Janus 2 Reviews


1/. Sean Lovatt from the July/August 1998 issue of the Astrological Journal.

Janus 2 is a new astrology program designed and programmed in New Zealand by Mark Griffin. If you are considering purchasing a Windows astrology package Janus should definitely be on your short list. Mark has succeeded in putting together a very easy to use package suitable for the novice as well as for experienced users, which in itself is quite an achievement. Unlike some packages Janus is very well integrated being driven from one front screen menu in an easy and logical manner. There seems to be a rule in astrological software that the more techniques a program offers the less easy it is to use. Janus completely disproves this, being both fully featured and almost unbelievably user friendly. Menus are laid out clearly and accessibly making the superb on screen help almost redundant, except for it's explanations of technique and lists of references.

A lot of thought has gone into making Janus extremely flexible - users can change customisable aspect groups in horoscope wheels as they are displayed on screen with a simple click - you can switch back and forth between different harmonics, hard, soft or Ptolemic aspects easily. The user can change the style of the chart display with numerous options including Aries charts, equal and unequal wheels as well as dials. Printed output is very good with options that let the user set things like line thickness ensuring high quality and clear hard copy.

Janus boasts a wide variety of techniques which are all implemented with the minimum of fuss. The program calculates the largest number of different house systems in any software that I have seen and the usual favourites are not ignored. Chart file handling is particularly good making it easy to create new files on the fly with space for data classification, chart notes and a variety of additional information. Time zones and coordinates for major towns and cities in the world are included in the program. A large number of different coordinate systems are catered for including various equatorial perspectives as well as tropical helio/geo and sidereal. You can create Arc transformed charts like draconic horoscopes as well as progressed, directed, planetary return charts. Fixed Stars and Arabic Parts are not neglected.

Janus has two rectification modules, the advanced being particularly useful which is similar to the dynamic quad wheel which plots around a natal chart transit, directed and progressed positions for any date.

Hit lists of combinations of transits, progressions and directions can be sorted by a variety of criteria and can use different aspects for transits and say progressions in the same list making this a fully featured part of the program.

There is a very good ephemeris maker which produces accurate positions for different coordinates including declination. In fact Janus boasts extremely accurate calculations which should meet the needs of even the most technical and demanding of astrologers.

Cosmobiology techniques are catered for with excellent midpoint information and a truly brilliant interactive cosmogram which displays a variety of different midpoint hits like directed to natal in numerous and easily changed harmonics.

The Horary wheel is admirable, you can turn the chart to any house cusp, see a comprehensive list of considerations, as well as set different rules and values like Chaldean or Egyptian term rulers.

Under the traditional button there are numerous techniques which explore medieval astrology as being popularised by Robert Zoller, including profections, firdaria and almutems.

Local Space & Astro*Carto*Graphy type maps are very usable and clear producing some of the best quality printouts available. Although the mapping techniques are not as comprehensive a dedicated astro locality program there are never-the-less fully comprehensive. Many will like the fact that you can map asteroids and other bodies, an advantage lacking in most other packages.

The built in graphic ephemeris is good, offering a variety of options and harmonics. The declination graphs cleverly allow the easy identification of parallels and contra-parallels with or without natal positions. All software could be improved on and if Janus has a significant fault it is in the area of the windows clipboard functions. Lists of transits and progression etc. are easily copied and pasted into a word processor but the same cannot be said for chart wheels. If you need a program specifically for desktop publishing Janus might not be the one for you. However unless the focus of your astrological work is Vedic astrology Janus is able to deliver. Janus is aimed at the western astrologer and should do nearly every technique that you are likely to want to explore and quite a few you may never have even heard of!

Janus is close to reaching the holy grail of astrological software in providing accurate calculations and a very large number of different techniques in an easy to use and intuitive package. It could very well be all the software you will ever need and taking into account the inclusion of well presented local space and astro-locality maps Janus is very good value for money indeed.

If you have access to the internet Janus's home page at http://astrologyhouse.co.nz is well worth a visit. Screen shots, a full list of features too numerous to mention here and other information about the program are on line.

2/. John Frawley from THE ASTROLOGER'S APPRENTICE Issue #13

Every spring a troupe of wandering hucksters set up their stalls on the nearby health and, if the weather is fine and work permits, the Master allows us a half-day’s holiday to visit the fair.  This year, indeed, he entrusted us with a couple of trines whose legs were no longer able to maintain aspects between the faster moving planets and asked us to obtain a decent price for them from one of the itinerant hawkers.

Silas, who has a way with words that is not always to his credit, took charge of the bargaining, coming away with a bright copper kettle in exchange.  Privately, however, I suspect that the breadth of the smile on his face had less to do with the acquisition of much-needed utensil for the workshop than with a length of blue riband that he had not quite managed to conceal in his breeches’ pocket.

