Earlier SoftStar News Columns



Friday, December 14, 2018

Ensar, The Master of Oud

As a tribute to the World's foremost creator of the mystical oil known as Oud, I've written this article.

He has my deepest thanks!



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

My Annual Winter Astrology Software Sale
New Increased Discounts!

The sale is now over!

Thank you to everyone who placed an order during the sale!



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Accuracy in Astrology Readings

I've written a short tutorial on Accuracy in Astrology readings here, that I think you might enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Monday, October 22, 2018

The Houses Impacted by Saturn: Part Two

One of my astrology students mentioned that she loved my article The Houses Impacted By Saturn but noticed that I didn't include the effect of yogas on Saturn's influence.

As I result, I've just written Part Two of the article, which has gotten very positive reviews.

Enjoy!



Sunday, October 7, 2018

My new video tutorial on Janus 5.1

Janus has always been the "Best Buy" in astrology software, and the latest versions 5.0 and 5.1 are incredible advances.

Just today, I created a YouTube video introducing some of the incredible features of the new version.

I hope that you like it.

If you'd like to purchase Janus, you can get the latest version at a discount here.



Saturday, September 15, 2018

Incredible Strawberry Truffles!

I haven't posted any of my chocolate truffle innovations for a while (Sorry!), but then I had a breakthrough using freeze-dried strawberries in my latest truffles and had to share the recipe with everyone.

Find the most incredible strawberry truffle recipe in the world here.



Thursday, September 14, 2018

The 2018 Moon Phases including Libration from NASA

On this NASA website page, you can both enter any date and see the Moon exactly as it appears, in the proper phase and angle, as well as see a video (scroll down the page) of the Moon moving through its monthly cycles as well as tilting back and forth as it circles the Earth. Amazing and great!

As if that weren't enough, there is an additional video showing how the phases of the Moon happen as looking down from above the Earth and the Moon, and two animated diagrams: one of the subsolar and sub-Earth points for 2018, and another of the Moon's distance from the Earth for 2018. Wow!




Monday, September 13, 2018

Why I use the True Chitrapaksha Ayanamsha

Amongst Vedic astrologers, there is one glaring issue that has huge implications for accuracy in chart readings: what Ayanamsha is to be used.

The Ayanamsha is the difference between the Tropical Zodiac and the Sidereal Zodiac. Since there is no star at zero degrees of Aries, astrologers use a variety of approaches in making their choice.

After wrestling with this issue for many years, I found myself, one night, in a mystical vision where the star Spica (aka Chitra) was overhead, shining brightly at midnight, on the first day of Sidereal Aries, at Zero degrees of Libra.

The experience was so profound that I began searching for which existing Ayanamsha was based upon the position of Spica at zero Libra, and found that the Lahiri Ayanamsha, which is the ayanamsha used by the majority of astrologers in India, is in fact based upon Spica.

It turns out that the initial calculation Lahiri used was a little bit off, so now a slight correction is shown in programs like Shri Jyoti Star as the True Chitrapaksha Ayanamsha.

If you want to enter it into your software manually, as I recently did with the new Jyotish app Jyotish Tools Pro, for the date January 1st 2000, the difference is 23 degrees, 50 minutes, and 9 seconds.

Now our Vedic work can be completely precise.

P.s. Once I started studying with my profound Vedic guru Hart de Fouw, I discovered that he uses this ayanamsha too.



Monday, September 12, 2018

My Astrology Software Reviews page -- Updated!

Many people go to my astrology software reviews web page to see a comprehensive list of the programs that I've reviewed, with links to their reviews and/or websites.

I hadn't realized how long it had been since I had updated it (two years), but now its up to date!



Monday, September 10, 2018

Zoom in to Saturn: A Hubble Video

As astrologers, it's always nice to also stay aware of the actual planets themselves. Here's a nice short video of approaching Saturn, showing its rotation, and ending with views of its polar auroras.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Can Planets be Strong in Dusthana Houses?

I've just added a new article "Can Planets be Strong in Dusthana Houses?" to my Learn Astrology Free website.

It answers the question: Are planets in Dusthana Houses (6, 8, and 12) muted by being placed there or can they have a positive and significant impact on a person's life?



Sunday, September 2, 2018

Updates to both my Free Astrology Software
and
Apps for Mobile Devices
articles

As a result of my latest search for new astrology software, I found enough to warrant updating both my Free Astrology Software article and my Apps for Mobile Devices article.

I'm on a roll, so come back soon for more additions.

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Phenomenal Oud -- not to miss out on

As those of you familiar with this column know, I not only write on astrology software and offer new tutorials in astrology bimonthly (almost 200 now here), but also have a cookbook of gourmet chocolate recipes, a blog on essential oils, and one on the mystical oil known as Oudh.

I've collected well over 100 Ouds from over three dozen companies, and just recently was introduced to one that is truly exceptional in both quality and price. If you've ever wanted to experience one of the most mind-expanding oils ever created, you can learn about it here. Note: Ensar Oud, the creator and purveyor of this agarwood oil, offers the oil in different sizes, starting at $59 for 0.3 grams in a vial. That's enough to sit with and meditate with for many sessions.



