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The Basics of Astrology
Frequently Asked Questions on Astrotheme
Here is a hotchpotch of questions which we had to deal with. In order to make our website user-friendly, we have decided to provide you with the answers here.
Is the Astrotheme astrology database reliable?
This celebrity astrological database, available on the website since 2002, comes mainly from personal research by astrologers of our team, from several thousand birth certificates received from town halls in France, correspondence with numerous astrologers, press articles, biographies, and, for a good part, from the celebrities themselves or their relatives.
Since 2021, the celebrity charts now display the source of birth times, their reliability index (AA, birth certificates or official registers, A, memory data, cited by the person, the parent, the friend or associate, B, biographies or autobiographies, C, data to be taken with caution because the original source cannot be found or the time of birth is approximate, DD, the sources are in conflict with each other, but can nevertheless serve as a starting point for new research to improve the reliability), as well as contributors.
During 2021, all files were reviewed and verified one by one. This work is finished. The Astrotheme base is now one of the most reliable bases that exist for astrology.
Why is there no detailed Solar Revolution report in your e-shop?
It is intentional, and we explain the reason why here, especially for the few customers who may have been wondering, despite the full example of Solar Revolution displayed in the e-shop.
We follow the method of the late astrologer Christophe de Cène and his Galilée software, which gets to the heart of the matter and remains very clear for the reader, even though the report is therefore more concise.
Indeed, the detailed method, expounded by Alexandre Volguine in particular, is very comprehensive, but illegible and impossible to use, in our opinion.
Let us recall that the Solar Revolution (SR) is supposed to describe the general weather for the selected 12 months, from one birthday to the next. During this 12-month period, there is no indication regarding the dates of planetary influences. It is only an overall picture, which may incidentally give you food for thought, since in the course of a year, many quite different events occur.
With the detailed method, we obtain a host of texts of interpretation, such as:
- Aspects of the Solar Revolution,
- SR Houses in signs,
- SR planets in SR Houses,
- Aspects of SR planets with natal planets,
- SR planets in natal Houses,
- SR Houses in natal Houses.
They usually comprise more than a hundred paragraphs. Owing to the large number of texts, there are two major difficulties. On the one hand, contradictions are unavoidable and sow confusion. On the other hand, it is impossible to rank these texts in order of importance, and as a result, they yield no meaningful result.
On the contrary, the method of transits, although detailed, does not have such drawbacks, because all texts spread over time, and above all, are prioritized on the basis of the duration of transits and on the nature of the planets or the angles involved. This makes them simple to read, and enables to clearly differentiate between what is important and what is secondary.
This is why we have chosen to propose in our e-shop a Solar Revolution report which goes right to the point. While it is very easy to provide a 50 or 80-page report (depending on the length of the paragraphs) with all the details, we know that the reader will get nothing concrete out of it and will certainly and rightfully feel frustrated.
In my compatibility report, why are some quincunxes (or inconjuncts) considered positive and others not?
In the Astrotheme synastry, we take into account 11 aspects (major: conjunction, opposition, trine, square and sextile, and minor: semi-sextile, semi-square, quintile, sesqui-square, biquintile and quincunx or inconjunct). The quincunx is a bit special, in the sense that it is a combination of a sextile (positive) and a square (aspect of challenge). It combines two energies which will mix their characteristics to bring to the subject their assets, but if this one agrees to make an effort necessary for that, but also that the involved planets are of a non-contradictory and complementary nature (for example Mars and Venus, Mercury and Uranus, Sun and Moon etc.).
The quincunx aspect becomes slightly positive in this case, and only for the synastry, depending on the couple of objects concerned.
For example, an inconjunct Saturn Moon or Mars Moon will remain negative (interaspect of tension), but two Ascendants or two Suns may be considered beneficial, with weighting and caution. Astrotheme compatibility reports manage all these cases, and according to this pair of objects, the inconjunct is interpreted as an aspect of conciliation or tension, depending on the case: it is normal and on purpose.
The inconjunct case is actually similar to that of oppositions: these are aspects of challenge or tension for the natal chart, the transits, the directions, and the solar revolution, but, according to the two involved objects and for the synastry, sometimes conciliatory and favorable when the latter are of a complementary nature, such as for example the Sun and the Moon, Venus and Mars, Saturn and Mercury etc.
If my city of birth is not available, how to ask it?
First, check carefully the exact name of your city with the English Wikipedia. Then, check it on Astrotheme with its correct name. In most of the cases, you will see that your city is already there and there is no need to ask it.
Never type a country, a governorate, or a region: just the city!
If it is not available, send us its English Wikipedia link at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it shortly.
What are the new features of the new transits forcasts since the last updates?
Our forecasts based on transits have been considerably improved and become "intelligent". Instead of displaying a mere series of transits, we systematically compare each interpretation with the configuration of the natal chart. For instance, all the cases of recurring transits are interpreted. Likewise, mixed conjunctions, i.e. when the transited planet is under stress, etc. are interpreted. A new revolutionary aspectarian is available: clicking on any transit takes directly to the interpretation.
Details of the improvements of our new version:
You can also read these information about our astrological forecasts.
Exclusive improvements for the detailed reports (Monthly, Quarterly, and 12 Month forecasts):
Exclusive improvements for the detailed reports (Monthly, Quarterly, and 12 Month forecasts) version 2.5:
I don't see anymore the charts on Astrotheme, why?
If you use Kaspersky, update it in the latest version, or select the whole site (www.astrotheme.com/) as a safe site. If you use the new iPad, you need to set cookies to be accepted "always" (not "from visited"). This appears to be a change within the latest iOS and the default settings.
How to search a celebrity on Astrotheme?
Celebrity search - the red window - now includes the content of biographies, in addition to the name or surname. You can type a name, a date, a song, a movie, a place etc. For instance, type up: Abbey Road, Honky Tonk Women, Mission Impossible, Blade Runner, Kill Bill etc.
What are the new features of the planetary dominants calculation since the last update?
