Category Archives: SOTA 2014

SOTA 12 October 2014

12 October 2014

Well folks, this is it — the very last SOTAnews before SOTA 2014. We have a fair bit to cover, so let’s get right into it.

First of all, the hotel: The conference rate has now expired. They may or may not have rooms available, but if they do, you will pay a premium. Sorry, but if you snooze, you’re bound to lose.

Secondly, PayPal will go into hibernation as of 10 pm Eastern on October 15. After that date, your only option will be to pay at the door, which will be cash only in US funds. How about a cheque? Sorry, I can’t guarantee that it will reach me in time, as I leave for the hotel before the 23rd. Interac maybe? If you’re on this side of the border, Interac MAY be an option after that date. Contact me and we can talk. Just be aware that even Interac will not be an option from the 20th onwards.

So what’s available?

  • Deluxe conference packages that include 2 luncheons.
  • Full conference packages
  • Single day admissions.
  • Pre-Conference tickets.

In terms of luncheons, it’s looking like we will have a limited quantity of tickets available at the door. They will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

As for banquets, we have 3 tickets left. They will also be available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. I’ve already had two people express interest in these, so it’s to your advantage to contact Myra, our lovely registrar, at SOTA as early in the conference as possible if you really, really want to come. We may or may not have any more tickets available. So again, snoozing gives a good chance of losing.

Tickets for the reception and keynote and for Sweet Messages will be available at the door.

There have been no further changes to the schedule, so all of the great speakers you see listed on the attached flyer will be there. One of those speakers is none other than Pam Gallagher. Here’s her blurb:

The Art of Blending Planetary Energies

Pam Gallagher
We will discuss keywords for major aspects as they relate to planetary combinations. By pairing up all of the planets using a handout, we will choose appropriate words that combine with both the easy aspects and the more challenging ones. Come practice speaking astrology!

Now this sounds pretty basic. It isn’t, unless you’ve already had good training in synthesis as well as in thinking astrologically. Many astrologers are taught keywords, which they then memorize. This lecture will take you well beyond rote memorization and into synthesis and astrological thinking. So you just might want to give it a try.

Trade Room

Pam will also be in the trade room, along with none other than Fei Cochrane. You’ll find them at the Cosmic Patterns booth, where you can get a demo of Sirius, a copy of your chart, a printout of your midpoints, any one of a number of reports, and just about anything else astrological you might desire in terms of computer output.

And since we’re talking about the trade room, let’s have one more look at who and what else will be there:

Al and Carol Godzick of A-C Tapes. You can order recordings of everything you missed from them.

AFAN. If you enjoy the hospitality suite, consider showing your support by becoming a member. They are a service organization and in addition to this and other hospitality suites, they offer scholarships to various conferences, can match you with mentors, and provide various networking opportunities.

Astrology Toronto. Yes, it’s a local group, but they have workshops that are worth the trip. Check them out!

Billee Dommell and David Jordan. Some of the best deals on jewelry and minerals you could ever hope to find. Lots and lots of neat stuff.

Gardens by Grace (Darla Guyer) has an amazing line of herbal products including soaps, oils, bath products, and much more.

Books! What would a trade room be without books? Helene Arts will be back with a wide array of books, including a few gently-used and out-of-print titles, our authors’ titles, and lots of titles related to the various workshops.

Mindy Made. Mindy Soisson makes a number of neat things, including bags, shawls, and aprons. And DO check out the aprons. They are absolutely amazing and even people like me who try to avoid domesticity can appreciate them.

Joy White and ML Vaughan. Joy is a carver. Among other things, she is bringing a selection of her gorgeous hand-carved gourds. I think you’ll like what she has to offer. They will also be offering We’Moon calendars.

Nora Sturtevant Bouvier. Nora will be bringing a wide array of prints, including many that will appeal to astrologers. I’ve already picked one out for me. Go and see which one has YOUR name on it and take it home!

Our readers. If you’re a regular, you probably already know Tim Brainard and know he’s absolutely amazing. In addition to Tim, Patricia Beers and Deirdre Norman are back again by popular demand. Our new addition this year is Aisling Arts, whose specialty is Tarot.

So there you have it. We’re hoping we have something for everyone, including some of your friends who won’t be here. Oh, and speaking of not being here, a special request to you locals. Please spread the word. The trade room is open to the general public and it’s absolutely free. Let’s keep these vendors busy and make them happy they came!

Open Forum

OK, nearly done now, but there are still a few Open Forum lectures we haven’t touched on. Let’s do that now:

Under the Same Sky: East meets West

Priya Kale
An exploration of the Vedic lunar calendar and mythology, in relation to the lunar cycles of the Tropical zodiac, Western Astrology and its symbolism.

Priya is coming to us from either NY or Bombay — not sure which, as she divides her time between both.

Smiting the Skeptics

Matthew Currie
How to smite the skeptics using their own arguments.

Matthew is also from New York and is both very bright and very funny. And this topic is one we can ALL benefit from.

The Shamanic Journey for Power

Jodie Cara Lindley
Connect to the energy of a personal power totem, through the ancient process of journeying. Be the Shaman, and ride the Drum to the cosmos.

