for systematization in our lives is counter-productive and creates unnecessary stress. If we drive ourselves too hard, we will reap the logical results. There is usually a good ability to be focused, to analyze things, to figure out more efficient methods and modes. Just be sure the judgment and discipline are oriented towards satisfying ends.


The conjunction denotes a blend of work/efficiency themes with partnership/beauty themes. We can express this by working with partners; a career involving relating to people; making a relationship into a job with critical, judgmental attitudes; the careful work of the artistic craftsperson; a career concerned with beauty and/or appearance; a harmonious working atmosphere, or other variations. As long as we can direct the flaw-finding energy into appropriate channels and keep the harmony and ease in arenas where it is appreciated, this can be a healthy, happy combination. But if we try to turn other people into a make-over task or we lay back and take it easy when life is asking for discipline and effort, we may have less pleasant results.

The conjunction to Ceres has additional themes around facing unfinished business with mother (or mother figure) through partnerships. This can range from choosing partners like our mother (in a positive or in a negative fashion) to attracting people who expect us to mother them, or who want to mother us. Remember, the nurturance of Ceres is on a more practical, providing of resources level than the emotional support of water. The temptation is for one party to adopt a Mother Earth role—the strong, stable provider. The key is to take turns—both able to look after and do for the other individual.

Conflict aspects suggest that our needs for productivity are at odds with our desire for ease and sharing. We may experience our partnerships as taking us from our career, or vice versa. We may see our significant others as workaholics who do not devote enough time to our relationship. We may be torn between relaxing and taking life easy versus being disciplined, dedicated and nose-to-the-grindstone. We may feel ambivalent over adopting a judgmental, parental, critical role versus the equalitarian, sharing position of a peer. Our artistic needs may require integration with our pragmatic side.

Harmony aspects suggest that making peace between these diverse sides of our own nature will be relatively easy. We might turn our artistic abilities into a career and pursue jewelry-making, fashion design, architecture, photography or other aesthetic callings. We can get the people contact with a fair amount of control over the details by seeking personnel work, roles as a therapist or counselor or other helping professional. We may work with a partner in order to comfortably combine relationship and career needs. We may simply take turns—expressing our discipline, self-control and efficiency needs in certain arenas and allowing our relaxed, easygoing, accommodating nature to emerge at other times.


This conjunction is one potential key to tremendous obsessive-compulsive talent. The ability to focus, to figure out all the details, to research, to analyze, to be practical, thorough and persevering is tremendous. There is a bulldog tenacity possible here—never giving up once the task is assigned. Pragmatism is often extremely high. Self-discipline is generally very strong. Control and delayed gratification can be the name of the game.

Excellent for any kind of efficiency expert role, this combination represents talent in research, science, investigations of all kinds, finance and business of many sorts. Paying attention to the bottom line comes naturally to people who have this aspect (natally or by current pattern). If overdone, of course, such people can drive others crazy with their obsessiveness, overattention to petty details, extreme discipline, denial and determination to ferret out whatever lies beneath the surface.

Again, with the conjunction we have themes revolving around the need to combine (or take turns between) work and intimacy. Ceres has additional issues around mother (or mother figure). The nurturing parent is a role model (positive or negative) for our sharing of the physical/sensual/sexual/monetary world with another human being. How she did (or didn’t) share power and resources with us earlier has a large influence on how we interact and share power and pleasures with others now. Vesta, if the issues are not handled, can simply indicate a retreat from the whole thing—usually into withdrawal and self-denial. Commonly, such people feel the only way they can maintain self-control is to cut that part of life out entirely.

Conflict aspects suggest a struggle between different forms of focusing. Where Vesta/Ceres point to a willingness to serve and do menial tasks when essential, Pluto represents a strong desire for control. Vesta, especially, suggests the willingness to live for work alone, while Pluto denotes relationship needs as well. The emotional intensity of Pluto can find the aloof approach of the Virgo asteroids (particularly Vesta) a bit off-putting. Work and intimacy may be opposed or the individual may find combining them a struggle. However, both Virgo and Scorpio can retreat into isolation, rather than coping with “messy” parts of the world.

