How Astrocalc went from commercial to free astrology software
Astrocalc is now free astrology software. However, since the first release in 1982, it was initially sold as commercial software with the slogan ‘Astrology for Everyone’. As I wasn’t involved at the time, I have no idea what the original creators, Colin Miles and Terry Dwyer, had in mind with it. After taking over Astrocalc I didn’t give it much thought, except for that it sounded good as a slogan. So I kept it. Starting with Astrocalc 6.5, the slogan now has a clear and explicit meaning – free astrology software for everyone.
When Pluto demands change you better listen
About 18 months ago, in March 2018, Pluto started to transit my Sun and the following month and soon after I decided to take down this web site. There had been a discovery of a security issue in the web framework, and I found myself in a situation that required a decision, an action. It was as if Pluto told me “action is warranted, before anything bad happened”. Therefore, for the sake of everyone involved, I took the destructive decision to take down the site, rather than becoming a victim of the destructive forces in play. In retrospection, I think I did the right thing.
If it just had been a technical issue, but no…
Why has is taken this long to bring it back? It is partly a technical story (that I will leave out) and partly a matter of internal processing that this event kicked off. The whole situation screamed at me that “something is wrong here, not just with the web site”. In the light of Pluto being at work here, it became clear to me some change was needed. Something had to die – but what?
As the battle between Pluto and my natal Sun took off, later to be joined by Saturn as well, I came to question the past years with Astrocalc. I had to ask myself – am I supposed to let go of it all? I mean, there are many other astrology programs out there today. Therefore, had the software played out its role? Was a legitimate question. Eventually I concluded, it had, as commercial but not as free astrology software.
The Pluto and Saturn conjunction
As you may know, we are heading towards a Saturn and Pluto conjunction in January 2020. This event takes place once every 33 years or so, thus it is a major conjunction of planetary cycles. We can probably expect it to leave its mark of progress and change over the coming years. Not only, and perhaps not even so obviously, around the event itself. However, this is not the time and place to go into depth about it. Still, as it will happen in close orb of aspect to my natal Sun – it feels as if it began already 18 months ago.
Spirited by the Sun, and what about Uranus?
The fact that the Sun also will join the two on the day of the conjunction supports that feeling. On top of that, Uranus will turn from retrograde to direct at the same time. This is significant to me as my natal Uranus is in close conjunction with my Mc. Becoming aware of this, the symbolism clearly felt like an invitation to take a more active part in whatever the future will bring. This made me look at my Astrocalc dilemma with completely new eyes. The answer to my questions was transformation and revitalization. A very strait forward Pluto/Sun symbolism indeed. However, it couldn’t be just about myself.
It is not just about me, not just about you
Sun and Pluto is maybe the most interesting of all planetary pairs as it represents the inner core and the outer boundary of our Solar System, as we know it. If we look at it in the view of astrological symbolism, it depicts a range from the centre to the fringe of our existence in what constitutes our being. Consequently, when Pluto transits the Sun it makes sense to assume it will touch on matters not only related to the Sun itself but also the bodies located in the space between them. Adding Saturn, the gatekeeper, to the mix doesn’t make it less interesting. I guess we will see the coming years exactly what that means. Hopefully my contribution of a free astrology software will help some to understand it better.
When Pluto is transiting a personal planet, we may experience it individually differently, depending on our own unique circumstances. Of course, this also include our natal chart. In addition, we connect to the same collective unconscious and the forces that are at work there. Therefore, in my opinion and experience, it can never be about ourselves only when we seek the solution to what Pluto ‘demands’ of us. Maybe even more so with the Sun as it doesn’t come down to what we want for ourselves only. It’s also a matter of what we create; as creativity and creations are something that always, in one way or the other, have an impact on others.
It’s about us
Of course, it also brings into focus what is central to us. This force us to look at how we relate to others from the perspective of what’s important to ourselves. Unsurprisingly, Astrocalc came into the centre of my focus during this period. The event with the site surely emphasized and enforced this. My response brought focus on Astrocalc itself, but also on its users and myself. Most importantly, there was no painless way out of it, and there was no option but to accept that. Eventually, that would lead to the conclusion to release Astrocalc as free astrology software.
