TMA This Week

When Worlds Collide

By Mary Plumb | December 3, 2012

I think most TMA blog readers know that I also edit the book reviews for the magazine and have the great fortune to have many astrology books on hand, all longing to be included in the column.
There is never enough space to include all the noteworthy books, so this week I am using this format to mention a recent book, When Worlds Collide: Another Look at the Lunar Nodes, by Kathy Allan. (2012)
Kathy Allan was trained as a scientist and her primary interest (according to her book cover) is in “developing and refining astrological techniques that improve natal delineation and predictive accuracy.” She has written for TMA, including the article Re-Visioning the Lunar Nodes (Feb/Mar 2009), some of which is woven into this book.
In this book, the author reviews Jyotish and Western views of the nodes, including a misconception based on Rudhyar’s early work that he subsequently corrected. She traces the ideas of modern authors, such as Lilly, Carl Jansky, Celeste Teal, Judith Hill, and many others. 
Kathy lucidly explains the astronomy. (This is the kind of thing I can read again and again, in the hopes that it will sink in; her clarity has made me confident that I do really understand it now.)
After setting this background, she next builds her own hypothesis on delineating the nodal axis; the reader will benefit from her careful thinking on the subject. Her methods for assessing the nodes include planets at the bendings; the planets ruling the nodes, or parallel – in either declination or latitude – to the nodes; and the house of the PNSE (and its ruler).
The main part of the book is comprised of chapters on chart delineations for many people and events. Julian Assange, Evangeline Adams, Albert Einstein, Princess Diana, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and others, have chapters with well-told life stories and astrological technique.  (The book was published in early 2012. She wrote: “Although the current polls have Romney winning over Obama in a two-way race (statistically they are even), when considering the progressions and transits on election day, Obama appears stronger than Romney.”)

Some of the entities and events are the Federal Reserve, the Indonesian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Gulf Oil Spill.

She uses tri-wheels with secondary progressions, transits, and solar eclipses. 

Her chart delineations draw upon a range of techniques including: planets out-of-bounds in declination; dispositorship and reception as taught by John Frawley; and modern rulers of the planets.

This is a thorough and clearly written book. It is also nicely designed, with a spacious layout and graphics.

I loved this quote that I found on Kathy Allan’s website: “It is accurate to say that I live for astrology. For everything that happens of significance, I consult a chart. The vastly creative expression of the symbols and their correspondence with life events always astonishes me. A day without astrology is a wasted day. It connects me to the wonder of the sky, and to the mystery and magic of the world.” 

Please visit her website for more about the author and her book:
Have a good week everyone.

Here’s to the fast-approaching, best possible ending to 2012.

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TMA Summer Reruns

By Mary Plumb | August 27, 2012

In the spirit of the upcoming Labor Day, this week’s blog features summer reruns, hits from past blogs.

Here is Robert Blaschke’s introduction to the distinction in Mercury retrograde cycles, due to its orbital speed. He explains: “The most problematic of the three retrograde Mercury types are the “Longies” (a 24-day slow retrogression with only 9º between stations). The third category of retrograde Mercury are the “Middies” (a 22-day retrogression with ±13º between stations). These can go either way.”

Robert gave further evidence of the phenomena in a later blog, Benign Retrograde Mercury Heralds Shift into Fire Signs.

In Aberrations in the Venus-Mars Cycle, Robert explains an intricate planetary cycle and speculates on why relationships are so complex in our era. “In modern times, since 1960, an aberration has occurred in the Venus-Mars transit cycle in which the retrograde Venus conjunction no longer recurs exactly every 77 months as before. In the view of your correspondent, this has contributed to a societal decline in personal reflection taking place within marriage that would have led to an improved self-awareness about one’s personal responsibility for problems in relationship. As a result, without that necessary introspection, society has evolved relational patterns that repeat over and over again in a counter-productive sequence of ongoing serial monogamy.”

In The Astrological Faces of Love Gary P. Caton writes that “the natural progression of Love is from Eros, to Philia, to Agape.” Gary writes: “Once integrated, these three archetypes, or faces, of Love are really One. If we consider the concept of Holarchy — each part or piece of the whole also contains the whole within itself — then Venus contains within her the essences of all three faces of love and love ‘planets.’ It is as if there are three ‘decanates’ of Venus: Venus-Venus, Venus-Juno, and Venus-Neptune.”

