Thursday, January 7, 2010

Amazing Planet Mandala: the Dance of Shiva

OK, let's have some fun. In Sirius (sorry, this is not available in Kepler), select either the Forecast icon, or in the menu at the top either "Forecast" or "Art Gallery". Now select the menu item for Planet Mandalas. In the Planet Mandala window select "Helio, 2 Planets, Actual Position". This selection displays patterns created by the positions as viewed heliocentrically. Now click the scroll down arrow for the list of planet mandalas of this type and scroll towards the bottom and select one of the three "Earth-Mercury: Shiva Dance" items. As you can see there is a 30 second, 1 minute, and 2 minutes version. The actual time for the presentation varies depending on the speed of the computer. First you will see the image being analyzed for its size and other characteristics with black lines. When this finishes, the show begins! After about 5 or 10 seconds you will begin to see a swirling image created by the relationship of the Earth and Mercury to each other. To me it looks a bit like an ancient goddess-like image of perhaps a Mayan or Hindu quality. Amazing! Physicists have taken an interest in the fascinating patterns created by orbiting planets. For more information read the article at and at

Time Line Format Features

When I show people the time line format, they almost always love it and use it for most of their forecasting. The ability to have a visual presentation of what transiting and progressed aspects are in effect at a given time is wonderful. Now here are a few tricks you may not be aware of: first, did you notice the thin green or red line below the time line? Green indicates that the transiting or progressed planet is direct, and red indicates that it is retrograde. Now, in the window where you make time line format selections, notice that details of the highlighted forecast method are shown at the bottom of the screen. You can easily, for example, highlight progressed-to-natal and select all planets for progressions, and highlight transit-to-natal and select only outer planet transiting planets. Now click the "Customize Planets and Aspects" button. In Sirius you can now click on the "House/Sign" tab to add things like the house position and/or zodiac sign position of the planets and you can choose to display the full position of the planet or just the zodiac sign. Now this is cool: you also have an option to view aspects in the natal chart that involve the same planet, with an additional option to include aspects by planets ruled by the signs of the transiting and natal planet. For example, suppose transiting Uranus is square the natal Sun and the person has Uranus trine natal Sun in the birth chart; this will be displayed. You can also display the aspects involving planets ruling the signs using modern or traditional rulerships. Astrologers like Charles Carter, Robert Blaschke, and many others feel that this is critically important. You can also obtain these features in Kepler 7, although the user interface for making the selections is not quite as elegant, and you have a list of buttons instead of tabs for making selections. Both Sirius and Kepler are amazingly huge programs with seemingly endless features. Don't be afraid to click the Customize button to see the options that are available. This is just one example of the flexibility that is available and the ways in which Kepler and Sirius provide useful and practical information in a simple format for advanced and professional astrologers who will find these features very helpful.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Basics: Fast Navigating in Kepler & Sirius

Every program has one or two things you need to know. For example, a word processing program may seem simple but you do need to know that you type in stuff, change fonts, save your file, etc. and when home computers first became available, it was a big deal for many people to learn these basics. So here are some basics about Kepler and Sirius that we have found some people don't notice right away:

1. Color Coded icons: Use the green icons to make new charts (natal, progressed, returns, etc.). Use the yellow icons to save to send the report somewhere: Save to File, Print, or E-mail. There is also a yellow icon to resize the window. Use the green icons for reports, i.e. all of the information, interprtations, etc. and the purple icons for other stuff like interactive features, Help, settings, etc.

2. Chart entries: All the charts you select are listed in the upper right corner. The current chart you are looking at is also given above this list. Suppose you have a few natal charts and progressed charts. You can jump to any chart with one mouse click. Fast and easy!

3. As you select reports (listings, interpretations, AstroMaps, etc.) Kepler and Sirius "remember" this and list them in the lower right corner of the screen. So you are thinking, "let's see I need to look at Sally's AstroMap again . . .". You click on Sally's name in the upper right corner, and then her AstroMap in the lower right corner and almost as fast as you can think it, you are looking at it! Super fast and easy! No hunting around . . . just move very quickly to the information you are working with.

