TMA This Week

Here’s to a new era…

By Mary Plumb | November 27, 2020

We are anticipating the December ingresses of Saturn and Jupiter into Aquarius, marking an enormous passage — after over 200 years in earth, the Great Conjunction now changes element for another over 200 year chapter. The partile conjunction is on December 21 at 0°29’ Aquarius, opening the solstice season with a strikingly different tone which we may sense and feel, or recognize and see in life events, both obvious and subtle. By any means, it is a great astrology lesson to observe the outer world, and our own inner barometer when any significant planetary event happens.

Here are a few calendars and journals to accompany us across this long awaited threshold and into 2021. These products will help you stay organized and record insights against the backdrop of the marvelous celestial phenomena always upon us.

About Stars is a new company with products that include the Astrological Journal Starter Pack. Designed for all levels of users, this includes a large format journal with ample space for writing, astrological data and illustrations for each of the signs. There is a glossary, basic astrology information, resource guide and gift suggestions for the signs, and more. The pack comes with a separate (more detailed) ephemeris (calculated for EST), and a handy bookmark. ($63) Berkeley Field, the astrologer and designer of the products, is also an artist — her work is lovely, spacious and colorful. About Stars also offers a Small Book Calendar, with a black-and-white ephemeris and aspect grid for each month ($14). There is also a Large Wall Calendar with colorful ephemeris, daily aspects, Moon phases, etc. ($18), and a set of Astrological Birthday Postcards ($16). Check her website to really appreciate the designs and color.

The Honeycomb Collective, whose “mission is to create tools that support social transformation through the layers of self-awareness, harmonious community, and global abundance.”

Their first product is the Personal Astrological Almanac, a customized natal and mundane transit planner, with all kinds of special features. You choose the start date, time zone, house system, and more for a Custom-made planner and ephemeris with transit data specific to your natal chart, as well as mundane transits. The almanac is available as a digital PDF or printed almanac. ($10 – $22).

The current version (v2.1.1) includes options for asteroids (free), Hellenistic techniques, sect and artwork.

The Hellenistic Plugin (in any house system) adds six Zodiacal Releasing summary pages, releasing from the remaining six Hermetic Lots (those not chosen as the primary lot). The plugin can be ordered with any house system, and is $2.50 for 6-month almanacs, and $5 for 12-month almanacs.

There is also a Personal Astrological Wall Calendar for easy reference to the upcoming 12 months of collective and personal transits. ($25) The calendar has many of the same options as the almanac — ephemerides in your time zone, solar return charts, and customizable artwork.

This is a first-glance list. Please add your suggestions, or email them to me Mary Plumb and we’ll expand the collection.

Happy eclipse season everyone.

photo Nagatoshi Shimamura: unsplash

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Hello TMA friends

By Mary Plumb | September 18, 2020

Some of you know that I am behind the curve with blog content. I left Ashland for a hiatus from the fires and bad air. I’m close to settling down enough to write something creative. And (for a complete change of pace!) here’s a webinar that I gave at the Astrology University a few years ago on Prince. Tony Howard just posted it on YouTube. (I took the photo in Brooklyn in 2017.)

Be well everyone. Stay safe out there.


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Summer blog holiday

By Mary Plumb | August 26, 2019

Dear friends,

Today’s blog has been postponed until next week.

Today we are in the Balsamic phase of the lunar cycle; the light of the Moon is decreasing and all affairs are quieting down, settling in and being restored before the next New Moon which is on Friday, August 30.

The New Moon on Friday is in Virgo, with Mars, Venus and Mercury all accompanying the lunation. I anticipate a great renewal of focus and productivity and will happily see you all then.

Have a wonderful week!

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Tem Tarriktar

By Mary Plumb | July 29, 2019

Tem Tarriktar was my friend for 30 years, and saying goodbye has been very, very hard. From my perch as editor of the TMA blog, I want to offer a few thoughts from this sliver of Tem’s enormously creative world.

