All posts by Wendy Guy

SOTA News 16 Mar 2014

16 March 2014

Hi All,

Well, we’ve ALMOST made it through the winter from hell-frozen-over. Spring officially arrives on March 20th. Meanwhile, the closing of the early bird reg rates for SOTA is now about a week away. March 25 will be the last date you can take advantage of these rates. (See the countdown box in the sidebar, at right.) As of March 26, fees for Pre-Conferences, single day admissions, and full and deluxe packages will go up, though you’ll still be able to book luncheon lectures at $25 each until June.

If you were planning to send a cheque, my advice would be to get it in the mail bright and early tomorrow, since March 25 is also the received-by date for cheques. In other words, if it isn’t here on the 25th, we will no longer honor the early bird rates. Be forewarned — snooze and you lose! So you might want to consider registering at http://donnavantoen.com where PayPal is waiting for you and will take your fees in US funds. Or you can send an etransfer if you prefer. In that case, though, you’ll need to add 10% to cover that annoying exchange rate.

As you know, we don’t have a beginners’ track at SOTA. Most of our attendees are students and new astrologers, with a smattering of seasoned pros in the mix. With this in mind, we thought it might be worthwhile to add in a couple of professional development topics to go with the mix of personal development, philosophical, and technique-driven topics. One of those professional development topics will be by none other than Alison Price. Here it is:

How to Set Up and Run Your Astrology Business

This presentation covers how to transform yourself from student or hobbyist to professional astrologer. We discuss timing, naming your business, logos and artwork, your products and services, setting fees, your astrological niche, self-promotion, your comfort zone, social media, and more.

As you can see, this is going to be a very thorough discussion. If you’re on the brink of hanging out your shingle, you won’t want to miss it. And I suspect Alison may even have a few tips for some of you seasoned pros. Alison is an astrologer who has become very successful in a fairly short period of time, despite moves and despite not having done UAC or any of the bigger conferences. She’s been successful because she is good. If you’ve heard her before, you already know this. If you haven’t, why not check this presentation out. It’s always good to see how someone else does things. And as I said before, you may pick up a few pointers, no matter what your level of expertise.

 

This will actually be one of two professional development presentations at SOTA this year. The other one will be Samuel Reynolds discussing the ins and outs of writing horoscope columns. That will take place on Sunday and I’ll talk about it in more depth later.

We were supposed to have a third presentation on how to get a lecture slot by yours truly, but Demetrius talked me out of it and you’ll be getting Moon’s Nodes instead. That said, if any of you are interested in lecturing at SOTA or elsewhere, I have copious material ranging from how to write a 50-word bio to how to target your lectures to the conference you have in mind — because yes, every conference is different, and what flies at one may not fly at another for various reasons.

OK, since I am backlogged this week, I’ll keep this short. I look forward to seeing you at SOTA. And may spring arrive sunnily for us all.

Best,
Donna

 

Hi All,

    Well, we’ve ALMOST made it through the winter from hell-frozen-over. Spring officially arrives on March 20th. Meanwhile, the closing of the early bird reg rates for SOTA is now about a week away. March 25 will be the last date you can take advantage of these rates. As of March 26, fees for Pre-Conferences, single day admissions, and full and deluxe packages will go up, though you’ll still be able to book luncheon lectures at $25 each until June.

    If you were planning to send a cheque, my advice would be to get it in the mail bright and early tomorrow, since March 25 is also the received-by date for cheques. In other words, if it isn’t here on the 25th, we will no longer honor the early bird rates. Be forewarned — snooze and you lose! So you might want to consider registering at http://donnavantoen.com where PayPal is waiting for you and will take your fees in US funds. Or you can send an etransfer if you prefer. In that case, though, you’ll need to add 10% to cover that annoying exchange rate.

    As you know, we don’t have a beginners’ track at SOTA. Most of our attendees are students and new astrologers, with a smattering of seasoned pros in the mix. With this in mind, we thought it might be worthwhile to add in a couple of professional development topics to go with the mix of personal development, philosophical, and technique-driven topics. One of those professional development topics will be by none other than Alison Price. Here it is

 

How to Set Up and Run Your Astrology Business

    This presentation covers how to transform yourself from student or hobbyist to professional astrologer. We discuss timing, naming your business, logos and artwork, your products and services, setting fees, your astrological niche, self-promotion, your comfort zone, social media, and more.

