Sunday, August 29, 2010

Horoscope Review: Birth Charts Free at

Www.alabe com is "Home of the Free Birthchart Page." Yes, online you can get a free natal horoscope: a real chart, with a not-bad computerized "mini-reading" of its meaning, and it is not a con or a ripoff.

Read the directions and enter accurate and specific information about your birth date, birth place and birth time. As a default, if you don’t know the time and Mom can’t tell you, enter 6:00 a.m., which is better than nothing. Click for your printable view of your natal horoscope chart--a sky chart shaped like a pie cut into twelve pieces, or “houses,” studded with planets. Scroll down for the computerized "mini-reading" describing what your natal planetary placements mean. This isn’t a full natal horoscope, just a good start. Thank the people at Alabe who have been doing this for more than a decade. I give the site four stars out of five; minus one star because the site is plug-ugly.

If you really like your "mini-reading," offers a detailed 30-page version for $25, or a one-year forecast of planetary transits and progressions for $35. They also sell "Relationship" readings, “Asteroid Goddess” readings, and many others, with computerized interpretations originally written by well-known astrologers. They sell books mainly for astrologers (fixed stars, anyone?), and have for download the advanced astrological calculation software called Solar Fire ($325) used by professionals. Solar Fire is not gameware. It will not spout fun readings for your friends. A dabbler or casual horoscope fan would not know the first thing to do with it.

"Alabe" is short for "astrolabe," an old-time instrument for charting the sky.'s home page displays the "current astral weather" – where the Sun, Moon and planets are right now, in the sky above Brewster, Massachusetts. It's got a small interpretive paragraph about some current aspect, a tiny detail in the scheme of things.

Enjoy your freebie natal chart. And if you really, really love your chart, sells a gold "StarDate Pendant," engraved with glyphs of your natal planets and their signs, for $350.

Under the name “Astro*Intelligence,” sells some charts with computerized interpretations originally written by respected astrologers Liz Greene and Rob Hand. Greene advises against getting ‘scopes for kids under 14, and I strongly second the motion. Despite its reputation, astrology is not for kids. And you shouldn’t be so foolish as to let a child’s horoscope affect the way you see and raise him. Some things are more important than horoscopes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Horoscope Review: Personalized DailyTransits From

Few astrology sites will calculate your transits daily and for free, but since 1995 the site of the late, flamboyant astrologer Adze Mixxe has continuously done that. With your input, the "Personal Daily Horoscope" part of the site figures the position of the planets at your birth and compares them with the current, always-changing planetary positions. The result is a list of aspects, which Adze's site interprets, a little bit.

After entering your information once, bookmark and visit to see lists of what astrologers call "transits" or "transitory aspects" : today's, tomorrow's, and yesterday's. But on Mixxe's site these are communicated in astrological symbols or glyphs. Unless you know your glyphs you get only Mixxe's brief and quirky computerized advice for each aspect: advice categorized as useful for either hours, days, or weeks. It might be a long list of aspects. It might be short. The calculations are accurate; they aren't the problem.

The problem is that Mixxe died in 1997 and the site treats his words as sacred. Were he alive he'd update the antique look of this site and delete Paul McCartney and Heather Mills as a Celebrity Hot Couple. He'd likely expand or refine his advice for each aspect. For transiting Pluto square natal Jupiter, he advises, "Challenge motivations," a phrase so vague it can't be called "wrong," but not very helpful either. Another aspect advised reading You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, so I did, and I can't say it hurt me, but it took up my time.

Know that entering your birth information does not generate a natal horoscope or "personality reading." The site offers that and other types of computerized horoscopes for a fee. Do not bother with the site's free daily Sun-sign forecasts. As one of the earliest online astrologers, Mixxe could not benefit from a competitive atmosphere such as we have today. Seekers can now choose from many daily Sun-sign scopes of more value.

