Important Note : If you are creating charts for newborns living in foreign countries, go to www. According to David Cochrane of Cosmic Patterns, this website is an excellent source for accurate contemporary time zone information. For example, Venezuela has changed the time zone used countrywide. Thanks to David Cochrane for this alert. Unfortunately, the ACS atlas has not been updated to reflect this change, and so programs that rely on it -- such as Solar Fire, TimePassages, Shri Jyoti Star -- will create incorrect charts for Venezuela for newborns until this issue has been addressed.
Even versions of Kepler or Sirius that have not been recently updated will have this problem. So for recent births outside of the U. To test whether your program can calculate time zones correctly: You can use 12 noon i. Limitations in software design: A. Missed Events. A longstanding problem that existed in earlier versions of many astrology programs -- and still exists in one current program -- is that if you rely on your astrology software to search for outer planet transits and you limit the search to only a couple of months, they left out very major events.
Note: The Time Line graphical transit display in Kepler and Sirius does not have this problem, and it is possible to configure their hit listings to avoid this too by going to Dates and Times to Print, and changing "the number of months before and after printout to find: aspects in orb" to two months. They find events that have already entered orb but have not reached an exact hit.
The problem is the result of the fact that Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto slow down and change direction twice a year, and near each station, they may approach an exact aspect for several months. If the beginning date of the transit search happens to be after the transiting planet has entered a one degree orb, and for the duration of the search the transiting planet never exactly aspects the natal planet, then the software will not list the event at all! Here's an example: Bill Clinton was in a period of Neptune opposed Saturn during September and October of , but almost every astrology program completely omitted this transit if the search period was from September 1, thru November 15, because at the starting date the transit has passed the entering orb, and it didn't reach the exact hit until November 27, In the above image, we can see that Neptune entered one degree orb on July 20 and reached exactness on August But in October, Neptune stationed, and so Neptune doesn't exactly oppose Saturn again until November 27th.
If an astrologer searches for major transits during September and October for Bill Clinton using most astrology programs, the transit will not show up. Feel free to test your software using the above example. Bill Clinton's birth data is: August 19 , am, Hope, Arkansas. This very serious deficiency in most astrology programs and can only be compensated for by setting your software to look for periods of at least three months at a time if you are using a one degree approaching orb.
If you are an astrologer who uses much wider transit orbs, like 6 degrees, your software becomes won't find many major transits unless you do scans of two years or more. Missed Events in Kepler and Sirius Hit Lists : The transit text listings in both Kepler and Sirius will omit some stationary events for short transit scans, but you can fix this if you make one small change in them. After running a transit listing, you right-click and customize the report: changing the Aspects in Orb to 1 instead of 0.
Stations within Orb. Most astrology programs can list planetary stations, but not in relationship to specific transits. Since, often, the most powerful transits are ones where the transiting planet approaches a natal point and then stands still nearby before reaching an exact hit, this omission is significant. Always look to see if there are stations within orb of major transits, because your software will not show them. Note: starting with Kepler 7. Inaccurate Interpretations. I just wrote an article called The strengths and weaknesses of astrological interpretation software exploring in depth the strengths and weaknesses of report writers, i.
This replaces my previous short section on the weaknesses of interpretive software. You can read the article by clicking here. Weighting schemes. Whether one uses astrodynes, shad bala, kuta analysis, or proprietary natal or compatibility scorings to determine which planets and signs are strong and whether people are compatible , they are all going to ignore factors that are not programmed in, factors that any astrologer looking at the chart would notice.
For example, there is no method presently in use that gives extra weighting to "bucket-handle" planets — i. And yet these planets are exceptionally strong in charts, and often indicate a person's greatest strengths. In other words, all planetary weighting schemes and numerical compatibility methods have serious weaknesses and cannot be relied upon. Simply put, chart analysis cannot be reduced to numeric values and still be accurate.
Recently, every major software company that had a compatibility assessment method in their programs, and several other astrologers, submitted their compatibility analysis systems to a test: to see if they could distinguish between a group of between happily married couples and a group of bitterly divorced couples.
Every single method failed completely! Horary and Muhurta. For the sake of convenience, people want to use astrology software to do "all their thinking for them". A good example of this is in the selection of a good date to travel, get an operation, get married, etc. Astrology programs have excellent tools that show you what factors are occurring at any moment.