Jodie is an up-and coming speaker from the Toronto are. Her topic is a fascinating one, so do consider checking her out.

Chinese Astrology – East Meets West

Dionne Sutherland
The twelve eastern lunar signs in Chinese astrology correspond directly to the twelve western solar signs. This offers additional information that astrologers can study.

Here’s another one for those of you interested in an East-West synthesis. Dionne has been a regular at SOTA for a number of years, but this is her first time speaking for us.

A reminder that none of the Open Forum presentations will be taped, so if one of them catches your fancy, you’d better go check it out. A-C Tapes will not have CDs of these available.


OK, one last thing before I sign off. A big, huge, gigundous thank you to our webmistress extraordinaire, Wendy Guy. Wendy has kept the web site up to date and kept me on track as well. I truly couldn’t do this without her. And if anyone out there is looking for the services of such a wizardess, she can be contacted through her website. Oh, and by the way, you might want to check out her website, Evolving Door Astrology. She does some great blogs on the current transits.

And on that note, I’m outta here. If you need me, you’ll be able to reach me by email, but as the week goes along I am apt to become more and more sporadic and slow to respond, so please be patient. Here’s hoping I’ll see many of you at SOTA — and by all means bring your friends.




SOTA 5 October 2014

Hi All,

Here’s a last-minute look at some SOTA offerings that may interest you:

First of all, Pre-Conference workshops with Lynn Koiner and Georgia Stathis still have space available as of today. You can still pay by PayPal for these, or you can pay at the door. Cost is $80 for one; $120 for both. And a reminder that if you’re paying at the door, that’s US funds only. No checks or credit cards.

Secondly, as of today we have two banquet tickets left. They may also be purchased at the door. Cost is $60 US And yes, if you’re determined to have one I will take cheque  or Interac payment until October 15. A reminder if you’re on this side of the border that yes, this IS US funds and you do have to pay the exchange rate.

We have a fabulous buffet planned, featuring marinated beef tips with a cabernet reduction, pan seared Mahi Mahi, eggplant parmesan and more. We will also have entertainment by the fabulous Franco and friend, and the usual 50/50 draw, for which you must be present to win. Who knows? You just might win back the cost of your registration. You’ll certainly win back the cost of your banquet ticket…

As for the entertainment, well, I don’t know. It has been tradition for me not to know. Sometimes I suspect that Franco doesn’t know either and that’s why I don’t know. However, he pulls it off every year and pulls in the audience too. So come and enjoy the fun.

Franco, by the way, is not just another funny guy. He is an engineer, a musician, a pagan rune-reader par excellence, and a good astrologer whose skills include research. Here’s his topic:

Astrologers: Analyze This!

Many astrologers notice a pattern in 4 charts and come to the conclusion they’ve discovered a technique. Many mistake this for being research. As a member of Alphee Lavoie’s Astrological Investigators (aka ‘Gators) and as a mechanical engineer, Franco is familiar with the statistical approach to research. This workshop will give you insight into how to conduct a proper astrological research analysis.

And for those of you wanting more info on the Open Forum lectures, here’s the remainder of the Saturday schedule. The full Open Forum schedule is up on our website thanks to the intrepid Wendy Guy. Have a look:

Are You a Tarot “Misfortune Teller”?

Rev. John Marani
This presentation will talk about the “baddies” of the tarot, and how and why to deliver the “bad news” when necessary in a reading.

This sounds like a wonderful lecture — and I’ve been hearing very good things about John. If Tarot appeals to you and you’re tired of the same old stuff, check this out!

Next up is Wade Caves:

Planetary Profiles in Horary

Wade Caves
Using techniques that are often underemployed, horary astrologers can divine rich physical descriptions of people from planetary symbolism. We’ll explore these techniques, and their implications for astrology today.

Wade is on the faculty of Deborah Houlding’s School of Traditional Astrology and is coming all the way from Los Angeles to present for us. I am hoping he’ll get a terrific turnout because I know YOU are going to get a terrific lecture.

Wade is followed by none other than our own Joyce Stewart:

Astrology and Consciousness

Joyce Stewart
This deals with the ages when we experience changing states of consciousness, and the importance of astrology and ruling planets on our lives at each stage.

Joyce has been a regular at SOTA ever since I can remember. She is a long-time student of astrology and a delightful presenter.

Last but not least, Jim Schaefer:

Where’s #1? Primary Directions

Jim Schaefer
Once the premier forecasting technique from Ptolemy to Lilly, it has reached the obscurity of the Open Forum. Why? How? What?

As you might suspect from the blurb, Jim is a questioner. He tries techniques before he buys the hype. A student of both traditional and modern Western astrology, he is a prime candidate to explain primary directions clearly and make them interesting enough for you to want to explore yourself.

OK, that’s it for now. I’ll see you next week for the last issue of SOTAnews of the season.



