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Manual horoscope (2018)

Visualization board
Information Design / Product Design

The manual horoscope is a board that simulates the structure of astrological charts and allows users to experiment with its structure. It was developed as a visualization tool for learners and practitioners of horoscopic astrology.

This tool was built in MDF wood via laser cutting.

Horoscope in raw MDF

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Horoscope finished with color scheme

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Horoscope in raw MDF

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Concept

As a self-taught student of astrology, I had a lot of difficulty understanding how astrological charts work due to their highly abstract nature. There are many softwares on the internet that allow for quick generation of astrological charts, but they always require geographic and time data.

 

My proposal was therefore to create an analog tool to simulate the chart's structure without requiring real data. This way, users would be able to create and experiment with any chart, regardless of whether it is real or imagined.

 

The biggest visual inspiration for this project is the Ptolomaic model of the solar system. Though scientifically disproven, it is an interesting visual representation of how the planets are distributed in relation to the earth from closest to furthest.

From: Peter Apian, Cosmographia (1539). Reprinted in Alexandre Koyre, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore; Johns Jopkins, 1957).

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Structure

The structure of this object contains both fixed and rotatable parts. Astrological charts are circular diagrams which basically define radial positions along a circle (namely, the zodiac). Therefore, it made sense to create a fixed base structure that allows for the rotation of moving elements.

Rotatable elements

The zodiac is represented as the outer ring. As the main reference for astrological positions, it contains 12 divisions which are known as the signs, each sign therefore being divided in 30 degrees. Rotating the zodiac using the horizontal line as reference defines the position of the rising sign.

The planets are represented as rings with a circle marker. The circle marker is used to define its position along the zodiac. They are distributed in order from closest to furthest in relation to the Earth. By rotating them, it also becomes clear which ones move the fastest or slowest.

Fixed elements

The horizon is represented as a fixed horizontal arrow. The position where the arrow crosses the zodiac defines the ascendant. The meridian is represented as a semi-rotatable vertical arrow and defines the midheaven position along the zodiac.

 

The houses are represented in the very center of the object as a circle divided by 12 counter-clockwise from the horizon. This division is extended through the base of the object and can be seen between the planets' rings.

Aspects

Aspects are usually an optional feature in astrological charts. Geometrically speaking, they represent specific angular distances calculated from a specific point. In the object they are represented in each of the planets' rings as their correspondent symbols.

 

Color scheme

A color scheme was developed to differentiate between the visual elements.of the object. The signs of the zodiac where colored according to the elements. Additionally, each planetary ring has its own color. The color scheme was chosen trying to respecit their traditional associations in western astrology. They were applied with colored varnish.