The word Ceres, (pronounciation here), shares its roots with the word ‘cereal,’ which gives us a huge clue in interpreting this, the largest of the asteroids. Among other things, Ceres, or Demeter, as she was also known, was responsible for making sure that the crops grew properly.
One day, while she was romping in the fields with her daughter Persephone (also called Proserpina), the ground opened up and the daughter was abducted by Pluto, God of the Underworld. Ceres searched and searched, but could not find her daughter for the longest time. While she was looking for her daughter, the crops failed, creating a terrible famine among the people.
Finally, Ceres found her daughter in the Underworld and struck a deal with Pluto: Ceres could have Persephone for half the year, but for the remaining half, the daughter would have to return to the underworld. From this arrangement came the seasons: a time when crops grow and ripen, and then a fallow period when the crops do not grow.
Ceres is related, then, to agriculture as well as to food and its growth, production and distribution. She rules cooking, bakeries and the food industry. She is also connected to children and all related matters such as pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, feeding, nutrition and nurturing. She is strongly related to education. Ceres’s importance to the people results also in her affiliation with work, laborers and labor unions.