View Full Version : Free Astrology Software

18-01-2012, 22:26
We get a number of questions about Astrology software and as I'm also launching a new thread on Horary, which invites participation, I think a thread on the installation of one or more free Astrology programs. There are several programs out there but two of these get frequent mentions here. The first is Morinus and the second is Riyal which Dave has had input into. There are other low cost programs - John Halloran's Astrology for Windows being an excellent example - but I'm not going to look at those, simply concentrating on the free programs.

I'll cover installation and operation for Morinus and hope that Dave will contribute on Riyal

18-01-2012, 23:04
There are two versions of Morinus - one that caters for most forms of Astrology and one that is aimed at Traditional Astrologers. Biecause the Horary thread is based on the tradition, I'll confine myself to that version but the process is exactly the same for the general version, should you wish to try it

The website is


The latest version was released on December 21 2011

Scroll to the bottom of the page through the list of revisions and at the very bottom you'll get the download link for


NB the version listed immediately above - Morinus.zip is written for linux machines, do not download it unless your computer is linux based. There is no version as yet for Apple Macs.

Once you have downloaded it you can extract the files - Windows will treat it as a zipped directory I've put my extracted files in a directory which I, rather originally, called Morinus.

For those of you using WinZip or WinRar double clicking on the download file will enable you to extract to wherever you want to put Morinus.

That's it!!!

If you wish you can create a shortcut to the program exe file - morinus.exe and place it on the desktop. Double clicking on the program file or the shortcut will launch Morinus.

As it comes Morinus does not use the Swiss Ephemeris - and that is fine for Horary work where virtually all your questions are for very recent dates. Indeed the inbuilt ephemeris is good for virtually all the work you are likely to do as a student. If you want to use the Swiss Ephemeris a suitable version is available on the main Morinus page:


Again scroll to the bottom and you will find 4 zip files , Ephem 1 to Ephem 4. These are dated October 11 2010. Download all 4 (the author could not get the ephemeris into one file) and then extract them into your Morinus directory. They go into the directory


within your Morinus directory

If you have any issues with the download and installation either post your query in the thread, as others may also have the problem or drop me a PM.

In later posts I'll talk about setting your preferences so that you get just what you want.

19-01-2012, 01:42
Great thread idea!

I just wanted to pipe up with some info for my fellow Mac users: you can run both Morinus programs reasonably well using an emulator like Crossover (http://www.codeweavers.com/). Some things are finicky, but it's better than nothing. Crossover comes with a 30 day trial, and they often email a discount code a week or two after you let it expire.

This is generally cheaper than buying a copy of windows to use in a virtual pc program (like the free VirtualBox (https://www.virtualbox.org/)), although this way would probably allow the programs to work more seamlessly. I plan to try this out in the next few weeks.

Looking forward to the post about setting the programs' preferences.

19-01-2012, 02:32
Thanks for that information, kalliope - there are Mac users on here and it's good to know that Morinus can be run successfully - I've been telling people it can't and I'll now change that advice.

However on checking the main page I see that they've released a mac version of the main program (released last November) so you might well be better downloading that version and customising it for the Horary thread.

This will also be worth doing for those who want to use Morinus but include the outer planets, etc. For Windows users the file is MorinusWinEng.zip The full version has all the same features but requires more customisation as it caters for a wide range of methods.

I also have a copy of this, so if anyone chooses to use it in preference to the Traditional Verson I can answer queries on setting it up for other work.

19-01-2012, 03:05
There is StarFisher as well: http://www.starfisher.cz/starfisher/en/

19-01-2012, 04:45
Morinus can be customized to meet your own approach and the systems that you use. I’m going to show how it could be set up so that you can follow the latest Horary thread and get the same results, if you want to cast the same chart. All settings are easily changed so you can switch to something else for natal work. With the Traditional Version you will find that the outer planets are not shown, nor can they be switched on. If you want to use them at some point download the full version from the main page (link in the previous post)

Horary Astrology has and does use a variety of house systems, and at least two versions of the dignities, Triplicity, Terms and Face or Decan. This isn’t surprising considering it was a technique in use for nearly 2,000 years Indeed the small amount of variance is quite remarkable. The settings here are simply to provide consistency and allow you to check charts and dignities. Please feel free to use other settings, but remember these may produce some differences from the comments made by me or others.

