The chart animation features in Solar Fire Gold are unparalleled, truly the best of any astrology program by far. Here's a video tutorial showing some of the great capabilities of Solar Fire Gold's chart animation.
One of the many great features in Solar Fire Gold is the ability to add extra points, or sets of points, of your own choosing to chart wheels. You can choose from a huge selection of points, including midpoints, Fixed Stars, Arabic Parts, asteroids and other bodies, and more.
Click on the link below to watch my video tutorial on using this great feature.
I really love time graphs that show both when transits, progressions, stations, and other predictive events will occur and how they will overlap each other. Solar Fire has the best transit graph of all, so please watch this video so that you can learn to use this incredible feature of Solar Fire.
1. A recent update to Solar Fire Gold added the ability to toggle between Heliocentric and Geocentric coordinates simply by pressing Control-K (i.e. holding down the Ctrl key and pressing the "K" key).
This feature works on the Main Screen to instantly toggle back and forth between both, much like the program can do between Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs and between True and Mean Nodes.
2. Arrange Solar Fire windows for optimal use. Solar Fire offers the full features of the Windows Graphical User Interface more than most other astrology programs. You can open many different windows at once (e.g. astromap, chart page, transit list, graphic ephemeris, reports, data screens, etc.) and resize each window, and position them onscreen exactly where you want. You can also design screens just the way you want, for different purposes. And Solar Fire Gold remembers where you positioned each window and what size you made them so it's easy to use them the same way each time you run Solar Fire.
To see an example of this, click here. A new tab will open showing a page I designed for doing predictive work. It has a natal chart with chart data on the left, Solar Fire's superb Time Map transit graph on the upper right, and a graphic ephemeris page for the year on the lower right.
3. Clone Charts. When looking at a Time Map, Astro*Carto*Graphy map, bi-wheel, aspect grid, or graphic ephemeris screen, it would be very useful to be able to view one or more birth charts (or event charts) onscreen at the same time.
The latest update to Solar Fire Gold does exactly that. It's new "clone chart" feature works by clicking on the name of a calculated chart to select it, and then pressing Cntl-O (holding down the Control key and pressing the letter O key) OR right-clicking on the name and selecting Clone.
What this does is to place a copy of the person's chartwheel onscreen. You can resize the cloned chart to any size you want, and move it around (i.e. reposition it anywhere on the screen).
You can open as many cloned charts as you want (imagine, for example, having all of your family members charts displayed.) You can also click on each cloned chart's Keep on Top checkbox to have the chart always visible onscreen.
You can also select which chart wheel form is used when displaying cloned charts, by going to Solar Fire Gold's main screen, and right-clicking on the Current Chart Preview and clicking on the bottom option Preview Wheel Style, and then selecting the wheel style you want.
I created two additional examples of screens you can use for your own work.
The first screen, which you can see by clicking here, is for Astromapping work. To explore the effect of moving to a new place for a client, you can place six different relocated charts onscreen as well as an Astro*Carto*Graphy map. Neat!
The second screen, which you can see by clicking here, is for Compatibility analysis. You can place two people's birth charts, and a Composite and Davidson chart, and a page showing an interaspect table, biwheel with both charts, two 30 degree dials, etc. In other words, everything you need for assessing how two people mesh can be placed on one screen.
(Side note: with the price of computer monitors dropping sharply, I highly recommend you purchase a 24" computer monitor. It will allow you to place more charts, graphs, and tables onscreen at the same time, and boost your productivity and capabilities.]
4. How to Create Your own Chart Art pages. It is actually relatively easy, and very worthwhile, to create your own Chart Art Pages for Solar Fire Gold. You can see my step-by-step instructions, with graphical examples, by clicking here.)
5. Installing Solar Fire Gold on a Windows 7 System. If you are trying to install Solar Fire Gold on a new Windows 7 PC using an Solar Fire Installation CD you purchased before November 2009, during the installation process, when it asks "Do you want to check for updates?", click on No, and the installation will work perfectly.
6. Useful Keyboard Shortcuts in Solar Fire Gold (Thanks to Stephanie Johnson at Esoteric Technologies for this item.)
There are three important keyboard "toggle" combinations in Solar Fire Gold, which may be useful to a number of users:
When you open or enter a chart and that chart is highlighted on the "Calculated Charts" list, simply apply the two-key keyboard combination to change (toggle) the relevant item, as follows:
Toggle Zodiac: When you apply the Ctrl+Z keys, the Current Chart Preview wheel changes not only the zodiac (from tropical to sidereal or vice versa) but also the house system assigned to that zodiac. You can see the resulting change of these values on the top right corner of the "Current Chart Preview" where the new value is shown in black instead of grey.
The assignment of the default sidereal zodiac is done in Preferences / Edit Settings / Zodiac tab and on the dropdown box "Ayanamsa for Sidereal Charts", select the zodiac you want to use. "Lahiri" is the most common one used in India for sidereal charts. The assignment of the default house system is done in Preferences / Edit Settings / Houses tab. For both the tropical and sidereal zodiacs, you can select a default house system in the selection boxes for each of the zodiacs.