However, to rely completely on software to choose the right time to begin an undertaking is a form of over-reliance -- for the same reason that all weighting schemes as mentioned above fail: astrology programs simply cannot take enough factors into account, don't know the "exceptions to the rules", and therefore cannot, without additional attention from an astrologer who know how to choose right times, do the job correctly.
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Ancient dates. In testing software for this article, I found that every program differed significantly from the others in the positions of the Moon and the outer planets for 1 AD. Be very careful about trusting the planetary positions of any ancient chart. Common Software Bugs. Many bugs still exist in astrology software.
Among the most common are: Applying vs. Separating glitches, i. Some programs do not realize that the time am is identical to am. Be sure to test the software you are using to see if both times give the same results. Orb overlap errors, i. Both aspects are claiming the region from to degrees. Bugs in Vedic calculations. The formulae for Shad Bala and Kutas comparisons are incredibly complex, and the scores that you receive from one program to the next do not agree at all. Conclusion: An incredibly large amount of time and effort is put into the creation and improvement of astrology software.
The major calculation programs, for example, have many person-years of development time. And yet all of this work is done for a relatively tiny proportion of the computer market. Instead of being critical of software that has a few bugs in it, we need to do our part to learn to use the software effectively, help companies to find bugs, and appreciate how lucky we really are.
Most of the errors in our work are due to incorrect data entry or changes in the setup of our software, so we always need to double-check our work. Our chart files are priceless, and we need to back them up often.
We also need to remember that we can't use some astrological techniques e. We live in a time of incredible astrological resources, for which I am incredibly thankful. I remember when the first programs were released, and how far we've come. Our charting tools are magnificent. Updating Your Software: One of the blessings of the Internet is that now most of the major astrology software companies are offering free updates and bug fixes via their websites.
Some companies provide the ability to check for updates within their programs e. Solar Fire Gold and Regulus Platinum , while most others require that you log onto their websites and check for updates. I suggest that at least a few times a year, you visit each companies' website to see if an update is available. Addendum: Misconceptions people have about astrology software and further insights. Composite Charts. In the mid's and early '80's, John Townley and Rob Hand introduced, in two books, the concept of Composite charts.
Composite charts are constructed by finding the midpoint of each pair of planets the same planet from both charts and placing that midpoint into a new Composite chart. For example, if the Sun was at 1 degree Cancer in one chart and at 1 degree Scorpio in the other chart, the Sun would be at 1 degree Virgo the midpoint in the Composite chart. Many beginners to astrology embrace Composite charts without understanding what they are and how they are to be used. Some astrologers even use them instead of the time-honored and preeminent method of comparing charts, i.
In reality, Composite charts do not exist. They are mathematical constructs wherein, for example, the Sun can be many houses away from Mercury, even though this can never happen in the actual sky. Therefore, Composite charts are fictitious and there is no date when they occurred. The recent Total eclipse in July inspired me to test how well astrology programs mapped the eclipse paths, and whether they could enable astrologers to find the charts on file of those who would be most affected by the eclipse. Rounding Errors. I received an email about rounding errors in a particular program.
In fact, Pluto doesn't move into Scorpio until about pm that day. I decided to test all of the professional programs, and while most of them correctly showed Pluto in Libra, a few major ones did not. Some showed Pluto in Libra in either the birth chart or the data table, but not in both.
The lesson here is to always pay careful notice when a planet is at 29 degrees 59 minutes of a sign or at 0 degrees of a sign, as it may or may not be in that sign, in actuality. You can test your software using the above data to see if it correctly shows Pluto in Libra on November 5, at 11 am in Berkeley, California. Time Zones for dynamic searches In order to evaluate the above Pluto ingress into Scorpio issue, I used various programs to determine the time that Pluto entered Scorpio on November 5, What I uncovered was another possible "gotcha", i.
Essentially, no matter what birth chart is open in a program, astrology programs use the default location's time zone and daylight settings in calculating predictive events like transit hits and ingresses. Therefore, make sure that you enter the time zone you want programs to use when running a transit search, or you may not get as accurate results.
Most programs provide a box for selecting the time zone for any predictive search. Issues with Calculating Progressions As I mentioned in the section above Time Zones for dynamic searches , the location and time zone used in predictive searches can affect the results. In calculating Secondary Progressions, for example, the Progressed Ascendant's position will vary a huge amount from one location and time zone to another. Most astrologers use the birth place for Secondary Progressions. That's because they are based upon "A day for a year" i. In other words, unless you did move away from your birth place in the first three months of life, you should use the birth place for Secondary Progressed calculations.
