TMA This Week

Good Monday

By Mary Plumb | May 19, 2014

We’re taking a break from a blog this week. In honor of the Sun’s last day in Taurus and giving us all a chance to enjoy the lushness of the day.

Kate and Tem are getting ready for NORWAC and I am enjoying the company of Kate Petty who is in Ashland to be our guest speaker tonight at SONCGR (Southern Oregon chapter of NCGR) – informally known as Astrology in Ashland. Here’s the event: Astrology in Ashland

Please come if you’re nearby!

Have fun everyone near and far..

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Time out for the blog…

By Mary Plumb | March 3, 2014

Dear friends,

Several streams converged in the past few days and manifesting a blog did not make it to the surface!

I hope that’s not a disappointment (I know you have lots of other things to read).

And, the April/May issue of TMAThe Music Issue – is out now. Check out the contents here.

Have a good Mardi Gras and we’ll see you soon.


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Summer (blog) vacation

By Mary Plumb | August 18, 2013

Hello loyal friends and newcomers to TMA,

We’re taking a summer rest this week but will be back next week with renewed cheer!

Best to you all…

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TMA Summer Reruns

By Mary Plumb | August 4, 2013

We’re taking a break from new work this this week, but here are some recent blogs that are still of interest.

The 79-year Cycles of Mercury and Mars in the USA Horoscope by Gary Caton

The Me Nobody Knows: Edward Snowden’s Mercury by Eric Francis

Pluto unannounced by Mary Plumb

The Eurozone Crisis 2013: Theory and Method in Mundane Astrology by Nicholas Campion

Ask an astrologer a question… by Anne Whitaker

Have a good week everyone and Happy New Moon in Leo.

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A pancake tale

By Tem Tarriktar | April 29, 2013

Here are two quick announcements from TMA:

1) All Mountain Astrologer print subscriptions – new orders as well as renewals – are on sale at $3 off the prices that are listed on our online order form, through June 30 – gifts excluded. To order, go here. Your subscription helps to pay for this blog. And remember, free digital access comes with any print subscription (digital-only subscriptions are also available). We have just posted the new June/July issue online for TMA subscribers.

2) TMA now has back issues on CD! Each CD contains 12 issues (each issue is one pdf file), covering two years. The years covered are 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. Both CDs, taken together, include about 360 articles. The price is $24 for each CD; foreign postage a bit extra. Ordering info is here. (The articles included in these CDs can be found by using our online article index. This product is not available as a direct download.)

A note about today’s blog from Mary: Enough with upheaval and world events for a moment. I could not resist Tem’s gracious offer of this classic cooking story for today’s blog. It’s a rare glimpse into a moment of non-magazine-related-time – in 2008, no less – for Kate and Tem. Enjoy it!

A pancake tale

It was Saturday, January 19, 2008 at about 3 pm PST. Although it was sunny and mild weather, and Kate and I each had better, more socially responsible things on our to-do lists, we found ourselves obsessed with computer Boggle (a word game). Just one more game. Just one more game. Just one more. Finally we gave in to the impulse to make pancakes, vegan pancakes in particular (since neither one of us eats eggs any more) a plan we had been discussing for a few days now. We got some Internet recipes that used butternut squash and hazelnut milk and plunged right in. We had to modify the recipe a bit so it was a bit of an experiment. But we forged ahead.

It was looking good when we mixed the dry and wet ingredients and discovered that the gloppatude was just about right. Glop, glop. OK, then, now we’re cookin’ — with a cast iron (Mars) skillet. Since we were cooking together and having fun cooking together (slightly, ahem, a RARE occurrence in the fire sign environment we have here), I ran over to the computer to run a chart (of course) to see what universal pattern, if any, was bringing these unexpected pancakes into being. This was my first mistake. For while I was doing that I left a Sagittarian (Kate) alone to pour the batter in the skillet.

