ZET 8 Geo
by Anatoly Zaytsev
$189 (via download) (+ $20 for CD) only available from his website
[Note: In this review, I will explore the top-of-the-line version of ZET, called ZET Geo, which I will refer to by the name ZET in this article . There is also a free version called ZET lite, and an intermediate version called Zet Pro. ZET can be run in Russian and in English.] I encourage you to go to this link:
to download the freeware version of ZET called ZET lite -- which introduces you to the functioning of ZET.
ZET is a unique astrology program. It has an unusual and very large set of features, a remarkably low price, several incredibly powerful modules, and introduces new predictive techniques. ZET runs under Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/Vista. It uses the Swiss ephemeris (for excellent accuracy) and has its own database of over 200,000 cities in its atlas (many with time zone corrections). Its Database Converter allows you to import charts from Solar Fire, Quick*Charts, and JigSaw, and to export to JigSaw and Quick*Charts formats. ZET enables users to retrieve and install program updates at the push of a button.
In a few areas, ZET is less polished, e.g. to print from some of its modules, ZET sometimes exports the output to your word processor, web browser, or graphic software, or you have to copy and paste or import the output yourself. Also, the headings on ephemeris pages often don't line up with the columns. On the other hand, there are parts of ZET that are actually easier to use than in other software (e.g. see the section on astromapping). ZET has tremendous capabilities, and will be a very worthwhile program for many professional astrologers.
Instead of a printed manual, Zet's help system is a set of linked files viewable via your browser. Most of the program's features have to be studied in order to learn to use them, but they are well documented. ZET also has"tooltips", i.e. tiny help windows that popup and give information on each feature. In addition, the Horoscope Wizard makes it simple to create a chart or report for a person, a biwheel for a couple, or a transit graph or report. You can also look up any astrological term in the built-in DeVore's Encyclopedia of Astrology.
Right-clicking on a planet, aspect line, or sign in a chart will display its interpretation. You can also print out detailed interpretive reports, because ZET allows you to download a very large collection of free interpretive texts including delineations for planets in houses, signs, and aspect, retrograde planets, predominances (e.g. of elements), Nakshatras, Fixed Star conjunctions, Sabian symbols, Lunar Phases, and midpoints, as well as delineations for transits, Firdaria, Astro*Carto*Graphy lines, and more.
You can customize ZET's functions in more ways than I can possibly cover. For Example, in customizing a chart wheel page, besides the common adjustments (like selecting the color for each planet, sign, etc.,) one can easily adjust the diameter of each of the circles, the degree of highlighting of strong aspects, what kind of line to use for each aspect, what other information is displayed (e.g. dispositor diagram, chart patterns, dignity table, etc.), and whether to draw lines for dissociate aspects, use tighter orbs for separating aspects, show the lunations and eclipses before and after birth in wheels, include fixed stars (and aspects to fixed stars) in wheels, and much more.
You can also create several different configurations, each with its own settings, for different purposes such as synastry, predictive work, etc., and quickly switch between them. A shortcut key manager allows you to set shortcuts, like Alt-M for astromapping, for each of the program's modules, making it easier to navigate the program efficiently, and the History of Calculations feature allows you to quickly and easily retrieve chart(s) calculated in previous sessions.
ZET shows charts with up to 7 concentric rings, more than any other software, and it is simple to select what to show in each ring and which pair of rings to draw aspect lines between.
You can place peoples' charts in rings (and Composite, Davidson, and Coalescent charts), and/or transits, Degree-for-a-year or Solar Arc Directions (either Zodiacally or Equatorially), Naibod or Primary Directions, Secondary, Converse Secondary, Minor, Tertiary, or user-defined Progressions, Return charts for any planet, Minor Solar Returns - calculated for the moment of return of the Sun to its degree in each sign of the Zodiac, Terrar ( birth time returns), Embolismic Lunation - calculated for the moment of recurrence of the natal Sun-Moon phase angle, Progressed Embolismic Lunation (Embolismic Lunation chart progressed at 1 synodic month for each year), Progressed Lunar Return (Lunar Return chart progressed at 1 sidereal month for each year), Persian Directions (1 degree = 1 year while houses are motionless), or Profections. All active points will be used in every ring, and you can animate the page (or adjust the date & time by any increment), and all of the rings in the chart and the displayed tables will shift accordingly.
