Pluto and Proserpina
After Pluto was demoted in 2006 to Dwarf Planet, and his mother-in-law Ceres was promoted from asteroid to become his equal (also a Dwarf Planet) – astrology changed. Suddenly we could call Pluto and Ceres equal in the horoscope. Ceres was very much back in, if you had ever left her out at all.
This raised the immediate question of her daughter Proserpina, Pluto’s wife. As an asteroid, was she still to be excluded? At this point, back in 2006, I decided it was all divination anyway and quite frankly, the size of a space rock was irrelevant. If you are going to use Pluto, use Ceres. And if you are going to use Ceres, use her daughter, Proserpina!
Proserpina in Your Chart
As Pluto’s wife, Proserpina is the go-between who crosses from the underworld, Hades, to the earth, every Spring and Summer.
The Romans, who gave us modern astrology, believed that when Proserpina was with her mother Ceres, the earth produced the corn and wheat, in the sunshine, that Ceres herself ruled. She was the goddess of the four seasons and thus, agriculture and particularly the grains that ordinary Romans depended on for survival.
When Proserpina is with Pluto, her husband, in the dark depths of Hades (with the souls of the departed) Ceres is in mourning. The earth becomes cold and dark. Autumn and Winter.
Being Taken Over and Taking Back
Proserpina was initially taken over by her mother. As a sweet young maiden she was under her command. Then Pluto saw her, fell in love with her, and broke through the crust of the earth in his chariot, drawn by black horses, and seized her. She was taken over, then taken. Eventually, though, Proserpina took back. How? She found her power as the sought-after middle person, caught between two enemies: her husband and her mother.
This is sometimes literal in a chart. You may have married a man whom your mother sees as dominating. More usually the Proserpina story is symbolic or thematic. By sign and house, Proserpina shows where you are taken over, taken, then take back.
The Aachen Raub Painting
This painting by Aachen Raub shows the famous abduction. This is the ‘Help! Help!’ face of womanhood. You see this archetypal myth played out in so many books, television series and films.
If you think about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Miss Elizabeth Bennett, you will see Proserpina. She is taken over by her mother from the start. Her mother bosses Elizabeth and her sisters around quite mercilessly. She wants to marry them all off, as quickly as possible.
Tall, Dark, Handsome Stranger
Mr. Darcy arrives. The ‘tall, dark, handsome stranger’ is often Pluto. (Pluto is dark-haired because he lives among the coal, deep below the earth’s crust. His hair is coal-black). Mr. Darcy tries to take Elizabeth Bennett as his wife. She refuses. At that point she is empowered. She becomes Proserpina eventually, the bridge between Darcy and her mother. The connecting force who must work hard to please both sides.
As you can see, Proserpina is where you are in demand. Where you are fought over. Yet, if you get the negotiating wrong and either side feels unfairly treated, you can be drawn into a lot of people politics. Even, high drama.
The Romans tell us Proserpina carried it off, successfully, and so the seasons carried on as they should. They ran normally and Proserpina really kept them in check, as her mother Ceres was always happy to have her for at least half the year, when ‘the earth laughs in flowers’ and the sun shines. People harvest the grain for their bread.
Proserpina and Power
In your chart by sign and house, Proserpina shows where you go through a repetitive process. You begin with no power at all (sometimes this is literally because your mother dominates you!) and then you become empowered.
How? Someone or something sweeps you away. In Proserpina’s case this was her abduction by Pluto, the ruler of Hades, who saw her and had to have her. She became his wife and so the co-ruler of the underworld.
Proserpina is where you are a bridge, agent, connecting force, negotiation point or link between two powerful people, organisations or places. This by itself makes you powerful. Proserpina was the go-between who went from the underworld with Pluto, to the earth, with Ceres. Pluto had command over departed souls; Ceres ruled the four seasons, wheat and corn. By being the piggy-in-the-middle Proserpina woke up to find herself with rather a lot of clout and control. Yet it is also precarious to be that person.
Proserpina is Hard Work
Just to go between two sides, is very demanding. When you have two powerful organisations, individuals or even places (whole countries, perhaps) to be the people-pleaser in the middle is challenging. Proserpina is hard work. You can see some of this strain and effort on the face of Proserpina (Proserpine) in this tile from the restaurant at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Proserpina in Art and Décor
I always encourage readers and students to look at the asteroid goddesses and gods in art and décor; design and illustration. You will get a better sense, then, of the full meaning of each archetype.
Of course, if Proserpina makes exact aspects in your chart (lines up at the same degree as other asteroids, planets, points or angles) you have a major theme to explore in your life and personality.
Agents of All Kinds
Real-estate agents and literary agents often have an exact Proserpina aspect. They go between two powerful sides (publisher and author, or buyer and seller). They have to keep everybody happy.
A proper Proserpina is tactful, sensitive, sensible and always on a pretty tight leash whenever it is time to cross the bridge!
I find it interesting that Christmas brings families together and Proserpina wakes up then, in so many charts. Mother-in-law and son-in-law must be pleasant over the turkey while the ‘Proserpina’ nervously makes sure everyone is getting on.
