The Biggest Challenge: Separating the Forest from the Trees The biggest challenge in writing a forecast report is finding a way to give the client an understanding of which events are the most important. It is rather daunting to be presented with a 16-100 page report consisting mostly of one-paragraph-long descriptions of upcoming astrological events. There are three basic approaches that forecast report writers use to help clients “separate the forest from the trees”: Destiny and Decisions and Sky Log use this method to give users an indication of the importance of the event. When the description is twice as long as the one next to it you get the idea that this is a notable astrological event. The extra text is there to give the client advice on how to deal with the major events. Yet one still longs for a more direct method of communicating the relative importance of each event.
TimeLine puts one to six asterisks (*) next to each event to indicate how important it is. TimeLine is the only forecast report that rates the importance of each astrological event. I quibble with the algorithm used to rate each event, but I really like the clarity of having stars show you how the author rates the importance of each event. It left me longing for a means to put all the five and six star events on top so I could focus in on the most important events of the upcoming year. TimeLine does not have longer text for major events. This is unfortunate. Sky Log is the only forecast report that puts all the big events up front. I really like this approach. How cosmic it is that an author by the name of Steve Forest came up with the best solution to the “forest and tree” problem. The Sky Log report for Robin Williams is 73 pages for a full year report, but putting all the important transits up front keeps one from getting lost. A “Details” section of the report lists all the events in date order like the other reports. But even in the detailed section, Steve Forest gives a quick summary list of the events of each month before describing them in detail. Steve Forest’s Sky Log report has longer interpretations than any other forecast report. The big events have interpretations that go over one page. He gives generous advise on how to deal with each of the major and semi-major astrological events. His is the only report to include house delineations along with his delineations of the major aspects.
Forecast reports scan a 3-12 month period looking for significant interactions between the movement of the planets in the sky and one’s natal chart. All forecast reports list the transiting aspects. Sky Log and TimeLine also do progressions, sign ingresses and house ingresses.
Forecast reports are long. There are two ways to keep them to a more manageable length – decrease the time period covered by the report or decrease the number of transiting planets covered by the report. Taking the transiting Sun, Mercury, and Venus out of the report cuts the report size to one half or one third. Astrologers charge more for the longer reports and many people buy them so they have something to look at every day. It’s certainly more informative and thorough than the horoscope in the newspaper. Here’s how time period and selection of transiting planets affect the page-length of a forecast report:How Well Do they Work? To test how well these forecast reports work, I decided take a look into 1986 – the most difficult year in Robin Williams’ life. It was a bad time in his career with two movie flops (Club Paradise and The Best of Times) but a much worst time in his personal life. According to Andy Dougan’s biography Robin Williams published in 1998, “This was a period where Williams would later refer to himself as ‘walking through his personal life with all the certainty of a hemophiliac in a razor factory'” p. 104 Williams began a three-year period of deep soul searching. He started therapy for the first time in his life and begin divorce proceedings. The divorce proceedings took three years and he married Marsha Graces the same month his divorce was finalized. We expected to find important loneliness (Saturn) and death and rebirth (Pluto) transits during this time. We were not disappointed. Saturn squared Williams’ Moon and Venus that year. Pluto was trine his Moon and later conjoined his Ascendant in 1987 and 1988. The big changes in life are often a long time in coming. Sometimes a big event occurs that summarizes a whole period; other times it is a series of smaller events. Similarly, the big astrological events (transits from outer planets plus progression) can take a year or more to take their full effect, but when Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto comes to call it will change your life. Click on the following aspects from 1986 to see what the three report writers would have told Robin Williams about that very difficult year: On August 9th and 10th, 1986, Robin Williams hit a career high when he performed at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York. According to his biographer, “The concert at the Met was and remains a high point in Robin Williams’ career. This was before Good Morning Vietnam and all the success that follows that, but it is a landmark in Williams’ career in that it marks the first time that he was able to put it all together… [It] finally presents the sharpest comic mind of his generation functioning at the peak of its ability…
This was Williams clean and sober and, thanks to Marsha Garces, who was a vitally important part of his life at this stage, this was Williams able to confront his life through art. He strides around the stage at the Met with confidence and poise and delivers a routine which is almost a meditation on his life thus far.” pp. 157-158 I thought it might be interesting to look in on this time, mid-August 1986, to see if he had any “high point” aspects going on. Indeed he did. But to find it one must print out the full detailed report for each of the report writers. In astrological theory major events are like bullets from a gun. The outer planets build up pressure over a long period of time and transits of the inner planets act like triggers to release the energy. Check out what each of the report writer had to say about this high period that catalyzes all the learning from the big three transits listed above: All of these reports contain little astrological jargon and are thus easily digested by the astrologically naïve client. Yet for the astrologically naïve, I believe that Steve Forest’s Sky Log report provides the best organization and most advice. For the astrologically literate, Sky Log can seem repetitive and verbose. For these people, Destiny and Decisions or the TimeLine report may be a better option. For ease of use, one would like to stay within the same software family. If you stay in the same software family, you don’t have to reenter the birth data. Kepler users will want to take a very close look at Destiny and Decisions. Win*Star users will want to focus on Sky Log and TimeLine. Solar Fire users do not have the option of a commercial grade forecast report writer, but the free one in Solar Fire is quite passable. Astrolabe will be publishing a commercial grade forecast report in the fall of 2001.