For astrologers who want to use additional points in charts (besides the planets and angles), ZET lets you add asteroids, minor bodies (like Chiron and Sedna), Transneptunians, and Arabic Parts. ZET includes a Catalog of Asteroids that not only has 11,047 asteroids, but allows you to search for any body by number or name (and easily add comets and additional bodies to the listing). You can even create (and edit) glyphs for each body! Any point can be activated (up to 99 per set), and once it is, it will show up in all charts, aspect grids, astromaps, etc. and can be used in predictive searches. Wow!
You can click on any natal or transiting point:
The image above shows an easy-to-read image of the Zodiacal position, speed, and dates and times of station and maximum velocity. It's easy to shift the diagram forward or backwards from the chart's date, and to increase or decrease the span of time it shows. This is a great feature!
Clicking on an aspect line in a chart reveals a graph of when the aspect was or will be exact (and each planet's position at that time), as well as the aspect's orb on the chart's date and time.
Another innovation is the "orb adjustment" slider bar, which allows you to increase or decrease all of the aspect orbs simultaneously, and thereby see more or fewer aspect lines. This can be used, for example, to see which aspects are strongest. Both of these features are well done and very useful.
ZET has unique predictive graphs. One of the best is the Aspects Diagram, which graphically depicts when transiting or progressed or directed or primary directed points will aspect natal points and house cusps (and enter signs and houses) for a time period of 3 days, 1 month, or 1, 10, 30, 60, or 120 years.
Each colored bar shows the aspecting and aspected points and the aspect formed, with the exact transit depicted in the bar by a small o. Fortunate events are shown in green, and challenging ones in red. In 3 day scans, the period when the Moon is Void-of-course can also be depicted. Whatever points are activated can used as transiting and/or transited points (planets, asteroids, and minor points – including "virtual planets" like the Transneptunians, co-ascendant, galactic center, etc.-- but not stars or comets). Another interesting transit graph is The Calendar Forecast, which depicts the positive, negative, and neutral influences (for a year or a month) individually for each of the twelve houses.
ZET has a superb astromapping module. It has lovely high resolution maps
(see above image) and can depict local space lines, Astro*Carto*Graphy angle and aspect lines, paran lines, Equatorial or Ecliptic house lines, and Equatorial or Ecliptic Geodetic projection lines. Users can choose whether to include lines for each of the active planets, asteroids, and minor bodies. Zooming in on specific locations displays many cities and towns (really well done). One can measure the distance between any two points, move the map around on the screen, zoom in and out with a great degree of control, and view maps full screen (i.e without any menus showing).
Astromapping options include depicting day/night boundaries, popping up a small map of the world so that you can quickly move to another location (with the same degree of zoom), the ability to set the colors you want for land, sea, coast, internal and international boundaries, to relocate local space lines to anywhere on a map (and create relocated charts), and to show constellation lines on maps.
One truly brilliant astromapping feature in ZET is the ability to name and save as a placemark any map area that you have focused on. For example, let's say that you live in Berkeley, California and have centered Berkeley on the screen and zoomed in to exactly the degree you want for all future maps. You can save the screen as a placemark and return to that screen instantly whenever you want. You can save any number of placemarks to use in future sessions. Another priceless feature is the ability to search for any city (from a huge list of cities throughout the world) and then immediately see an astromap centered on that city.
ZET offers two different rectification tools: Trutina Hermetis and a "Condensations" method. Trutina Hermetis uses the pre-natal epoch to calculate the birth time. However, the Condensations method is the real powerhouse. It allows users to select from a huge set of predictive techniques (transits, secondary, converse secondary, tertiary, and minor progressions, Equatorial and/or Zodiacal Solar Arc directions, profections, and Naibod & Primary Directions, and to choose the points to be used by each method. It then analyzes the major life events entered for a person, and generates a graph showing the most likely birth times.
This is one of the best rectification tools I've ever encountered. Bravo!