Mixxe's site attracts me only when I'm too lazy to calculate my own transits. I then interpret the results using other resources. So should you. I give two stars out of five for continuing to offer free transit calculations.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Horoscope Review: Weekly Forecasts from

On Sunday evenings updates its weekly Sun-sign forecasts, which run from Monday to Monday, and if mine isn't posted yet I get impatient--so impatient that I discovered a trick. Clicking on the date menu sometimes exposes the coming week's date and its forecast. I can then read it and feel secure.

The weekly forecasts from Belgium-based combine the work of two astrologers. The sections headlined "Family," "Love," "Friendship," "Career," and "Finances," and the Karma Numbers, are by Rita Ann Freeman, a Wisconsin astrologer who seems quite the hot number in her world. After a couple of years I learned to scroll straight down to the "Weekly Overview" paragraph by Deborah Browning.

Resident astrologer at, Browning, a Canadian, has been forecasting online since 1996. Her site offers an interesting page of free horoscopes, but mainly offers fee services, specifically reports: natal, compatibility and others. They are so cheap ($9.97 for a natal report) they are certainly totally computerized.

Browning's weekly scopes are also computer-assisted. It took me a long time to see that, but this sort of advice really sticks in the mind: "If you're feeling a bit bitter when it comes to a lover or a would-be lover, you really need to get over it." Knowing I'd read that before, I googled it, finding it recycled word-for-word in Browning's scopes for all Sun signs, dating back to at least 2005. Discovering Browning's 2010 Love Scopes at, based completely on Venus transits, I find the aspect that generates that message is Venus square Ascendant, which happens twice a year. When Venus squares your Ascendant, "Get over it" is good advice.

There is nothing wrong with recycled or and recurring statements in astrology, because all planetary patterns or aspects will recur.
As long as the computerized forecast reflects current astral conditions, no harm is done. This is called "cookbook astrology." The computer is a great astrological tool, but a totally computerized horoscope is like a totally computerized doctor. Only a human astrologer can deliver the whole astral enchilada. But maybe all you want is a bit of a Sunday-night pep talk, free. That's what I want and I get it.

Deborah Browning's weekly paragraph gets an honorable three stars out of five for being rooted in the math and science part of genuine astrology.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Horoscope Review: Jeraldine Saunders, Successor to Sydney Omarr

For millions of people, Sydney Omarr (1926-2003) was the first astrologer they had ever heard of. At peak, his syndicated daily Sun-sign horoscopes appeared in 200 newspapers. To this day most daily astrology columns, printed or online, use his blend of Sun-sign astrology and advice, and almost exactly the same small inch of space, although online astrologers have no space limitations. They're just channeling Sydney Omarr!

A byproduct of Omarr's column were millions of skeptics who said, "Those things are so general they could apply to anyone," and in fact the nicest thing many astrologers could say about "Sun-sign astrology" is that it is a recent development. But thanks to Omarr's influence, millions don't know that there is any other kind. When astrology caught on big in the 1960s, Omarr went from weirdo to celeb, made a fortune selling Sun-sign annuals, and inspired imitators.

Omarr's forecasts were workmanlike, spotty, sometimes eccentric -- one predicting "Seafood tonight!" had me buying fish for supper. After 25 years I wondered who'd eventually replace him. Alternatives to Omarr had appeared and their forecasts seemed more accurate or at least more thoughtful.

Omarr appointed Jeraldine Saunders, who had briefly been his wife. A former cruise director, Saunders invented the "love boat" concept, and in 1976 published the book that inspired the Love Boat TV series, and if you don't believe me, look here. As a daily astrologer, after a shaky start Saunders has done well. She or her assistant (she will turn 87 on Sept. 3) seriously follows the ephemeris, interpreting the day's planetary aspects. There is no question the astrology is genuine. The Jeraldine Saunders scope is better-written, too -- really rather tasty -- but appears in few places online, and in some of those it's still labeled "Omarr's."