With the benefit of several years hindsight about the on-line planetary dominants calculation on Astrotheme, we have improved our adjustments so as to more closely match the reality of the natal charts analysed, particularly those of people we know and the numerous celebrities of our database whose biography is widely known. Compared with the previous version of the astrological portrait, the main improvements are as follows:
- increased weight (influence) of the Ascendant's sign and slight increase of the Midheaven's weight. This effect directly translates into a possible modification of the order of dominant signs, and indirectly likewise for the ten other dominants,
- increased influence of angular planets posited in the DS or the FC, since it was a little bit under-evaluated compared with the AS and the MC,
- slightly decreased intrinsic weight of non personal planets, Jupiter and Saturn, and more significantly decrease intrinsic weight of trans-Saturnian planets, namely Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Planets play out according to their influence in the chart, which results in the sum of several factors: their intrinsic weight (in a chart, luminaries are more important than fast-moving planets, themselves more important than slow-moving planets), and a system of plus – minus which depends on their position in angular house (closeness to the four angles), their dignity, their activity (a planet having numerous aspects radiates more strongly and has a strengthened influence), etc.
These adjustments fine-tune the calculations of the 11 dominants of the astrological portrait which is on sale on Astrotheme. The same holds true for the tens of thousands of on-line pages where excerpts of famous people's psychological portrait are displayed with their planetary dominants. It seems to us that the results reflect the reality more closely than before. Some special cases with a cluster of planets are better processed, particularly.
We have also enhanced the graphs for the diagrams of dominants, as shown by the examples at the bottom of the astrological portrait's description.
How to compute one's astrological compatibility, or that of one's profiles, with all the celebrities included in Astrotheme's database?
There are two ways: with our Celestar, or directly on each celebrity's page by clicking on the heart icon. In both cases, it is simpler to be logged in and to automatically use the profiles that you have previously created in your account, in the Member's area, without having to enter their birth data.
With the Celestar: click on the Your Profile button, and select the profile you are interested in, click on Continue, and validate. Then, select any celebrity among the vignettes displayed on the page, or do a search, and click on the button Star2, on top of the card of the celebrity chosen. The compatibility result is displayed on the central page of the Celestar.
On any celebrity's page, there is a heart icon. Hover your mouse over it to see all your profiles. Put your mouse's pointer on the birth profile you want, and click on it. The result is displayed.
We also put at your disposal a free application to compute the compatibility between two persons. It is not as fine-tuned as the Celestar or the method using the heart icon, since the latter takes into account the time and location. The Love Test identifies key conjunctions made by your planets or angles with those of the selected celebrity in order to find remarkable affinities in a given area: this method supplements the two others. Once the Love Test's result is displayed, you can choose the range of precision. If you want to find a larger number of celebrities, increase the range. If you want tighter conjunctions, reduce the range.
Can you elaborate on the difference between forecast and detailed forecast which are displayed in the right-hand side menu?
We have several types of astrology forecasts, immediately sent to your email address round the clock, each of which has its own specifics. Here is a summary of what Astrotheme offers:
Our word of advice: If you are willing to obtain as much information as possible from astrology so that you can properly handle the forthcoming year, the best thing to do is to get your Yearly Detailed Forecast, your Astrological Calendar for one year, and your Solar Revolution. With this comprehensive package, you are well-equipped for starting new projects in the best possible conditions, take major decisions on auspicious days, and protect yourself during the periods when you are particularly vulnerable. For those who are curious to know their planetary climate much further ahead, our Grand Horoscopes are meant to meet their need.
What are the conventions used for the Black Moon (Lilith), the Part of Fortune, and the Lunar Nodes?
In the beginning, the mean Node, the mean Black Moon, as well as the day and night Part of Fortune were included in all Astrotheme's applications and reports. Later, we changed our stand and decided to use the true Node and the true Black Moon. The day and night Part of Fortune remains unchanged. The reason which prompted us to do so is that those conventions are slowly becoming the norms. Our applications and reports now take these two new values into account.
Could you elaborate on your method for computing compatibility rates?
For our standard Couple Report, or our Comprehensive Report with portraits, we take into account all the elements pertaining to both people's natal charts, and we assess 11 types of inter-aspects. Our calculations are carried out weighting orbs, rulerships, the planets' nature, the aspects' nature, each planet's strength, etc. The same computation is also used for transits, for the affective and sexual chapters, as well as for the best days guide such as for instance the Yearly Report which indicates the most favourable dates for romance, along with synthesis and comments, for the next twelve months.
We have written an article on Couple Synastry. It highlights two major points that ought to be kept in mind as far as this topic is concerned. Here they are:
Having said this, here are a few indications about the method we used for computing the couple's compatibility. Minor aspects (in addition to major aspects, of course), i.e. semi-sextile, semi-square, sesqui-square, quintile, and bi-quintile, are always processed and commented, in 100% of the cases, except if:
A semi-square may be felt quite mildly and can be neglected if the two natal charts show particularly strong connections. We wish to emphasise that the majority of astrologers disregard minor inter-aspects because it is already a highly sophisticated work to deal with 11 inter-aspects + rulerships + weighting based on the planets' nature + orbs + secondary bodies such as the Lunar Nodes, Chiron, Lilith, etc. If we embrace too much, we may lose sight of the essential. We have focused on what is reasonable, even though we can be blamed for having aimed at excessive fine-tuning. This is the reason why we advise you to read our report in two phases. Impatient readers can read only the texts on major inter-aspects.
All the 11 inter-aspects are assessed and commented, if the above requirements are met.
There is an equivalence in terms of inter-aspects in synastry. Their strength depends on the planet's nature, as well as on the inter-aspect's nature and orb. Therefore, in the case of "an equal orb and equal planets' nature", there is a weighting which makes the conjunction stronger than the opposition, the opposition stronger than the square, the trine, the sextile, etc. There is a ratio among all the 11 inter-aspects, all other things being equal, bearing in mind that each aspect does not have the same orb.
Aside from other coefficients, here are the ratios for inter-aspects calculated in gross value (basic value before weighting). However, the method is more complex than it may seem, since it includes weightings / orbs (linear function) / planets' nature / ASC, MC and luminaries' rulerships, etc.:
Here are the widest accepted orbs expressed in degree. Beyond these figures, inter-aspects are not valid. Once again, in synastry, orbs are tighter than in natal charts. For quintiles for instance, the orb is less than one degree. We have spent approximately two years testing these orbs and coefficients on thousands of charts before putting our reports on-line. In our opinion, this is what works best, even though each astrologer obviously has his own approach and may use slightly different figures:
For the three objects Lilith, nodes, and Chiron, the maximum orb is set to 4 degrees (even for a conjunction), and we take into account their aspects with the angles and dix planets, not with themselves because we think that the result is more reliable: it's better to be very cautious with these objects.
