SoftStar News

January 2006

Tools for Astrological Research

by Hank Friedman

[As a special treat to readers of this newsletter, I'm sharing the article on research software that I wrote for the ISAR journal. Enjoy!]

Every year, astrology software becomes more and more powerful. It is very difficult for the average astrologer to keep up with these advances, i.e. to know what the newest programs can actually do. With this in mind, I'd like to give readers an overview of many of the research capabilities present in the latest astrological programs. (Note: it is impossible, in an article of this size, to be truly comprehensive. I will touch on some of the major research tools available.)

1. Time Searches. Most major astrology programs can create transit hit lists, and find the dates and times when planet A aspects planet B in the sky, or when planet A stations, etc. But astrologers often want to search for more complex mundane configurations. Several programs, including Shri Jyoti Star, Solar Fire Deluxe, Millennium, AIR's SuperSearch, and IO Sprite have the ability to search time for future or past occurrences of planets at specific degrees, forming aspects, and entering specific signs.

In Shri Jyoti Star, you can actually create a chart (e.g. place the Ptolemaic planets and Rahu the North Node in specific signs, degree ranges, or degrees) and find out when that chart occurred.

In the new Solar Fire Deluxe and in AIR's SuperSearch, you can search for several different events simultaneously, using AND and OR and NOT statements to define the search. For example, you could search for when Mars is in a specific sign AND Jupiter was NOT in a water sign and a Grand Trine was happening. Both program offer a huge number of conditions that you can search for, including positions in many different coordinate systems, horary considerations, speed of planets, and much more, as well as the ability to save searches to re-use at a later time.

2. Database Searches. Astrologers can, using most major astrology programs, search chart files (aka databases) for charts having a planet in a specific sign, house, or aspect to another planet. Some programs even allow you to employ Boolean logic, e.g. find charts with Mars in the 3rd AND Jupiter in Cancer.

Several Vedic programs, including Shri Jyoti Star, Kala, and Parashara's Light (as well as the Vedic section of AstroDatabank) offer the ability to search chart files for Vedic chart factors. They all offer AND and OR statements, and a comprehensive syntax, including house lords, planetary states, nakshatra positions, and much more.

The more powerful programs offer an incredibly very wide range of database searches. For example:

Win*Star Plus offers, in its Win*Search module, the ability to use a query language to implement database searches. The queries can include Boolean logic, and a variety of statements such as angular separation, aspects, day birth, midpoints, etc. e.g. the Sun/Moon angle less than 30 degrees and the Sun/Moon midpoint at 15 degrees Virgo.

Solar Fire Deluxe uses the same powerful search criteria for searching databases that it uses in searching time, plus the ability to search for chart data factors (e.g. the person's name, day or month or date of birth, time zone, etc.) as well.

AstroDatabank, a program specifically designed for research, and Kepler, both offer huge databases of charts for famous people and events, and the ability to search them for a variety of astrological factors.

AstroDatabank additionally offers Boolean logic, biographies and dates of important events for each chart, the ability to search charts based upon life categories (e.g. occupation, fame, diseases, etc.), the capability to discover what life categories a group with similar astrological factors have in common, and the ability to create control groups and perform factor analysis research. In the latter, AstroDatabank analyzes 300,000 astrological factors and tells us which ones show the most difference between the experimental and control group. This could be used, for example, to determine what astrological factors are most common among a group of dentists.

Both Kepler and AIR's Astro Investigator offer users the ability to do assumptionless research, where you can see the distribution of astrological factors for any group of charts (e.g. the price of gold rising, plentiful rainfall, etc.). Astro Investigator even does statistical analysis to determine which factors are significant. One of Kepler's many innovative research features is its ability to do pair research, wherein you can study pairs of charts (e.g. compatible couples or people and a life event like death, accident, lottery winning) and discover the astrological factors in common.

3. Pattern Modeling. Many astrologers have conceptions about what astrological factors contribute to specific life themes or events, and modern astrology software allows one to build astrological models, and then test them out on one's chart files.

AstroDatabank, Kepler, and Millennium all allow you to build birth-chart based AstroSignatures, i.e. sets of astrological criteria to test to see if they accurately predict personal qualities or life patterns. For example, an astrologer might create a signature where they give Saturn at an angle 5 points, each planet in an Earth sign 1 point, Saturn aspecting the Sun or Moon 2 points, etc. and run the model and see if it accurately distinguishes people who are melancholy from others.

Additionally, both Millennium and Kepler allow you to build models to predict compatibility between people, and to create predictive models, based upon transits and progressions, to forecast times best for investments, vacations, romance, etc.

Astrological software gets more powerful at every turn, and we can be incredibly grateful that superb programmers are so committed to designing and enhancing astrological research tools for us.

My Full Review of Regulus, Published in The Mountain Astrologer

I decided to put my latest TMA review, of the Huber-oriented program Regulus, on my website.

You can read it by clicking here.

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