Find the file morinus.exe in your morinus directory - its icon is a miniture portrait of head and shoulders of the Astrologer J B Morin - and double click on it. This opens the Morinus screen which has a big version of the portrait and a menu of four items - Horoscope, Tables Options and Help.

‘Horoscope’ allows you to Load an existing chart or create a New chart and also to amend the data or save the results. We’ll load the default chart for the purposes of this post. Click ‘Horoscope’ and select ‘Load’ from the list on offer. If you’ve not played with Morinus already, you will see one file presented to you – Morinus.hor – select this and click ‘Open’

You should now see the natal chart of Jean Baptiste Morin, the Seventeenth Century Astrology. To customise the program for the Horary thread, we’ll simply play with ‘Options’ menu item. If you click on this you will get a long list of options to change. Go to ‘Appearance I’ and check the boxes for Terms and Decans (near the top on the left)

Now go down to ‘Minor Dignities’ and from the fly out select ‘Triplicities’ In the box that opens go to the first drop down box, which has ‘Dorothean’ listed and change it to ‘Ptolemaic’

Now repeat this for ‘Terms’ and change the first drop down box from ‘Egyptian’ to ‘Ptolemaic’ Leave the ‘Decans’ at the default setting. You now have the Triplicities, Terms and Decans (Face) as used by Lilly and as shown in the sticky on Essential and Accidental Dignities.

Go down to ‘House Systems’ and select ‘Regionmontanus’

Go to Lot of Fortune and make sure the second option is selected, that is giving a different calculation depending on whether it’s a diurnal (day) or nocturnal (night) chart.

That will give us common settings and avoid confusion. As you get into Horary you will see that the other settings are used by different Astrologers, especially Hellenistic and Arab Astrologers – I tend to use the Dorothean Triplicites and Egyptian Terms in my own work but I’m looking for some commonality with what is given on Skyscript and in Lilly

There are two final things you can do. Firstly click on the option near the bottom for ‘Automatic Save’ which protects your setting each time you exit Morinus and optionally you can pay with the colours – I like a white background as it works better for posting on Aecectic but you can choose whichever you like.

All these settings can be changed back and forward as you wish. Just remember that the above settings are the ones that I’ll be using in any comments in the Horary thread.

19-01-2012, 04:59
Brilliant walk through Minderwiz - downloaded Morinus and set it up as you advised :D

19-01-2012, 05:34
Brilliant walk through Minderwiz - downloaded Morinus and set it up as you advised :D

Great here's how to set up a chart, using your Horary chart :)
Here’s how to set up a chart in Morinus:

If you have the default chart open in Morinus, then click on ‘Horoscope’ and go to the ‘close’ option and click it. This will take you back to the opening screen.

Otherwise, open Morinus by clicking on either your shortcut or the program icon in your Morinus directory.

From the opening screen click on ‘Horoscope’ and then click ‘New’

This takes you to the data entry screen. The first box is ‘Name’ For a Natal chart you can enter the person’s name. For a Horary or other Chart enter a name that can be remembered. I’ll use Inanna_tarot’s chart from her thread


In the Name box enter ‘Inanna Horary’

For Gender click on ‘Female’ in the ‘Type’ drop down box, select ‘Horary’

For the date enter

2012 for year, 1 for month and 15 for day.

Enter 7 for Hour and leave the minutes and seconds as zeros

The chart was cast for Shrewsbury , UK and the co-ordinates are:

Longitude 002 degrees 45 minutes West
Latitude 52 degrees 43 minutes North

(make sure you have changed the default Longiture setting from East to West.)

