Now, almost forty years later, the number of astrological software packages — for charge, shareware and freeware — is immense and continues to grow with the development of special apps for tablets and smartphones. Despite of the fact that we can detect a large amount of astrological software in different countries, there had been no scholarly attempts to investigate its history.
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The post- Soviet developments are no exception. Astrology software in the post- Soviet Era. In the late Soviet Union, officials did not approve a local individual quest for the new forms of religiosity and self-improvement. Still, gradually these became popular. It seems quite clear now that the appearance of the PC gave astrology, numerology, Tarot, pseudoscientific theory of biorhythms, and other forms of occult practices further impetus because the related ideas were often used as entertainment applications by programmers.
Computer was the medium that fixed and transmitted those changes, offering both easy charting horoscopes and detailed interpretations with psychological portraits. However, being just a tool for astrologers, the computer did not automate the important part of astrological prediction — interpretation.
Many experienced contemporary Russian astrologers, whom I have met in large cities of the former Soviet Union during my fieldwork, were originally the IT specialists or at least had the natural sciences training.
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They argued that their knowledge of mathematics and their ability to work with algorithms and models had helped them to advance in astrology even before computers became popular communication devices. Naturally, many programmers who collaborated with astrologers hoped to earn some money. Post-Soviet software is an important source for understanding how astrological teachings have been developed and who has been a big player in that milieu.
It helps to analyze possible syntheses and transfers between astrology and other occult and pseudoscientific ideas, between local and global tendencies. Another strong trend was that, because the economic crisis diminished their buying power, Russian astrologers were not able to purchase foreign astrological software, so they had to use bootlegs or pirated copies that was anyway complicated due to foreign languages or to create software with Russian interface. Such programs have been predominantly imported from Western countries. Comparing to Western European countries, where astrological programs had been written as early as at the beginning of the s, and astrological software came on the market in the late s for Denmark see, for instance, Munk , 91 , the release of Russian astrology software was a bit late.
However, despite the traumatic transition to the market economy, this process was amazingly intense. This intensity accounted for a rapid catching up with the complexity and sophistication of American and Western astrological programs of that period. Mostly these developments were oriented towards the needs of domestic Russian astrologers and their institutions the only exception is, perhaps, ZET Astrology Software released by Anatoly Zaytsev that is well-known in the West.
This lab was founded in and was headed by parapsychologist Vadim B. Polyakov — It hosted a group of scientists interested in the paranormal.
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A few of them are well known personalities. Shestopalov is known for creating an astrological calculating program later incorporated into the series of Newa software. Astrologer Vitaly Vetash pseudonym elaborated his special interpretative application Schepanovskaia , Askold and Vladimir Bogdanov, according to another source, developed the earliest Soviet astrological software Prima see also its latest version 5. Software developer Vladimir Bogdanov, moved to the USA in the early s, where, above all, he collaborated with Michael Erlewine on Matrix Software projects and published articles in Matrix Journal see, for instance, Bogdanov Early astrological programs geared to the needs of certain post- Soviet astrological schools and had been sold to their students.
One of the leading current programs, Sotis, has a great number of types for casting and analyzing horoscopes based on methods of post-Soviet astrological schools Pavel P. Globa, Sergey V. Shestopalov, Mikhail B. Levin, Pavel A. Krivoruchko and others. Astrological software in the post-Soviet space gradually evolved into a universal tool for different kinds of Western astrology. Interestingly, the calculations of those software applications are based on different sources of astrological ephemerides most of them, since , on the Swiss Ephemeris computed by Alois Treindl and Dieter Koch Astrodienst AG.
Another distinction can be made. This shows that the astrological milieu in the post-Soviet space is highly specialized and hierarchical.
In this post, I have briefly touched upon the history of astrological software in Russia. The field of astrology and computer technologies, however, has much more to reveal. Starting in the s, we can see a lot of data on how astrology around the globe had penetrated new technology and vice versa.
Still, we lack an accurate documentation of such developments, which is an important prerequisite for understanding their adaption mechanisms. Nevertheless, astrological programs and their history are important sources for the study of esoteric milieus in the late Soviet Union and thereafter. Daffett-Smith, Peter. Practical Astronomy with your Calculator. Erlewine, Michael. Manual of Computer Programming for Astrologers.
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