Category Archives: SOTA 2018

SOTA 28 Feb 2018

Hi Everyone,

Please give a big welcome to our staff: Pam Wenzel, registrar, Char Preston (aka Mrs. Sara’s mother), assistant registrar, Sara Cartwright, recordings, Jo Gleason, program book and social media coordinator, and Karen Sully, webmistress. And our monitors and tapers: Angie Agnoni, Heather Gronachan, Mo Saladin, Wende Sharma, Wendy Tutt, and Suki Seagull and Debbie Jocko. This conference wouldn’t happen without these people.

Now that staff is confirmed, I’ll be looking at vendors. So if you’re a vendor, stay tuned. If you want to be a vendor, or if you know someone you think would be ideal, message me.

Michael Barwick

And now I’m happy to announce that Michael Barwick is back as a speaker. And he’s got a topic I think a lot of you will be interested in. Here it is:

Many Happy Returns!

Every year, the Sun returns to the point where it was when you were born, on or near your birthday and charts cast for that moment are called solar returns. Did you know that there are two such points a chart can be cast: the natal position of the Sun and the precessed position of the Sun? This means every person has two Solar Return horoscopes for any given year. Join with Michael as he explores the meanings and applications of these two kinds of returns.

Nobody talks much about the differences between precessed and unprecessed returns. So if solar returns interest you, why not come to this? You may learn something.

And meanwhile, here’s a description of that luncheon lecture I’ve been telling you to keep your eye on:

Luncheon: Huber Aspects and Their Configurations

The Huber system of psychological astrology holds that aspect patterns in themselves have motivational significance. This luncheon talk will introduce Huber notions about the different kinds of aspects and how to approach interpreting them when they combine into different configurations. Although there are a lot of possible configurations, Michael will present some simple principles for synthesis of the major patterns.

Huber was very popular maybe 10 years ago. You hear less about it now, perhaps because both Hubers have left us. However, there’s even software specifiically designed for working with the Huber system. And the principles used here can be used no matter what your system of astrology. Join Michael for lunch, explore these ideas, and see how they work in your chart.

Meanwhile, please share SOTAnews with your friends. As always, we have something to offer at an affordable price.


SOTA 14 Feb 2018

Hi Everyone,

Neither rain nor sleet nor hail will keep this from going out. I mention that only because we had sleet today and I am now growing quite a large assortment of icicles on my balcony.I hope all of your are warm and dry.

Ellen Bourn

Our featured speaker this week needs no introduction to your regulars. If you’re new to SOTA, however, you need to know that Ellen Bourn is one of our regulars — and a popular one at that. She has been a psychiatric nurse; she is a medium; and she is very knowledgeable about the Kabbalah. In fact one of her preferred topics is Astrological Kabbalah and that’s what she’s doing this year. Her topic is Kabbalistic Natal Chart Interpretation. I can tell you that I took this workshop a very long time ago and I liked it so much that I kept some of the notes.. Suffice to say that this system is quite unique and should be of interest to those of you with more metaphysical interests. Here’s her blurb for your perusal:

A Kabbalistic Perspective of the Natal Chart

The ancient and unique wisdom of the Kabbalah has been available for about 5000 years. Until recently, this Philosophy was passed on through the Oral Tradition and not written down. The Kabbalah includes a framework for Astrology, Numerology, Meditation, Angelology, Tarot and White Magic. This information was cautiously offered to a select few. Learn how the Divine Energies and the planets speak to one another. Join this conversation.

Metaphysical Offerings

I would also mention that for those of you who are metaphysically inclined, we have several more metaphysical offerings. There’s Your Birth Chart’s Reincarnation Story by Dawn Silver, for example. And Experience Mediumship: An Interactive Workshop with Patty Mac. And last but not least, there’s Telling Time with Tarot by John Marani. Note that ALL of these people are back by popular demand and all of these are included in the Deluxe Conference package.
Blurbs will follow on all of them.