Leave the defaults as ‘Gregorian’ (calendar) and Zone (time system) and under the GMT+ box make sure the hour is 0 and the minute as 0. There is no daylight saving in place in Winter so don’t enter anything here. That completes the essential data entry.

Click OK to get the chart

If you wish you can save the location to the list of places for which Morinus has the geographical coordinates. Clicking on ‘Place’ brings up the database and you can enter the same information as above, click ‘add’ and then OK. For Inanna ths would save having to enter the information each time she casts a chart for Shrewsbury.

For your own work you will need to know your own longitude and latitude, time zone offset from GMT and remember to check the daylight savings radio button if daylight saving is in force.

To save your chart go to ‘Horoscope’ and click ‘save’. If you wish you can save the chart diagram by clicking ‘Save as bitmap’

To see the details of the chart click on ‘Tables’ and select ‘Positions’ This will give you a list of planetary positions plus the ASC. MC and the intermediate house cusps.

19-01-2012, 07:46
That's as far as I'm going to take it at the moment but some of the other features I'll be covering during the Horary thread, such as the fixed stars, Arabic Parts/Greek Lots and antiscia (though not all at once LOL)

For the moment till we start on the Horary thread on Monday, try casting some charts, including your own natal one just to get familiar with the process.

Any questions with the software please post your questions here.

Finally as a check that you're entering data correctly compare your results with a known accurate source - hence the suggestion of doing your own natal chart. If you haven't got a copy of it then check your Morinus results against astro.com.

Data entry is the main source of error, even experienced Astrologers such as myself have been known to enter the data incorrectly :(. The most common faults are entering a morning time as though it were evening, e.g. 7 pm instead of 7 am. The sure way to check is to look for the Sun. If it's 7 am the Sun will be somewhere near the Ascendant (depending on season and time of year), if it's 7 pm the Sun will have set in Winter, that is below the Descendant or near setting in Summer.

The other common error is on the GMT offset. This is set in Hours in Morinus If you were born in the USA your offset is GMT- because you are behind GMT if you were born in Australia your offset is GMT+ because you are ahead of GMT. The further West or East you are of GMT the greater the offset in hours (GMT- and GMT+ respectively)

19-01-2012, 07:52
Playing with the settings I managed to 'search' for my location and add it to the favourites list to the right - rather than having to manually put in the co-ordinates for my location (happy sunny Shrewsbury :) )

19-01-2012, 09:02
Thanks for that info.

The search function used to relate to the main locations for each country but it seems that the database has been significantly expanded. So use the Search function to see if your locations details are in the database. This will greatly reduce the need for search as my home village of Standish is in there as well :)

19-01-2012, 22:12
Minderwiz had asked that I review RIYAL software for the list. Relative to Horary practices, I don't believe that this software is a good choice for the "typical" members of this list. It is not that RIYAL isn't easy to use, nor is it that RIYAL can't produce a chart quickly and simply for a given date and time.

RIYAL is as much an astronomer's tool as it is an astrologer's tool. It is probably the best positional calculation tool available. It can produce natal, progressed, directed, return, synastry charts for the planets, asteroids and up to some 14,000 deep space objects as well as do locational cartography maps and show sky maps. It offers more house systems and can provide all kinds of data for astronomical events.

For many on this list, at the broad range of typical interest levels and understanding, it is my opinion that RIYAL is both too technically oriented and completely undedicated to the classical, traditional, medieval and ancient astrological practices. These were not part of the focus of RIYAL's creation. RIYAL seems to have started from a strict calculation and positional approach to astronomy as a basis for astrology --- the distinction of this claim may not be apparent to some. Many of the popular purchasable software packages are inaccurate in terms of calculating primary directions or being able to cast right ascension charts, and other charts not typically used in the popular press. Many of these popular software systems cannot cast special progressed charts that research astrologers need. RIYAL does all of these things in spades as well as being able to accurately work across tropical-sidereal-and-precession-corrected zodiacs without getting all mixed up.

