Inspired by a recent post on Rock and Root in which Scylla gave a list of websites/programs she uses for occult matters I figured I would share my own. All programs/sites are free unless I mention how ridiculously expensive they are.
Astrology, Planetary Hours, Astrological Magick
Chronos XP: This little program runs on your taskbar and calculates the Planetary Hours for you. You can set it (as I did) to pop-up every time the hour changes. It’s very handy for a moment to moment indicator if you think you need it, but you can also scan ahead over the day or several days to find the appropriate Planetary Hours for whatever your working requires. I’ve tested this against manually calculated Planetary Hours and it seems to be accurate, though two minutes off based on when another program places Sunrise/Sunset. I figured though if your doing something requiring planetary hours, and two minutes makes/breaks, you’re doing something wrong…
Astrolabe has a Planetary Hour calculator, which is largely accurate, just a minute or three off of my calculations and Chronos XP. Unfortunately most online calculator’s I’ve tested seem to be wrong, a common problem is they don’t switch between daylight savings time, so can be an hour off, and they may use a different time for sunrise/sunset, for what reason there I do not know.
Lunabar: I no longer use this program, but it was helpful and interesting when I did so I thought I’d share. This is like the Lunar parallel to Chronos XP, it displays an image of the current phase of the moon on your taskbar and lets you know what astrological sign it is in. Again you can search times to fine the corresponding dates and phases.
Astrolabe’s Astro-Weather: You can set this website to your location, and every time you load the page it will show you the current astrological chart. It also gives you a little one or two sentence “forecast” of the current situation. This forecast changes throughout the day, as the chart does. As a serious (re: nerdy) astrologer I have my chart memorized, so I don’t just get the vague general forecast of the day, but I can look and quickly figure out my own transits. I have two expensive astrology computer programs, but when I just need to see what the moment has and figure out my current transits, this is far quicker and easier and free.
Speaking of which, I have Astrolabe’s Solar Fire program (v7), it’s an investment, but not a bad one. It’s my second favourite astrology program. My favourite aspect that is largely unique to Solar Fire is the ability to animate charts. If you know you need to do a ritual tomorrow, you can put in the day, and progress the chart minute by minute or hour by hour to find the most appropriate astrological timing of the day. This is also very helpful when rectifying a chart. It also has the ability to search for specific astrological aspects, if you need Moon Squaring Mars, you enter that data and the program will search for you, I find this very handy for astrological themed magickal planning. This would be one of those horribly expensive programs, but if you’re a serious astrologer it may be worth it.
There is also Win*Star another expensive astrology program. It is (was?) my preferred astrology program until my laptop died and I got a computer with Windows 7, and my eleven year old astrology program could not be installed on this computer (as I have version 2.05). It still works on my desktop computer (Windows XP going strong) so I still have access to it, but not everywhere. It’s a strong and powerful program, hundreds of different chart designs for all sorts of different astrological systems. Also as someone who has worked as an astrologer, in my opinion it looks far more professional. When on the computer screen it’s elegant and minimalist in design, and the print outs are sleek and black and white. Solar Fire in both cases is big, bold, and colourful, not my taste. I also find the display and search of transits far more logically on Win*Star than Solar Fire.
For those who can’t afford (or are smart enough not to buy) such programs there is Astrodienst which has a fairly good online program, lets you draw up charts, and if you sign up they’re stored online so you can access your charts later or from a different computer.
The Naval Observatory Moon Phase Database: You can use this to find the moon phases over the course of several years. You can use this online if you don’t want to use a program like Lunabar. This is also helpful if you’re dealing with astrological magick, as it is important to locate the full or new moon closest to specific dates and birthdays, so this is helpful with that.
Sunrise Sunset: If you have Chronos XP you don’t need this site as the first hour of day and first hour of night are sunrise and sunset respectively. If you’re doing anything like Resh or Abramelin that require sunrise/sunset workings, this site can be very handy.
Not an astrology program, but as an astrological magickian who loves the night sky I recommend Stellarium. It’s an amazing free planetarium program, it lets you see a visual representation of the night sky any date, any place, even other planets and moons…in case you’ve ever wondered what sunrise looks like from the western edge of Jupiter’s Red Dot. If you make use of constellations in your work, rather than signs, this could be useful or if like me you just love the night sky.
Another astronomy program, but even less practical than Stellarium, but again I find it nifty and thought I would share. This is the Wheel of Stars. This is a graphic representation of the stars in the sky, slowly rotating, and as they intersect the dividing line they play a note, the pitch, volume and panning of the notes are all based on the brightness, location, and BV measurement. Don’t really have a use for it, but I like it. It has a literal take on the Music of the Spheres.
I had intended to include more than just astrological programs and sites, but this post ended up being a bit longer than I expected, so I’ll put the other programs and sites in a separate post.
Also if you have any nifty sites, programs, or gadgets good for occultists feel free to share in the comments.