Adam Gainsburg’s A New Model for Full Planetary Phases: The Venus Journey introduced many of us to his uniquely synthetic and creative approach to the Venus archetype. Although in later works he slightly updated some of his terminology, this blog stands as a wonderful introduction.

It’s true, I went to a beautiful wedding this weekend and love seems to be on my mind. In upcoming blogs, we’ll be looking at the presidential election and other more serious worldly and political matters.

For now, onwards into the week, dear friends. Enjoy these waning days of summer.

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How Astrology Helped Me Cope 

By Jan de Prosse | July 2, 2012

Before the blog, a note from the publisher…
The new Aug./Sept. issue of TMA is now available online to print subscribers who are registered for our Digital Edition, and to those who have purchased a digital-only subscription ($33/year, in any country). The Table of Contents for this new issue is available here. It’s another information-packed issue.
Also, we have TMA Back Issues, dating back to 2000, on sale this month for only $5 each, with postage included for those who have U.S. addresses.
We appreciate (and rely on) those of you who subscribe or buy single copies of TMA online or in stores — it helps. Thank you!

How Astrology Helped Me Cope:
In May of this year I went to see my doctor for my annual physical. During the examination, she palpated my throat and became suspicious that something might be going on with my lymph nodes. She told me that there were plenty of things that could go wrong in that vicinity, but most of them are not serious. She suggested a sonogram to help diagnose the problem.

The sonogram was unrevealing. The technician said that he had not been given any guidance about what to look for, just the general instruction to check the area of the throat. So, my doctor prescribed a CT scan (my first) of the head and neck. 

Two days later, my doctor called me into her office to discusss the results and told me that there was a nodule (lump) in my thyroid, which was not at all what she had been expecting. She also told me that the lump was most likely benign, but there was a small possibility that it could be precancerous or even malignant. (If it turned out to be benign, no treatment would be necessary.) I could choose to ignore the issue and have another scan performed in three months (and again in six months) to see if the lump was increasing in size. But I chose certainty; I chose to have my thyroid biopsied. In any case, there was no indication that anything had spread beyond the thyroid, so even if the lump were malignant, the treatment would be simple: surgery to remove part of my thyroid gland. 

By this time, it was early June. At this point, I decided to check the ephemeris to see if astrology could shed any light on this business. Being a novice astrologer, I needed to use simple methods to get a sense of what was going on. I noticed immediately that Saturn (one of the usual suspects) was retrograde and within two degrees of conjoining my natal Chiron at 21° Libra in my 6th house. Saturn would go direct on June 25 at 22°45′ Libra. This slow motion meant that he was within 1–2 degrees of my natal Chiron the entire month of June and into July (and 2–3 degrees from my natal Mars at 20° Libra ). Once he went direct on June 25, he would finally move into Scorpio on October 6. In other words, Saturn would not return to conjoin my Chiron again.

This gave me hope that I was merely being tested by Saturn. In these cases, patience (a form of discipline) is always a virtue. I had to wait a week to get the biopsy performed, due to scheduling problems. But I decided that it made no sense to drive myself crazy with worry when the whole thing might turn out to be nothing. Indeed, it was probably nothing. And even in the worst-case scenario (cancer), it would be curable. 

I explained to the radiologist who conducted the biopsy that I was not an experienced patient. I was certainly not used to this level of attention. There were four people in the room: a sonogram technician, a nurse, the radiologist, and a pathologist to interpret the findings. (As far as I could tell, the nurse was chiefly there to hold my hand when the going got rough.)

When I first called my doctor’s office to get the results of the biopsy, I discovered that she was on vacation! So, I waited another week to get the results. “Fine,” I thought. “I will pass this Saturn test. I may not get an A+, but I’m sure I’ll pass.”

Surprisingly, the second week was easier than the first. Still, I knew that my body was stressed out (even though, psychologically, I seemed to be coping rather well). I took medicine to prevent the migraines that had plagued me the first week, causing me to lie awake in the middle of the night thinking negative thoughts — something I was trying to avoid. 