Sunday, July 15, 2018

Last Day of Solar Fire sale
and amazing video of sizes of planets, stars, and galaxies

For those who have wanted to purchase Solar Fire, today is the last day of the best sale I've ever offered. You can get Solar Fire with all of my extras on sale here.

Have you ever wondered about the relative sizes of moons, planets, stars, galaxies, and the Universe? Here is a truly awe-inspiring video showing all of these from small to massive.



Monday, July 9, 2018

Astronomy Highlights Summer 2018

The Universe2go website offers a wonderful graphic of the astronomical highlights each season.

View the graphic here, and see just how much information such a compact graphic has.

Enjoy!



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 4th Solar Fire 9 sale

Much to my surprise, Solar Fire Gold, aka Solar Fire 9, is on sale again. (I offer the sale when Astrolabe does, but include many, many extras unavailable elsewhere.)

Here you can get Solar Fire at the lowest price ever.

For those unfamiliar with Solar Fire, it is the most popular astrology program in the world, and has many features that are far more advanced than any other program.



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Great 2018 Mars Opposition

In 2003, Mars was closest to the Earth in 60,000 years. This month, on July 27th, Mars will be again close to the Earth, almost as close as last time.

But in addition, there will be a Lunar Eclipse on the same day.

Learn more about this powerful set of events and how it relates to Donald Trump's chart here.



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Great Solar WriterSale

The Solar Writer reports, which run both by themselves and within Solar Fire, are on a great sale until June 23, 2018 here.

Enjoy!



Sunday, May 27, 2018

A stunningly beautiful Solar Flare

YouTube has a short film of a recent Solar flare that took my breath away!

Click here to see it.



Monday, May 14, 2018

The Very Basic Elements of Astrology -- Revised!

As a labor of love, I just spend days improving my previously written tutorial on the fundamentals of astrology. I added a chart animation and several images to make understanding astrology much easier for beginners. You can read it here.

I hope you enjoy it.



Friday, May 4, 2018

Great Solar Fire Sale!
plus hear Saturn's rings, and take a virtual tour of Mars, and more.

Sales on Solar Fire are very infrequent (usually once a year), and so I am happy to offer a great price on Solar Fire plus all of my many extras (available only by ordering through me). You can learn more about everything you get, and receive the lowest price of Solar Fire, here.

How would you like to hear the sounds of Saturn's rings? Here is a website that translates the distances between the rings into glorious music!

Would you like to tour the planet Mars? The New York Times Augmented Reality app for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices allows you to interactively move around the planet! Here's the page to get you started.

Finally, a small group of Vedic astrologers are departing from the approaches used by all traditional Jyotishis and the most renowned current Jyotishis. Andrew Foss has written an article, pointing out how their approach vitiates many core principles of Jyotish here.



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Essential Oil Shootouts

Those who get their essential oils only from one company, believing the party line that the company promulgates, may end up with very poor quality oils.

I am a big fan of "shootouts", where two or more people get together and compare oils of the same type (e.g. each of our Sandalwood oils).

I've just written a page on my first and last shootouts here.

Enjoy!



Thursday, March 8, 2018

My complete The Mountain Astrologer review of Janus 5

I have just posted my complete The Mountain Astrologer review of Janus 5.0 here.

Version 5 is a huge upgrade from version 4.3, with many new modules, enhanced functions, and unique features.



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Journey into the world of Oudh: Part 13

For those following this column, I explore the latest and greatest offerings of this transcendental oil here.

For newcomers, Oud is the most precious essential oil in the world, and the most spiritually uplifting. I invite you to explore this blog.



Sunday, February 4, 2018

When Subcycles really count
(my new Vedic tutorial)

I recently had a series of health issues, and found out why (astrologically) in exploring the sub-sub-cycle of my current Dasa.

This inspired my latest article, which you can read here.



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Astrology Apps for the Mobile Devices -- Revised!

A few years ago, I wrote a lengthy article for The Mountain Astrologer on astrology apps for the iOS and Android mobile devices.

I realized recently that I'd never published it on my website, so I revised it and here it is.

Note: I examined almost 100 apps to write this article, which focuses on the most accurate and best apps available.

Enjoy!



Sunday, October 22, 2017

A guide to computer security

One of my website visitors is the author of an article on computer and internet security.

He has kindly offered this article here to you, my readers, so that you can understand the issues concerning protecting your computer more easily.



Monday, October 16, 2017

The great new Janus 5

The long-awaited upgrade to Janus, Janus 5, is now here!

It is a major update, one of the most comprehensive that I've encountered.

It resolves all of the issues previous versions of Janus occasionally had (e.g. conflicts with other programs), and runs beautifully on Windows 7, 8, and 10 PCs.

Janus 5 offers the best Solar Eclipse Maps and Theme Maps in existence, the most powerful Astrological Calendar, very enhanced Traditional Astrology functions, an even easier-to-use improved interface, and even a Vedic module!

I am offering it at an excellent introductory price here, and you can read an introductory review of it here (and a two part complete review in the next two issues of The Mountain Astrologer)

Janus 5 is the only astrology program that offers full Natal, Transit, Compatibility, and Relocation reports built in (all licensed for resale too).

It is a very impressive program.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dusthana Houses and The Value of Adversity

I just revised an old article I'd written in order to make it more current and more instructive.

It's about how adversity can be our teacher, and how the "bad houses" can help us along the way.
You can read it here.