Harmony aspects suggest the person will find it easier to combine closeness needs with desires for efficiency. Avenues include working with people in depth investigation such as psychotherapy. The sharing factor may involve material goods more than emotions with fields such as investment counseling, banking, government grants, tax officers, etc. In such cases, the focus of the career is on shared resources and possessions. The individuals involved may simply be very practical in their close relationships. Mates may work together and work on their intimate connections.


Conjunctions suggest a blend of the real with the ideal. The individual is learning to integrate the natural square between Virgo and Sagittarius—the nitty-gritty details of what is necessary to live in the “real” world versus the great dream and vision of what is possible, the long-range goals and values. Conflict aspects reaffirm the need to pay attention to the basic struggle, while harmony aspects suggest integration will come a bit easier.

Uncomfortable blends include such possibilities as never being satisfied—no matter what you have done, it is not perfect enough, fast enough, high enough, far enough. Or, some individuals do not accomplish much because they are waiting UNTIL they can do it perfectly! Options can include searching for the ideal job (the right hours, the right pay, the right co-workers, etc.) and wanting to do one’s work without making any mistakes.

Integrations which tend to be more comfortable include working to make a more ideal world and discipline applied to making a reality out of one’s visions. A middle ground incorporates both the careful, productive, hardworking theme of Virgo and the idealistic, reaching-for-the-stars visions of Sagittarius. Choosing to pursue reachable ideals and then following the necessary steps to bring those dreams into reality is a challenge that we can face in any part of our lives.

As with most mutable blends, tremendous mental ability is one potential. However, unless we apply it, such talent is useless to us. And, all the organizational panache in the world will not help us if we are waiting for the “ideal” moment to achieve our great dreams. Part of the challenge is often around patience, as fire does not like to wait. Learning when is the most efficient time to work and to move and to act is part of the process. Establishing priorities regarding what is most important to accomplish also helps. And, accepting life as a process, as a journey, not waiting around for perfection, nor being critical when perfection is not just around the corner is a healthy attitude.


The conjunction again puts the focus on work, responsibility, control and making an impact in the material world. Here we have both the desire to handle the nitty-gritty, small details and also the need for executive power, a sense of control over the bigger picture. The double theme of work and productivity suggests a time with much focus on the job and achievements. If carried too far, this can naturally be a key to overwork (and potential health strain). If discipline and thoroughness are a challenge area (e.g., with little earth in the chart, sometimes with Saturn or South Node in earth houses or signs), the theme points to a need to focus, concentrate and develop the capacity to be disciplined, analytical and efficient.

In a natal chart, such a conjunction suggests Dad was a role model for the handling of work—what entails doing a good job. He could have been a positive role model by working hard, in an effective, careful, thorough manner. He could have modeled inefficiency by being ill—so the child learned to work by taking care of an incompetent parent. He could have overdone the Virgo theme by being critical, judgmental, impossible to please. Family businesses—literally working with Dad—are also possible. Whatever the blend, Dad is teaching us (by positive or negative example) about the practical, responsible, realistic, productive side of life.

Conflict aspects are easier to resolve than some, because of the natural trine between Saturn and the Virgo asteroids. Both appreciate practicality, accomplishments and realism. Such a challenge could be a case of too much (excessive responsibility, workaholic type) or too little (someone lacking self-discipline, willingness to work, to do the job). The individual may feel torn between the Virgo need to handle ALL the details and the Capricorn desire to oversee the whole production. A person may be torn between the style of humble service versus executive control. Usually, the basic sense of practicality wins out in the end and the person simply does what s/he considers most realistic.

Harmony aspects support the likelihood that this individual will be successful in work. Material success is likely. Usually, such people have few problems with their careers. They know how to work, are work-oriented and generally achieve because it is a priority with them. Of course, the workaholic potential is there, if the need for accomplishment is carried to an extreme degree. People in tune with their earth nature (trines involving earth planets, houses and/or signs) usually make a good living and are successful (in their terms) in the “real” world.


