Sirius 1.1 Review
My Full Review from The Mountain Astrologer
by Hank Friedman
In the past 6 years since my last review of Kepler [in the April 2004 issue of The Mountain Astrologer], the programmers at Cosmic Patterns have forged ahead to create an incredibly comprehensive astrology program called Sirius. Since its release, Sirius has already had a major update, to Sirius version 1.1.
Sirius runs on Windows computers, (from Windows 95 to the new Windows 7) and was built upon the structure of Kepler. As such, it looks and functions like a very advanced version of Kepler, with all of Kepler's features, many of them significantly enhanced, and a huge number of new capabilities. It has the most accurate time-change atlas of any astrological program, and the Swiss Ephemeris, for excellent accuracy.
Sirius has tremendous breadth and depth. It's a "Swiss Army Knife" program that covers virtually all of the astrological bases. Unlike software that focuses on a single school of astrology, Sirius offers an extensive set of functions for modern Western astrology, Vedic astrology, the Huber approach, Hellenistic and Medieval horoscopy, Symmetrical astrology and Cosmobiology, Financial astrology, and astrological modeling and research.
Sirius has far too many specific features to possibly mention in an article several times the length of this one, so I will focus on what I consider to be some of its major highlights and unique features.
As in Kepler, there is an amazing amount of functionality hidden beneath the surface of the program. Throughout Sirius, most of the screens can be customized by using right-click menus and sub-menus, giving astrologers incredible control over all of the program's features.
For example, when you right-click on a chart wheel displayed on the screen, a menu pops up that allows you to choose from a wide selection of chart wheel styles, as well as from a set of "special" wheels, like Hellenistic, midpoint, Medieval or Nakshatra wheels. The same menu allows you to create and customize any wheel, including 14 of your own wheel styles, using the Customize button to open up a whole new set of choices.
The Customize menus allow you to choose which points are to be displayed in wheels, what aspect set to use (and the ability to customize each aspect set), the fonts used for each section of the page, and the colors for the planets, circles, etc. From here you can also run Sirius' Page Designer.
Sirius has a WYSIWYG page designer. (WYSIWYG means "what you see is what you get". ) In other words, each page you work on is displayed exactly as it looks, and as you make changes, you immediately see them (and can modify or cancel them). You can drag objects (like chart wheels, tables, etc.) to place them precisely where you want them, and right-click on any object to change its size, content, etc. You can also create pages in both portrait and landscape modes (the former for printing out, and the latter for onscreen work). The page designer is well implemented, and will make it simple for most astrologers to design their own screens and printouts.
Like Kepler, Sirius includes a full set of lessons in astrology, a glossary, and many built-in interpretive reports, including a full reports of the degree meanings of the chart points according to 11 different authors, relocation reports for any number of cities, and a "live mini-reading" that actually speaks out loud as it delineates the harmonic and midpoint patterns in a natal chart. Sirius 1.1 adds the entire DeVore Astrological Encyclopedia, an excellent and complete built-in program manual, and a very well done and extensive Fixed Star report (that is comparable to full standalone reports).
Both Kepler and Sirius give you access to the largest and best collection of add-on interpretive reports available; and the company has decided to offer to host a chart service for anyone who purchases at least one add-on report. You simply create a link from your website to the page they create, and then you can offer your website visitors both free charts and automatic processing of all report orders. The company processes the orders, emails your customers the reports they purchase, and pays you 40% of all your sales.
In its vast scope, Sirius includes many unusual features, including Planetary Mandalas, which are beautiful images formed by the drawing of the orbits of one or two planets in the sky over time. You can control starting date, step rate (number of days between calculations), the planet or pair of points used, minimum and maximum colors, geo/helio coordinates, the angle of rotation, number of calculations, speed and more, as well as select from a list of preselected planetary pairs. This is a lovely feature.
Sirius was the first program to introduce the pop-up chart wheel. The great value of a pop-up chart is that you can see a chart at all times, e.g. while viewing transit graphs, astro maps, interpretive reports, etc. And you can select which wheel style you want for the pop-up chart, what points to include, the size of the pop-up chart, and more. You have no idea how valuable this feature is until you use it.
While Kepler has pioneered many astromapping methods, Sirius takes astrolocality to a whole new level. There are 20 varieties of Fixed Star maps, half showing Fixed Star map lines on maps, and the other half placing Fixed Star positions on the map, plus asteroid mapping (with a choice of 1,500 asteroids), a Paran map, hurricane paths on maps, and the first-of-its-kind Arabic Parts map. Theme maps (i.e. maps showing where to locate for love, inspiration, etc.) can now show where the relevant planets are by house, e.g. where on a map Venus occupies the 7th house.
Figure One: Treasure Map for Love & Romance. Finally, Sirius adds Sky Map animation, wherein you can watch the Horizon line and the planets move across the sky at a rate you specify, using Equatorial, Ecliptic, or Horizon orientation, circular or rectangular sky maps, and select which stars are displayed, and much more.