Tem Tarriktar
August 7, 1956
7:40 a.m. EDT
Cleveland, Ohio (41N19 81W42)
Koch houses, True Node

I have a thought about him that captures a bit of how I experienced this lovely man. I remember an image from an old book on esoteric astrology that described the qualities of the sign of Leo. We easily recognize and admire those people with this sign prominent — Leo the Lion is the king of the beasts, after all, and one of the earliest recognized constellations, having been documented by the Mesopotamians. It is also one of the largest and most easily identified constellations in the sky, and those born with the Sun in Leo often have a nobility and regality or a brilliance that we look up to. This bright being also casts a long shadow. This can be thought of as an “ordinary” Leo; however, in this hint from esoteric lore, the spiritually “advanced” Leo engulfs us all in the warmth and generosity of his heart. We are no longer merely admiring the undeniable brightness of the Leo, but rather we are all included in the loving embrace and awareness of the Leo’s love. That is how Tem was to me.

In 2011, when I was bereft at the passing of our friend, Robert Blaschke, Tem said something to me, in his gentle way, which was deeply consoling: “Some people are irreplaceable.” That is surely true, and I take solace in those words now. Goodbye, Tem, and thank you for everything. It will never be the same without you.


Here are some early tributes to the founder and publisher of The Mountain Astrologer magazine. Many more are forthcoming, including remembrances from his close associates at the magazine and his beloved wife, Kate.

A Loss So Great, It Is Felt by All
Tem Tarriktar
8/7/1956 – 7/8/2019
Written by Linda Kubota Byrd for the NCGR Memberletter

On July 8, 2019, at 2:10 PM, Tem Tarriktar, human being extraordinaire, passed back into the spirit world that his 12th-house Sun knew so well. Almost midway between the Cancer Solar Eclipse on July 2 and the Lunar Eclipse on July 16, we lost a beacon in our astrological community, and, as is the case with eclipses, our world changed.

On May 20, 2019, Tem wrote:

No One
God’s workings (especially mystics)
Things happen
and the ripples created
that touch everyone so deeply
The reasons live
in a dimension
nobody but silence visits
Later, the best we can do
is to look back at the path
of rubble from God’s
annihilating Love

Tem was a triple Leo, and he loved deeply — you could see it in his dancing eyes. He left his body with the love of his life, Kate, her sister Fran, and his brother-in-spirit and devoted friend Bo by his side. Jupiter was in trine to his Leo Sun-Ascendant, and Uranus was on his MC.

On March 29, 2018, Tem wrote:

Do not forget who
you are
as a soul
Not this flutter of events
Not this fragile form
Don’t leave your heart
to wander
without a center
Speak from soul
Give and receive from this rock-throne
You are a rich, colorful, and
dynamic Peace
an unexpected Joy
a silent Love
Don’t hold back
No one is keeping score

Tem did not hold back. He had a gift to deliver, and in one sense, he was keeping score. On June 16, 2018, issue 200 of The Mountain Astrologer was sent to the printer. Each issue was a labor of love, and Tem looked like he had given birth after each one. His Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo made sure that every issue was on time and as perfect as possible, which took every ounce of his energy. The publication that began as a few mimeographed pages in 1987 had become, in the words of Henry Seltzer, “a world-renowned and widely respected institution.” Tem had succeeded in bringing the “ancient art and timeless wisdom of astrology to the world … as a vital aid to society’s evolution.” Bruce Scofield wrote, “Tem’s legacy is immense. He has done the heavy lifting — elevating a public understanding of astrology from stupid ‘horoscopes’ to an accessible nuts and bolts understanding of the full range of the subject.”

After more than 30 years of tireless dedication, Tem received the coveted Regulus Award in 2018 for his contribution to the Professional Image of Astrology. Ever humble, he wanted to acknowledge his staff as equally deserving, especially TMA’s senior editor, Nan Geary. He had previously declined other award nominations because he couldn’t include his staff.

As our community learned of Tem’s illness and merciful passing, well wishes and condolences poured in from those who had the good fortune to know him personally. Phrases like, “Ray of light in my life for decades, warm spirit and generous nature, wise and gifted, intelligent and calm presence, kind, funny, creative, your steady hand has held the lantern for many a new astrologer, Tem’s life work has been invaluable, a strong mentor to so many — even if he didn’t realize it, a loving and dedicated soul, Leonine nobility at the height of service.” If there is anything good that came of Tem’s illness, it was that he felt the love and support of the community that cherished him. Even then, his humility was present. One night at the hospital, when I wanted to read him some of the many messages and accolades he’d received, he sweetly smiled at me and said, “Only one or two.”