The conjunction reflects the inner tension of a natural quincunx. The individual must make peace between a desire for the unknown, the new, the different, the unusual as well as a desire for predictability, stability and a sense of order and efficiency. One possibility is to bring order into a chaotic field (such as astrology) or one on the cutting edge of change (computers, space age technology). Some people choose work that is unusual, eccentric or weird. Working with friends is another option. The work selected may represent a personal rebellion (against parents, society, whomever). The person may choose a free and easy, casual, tolerant working style, treating everyone on the job as a friend and peer. The work may be erratic (hours, pay, duties, etc.)

Conflict patterns accentuate the natural challenge. The person may flip from an obsessive focus on picky little items to a rebellious dismissal of everything with resultant chaos. An individual might be independent, tolerant, open and friendly one moment and compulsive, critical and fussy the next. (Either extreme could also be projected, whereby we attract others to overdo that end of the seesaw for us.) If we are too unconventional and antiestablishment in our work, we may have erratic careers and be fired regularly. If we are too critical and judgmental in our friendships, we may have limited relationships. Or, we may feel our work takes time and energy away from important friendships and avenues of self expression and individuation. Or, our people associations may be a drain on our ability to concentrate and work in a productive, efficient manner. Part of the integration requires expressing each theme in an area of life which will be fulfilling and satisfying—not uncomfortable.

Harmony aspects represent the potential of making the blend more easily. We can use our careful, flaw-finding focus where it is helpful (on the job, with material objects) and allow our open, tolerant friendliness to express with people.


Here we have a natural opposition which repeats the theme of the ideal versus the real. Our everyday reality of necessary duties and needs must be blended with the yearning for a sense of connection to something Higher, a search for meaning in life and the Universe. As with any opposition, there is a natural partnership. Neptune without Ceres/Vesta could dream life away, never accomplishing anything, viewing the world through perpetually rose-colored glasses. Ceres/Vesta without Neptune could be caught in a meaningless grind of work for the sake of work with no sense of significance to it. We need the inspiration from above to make our accomplishments worthwhile. But we also need the practicality to DO something about our dreams.

Conflict aspects accentuate the need for integration. The person may flip from playing “space cadet” to obsessive-compulsive. Or, we can project one end or the other (or both) of the seesaw. (One individual with this blend in her chart noted that she was amazingly scattered, dreamy and easily sidetracked around her boyfriend (who had lots of Virgo). Yet, she was the realistic, practical, focused, hardworking one with many of her unusual, artistic friends. Most of us can express different sides of our nature, depending on who we are with. An excessive focus on the side represented by Neptune can lead to literally dreaming life away, too much television, fantasy, drugs, alcohol or other modes of escaping life’s less than beautiful sides. Too much focus on the side represented by Vesta/Ceres can result in a sterile existence knowing only physical “reality” and focused excessively on work and efficiency. Intimacy is often avoided as it is “messy” and “unpredictable.”

Harmony aspects imply that the natural partnership will be easier to achieve. The individual can reach that sense of Union with the whole, while seeking realistic, practical steps to take in the material world which will bring the ultimate closer to reality. Major roles include the artist (in any form of aesthetic creativity) and the healer/helper/savior who is creating a more loving, more ideal world. One must tread carefully with idealistic modes, however. The savior who does too much can quickly become a martyr. And, healing works best in a structured context of mutual agreement. Trying to “make over” those people closest to you, to “improve” them or help them live up to their “fullest potential”—especially without them asking for it—is simply setting yourself up for trouble. The communion with something Higher is necessary also for refreshment. People who truly believe that the fate of the world lies in THEIR hands will feel stressed, burdened and overwhelmed. People who can do their part—in a practical, thorough, dedicated manner—and THEN “let go and let God” are able to live a fulfilling, productive and relaxed life.

Copyright © 1984 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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