On June 25, the very day that Saturn turned direct, I received the news that my biopsy had shown only normal tissue. No further treatment was needed. 

There is no doubt in my mind that astrology helped me to cope. I am sure that I would have experienced more anxiety about the outcome, if I hadn’t found out that Saturn was only making a temporary stopover in my 6th house, just long enough to teach me a lesson about patience and maintaining serenity in the face of uncertainty. Thanks, dude.   

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News from Tem & a few links

By Mary Plumb | February 27, 2012

A note from TMA‘s publisher:

Hi, everyone. Before we get to the rest of this week’s blog, I have some news.

Starting with the April/May issue, we are adding exclusive online bonus content that we don’t have room for in the printed magazine, available to all digital-only subscribers and all print subscribers who have registered for their free access to TMA’s Digital Edition.

This bonus content will be posted online, along with the new April/May issue, by Tuesday evening (Pacific Time), February 28. It includes TMA’s first-ever audio interview, a conversation I conducted a few days ago with astrologer Gary Christen, on topics including Uranian Astrology, the Transneptunian planets, the upcoming Uranus–Pluto squares, the economy and world events in 2012, potential earthquake configurations, and the future of astrology. By the way, in the printed April/May issue, there are two articles on the astrology of earthquakes, including a look at time windows in 2012 when the risk of a large quake in the U.S. is increased. The full April/May Table of Contents can be found here.

So, if you enjoy reading The Mountain Astrologer, or our blog, this is a great time to subscribe. It supports quality in astrological writing and editing, and it helps pay for this blog. If you’d like to subscribe to TMA as digital-only, you can get the current Feb/March issue and 6 more for only $33 in any country — and we now accept PayPal. We would also love to hear from you on what you’d like to see more of in TMA — send those comments to us at

Thanks for your time and attention!

Thanks, Tem for filling in with the blog. I’m going to add just a few links (and take some time off today for some birthday cupcakes..)

May everyone’s birthday always be happy,

Best to all,


Eric Francis writes on the Pisces Sun squaring the Gemini/Sag nodes, In the Moment: Sun Square the Nodes

Kathy Biehl’s Forecast for the Week is always helpful (and cheerful).

Another friend, Kathy Rose, has a video for the aspects for March.

Thanks to Gary Caton for reminding me of The Astronomy Picture of the Day.

In case you missed this from financial heavyweight, Forbes magazine, Can Planets Affect Your Portfolio?

And, keeping it all in perspective, thanks to Ray Grasse for this beauty to behold, images from Hubble in 3D set to Arvo Part’s “Tabula Rasa – Silentium”.

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Peak Moments of 2012

By Tem Tarriktar | December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays to all of our readers!

Mary Plumb is taking a well-deserved holiday break, so I thought I would fill in this week and contribute my article from the current Dec/Jan issue of The Mountain Astrologer. It is one of eight articles from our “Astrologers’ Forum on 2012.” If you haven’t seen that issue yet, you can still purchase it directly from TMA. Better yet, especially if you are a regular reader of this blog, why not subscribe to TMA? You’ll enjoy a year of great articles and forecasts, get free access to the digital version of TMA, and help us fund this blog. If you appreciate the quality of the writing and editing we provide, please support our work with your subscription dollars. Digital-only subscriptions are also available for only $33/year and include the current Dec/Jan issue, plus 6 more, for a total of 7 issues. You’ll also get your issues earlier; we expect to post the upcoming Feb./Mar. 2012 issue before January 1.

Here is my article, Peak Moments of 2012 and Forecast for Each Sign

Happy New Year!

–Tem (TMA Publisher)

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A Summer Monday

By Mary Plumb | August 8, 2011

If you, dear readers, are anything like me and my friends and family, you will understand that I am taking a week off from the blog. Time needed to assimilate, maybe, and have a bit more time to enjoy beautiful summer weather.

Transiting Mars is out-of-bounds (now at 23N46) and continuing to engage the brilliant and bright energy of Uranus (which it squares on Tuesday morning), and confront the hidden reserves of Pluto. (Mars is opposite Pluto on Wednesday night. Let’s make the most of it — this particular aspect won’t happen again until July 2013.)