 

    As you can see, this is going to be a very thorough discussion. If you’re on the brink of hanging out your shingle, you won’t want to miss it. And I suspect Alison may even have a few tips for some of you seasoned pros. Alison is an astrologer who has become very successful in a fairly short period of time, despite moves and despite not having done UAC or any of the bigger conferences. She’s been successful because she is good. If you’ve heard her before, you already know this. If you haven’t, why not check this presentation out. It’s always good to see how someone else does things. And as I said before, you may pick up a few pointers, no matter what your level of expertise.

 

    This will actually be one of two professional development presentations at SOTA this year. The other one will be Samuel Reynolds discussing the ins and outs of writing horoscope columns. That will take place on Sunday and I’ll talk about it in more depth later. We were supposed to have a third presentation on how to get a lecture slot by yours truly, but Demetrius talked me out of it and you’ll be getting Moon’s Nodes instead. That said, if any of you are interested in lecturing at SOTA or elsewhere, I have copious material ranging from how to write a 50-word bio to how to target your lectures to the conference you have in mind — because yes, every conference is different, and what flies at one may not fly at another for various reasons.

    OK, since I am backlogged this week, I’ll keep this short. I look forward to seeing you at SOTA. And may spring arrive sunnily for us all.

Best,

Donna

SOTA News 9 Mar 2014

9 March 2014

Hi All,

We’re now about 2 weeks away from the early bird registration cut-off and I am happy to say that we have already met our target. Which is wonderful, but there are still some people we’re hoping to see on our reg list. If you haven’t registered yet, it’s likely you’re one of them. And it may be that this is just too early for you to make a commitment. I fully understand that — life has this nasty way of intruding on astrology and I know some of you have commitments that keep you busy throughout the year — SOTA or no SOTA. But if you’re still sitting on the fence and are interested in coming but want to get the best possible savings on your fee, now’s the time to act.

Just go to http://donnavantoen.com and have a look around. If you like what you see, you can register right then and there. Or if you prefer, you can email me for details on sending an email transfer or a cheque. Just remember that if you’re on this side of the border there is a 10% surcharge this year to cover the exchange rate. Would that it could be otherwise, but our politicians are apparently not doing wonders for our dollar….

For those who have asked, yes, we seem to have a full contingent of staff, though I’m waiting for a couple of confirmations. However, in the event those don’t come through, I DO have a back-up list. And your old friends Angie, Bev, Diane, and Rachel will be back, along with a couple of others.

It looks like we will have a full contingent of readers too — which reminds me…if you’re a reader and are reading this, your fee is due March 31 if you haven’t paid it already. While I have verbal commitments from everyone, I hate having to nag people to send in their fees, so please help me out here, huh? It will make for a much kinder, gentler, happier convener.

As for the trade room, Billie Dommell and David Jordan will be there, as will A-C Tapes and many of the other good folks from last year. We’re also negotiating with a couple of other new vendors. I hope to have more news on that front next month.

Since I’ve had three or four people request descriptions of Saturday workshops as well as a couple of queries about my lectures specifically I’m going to oblige them. First of all, my Saturday lecture:

The Moon’s Nodes: Beyond Karma

Though it has become very trendy to discuss the Moon’s Nodes in terms of past life, they have some very definite here-and-now manifestations in terms of money, meeting people, important decisions, and more. And maybe some of these have more to do with your current life than anything in the past. Without negating karma, let’s look at this lifetime, where you’re headed, and what you might be able to gain from your experiences and environment.

I will also be lecturing on Sunday. Topic: Lifestyle Changes and the Progressed Ascendant.

Because I lecture a fair bit, I was asked specifically if I would be giving these lectures anywhere else this year. The answer is “No”. And I didn’t give them anywhere last year either. I try very hard not to give “rerun” lectures; it’s not fair to you, and to be honest I get kind of bored doing the same lecture over and over. So usually after I’ve done it half a dozen times I retire it. Sometimes it comes out of mothballs a couple of years later — often with new material — sometimes not. Both of these lectures are one that have resurfaced and been reworked, so I’m hoping they will please.

