Lifespan is an astrological application that is tailored for teaching and learning. It runs on a website, so you don't have to go through the process of and installing it on your computer. All you need is to get login access and you're up and running, which is particularly convenient for beginners in astrology.
The interface is simple yet powerful. It is designed for gradual exploration from simple to intermediate to advanced features, as and when you learn more and get more practiced in astrology. You only see the features you opt to view, so the interface is free of clutter and allows you to focus on only the features you want to work with at any moment.
For instance, when you register for access, you are asked for your birth information. Then when you log in for the first time, you see a minimal interface for exploring into your birth horoscope, or natal chart (this is for a fictional user who was born on June 1, 1980, at 5pm in Chicago, Illinois):
You see the birth chart at the center. To its left is the events list (where you see the birth event at the outset), and to its right is a panel for selecting aspects to display on the chart. With just the aspect panel and the natal chart, you can get started with horoscope intrepretation.
However, if you want to begin at the very beginning, even before you are ready to explore the entire horoscope, you can start with the ephemeris, which lists the positions of planets for any given date.
When you pull down the Ephemeris option in the top navigation bar, you see options for Daily and Montly ephemeris. The standard ephemeris is the daily one, and when you select it, you see the daily positions of planets for the current month (e.g. October 2023, I have cropped the picture to limit it to the first few days).
You can choose to see the daily ephemeris for any month in a year, for any year. The ephemeris is the root of all horoscope data. Aside from being the starting point for all study of astrology, it is perhaps the single most handy tool for any student or practitioner of astrology.
When you’ve understood how to read the natal chart wheel, the next thing you will move on to is the aspects between planets.
Suppose you want to see only the squares (90 degrees separation aspect) and trines (120 degrees separation aspect) in a chart, you choose those two in the aspect panel. The aspects are drawn on the natal chart-squares in red, and trines in green.
In the aspect panel, you can choose any number and kinds of aspects, and also adjust their orbs (max allowed deviation from exact) as needed.
The more charts you analyze, the more you learn about the various ways in which planets, signs, and aspects characterize a person’s life. Suppose you want to look at your friend’s chart (say, Maria Cruz). You just add her birth data as an event (UI not shown for adding), and it will show up in the events list. Then clicking on the Home icon against that event will bring up her chart. (Chart not shown here.)
When you analyze a horoscope, you may want to write up notes on your observations so you can review them any time, or compare notes between different horoscopes, or share them with others. You can write notes for an event by clicking on the N icon to the right of the event name. This will bring up a text area where you can write (or edit) your notes for that event.
Forecasting requires a birth event, and a time in the future for which you want to foresee possible trends.
The primary technique astrologers use for forecasting are transits, which overlays the positions of planets on the day of the event on the netal chart, to create what’s called a 2-ring chart. The outer ring are the transiting planets, and the inner ring is the natal chart.
This example is looking to forecast trends in the life of Jane Doe (base birth event) for April 1, 2024 (event selected by clicking on the radio button next to it).
To foresee circumstances for that time, aspects from the transiting planets to the natal chart are studied. For example, here you see the 90-degree square aspect only, set for an orb of 2 degrees.
And Much More in Western Astrology
There are several other Western astrology features in Lifespan that are not described here, including midpoints and choice of house systems for natal chart analysis, and advanced timing measurements for forecasting. These features are mostly used by advanced practitioners of astrology, but if you have access to Lifespan, you will be able to work with the full slew of features including these.
For those who are learning or practicising Vedic astrology, Lifespan includes all the key features that are most often used for analysis and prediction. This tour of Lifespan doesn’t get into individual Vedic astrology features since it will occupy too much space, but here’s a collage to give you a sense of what’s available.
You can work with South Indian or North Indian style charts, with several often used amsa chart options, some key Jaimini features, nakshatra annotations and ashtakavarga computations, and predictive methods including Vimshottari and Chara dasas.
Combing tried-and-true features of Vedic with Western astrology gives you the best of both worlds!