Christmas, is of course the depths of winter, and the time of the Solstice, so from a Roman point of view, this would be when Proserpina is going back down into Pluto’s domain, away from her mother.
Astrology is fascinating with all its synchronicity. You can also watch Proserpina in transit. By herself she may not tell a dramatic story, but in combination with slow-moving outer planets like Pluto himself, or Saturn, she can really time an historic saga.
Countries, states and counties have horoscopes too. The chart of Victoria, Australia has an important Proserpina placement and she will end up being the go-between for Australia and Europe; perhaps the United States.
Why? She beat COVID-19 and managed to produce zero new cases, and zero deaths, after three months of tight self-control and self-discipline, staying at home and observing curfew.
Watch Victoria, Australia as her Proserpina was under exact transit by slow-moving outer planets when the victory (the clue is in the name) took place. She now has a template or model for eliminating the virus and by all the laws of astrology, will ‘go between’ her own country, and another. Perhaps it will be New Zealand. Let’s see where this goes. I am writing this on 6th November 2020 and time will tell, as it always does with astrology.
Feature Image: Photo by Mario Dobelmann
Fascinating article Jessica – thank you! I love learning about the asteroid Gods and Goddesses and their history on your site especially as most astrology sites don’t use them at all. I have Pluto at 15 almost conjunct Prosperina at 16 Libra (also conjunct Apollo 16 in Libra). As 15 degrees seems to be such a hot spot in my chart I’ve always wondered about the significance of this placement and how it plays out in my life? Love to hear your insights!
Thank you. Yes, most astrologers don’t use the asteroids, it’s true. The line-up in Libra is about your former, current and potential partners, in love or work. It will operate throughout your life, in different ways, but Pluto, Proserpina and Apollo together are a formidable trio and the myths of all will play out in your duets and sometimes in duels, within a duet. Apollo was bisexual, did you know? He was rather like Jeremy in Peep Show, and in fact the characters in Peep Show lived in Apollo House. There is an ‘either or’ quality to Apollo in the Seventh House and of course you can attract men who sleep with men, as much as they sleep with women. Pluto and Proserpina were strictly heterosexual and had the most intense, complicated relationship where power and control had to be shared. This won’t be in your life all the time, but whenever there is a transit by a slow outer planet to that 15/16 degree pattern, you will experience another variation on a theme. You have a trine from Jupiter at 15 Aquarius in 2021 so expect a really major new relationship, or a huge twist on the story with an existing partner. It will work in your favour.
Thank you for this explanation. Usually I can immediately think of examples related to my own chart, but in this case I am not sure. Would you might explain? I have Prosperina and Apollo both at 8 Aquarius, but I cannot relate that to anything. I am not a group person and can only think of work as a group. Strangely enough I am always working in female dominated organisations or department. Never any politics that involve any men… Very curious to hear what your thoughts might be.
You just read your own chart. Mars, Vesta, Diana, Salacia, Apollo, Proserpina are all in Aquarius in the Eleventh House, which describes groups. You don’t have to be a group person to experience your Aquarius side – you are doing it through work, which is why you always find employment in female-dominated organisations and departments. You are missing out Diana in your interpretation. She lived a life surrounded by women.
Yes! This theme has played out in my life (now 67) repeatedly. I am an Aries and natal Sun is square Proserpina, Mars conjunct the asteroid Linda trine Proserpina in Cap which is conjunct my mother’s natal Saturn, ruler of her Sun in Cap. My mother had 8 planets, asteroids and points and the MC/IC in Cap. (depending on system) as do I. Needless to say, I broke free in my mid teens, taken off by a tall, dark, handsome stranger (I thought). At work and home I’ve had to play the go-between ad nauseam. I see now it was destiny. Proserpina is currently conjunct my natal moon in Leo conjunct South Node. Wow! Thank you Jessica!
Thank you for confirming the role of Proserpina in your chart. It sounds as if you really know your astrology. It is not unusual for the myth of Proserpina, Ceres and Pluto to play out literally in the life of someone who has a lot of aspects involving some or all of these factors, either within one chart, or actually connected to the charts of a partner or mother/maternal figure. You would get a lot out of looking at the paintings of these mythological figures and the sculpture, too. The archetype of Pluto can be found in film, novels and television and most famously so in Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps there were shades of Mr. Darcy in your former lover.
Hope you’re well. This is so amazing. This is me: Proserpina 02° Gemini 25′ 04″. My job description is literally liaising with the community, social media, and writing for the web. Sun 06° Aries 48′ 23″, Moon 29° Virgo 02′ 25″, Mercury 20° Aries 34′ 47″, I am learning so much, thank you.
Thank you so much for confirming how the astrology has worked in your life, as you are living the combination of chart factors in your job. In fact, Samira, a variation on this theme will always mark your world, even after retirement.
Thank you for these articles. Can you please tell me what, if anything, it means if my prosperina in Taurus 18 and my Jupiter is 18 Aries? Thank you!!