Meanwhile, Brad Kochunas will also be lecturing on Saturday. Here’s his topic:

Astrology and the Unseen Side of Relationship

Many of us experience the roller coaster of relationship. Love that we felt to be true can suddenly or gradually slide into anger, sadness, and/or separation. How can we extract value from these difficult hookups and messy endings? Let’s explore the 7th house, its planets, elements, and modalities for clues to our relational difficulties.

Now I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like a relationship well worth hearing. You may not be living on that roller coaster yourself right now, but I’d be very surprised if you don’t have a client or two living there.

Additionally, Brad will be leading the luncheon discussion on Friday on “Why Do People Really Come to Astrologers?”  Obviously Brad has some thoughts on this topic — and maybe you do too. I’m expecting the discussion to be stimulating as well as productive. You can expect to get food for thought along with some food for the body at this one. I’d advise you to register early, though. While we’ve increased our room size for the luncheons this year, space is still first-come, first-served. And because we have to order food well in advance, if you decide to drop in at the last minute, we will unfortunately be unable to accommodate you.

In addition to Brad and myself, Saturday will include lectures by Armand Diaz, Pam Gallagher, Dr. Patricia Bell and others. And yes, you’re more than welcome to sign up for a day. If Saturday is your day of choice, expect to get your money’s worth. But if you can’t make Saturday, don’t worry, because there are plenty of good lectures on Friday and Sunday too.

Come for the day or come for the duration. Either way, we’d love to see you. But if you want the best possible deal, register soon. Rates will go up effective March 26.

Until next week, stay warm and pray for sun.

Best,
Donna

 

SOTA News 2 Mar 2014

3 March 2014

Hi Everyone,

And happy March! Granted, I think many of us would be a lot happier if it was warmer, but spring IS coming. Isn’t it??? Or is Mars retrograde gonna hold it hostage? I hope not, but it’s starting to feel like anything is possible.

In order to keep warm, you’ve gotta keep moving, and that’s what we’re doing here in SOTAland. We’re now about 3 weeks away from the early bird registration process and are nearing our target, but if YOU haven’t registered yet, then there’s somebody missing. You can remedy that by going to http://donnavantoen.com where PayPal is awaiting you. Or you can send a cheque, made payable to Full Circle Seminars, to me at 35 Brock St., Suite 1405, Hamilton, ON, L8L 4L7. And yes, email transfers work too so long as you adjust your fees to reflect the exchange rate on US funds. Last time I checked, the banks were charging 11%. We’re only charging 10%. If we had a choice, we wouldn’t be charging that, but we unfortunately have no choice.

And what do you get for your money?? In addition to hearing many of your requested favorites, we have also added some new speakers to the line-up to keep you on your toes and stimulate your astrological appetite. One such speaker is Maria Mateus. Maria is a writer, translator, and lecturer who hails from Texas. She is a Kepler grad (and yes, I have to admit I’m kind of partial to Kepler grads), and was also the co-founder of the traditional track at IAA (International Academy of Astrology). But it’s hard to pigeonhole her into one category. While she DOES have keen interest in and knowledge of ancient techniques, she is also very research-oriented and has an understanding and knowledge of syntax and semantics that transcends any one type of astrology. I think this lecture will be of value to all, whether your bent is traditional, psychological, or spiritual:

Change: Form and Matter in the Chart Language

Classical philosophy is fundamental to understanding astrology. In this lecture, Maria will present Aristotle’s definition of change and illustrate how it can be applied linguistically to chart interpretation. With this philosophically-rooted syntax, you will be able to consistently decipher any potential outer world manifestation in any chart.

Now that’s quite a claim. Will Maria deliver? Do you need a Ph.D to understand this? All I can tell you is that as most of you know, I’m not a traditional astrologer. Nor am I a history buff or a philosopher. But I have heard Maria twice — both times at UAC — and come away impressed both times. Her work is original; her presentations have been clear, interesting, and thought-provoking. I haven’t heard this lecture, but I’m hoping the conference gods will allow me to sneak in for at least some of it. And I think you will both enjoy it and learn from it.