Toggle Lunar Node: When you apply the Ctrl+L keys, the Current Chart Preview wheel changes from True to Mean and vice versa. You can see the changed value in the top right corner as it changes from grey to black and back to grey depending what the default setting is in the Preferences. The default Lunar Node can be changed in Preferences / Edit Settings / Calculations tab
Toggle Coordinates: When you apply the Ctrl+K keys, the Current Chart Preview wheel changes from Geocentric to Heliocentric and vice versa. You can see the changed value in the top right corner as it changes from grey to black and back to grey.
To save you from having to remember these keyboard combinations, you can also use the menu system to make the changes. For the currently highlighted chart on the "Calculated Charts" list, click on Chart / Edit menu items and on the resulting sub menu, you will see not only a menu item to perform the action but also the two-key keyboard combination. Similarly, you can also right-click on the highlighted chart on the "Calculated Charts" list and click on the "Edit" menu item to see the same sub menu.
7. Installing Solar Fire Gold on a Netbook. Netbooks have gotten very popular, and many astrologers are using them in the field.
Astrolabe states that "you'll need a 10-inch netbook screen with a bare minimum of 800 pixels in height by 600 pixels wide. Better, a 1024x768 or 1280x768 display."
And they offer suggestions on how to install Solar Fire Gold on netbooks (since most don't have a built-in CD reader) which you can read by clicking here.
8. How to turn off proportional houses
I was recently asked, how do I turn off proportional houses in the chart display. I.e. I want all of the houses to appear as equally-sized wedges.
First, run Solar Fire and click on the Chart Options menu item at the top of the main screen (where the red arrow is pointing in the image below):
From this menu, click on the Display Options menu, pointed to by the black arrow in the above image.
Then click on the Check Mark for Proportional Houses On, and it will turn off, and all house wedges will appear equal-sized from now on.
9. How to search for when transiting planets reach a specific degree of the Zodiac
Solar Fire Gold's Electional Search function is truly phenomenal in power and scope.
To access it, run Solar Fire, and select Dynamic from the menu (at the top of the screen), and then Electional Search:
On the Electional Search Screen:
First, select the At Position tab at the top right of the screen (see the vertical red arrow).
Then choose the Transiting Point, select Conjunction (see the horizontal red arrow), and then enter the degree, sign, and minutes of arc.
Next, click on the Add button to add the search to the search box (The List of Search Conditions)
Then specify a Time Period to Search to search within (at the top left)
And finally, click on the Search button (at the bottom right).
How to print out a table of progressed lunation aspects
First, run Solar Fire and open the chart you want the table for.
Next, click on Dynamic from the menu at the top of the page, and then Transits & Progressions
At the next menu:
At the Red Arrow: enter the day after the birth date
At the Blue Arrow: only check the Progs to Progs box and the Entering/Leaving if you want that too
At the Green Arrow, click on the Progs: box and create a planet set with the Sun and the Moon only
At the Orange Arrow: specify the aspect set you want to use, or create one.
Then click View on the bottom right to see the table.
11. How to select the predictive method for an animated biwheel.
First select (or open and select) the natal chart you want to place in the center of the biwheel from your calculated charts or by opening a chart from a chart file.
Then click on Dynamic at the top menu, then Animate Biwheel.
The next steps (as shown in the image below) are:
1. click on the Chart button
2. make sure the second chart (outer wheel) is selected
3. scroll down to:
4. the predictive method you wish to use
Solar Fire Tips & Tricks
1. Keeping Solar Fire from crashing.
Because Solar Fire allows you to open many different Solar Fire screens at the same time, it has exceptional utility.
However, this capability comes at at small price. There is one set of sequential windows in Solar Fire, and if you close them out of sequence, the program can crash.
For example, if you run the Dynamic Transits and Progressions feature, you first see the Dynamic Reports Selection Screen:
Once you've entered your choices, and clicked View, you see the Dynamics Events Report:
Finally, if you click on Time Map, you see the Astrological Time Map:
If you close the Dynamic Reports Selection Screen before you close the other two screens, many versions of Solar Fire will crash.
To avoid a crash, close each window in reverse order: first the Astrological Time Map, next the Dynamics Events Report, and finally the Dynamic Reports Selection Screen.
Important Note: This problem was fixed in Solar Fire 9, and therefore will only happen in Solar Fire Gold and earlier versions of Solar Fire.
2. Watching the transits circle a natal chart.
When you are viewing a biwheel of a person's chart surrounded by the transits, if you click the Animate button, Solar Fire only displays a biwheel of the transit chart in both rings. [This is a design flaw.]
If you wish to see an animated view of the transits around a natal chart, the way to do so is to retrieve and select the natal chart, then click on Dynamic, Animate Biwheel. Voilà
Remember: to read my full review of Solar Fire Gold, as well as to purchase Solar Fire 9 at a discount plus free Priority shipping worldwide (or get an update) and receive over 60 extra beautiful Art Chart pages free, click here.