Calculating astrological charts has changed considerably since the old days when I used to do them by hand. Then came chart calculation services, the DR-70 dedicated mini-computer and finally astrology software to run on our own machines that liberated us from the labors of logarithms and tables of houses. Today’s cell phones and tablets have more power than those early PCs, which makes them ideal platforms for astrology software.
It took a few years from the debut of the iPhone for really good astrology apps to appear. Two excellent ones came out in 2011 and are the first that I can heartily recommend. There are other astrology apps, including web-based ones, but Timepassages Pro and Astro Gold are my favorites. Both calculate natal charts, transits, progressions and solar arc directions. They come with built-in atlases that ensure proper location and time zone data.
Timepassages Pro from AstroGraph Software (www.astrograph.com) is perfect for astrology students because it comes with well written interpretations by astrologer Henry Seltzer. There is descriptive text for natal planets by sign, house and aspect as well as transits and progressions. Timepassages Pro even includes interpretations for compatibility between two charts. Novices like my 20-year old daughter are able to use the interpretations to enlighten their friends and build their own astrological vocabulary, making it an excellent learning tool. The app’s Daily Horoscope feature displays the general transits of the day along with useful interpretative text.
Astro Gold is from Esoteric Technologies (www.esotech.com.au) and has similar calculation capabilities but lacks built-in interpretations. While this makes it less useful to those who don’t speak astrology, it has some features that are very appealing to practicing astrologers. A highly readable interface and the ability to advance charts, especially the transit bi-wheel, in selectable increments of minutes, hours, days, months and years are extremely useful. Astro Gold also calculates solar returns. Charts can even be exported to Solar Fire (also from Esoteric Technologies) for astrologers who use this popular program.
Both apps allow users to save charts, produce reliable calculations in your choice of house system and use GPS to find your location to make charts of the moment at the touch of a button. These are excellent early version apps that will get even better as their developers continue to add new features. Although neither is available on Android or Windows phones, both run on iPads. Timepassages Pro and Astro Gold are available in the App Store for $29.99.