On other fronts, I am STILL sorting out the staff list, but it looks like we have a full contingent of monitors now, including back-ups. If that changes, I’ll let you know. And I’m hoping to get vendors and readers sorted out by month-end. And speaking of month-end, if you’re a reader, your fee is also due by month-end. You can mail it to the address mentioned above, or you can pay by email transfer on this side of the border. Sorry — we don’t take reader fees or vendor fees by PayPal. Oh, and by the way, we still have space for one more vendor, so if you’re interested or know someone who might be, please spread the word. And as usual, please feel free to pass this newsletter or the attached flyer on to others. We have some great speakers and we’d like them to have a great turnout.

…Ok, that’s it until next week. Stay warm and don’t let that retrograde get to you!

Best,
Donna

 

SOTA News 23 Feb 2014

Hi Everyone,

So what about that gold medal for Team Canada, huh??? I’m not a hockey fan — in fact I’m not much of a sports fan — but I have to admit that this one excited me. It just somehow seems like a good omen and a bit of sunshine in the ongoing long cold winter…

Here in SOTAland we unfortunately don’t offer medals, but if we did, I think a number of our speakers would be in the running. One such speaker is Frank Piechoski. It’s been a very long time since Frank has been at SOTA, and we’re happy to welcome him back. I think those of you who are interested in electional astrology may be happy to welcome him back as well. Here’s his topic:

Electional Astrology: A Quick and Dirty Guide

Sure-fire techniques for choosing the right time to start a business, get married, change residence, or do almost any activity. No high-handed theory here — just good, practical astrology techniques for those who want to use electional astrology more effectively.

Frank is one astrologer who always delivers what he promises in his blurb. He does a great deal of electional work and you can expect to gain from his experience. I’ll guarantee that what this WON’T be is a textbook rehash. This is one of his most popular lectures — and with good reason: The techniques he will discuss are quick, simple, and they work. So if electional is your cup of tea, come and join him. You won’t be sorry!

 

On other fronts, registrations are coming in, we’re booking our readers, and I’m hoping we’ll have a clear picture of staff needs by the end of this week. In other words, Mercury retrograde or no, SOTA is moving forward. If you like what you see on the flyer, by all means come along for the ride. PayPal is up and running, and we also accept cheques and email transfers so long as those of you on this side of the border remember to add the exchange rate adjustment. Early registration helps us plan ahead and keep our costs down. And it will help YOU get the biggest bang for your buck and the largest leverage for you loonie. We’ve got lots of goodies to partake of; all you have to do is choose. But we’re now approaching the March 25 early bird cut-off. So if you’re thinking of coming, there’s no time like the present to register. Oh, and by all means feel free to share this flyer with your friends. The more the merrier!

Until next week,

Donna

 

SOTA News 19 Feb 2014

19 February 2014

Hi All,

And happy Sun in Pisces! You know what this means — spring is coming! And it can’t be soon enough to suit me this year…I am sick to death of wind and snow and cold. Here’s hoping we’ll be seeing the last of it soon and will get a gorgeous spring to make up for it.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest edition of SOTAnews. And this time I’d like to feature a couple of Toronto-area speakers — Kelly Surtees and Michael Barwick.

As you probably know already, Kelly will be doing the keynote, Purpose and Passion, at SOTA’s opening reception. But did you know she’s also lecturing in the main portion of the conference? Uh-huh. Here’s her topic:

The Fire of 2015

How Jupiter in Leo, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Venus retrograde in Leo combine with Uranus in Aries to provide a taste of the future. After a few years in yin territory, we great 2015 with a yang focus. This provides a preview of the longer elemental Saturn/Jupiter cycle, which shifts into air in December 2020. What does fire, which is hot and dry, offer? How can this element, which represents the choleric temperament, provide clues to the year ahead?

Kelly gained her earliest lecturing experience in Australia, where, judging from her reception at the FAA conference in Hobart, she is still a big hit. We are fortunate to have her here in Ontario. And if you haven’t heard her yet, I’m sure you’ll enjoy her.

…And yes, Michael Barwick is back! Back with a very hot topic too, I might add. Here it is:

Lead into Gold: Astrology and Alchemy

Like astrology, alchemy has ancient roots and rich symbolism, some of which it shares with astrology. The goals of alchemy sound distinct: the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone, the fame of which was most recently culturally exploited in the first novel in the Harry Potter series; an elixir of fire that confers youthfulness and longevity — sort of an ultimate Oil of Olay; and the ability to change base substances into nobler ones, such as the transformation of lead into gold. Common to all is a language of developmental procedures or stages whose symbolism can be used to enhance astrological interpretation. Michael will explore how a metaphorical understanding of alchemy applied to both natal and predictive astrology can result in true gold — the development of the living, conscious, authentic self.