We also apply a linear function to each inter-aspect's strength, according to the orb. With a maximal orb, it is of 1/2. An exact aspect (orb = 0) is three times more potent than an aspect with a maximal orb. A trine with a 6 degree orb has an influence that is three times weaker than a trine with a 0 degree orb. This linear function is applied in the same way to the natal chart and forecasts in order to assess the strength of aspects or transits.
Although all astrologers agree that orbs are tighter in synastry than in natal charts, they diverge on their value. Penny Thornton uses 6 degrees for squares and trines, whereas Ronald Davison suggests a maximum of 3 degrees.
There are other factors such as the intrinsic influence of each planet, angles, secondary bodies (Lunar Nodes, Lilith, Chiron, etc.). Their impact varies according to the nature of the area considered (sexual, marital, emotional, communication, etc.). In our comments, you may find the word "human" instead of "conjugal". They mean the same thing.
It is impossible to describe the whole method here because it would be too long. We will publish it at a later date. Suffice it to say that the nature of each inter-aspect is evaluated according to the area involved. The ASC, the MC, and the luminaries' rulerships are detected and included in the weighting of the planets' strength, and thus, they indirectly influence the inter-aspects strength, as well as the computing of the compatibility rating for a given area (60% in communication for instance).
The intrinsic influence of planets and elements depends on the area considered (see above) and is variable. As an illustration, here are the values for the marital compatibility rating:
Chiron and Lilith are used to evaluate the emotional, physical (Lilith), and communication (Chiron) areas.
It must also be underlined that in synastry, oppositions are not considered to be hard aspects. In most cases, they are positive, or at least stimulating, when the planets' nature is not conflicting. For instance, Saturn and the Moon, Mars and the Moon, or Mars and Saturn do not get along well, and their opposition lowers the compatibility rate if the orb is tight. On the contrary, the Moon in opposition to the Sun or to Mercury is excellent, as positive as a conjunction, because the complementary quality plays out harmoniously, each person bringing their differences and assets to the other one, and reciprocally.
For what time is the daily personalised horoscope computed?
It is computed for 3:00 PM Paris time for the interactive daily personalised horoscope.
I cannot find my place of birth although it is an important city. How come?
It often happens that several cities have the same name as yours. Use the selector on the right to choose yours among all the locations having the same name, and scroll down. You see only the first name of the list. For instance, if you type up Saint-Raphaël, Saint-Raphaël Prince Edward Island in Canada will be displayed. Click on the selector, and you will see five Saint-Raphaël occurrences, one in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and four in Canada. In general, enter only the city, not the country or the region. In most cases, you will see your city displayed. Should it not be the case, you can ask us by email that your location be added into our Atlas database. More often than not, it will be done within the day, and even within the next fifteen minutes! You will then be able to use all our free and pay applications on Astrotheme website.
Can astrology foresee the future? Is it reliable?
This is obviously the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. In a nutshell, here is what we can say with the utmost caution.
Firstly, it must be noted that there are three schools of thought, regardless of the system used (tropical, sidereal, house system, etc.). Some believe that, like clairvoyance, astrology can predict events in a quite precise and almost fatalistic way. Even though they are careful, their works reveal their fascination for some sort of pre-established destiny, such as for example French astrologer Hades.
On the other hand, some people adamantly refuse to use astrology for predictions, because they deem it not precise enough or just unsuitable for that. They generally limit the use of astrology to psychological analyses or couple compatibility, thus acknowledging some degree of usefulness, always time-saving compared to any other method aiming at understanding whom one is dealing with and at identifying the areas in which two persons are most likely to get along or not.
Lastly, there is the middle path, that of people who consider that one can effectively use astrology for forecasting, provided one remains very cautious. They believe that the basic principle that ought to be fully understood is that in their endless course around the Zodiac, the planets send ever-changing aspects (referred to as transits) to the natal chart, thus releasing energies which bring about more or less strong emotions deep down and which indirectly trigger events.
Astrotheme belongs to this third school of thought and considers astrology neither a fatality, nor a book in which every single fact occurring on Earth or in our life is written. We believe that astrology is a bunch of energies which activates the potential that is promised in our natal chart. If those energies are powerful, they may prompt us to take action or to experience a specific type of events.
Planets arouse emotions which are all the more strong if the said planets have a special connection with the natal chart, a phenomenon referred to as planetary resonance. Such stirred up emotions indirectly cause certain events to manifest in our life.
For instance, in a male's chart, soft transits to Venus, the Moon, or elements pertaining to his 5th House will make him psychologically more available and self-confident in the fields of romance, well-being, and pleasurable activities. This mindset prompts him to make encounters which may prove to be crucial. Conversely, if those elements receive a hard transit, a reflex of fear may urge him to protect himself and adopt a more distant attitude, and consequently, to shun the possibility to find his soul mate. It is worth noting that, although it is not always the case, being happy and assertive are attractive qualities, more often than not.
It is obvious that events are not subject to determinism, but that they are sifted through the filter of our emotions. Likewise, nothing can happen if it is not inscribed in the natal chart. This is a truth that tends to be ignored by many astrologers, unfortunately. As far as we are concerned, we always stress that it is of fundamental importance that one ought to thoroughly understand one's astrological portrait before getting interested in predictions.
Without going into too many details regarding forecasting, the quick yet careful answer to your question might be yes, it is possible to foresee important events, showing humility and indicating the different hypotheses that may occur. For instance, a woman with her natal Sun in the 6th House receiving a soft transit from Uranus may experience the encounter of her life, since the Sun represents men in general and perhaps her husband-to-be and more broadly, relationships with males. The other hypothesis is that her daily workplace is disrupted. Both possibilities can happen simultaneously, meaning encountering Mr Right and changing her work environment and her lifestyle.