Stepping in for Sydney Omarr was no small job; so many readers had known no other name in astrology. From beyond the grave, Omarr the franchise still sells books. As the Omarr daily column became scarcer I too took my interest elsewhere, but Saunders, very Virgo, delivers reliable quality, and deserves your attention. I give her column four stars out of five.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Horoscope Review: Russell Grant's Daily Horoscopes

Whether or not it's a fact that Russell Grant is "the world's most loved astrologer," a tagline which sounds more like an affirmation to me, his detailed and well-written daily advice can be mesmerizing. Grant writes a full paragraph per Sun sign per day. This maximizes the chances that the issues and concerns he mentions will match yours. He doesn't bother to state what the astral conditions are, no doubt realizing that to casual readers, planetary positions and aspects are so much mumbo-jumbo. Instead, Grant broadly interprets astral conditions as they affect each Sun sign, giving not horoscopes but advice that sounds like a proper British next-door neighbor's. The results are so very much on target that I used to consult his site every day, and probably should resume doing that.

Allow me to demonstrate this with an example. I am indeed leaving on a trip tomorrow, but am concerned about its unusual expense. And Grant's Aquarius horoscope for tomorrow begins: "Future holiday plans incur further expenses and you might wonder what you are letting yourself [in] for. If you are travelling with friends, let them know you aren't happy. . ." Coincidence? Who cares? I now have license to tell my friends I can't spend money like it's water.

On you can barely find Grant's horoscopes among all the ads for psychics and angels, but I have discovered an alternative and better site for reading Grant's daily forecasts at Less cluttered and more navigable, provided that you know the glyph or symbol for your Sun Sign,, the site offers Grant's horoscope for both today and tomorrow. A view of both days can be very useful for thought and planning.

Grant's horoscopes & astrology main page tries to be all things to all people and thus is loaded with fun stuff to look at: women's daily and weekly horoscopes by Carole Somerville, "the most loved" female astrologer; gay and lesbian horoscopes and celebrity profiles by Philip Garcia; video horoscopes; "Zodiac Teen" reports; and even a job-search link (mostly jobs selling ad space, in the U.K. only). Grant clearly knows his readership: women, gays, teens, the curious, the unsettled, the unemployed -- people frequently and for good reason in search of online guidance in this difficult world.

All the astrologers and forecasts hosted on Russell Grant's pages deserve and will get their own reviews. Today I'm reviewing Russell Grant's daily advice, and for usefulness and detail I rate it four and a half stars out of five. The thing I hate about his site: those horrid little Sun-sign-specific animations endlessly looping alongside each sign's daily scope, the Taurus animation being the stupidest.

I have no idea about the politics of being a famous astrologer, but I know competition makes it hard to make money at the job, and few clients will pay what a horoscope is truly worth. A personal horoscope, done by a professional, is a customized work of art and interpretation. It is however much easier to keep forecasts general and vague, and try to make money advertising computer scopes and clairvoyant hotlines. Russell Grant gets points for having classy daily forecasts. You can ignore the rest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Horoscope Review: "Shocking Online Horoscope" at

Click on those little text ads saying "Scary Accurate Horoscope" or "Shocking Online Horoscope," and you may well be linked to where "Norah" is offering a FREE HOROSCOPE. Enter your name, your sign, and then choose a "wish" from a drop-down menu. Enter also your birthdate and e-mail address. You will soon receive in your email box a letter from Norah saying how special you are--so special that Norah got back to you much sooner than the stated 48-hour wait, so she could let you know about yourself and your exciting future.

The email links to a long message, the same, regardless of Sun sign -- on a webpage belonging to This message reiterates that major planetary aspects will make the next 103 days, or 23 days, or whatever, very important, but to benefit from the aspects one must take action. This message contains links to the "premium" part of "Premiumastrology": Purchase her "product," a full reading, for $80.

Now, while it is true that currently the sky holds major planetary aspects, that is always true. It is always true that the next 103 or 23 days of your life will be very important. And it is always true that to benefit most from favorable astrological conditions, you must take action. Now that you know that, you needn't give Norah your information or money.

I clicked on the "Who is Norah?" link and find she is not called an astrologer but a "psychic" and "medium" with an "international reputation." Some ads call her a "fourth generation clairvoyant," but the website doesn't, and there is no documentation or proof regarding these claims. This type of "psychic" has her audience, but it shouldn't include anyone seeking customized and genuine astrological advice. She's a "bot" or robot e-mail computer. Everyone receives the same vaguely worded messages.