Closing Ceremony and Prize Draw

Many conferences have silent auctions. We have a prize draw. And it’s free! If you’re registered for the conference, if you’re a speaker, or if you’re staff, you will get a ticket. However, you must be present on Sunday to win. All prizes are donated by speakers, vendors, and attendees. I never know what there will be until close to the draw itself. However, last year we had a vast array of books, some very nice Japanese ceramics, gift certificates for readings, jewelry, and more. So you can actually win a very nice prize to round out your conference weekend. All you have to do is be there on Sunday at 3:15. And if you want to donate something to this, by all means let me know. The more the merrier. If you have a book or a service you wish to donate, just let me know. Maybe you have a perfectly nice gift that isn’t you. You can regift it. Just let me know.

And on that note, off I go to fight with an article that keeps insisting on morphing on me. Please DO share this with people you know. Many thanks!

See you next week,

SOTA 7 Feb 2018

Hi All,

This week we have a request from one of our international speakers, Baris Ilhan.  She is looking for a ride to Chatauqua for sight-seeing during her stay.  Since I don’t drive, I’m calling for a volunteer. She is available Wednesday before the conference or possibly Sunday or Monday (which would be during the conference). If you know someone, perhaps a local, who might enjoy showing Baris Chatauqua and spending a few hours with a knowledgeable and lovely astrologer from Turkey, let me know. I’ll put you in touch. And by the way, this could earn you a day pass to SOTA, so it’s not a bad deal at all…

We have had requests for more local excursions as part of SOTA. I would LOVE to oblige on this, because Buffalo and surrounding areas are truly gorgeous and interesting. However, I fear that organizing outings is labour-intensive, especially when I’m doing it from across the border. So frankly, I’m not the right person to take this on. If one of you locals would like to do this, let me know. It’s probably too late for this year, but we could certainly add it into the mix for next year. And yes, there would be some kind of perk for the organizer, depending on how much work they have to do… Meanwhile, for those of you who want to explore, I would mention that there are local buses with good connections readily available and leaving from the airport.

I am waiting to hear from a couple of staff but it looks like we have staff positions for 2018 covered. So hopefully that bit of the work is done or close to done and I can focus on the trade room and other things.

Primary Directions – Toby Aldren

Our featured speaker this week is Toby Aldren. Toby is from Vancouver, and his good reputation precedes him. He lectured at the astrology conference in Calgary last September and drew absolute raves from some of our speakers, so here he is and here’s his topic for your perusal:

We’ll begin by reviewing the fundamental principles of Primary Directions. From there, we’ll develop a technique that has its own special place in the toolbox of contemporary astrologers. As well, Toby will introduce his original method of manipulating diurnal circles to see better the proportional location of planets in the heavens.

Now yes, this is the same topic Toby did in Calgary. However, it’s a 2-hour format and the material on diurnal circles wasn’t covered in that presentation. And if you STILL don’t want to hear it again, you can always go hear Brad Kochunas on Chiron (which we discussed last week) or Ellen Bourn on Kabbalistic Astrology (which we’ll discuss next week)

And until next week, have a good one and please share this with your friends.


SOTA 3 Feb 2018

Hi Everybody,

Good news! It is looking like we will have a full contingent of staff. Possibly including Angie Agnoni as well as most of our staff from last year. In the event that we have openings, I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, let’s look at a couple of our lecture offerings. I know a lot of you are interested in Chiron, so let’s look at what Brad Kochunas is offering this year:

Chiron: Learning to Fall

Brad Kochunas

Chiron is well-known as the “Wounded Healer.” In this we recognize that his (our) wound is a lifelong condition. How can we come to understand our perpetual woundedness (our various pathologies, failures, defects) as the necessary compost to spur our psychospiritual growth and help shape who we are, and how can psychological astrology help?

As most of you know, Brad is a licensed mental health counselor. His lectures are invariably thought-provoking, which is why we keep bringing him back. This lecture will be no doubt be the same.
And while we’re talking about Brad, a reminder about the CONFESSIONS OF FAILURE panel, which Brad will be moderating. He will be joined by Wade Caves, Kelly Surtees, and William Stickevers. They’ll be talking about what happens when a prediction fails and how that might impact both you and the client. Whether you predict, forecast, or simply do natal work, there will be food for thought courtesy of four seasoned astrologers. So DO join them for what we hope will be an exciting, informative, bullshit-free hour. Also note that this will not be taped.

Just prior to the panel, you can hear more about Chiron and the Four Major Asteroids, courtesy of Faith McInerney. Here’s a description:

Chiron and the Four Major Asteroids

Faith McInerne

Chiron’s influences on procreation, diet, dress, work and residence are described by its aspects to Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and Juno.

