|★ APPLICATIONS ★ DIVERS ★ ASTROCALC: ASTROLOGY FOR BEGINNERS (PCW) ★|
|Astrocalc: Astrology for beginners (PCW)||Applications Divers|
In fact astrology is a vastly complicated business which has to take into account dozens of different planetary influences — the sort of set up just ideal to make good use of a computer. And the software companies serving this section of the market are producing increasingly sophisticated products to take the hard work out of star gazing.
The complications are immense. When someone says they are a Virgo they really mean that the Sun was in the sign of Virgo when they were born. But where was the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars or Jupiter when we were born? Probably more important than the Sun sign is the sign on the horizon at the moment of birth - the Ascendant - or the sign directly overhead - the Mid Heaven.
For a true astrological reading the position of all of ten planets should be taken into account. An astrologer doesn't want to know what month you were born, he wants to know the date, time and place of birth. A half hour or a few degrees of latitude or longitude can make a considerable difference to the location of your Ascendant. To do any predictions he has to compare this complicated chart with the position of the planets in the future. That's a lot of detail to take into consideration.
Working all this out manually is not easy. In the old days it meant poring over an Ephemeris (a book listing the position of all the planets) and hours of mind numbing arithmetic. So it was pretty obvious that when personal computers came along it was like a gift from the heavens for the serious Astrologer.
When all these figures are worked out there is still the more difficult task of interpreting what all the influences mean. This seems to be where the art takes over from the science; if the computer can take out the donkey work that must leave more energy for the creative task of interpretation.
Looking to the future
How much you want to spend on an Astrology program will obviously depend on what you want out of it. Someone with no more than an open mind and £15.50 could do worse than investing in a Starter Program from Astrocalc. This company seems to do everything for the mystically minded from hand-writing analysers to computerised / Ching, the Chinese method of prediction, and of course the ubiquitous biorhythm program. Whether you accept that there is any worth in these must be a very personal choice (Carl Jung spent most of his life consulting the I Ching).
Astrocalc's starter program will save hours of hard work in producing a Natal Chart. In seconds you have a list of the position of the planets in the correct sign of the Zodiac along with the Ascendant and Mid Heaven, and more importantly from a time saving point of view you have all the aspects. To help understand these better it is normal to display them in the traditional wheel - a circle divided into 12 sections, one for each sign. This graphic representation is not yet available for the PCW from Astrocalc although an extra program to do this is on its way.
Once this is completed you have the infinitely more taxing problem of interpreting. Astrocalc's starter
program does not attempt to interpret the information but gives you a tutorial on how you would interpret a natal chart for yourself.
This is done through a series of key words ("Inventive” or “Adventurous") which describe the effects of the planets and the attributes of the various signs. A simple randomising program allows you to test your memory on these although the real value of this side of the program would seem to be more as a way to quickly jog your memory rather than a serious attempt to teach. It is also true to say that you would really need to go to some other reference books to feel confident with interpretation, but what do you expect for £15.50...
There are various more sophisticated extras to the basic Astrocalc program up to Chartmaster (an extra £60) which prints out the suitable "key words" for the chart and allows you to adapt the interpretation system to suit your own system - again more aimed at the professional astrologer.
Perhaps it is all nonsense but you'll never know for sure until you try it for yourself.