Review of Computers and Astrology
Computers & Astrology: A Universal User’s Guide and Reference
by Patricia L. Foreman
Good Earth Publications; Box 4352;
Burlington, VT 05406-4352
1991 (1992 copyright notice);
320 pages; $24.95 trade paperback
This book is an idea whose time has come. In fact, it is long overdue. We have long needed an introduction to astrological computing presented without any particular ax to grind. The last remotely similar book (by Hank Friedman in 1984) did not cover as much as this book, and is too long out of date and out of print. This book is quite attractive and even includes a few bits of visual humor which I appreciate.
This book is divided into several major sections: an introduction describing many of the technical details behind a lot of astrological jargon and program options, a description of a process for selecting astrological software, an astrological dictionary, and reference tables.
The introduction does a good job of making clear a number of concepts that many people find fairly difficult to grasp, including the geometries of house systems and different ways of doing progressions. It is all presented with a minimum of math (add, subtract, multiply and divide—no trigonometry at all) and a lot of nice diagrams.
The software selection section includes blank forms for doing a comparison of program features more complete than any other I have seen. Completed comparison worksheets for several existing programs will be offered separately if there is enough demand. I especially appreciate seeing someone point out that choosing software is not a trivial matter where you can count on a snap judgment, first appearance or someone else’s opinion—you need to do a little work to be sure you will get a program that will work well for you.
The included astrological dictionary obviously can’t be as complete as a single-purpose dictionary, but it is much more up-to-date than most available dictionaries and deals with some areas other dictionaries have not covered. It looks very useful for a beginning or even a moderately experienced astrologer. This section also has many helpful diagrams.
The table section includes orbs and aspects, major life transits by age, major planetary conjunctions, rising signs, some physical solar system data, astronomical constants, time zones, and a gazetteer with almost 1,000 cities around the world.
This book brings together a lot of sometimes hard-to-find information of use to someone getting into or increasing their knowledge of astrology with (or without) computers. Highly recommended.