Monday, September 25, 2017

A new eBook of Saturn's Cassini Mission

NASA has created a wonderful new eBook of photographs and information about the completed Cassini orbital mission around Saturn.

They have thoughtfully provided it in many formats, including iBook, Kindle, and PDF (which they call Fixed Layout) here.

It's both fascinating and beautiful. Enjoy!



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cassini’s Mission to Saturn in 100 Images

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will burn up in Saturn’s atmosphere on Friday, after 20 years in space.

Here's a collection of the best 100 photographs from the mission.

Enjoy!



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Two new web pages on the mystical oil Oud

I've been quite busy updating my web pages on the magical oil known as agarwood or Oud.

On the first new page, Part Eleven, I review The Medicinal Properties of Agarwood oil, quoting from two reliable references (One Traditional Chinese and one Ayurvedic) and then providing links to a few top articles summarizing the research on the health benefits of Oud.

On the second new page, Part Twelve, I introduce five new Ouds from Ensar Oud, and address the question, "What to ask an Oud purveyor before ordering from them."



Saturday, September 2, 2017

Helping victims of Hurricane Harvey
with each software purchase

Millions of people have been devastated by the flooding in Texas, and in order to help, I have decided to donate 10% of my commissions on all software sales to the AARP relief fund through September 15th.

The AARP relief fund not only will direct 100% of all funds raised to organizations providing relief, but also match dollar-for-dollar every contribution, effectively doubling the donations.

So if you were thinking of purchasing a program, and also want to help those in need, now's the time.

(You can find my astrology software order form here, or visit my websites devoted to specific astrology programs here. )



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sync your calendar with the Solar System

The New York Times science desk rolled out a cool new feature that allows you to sync your calendar with the solar system. Sign up here to add meteor showers, eclipses and other cosmic special events to your Google or iOS calendar.

Learn more about the other meteor showers that will occur this year, and how to watch them.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Eclipses, the North Node,
and the Election of Donald Trump

For the Western astrologers who think that the North Node, aka Rahu, is "the way to go", I.e. a very positive planet and indicative of the direction a soul should move towards, they need only to look at the example of Donald Trump, a true exemplar of the North Node. (He has the North Node conjunct his Sun at birth, at the top of his chart, see below).


As I indicated in my previous article about his chart, many of his behaviors can be attributed directly to the effects of the North Node (Rahu) conjunct the Sun, who is also the ruler of the chart in both Western (Tropical) and Vedic (Sidereal) charts. (This makes the Sun the most important planet in the chart by far.)

His relentless drive, egocentrism, unwavering beliefs, and inability to take in the advice of others with different views are a few of the challenging traits archetypical of the North Node. As I've said, the North Node is incredibly amplifying. It inflates everything it touches, for better or for worse.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Elected at the wrong time

It is very clear to me, and I would guess to most astrologers, that a person becomes president on Election Day, and not when they are inaugurated. (After all, that's when they start being called president-elect!)

This has been made even more obvious in the case of Donald Trump. He was at the tail end of his Rahu Dasa (I.e. the 18 year period when the North Node is completely activated), with just 8 days to go.

Rahu did serve Donald Trump by getting him elected -- his North Node and Sun form a full Raja Yoga (Rahu in an angular house with the lord of a Trine).

But unfortunately, the North Node also is a very destabilizing influence, and things begun during the Rahu Dasa often have an illusory type of fulfillment.

And particularly for his chart (again born at a Lunar Eclipse), the Rahu Dasa indicated that his presidency would be a very rocky ride.

(Note: Rahu Dasa, according to Dennis Harness, is "Mr.Toad's Wild Ride", I.e. a very unpredictable time. And it can be a positive period for people with well-placed North Nodes, e.g. a time of great adventure, change, and achievement.)

By the way, one who is not familiar with Vedic astrology might ask, "but if it's only 8 days before he leaves this influence, shouldn't its effects be transitory?" The Vedic proverb is "that which is started at the wrong time remains difficult", sort of like getting off on the wrong foot.

Eight days later, he entered the Jupiter Dasa, and it's obvious that his term in office has been anything but Jupiterian.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion

As I said in the previous article, we need to embody compassion for Donald Trump. And to hope that the upcoming eclipse brings positive changes to our country and the world.

[I could not have written this, or any of my Vedic articles, without the sublime teachings of my Vedic Guru Hart de Fouw]




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Stop using your inaccurate astrology programs now!

Over the past year, I was surprised when two different astrologers contacted me about moving from their old Blue*Star program (written for DOS) to a more modern program.

I was shocked because Blue*Star stopped being accurate in its calculations in the year 2000, and so all of the charts they were calculating since then were in error, and they hadn't even noticed.

I recently had a similar experience when a Vedic astrologer asked me why Shri Jyoti Star calculated charts differently than the Jagannatha Hora and AstroSage programs he'd been using. As I immediately knew, neither Jagannatha Hora nor AstroSage have trustworthy time change atlases built in, and both had again miscalculated many charts and he hadn't realized that.

(While Shri Jyoti Star has the latest version of the ACS atlas built in and is completely reliable.)

Another astrologer hadn't updated their top level astrology program for years, and so was using an out-of-date atlas when she could have updated just the atlas for free on the company's website, and then had all of the fixes and improvements incorporated into her program.