Thus, it is clear that one must always be very cautious when dealing with transits. Sometimes, their interpretation is easier. In order to avoid making a nonsensical analysis, the position of natal planets in natal houses must be delineated for forecasting. This is what Astrotheme does. We also give systematic warnings regarding the areas affected by the various forces at play. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only website to do so. Our Detailed Yearly Forecast (the most comprehensive ones on our website) and our Detailed Quarterly Forecast include all these elements. In our opinion, they provide a host of information about the emotions triggered and how they may translate into events.
What about the planet Pluto, now that it is not considered a planet any more?
We have answered this question in our article: Pluto, the planet that is not a planet any more (it will be translated soon).
In the Daily Personalised Horoscope, why are the same texts sometimes repeatedly displayed?
The answer is simple. A true horoscope is based on the planets' endless journey, which is compared with your natal chart. This analysis focuses on the inter-aspects made between the planets of the day, the mundane configuration, and your natal planets, angles, and houses. Inter-aspects are referred to as transits. They last a more or less long time, depending on the speed of the planets involved in the transit.
There are four categories of transits: firstly, transits by slow-moving planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), which are used for long-term forecasting. Astrotheme's horoscope displays only one of these slow transits. They are not strictly speaking part of the horoscope and constitute additional information for those who want to know more, since their influence, more important and lasting longer than that of fast-moving planets, often translates into concrete effects. Therefore, it is normal that such texts are repeated during 3 months if the transit lasts 3 months.
Mars' transits come next : Mars completes his journey around the Zodiac in approximately 2 years. His influence usually lasts a few days, or a couple of weeks. His transits correspond to quite tangible and powerful events, though less potent than the first transits mentioned. They are part of the natural horoscope, and in general, they are repeated between 2 days or a couple of weeks.
The third category of transits comprises the transits of the Sun, Mercury, and Venus. They travel through the Zodiac in one year. Mercury and Venus may "retrograde", owing to the frame of reference used in astrology which considers that the centre of the universe in not the Sun or any other planet, but the individual's birthplace on earth. When a fast-moving planet such as Mercury or Venus is in its retrograde cycle, it may stay on a sensitive point of the natal chart for several days. The Sun never retrogrades, and his influence may be felt between two to four days, depending on the type of aspect and its orb, i.e. the number of degrees accepted before the aspect becomes exact and beyond which the aspect is not valid any more. Therefore, one can see that even fast transits can be repeated from one day to the next, sometimes even longer, and the text of their interpretation, displayed several times. This is normal and neither a bug nor an error!
The last category includes the transits of the Moon. The Moon covers approximately 12 to 13 degrees per day, meaning that she travels through the Zodiac in roughly 28 days. Her transits last only a few hours. The corresponding texts are displayed only once since there is no repetition, except for the texts describing the transits in houses which are provided in addition. Indeed, a house may be between 20 and 40 degrees wide in the Placidus house system, the most commonly used in Europe. In three days, the Moon covers roughly 36 - 38 degrees, and as a result, the interpretation of the Moon in house may be repeated three times.
To sum up, it is natural and normal that some texts are repeated when a transit remains active.
The fashionable practice is often to provide fantasy instead of genuine horoscopes. What you can find in magazines or on big astrology sites are seldom serious horoscopes. They are mere texts written at random, very different from one day to the next so that the reader does not get bored, but they are no astrology. Those horoscopes sold in the form of books or published by commercial sites or newspapers have no valuable content.
Here was the explanation about why some transits are displayed for several days, as long as they remain active, and it is important that they are mentioned.
What does the detailed monthly forecast offer as compared with the standard forecast?
As its name indicates, the former is much more detailed than the latter and analyses all transits made by slow-moving planets as well as by fast-moving ones. The Detailed Monthly Forecast provides not only important forecasts but also fleeting influences and indicates small events which often trigger bigger ones. It is the best choice for those who wish to get a detailed calendar of their astrological climate throughout the month.
Our Detailed Yearly Forecast, our Detailed Quaterly Forecast , and our Detailed Monthly Forecast help you manage your planning almost on a daily basis and enable you to make the most of the forthcoming period.
To our view, they constitute the best astrological forecasts, very suitable for those you want to have as many pieces of information as possible about how planets may influence their natal chart. As it is the case with all our services, you enjoy the convenience of rapidity since they are delivered to your email address in a matter of seconds.
Do you take secondary bodies into account when computing dominants and planetary repartitions?
Not at all, and we do so deliberately. To some extent, for calculating the couple's compatibility, we take into account Lilith, the lunar Nodes, and Chiron. But their influences seem too weak to be reckoned with for assessing dominants and planetary repartitions. They are not only weak but actually irrelevant.
It is safer to work only with the ten planets (in the astrological sense of the word, that is from the Sun through to Pluto), and the angles, i.e. the Ascendant and the Midheaven. But for these latter, our method is most sophisticated and analyses every single aspect in order to calculate the planetary dominant and the weight of each planet, a parameter which affects the calculation of our 11 criteria.
It would required a great deal of time to describe our method. It involves two levels of computing, that of the planets' basic weight which is fine-tuned using various sorts of calculations (activity, quality, angular position, rulership, all these factors being weighted according to the tightness of orb). Once the planet's weight is thus fine-tuned, it is added into the 12 criteria calculation, excepted that of dominant planets, which constitutes the thirteenth criterion. For the latter, the planetary dominant considered alone, we put all the planets at the same level and we take only into account the pluses and minuses of the different types of calculations which we have mentioned.
For instance, by default and if there is no peculiarity (angular position, activity, rulership, etc.) the Sun gives more emphasis to a sign than Neptune, as far as the dominant sign is concerned. But when dealing with planetary dominants, Neptune has as many chances as the Sun to qualify as the dominant planet, which is in line with manual analyses.
After numerous tests and analyses, we are totally happy with the results achieved in the past years for these criteria. All statistics are applied to all the celebrities of our database available on-line, which enables to sort them out and carry out rankings and researches according to planetary dominant or repartition.
Are planetary dominants included in the portraits you sell?
Yes. Comprehensive astrological portraits are much more detailed than the excerpts posted on our celebrity pages.
As far as planetary dominants, elements, modes, etc. are concerned, what are the outstanding features of Astrotheme's method, in comparison with other existing methods?
