A review of Sirius 1.0
by Hank Friedman
Several years of development have gone into Cosmic Pattern's new program Sirius. Sirius is a "super-set" of Kepler, i.e. it's the Kepler program plus much more. [Note: Sirius could have been called Kepler 8.0, because it uses exactly the same user-interface as Kepler, and offers virtually all of the features of Kepler 7.0 (and more).]
Fans of Kepler will be right at home with Sirius. Like Kepler, it has two different styles of interfaces, one in the main program and a different one in the Kepler Workshop. Sirius adds many completely new features, as well significantly enhanced versions of features offered in previous versions of Kepler.
I just spent many days exploring Sirius and examining all of the features mentioned below. Over time, I've become more and more impressed by how much has been included in Sirius, and the improvements (over Kepler) that have been made.
A.New Features in Sirius:
1. The Business Manager.
This module is designed for astrologers who want to keep track of client information (address, telephone number, email address, website) and also of each session they have with every client (date, time, and length of each appointment, payment details, notes).
It allows you to start a timer at the beginning of each session and can even calculate and apply an hourly rate to the session, generate receipts for the client, and even compute the taxes on each session.
You can use it to print envelopes, schedule appointments, and to see a calendar showing which days appointments are already scheduled.
2. A Monthly Astrological Calendar.
Sirius now joins the ranks of other astrology programs that offer astrological calendars. It produces monthly calendars showing exact transit-to-natal and/or transit-to-transit hits, plus sign ingresses, void-of-course times, Sunrise and Sunset times, four lunar phases (in the Mundane calendar only), and holidays and any birthdays or other special events you have added to the calendar.
While the personal and mundane formats show either transits-to-natal or transits-to-transits respectively in a normal monthly calendar format, if you want to see both transit-to-natal and transit-to-transit in the same calendar, Sirius depicts the month as eight rows of four days across. Among the customizing features is the ability to show an astrological graphic as a background image for each month.
3. Ancient Astrology functions.
To meet the growing interest in Hellenistic astrology, Sirius includes calculations for profections,
Firdaria, Decennials, Lunar Monomoiria, Circumambulations, Zodiacal Aphesis, and the Balbillus Method; as well as an extensive listing of Hellenistic natal chart information including dignities, conjunctions to fixed stars by planets and lots, and a table of their positions by Dwadashamsha and Dodekatamoria.
Sirius also offers a detailed page of ancient astrology factors including an excellent listing of past and future times of partile aspects and stations, the previous and next 20 aspects made by the Moon, classical and modern dispositors (with final dispositors indicated), essential dignities, alcochodon and hyleg calculations, basic and compound almutens, lunar mansions, and planetary hour table,
Finally, Sirius includes a new Hellenistic wheel showing the antiscia of planets (each glyph within a circle) plus -- optionally -- asteroids and 9 Hellenistic lots, and a page full of useful tables.
4. A Pop-up Chart.
Sirius can display a small natal chart which you can move anywhere on the screen, and keep in sight while you look at reports, tables, listings, astro-maps, etc. This simple feature has great utility.
5. Planetary Mandalas.
By plotting the orbits of one or two planets over time, Sirius creates lovely mandalas. There are many, many choices, and you can even create your own custom mandalas, choosing the planets you want, the starting date, step interval, number of calculations, colors, and more. Some of the mandalas may take your breath away.
6. Huber Astrology.
The Hubers of Switzerland developed their own system of astrology, and Sirius supports those who want to explore this system by providing a comprehensive set of Huber Aspect Patterns, three types of Huber chart wheels, a table of Huber planetary strengths, and a Huber Lifeclock Age Progression listing.
7. Integrated Listings.
Sirius has several listings that give long-range predictive information. E.g. the Lifetime Solar Returns listing shows 100 years of Solar Returns. For each Return it shows the positions of all of the planets in the Return, aspects in the Return chart, and aspects between the Solar Return planets and the natal planets.
You can view listings for other planetary Returns (and Phase Returns for the outer planets), 10 year periods of Transiting Lunations (complete with Transit-to-Transit and Transit-to-Natal aspects), Lifetime Progressed Lunations, Ingresses, and Stations, and transiting conjunctions between any two planets (also with Transit-to-Transit and Transit-to-Natal aspects).
8. Two copies of Sirius running at once.
Sirius offers the option to have two completely different copies of the program running simultaneously. This allows researchers and others needing to have different calculations running at the same time (e.g. the AstroClock) to do so. As mentioned in the documentation, Sirius is fast and responsive enough (and makes it simple to display calculations and reports already generated in a session) that most users won't need this feature.
9. Planetary Patterns.
In addition to the Huber chart patterns mentioned previously, Sirius displays a variety of planetary patterns for both single charts and between two charts. When viewing the "between-two-charts" patterns, you can quickly see which planets come from which chart because they are color-coded.
10. New Midpoint Dials.
Cosmobiologists and other midpoint-oriented astrologers will welcome Sirius' ability to display single, bi-, tri-, and quad-wheels in dial format. By clicking on the inner wheel, or using the arrow keys, you can move a dial pointer about the wheel, which shows what midpoints exist at any location on the wheel. The pointer can be set to move by a minute or degree of arc at a time, or from planet to planet.
This feature is quite impressive, especially when viewing the pointer moving in a quad-dial, where it sequentially can point to each planet in each wheel, and show all of the midpoints it makes to planets in each other wheel. Sirius even makes it easy to see which ring's planets are involved, by color-coding the lines drawn to the color of the planets in each ring.