Finally, most free programs (and almost all Vedic programs written in India) miscalculate charts because they lack accurate time zones and time changes.

(Note: You can test your software's accuracy here.)

So please:

Don't rely on any program that you've had for 15 years or more, and please update your program (or at least the atlas) every time an update becomes available.

Astrology is a powerful and sacred art, and we need the best and most accurate tools if we are to serve the art, and our clients, properly.



Monday, July 31, 2017

A wonderful flyby video of Pluto

NASA has just released a truly amazing two minute fly-over of Pluto here.

It actually gave me chills!

What a privilege to live in an era where we can watch a film taken by a spacecraft orbiting Pluto.



Monday, July 24, 2017

A Journey into The World of Oudh: Part Ten

Those of you who regularly visit this column are aware of my explorations in aromatherapy and the mystically potent essential oil known as Oudh or agarwood oil.

I have just added a new page to my Oudh articles here, about a phenomenal set of new oils that I've found.



Sunday, July 16, 2017

How to evaluate Essential Oils

I have added another page to my blog on essential oils, exploring the attributes of the best oils, and the ways to evaluate essential oil companies.

You can read the new page here. I hope that it serves you.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What astrology software can't do

People just discovering astrology software often ask me questions like:

"Please help me find an astrology program that can accurately predict upcoming events in the World"

or

"What program can tell me the best times to invest?"

What they haven't considered are these basic facts:

Astrology programs cannot think. At most, they can analyze the astrological factors programmed into them by an astrologer.

Astrology programs are severely limited in the number of factors that they can take into account, and have no "sense of proportion" about which factors are the most important and will predominate in their influence.

Since even the very best professional astrologers often go wrong in their predictions -- e.g. most of the top Western astrologers failed to predict the outcome of the latest presidential election -- and astrology programs can't possibly perform anywhere close to a flesh-and-blood astrologer, no one should expect predictive accuracy in their software.

Astrology programs that delineate the future cycles and events and their impact on a person's life never take into account that person's birth chart (I.e. they don't evaluate whether a specific outcome or theme is likely to occur for the person.)

And so I wish to remind beginners that the best use of astrology software is for its ability to calculate and display charts, graphs, tables, and maps that would be difficult or even impossible for most people to prepare by hand.

And that when software ventures into the realm of interpretation and prediction, everything has to be taken with a huge boulder of salt.

It's not that there is no value in these efforts, but they are very, very general and more likely not to occur or be accurate than to do so.



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An amazing set of astronomy videos on the planets

I was looking at the latest images from the Juno space probe circling Jupiter right now (it's halfway through its mission) and stumbled upon a video maker who has created an amazing collection of planetary videos.

His pen name is Astrum, and his new Jupiter movie is here and is stunning.

You can visit a his video page and choose from movies that focus on planets, galaxies, asteroids, and more.

I am very impressed with his work.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A NASA visualization of
the upcoming Total Eclipse in August

The NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio has created a YouTube video depicting the eclipse path, including areas where both the partial and total eclipse will be visible over the U.S. map, with a running clock showing when each area will see the eclipse, at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0_QKTwvRBQ

This will be very helpful to all astrologers wanting to know where and when the eclipse can be seen.



Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Wonders of Jupiter

updated

As astrologers and astronomers know, Jupiter is the largest planet, and emits more energy than it gets from the Sun. If you combined six Jupiters, fusion would start and it would become a star.

Astrologically, Jupiter represents the virtues of wisdom, faith, generosity, positivity, stability, working well within the system, and blessings. Its shadow qualities include excess, greed, over-optimism, over-indulgence, and overdoing in general.

NASA's Juno spacecraft is currently orbiting Jupiter and every 53 days gets close enough to take lovely photos of the planet and provide new and amazing insights about it.

Here are some fascinating websites providing videos and photos of this remarkable voyage:

http://www.businessinsider.com/latest-jupiter-pictures-nasa-juno-2017-5/

https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21645

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/science/science/260517/a-whole-new-jupiter-discovered.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_UaOhvLUYA

and a new video at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UHP28JiPeE

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great Solar Writer Sale!

Because of an amazing exchange rate, and an "end of the financial year sale", and my additional discount, you can get Solar Writer reports for the next month at a greatly reduced price of only $159 per report writer.

These report writers can run by themselves, or within Solar Fire, and you are fully licensed to sell the reports that they produce.

You can see which ones I recommend most, and view samples off all of the reports, here.



Monday, May 15, 2017

Blending Vedic and Western Astrologies -- Revisited

I just wrote my most comprehensive article on the ways that you can and cannot effectively blend Western and Vedic astrological approaches.

I included a short analysis of Donald Trump's chart using some of these insights.

You can read it here and I hope you enjoy it.



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What kind of device do you need to run astrology software?

One of the most frequent questions that I get asked is "Can I run Solar Fire (or another astrology program) on my device?".

What many newcomers don't understand is that astrology programs are written for one operating system. The large majority (95%) of astrology programs can only run on Microsoft Windows computers. That's why so many astrologers who own Mac computers install Windows and Parallels on their Macs, so that they can run the astrology programs that they need.

To say it another way, most astrology programs won't run on Macs, or iPads, or Chromebooks, or Android tables, or Amazon Fire tablets.