Thank you. Proserpina at 18 Taurus in your Second House is semi-sextile Jupiter at 18 Aries in your First House, so your role as a go-between with money, economics, charity, business or retail works hand-in-hand with your self-promotion, branding, packaging or presentation. This is the accountant who goes between the tax office and the client, in a self-branded business with the name or face as the ‘front’ of the website.
I have never thought much about Prosperina before – thanks for the interesting insights!
I have Proserpina 07° Gemini 05′ 24″, Mars 07° Leo 39′ 11″ and Ceres 07° Virgo 53′ 13″. What does this mean in my chart? Does it maybe point to some kind of power struggle between my masculine (Mars) and feminine (Ceres) sides? Or somehow the idea of a servant-leader (Virgo-Leo)?
Thank you Ciara. You are correctly interpreting your own chart, and you do have a conflict going on between an internet role as go-between, and your working life. Just taking the square from Proserpina in Gemini in the Third House to Ceres in Virgo in the Sixth House suggests major questions about power and control (Ceres) at work (Virgo) or with unpaid work/study – getting in the way of your go-between role online (Proserpina in Gemini) or perhaps with the world of commuting, short-haul transport, publishing, media or education (also Gemini). As Virgo and Gemini are both ruled by Mercury, the planet of the mind, you can live in your head when this happens. Meditation or exercise can help take some of the tension. Mars in Leo is tied in, so you would find that a younger generation; your own children; youth; other people’s children – can be part of the story. Again there is rather a lot of heat there so meditation or exercise become really useful. This is the postman who can’t reconciled the job with the politics at work, because of the constant flow of interns!
Another great article. Your website is the first thing I open as I start my day.
My husband has Sun at 2 Gemini; Proserpina at 0 Virgo. I have Proserpina at 16 Lib. I also have other factors at 16 degrees in my chart. Can you tell me what it means for us?
Thank you so much 🙂
Thank you, that is amazing to hear – I will pass it on to Alyas, Alicia, James, Jodi, Justin and Kerry. Your husband’s chart doesn’t really show much beyond ‘shining’ on the internet (Sun in Gemini) if he works at it – and operating as a go-between at work (Proserpina in Virgo). Your Proserpina in Libra is about operating as a go-between within the marriage or other partnerships. Proserpina was married to Pluto and spent half the year with him, and half the year with her mother. You are a natural negotiator and people-pleaser and would do very well as a marriage guidance counsellor.
Wow..my Porserpina is midpoint of my sun and ascendant in Leo. And yes…lots of time I am the go-btw with my kids and husband. How else could this play out for me (it squares my scorpio planets too)?
Yes, Proserpina in Leo in the Fifth House describes a lifetime of playing the go-between or middle person, with your children, godchildren, grandchildren, stepchildren, nieces or nephews. It can also turn up in children’s education, or adolescent education (university or college life). Looking at your chart there are some sharp angles there with other factors, so ‘what I cannot square’ in your case, is that role of go-between. Sometimes you find oppositions natally or by transit mean you feel you are poles apart from the other person/the other people, so there may be issues with your husband and/or children.
What does Proserpina 27 Pisces mean?
Please and thank you go a very long way, to a longer answer on this website. If you were born with Proserpina in Pisces, you operate as a go-between or living bridge, between powerful religious people or organisations. For example, you may be an altar boy in the Roman Catholic church. It really depends on your belief in God (or not). The sign of Pisces rules the Twelfth House which also describes astrology, mediumship, Tarot and the interior life of the soul or spirit. To be born with Proserpina in this sign, can also reveal a person who ‘goes between’ two potent individuals or entities, there. So, for example, you may be a literary agent who goes between a Mind, Body Spirit publisher and your client, an author.
If you have time, can you please explain what Proserpina 05° Aries means? For context, I had a bad business partnership split a few years ago which affected my reputation by looking unstable with clients and colleagues, and my former business partner badmouthed me as well, causing in a chill in some relationships. And my work performance in the aftermath wasn’t great either. Now, things seem to be improving. So, I’m wondering if that is what my Proserpina placement means.
Proserpina in Aries in the First House is about presenting as a go-between. Being packaged as a middle-person. Not so much about the failed partnership or bad business partner, as about image, reputation (a big one) and name. Title and persona online in particular. To make it work for you, forget the past and instead focus on being the rather powerful ‘bridge’ person between two potent individuals or organisations. That role may come quite naturally through work, unpaid work or your personal life when Jupiter moves to 6 Aquarius and makes the sextile in early 2021.
This is very interesting. I have Proserpina Conjunct a lover’s IC, who has Ceres Conjunct my IC. (both exact) My Proserpina is also Opposed to my best friend’s Pluto, though not exact. The two of them never got along. Some of it was my fault, much of it was her desire (?) for me, and some of it was his inability to comprehend the bond she and I shared, much of which was my devotion to her. Very interesting. Scary. Even startling information. Thank you.
You are really living out Proserpina, Pluto and Ceres here. The conjunctions can sometimes be staggering, as they reflect the myth. Yes, it can be startling when the astrology works like that. Sometimes looking at the paintings or sculpture of these three, can trigger answers for you quite intuitively.
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