For a capable astrologer grounded in spherical geometry, or for an attentive student who will follow specific guidance for a particular charting process, RIYAL is excellent. But, this package does not address classical, traditional, medieval or ancient charting practices or offer interpretation assistance.


19-01-2012, 23:13
Thanks Dave.

I was thinking more in terms of its use as a general Astrology program. I accept that Riyal is not geared to a Traditional approach, where both version of Morinus are. Morinus can handle most things but it can't do precession corrections, so it is no use to those trying to duplicate some of your posts in that area. Hopefully some will also buy your book and it's definitely helpful there.

20-01-2012, 04:14
Hopefully some will also buy your book and it's definitely helpful there.

Dave/Dadsnook2000 - are you writing a book??! Ooooh now that is astrology heaven!

And I'm happy to explore and have a play with RIYAL too, as that is a program I have never come across before. Once, many moons ago (haha) I had astrowin but I found that had an odd interface, but then I also knew less than I know now about astrology so perhaps it was more due to the dumb-ass user lol.

20-01-2012, 08:49
Thanks for the instructions Minderwiz, I have followed them all and am now all set up with Morinus. (I have Kepler but for now it seemed easier to simply follow your directions with Morinus than try to figure out how to accomplish the same thing with Kepler.)

20-01-2012, 23:00
In Morinus:

Go to 'Options'

Select 'houses'

then choose the house system you want.

I use Regiomontanus, so if you want to duplicate my charts select that one. If you want to see how the change effects a chart try switching between several house systems to see if there's any significant effect

ANY House system can be used for Horary - though the main ones used are Reigomontanus, Alcabitus, Porphyry and Whole Signs.

29-01-2012, 06:47
Has anyone successfully installed the Mac version of Morinus (http://sites.google.com/site/pymorinus/)??? I'm using OSX Lion.

I ask because I couldn't manage to do it. My troubles seemed to involve needing appropriate versions of Python, wxPython, and PIL. I think it was PIL that did me in. :( I consider myself a pretty good troubleshooter and computer person (without being a programmer of any sort), but this has defeated me so far.

I'd love to hear any success stories or suggestions, if you have them.

29-01-2012, 06:52
Minderwiz, I have a Janus question. Do you have it? Or do you only have Solar Fire?

I recently installed a trial copy of Janus (on my virtual Windows machine, via VMware Fusion for Mac, for those interested). You showed us how to get those great term and decan divisions to show on the chart wheels for Morinus, and I wondered if Janus can do the same thing. Do you know?

Also, do you know if you can make Janus stop shifting the house lines over to fit in the planet symbols? I find it ugly and annoying. :laugh:

So far I LOVE how much information you can get about dignities, etc., on the horary charts, though!

29-01-2012, 07:11
Like you I used a trial version, so my familiarity is not very good. As I've just had to buy a new computer, I don't think I'll be buying it anytime soon (though I guess I might now be able to get another months trial :)

I got to the stage of casting horary charts and reading off those dignities, which Janus seems to be really good. I seem to remember that you could also get tables, so that might be your solution. Solar Fire also provides the dignities in tabular form rather than on the chart like Morinus. I think I prefer the Morinus approach, especially as you can switch it off it if gets in the way and easily switch it back on again.

I think Astraea has Janus, so if she picks up this post she might provide a quick answer to your query.

29-01-2012, 08:20
inanna_tarot , if you go to my blog site, http://www.ninthhouse.wordpress.com/ you can find very detailed instructions for setting up RIYAL, for casting natal, solar return and the special kind of daily charts that I use.