Years ago when I started out in astrology, there was some discussion of the interface between alchemy and astrology. Then for many years, interest in alchemy languished. There now seems to be a resurgence and it would appear that Michael is right out there at the leading edge of it. If your orientation is spiritual, metaphysical, psychological, or philosophical, you might want to check this one out.

 

One of our requests for SOTA 2014 was “more Canadian speakers”. I’m happy to tell you that just under half of our speakers this year are Canadian, but I’ll be honest — I’d be happier still if that was exactly half. And while we’re on the subject of speakers, I would have liked a couple more from the Buffalo/Niagara/upstate New York area too. And I know there are willing volunteers out there, but we need to also do our best to make our attendees happy. That’s why we only consider experienced speakers.

What? You say you’re experienced? You say you gave a lecture a couple of years ago? Uh-huh. And nothing since??? OK, let’s define “experienced” so that we’re all on the same page. Experienced, to me, means that at minimum you’ve done 2 or 3 lectures of an hour in length or more for an astrological audience either at a conference, at your local astrological group, or perhaps at a school at a guest lecturer. And ideally, you’ve done one of those lectures in the past year.

Note that most of the lecturers on the SOTA roster have been out on at least the local circuit for 5 years or more. Some, like Kelly and Michael, have also lectured at other conferences. The more you lecture, the better you get. And we want good — because if our lecturers are not good our attendees — who pay for this conference with their registration fees — complain at best and become disenchanted and don’t return at worst.

Ok, you say you haven’t lectured for an astrology group, but you’ve lectured at a psychic fair, or at your Spiritualist Church, or for the local Parents Without Partners group? Or maybe you’ve been on radio or TV. Maybe you’ve even had your own show. That’s nice, but unfortunately it’s not the kind of experience we’re looking for.

Lectures at psychic fairs or for non-astrological venues tend to be entry-level at best. The audience is different, and the requirements are different. SOTA doesn’t even have a beginners’ track anymore. We want intermediate, advanced, or specialty topics. What draws raves at a psychic fair is apt to draw sneers and sighs of “Too basic” at SOTA.

As for lectures at the Spiritualist Church or non-astrological lecturing in general, if you’re looking for a slot in the Spirit Track or Astrology And… track, your expertise may very well stand you in good stead, but as far as the astrological tracks, it’s not what we’re looking for. The audiences are different, and while there MAY be some crossover, you are generally better off sticking to what you know. As for radio shows, those too are generally geared to the general public, and additionally tend to feature call-ins. Not the skills we’re looking for.

How about teaching? OK, there are definitely similarities between teaching and lecturing, though they are not identical. For one thing, I have found that teaching online is no guarantee of lecturing ability. For one thing, audiences like your presentation to be interactive. That means they expect you to put your notes down, stop reading from your PowerPoint, and make eye contact so they can get any confusions straightened around and any questions answered. Talking heads, no matter how good the information, put people to sleep.

For another thing, if you’re teaching and you run out of time, you just pick up where you left off next week. There IS no next week at a conference. And while nobody complains if you run 2-3 minute over time, if it’s more like 15-20 minutes, you are holding up the wheels of progress and annoying attendees, staff, and possibly other speakers alike. So if your experience is mainly the result of teaching, be aware of time constraints. That said, yes, if you are currently teaching a live (in-person) class and have an intermediate topic that you’d like to present, I wouldn’t mind hearing from you. It’s too late for this year, but next year the search will begin again.

If you DON’T have the experience you need, maybe it’s time to volunteer to lecture at your local group. If you don’t have a local group, maybe it’s time to start an astrology Meetup. Or maybe it’s time to start teaching or start teaching in person rather than on line.

For those of you who are interested in the ins and outs of getting a lecture slot, I am trying to put together a FAQ sheet. This probably won’t happen for a month or so, but if you want to receive it, let me know and I’ll send it when it’s ready. For the rest of you, thanks for reading and look for more SOTAnews next week.

Best,
Donna