Ceres is the original Corn Mother, Goddess of Grain. Scholars now believe grains were first cultivated for the purpose of brewing beer, not baking bread, and so Ceres is also a goddess of intoxication. She presides over the fertility and abundance of plants, people, and animals.

Ceres may or may not be the same spirit as the mysterious, primordial goddess Car. Her name is believed to derive from a root word meaning “growth.” Related words include kernel, cereal, and cerveza (beer).

Ceres, the Italian Corn Mother, eventually became profoundly identified with Demeter and has become somewhat subsumed by that Greek goddess. Often the name Ceres is used when Demeter is intended. The two were originally distinct spirits. Because she was identified with Demeter, her associations with Proserpina were eventually emphasized, but Ceres was originally venerated alongside Liber and Libera, with whom she shared a temple in the Circus Maximus. Her constant companion is Tellus Mater, Mother Earth.

Ceres is literally an earthy goddess, beloved by the masses. She was a highly significant and respected spirit: the Sibylline Prophesies recommended an annual fast honouring Ceres to ensure an abundant harvest and avoid famine. She is also a spirit of healing and dream divination.

Farmers traditionally offered Ceres the first harvested stalk of grain.


Ceres usually holds a stalk of wheat in her left hand and a basket or bowl of fruit in her right.


Sow (pigs were kept in underground enclosures in her shrines; sleeping among them allegedly produced healing dreams)

Feast: Her primary festival, the Cerealia, was celebrated around the full moon in April; it was a seven-day festival featuring games and processions; another festival, the Ambarvalia, was celebrated around 29 May.


Many shrines were rededicated to the Virgin Mary. The Roman Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin is built over Ceres’ temple. Her temple in Apulia, Italy, was rededicated to the Madonna of the Wheat Stalk.


Grains; baked goods; beer (in Spanish: cerveza); wine; honey; salt; incense; images of pigs, traditionally silver and gold pigs; wear a charm bracelet featuring pig charms to signal your devotion; images of pregnant animals


  • Car;
  • Demeter
  • Keres
  • Liber
  • Libera
  • Proserpina
  • Sybil
  • Tellus Mater


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.