Here is a short outline of our method. A brief one only, since detailed explanations would require too many pages. We will publish it later because all the innumerable tests we conducted have proved conclusive. The following paragraphs are meant for those who have fairly good notions of astrology, since the subject is quite technical.
The planetary dominants method devised by the founder of Astrotheme, Philippe Lepoivre de Vesle, is more sophisticated than other existing methods for two reasons that we are going to explain here. Firstly, the programming of elements used in order to assess the planets' strength has been taken one step further than anything that has been done so far in terms of precision. Secondly, a synthesis of all the existing methods has been completed, and what proved to be efficient was kept.
Currently well-known methods are by Alexandre Volguine, Jacques Berthon, Christophe de Cène, Gilles Verneret, as well as Catherine Aubier, Yves Lenoble, and a few others, since nearly each astrologer devised his/her own method when he/she got interested in programming. All these methods have their qualities, and their remarkable results often led to improvements in the determination of dominant planets. The purpose is not to belittle them, only to briefly explain in which way our efforts took us a step further.
Our approach was based on two points: pragmatism and comprehensiveness with maximal fine-tuning. Let's take an example of pragmatism: all students know that there are signs in which all planets are in domicile, in exaltation, in fall, or in exile.
The debate about the increase of planets' strength is quite weird. Some people write that when a planet is in domicile or in exaltation, it is at the peak of its power and gives of its best, and that when it is in fall or in exile, its activity is hindered. Besides, the calculations of planetary strength usually include a plus in the first two cases, and a minus in the latter two. Such plus and minus affect the importance of the said planet and influence the whole set of usual criteria: hierarchy of elements, of modes, of houses, of signs, etc. Now, is it possible to consider that a planet in exile is "less strong" than a planet in domicile, that it could not become a dominant planet despite its weak position? Some would answer no because a so-called malefic planet in exile or in fall is most likely to have its incapacitating energy, and therefore its power, increased, precisely owing to its difficult position? Therefore, is it reasonable to grant a plus only to planets which play out "favourably"? One ought to keep a sense of moderation in this regard, lest one should get results which do not match the manual analyses.
Actually, caution and common sense demand that those pluses and minuses be limited for rulerships. Volguine's method for instance goes a bit too far, and results are distorted compared with our experience. Lepoivre de Vesle's computing method used on Astrotheme significantly reduces the plus and minus system in order to rule out misleading results and to obtain a more accurate assessment of the planets' strength.
In the same category of parameters, the principles of speed, polarity, and retrogradation seem quite dangerous. A systematic numeric count added to such criteria results too often in bizarre, thus wrong, dominants.
What factors must be taken into account? Apart from the aspects we just mentioned and which are to be reckoned with, exercising great caution, the most important criteria in our opinion are mainly the angular position, the principle of activity, as well as the Ascendant and Midheaven's rulerships, and to a lesser extent, the Sun and Moon's rulerships.
This is how we have devised a sophisticated programming to assess the "activity" of each planet according to its aspects to other planets and to the angles, while analysing the nature of aspects, the planets involved and above all, the exactness - orbs - of the said aspects. This comprehensive computing enables to measure and to give an activity rate to each planet. Such rating is then injected into the last calculation of the overall strength, this time in a subtler way than whatever has been done. Indeed, a 10 degree orb conjunction is less powerful than a 2 degree orb conjunction, and so forth for every aspect, including minor aspects such as sesqui-squares, etc.
The purpose here is certainly not to explain the method in its details, even though we shall do so at a later stage. For the moment, we only provide a few elements to back up our calculation and underline our opinion that our method is the most reliable one among all those which we have tested so far.
Angular positions are also numerically processed, a more common practice. Aspects made by a planet to the angles start to be felt within an orb of 15°, which is the accepted rule for this criterion. One of the obvious difficulties has been to weight the importance of all the criteria - quality, activity, angular position, rulership, etc. Therefore, numerous tests have been carried out in order to achieve a satisfactory system.
Once we have a good idea of each planet's strength, assessed using the above-mentioned criteria, it becomes possible to compute the importance of the other usual dominants such as the North, South, East, and West hemispheres, the Yin and Yang polarity, the Fire, Air, Earth, and Water elements, the Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable modes, the angular, succedent, and cadent house hierarchy, the signs' esoteric decanates, and particularly, the dominant planets, signs, and houses. That is to say 11 dominants which are a good introduction to assess a personality and enrich an already drawn portrait using the usual meanings of planets in sign and in house, aspects, and rulerships.
The uniqueness of Astrotheme's method resides in our desire to go as far as possible in terms of fine-tuning, thus, in the comprehensive assessment of the planets' nearness and nature as well as in our synthesis of all the existing methods. All this has enabled us to obtain accurate values for all the dominants, at the cost of a great deal of long and demanding programming work.
These 11 calculations are applied to the 36300 celebrities of Astrotheme's database, in texts and in numerical values. It is possible to classify, to search, or to sort out all these famous people according to the 11 astrological criteria, and for instance, to get a list of celebrities selected according to the importance of Fire in the natal chart, or the numerical prominence of cadent houses, or of mutable elements, or according to the supremacy of the South-Eastern quadrant. It is also easy to search for the most Neptunian or Solarian, or those who have the most highlighted 8th House, or the most emphasised Sagittarius, etc. You can even couple these 11 criteria with the other existing ones, and thus, carry out a "multicriteria" search involving planets' position, house, and signs, and select the orb of exactness at will.
What house system do you use on Astrotheme and for the celebrities?
Placidus, which is by far the most commonly used. There are other systems: equal houses, Campanus, Koch, Meridian, Regiomontanus, Porphyry, Morinus, Topocentric, Alcabitius, whole houses, etc. In a few Astrotheme applications, you can select your favourite house system, for example Koch or Equal Houses. Some other systems will be added in the future.
Is it a good idea to include victims of murder or serial killers in your celebrity database?
Being in the public eye is our sole criterion. Astrologers are interested in everybody's life and natal chart. They are not driven by morbid tendencies or an unhealthy curiosity to study tragic destinies or exceptional ones. Confucius, popes, actresses, writers, are in our database, as well as personalities who are famous for some reason. Hundreds of serial killers and innocent victims too, along with Nobel Prize-winners, clowns, scientists, lottery winners, sportsmen, etc. We repeat that the only criterion for including people in our database and our various applications is the fact that they are widely known.