And that's why it is so important to think about what software you want to be able to run before you purchase a computer or tablet. A very few programs will run on multiple platforms, and in the future, more will follow. But for the time being, it's wisest to get a Windows PC (or Mac with Windows installed on it) for astrological work.



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Windows 10 S
a disaster in the making

Six years ago, Microsoft released a crippled version of Windows called Windows RT that couldn't run any astrology programs, nor most Windows programs (except ones specifically created for it).

This caused huge confusion and trials for novice PC users, who purchased a Windows RT system expecting to be able to run their Windows programs and could not.

Windows RT eventually died a slow, painful death, cost users and Microsoft millions, and was one of Microsoft's biggest mistakes.

[Please note that I'm not a "Microsoft basher" and in fact am deeply grateful to the company for most of the versions of Windows, and all that they've contributed to computing.]

Fast forward six years later, and Microsoft is at it again. Their latest débâcle is their forthcoming release of Windows 10 S.

Just like Windows RT, it won't be able to run any Windows programs (except those sold at the Windows store), so almost all Windows programs, including all astrology programs, won't run on it.

Avoid Windows 10 S computers like the plague!

They may be less expensive than other Windows PCs, but they're completely useless to all astrologers.

Shame on Microsoft for once again ignoring all of the suffering and expense they will be causing their customers.

If you want to read more on this topic, a well-written computer article on this issue is here.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

A lovely Saturn video

As Saturn watchers know, the Cassini mission is about to dive through Saturn's rings. The footage and photos will be amazing.

As we wait, here's a video of four days in the life of Saturn.

Enjoy!



Sunday, April 16, 2017

More on Regulus Platinum 8

Juan Saba has done an excellent job of adding features and enhancements to his Regulus Platinum Professional version 8.

In exploring it recently, I found it even more capable than I imagined. You can read about the update here.



Friday, April 7, 2017

The latest Hubble telescope new photo and video of Jupiter

Today is the day when Jupiter is opposed the Sun. It is therefore at its brightest and biggest (I.e. closest to the Earth), and of course Retrograde.

Because of its size and brightness, the Hubble Telescope crew have just released a great new photograph of Jupiter here and a fascinating new video here.

I enjoyed both very much and hope you do too.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Journey into the World of Oudh -- updated!

As my regular readers know, I have been exploring the world of aromatherapy over the last several years, and especially the magical oil known as Oud or agarwood oil.

I've just added another page to my Oud blog, about Oud from Aromatherapy Companies and Where to get the best Oud. You can read the latest page here, or start at the beginning of the blog here.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My new tutorial:
The Way of the Jyotishi

How is the mindset of a Vedic astrologer different from that of a Western one? My new article addresses this and other themes here.

Enjoy!



Monday, March 6, 2017

Samples of the Add-on Reports for
AstrolDeluxe ReportWriter

Those of you who have visited the websites that I designed focusing on many of the best astrology programs have already found the sample reports built into Solar Fire and samples of the Solar Writer reports and of the Astrolabe Report Writer reports,

I also have a page showing the reports built into the Janus program.

And yesterday, I decided to create a page of the internal and add-on reports in AstrolDeluxe.

All of these pages also include (or give links to) my view on which are the best.



Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Panoramic view of the planets in the sky

NASA has kindly provided us with an amazing panoramic 360° photograph of the planets as seen on the backdrop of the constellations.

You can see the image with notations here, and without notations here.



Friday, February 17, 2017

The importance of keeping your astrology software up-to-date

Most astrologers are very happy owning older versions of their favorite astrology software, and rarely upgrade to newer releases unless their computer crashes and they have lost their old program disks; or can't install the old version due to changes in the operating system.

But what they fail to realize is that the new versions of their programs have very important and essential capabilities besides the new and improved features.

These include:

Atlas updates. Over the past few years, the time-change atlases built into most programs have had many errors fixed. That means that older software may, in fact, miscalculate some charts.

Bug fixes. One thing that inspired this article is an experience I had recently. I was calculating a transit graph and noticed that many major events were left out. Once I upgraded my software to the latest version, the problem disappeared.

Similarly, older versions of many programs had software glitches that actually crashed the program. Over time, most of these have been resolved.

Compatibility. Older software is likely to run into compatibility issues not only with Windows 10 and the latest Mac OS, but also with other software installed on the computer.

User Interface. Software companies also continue to improve the user interface of their programs, I.e. making them easier to learn and to use.

And all of these are in addition to all of the many enhancements of older features, and the added new capabilities.

Fortunately, upgrades from most companies cost much less than the original price of the software.

So if you are using a program that is over 5 years old, I heartily encourage you to consider updating it.



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

It's About Time is available on Smashwords

In 1977, Ned Johnson released his revolutionary astrology book called, "It's About Time and Other Astrological Explorations", which broke new ground by integrating the perspectives of Jane Roberts with astrology.

The book is a delight to read and has been out of print for decades, but has recently be re-released as an ebook which you can get here.

The Smashwords website even allows you to preview the first fifth of the book for free online or on your ereader or mobile device, to see if you like it.

Give it a try, I promise that you've never seen the planets written about in this way.



Saturday, February 4, 2017

The New Regulus Platinum version 8

Juan Saba, the author of Regulus Platinum, has just released the latest version of his flagship program.