B. Enhanced Features:
1. The Page Designer.
Kepler's Page Designer enabled users to create their own pages, resizing and positioning objects by changing numeric values in tables. Additionally, Kepler's Page Designer used a tabbed interface.
Now Sirius's Page Designer allows one to more easily position objects by dragging them to where you want them on a page (and although resizing is still done with numeric values, it is much easier to do so). Adding additional page objects, such as a depiction of Aspect Patterns in the chart, has become much easier too. Sirius provides more choices of objects you can place on a page, too.
Finding the Page Designer in Sirius requires navigating sub-menus (but fewer than in Kepler). One first must right-click on a chart wheel, then select Customize, and then click on the Page Designer button. Sirius thoughtfully provides a third tab in the Wheel Style menu for users to define 14 of their own unique pages.
2. Added Vedic Features.
Sirius offers additional Vedic features not found in Kepler or other Western astrology programs. There is a basic Panchang listing showing the rising and setting times for the Sun and Moon, as well as the Lunar Nakshatra, Tithi, Yoga and Karana entry times for each day. There is also a very basic Muhurta module, which displays a monthly list of the daily lunar nakshatra changes and whether each is positive or negative for one of the ten classical themes provided by the module.
3. Chart Animation.
Kepler offers one type of animation: a triwheel of transiting and progressed planets around a natal chart with moving aspect lines from both sets of points to the natal chart.
Sirius has a completely revamped set of chart animations that are both much more powerful and much easier to use. You can animate up to four single wheels or a quad-wheel, and in the biwheel animation easily see the aspects forming between planets in the outer chart and those in the natal chart.
Customizing is generally easier in Sirius than in Kepler, and on the animated chart screens, you can quickly select what wheel or dial to display, customize the planets displayed in wheels, and which charts are displayed in each of the wheels, dials, and rings around a natal chart.
The AstroClock is greatly enhanced in Sirius. Not only can you precisely set the time-step interval (e.g. one second, five days, etc. per step), but you can manually move forward or backward in time by any interval.
Additionally, however, you can also use the AstroClock to display the next time (or next 10 times, or most recent previous time) that any aspect occurred between any two planets (or house cusps) or house ingresses or when any point reaches a particular Zodiacal position (e.g. 20 degrees 5 minutes of Aries).
You can save any of the charts viewed in the AstroClock as new chart entries to work with and examine later.
Additionally, Sirius has an Interactive Chart Adjust feature with a similar interface. It allows you, like the AstroClock, to look at charts for various dates and times, specific planetary aspects, etc. and you can "hold" any number of the charts found to review later. This screen also shows a listing of all of the aspects made to any selected chart point, and their orb. This is a very useful feature.
5. Graphic Ephemeris.
The Graphic Ephemeris enhancements in Sirius include the ability to add asteroids and midpoints to the graphic ephemeris, as well as the ability to show angular separations between planets.
Configuring the Graphic Ephemeris is easier than ever too, with the ability to customize it in many ways, including the color scheme.
Note: on my very fast PC, it took Sirius about 35 seconds to first display the graphic ephemeris after selecting it, so be patient when activating this feature.
You can now click on any place on an astro-map in Sirius and instantly see a relocated chart wheel for the location you clicked on. You can also have Sirius display an interpretive report for any location that you click on which is more extensive than the report offered in Kepler; the new report offers a listing of how strongly ten different life themes (e.g. romance, career, imagination, etc.) are activated for each location, and has delineations of fixed star conjunctions .
You can also view astro-maps of fixed star lines and asteroid lines, as well as an astro-map of the constellations as projected upon the Earth.
All of these are very useful additions to Kepler's already powerful mapping features.
I have long been a critic of those trying to use astrology software, by itself, to rectify a chart. In my testing of programs, most programs have failed miserably at finding correct birth times.
I am happy to report that Sirius has an amazingly well-designed rectification feature that performed admirably during my testing. (For those interested in what setting I used, I restricted the astrological method to transit-to-natal only, because I have found transits to be the most reliable tool for rectification.)
Sirius' rectification tool is a vast improvement of the one provided in Kepler, and is both easy to use and very effective.
Sirius is indeed a seriously powerful professional astrology software program with an incredibly wide range of features of great depth. It has so many capabilities that even after many days of working with it, I still have much to discover.
In the future, I will continue to explore Sirius and will add additional articles on it to my SoftStar News bimonthly astrology software newsletter. You can read any of the SoftStar News-letters by clicking here.
From the company's description of the program Sirius has many enhancements including:
1. Resources for Ancient Western Astrology:
Partile and Refranation table, Almutens Table, Hyleg and Alcochodon Table, Almudebit table, Temperament table, Lunar Mansions table, Dispositors table, and Planetary Hour for Day of Birth.
For Hellenistic astrologers: listings of Zodiacal Aphesis, Decennials, 129 year system, Annual Profection, Circumambulation, Lunar Monomoiria, and Balbillus method.
2. Resources for Vedic Astrology:
Chakras, Vargas, Panchanga, Muhurta, Ashtakavarga, Gochara, Shad Bala, Upagrahas, Bhava Arudha, Special Lagnas, Chara Karakas, etc.
3. A New Page Designer.
4. Enhanced Animation features.
5. New Chart Wheels.
Nakshatra wheel, Hellenistic wheel, a popup wheel (to keep a chart in view while looking at transit graphs, etc.), and more.
6. Animated Dials (for Cosmobiology) for up to four sets of data at once.
7. Animated Sky Maps, Planetary Mandalas, new AstroMaps, Phase Angle Returns, and much more.
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