50 Years of ACS!

Thomas Canfield

It was on the Vernal Equinox of 1973 that Neil Michelsen incorporated Astro Compluting Services. He did not plan it that way. He had filled out the incorporation papers, and had not gotten around to filing them   On March 20, 1973, he finally decided to stop at the state office and make an official filing. He later did a chart based on the time stamp for the incorporation.  It happened just as the Sun was at zero Aries. He never planned it that way. He always felt it was meant to be.

     ACS had begun as a home business on the side while Neil was still working for IBM. He bought a home computer, which in those days was the size of a refrigerator. He was advertising in Astrological magazines that he could provide computer generated charts.  The response was overwhelming! So many orders came through the mail that Neil complained, “I’m too busy to go to work.” This brought about his departure from IBM, and set him on the path of a computerized home business. 

     ACS might have remained in White Plains, NY if the zoning laws had not been so persnickety about operating a business from a home. Even though a computer business did not bring any issues of sanitation, noise, or pollution, Neil was ordered to move his company into an office that was zoned for business.  In the mid-1970’s Neil received a sweetheart deal to move his business to San Diego, CA. This corresponded with a time when Neil got into publishing, and he began producing the computer-generated American Ephemeris series. ACS also started publishing the works of various astrologers, most notably Zipporah Dobyns and her talented daughter, Maritha Pottenger.

    Today we are trying to maintain the legacy that Neil passed on to us. ACS has returned to its roots of being a home based business. The work can now be done on a laptop rather than a refrigerator-sized computer. Publishing is now done as print-on-demand, eliminating the need for a large warehouse to store books and a staff for shipping books. The company has downsized quite a bit, now only requiring a minimal crew to get things done.

     ACS moved to New Hampshire in 2008, just as Pluto was entering Capricorn. The Solar Return chart for ACS has Pluto in the final degree of Capricorn, about to make its dramatic entramce into Aquarius on March 23. The Sun is conjunct Mercury, and in an out-of-sign conjunction with Neptune.  We may hope for more publication and more mystical elements being added by our authors. With Ceres in opposition to this triple conjunction, this will not be a time for nurturing. It may be a time of upheavals and change as possible home location changes may interfere with the operation of the business. 

     In spite of changes, the business should continue to make money. Venus is trine the Part of Fortune. Saturn is sextile Venus, and many old customers have been returning with orders to help keep us going. The Moon is sextile Uranus, and improvements in technology may help keep the Michelsen database functioning.  Jupiter is conjunct Chiron, and both are sextile the Midheaven. New planning may help keep the business developing. Uranus is trine the Virgo Ascendant, and we may maintain the technical efficiency that will present a good public image of the company. What we need to watch out for is Eris sextile both Neptune and Mars. We cannot let imaginary grievances develop into loud arguments.

      To celebrate 50 years of ACS , we are going back to our roots of celebrating the first computerized astrological chart. For the month of March, buy a chart and get a second chart of equal value for free. Just send a chart order through our website, and then send an e-mail to tom@astrocom.com with the data for the second free chart that you want. This way you will only have to pay for one chart through the website, and you will receive two charts.  It is just a way of celebrating that computer marvel which brought ACS into being a half century ago.