4. Need to customize something or change the settings. Just RIGHT-CLICK anywhere on the report (wheel, listing, interpretation or whatever you are currently looking at). "RIGHT-CLICK" is the mantra to remember. In Windows the mouse right-click often shows your settings. For example, you are looking at a wheel and want to add Chiron. What to do? Remember the mantra: right-click. This brings up your settings. Now a skinny window is displayed on the right side. You can change wheel styles and you see it as you click - it is interactive! - how cool is that. Select the Customize button for more settings. There is a tab for planets. click Chiron and there it is in the wheel. Totally interactive, i.e. you see results as you do this. You can use these settings to pop things (like Chiron, etc.) in and out of the wheel. Select the "OK (Save)" button to save the changes or select the Cancel button if you were just looking at things temporarily and want to revert to the original settings.

With Kepler and Sirius you are not hunting and pecking all over the place, wandering around on the task bar at the bottom of the screen, or re-selecting most of the things you were just looking at. You work intuitively and easily. Don't forget the ability to right-click because it is much faster than going to the icons or pull-down menus at the top to make selections.

5. A little trick: select same printouts for this person: Suppose I am looking at Joe's chart and I am looking at his Vocation and Career map for a city he is thinking of moving to and it looks great. Now we need to check out if this place is good for his wife as well. Select the "Multi-Select" button in the lower right corner, select the "Select Current Printouts for Other Entries" menu item and check his wife's name and click OK. Now when you view the wife's chart (by clicking on her name in the upper right corner) she has the same reports selected as her husband! Click on the AstroMap report and now you see the same AstroMap for her. Now you are wondering if they will have friends in this area so you want to change to a different AstroMap. What to do now? Remember the mantra: right-click on the AstroMap for its settings change to Friendship and Family Map and click OK. Note that in Sirius 1.1 there is also a "Settings" button on the left side of the AstroMap which you can also select instead of right-clicking.

6. Use the Help feature: The Help feature in Kepler and Sirius is wonderful. You may be surprised to see how much information there is. Use either the feature to search for a topic or use the links. I will discuss some of the Help features and the AstroEncyclopedia in future articles, but for now I just want to mention that if we were to print all this out, it would be thousands of pages and most of the Help information is well-organized and clearly explains how to use the various features of the software.

Now you can work very quickly using the color-coded icons at the top, right-clicking to change settings and then look for a Customize button for additional settings, jump between different charts you are working with and selecting reports you are looking at. It's incredibly fast and easy. Now you are an expert in using Kepler and Sirius! :-) In the future I will share some more advanced tips and tricks but I want to make sure you have not overlooked some of the basics.

Again, thanks for purchasing Kepler or Sirius. It helps us be able to keep working on the program. If you have not purchased Kepler or Sirius, and you are seriously interested in astrology, I suggest talking to other astrologers who use Kepler or Sirius and you will almost certainly get a good recommendation.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Did you know that any astrology program may calculate the wrong rising sign?