Clearly this is not the same old stuff. If you’re not afraid of asteroids and not afraid of midpoints, you’ve got some good information here to add to your bag of tricks.

So I DO hope you’ll consider joining us, for the day or for the duration. And please tell your friends to join us too. The more the merrier! We’re friendly and fun.

And now I have email to tend to. See you next week! And please tell your friends to join us too…


SOTA 24 Jan 2018

Hi Everyone,

Our featured speaker this week is John Green.
John is here from England. He has over 25 years in the field and is a teacher at Mercury Internet School of Astrology, as is another of our speakers, Shawn Nygaard. MISPA, by the way, is an  offshoot of Liz Greene’s Centre for Psychological Astrology in London. So we’re talking  about good credentials here. We’ve talked about Shawn before, so let’s now look at John’s topic:

Gods of War – Reclaiming the Mars Warrior: John Green

Will, drive, aggression, overt masculinity. These words often have negative connotations in our modern world. The warrior has been demoted to a safe fictional character or demonised in war. In this re-evaluation of Mars we look at its importance to us all and the problems arising if we ignore it.

Additionally, John is one of our Post- Conference presenters. His topic there is Practical Synastry — Making Synastry Work for You and Your Clients. We chose this topic because he is the author of an excellent synastry book called “Do You Love Me? The Astrology of Relationships”. And we’ll talk about this more very shortly. Suffice to say for now that John’s approach is psychological. And yes, we’re hoping his book will be available in the trade room.

For those of you who have been asking, yes, both John and Shawn will be at UAC. They each have one slot. And their topics are different. John will have a full 5 hours at SOTA counting his post-conference. So if you want to experience a first-class teacher, try to take one of these presentations in.

Shawn  has a 2-hour lecture here. He also has one at UAC, no pre or post The lecture here is on Pluto. The lecture at UAC is on Neptune and it’s an hour and a quarter. It  all  depends on what information you’re looking for.

International Speakers

Note that we have 4 1/2 international speakers this year. Besides John, there is Baris Ilhan who will be doing a pre-conference, Alan Clay, who we have talked about before, Ehsan Khazani, who will also be lecturing on “Universal Nakshatras” at SOTA, and our half-international, Kelly Surtees, who divides her time between Australia and Canada. Kelly will also be doing a pre-conference — and believe me, she may be only half-international, but she’s a lecturer and a half  — dynamic, insightful, and easy to listen to.

We’ve covered both Baris’ and Kelly’s Pre-Conferences before and also looked at Kelly’s 2-hour in the main conference “What Shall I Do With My Life?” And Baris will be doing an hour each on both the fourth and the twelfth houses. Now Baris and Kelly will both be lecturing at UAC, but they’ll be doing the usual hour and a quarter lectures. Which means if you want depth, you might want to check them out at SOTA. And Alan and Ehsan aren’t scheduled to lecture at UAC at all. So if Ehsan’s topic appeals or if you’re longing to learn more about Sedna from Alan, SOTA is the place to be. And yes, these are 2-hour presentations.

Post -Conference: William Sitckervers

And let’s not forget our other post-conference lecturer, William Stickevers. William is from California, so he’s not always around here in the EST and we’re again happy to have him. He will have a 5 full hours at SOTA, including his post-conference. In addition to his Post-Conference on Archetypal Astrology Through the Planetary Cyclic Index, he has two hour-long lectures in the main conference — The Coming Global Economic Reset, and 2030: Geopolitical Rise of the Red Dragon. He only has one lecture at UAC.

We are not UAC. But we have some excellent presenters and they won’t be rehashing their UAC lectures, assuming they’re presenting at UAC at all. You will get more depth for about half as many dollars. And you won’t have to sit through an awards banquet. Franco and friends are guaranteed to entertain rather than bore you. There is, of course, the 50/50 draw, but we’ll try to make that short and sweet, along with any other raffle we might have. (And often we don’t know until closer to the date).

So if you’re looking for an affordable conference experience, check us out. And tell your friends. At only $108 a night (plus tax) sharing a room is another way to save money. Oh, and speaking of sharing, as usual, we’d ask you to share this with your friends.