Mercury is retrograde, of course, and rules siblings. Here’s a link to my sister Kate’s recent blog on this retrograde:

With Mercury retrograde, if you have time to reflect here are some articles on our site that you may have missed, or that deserve another read.

TMA’s Beginners Series There are 13 parts; plenty to keep you busy for a while.

In case you missed the very cool digital flip-book, here’s the entire June/July issue.

Book Reviews appeared only on the web from March 2007 through September 2008. There are lots of wonderful books reviewed here.

Robert Blaschke’s blog on Mercury Retrograde.

Gary Caton on The Moon and Mercury Overthrow the Sun.

Laughter Yoga, scroll down for the link to the video.

Love to one and all,


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Week Off

By Mary Plumb | January 24, 2011

Hope everybody has a good week.  We are taking a week off from the blog.  I plan to reread the recent blog posts from our guest blog authors, and all of your fine comments.

Mary Plumb

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News from TMA — A Digital Option Coming in 2011

By Tem Tarriktar | December 27, 2010

Hello everyone, and Happy Holidays:

Mary is getting a well-deserved holiday break from the blog this week. So here is a chance to bring you the latest news from TMA headquarters in Grass Valley, California.

After a lot of hard work by our staff, the new February/March issue of the magazine is being printed this week! It is scheduled to be mailed out to our faithful subscribers on January 4, and to be in the stores by late January. This is a particularly interesting issue of TMA, a theme issue on archetypes, dreamwork, alchemy, and the water houses in the chart. This issue was orchestrated by TMA Special Projects Editor Kate Sholly, and features articles by Ken Johnson, Jodie Forrest, Ray Grasse, Dena DeCastro, Laurence Hillman, Arielle Guttman, Glenn Perry, and Alice O. Howell. We hope you’ll send us feedback after you have time to look it over. (Here’s  a sneak peek at the Table of Contents.)

In addition to keeping up with our relentless production schedule, I have been investigating what it would take to offer our readers the option of accessing a digital version of TMA, for subscribers who would like to have access while traveling, or don’t have the space to store printed magazines, or don’t want to use the paper in the first place. In my discussions with our circulation manager and with a technical consultant, it looks like there may be a logistically viable way for us to do it, while also making extra content available digitally that there isn’t room for in the printed magazine. I plan to post details of how this will work in a week or two, and I hope to have the digital option available to existing (and new) subscribers by late spring or summer of 2011. Subscription options will be: 1) just print; 2) just digital; or 3) both print and digital.

So let us hear from you, readers! What topics and writers do you want to see more of in TMA? What should we add on when we offer a digital option? And how can we expand/improve our forecast section?

I wish each one of you has a happy, low-stress, yet stimulating year ahead,


P.S.: A special thanks goes out to those of you who subscribed or gave gift subscriptions these last few months (the gift subscription sale ends on January 5th). Your subscriptions directly support our work, and I find it personally encouraging that our subscription numbers (as well as our prices) have stayed level even in the hard economic times of the last two years.

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TMA Blog Rests This Week

By Mary Plumb | August 30, 2010

Mary Plumb and all our great guest bloggers are taking an early Labor Day holiday! We’ll be back on Monday, September 6. In the mean time, do enjoy all the fine blogs from past weeks, especially Robert Blaschke’s recent Aberrations in the Venus-Mars Cycle.

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Good Monday!

By Mary Plumb | February 22, 2010

Hello to all TMA‘s dear readers. This is not my usual blog, just a warm note to let you know I’m taking a little break this week as I get ready to go to Boston early tomorrow for the NGCR conference. I’ll be TMA‘s eyes and ears, so please come and find me and say hello.

I’ll be there with my sister, Kate Plumb, a fine companion and terrific astrologer from New York. As she likes to tell people, we shared a room for 18 years. I think she mostly remembers that I was messy (that is, a Pisces). I mostly remember that she used to get up in the middle of the night to rearrange the furniture (that is, a Capricorn). To be fair, we each have a tendency to exaggerate – she’s got Mercury conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn, I have the same conjunction in Aquarius.

Please do come find me in Cambridge with any and all praise, ideas, complaints, feedback to Tem and his amazing TMA crew. I’ll gladly carry all your wishes back to everyone at the office.

Next Monday I will have a new blog, and I hope to see some of you soon in person!

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