One problem of wonderful technology is that we simply press a few buttons and out comes information, but the information may not be correct if we are not familiar with some of the details of how the technology works. A good example of this is the tendency for even professional astrologers to trust that their astrology software is producing the correct house cusp positions. Depending on where you live, the likelihood of this may vary from probably about 95% to over 99% likelihood, but an error rate of 1 in 20 is too much for a professional. The rising sign may be incorrect because our knowledge of time zones and observance of daylight saving time (DST) is not perfect. An astrology program must know at any given moment in any location in history what the time zone and observance of daylight saving time were in order to calculate the charts correctly. Do the progams know this? Usually, but not always. In the 1970's Tom Shanks and Neil Michelsen made a breakthrough in assembling and organizing this information and they produced two products, The American Atlas and The International Atlas, which were made available as books and later as software. I worked with Tom Shanks on updating and refining this information many years ago, and now we continue this work at Cosmic Patterns. Customers have sent us corrected and improved information for dozens of different countries, and we recently received more information in the past few weeks that we will work on over the next few months to improve the tables. We are also adding more warning messages for data entered at times when there is conflicting information about whether DST is observed. Another problem is the calendar in use. Some astrologers and software programs assume that the Old Style calendar was used until the late 1500's and then the New Style calendar was adopted but some countries did not begin using the New Style calendar until the 20th century! For decades we have worked on updating our tables and we continue this work. Every year over a dozen countries change their rules as to when DST is observed and we update our tables so that if you do charts of current events or babies, the birth charts will be accurate. This is a never-ending job, and it is one the things going on "behind the scenes" to help make sure that the charts you calculate are correct. We receive reports fairly regularly of charts being calculated incorrectly with other programs because the time zone and DST tables have not been updated with the best information available. Just as one example, a customer told me about a month ago that she was very grateful that we do this because the chart she did for a child born in Buenos Aires was correct while the chart done by two other astrologers using other software is incorrect. It is a good idea to run the free update on our website about once or twice a year to update your tables. E-mail us with your name and address and request the update link if you do not have it. Our time zone and daylight saving time tables are not perfect but they are the best available. If you use some other software program and you are generally happy with it, you can run the chart on the free online chart service which is available on our website and many of our customers to run the chart to verify that the rising sign is correct. This is generally not needed for births in the USA because the ACS Atlas tables are still very good in the USA, but in most other countries we have made a large number of updates and corrections. If you encounter a discrepancy or are concerned about accuracy of a chart because of concern about the correct calendar, time zone, or DST observed, e-mail us the birth data and what your concern is and we will let you know what information we have for the chart. In most cases the discrepancy is simply resolved by simply having accurate time zone and DST information that has been thoroughly researched and clearly documented. Building upon the work of Neil Michelsen and Thomas Shanks and the hundreds of people who contributed to that project, and the many dozens of astrologers and our workers here who have put in many hundreds of hours researching, organizing, and entering updated information, we have the most accurate and complete information available, and we continue to improve our time zone and DST tables regularly. Frankly, I have found it uncomfortable to play the business game of touting our products, but it is also important that users of astrology software are aware of issues that can affect their work, so in this article and some of the future articles, we shall put modesty to the side and get important information out to you that can help you with your work, research, or study of astrology.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Your astrology software pays you to use it!

The title may be sound too much like a sales pitch and a bit "cheesy" but it is true that if you own Sirius or Kepler and at least one report option, then we create an automated online chart service for you, and you can make money from this automated chart service without much work on your part. An automated online chart service is exactly what it sounds like: you do not need to do anything. Anyone on the Internet can visit your online chart service and order a free chart wheel or order the interpretive reports you own. We charge the credit card and do all the processing. You "sit back" and collect 40% royalty on the sales. If you have a website, then you can put a link to your online chart service on your website (that is the only real "work" you have to do). We do have one customer who mentioned that he does not even have a website and gets sales just by giving the website address of the automated chart service that we created for him, but most people are likely to need to have a website and a link to the automated chart service from their website to draw some sales. Unless you have a very active website, you may not generate any sales, but even in this case the automated chart service provides a valuable service: a free chart wheel. In other words, with your automated chart service a free chart wheel is offered, which means people may go to your site and order the free chart wheel. Not all of our interpretive reports are available in the automated online chart service so check with us before purchasing a report option if you want to make sure it will be on your online chart service. Also, the prices and other settings are not flexible, but the interpretive reports are widely regarded as among the very best in the world. I look at the free chart service as another feature of Kepler and Sirius. Like any feature, some people use it and some people do not. Some of our most successful customers make over a hundred dollars a year, which means that over a decade they make over a thousand dollars, perhaps a few thousand dollars. Most websites, however, are likely to generate only a few sales. Consider combining the automated online chart service with other astrological services to build an astrology business or add an additional source of income while providing people with the highest quality astrological services. These reports are so good that recently someone told me that after getting two readings from professional astrologers, a Kepler user ran one of our interpretive reports (it happened to be the Merlin report) and this person found the Merlin report much more informative, useful, and accurate than the readings by the astrologers! Now she is really excited and curious about astrology and wants to learn more about astrology! On the subject of quality, another thing you might not know: Kepler and Sirius provide the most accurate calculations of any astrology software programs, and help ensure that the rising sign is correct. More on this in the next article.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Welcome! We will regularly add new tips on how to use Sirius, and also Kepler, here. Most of the information is provided as "Did you know?" articles. KEpler and Sirius are so incredibly powerful and versatile that you can easily overlook some of the features that are available. For more complete information on this software, visit our website at To all of you who have purchased Kepler or Sirius, we thank you!!! You have made it possible for us to develop this software and to continue developing it in the future.