Some people have a very wrong perception of astrology, having it connected with newspaper astrology – the columns that attempt to forecast how your day will be every day on the radio or in the newspaper, based on your sun sign, often with a twist to make the prediction more interesting and fun by some radios or newspaper. Even when taken seriously, it is only a simplified system of astrology which considers only the position of the Sun, which is placed within one of the twelve zodiac signs depending on the month of birth. It is often erroneously believed that sun sign astrology is the whole extent of astrology. Sun sign astrology only predicts general forces, but full astrology takes more factors into account making the horoscopes more individual.
Some people believe that astrology is difficult to learn. Some believe that they would need to be good at maths or have some inborn abilities to be able to read horoscopes. However, this is not true. There is a lot of astrology software around, some is even free, that will do the job of calculation for you. And although intuition plays an important role when interpreting a horoscope, many people have very good intuition but are just not using it, or not using it right. I would suggest to anyone to try it out, you will then see if it works for yourself and if you find it interesting.
So, where to start if you wanted to learn about how to interpret a horoscope? Why not start by creating your horoscope first so that later we can have a look at how to interpret it.
To do it, you will need an astrology software. There is one available which is completely free – it is called Astrolog 5.4 and you can download a copy from Astrolog 5.4 homepage. There is an executable setup for Windows PCs, unfortunately, there is no pre-compiled version for the latest Intel based Macs, but you can download a source code and build it youself (you will need X11 on the Mac to be able to run it). Of course, there is also commercial astrology software available, with many user features on top that make things easier (such as an ability to store your charts in a database, incorporated database of world cities with their longitudes and latitudes to name a few) – but I find Astrolog 5.4 good enough to do the job for beginners. Anyway, if you want to spend some money on commercial astrology software, you can get some at all kinds of online astrology software shops.
After getting your favorite software, you will be able to create your first astrology chart. You will need the following information, no matter what software you will use:
- Date and time (e.g. date and time of your birth or a situation that you want to create the chart for)
- Whether daylight saving time was active on that specific date.
- Longitude and latitude of the place
The astrology software essentially needs to calculate the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) point in time for the above information as it uses it with the longitude and latitude to calculate the position of the stars relative to the place where you were born (or place of the situation that you are creating the horoscope for). As I said before, every software will request this information differently, as it may have incorporated a database of the cities inside to get the longitude, latitude and time zone as a single “city” entry and some may even have the daylight saving time database incorporated.
The information is entered to the Astrolog 5.4 software as follows. Select menu Info -> Set Chart Info… and the following dialog will appear.
Enter the month, day, year and time information. If you don’t have a time, enter time that is closest to the time you want the chart for. If you are absolutely clueless, enter noon as your time. The field “Daylight” needs to be populated with value “Yes” if there was a daylight saving time on that date, otherwise “No”. Some information about the daylight saving time can be found on wikipedia, including information about what countries use it and what don’t. The time zone can be entered as a three letter official shortcut or as an offset value from the Greenwich Mean Time.
Now, to enter longitude and latitude, the values need to written in the special format that you see on the picture. The longitude 122:20W translates to 122 degrees and 20 minutes west longitude. So, just separate degrees from minutes by colon and enter W for west, E for east for the longitude or N for north, S for south for the latitude. To find a longitude and latitude of world cities, try this site.
You can enter anything into name and location, the fields are not used for calculation in Astrolog 5.4, however they are useful as they will display on side of your chart for reference – it may be useful if you decide to print the chart out.
Press OK and here you go, the chart is done! It may not mean anything to you right now, we will learn how to interpret it in one of my later articles.
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