Regulus has been updated incredibly frequently, and each update is very valuable.

Learn about the new version here.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My Updated Reviews of Kala Vedic Software

I've added my latest Mountain Astrologer review of the Kala Vedic astrology program to my website, here.

Ernst Wilhelm continues to improve the current features and add new ones too. His students will be especially pleased with the latest software update.



Friday, January 6, 2017

Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth Times -- Updated!

In keeping with my commitment to update the Most Important Astrology Software Articles on this website, I just edited and improved my article "Astrological Techniques and Uncertain Birth Times".

This article is a must-read for all astrologers. It shows which techniques are completely dependent upon a precise birth time and which are not.

You can read it here.



Friday, December 30, 2016

The Far side of the Moon

To quote their website:

Because the Moon is tidally locked, it was not until 1959 that the farside was first imaged by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft (hence the Russian names for prominent farside features, such as Mare Moscoviense). And what a surprise -­ unlike the widespread maria on the nearside, basaltic volcanism was restricted to a relatively few, smaller regions on the farside, and the battered highlands crust dominated. A different world from what we saw from Earth.

The Clementine mission obtained beautiful mosaics with the sun high in the sky (low phase angles), but did not have the opportunity to observe the farside at sun angles favorable for seeing surface topography. This WAC mosaic provides the most complete look at the morphology of the farside to date, and will provide a valuable resource for the scientific community. And it's simply a spectacular sight!

You can see stunning pictures of the Lunar far side (and near side) here.

Happy New Year!



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Astrolabe's Yearly gift for astrologers

Every holiday season, the very kind folks at Astrolabe publish their Hot Degrees: The Years Major Astrological Events for the upcoming year.

This coming year's PDF file is available here, and includes planetary positions and outer planet midpoints at a glance; Stations, Eclipses, and Major Aspects; and a 45 degree Graphic Ephemeris for the year.

Thank you, Astrolabe staff, very much.



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Most Important Astrology Software Articles
on this website

I've started a new column highlighting the best of the best articles that I've written on astrology software.

Every time I add an article to the list, I will be updating and improving it.

Here's the first entry: The Strengths and Weaknesses of Interpretive Software.



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Free Astrology Software
updated!

I have compiled a very extensive list of free astrology programs and have just updated it.

You can see the updated listing here.

Please let me know if you find any new freeware to add.



Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Keystones in Astrology:
My latest tutorial

I've just written an article that might appeal to both Western and Vedic astrologers, about points in the chart that reside in the same sign in both Zodiacs.

You can read it here.



Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Winds of Earth

How would you like to see the a dynamic map of the Earth, showing the winds, temperature, humidity, pressure, precipitation, and ocean currents updated every three hours?

You can grab and move the Earth itself, call up choices by clicking on the name Earth on the lower left, and double-click on a region to zoom in.

This incredible display is available here.



Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Most Frequently Updated Astrology Programs

In August, I gave you a list of the most bug-free reliable astrology programs.

Since I've been reviewing and helping companies develop their programs for almost 40 years, I have witnessed the development and evolution of all of the major programs too.

Some programs remain static for a decade or more, and when new versions are released, only minor changes have occurred. But other programs are carefully enhanced, with new features added regularly.

The most frequently significantly updated programs are:

Solar Fire

Sirius

Shri Jyoti Star

Regulus Platinum

and

AstrolDeluxe



Sunday, September 25, 2016

A video of Mercury's transit over the Sun
in May of this year

When Mercury transited over the Sun's surface in May of this year, Space.com posted a video of the event.

The astrological implications of this event, and those born during it, are likely to be profound.



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Running Solar Fire on a Mac

Many astrologers purchase Mac computers because of the greater ease-of-use of Macs, and the greater safety from malware.

But there are very few Mac-native astrology programs, and so many Mac owners choose to install Windows on their Macs, in order to run PC astrology programs.

The program of choice for most Mac owners is Solar Fire, both because it has the most Mac-like interface (even more than some Mac-native programs), and because it is much more powerful than any Mac-native program.

Esoteric (the creator of Solar Fire) offers detailed information on installing Solar Fire on a Mac here, and Astrolabe (the worldwide purveyor of Solar Fire) has instructions here, and important problem-solving information here.

The other choice for Mac owners is to purchase in inexpensive Windows PC (not Chrome) and run Solar Fire on it.

As most of you know, you can get Solar Fire through me at the best price with many extras here.



Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Eclipse map of Total Solar Eclipse
August 21, 2017

While Janus, Regulus Platinum, and Sirius have eclipse maps that show the width of the path of totality, they are not as detailed as the eclipse map from NASA.

All of these maps enable you to see exactly where the total eclipse is visible. This forthcoming total eclipse will be viewable across the United States.

In the future, you might visit the NASA website to see more detailed maps of upcoming eclipses.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Factors to consider in assessing a life theme
My new Vedic tutorial

On my Learn Astrology Free website, which has over 150 tutorials in Western and Vedic astrology written by me, I've just added a new article called, "Factors to consider in assessing a life theme" here.

I hope that you enjoy it.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Most Reliable Astrology Software

Over the past 38 years, I have explored virtually every astrology program made in the West, and many created in the East.

I've encountered programs that were almost impossible to install, ones with very serious calculation errors, some with quite a few bugs, and many that crashed.