I believe this is a typical moment when you easily walk into a trap, set by your ego. By labelling it as something bad happening to us, it sets off a pattern of destructive behaviour. Especially so with Pluto as the director. If we don’t act on it, it acts upon us instead. The reason may be that the only act that makes sense to us is destructive in nature. Consequently, we hold back out of fear. As a result, we are victimized as the destruction acts back at us. I don’t know if this make sense to you, but this is how I have understood it from my own experiences.
A creative opportunity and a new path forward
I came to see the whole incident as an opportunity to examine and reflect on what Astrocalc really meant to me. What it had been, and how I could imagine it to be in the future.
Recall what I said above concerning “it can never be about ourselves only”, and then put yourself in the centre as the creator. If you create something you feel good about and put in a lot of work and effort, somehow, you want or need to have something in return or it creates an imbalance. We would like to be paid for our effort, and payment has by convention, more or less, become equivalent with money. In reality, though, it’s only an exchange of energy.
A soul matter – but spirited or greedy?
Yes, we need to eat etc. etc. and I am not saying there is anything wrong with getting money in exchange for your effort. Actually, money is a quite genius invention; it sorts many practical problems regarding exchange of value. However, somehow it has got out of hands, to lead and deceive rather than serve and satisfy us. I am not trying to go political here. I am done with that since long ago. No, it’s a matter of soul and spirit – whether your creative expression makes you become a spirited soul, or are you letting it turn into a greedy soul? Looking out of the window, in to the world of today, it’s all just about selling this and selling that, making a barging here and there, buy buy etc. etc. No, bye bye to that! It’s time for a new path forward.
Creative satisfaction is important, indeed
As a creator, and we are all creators, I want my creation to come to use, to be used by as many as possible, to be enjoyed. That’s what really gives me satisfaction, makes it fun and inspires me to make better, to make others and myself happy. In that view, selling becomes a limitation that works against that goal. It works against a spirited soul.
In the end, the exchange of payment for your effort, your work, is nothing but a balancing of dynamic energy. This is why I no longer want to set a price and sell Astrocalc, as it limits the expression, availability and usability of my creation. It clouds the source of my creativity. Moreover, I believe astrology and astrologers can have an important role in shaping the near future. However, not by trying to predict its outcome. No, by helping to improve the understanding of what is happening in present time instead. In this way, we can make better decisions shaping said future, rather than becoming victims of it.
To be fully honest, there is also another reason to my decision. A lot of legacy has been baked into this software since release of the first version back in 1982 and legacy is something of a double-edged sword. Up until now I have largely respected this legacy. While I have changed things in the software, I have never really removed anything. Unless, I replaced it by something (in my view) better. However, I have often felt of this as a limitation as well, in terms of both programming and the way I see things, matching my own astrological needs of the software.
Thus, my intention for the future is also to make something of a clean-up of this legacy, over time. Among other things, I’d like to remove certain old hurdles that complicate the programming as such. In other words, I intend to adapt it more to my own astrological needs. This is another reason that I don’t see it as fair to demand or set a price tag on the software. At the same time I hope to inspire more user interaction. In that spirit, I won’t reject influences from the outside in any way, as long as it makes sense to me and has a sound basis conforming to what I try to accomplish.
Astrology for Everyone, at last more than sounding good
Finally, to sum it all up and returning to the first paragraph of this text. The slogan ‘Astrology for Everyone’ is a core legacy that will live on as long as I am in charge. However, with this transformation I am giving it a new meaning; Astrocalc is now truly available as free astrology software to everyone who runs a Windows PC. On other platforms, like Mac, you can run it in a Windows emulator like VirtualBox, VMware Fusion or Parallels. It allows you to enjoy and explore the richness and treasures of Astrology, be it as a student or a professional. To me, this is also an adventure, a step into the unknown. At the same time, I’m excited about where it will lead, what there is to discover.
I cannot do it without you folks
Ok, one more thing, and I have intentionally saved this to the end. If the above makes sense to you. If you find that Astrocalc, as free astrology software, serves your astrological needs, adds value to your astrological adventure or simply enriches you in some way, supporting this project by giving something back in some way is encouraged. It would help to balance the dynamic energy of creation. Running a software project beyond hobby level doesn’t come without costs. Furthermore, it’s also a heavy workload to carry solely on one’s own shoulders. Therefore, help, in any way, will always be something that would inspire further development and progress. Please, feel invited to read more about How you can help this project
If you haven’t been to the download page yet, I suggest that where you are going next.