At the moment I cast the chart, Moon was exactly conjunct Mars at 24+ Gemini, opposite Venus at 24 Sagittarius in the 6th house, with Cancer rising. That explains the enthusiasm, the Boggle, and the bold domestic experimentation from two Mars-in-Pisces natives. I looked up the Sabian symbol for the 25th degree of Gemini to find some sort of cosmic pat on the back for being in tune with cosmic forces, and here is what I found: A GARDENER TRIMMING LARGE PALM TREES. (Don’t tell James Randi!)

I returned to the kitchen to find Kate looking a bit perplexed with four large and very thick pancakes a’grillin’ — all mooshed together, with no room to spread out or to be flattened into the proper thickness. Uh oh. Trouble in paradise. We decided that this batch was beginning to resemble some kind of mutant gooey meatloaf and probably next to hopeless, and got to work with Plan B — thinning the batter and pulling out a new teflon-coated skillet. Meanwhile, I was trying to find some way to blame Mars for this unfortunate turn of events. Moon had been exactly opposite Venus when we started making the batter (and it was definitely sweet enough, but too gooey inside). The second batch, the thinner ones, came out a bit better, but still not the right texture. They all looked a bit too much like burgers. Ironic for vegan pancakes, eh?

Moon-Mars was exact in Gemini, and squaring my natal Mars. I guess the Gemini energy explains why I am writing about this incident right now with slightly burnt (Mars), yet somehow gooey (Moon), pancakes in my belly. That and of course wanting to share important astro-pancake research with our readers – and hey, the Moon is void-of-course now so what else can I get done, anyway, right?

The moral of the story, according to Kate, is that with Jupiter now in Capricorn, we shouldda stuck closer to the recipe. And with the Gemini-Sag opposition, we got distracted and too experimental for this batch of pancakes to have a decent texture, even though they tasted OK.

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a few memorable TMA blogs from 2012

By Mary Plumb | December 31, 2012

I know most are looking ahead with 2013 predictions, but I’m nearing the end of a very eventful family holiday and – along with Janus – am stopping at the crossroads and looking back a bit before going any farther. (1) Happily, I have lots of material to work with as we’ve had many relevant blogs and guest bloggers in 2012. Here are just a few that have relevant content that I hope you will enjoy.

The Venus eclipse in June was a once in a lifetime event with memorable implications. I wrote about David Tresemer’s very interesting book on the matter here.

Gary P. Caton wrote The Astrological Faces of Love. Looking to the Greeks, he describes Eros, Agape and Philia and finds their parallels in different aspects of Venus. “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.” (This article has a graphic on the Visual Cycle of Venus, as she moves from morning to evening star.)

I revisited a technique I learned from Robert Blaschke on the Sun-Mars synodic cycle. From the blog: “Along with his impeccable explanation of the mechanics of the synodic cycles, Robert proposes a theory that considers the fate vs. free will question. He writes about astrology as depicting the space-time continuum. He describes the transits to the birth chart as connected to one’s fate, which is associated with time. He then describes free will as related to space — the recurrence of the synodic cycles, i.e., the phase angle return, of a birth chart is related to free will…..The practical application of this theory is that the phase angle return is when the individual can most directly and efficaciously use free will to change patterns related to the particular planet during one’s life.”

Alex Miller wrote about the Moon Pluto occultations that are continuing through much of 2013. This information is unique to a window of time between April 2012 and August 2013. “Beginning in April 2012, the Moon will pass directly in front of Pluto, blocking its energy for no less than 19 consecutive months! Given the fact that this occultation hasn’t happened since 1935, it would appear to be a major event, with some cosmic intent or purpose for the world at large.”

Usain Bolt moved quickly through the headlines in 2012, but here’s a quick look back at his brilliance – The Lightning Bolt.

Thank you to everyone who has read TMA‘s blog this past year and to all our wonderful guest writers. I couldn’t have done it without you!


(1) My family holiday has included much time with my seven-year-old granddaughter. I can’t reveal much more, except for this hint: Santa brought her a tee shirt which said, “What happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandmas.”

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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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