ZET offers many astrological and astronomical tables including daily aspects made by the Moon for a month; distribution by element, mode, hemisphere etc of points in a chart; planetary nodes and perihelion; Lunar apogee & perigee dates for a year, and a Bindhu table showing the aspects by active points to each degree of the Zodiac. There are also tables listing information about a large number of Arabic Parts, tables of Nebulae and Galaxies, and a huge catalog of Fixed Stars.
The General House Table shows, for every active point in the chart, its house placement (and conjunctions to house cusps) for up to 28 house systems, as well as the longitude for each of the house cusps. You can choose which house systems are shown, and the orb for a conjunction to a cusp.
Impressive ephemeris tables can be created as a text file but with limitations: stations/retrogrades are not shown nor are glyphs, and the results are only viewable by loading them into a word processor. But one can include (for any active points), longitude, latitude, R.A., declination, Azimuth, Altitude, Velocity, Heliocentric longitude, and Heliocentric latitude, for any time step, duration, and time zone.
Ingresses of Planet allows you to create a listing, for any number of the active points and for one or more years, of when each point enters a new sign, and optionally when it retrogrades and/or reaches minimum or maximum declination. ZET's graphic ephemeris can show house ingresses as well as planetary positions for transits, progressions, directions for one or more years for 360, 90, 60, 45, and 30 harmonics.
ZET also has Solar and Lunar eclipse searches for any time span. Each eclipse's time of onset and time and of maximum eclipse are given, and for Solar Eclipses the coordinates of maximum eclipse and the path of maximum eclipse can be shown on a map, and both Solar and Lunar eclipses can be depicted against the backdrop of the stars, or shown in a chart wheel.
Two very powerful modules are called Search for a Chart and Search for Events. They allow you to search your chart files or any time period, respectively, for a user-defined set of astrological conditions. To use these functions, you will need to learn ZET's "formula description language". E.g., if you want to search for when Saturn will conjunct Mars while the Sun is in Aries, you would enter sat.0.mar & sun.ari. This may seem complicated, but any astrologer with even a little programming skill can create searches.
Searches can include planets, nodes, asteroids, Arabic Parts, and Transneptunians in sign, aspect, midpoints, dignities (e.g. term, face, triplicity, etc.), lunar mansions, a house or a part of a house, aspects to house cusps, house almutens, planetary hours, retrograde/stationary/direct/fast, aspect configurations (e.g. grand trines), planetary orbital elements (e.g. perihelion, nodes, etc.), and more. You can use sets of planets and arithmetic expressions (e.g. find charts with 5 or more planets in fire signs and an empty First House), search chart comments, search between two charts, and much more. You can also use the same search conditions to instruct ZET to alert you when particular transits occur to one or more natal charts. Astrologers who learn to use these features will find them incredibly valuable.
Finally, ZET has powerful and lovely astronomical features. E.g. the Cosmos module displays an accurate 3d view of the Solar System. You can find and zoom in on any object, animate the display (controlling the speed of movement) and watch planets move in their orbits, see eclipses, etc. You can view extensive astronomical data about any object, including coordinates and orbital parameters and rising, setting, and culminating times, and for stars, spectrum, magnitude, distance, radius, and more. You can "jump" to any object, which places it in the center of the screen, and see a table of detailed information about all of its satellites. ZET can display 200,000 stars and 11,047 asteroids, and use Swiss Ephemeris, NASA, JPL, Lowell, Skymap, and other format files, allowing you to choose which bodies to display.
Similarly, the Sky module can depict the entire Celestial Sphere, like a planetarium, or a hemispheric view (as the night sky might look out of your front door). It can show constellation lines, Ecliptic or Equatorial house cusps, and stars, planets, and minor bodies including the asteroids and stars. The Sky module can be animated too, moving forward or backward in time at whatever rate you select, which is particularly striking in the hemispheric view.
All told, ZET is an amazing program. It may take quite a bit of time and effort to learn to use some of ZET's functions, but the rewards are great. Packed with features not found anywhere else, plus exceptional astromapping and chart rectification features, unique search capabilities, and a myriad of nice touches, ZET is a program of great depth that will dazzle astrologers for years to come.
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