It seems to us that it is interesting that each and everyone can study as many astrological charts as possible, exactly as one would look into a dictionary or an encyclopaedia. Extremely few people, merely 5 emails out of 6 million visits today, do not understand this principle and do not hesitate to blame us for including dictators or child victims. One person has even forbidden us to display the birth date of a former actor, although the information is published on many other websites! It is legal to display a natal chart, which is nothing more than a mathematic calculation of celestial bodies. It is also legal to publish the astrological portrait of famous people, even though we do not do so on Astrotheme, whether the said celebrity's family members appreciate astrology or not.
Our website is not meant to be controversial. Out of tens of thousands of pages displayed, not one single line is defamatory. On the contrary, whenever possible, our texts highlight famous people's nice features. We also believe that having certain well-known people in our database contributes to keep them alive in memories. A Google search shows that Astrotheme website is in most cases more renowned than top celebrities. Pieces of information sometimes disappear from the Internet. We gather them and put them at everyone's disposal, free of charge, after having thoroughly checked the date, time, and place of birth, generally using numerous sources, even though at times we are led to correct certain information. We continuously improve our database, sometimes adding a birth time, sometimes correcting a birth place or displaying a better photo, etc.
Why don't you publish a news article about famous couples, for instance about Jean-Michel Jarre and Isabelle Adjani, or Jean-Michel Jarre and Anne Parillaud who used to hit the headlines?
It is very simple. There are several possibilities in a couple's diagnosis: good, bad, or neutral, with the whole gamut of nuances in between. However... imagine that for an existing, or new-formed couple, the diagnosis is not good, and that there is the certainty that it will not last more than a year or two, supported by astrological argumentation. We could expect a violent reaction from the couple in question, and it would be just right. Astrology can foresee potential events which the couple is not yet aware of. It is normal, and even desirable, not to discuss the private life of anyone, including famous people, when a comment may prove harmful and insidious or speed up negative developments.
It is quite legal and normal to comment on public affairs, such as for instance the article we published on-line on the U.S. elections, but writing about people's private life is borderline, especially considering the personal consequences that may be brought about. When the diagnosis is positive, there is no problem of course.
For past events, on the other hand, such diagnosis can be made.
To avoid any misunderstanding, it is necessary to underline that we do not suggest that the couples mentioned above have poor compatibilities. Each person is free to judge by one's own criteria, but as far as we are concerned, we do not feel entitled to utter any kind of comment on an existing couple, because we deem it a matter of deontology and morals.
Are celebrities' birth times legal times? GMT? Universal times? Local times?
We remind that all the birth times displayed are legal times: it is the time recorded in birth certificates, the time you can see on your watch at the moment your child is born... Our programmes compute the necessary corrections according to the time system in effect at the place of birth. In addition, we also adjust the longitude. When the birth time is unknown, we take 12 p.m., legal time of the place of birth, which reduces the margin of error. All other parameters are similarly rigorously combined. We do not display the house system in such cases. There is no Ascendant, only planets in signs and their aspects. As far as the reports are concerned, one ought to key in the legal time (current time) in the time field.
Is the Love Test not in contradiction with the Compatibility Calculator?
Not at all. Both applications are fully complementary. Let's sum up:
The purpose of the C3 (Couple Compatibility Calculator) is to overall compare two astrological charts. It takes into account... EVERYTHING. There may be a sum of favourable links which, when added together, may result in an excellent compatibility rating. There may also be a sum of excellent inter-aspects, and simultaneously, very negative aspects, which results in a not so good compatibility. In any case, carefully reading our Compatibility Report enables to put things into perspective, all the more so since we provide ratings in various fields, marital, affective, sexual, and durability.
As for the Love Test, it has 24 very precise and powerful criteria, but only those. It takes only into account very tight conjunctions of some couple of planets. The idea is to detect exceptionally strong and deep points, regardless of the rest of the charts. It is a simple search carried out on one domain, deliberately utopian, idealistic, and extreme. Indeed, given the huge number of entries of our celebrity database, it would have been unhealthy to display thousands of results. Therefore, we have taken a very narrow bracket so that a given criterion produces about ten names only.
Thus, the results of the Love Test provide a bevy of names which have extremely strong affinities with you in some areas.
As a consequence, it is very logical for instance to get very high ratings with a celebrity in the Celestar, and not to have it in the Love Test, and... conversely. This is the reason why we underline the fact that combining these two applications (with an improved Love Test and a new version of the Compatibility Calculator) can constitute an extremely powerful and even more reliable method. This is what we are currently working at. The dating website that should be on-line in the course of the year will use this calculation method.
But right now, you can play manually with our free Multicriteria applications, and get a host of astrological tests based on our celebrity database or on people whom you know personally, using our customised charts with detailed positions. You can select an impressive number of simultaneous or isolated criteria to find any type of person you are interested in.
With so many compatibility reports, I am lost. What are their differences?
Here are our various reports:
What orbs do you use for natal charts?
The orbs for the eleven aspects of the natal charts we display are as follows (degrees.decimals):
We do not apply extra weighting to differentiate among personal planets, trans-saturnian planets, etc. because we think that many visitors are interested in seeing all the aspects and that differences are not significant.
Of course, the above orbs are tighter for our compatibility programmes where major aspects are positively differentiated. Sextiles may be deemed slightly too strong, but experience shows that they remain active in the natal chart up to nearly 6 degrees of orb.
A wider orb is given to luminaries, i.e. the Sun and the Moon, and 0.3 degree is added for all aspects (the orb is wider by 18 minutes when the Sun or the Moon is involved, and by 36 minutes for Sun-Moon aspects).
Regarding the fictitious points that are the lunar nodes and Lilith, the orb is limited to 3 degrees on the sky map display, whatever the aspect.
What orbs are used for the forecasts based on transits?
The orbs for the eleven major and minor aspects are as follows (degrees.decimals):
In the forecasts based on transits, we take into account major aspects only (conjunction, opposition, trine, square, and sextile).
We give an extra orb of 0.1 degree (6 minutes) to the transiting luminaries.
I have ordered a comprehensive compatibility report, and I notice contradictions in some texts, and there are so many... What have you got to say?