One of the real stand-outs in Sirius is its incredibly enhanced rectification module. In the past, I have not been a fan of rectification tools in astrology software, because most of them just aren't effective. When I tested Sirius' rectification tool, therefore, I was surprised and delighted both by its flexibility and its power. You can choose from over 30 predictive methods, add life events from 16 different categories (like marriages, deaths, births, accidents, relocations, etc.), choose a starting and ending time of day, and select the calculation interval. Then Sirius performs its analysis, and graphs the results.
See Figure Two: Sirius Rectification Graph
The interactive Time Adjust feature is another quite powerful feature that can be used both for rectification and electional work. It allows you to move a chart forward or backwards in time by any time increment, or to a time when a specific planet is at a specific Zodiacal position, or when any two planets are in a specific aspect to each other. You can hold (or save to file) as many adjusted charts as you want, to examine later.
Note: Sirius actually is two programs: the core Sirius program, where most of the work is done, and an inter-connected Kepler Workshop module, which has the aforementioned Sky Map, Eclipse maps, graphic ephemeris, text ephemeris, and most of the Vedic features (except the main Vedic interpretive report). Users of Sirius (and Kepler) may be unaware that within the Kepler Workshop is the ability, when viewing a Vedic chart, to point to any planet in the chart and see modern, well-written delineations of each planet's meaning as the ruler of a house (or houses).
The Sirius Business Manager is also part of its Kepler Workshop. The Business Manager is designed to help astrologers keep track of their clients, including appointments, billing, and session information, to print envelopes and labels, schedule new sessions, and more.
Astrologers who want to explore chart patterns will have a field day with Sirius. The program can display major and minor chart patterns, the complete set of Huber patterns, simple harmonic patterns for three different series of harmonics, and a listing of all of the harmonic triangles (and even categorize them according to the themes associated with them).
As if that weren't sufficient, the program can display six different sets of compatibility patterns, i.e. patterns between two charts, such as symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns involving three or four planets. Imagine being able to see all of the T-squares, Grand Trines, and other patterns between two people. You can even create additional pattern sets employing whatever aspects you wish. What a wonderful tool for synastry work!
Also great for synastry, and almost impossible to find anywhere else, is the software's ability to display midpoint trees between two people's charts. You can select the planets and other points to be used, the allowable orbs, the angles employed, midpoints in declination, and more.
If you prefer to see the midpoints between two (or three or four) charts on a wheel, Sirius can do that too. Its 90 degree dial (interactive) allows you to place up to four charts in concentric circles (i.e. in a single wheel, bi-wheel, tri-wheel, or quad-wheel) and allows you to move a pointer either by degree or by planet and see all of the midpoint structures made to all of the charts. The midpoints for each chart are color-coded and placed in their own table. This feature will delight symmetrical astrologers and cosmobiologists alike.
Figure Three: Sirius' Quad-Dial Sirius can also create Composite charts for three or more people
Cosmic Patterns introduced stunningly beautiful chart wheels to the astrological community in Kepler, and Sirius has 30 lovingly designed wheels built in, plus the ability to add another 130 incredible Pastel Art Wheels ($200). There are also add-on CDs for 38,000 asteroids ($200), and a Mega Atlas ($150) with over a million and a half additional cities and towns.
Predictive astrologers will enjoy many of the new features in Sirius. For modern Western astrologers, the improved graphic ephemeris allows you to see asteroid and midpoint lines, the new astrological calendar can show transit-to-natal and/or transit-to-transit aspects and ingresses, holidays, birthdays, lunar phases, and more; and the program can calculate listings for many advanced types of primary directions.
The Integrated Listings are also worthwhile. For example, you can see a lifetime list of any planet's returns, showing the planetary positions for each return, and the aspects made to natal planets. Other integrated lists include transit-to-transit or transit-to-natal (or both) aspects for fifty year periods, 10 year periods of transiting lunations (each with transiting planet positions and transit-to-natal and/or transit-to-transit aspects), and a lifetime list of progressed lunations, ingresses, and stations.
Hellenistic astrologers will appreciate the Firdaria, Profection, and seven different Time Lord listings, while followers of the Huber method will be glad to see a list of Life clock Age Progressions.
Sirius has a large set of research features, including a chart database of 40,000 events, famous people, company IPO's, and countries, with each chart's accuracy rating, and the ability to add unlimited notes and searchable keywords to each chart.
One of the most advanced features in Sirius is its astrological modeling. It is beyond the scope of this review to explore these tools in depth, but an industrious astrologer can build models for natal chart attributes, for compatibility themes, and for predictive influences. There are even financial modeling tools.
Sirius includes many models in each category already. Beginners will enjoy using the built-in forecast astro-signature graphs (which show most likely times for romance, good fortune, business, etc.), and the natal and compatibility astro-signature listings. There are also Classical Electional Graphs that show the strength of individual planets or houses, and Financial Electional Graphs too.
Figure 4 Sirius Astro-Signature Forecast Graph
Sirius is a truly formidable astrology program. Beginners will love its large set of interpretive reports and astrology lessons, while advanced astrologers will find many of its more powerful modules truly exceptional. Even as I write this, amazing new capabilities are being programmed for future versions. For astrologers who want to be able to explore a very wide range of astrological techniques and methods from within one astrology program, Sirius is a dream come true.
To read my previous reviews of Sirius and the Sirius 1.1 update, click here.
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