But if you have your software preset to calculate transits, returns, and progressions for your present location, then the Progressed Ascendant will be way off! For El Cerrito, California, on the other hand, my current Progressed Ascendant is at 29 Leo 34 Therefore, all of the predictions based upon my Progressed Ascendant will fail if I don't reconfigure my software to use my birth place and not my current location for the calculations.
A second issue is even more important.
Changing your Astrology Sign
Most astrologers assume that their software is precisely accurate in all of its calculations, but in fact there are programs that calculate Secondary Progressions very precisely and others that use much less accurate methods. I was recently testing programs with this in mind, and some professional programs were weeks off in their calculations! Here's a test for you to conduct. Use my birth data June 27, am Orange, New Jersey and do a four-year Secondary Progressed search starting from January 1, The progressed Mercury will enter a one degree orb of trining Venus on March 14, , is exact on October 1, , and leaves by one degree orb on August 21, Finally, many astrology programs will allow you to calculate the Moon's position using Parallax Correction.
This measures the Moon from the surface of the Earth, instead of from the center of the Earth. Almost all astrologers use the center of the Earth for lunar calculations, and the difference can be up to a whole degree! If you choose to use the Parallax-corrected Moon, understand that this too will greatly change the dates when progressed aspects by the Moon to all planets will occur and to the natal Moon by progressed planets.
Can you use software to do the thinking for you? I receive many requests from astrologers for programs that will choose the right time to start a business, or have a wedding, or for programs that tell you about your life thematically, e. While some astrology software programs do attempt to "do the thinking and analysis for you", I have tested them, and have yet to find one that does so accurately.
Too many factors have to be taken into account for computers and software to be up to the task. Astrology programs can call up pre-written paragraphs about the meaning of a specific transit or natal factor or interaspect, but they can't take into account multiple factors at once.
Similarly, I have many requests for Daily Horoscope software. Those requesting such software don't realize that it is impossible for a computer to generate daily horoscopes because, since the sky never repeats itself, canned paragraphs won't do the job. The computer would have to create new delineations by itself, which is way, way beyond the capability of even the largest super computer and most sophisticated software. As I might have mentioned elsewhere, astrologers also frequently ask for matchmaking software.
In the first double-blind astrological study of its kind, every astrology program that had a compatibility module was tested against sets of compatible and incompatible couples, and not one program was able to distinguish between the two groups. Compatibility analysis is an art, and requires much more capability than any program can provide. Software can show where two charts mesh and don't mesh, but not the overall compatibility. In fact, as I was explaining to a client this week, incompatibilities may show up, at times, in the relationship patterns revealed in each person's individual chart instead of in how the two charts inter-connect.
Even the use of astromapping requires more than a basic understanding of astrology to be really effective. If you just use a Theme Map or Venus lines for places to go for love, you may move to the wrong place! For love, planets in the Seventh House, the ruler of the Seventh House, and planets in the First House opposite to the Seventh House should all be taken into account, not just -- or even primarily -- Venus and its aspect lines. And there is no astromapping software program that takes all of these factors into account.
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Zodiacal Mapping If you decide to use your astrology software for locational work, i. Like Donald Bradley and Neil Block before them, Jim and many other astrologers, explored, researched, and refined their understanding of this method, which has proved very accurate in describing the effects of location upon a person. These lines do not show when a planet will rise or culminate visibly, but instead when they will cross the Ascendant or M. While these Zodiacal maps reflect birth charts, all of the research and conclusions of Jim Lewis' work may or may not apply since he was using different calculations.
You cannot use standard aspect lines, however, unless you use Zodiacal mapping. Irving goes on to point out that two cities within one degree of longitude can be over three thousand miles apart, illustrating the uselessness of applying one-dimensional "ecliptic thinking" to astromapping. In fact, it is unclear how such lines should be calculated, since this is a departure from Jim Lewis' work and there is no obvious mathematical way to construct aspect lines.
Note: Whether the Tropical or Sidereal Zodiac is used in astromapping, the maps remain the same because it doesn't matter what the sign is, just whether a planet is aspecting the Ascendant or M. Personal Vitae Hank Friedman is renowned in the San Francisco Bay Area for his psychic, astrological, and transformative counseling work with individuals and couples.
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