I've also received feedback from hundreds of astrologers about their challenges with particular programs.

So I'd like to honor the following programs as being the most reliable, bug-free, and solid astrological software:

Solar Fire

Sirius

AstrolDeluxe

and

TimePassages
(PC version)



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The full archives of the Gauquelin data

Would you like to have access to the full set of 145,228 charts researched by Michel and Françoise Gauquelin?

The Archives Gauquelin hosted on CURA's website has all of this data, for you to explore, research, and investigate.

You can even download the files in .DAT (JigSaw) format, which can then be imported into Solar Fire.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Amazing video of Mars at Opposition

As astronomers and astrologers know, a planet in orbit beyond the Earth is visibly largest at opposition.

In this amazing video, you get to see Mars actually change in size as it approaches opposition.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Going Deeper into Retrogrades
a gift from Astrolabe

Astrolabe, the makers of Solar Fire and many other programs and reports, has created a PDF file explaining the three different Retrograde phases and Mercury Retrograde, and also provides a fine table for 2016 showing all of the planetary shadow periods and stations.

You can get the article here.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hubble Takes Mars Portrait Near Close Approach:

You can view (and download) one of the best photographs ever taken of Mars here.

And an annotated image here.

To quote the Hubble site:

On May 12, 2016, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this striking image of Mars, when the planet was 50 million miles from Earth. The photo reveals details as small as 20 miles to 30 miles across.

This observation was made just a few days before Mars opposition on May 22, when the sun and Mars will be on exact opposite sides of Earth. Mars also will be 47.4 million miles from Earth. On May 30, Mars will be the closest it has been to Earth in 11 years, at a distance of 46.8 million miles.

Mars is especially photogenic during opposition because it can be seen fully illuminated by the sun as viewed from Earth.



Monday, July 18, 2016

The entire text of
Vettius Valens Anthologies, Book 1

Curtis Manwaring is the creator of the preeminent Hellenistic programs The Delphic Oracle and Timaeus Pro -- both of which he has placed on sale right now for a huge discount.

You can read my Mountain Astrologer review of the previous version of the Delphic Oracle here, and my review of an earlier version of Timaeus here. These reviews cover most of the features of both programs, and so are still quite relevant.

Curtis has kindly given me this public link to a free PDF of Book 1 of the Vettius Valens Anthology for everyone who wants to study the texts of one of the Hellenistic masters.

Thank you, Curtis!



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Solar Fire's Chart Search
my new YouTube tutorial

I just recorded a new Solar Fire tutorial on the program's Chart Search feature, which you can watch here.

This feature allows you to search through your chart files for those charts that have specific astrological factors present. You can use AND and OR logic, and search for a vast number of attributes.



Friday, July 1, 2016

Sources of free astrology ebooks

I just got a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday, and began looking for astrology books that I can install and read on it.

Here is a website with links to many different sources of astrology ebooks.

Enjoy!

p.s. If you get a Kindle yourself, you can email PDF files to your Kindle using the special email address that Amazon gives you for doing this. Just remember to have the word convert as the subject, so that Amazon formats the PDF file correctly for reading on the Kindle.



Friday, June 24, 2016

John Halloran's major update of AstrolDeluxe:
AstrolDeluxe Platinum

John Halloran has incorporated many new astrological techniques into the newest version of his AstrolDeluxe software. You can read my overview of the new features here.

I also updated my section on the fine reports that work with AstrolDeluxe here.



Sunday, June 19, 2016

New updates for Solar Fire and the ACS atlas

Astrolabe has just released an important new update to Solar Fire 9 which includes many atlas improvements, interpretations for Lunar Returns, and a new chart file of over 150 charts of famous astrologers through the ages.

They have also released an update to the standalone ACS atlas.

You can get the updates here.



Monday, June 13, 2016

An Incredible view of Venus

Late last year, the Japan-launched robotic Akatsuki spacecraft entered orbit around Venus, and took a breathtaking photograph of it using infrared light, which you can view here.

May you enjoy it as much as I do.



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A new page in my blog on
the mystical oil called Oud

As some of you know, I've been exploring aromatherapy, and have discoved an amazing, and rare, essential oil called Oud.

I just added a new page to the blog on Oud, which you can read here.

You can also start at the beginning of the blog here.



Monday, May 30, 2016

The Asteroid Add-on For Solar Fire

Astrolabe has created a new add-on for Solar Fire that allows you to add up to 10,000 asteroids to the program. You can choose from different categories, completely control which ones to add, and use them throughout Solar Fire.

You can learn more about this add-on, or to get it, here.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

An incredible 3d video of the flyby of Pluto

I have seldom been as impressed with the breakthrough technology is making than in the creation of this three dimensional video of the flyby of the planet Pluto.

You can watch it in all of its glory if you own an iOS  or Android phone or tablet, by installing the New York Times Virtual Reality App here.

If you use the app, as you watch the flyby, you can use your device's arrow keys or your finger on the touch screen to drag the image around, and see different regions of Pluto! Truly amazing.

If you don't have an iPad, iPhone, or Android phone or tablet, you can still watch the video on YouTube here, and move and drag the video to see more of Pluto by using the cursor shown at the top left of the video:


I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My latest tutorial:
The Vedic Relocation Chart

I recently looked at my relocated chart for California using the Vedic chart instead of the Western one, and was profoundly struck by its accuracy and relevance.