RIYAL is programmed by one person with a bit of help from others from time to time. It is presented in the before-Windows style of "DOS". While appearing very simplistic it is a very expansive astronomical and astrological calculation tool. It is built for exploring the universe and can deal with thousands of asteroids, centaurs, dark holes, deep space objects, etc. in addition to natal charts, progressions, directions, returns, astrocartography and other stuff (but not traditional, classical, antique and horary astrology.

PS, I'm also starting to explore a "new" form of cyclic astrology, transiting Moon to natal Sun Return charts. Right now they look very promising. I've done about 100 in the last three weeks and have posted perhaps 15 on my blog site. My initial impression is that they are quite superior to lunar returns for predictive purposes.

31-01-2012, 22:47
Hello, I missed this thread until just now. I have Janus, and it will calculate the dignities and debilities in great detail. I am not aware of any way to straighten out the cusp lines, though!

Practicing Human
31-01-2012, 23:09
I've been trying out the trialware version of Kairon for Mac. It gives you X number of free uses before insisting you buy the license. Can't remember how much they want for the license, though.

If anyone has any feedback on this software, please share.

31-01-2012, 23:14
Hello, I missed this thread until just now. I have Janus, and it will calculate the dignities and debilities in great detail. I am not aware of any way to straighten out the cusp lines, though!

Hi Astraea,

I did find the dignity tables that one can copy and print out from the horary charts (or traditional natal) in Janus. They're great, I agree!

What I was hoping to be able to do was get the decans and terms to show on the actual chart wheel, like in Morinus. I like having the visual representation in addition to the tables. I finally found where I could choose from many "custom" versions of the wheels, but didn't see one with decans and terms showing. I haven't tried creating my own custom wheel yet, but I'm not sure those markings are available options, anyhow.

I wish there were a User Manual for Janus, and not just help files!

31-01-2012, 23:22
I haven't tried Janus yet, but I too would be interested in knowing if it can show the terms and faces on the chart wheel a la Morinus. I find the visual representation very helpful.

01-02-2012, 00:37
No, there is no wheel design in Janus that displays decanates and terms (one of the features that I, too, really appreciate about Morinus). And I agree that a printed manual for Janus would be a real blessing, kalliope. Printing the on-line help is an option, but a costly one in terms of paper and ink.

01-02-2012, 04:31
i did like Janus and I intend to buy it when funds allow - it seems to work very well for horary.

But I'll still use Morinus for those Terms and Decans. I still can't find how to switch between Ptolemaic and Egyptian terms in Solar Fire let alone do the instant switch in Morinus.

01-02-2012, 07:05
I still can't find how to switch between Ptolemaic and Egyptian terms in Solar Fire let alone do the instant switch in Morinus.
It's a big headache to switch between those options in Solar Fire - you can only do it by editing the program, and I refuse to go through all of that. So I stick to Janus when I want a printout of the traditional tables - choosing/applying the options is fairly easy and intuitive. Solar Fire is great as a general all-purpose professional program, but to date it is very thin on traditional features.

The Morinus chartwheel showing decanates and terms is a dream come true - you'd think a wheel design like that would be included in all programs that have traditional options.

20-07-2012, 23:18
Edited: I moved this question to the Morinus 5.5/6.0 thread (http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p=3211515#post3211515).

Not sure if I should put this here or in the Morinus 5.5/6.0 thread, but I have a few questions about reading the aspect table in Morinus:

. . .

19-11-2013, 08:22
I dont know if it has been mentioned. There is a cool free astrology software here: http://www.astrowin.org/astro123.htm

If you, like me, have a anti-virus software which does not display the whole page, you can trust it. It is safe.

13-02-2014, 03:31
I used the search function for this thread and found no matches, so here goes:

For Linux users there is OpenAstro, which offers some decent basics and good looking charts.


Then there is Maitreya, which runs on Linux, Windows and Mac machines and "is a mature Open Source platform for Vedic and western astrology."
Definitely worth checking out.



