Article: Erecting Birth-charts
The astrology courses offered on Some Inspiration are not intended to cover the mechanics of erecting birth-charts. Even so, it is useful that you know something about how they are drawn up.
And importantly, if you are in a position of not yet having your own birth-chart to use with a course, what follows will provide you with the means of creating one for yourself – and charts for other people for that matter.
Back in the Day…
Have a care for what it used to be like before astrology software came along. Not so long back you would need hard-copy resources to calculate, and then hand-draw a birth-chart onto a paper form – that you probably designed yourself, as I did.
One needed such hard-copy items as an ephemeris. I still, very much, use printed versions of both the World Ephemeris for the 20th Century and The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century. And probably most astrologers will do the same. These are very useful for a quick look-up on the positions of the planets for days, months and years ahead or back in time.
One needed such hard-copy items as:
- A table of logarithms to ease calculations
- A table of houses
- A table for noon date calculations
- Reference books for time changes across the world
- The birth-chart forms
- Plus, a handy aspect calculator, and, of course, a pen and ruler
All these tools, and a few more besides, were needed to create an accurate birth-chart by hand – before software came along to do the work that is.
Now with software…
It means a lot of the time-consuming work is taken out… And a lot more time can be spent on analysing/reading the resulting chart.
I will say though that it was a lot more exciting seeing the chart of a person emerge on the paper, as it would do by hand, than the immediate chart that now appears on the screen.
Getting Astrology Software
Here are one or two suggestions for software to buy, and software you can get for free. All programs mentioned will run on Windows, but do check against the version of Windows you have. Likewise, if you want a program for your Mac or tablet do check the specs first.
Software to buy
As you will discover (on AstroApex for example), there are a number of astrological programs on the market. Examples are: Solar Fire, Sirius, Kepler and Janus. These can be easily found online.
My favourites of these four popular programs are Solar Fire and Janus.
These programs provide the facility for creating professional birth-charts. Plus, they provide for a range of facilities including types of charts – e.g. Natal, Horary, Traditional, Electional and Vedic charts.
Solar Fire is the chosen software for many professional astrologers. Probably the most expensive of all the programs. Essentially runs on Windows or tablets running Windows. But also check out Solar Fire AstroGold for Apple computers and mobile.
Janus is an excellent alternative to Solar Fire. It is also less expensive. Janus is listed to run on Desktop PC, Laptop PC or Notebook PC.
Janus 5.3 Opening screen
Note: There is more information hidden from view here, as it was screen captured at the “Restore down” setting for this illustration.
This screenshot is showing some of the menus plus the chart of Albert Einstein – which has been selected from the list of birth-charts (included with the software) on the right-hand side.
Software for Free
There are a number of free programs that you will also find online… Astrowin and PlanetDance are examples. If choosing one, bear the following in mind:
With any free program check that it is up to date – and provides updates. If not, it may prove to be unreliable.
Free software is less likely to be as sophisticated or as user-friendly as a paid-for program. You may need therefore to have some experience with astrological calculations (and also with the IT itself), to be able to use it.
AstroWin is an example of a good free program requiring one to be fairly savvy to use it. But I have something a little more user-friendly in mind.
Planetdance. I have road tested a number of free programs over time. Without doubt the best one I have found thus far is Planetdance. Search for online, download and install for free – there is a donate option to support its development.
Planetdance opening screen.
Note, there is more information hidden from view here, as it was screen captured at “Restore down” setting for illustration use.
Now you now have options
If you have yet to get hold of your own birth-chart to run with a course here you can:
- Get your chart done through me or one of the other websites offering birth-charts (or natal-charts). Check out Astrodienst or Café Astrology for example.
- Or jump in with both feet, install an astrological program – perhaps one of the programs I’ve suggested – and draw up your own chart. And start drawing up other charts too.
Get the full article (with illustrated basic use of Janus and Planetdance ) in PDF here.
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