The Mountain Astrologer Review of Horizons
In the June 2003 issue of The Mountain Astrologer, I compared and contrasted the astromapping features of eight different astrology programs. The present review introduces a brand new standalone astromapping program, called Horizons, with runs under Windows 98 (and later) versions of Windows, on PCs.
As you might guess, Horizons isn't limited to the features that already exist in other astromapping software, it has valuable new astromapping capabilities. Like the other programs, Horizons offers a zoomable World map with Astro*Carto*Graphy and/or Local Space lines, the ability to view maps for specific regions (e.g. like the U.S. or Canada), Local Space and Relocated Charts, Paran listings, Eclipse maps, a full time-change atlas , and point-and-click interpretations.
Horizons has many settings that you can customize to your preference including each of the colors in the map (the land, sea, rivers, cities dot and name, state borders, etc.) and line colors for each point (e.g. planets, nodes, houses, etc.) and for theme lines (more on themes later). You can create different color schemes for maps, and save and select the scheme you want to use. Horizons allows you to choose the current location, house system, zodiac (and ayanamsa), Parallax Moon position, True or Mean Node, and Geocentric or Geographic latitude. You can also add cities to maps. Maps can be copied to the clipboard (to paste into documents) and exported as bitmap (BMP) files; and reports can be saved in Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Rich Text(RTF) formats for emailing and publishing them.
Horizons has many features that are similar to those already available, but which actually go beyond what is offered in the most advanced astromapping programs. For example it allows you to include aspect lines for any aspect set you create, and even to define new aspects. Similarly, if you choose to have the program display midpoint lines, you can select exactly which midpoints to include, with a choice of planets, angles, asteroids, Transneptunians, the comet Chiron, Lilith, and Transpluto. (You can similarly choose any of these points to display as aspect lines on the map.)
Horizons also offers Theme maps. Theme maps show lines that indicate where to go to enhance specific life themes, such as romance, finances, family, career, etc. The reason why Horizons' theme maps are so useful is its Theme Editor, which makes editing themes and adding new themes incredibly easy to do. You can select what aspects and midpoints to use in each theme. Another important innovation in the creation and customizing of themes is the ability to add lines for specific house lords. You can use traditional or modern sign rulerships, or even create your own set of rulerships.
As you move your mouse over a map, Horizons can display the longitude and latitude and/or the Ascendant and Midheaven positions and/or the name of the city at that location on the map. Neat!
I particularly love the number of "mouse modes" in Horizons. Each specific mouse mode (chosen by clicking on an icon or through the Options menu), gives you a different response when you click on a map with your mouse. The mouse modes include the default zoom-in mode, local space, relocated wheel, distance measure, interpretations, and scoring graph. As you might expect, setting the mode to distance measure allows you to measure the distance on the map between any two points. Choosing the local space mode, on the other hand, enables you to click on any point on a map, and see the local space lines (for that birth date and time) radiate out from that location (as if it were the birth place). Zooming in is as simple as clicking on the area you want to zoom in on (and holding down the Control key while clicking on a map zooms you back out).
If you select the Relocated Wheel mode, then as you move the cursor around the map and click on places, a chart wheel appears and is automatically relocated to each new place. Similarly, if you display a Local Space wheel, you can see that chart change as you click on each new place. If instead you select the Interpretations mode, then as you click on new places on a map, the interpretations are shown for each place. Very quick and useful.
Horizons introduces the concept of scoring, in which, for any city or group of cities, the program displays a bar graph showing each city's degree of support for several different themes.
See Figure 1: Scoring Graph:
How themes are scored depends upon which map lines you turn on. If you only have rising/setting and culminating/anticulminating lines on, the graph takes those lines into account, in calculating scores. But if you turn on aspect and/or midpoint lines, they too influence the scoring for each factor. The program allows you to easily create lists of cities, and to view the scoring graphs for each place one after the other.
As you can see from the example for Juneau, Alaska for my chart, there is a little bit of support for several themes, but emotions/Moon is fairly strongly supported, and foundations/Saturn is most strongly emphasized in this area. In Horizons' Quick Score mouse mode, each time you click on a place on a map, Horizons shows you the scoring for that place.
Horizons breaks new ground in its introduction of two new compatibility chart mapping methods. The purpose of both methods of compatibility mapping is to find the best place for two people to live (or travel, or work, etc).
The reason that Composite charts have never been mapped before is that Composite charts don't actually exist, i.e. there is no birth place (or even birth date). Horizons' programmers had to resolve this problem; they developed a new concept of how to map a Composite chart. What the program does in its Composite mode is to map the planets in the composite chart (of two people) by using the geographic coordinates of the first chart selected.
The second compatibility charting method is more straightforward. In its Relationship mode, the program uses Davidson's method of relationship charting (i.e. the midpoint in time and space between the two people's charts) to create a new astromap. These are wonderful contributions to the field of astromapping.
Note: no matter what kind of map you have displayed (e.g. natal, composite, transit, etc.), you can use the point-and-click interpretations and scorings. This means that when you are looking at a map for two people (either the Composite or Relationship maps), you can point to a city and see interpretations or theme scores that apply to both people as a pair.
Horizons also offers the mapping of transits, solar arcs, secondary, minor, and tertiary progressions, and Cyclo*Carto*Graphy lines. Cyclo*Carto*Graphy combines the transiting outer planet lines (Jupiter through Pluto) and the inner planet secondary progressed lines (Sun through Mars). With Horizons' Animate Map function, you can set the speed and interval (any number of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, or years) of animation and the starting date and time. You can then step forward or backward in time one interval per click, or have the program automatically move the lines forward or backward in time at the selected speed.
Given that Horizons is a Matrix program, and Matrix pioneered the plotting of stars, constellations, and deep space objects (such as pulsars, quasars, galaxies, meteor showers, etc.) on maps, it is no surprise that Horizons has a full set of astronomical plotting functions. Horizons has more options for plotting stellar features than any previous program, and also allows one to plot astronomical axes (such as the horizon, ecliptic, and galactic lines) as well as astronomical spheres (e.g. to show the entire galactic sphere on the map).
You can also see, on either Sky or more standard Earth-based maps, the region occupied by any point (planet, asteroid, transneptunian, etc.) in any house or set of houses. This is a very nice feature, as it enables you to see where planets are placed optimally by house.
See Figure 2: Moon in Houses.
You can also see the house cusps placed on maps for Campanus, Regiomontanus, Meridian, or Alcabitius house systems.
Horizons provides both onscreen and printed interpretive reports for individual cities for each of its maps: for composite, relationship, CCG, progressed, solar arc, and transit maps, each report includes delineations for planet rising, setting, culminating, and anticulminating lines, and for aspect lines. For natal reports, in addition to the aforementioned lines, midpoint lines, parans, and local space lines are also interpreted. Horizons even includes a complete editing function, with which you can edit any of the interpretations. Great!
Horizons is the next generation of astromapping software. It offers significant advances in many areas, and is surprisingly easy to use. Both those just starting out in locational astrology and advanced practitioners of the art will love this program.
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