Real psychics exist, but don't need to advertise; word-of-mouth suffices. Some people use telephone psychics or online psychics as counselors or sounding boards. That's fine; good luck to them all. I just want the world to know it will not get astrology from For that reason I rate zero stars out of five.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Horoscope Review: Jacqueline Bigar, Daily Newspaper Horoscope

Labeled the chintziest form of horoscope, daily-newspaper horoscopes nonetheless appear in nearly every paper, because readers demand them. These scopes are vastly important, reaching millions and generating public interest in astrology. They are the only contact with astrology some people ever have--including cynics who say, "Oh, this horoscope stuff; it's so general it could apply to anyone. Who could believe humanity is made up of 12 groups that all have certain traits." Yet these same people can't resist reading their daily forecasts, if only to find fault. Authors of these scopes have enormous power and the responsibility that comes with it.

Jacqueline Bigar's column, Bigar's Stars, begun in 1991, is syndicated to 200 U.S. newspapers and internationally, so her column is probably familiar to you if you ever pick up a paper. And you likely rate her column "Feh" without even reading it, because it's printed in the same paper that you use to line the birdcage. But Bigar wouldn't have her position if she didn't skillfully tread a very fine line, without fail. Imagine her job. She must write:
  • 12 forecasts and a birthday forecast for every day of the year, with no holidays.
  • These must be in simple language, and 50 words max, and
  • the tone must always be mild, preferably encouraging.
Each Sun-Sign forecast concludes with the word "Tonight" and a word or phrase characterizing the upcoming evening. Bigar furthermore assesses each Sun Sign forecast and assigns them one to five stars depending on the astrological currents of the day. Here is where the cynics might point out that one-star days (Bigar labels them "Yuck") almost never appear. But if Bigar gives, say, Gemini's day just one star, some Geminis will not leave the house. Honest to Pete. That's not good for the workplace and the economy! Their bosses will phone the newspaper to complain about the horoscope. The call will be transferred to the features editor. The features editor will complain to the syndicate, and the syndicate will complain to Bigar. And like everyone she wants to hold on to her job.

Now, given her workload and the severe restrictions on content, how sharp and accurate would you expect the forecasts to be? About two stars out of five? That's what I give them.

Bigar otherwise keeps a low profile. She is not a Web-celeb, and seems uninterested in keeping up with initial blog and Twitter postings. Her modest-looking website offers consultations ($179), indicating that she has time to do them and could probably use the money. Newspaper astrology serves readers better than a comic strip, yet newspaper editors consider horoscope columns "filler" or "junk entertainment" and pay accordingly.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sally Brompton: Daily in The NY Post

Before the Internet, in the grocery store checkout line I'd grab a copy of TV Guide and find astrologer Sally Brompton's scope for the approaching week. Brompton, one of Britain's three top tabloid astrologers, is a pro, and this Yank became a fan because her short weekly scopes were on point. Now I consult her column through the daily The New York Post online. Interestingly, TV Guide online, the U.S. version, does not run horoscopes, and TVguideuk's daily astrologer is Russell Grant, who delivers more or less a fortune cookie.

Although the sites for Brompton daily scopes are few -- don't go to to find them, because she's too shrewd to give anything away --her weekly scopes are even more elusive. They appear in the online version of the Sunday London Daily Mail, but you can't see them until Monday morning, London time. Media lord Rupert Murdoch owns the Mail (and TV Guide, The New York Post, FOX News and more), and he isn't giving anything away, either. Canadian national newspaper The Globe and Mail will show you Sally Brompton's "weekend" horoscope, a single entry meant to cover Saturday and Sunday. But if you consult The New York Post you will find that Brompton does write and post a separate Sunday horoscope.

Brompton also writes, in teeny-bopperese, horoscopes for the print version of the monthly Seventeen (USA). That magazine's online scopes come from

Four stars out of five for Brompton's professionalism and accuracy. Lacking one star because it's too hard for online horoscope readers to get more of her.