That inspired me to write this article, which you can read here.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rectifying charts with astrology software

One of the questions I am frequently asked by astrologers is what astrology program can rectify a person's charts for them.

In order to address this issue, I've written a new article, Rectifying Charts using Astrology Software, which you can read here.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Getting your astrology software to work with Windows 10

Windows 10 is, as most people know, a very major change from Windows 7, and requires more maintenance than Windows 7 does.

There are frequent updates, and when Windows gives you the option of delaying the installation of those updates, and you do delay installing them, problems can occur.

For instance, you might click on the icon for your astrology program and nothing happens. If so, reboot and let Windows 10 install all of the updates (to itself) that it wants to.

Also, it's always a good idea, after first installing a program under Windows 10, to reboot, so the changes are integrated into Windows.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jagannatha Hora updated!

The foremost free and amazingly powerful Vedic astrology program, Jagannatha Hora, has just been updated to version 8.0.

You can see the changes here.

And download it here.



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

View all of the issues of the astrology magazine
Considerations

The entire collection of the Considerations astrology magazine is now available online here.

And you can see an index of all of the articles here.

And every issue can be downloaded to your computer as a PDF file using the download icon.

Enjoy!



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rising Cost of Astrology Software

When Cosmic Patterns significantly updated Kepler many years ago and rebranded it as Sirius and more than doubled its price, the company began a pattern that is now bearing fruit elsewhere.

A couple of astrology software companies in the last few months have raised their prices with their latest releases, and I anticipate more price increases to come.

One might ask, "are these rising prices justified?"

It is my view that astrologers have always gotten their software at bargain prices, given the small market for astrology software and the incredible amount of work it takes to create, polish, and continue to develop astrology software. (Not to mention the very costly customer support.)

So that even if it seems that the price increases in some cases seem disproportionate to the improvements in the new version, such increases were a long time coming.

We astrologers are incredibly blessed by the work of astrological programmers, and the incredible creations that they offer us.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Windows on Earth: Astronaut Photography

I just stumbled across this website which shows over a thousand pictures taken by astronauts from the space station of the Earth, the Moon, Aurora, and more.

There are even 41 movies as the station traverses the Earth.

I hope you enjoy this website.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Software Reviews page updated!

It's been a while since I updated my software reviews web page with links to my latest reviews.

I've just added several new links, and you can see them all here.



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Views of the Total Solar Eclipse

On the New York Times website is a lovely video and additional photos of the latest Solar Eclipse.

As most astrologers know, the eclipse will most effect those people who have planets or angles within a degree or so of 19 degrees of Pisces or Virgo. The actual eclipse was at 18 degrees 56 minutes of Pisces.



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My Newest Tutorial:
The Blessings and Challenges of a Planet in its own Sign

I've just posted my latest tutorial on my Learn Astrology Free website.

For those of you who haven't visited it yet, I have written over 150 tutorials in both Western and Vedic astrology and two reading lists and I add a new article bimonthly.

You can read my latest one: "The Blessings and Challenges of a Planet in it's own Sign" here.



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

My Mountain Astrologer review of the new
Shri Jyoti Star 7

Andrew Foss recently released the latest version of Shri Jyoti Star, the foremost Vedic astrology program for Windows.

I explored it thoroughly and here's my review from The Mountain Astrologer.



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Atlas update for Prometheus

Prometheus Owners: please update the program's atlas to the latest time changes here.

Many blessings to you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top 6 Must-See Sky Events for 2016

National Geographic's website has a very nice article on the most important visible astronomical events of the year, here.

They include an eclipse, Mercury's transit over the face of the Sun, and a very tight conjunction of Venus and Jupiter.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Astrocalc 6.3

In the June/July 2015 issue of The Mountain Astrologer I wrote a review of the Astrocalc astrology program.

You can view it here.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

AstroDatabank Redux

Here is my February/March 2015 Mountain Astrologer article on How to run AstroDatabank on your current PC, how to get a free collection of AstroDatabank charts for your software, and programs that include charts from AstroDatabank.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Journey into the World of Oudh
(my newest blog)

I have started a blog on Oud, aka Agarwood oil, the most transcendental fragrant oil of all. Oud has been used for spiritual work and in perfumes for hundreds of years, and I've been exploring it for just over a year.

You can read my four page Oud blog starting here.

(While this, like my aromatherapy blog, is not directly related to astrology or astrology software, both are related to consciousness, and anything that fosters deeper awareness can support a more profound understanding of astrology.)



Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Day on Pluto:

Photos Show Dwarf Planet's Changing Faces

The new photographs of Pluto continue to show us more about the "farthest planet".

Space.com has released a new set showing all of Pluto's faces here.

And an amazing video of the sharpest images of Pluto's surface here.

Enjoy!



Monday, January 11, 2016

My Mountain Astrologer column on
Free Tools for Astrology

I've gotten behind on posting my The Mountain Astrologer SoftStar News columns on this website, and am now intent on catching up.

Here's one on Free Tools for Astrology.



Friday, January 1, 2016

Truffle Making -- My New Approaches

In my decades of exploring chocolate truffle making, I've had many breakthroughs, especially recently.

In order to share them, I created a new article, which you can read here.

Happy New Year!


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