Off-Topic: Finally, a worthy astrology app for macOS
I have a hobby that may surprise people and simultaneously make them think I’m bonkers… I love dabbling in astrology. I know, most people will say it’s rubbish, but I’ve erected enough astrology charts to think Hamlet was right when he said: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” I used to be a Kairon user, software developed by an Austrian astrologer annex programmer who stopped updating the macOS application a few years ago. Then I started using iPhemeris on the iPad by Clifford Ribaudo, but that software gets updated very occasionally and Ribaudo hides behind an alleged Apple bug in iOS that prevents users from exporting complete charts and tables. But in the week between Christmas and New Year I’ve found a macOS/iOS/Android software that might be the astrology app Mac users have been craving for a long time. It’s Astro Gold and it’s been developed by the same people who made Solar Fire the industry standard on Windows PCs. So, although it’s off-topic, here’s a review of Astro Gold.
Astro Gold for macOS is new software that has an extended feature but the same design as the iOS app of the same name. Astro Gold for Mac features Natal, Transit, Solar Return, Lunar Return, Progression and Synastry interpretations. I downloaded the demo for macOS and found an interface that is cleanly designed, with lovely and sensible icons and buttons. Astro Gold uses the latest Swiss Ephemeris and ACS Atlas files. The Swiss Ephemeris is very accurate up to 2400 AD. If there is one criticism I have on the Astro Gold app it’s the lack of access to the ‘raw’ ephemeris data. This is the only area in which I think iPhemeris is perhaps better. Although that one uses the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Ephemeris with figures up to 5000 AD, it does offer access to the plain ephemeris data.
But iPhemeris – and Kairon at the time – are lone rangers in that they don’t exchange astrology files with anything else. Astro Gold does import and export Solar Fire PC chart files as well as exchanges data with Astro Gold for iPhone and iPad.
Astro Gold supports everything a professional astrologer or a serious amateur like myself needs. For example, you can easily access Firdaria, fixed stars and midpoint trees, you’ll get instant access to Solar Arc charts, secondary progressions, transit charts, relationship charts, etc, etc. You can have up to four charts layered one on top of the other, or have them cleanly displayed in a grid pattern.
For astrologers who deal with relocation issues, there’s a brilliantly designed module for Astro Locality Mapping, with maps you can pan and zoom into. Throughout the application, you’ll find pop-up interpretations (by professional astrologers) and in the ALM, you’ll even have complete relocation reports.
Astro Gold’s maps can show you a satellite view and a map view with a selectable display of country and major city names, and there’s an angular distance measuring tool by using mouse click and drag.
The app supports iCloud Drive for chart storage and sharing between iOS and macOS versions, a feature I obviously couldn’t try out with my demo version, but which should work just fine, although it does rely on Apple’s iCloud servers’ uptime. For those of us who are more into Dropbox, there’s an option for that as well.
An optional add-on is the ability to generate professional reports. If you want to sell horoscopes, these report writing modules are available as in-app purchases from within Astro Gold. A licence allows you to freely generate an unlimited number of reports.
Your chart data is displayed using a uni-wheel, bi-wheels, tri-wheels, quad-wheels or dials, with the latter especially appealing for dynamic and fast finding of aspects.
I didn’t check all of them out, but Astro Gold also has 43 available displayed chart points including the Chiron, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Hygeia, Astraea, Sedna, Eris, Vulcan, Lilith, Selena, TransPluto, Cupido, Hades, Zeus, Kronos, Apollo, Admetos, Vulcanus, Poseidon, Ascendant, Midheaven, Vertex, East Point, Part of Fortune, CoAscendant, Polar Ascendant, Aries Point, and Libra Point.
A so-called Chart Explorer lets you find additional information relating to any chart point by clicking on the point in a chart wheel or dial.
The choice of house systems is dazzling and easily beats the applications that I used so far, with support for the common ones as well as others such as Equal, Zero Aries, Solar Sign, Whole Sign, Bhava, Alcabitius, PF on 1st, Asc in 1st, Vertex on 7th, + Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto and Node on 1st.
There’s a lot more to Astro Gold that firmly places the app in the professional corner, and it’s the only one that offers all this on macOS in a beautifully designed interface that is clear and user-friendly. From my own experience with macOS or iOS apps – Kairon, iPhemeris and ugly open-source Morinus – and demos I’ve seen of the professional astrology software that has been available until now (IO Edition) I can safely say Astro Gold is already much better and will become even better if the updating scheme so far is anything to go by.
As soon as my budget allows, I will be buying a licence. It’s not dirt-cheap, but it’s certainly not expensive given what you get at $180.
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