It was only when we were emerging from seeing the Bearded Lady of Armenia that we noticed Silas was no longer with us.  He has ever an eye for comely wench, so it was no surprise to see him a short time later, arm in arm with a dimple-cheeked maiden with a blue riband in her hair.  Much to the discomfiture of some of the younger apprentices, who blushed red and developed an intense interest in the toes of their clogs, Silas brought her over to meet us, brimming with excitement as he did so. He introduced her as Anna Estaroth, serving-maid to a visiting laird,  “Tell them what you’ve been telling me, Miss Anna,” he urged.

Thus encouraged, she started forth on a tale of wonder that strained even young Hobbinol’s powers of credulity, never previously troubled by any traveller’s reminiscences or fireside story of ghosts and spectres.  “There is a computer programme,” she began, “Hight Janus, forged for a heathen king by Mark Griffin and Hamish Saunders at Astrology House in Auckland, New Zealand.”  Hobbinol’s skin, usually much the same hue as the straw in which he sleeps, turned a startling shade of white at the mention of these devilish terms.  Could Earth hold so dire and dark a place a ‘New Zealand’ – and what, then, had become of old Zealand and its unfortunate inhabitants?

Miss Estaroth continued: “It is easier to install and use than Matrix or Solar Fire.” [By now poor Hobbinol was attempting to hide himself in the sack Silas had used for carrying the trines.]  The current chart appears as soon as it is switched on, and on-line help is at hand throughout.  Like most astrology software these days it covers everything you would expect to find.  The writers have completed Robert Zoller’s traditional course, so there is access to square charts, firdaria and the like.

“The horary section, accessed from the front page, permits easy turning of the chart. It states any considerations before judgement, dignities, antiscia, mutual receptions, aspects to fixed stars and Arabian Parts, planetary aspects – both separating and applying – hour rulers, and so forth.  These are all printed with the chart for easy reference; most other software requires you to print separate pages to access this material or rummage about within the package.  What it does not do is list the accidental dignities.  The auto-clock is part of the horary page so that you can instantly draw up the chart while on the telephone.  Best of all there is plenty of room to make chart notes.  Many horary questions are too long to fit in the small space permitted in the name section in many software packages, so we are forced to create a short coded version, whereas with space for up to 800 characters these notes allow for the exact wording of the question, sub-queries embedded within it and even feedback on your judgements.”

We looked at each other with expressions of ghast amazement.  Could such things be true?  “Where can we see this creature?” we asked her, when our powers of speech had begun to return.  She eased her hand free from Silas’ embrace and pointed across the heath, past the Amazing Two-headed Fish, to where a tent of deep blue emblazoned with stars stood in a space all to itself, guarded by a huge Nubian with a scimitar stuck in his silk belt.  We hardly dared move, yet we knew we could not return to the yard having heard of such wonder and not looked for ourselves.  Each attempting to push the others before him, we made our timid way towards the booth.

Once inside, we found a magic mirror displaying flickering figures, similar to that the Master still possesses but has sworn never to use again.  Hobbinol being the smallest, we pushed him to the front and sat him down before the screen.  This Janus did indeed have magical powers, for despite never having worked in Windows before, even Hobbinol could find his way around without recourse to either advice or manual. The ephemeris stretched back to a time before even the Master was born, more that sufficient for any feasible enquiry.  Being a young lad with the first twinges of choler starting to race in his veins, Hobbinol began at once, of course, to investigate all the unseemly acts of which the programme is capable, such as casting return charts for not only all the conventional planets but also a large selection of asteroids.  I was forced to give him a smart clip around the ear to instil some decorum and remind him that he was a representative of our workshop.  Fortunately, these perverse proclivities are kept in areas of the programme which no right-minded user will ever wish to access.

Our investigation proved this ‘Janus’ to possess every attribute of which Miss Estaroth had spoken, and a great store more besides.  But any of the top-rank programmes will contain vastly more that any user could possibly want, all available with acceptable accuracy.  When everything does everything, choice rests largely on aesthetics and ease of use: on these counts, Janus has no peer.  If ever the workshop decided to replace its current wood-burning computer with one of the newfangled ‘electric’ models, Janus would without doubt be our choice of programme.  We note also that it is rather cheaper than either the market leaders or many other programmes that provide far less.

We eventually managed to wrestle young Hobbinol away from the keyboard and out of the tent.  As we make our way home across the now deserted fairground, the Nubian bellowed after us: “Janus can be purchased direct from http://astrologyhouse.co.nz.  It costs £140 and the system requirements are PC 486 higher, Windows 3.11 or higher, 11mb free hard disk space plus 8 mb RAM.”  I believe these words make sense in his own language.

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