Compatibility reports reflect our real life. For instance, there may be a Venus-Mars square and a Mars-Venus trine for both partners. There is a part of the relationship which is harmonious and easy, while another part is made of tension, attraction, but also repulsion and instability, both parts affecting the same area. The same holds true in actual life: the partners may argue, be happy, then split, etc. They may desire each other, feel mutually attracted, but also hate each other. This means that it is not possible to write the following equation: positive + negative = neutral. It is necessary that everything is mentioned, otherwise, the report would not be accurate. This is probably what you have read.
We have striven to achieve a high level of detail. Actually, texts with 4 or 5 stars are the most important ones. Those with 2 or 3 stars describe nuances which may not be perceived by everyone, or which are felt after some time. If you think that there are some 60 to 75 planetary inter-aspects between two persons, it is obvious that there will be a few contradictions if a high level of detail is to be reached. However, with some logical reasoning, you understand the hierarchy of their influence, and you can stand back in order to integrate them into your vision of things. This is the price for a sharp outline and therefore, the number of texts.
Regarding compatibility ratings, we have spent a great deal of time adjusting all the numerous parameters. These compatibility indexes show EASINESS, nothing more. They are nevertheless important, and if for instance you have 3/20 (15% rating), it is clear that you must carry out a synthesis of the texts and of the four indexes diagnosis. Indeed, even between two persons who experience tensions, there are positive aspects, which our programme "sees" and "tells".
For those who may not have the time or the patience to read everything, including the precautions we give, we have separated texts of major importance from more minor ones. We acknowledge the fact that too many texts may scare off those who do not have not enough time, or who do not feel like reading lengthy documents.
Can I modify my account or delete it. Or create several accounts?
You can make any change you wish to your account, but you can create only one.
As on any website, you cannot delete it. Should you decide to do so, all you have to do is write us, and we will delete it for you.
Are the time and place of birth important for casting the natal chart or calculating compatibility ratings?
Yes they are, and they constitute the constant necessary condition in astrology. Without the time and place of birth, the precision of the natal chart and the calculation of compatibility ratings are less satisfactory.
It is worth underlining that astrology is based on the calculation of two objects, namely planets and houses. While planets move relatively slowly in a day, except the Moon who covers roughly 12 degrees per day, meaning almost half a sign, houses, and therefore the Ascendant, move by 1 degree every 4 minutes, that is to say one whole sign in two hours. Therefore, they cover the twelve signs in a day. The positions of the Moon and of the house cusps are quite important. The Moon describes your mood and the way your sensitivity plays out. The positions of the houses indicate the different areas of life in which our abilities are expressed and whether other planets increase or lessen a given influence. For instance, planets in an angle (1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th Houses, meaning the Ascendant, the Nadir, the Descendant, and the Midheaven) get special emphasis in the house where they are posited and therefore, have an impact on the personality. A fortiori, the same holds true for interactions between two natal charts.
In Chinese astrology, one considers that a natal chart remains the same within a stretch of time of two hours. For instance, all the people born between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. have the same chart and therefore, the same destiny pattern and character. If maximal reliability is to be achieved, it is also crucial here to have a precise birth date. In Western astrology, even a gap of 5 minutes in the time of birth has an impact, even though it is quite limited. Nevertheless, if one expects to get as many pieces of information as possible, one must have accurate birth data.
Regarding the calculation of compatibility indexes, if neither the time nor the location are available, discrepancies may be significant. The best thing to do would be to key in all the birth parameters and calculate the accurate index so as to get a reliable indication.
Does a low compatibility rating mean that we do not love each other very much?
No, definitely. Compatibility ratings describe the smoothness of exchanges between two persons, and by no means the intensity or the quality of their love.
This is similar to the fact that a natal chart cannot describe the level of spirituality of a person, only the ability to and interest in following a spiritual path, to some extent. It is common practice to consider that Enlightened persons (wise people having reached Reality) have transcended their chart, since it applies only to the "terrestrial" plane, whether manifested or "asleep", but this is a far-reaching topic...). Likewise, astrology has its limitations.
What happens between two persons in terms of essence is not "read" by astrology. We insist on the fact that astrology only gives a diagnosis of the SMOOTHNESS which both partners will experience in the relationship. Thus, if you get a marital compatibility index of 30% or 35%, it only means that you will need to show flexibility, to adjust, to evolve, and to look at your relationship from a non-egocentric angle. Finally, the quality of your couple will be enhanced in terms of complementary qualities and personal evolution.
It is obvious that it is all about limits and compromises. In an ideal situation, forces of cohesion and harmony stemming from each partner's efforts outdo and disintegrate the tensions that are unavoidable in any relationship. In brief, anything is possible with the passing of time, in most cases. Having said that, we believe that this information is highly valuable. This is the reason why we carry on our efforts in order to enhance our programmes.
Why have you not given the astrological interactions' references at the beginning of each text (aspects, houses, planets, etc.)?
This is the deliberate choice we made when we started. Many people are not interested in astrological jargon and prefer to read texts in plain English without being disoriented by technical vocabulary which they find hermetic. We have tried as much as possible to limit references to planets, houses, and astrological symbols. However, people who wish to know the reasoning behind any particular text can ask us by email, and we shall answer them with precision.
For your information, we also take into account minor bodies such as Chiron, Lilith, the Lunar Nodes, etc., but we have decided NOT to provide any text about interactions among them. They are included in the calculations of the four compatibility indexes, and therefore, they are active. But in order not to offend some people, karmic references and meanings of bodies which are still being researched are not displayed.
Do you use composite charts or mid-points? Or space-time charts?
No. Composite charts, as well as space-time charts belong more to the field of research, and it is dangerous to use them without circumspection. We fully agree with André Barbault that, like with solar revolutions, the utmost caution must be exercised.
One ought to be extremely wary of space-time midpoints. On Astrotheme, calculations of composite charts, mid-space mid-time are available.
What are the methods used to calculate compatibility indexes?
This is obviously our know-how, which dates back to over ten years, and we can only give general answers. We take into account the whole natal charts, all the planets from the Sun through to Pluto, as well as secondary bodies, namely the Lunar Nodes, the Black Moon, and Chiron. We also assess the axes and rulerships.
