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Typesetting astrology with LaTeX

Mon 4 Oct 2010 by mskala Tags used:

This entry gathers together information on using TeX and LaTeX for astrological documents, including both software I've released myself, and links to other resources. This is the master entry, which will be updated from time to time; I may also post brief announcements linking back to it as things get updated and changed.

The starfont package, v1.2

As of the end of September 2010, there's a new version of this package. Anthony I.P. Owen, who designed the fonts in 1993, found out about my efforts to package them for LaTeX, and he very kindly released these fonts to the public domain. That resolves the former licensing issues that had meant CTAN couldn't distribute the font files. I've put together a new version of the package including an updated license notice, the font files, and added support for the serif version of the font. You can download the new version from CTAN (information page) or locally from my site (ZIP file). You can also preview the package documentation (PDF file).

If you're not using TeX/LaTeX, you might also find the original TrueType font files useful: STRFNSAN.TTF and STRFNSER.TTF. These have been released to the public domain, notwithstanding their embedded copyright notices.

Anthony Owen also sent me four JPEG files containing scans of the booklet he used to distribute with floppy disc copies of the fonts. The booklet includes names for all the symbols in the fonts, including many that I didn't recognize when I prepared the LaTeX package. So it's likely that at some point in the future I'll put together a version 1.3 incorporating this information; until then, you can read the booklet yourselves and use the code numbers therein to typeset the extra glyphs. Here are the JPEGs: Font/back cover, pages 1 and 2, pages 3 and 4, pages 5 and 6.

The horoscop package, version 0.91ish

NEW! As of May 2013, I've posted horoscop in a GitHub repository. When I last released a version of horoscop, it only worked with dvips (not pdflatex) because of the need for arbitrary-slope lines and large circles. But that was 2008. In 2011, some nice people stepped in and created the long-promised "pict2e" LaTeX package, allowing those features in other drivers; and I have just now updated horoscop to use pict2e. The result is that now it will work with pdflatex, and it should also produce better-looking results even in dvips-based work flows. This is very new; the changes are only available in the GitHub version, and the documentation has only partially been updated. However, in the near future (since I'm kind of unemployed at the moment, and have time) I plan to package a release and submit it to CTAN for the first time, at which point the whole package should become a lot more visible.

The horoscop package is my software for typesetting astrological charts in LaTeX. It is several years old - I'm not sure when I first started working on it, but no later than 2004. It works pretty well, but I'm still calling it "beta" for the moment. Summary of features:

  • A unified interface for astrological symbols/glyphs, supporting three different astrological fonts as well as text abbreviations. 
  • Support for invoking Astrolog or Swiss Ephemeris to calculate charts.  Positions can also be specified manually. 
  • Loading and saving object and cusp positions into TeX macros. 
  • Typesetting of angles and positions as text. 
  • Ready-made templates for basic wheel charts, dial charts including multi-dials with up to four sets of objects, and decorative wheel charts. 
  • Optional variations of the standard templates:  aspect webs, highlighting for angular cusps, choice of what to include in object labels, house labels inside the houses. 
  • Low-level graphics functions for plotting in polar coordinates and building new templates. 
  • Labels move, and where necessary houses expand, to prevent crowding. 
  • Smart rounding of angles for display.

Documentation of the package, including extensive examples and implementation details, is available in a 126-page PDF file.  The package itself is available as a traditional .ins and .dtx pair, or a ready-made .sty file.  To make full use of horoscop, you will also need the starfont package, and a working installation of either Swiss Ephemeris or Astrolog. (Swiss Ephemeris is more thoroughly tested, and is recommended.) Please note that the links in this paragraph are to the last released beta version, from 2008. A more recent version is available from GitHub.

Online chart service

This mostly exists as an online demo of the horoscop package.

Visit https://edifyingfellowship.org/astro/ to start making charts, and read the FAQ for documentation.

Comments on this Web log entry have been disabled because too many people were using public comments here, inappropriately, to seek technical support. Please send me email with any questions about the software I provide.

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