11-05-2014, 05:23
Since I have a Mac and am always slightly dissatisfied with using emulators to run Morinus (although this does pretty well) or Janus, I'm always keeping my eye out for other software solutions. Has anyone else tried out astroapp.com? It's an online version of astrological software that offers a more complete feature set than what one can get with astro.com, for instance.

The free edition is good for basic things, but for most desired traditional techniques one would need the standard package. The good thing is that you an pay one month at a time, and you can set it to be non-renewable (and yet it saves your data if you revert back to the free version.) This is good for someone like me who goes on and off with her astrological studies, so I can just turn it on when I need it.

It's a little bit clunky, but not much more so than others.

16-09-2014, 23:15
I am trying to learn horary. I installed Morinus traditional but I dont understand what second option I have to click here:

"Go to Lot of Fortune and make sure the second option is selected, that is giving a different calculation depending on whether it’s a diurnal (day) or nocturnal (night) chart."

Where do I find it when I open the Lot of Fortune set up?

17-09-2014, 20:32
I am trying to learn horary. I installed Morinus traditional but I dont understand what second option I have to click here:

"Go to Lot of Fortune and make sure the second option is selected, that is giving a different calculation depending on whether it’s a diurnal (day) or nocturnal (night) chart."

Where do I find it when I open the Lot of Fortune set up?

Morinus Traditional has a different setup for Lots compared to the 'Full' version. I'm not quite sure of the circumstances in which your quote (above) originated but to set the lots you should select 'Options' from the top menu and then when the list appears select 'Lots' (just over half way down) and this will open the Lots dialogue box.

When it is first installed, Morinus has only one Lot entered, (the Lot of Fortune as #1 over in the right hand pane).

On the left side of the dialogue are all the settings options. Most of these are for adding further Lots, as you go. At the top of the left hand side is a selection box. This will read 'Ascendant' on the left and then the first option, already selected is AC. You do not need to change this, so leave it as it is.

The next row down gives the name of the Lot. 'Lot of Fortune' in a data entry box. You only need to change this name if you add further lots, so again, leave it as it is.

The next row gives the calculation using drop down boxes. There are three and they should be set to read AC + (MO - SU): the plus and minus sign and brackets are permanently added to the text, but you can change the three terms). Again as this is the calculation for the Lot of Fortune you don't need to change anything.

Now under that row is a check box with the word 'Diurnal' next to it. By default I think this is unchecked, following the ptolemaic method used by William Lilly (that is the Lot does not change in calculation whether it's a day or night chart). You should tick the box by clicking in it and this will reverse the calculation automatically when you have a night birth (or a night question). It becomes totally automatic, if the chart shows that the Sun has set then it will use the reverse formula AC + (SU - MO) without you having to even think about it.

Ptolemy was an oddball when it comes to Lots, this is the only Lot he used and even then he was different from everyone else. Lilly and other Astrologers in the seventeenth century only had Ptolemy to go by as a genuine Hellenistic text, so he rejected the Arab practice of reversing the calculation for night charts, even though it was actually the more authentic method.

I've actually given you a lot more information than you needed. I could have just said, make sure the box with 'Diurnal' next to it is ticked.

However you now have some idea how to enter further Lots, so here's a second one for you.

In the 'Name' box, erase the word Fortune and replace it with the word Spirit. then change the second and third drop down boxes below to read SU and MO. Leave the Diurnal box ticked. Then click on the word 'Add' on the large button further down the left hand side. It's the top one of four wide buttons one above the other. You should now find that over in the right hand pain the words 'Lot of Spirit' appear next to the number 2.

You will notice that there is a tick box just to the left of #2. This will not be ticked, so any chart you calculate will not take any notice of your new Lot of Spirit. If you tick it, then you will find that it appears in the table of Lots on the Tables menu (from the main screen) You can add further lots if you need them but obviously you will need to know what they mean. You will find some reference to them in the Hellenistic Astrology thread.