The programme carries out numerous weightings at different levels for these astrological objects, according to their respective importance. We assess the totality of the major and minor aspects accepted by the astrological community at large: conjunction, opposition, square, sextile, trine, quincunx, quintile, bi-quintile, semi-square, sesqui-square, and semi-sextile.
Lastly, relations calculated between these objects are systematically weighted according to their orb exactness. Thus, a loose conjunction with an orb of several degrees may be less active than a sextile with an orb of 30'. Our programmes have required a great deal of time and a host of tests. As of today, they are certainly outstanding in terms of rigorous, comprehensive, and exhaustive structure.
Our analysis is actually of the highest quality since we have included the entire set of rules manually used. We do not claim that we possess the absolute truth and the perfect tool, only that our method is enough sophisticated and serious to yield reliable results. The precision of those results is difficult to define, but we believe that it is satisfactory and that we can put it to public use, considering all the cases of couples we have studied. (Some 3 billion calculations of indexes were carried out by our visitors since the beginning.)
I am a professional astrologer. I attentively looked at the results given by your compatibility programmes, and I have noticed in some rare cases that two charts get a very high rating although the manual analysis shows a strong square between two personal planets. Are you sure that your programmes are reliable? Same question regarding blatant oppositions in both charts.
In some very rare cases, superimposing two charts reveals conjunctions or aspects of cluster which also coincide with the angles of one chart or both charts. This phenomenon mathematically strengthens the indexes' increase effects (or decrease in some cases). This may result in somehow "dimming" the negative or positive effects of an isolated aspect, whenever the planets forming the said aspect are not part of the cluster. Is such decrease or increase justified? The manual analysis of examples of this type has shown that the reactions of our programmes are justified in most cases. It seems to us normal to highlight important conjunctions and planetary clusters posited on crucial points of both charts. It is also normal that, consequently, separated aspects of tension have a lessened influence.
This matches a reality. Indeed, the hierarchy of influences existing between two charts is tricky to determine, but the programmes we have developed usually reflect the results which the astrologer gets by logical reasoning. The answer to these very few cases is that there may certainly be a slight artificial gap, but that it is not a significant one. The truth is that an additional personalised analysis remains the best way to get the best diagnosis. It is impossible to achieve absolute reliability. The challenge is to get as close as possible, and this is what we strive to do.
Regarding oppositions, we are convinced that most of them which are formed by non-contradictory planets are positive in synastry, and much better and enriching than the absence of aspects. Of course, the corresponding impact is less easy than with a conjunction, a trine, or a sextile, but it remains very ACTIVE. If both partners are willing to make a slight adaptation effort, and if no dissonance affects the opposition in question, the relationship gets accrued power, fullness, and above all, complementary qualities. Thus, compatibility ratings may be higher, and this is very normal. This is the general trend in the majority of the international astrological community, and our experience confirms that this is the correct hypothesis. The complementary factor is definitely positive in synastry, easier to deal with, which is not the case for oppositions in a natal chart.
Precisely, regarding the reliability of these four compatibility indexes, are they all equally rigorously calculated, or are there nuances?
We are convinced that the first four indexes fairly match reality. The whole set of rules (very numerous since we take into account ALL the factors, which means thousands of combinations weighted at several levels) dealing with marital compatibility (more of the type Sun, Moon, AS, etc. for the astrologers...), while the affective ones (more of the type Venus, Moon, Neptune, etc.), the physical ones (more of the type Mars, Pluto, Venus, Uranus, etc.), and communication (more of the type Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, etc.) are thoroughly assessed. After over a year of tests, we are happy with and amazed by the quality of our results.
Can you tell us more about the discrepancy issue (1 degree in your reports) when a planet is posited near a House cusp?
This question is about the localisation of energy knots in a chart, and according to the Tradition, those knots are some sort of attraction points for nearby planets.
It is unanimously acknowledged that the axes (AS, MC, DS, FC) are the most important points of the chart, more particularly the Ascendant and the Midheaven. The same principle applies to all house cusps, though less powerfully. Houses can be of three categories: angular houses which are particularly energetic (the axes we just mentioned), succedent houses (the 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th House) sometimes called fixed houses, which are less strong, and cadent houses (the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th House) sometimes called mutable houses, which are the less active ones. Each house starts at a point called the cusp. Thus, the chart has 12 cusps radiating energy with different levels of intensity. The tradition considers that when a planet is close enough to a cusp, it is somehow caught by the said cusp and "jumps" into the corresponding house.
Let's suppose that the Ascendant is at 22° Virgo and that the Sun is at 20° of the same sign. Therefore, the Sun is posited in the 12th House. However, he is so close to the cusp of the 1st House (the Ascendant), that he is considered to be in the 1st House and not in the 12th House. The radiation, so to speak, of the cusp is so strong that a nearby planet becomes active in the house which starts at the said cusp. Besides, many authors consider that the variation in energy decreases more and more from the cusp (therefore, slightly before), similarly to signs, where the Sun at 1° Aries gives a "purer" Aries than the Sun at 29° Aries, etc. The question now is to find out the number of degrees within which a planet is deemed to belong to the next house. Some astrologers go as far as to accept an orb of 6 or 7 degrees, and some others only 1 or 2 degrees, or sometimes no shift at all. Sometimes, they make nuances depending on the houses involved and use a wider orb for the Ascendant or the Midheaven, etc.
In our programmes, we have decided to set this discrepancy to 1 degree because we think that it is a good compromise with the common practice. In addition, we have fine-tuned our work, using 2 degrees for the Ascendant and the Midheaven, and 1 degree for the other ten houses. To the best of our knowledge, there is no programme on the Internet which takes this discrepancy into account for the interpretation of charts. We have implemented this functionality in our programmes because we deem it very important. Actually, the level of the discrepancy is one of the adjustable parameters, even though we are content with the above-mentioned 1 and 2 degrees.
However, it is worth noting that this phenomenon plays out and becomes important only if you know your time of birth with great accuracy. Indeed, the 3 degree discrepancy corresponds to a gap of 12 minutes. If your birth time is not very precise, your astrological chart will provide only the meanings of your planets in signs. This also holds true for the comparison of charts, in which inter-aspects among planets will play out.