Hundreds of messages came in from those who hadn’t met him in person as well. Michele Adler’s beautiful comment represented the sentiment of so many: “Tem and I never met in person, but I think of all the people who never met him in person, and still were highly influenced by him. I am a better astrologer for what I learned and still learn through The Mountain Astrologer. If the chronicles of astrology are ever written for the 21st century, Tem’s name will be prominent, and his presence will still be felt after all of us are gone. My prayers and thoughts are with him and his family now, as well as heartfelt gratitude for Tem’s well-lived life.”

On April 28, 2018, Tem wrote:

Like a storm
changes everything
in the desert
The silent Soul not lost, not dead, is waiting for rain
and the Unknowable
which will rise up and take you
or inform you in the smallest, quietest ways
that you are the rain

I first met Tem and Kate at one of our NCGR meetings in Sacramento. It felt like we had royalty amongst us — even though Tem was not aware of it, his Leo energy was apparent. Subsequently we became good friends. When I learned that he didn’t have time to devote to advertising for the magazine, I offered to help. My Ascendant and Venus conjoin TMA’s Ascendant, and my Sun is on TMA’s 0° Aries North Node. Tem and I share a reversed Sag-Gemini nodal axis, and, despite my Mercury in Pisces opposing his Mercury in Virgo, an easy energy flowed between us. During one of our quiet talks at the hospital, Tem mentioned that he wanted to write a book, and not until I was preparing for this tribute did I realize that his book was already written. In addition to his legacy of The Mountain Astrologer, it is through his poetry that his spirit and wisdom will live on.

This is from Tem’s post on May 5, 2018:

The place a poem comes from
is the direction I look for my Self
wrapped in silence and wonder
This peaceful Heart
covered with earth
and still
lighting a strange new galaxy

Fly high, my dear friend, and know that your presence here left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. You lived up to the potential of your chart and achieved the highest octave of Leo: loved and admired by all.

With a sad heart that is missing a “life’s long friend,”
Linda Kubota Byrd


Tem’s longtime friend Greg Bogart wrote A Tribute to Tem Tarriktar (with some wonderful biographical details) for Astrodienst. Greg ends his tribute with these words: “Tem’s legacy is not just a magazine, but a stronger astrological community. What a beautiful flowering his life attained. Now he returns to the Source, having completed so beautifully the mission he was sent here to fulfill. All of us who love him will miss him and always remember him. May he go in peace, knowing he has generated much good karma on planet Earth.”

TMA Editor Frank Clifford has written tributes that will appear in forthcoming issues of the ISAR and the Astrological Association journals. Longtime TMA Editor Janette deProsse’s tribute will also be published in the Astrological Association journal.

Here is Chris Brennan’s podcast interview with Tem from March 27, 2018, followed by a transcription of the interview that Chris kindly arranged.

The Astrology Podcast: Tem Tarriktar on The Mountain Astrologer

The Astrology Podcast: Transcript

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Tem Tarriktar

By Mary Plumb | July 16, 2019

As coordinator of blogs (and various other tasks at TMA), my heart is heavy in saying goodbye to our dearest Tem.

However, here are a few links to enjoy: the first is Chris Brennan’s podcast interview with Tem from March 27, 2018, followed by a lively and gracious conversation between TMA‘s Rae Sapp and Caroline Casey.

The Astrology Podcast: Tem Tarriktar on The Mountain Astrologer

Mutual Reception: Caroline Casey and Rae Sapp

August 7, 1956 – July 8, 2019

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Season’s Blessings and Love

By Mary Plumb | December 24, 2018

The TMA staff sends all friends, family, neighbors and loved ones – near and far, known and unknown – our warmest wishes for a safe, happy Solstice season and a New Year that is bright with unbounded hope and unvarnished dreams coming true!