I do use them if I think it's necessary, in horary but you don't have too. Certainly Lilly and Co did not.

Hopefully I've answered your question but if I didn't please come back at me.

17-09-2014, 21:44
Thank you so much for taking time to explain it to me! You have a gift to explain, really, I understood all and modified. I installed the traditional Morinus, to be able to follow the horary thread and it is indeed different then the full version (I installed that one too).

I tried to install Morinus at the beginning of the year, but I gave up, it sounded too complicated for me. Few days ago I began to read the Horary TextBook by John Frawley, and although it is still so enormous info to grasp at once, I managed to progress through some pages and I decided to try again.

I like Morinus. What I dont like is that it is not written on the wheel the degree of the sign where a house begins, it might help me when trying to get the future aspect. The most difficult thing for me at this moment is to determine when and and where an aspect will be perfected, maybe by direct planets, by antiscion or contra-antiscion and so on. But maybe I will get it someday by practice and lots of reading.

18-09-2014, 05:05
You can get the house cusp degrees by clicking on 'Tables', and then 'Positions'. Morinus lists cusps 1, 2, 3, 10, 11 and 12. Cusps 7,8. 9, 4, 5 and 6 are the same degree of the opposite sign. I think that's the cost of being able to switch house systems very easily.

Finding those aspects is indeed something of a challenge at first, though the lines may help. Basically sextiles are two signs apart, either left or right, squares are three signs apart either left or right and trines are four singns apart either left or right. Be careful, that count does not include the sign you are starting with, so count one as the next sign. If that's not natural to you, then simply count one for the sign you start from and sextiles are three signs apart, squares four signs apart and trines five signs apart.

For example: starting at Cancer; sextiles are Taurus and Virgo; squares are Aries and Libra; Trines are Scorpio and Pisces.

In horary you are looking for applying aspects so the faster planet must be in fewer degrees of the sign. Moon at 15 degrees Cancer is applying to a square with Mars at 17 degrees Aries but Mars at 15 Cancer is actually in a separating aspect to Moon at 17 Aries.

That seems simple but you need to check that the planets will actually perfect so your first port of call is to look at the speeds, from the Tables menu. The Moon will always be faster than Mars but there are times when Mars can be faster than Mercury or Venus and times when it can be slower than Jupiter or Saturn. Those times tend to be when one or other is slowing for a station Retrograde or has just started from a station direct. Clues to that are if Mars, Jupiter or Saturn are around a trine from the Sun, or Mercury or Venus is near their maximum extension from the Sun. That can be checked visually and if it looks possible then you can check the speeds. The ultimate test is to check it with an ephemeris or simply try moving the chart forward several days. House cusps tend to obscure the aspects unless you are using Whole Sign Houses, as it's possible using quadrant houses to get a planet applying to a sextile in the next house, or even in extreme cases, the same house.

Antiscia are a little tricky. The key is to visualise a line from 0 Cancer to 0 Capricorn. It the planets are on the same side of this line then there's no antiscia. However there may be contrantiscia so its worth checking the Antiscia table from Tables menu.

18-09-2014, 06:37
Yes, for me it seems more natural to count the first sign with one and the sextile is the third sign, square the 4th and trine the 5th.

The difficult thing for me is indeed to spot and calculate the applying aspect. I think it is a lot of mental arithmetic that should come as a second nature,. But for me it is snail work.
Then, there are the other planets around that can interfere with the two planets in the question, which can make aspects before or in turns. I am not even able to solve a horary chart in one day, I have to look and check every planet, to look again and so on and in the end I am still not sure I saw the right thing. :)

You offer short cuts in understandings, like the clues about the speed and the position of Mars Saturn and Jupiter vs Sun, very helpful, would never thought of it myself, too advanced. Probably I will grasp later one why is this (the trine thing, at the maximum extension of Venus and Mercury I get it why they slow down, they turn R, now I have to find what is that maximum).