Thank you for your loyal support for TMA and we look forward to traveling in 2019 with each and every one of you.

Tem, Kate, Nan, Linda K., Mary, Jan, Sara, Linda B., Rae and Ann

Photo by Jeremy Gallman/Unsplash

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Mercury retrograde

By Mary Plumb | August 16, 2017

Mary Plumb corrects a very public error – writing a blog based on an incorrect birth time.

Oh dear, this is embarrassing…although before I wrote the blog on Sam Shepard I had been in personal touch with AstroDataBank to clarify the time, I just got an email that they have changed the record and it is more likely CWT after all. (I based the blog on CST.) I apologize for my error. (In an attempt to make this a teaching moment: the current Mercury retrograde in Virgo is quite close to my MC degree…right out there in full view for all to see.) Mary

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Do You Have IGS? (Irritable Gods Syndrome)

By The Mountain Astrologer | April 24, 2017

The same astrological research team that discovered the relatively unknown but widespread condition known as SLDS (Severe Libra Deficiency Syndrome) (1) has finished its research into IGS,(2) and discovered that a full 95% of the population are afflicted by Irritable Gods Syndrome. It turns out that political leaders, economic trends, and social conditions have been unfairly blamed for the difficulties and stress most of us experience, including unrequited love, chronic health issues, “developmental” despair, and fated encounters with used car salespeople. All along it was just cranky planetary gods.

An IGS attack can occur at anytime, so it is good to be near an ephemeris.

The classic symptoms are:

  • A persistent experience of difficult astrological transits, as if the planets were “out to get you” — if you have IGS, they are out to get you!
  • Every time you check the transits, the Moon seems to be square or opposed to an outer planet.
  • When Saturn changes direction, it always seems to do so on an important point in your chart, such as on your Sun or Ascendant.
  • Your progressed chart has been stuck in the cosmic muck for much too long now.
  • You suspect you have a retrograde Moon in your natal chart (at least that’s what your partner claims).
  • When you finally meet someone you are attracted to, and compare your natal charts, their Mars and Saturn are opposing your Sun, Moon, or Venus — it is as if the gods are taunting you.

IGS is nothing new, really. Almost all mythological stories feature one or more gods continually messing with each other and relentlessly messing with humans. I seem to recall something about one poor soul having to push a boulder up a hill. Hmmm…

Is there a cure for IGS? Although NoPlutoMoTrine, Retnograde, and a few other drugs have been suggested, and although Vedic astrologers have developed a large encyclopedia of remedial measures, the only certain cure for a severe case of IGS is reincarnation. But maybe in a different solar system.(3)


(1) SLDS is otherwise known as “being an Aries” or having Mars in a fire sign on the Ascendant. Notable people with SLDS include many presidents.

(2) “Research” in this case means 25 minutes with an ephemeris and some strong coffee, while talking to a few test subjects at the local donut shop.

(3) Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make trades with other solar systems (like sports teams do) and swap Saturn or Neptune for something new under the Sun? (We know, be careful what you ask for.)

© 2017 The Mountain Astrologer

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TMA blog news

By Mary Plumb | November 24, 2014

Good Monday everyone,

I forgot to tell you last week that TMA‘s blog is moving to an every-other-week format. We’ll have a new blog next Monday. In the meantime, here are some recent entries you may have missed:

Have you seen the Sun at midnight?

Travel well, Alice Howell

Astrological podcasts

Let’s spread the warmth, the spiritedness and generosity of the Sun in Sag in mutual reception with Jupiter in Leo as far and wide as we can! Have a wonderful, love-filled and joyful Thanksgiving, everyone.

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End of summer holiday

By Mary Plumb | September 1, 2014

Greetings to all,

In the US today is Labor Day which became a federal holiday in 1894 in honor of the American work force. The Moon is void-of-course for another few hours, and Mercury enters Libra (crossing the Aries Point) late tonight – tomorrow will be a whole new day. For now, we are resting the blog (and the bloggers) and I speak for the TMA staff in wishing everyone a very good holiday. With Sun in Virgo, may we take a break from unnecessary labor, and thoroughly enjoy the tasks that need to be done! See you next week.

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