SOTA 2 October 2014

Hi All,

Well, the last reg cut-off has come and gone. You can STILL register — either online or by cheque or Interac, but you need to know rates have increased. We’re down to the wire now. So here’s some stuff you need to know:

You will be able to register by PayPal until October 15. At that point, PayPal will go offline and you will only be able to register at the door. And a reminder that registration at the door is cash only. What can you register for?

— Full Conference

— Single Day Lectures

— Pre-Conference Workshops

At the moment, we have only ONE banquet ticket available. If it is still available as of October 15, you will be able to pick it up at the door. Banquet tickets are strictly first-come, first-served. However, sometimes people cancel and more tickets become available. So if you want one, let me know and I’ll put you on the waiting list if the existing one is gone.

We DO have luncheon lecture tickets available, but once we put our count in, we will be unable to sell any more tickets. Which means if you want one, it’s to your advantage to order it now. We may or may not have any available at the door. If we do, they will again be strictly first-come, first-served. There will be an update on luncheon availability in a week or two.

We are still selling tickets to the Opening and Sweet Messages. If we sell out, I’ll let you know, but so far it looks like we have space in both these functions.

As for the hotel, the conference rate has expired. We still have one room left in our block, so if you need a room, contact me and I will get it transferred over to you at the conference rate. When that room is gone, so is the conference rate.

We’re down to the wire.

Meanwhile, we’ve had a couple of schedule changes. First of all, Alison Price is unable to join us this year.  Joan Ann Evelyn has graciously agreed to fill in and  will be offering a 2-hour workshop called Evolution of an Astrology Business. This will cover all of the material Alison was planning to cover and perhaps more.

Secondly, Pundit Prakash, who was going to be appearing in the Open Forum has had to cancel due to minor surgery. He will be replaced by Matthew Currie, who is going to tell you how to smite the skeptics. Don’t believe me? You’ve obviously never heard Matthew. He is bright, he is witty, and he has an way with words. I have no doubt he can smite those skeptics — and I’m pretty sure he’ll give you some tips for doing likewise.

One of our new lecturers this year is Reagan Jane Connaughton. Her topic is also a new one to SOTA — Connecting With Your Chakras Via Astrology. Here’s what she has to say about it:

Connecting With Your Chakras Via Astrology

In this lecture, we’ll explore holistic methods of balancing your spiritual and psychological levels by delving deeper into the energy wheels of your chakras and your natal chart. We will consider your cosmic DNA as a compass helping you balance chakra energy flow and will see how this connection is certain to assist you in manifesting your natal promise while invoking the Universe to help you along the way.

Reagan has CAAE certification and has been a professional astrologer since 2009. From what I hear, a number of people are looking forward to this lecture. So do check it out if the topic appeals.

We also have some excellent new speakers over in Open Forum land. I mentioned Matthew Currie briefly already. Here are a couple more:

Suzanne Montalalou has been a SOTA regular for a number of years. This year she’s lecturing. Here’s her topic:

Development Using Celtic Symbolism

This talk will help you learn to use Celtic symbolism and Archetypal figures from Celtic Mythology to develop your own spiritual abilities.

It’s nice to see Celtic archetypes represented, and Suzanne has done a great deal of research in this area.

OK, one more from Open Forum:

Most of you already know Carol Mason Godzick, since she is the “C” in A-C Tapes (which actually doesn’t do tapes anymore, but DOES provide our recording and CDs). And many of you also know that she is the daughter of the late and legendary Sophia Mason, which means she started learning astrology at an early age. Carol has lectured for her local group LCAA and received numerous kudos. Now she’s going to lecture for us — on her specialty, decanates and dwads. Here’s a description of her lecture:

Introduction to the Decanates & Dwads

The ancient idea of Decanates & Dwads is seldom used.  Why ? They can help you clarify many aspects in the chart.  Hand outs.

This is yet another one of those subjects you cover in Astrology 101 or 102 without ever being given any sort of clear rationale as to when and how to use them. Carol will fix that up in short order. And she won’t make it boring either.

There you have it — and once again I’m late. So I’m off to deal with other pressing work and looking forward to seeing you soon. Oh, and as usual, please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends.



SOTA 22 September 2014

22 September 2014

Hello again!

Well, folks, it’s crunch time. If you haven’t booked your hotel room, it’s now or never. Today is the last day to get a room at the $99 rates. If you’re planning on being at SOTA, reserve your room NOW! Call the hotel at 1-866-961-3780 and tell them you’re with SOTA. Come Tuesday, the rate will have increased, and no, I won’t be able to do anything for you. We have exceeded our room block AND gotten a discount on our initial rate. Any further snoozing guarantees you losing.

…Unless you happen to be a female attendee looking for a roommate, that is. My registrar is looking for a roommate. Her room is booked and she is a pleasure to room with. And sharing a room will cut your room rate in half.  So if that appeals to you, let me know.

Meanwhile, let’s look at some of what you’ll be missing by not attending SOTA this year. First of all, there’s our fabulous Sunday prize draw. Most conferences have a silent auction. We don’t. We have a giveaway. If you’re registered and present on Sunday, you’re eligible to win something. What? We never know! Sometimes a book, sometimes some fancy soap, sometimes a reading, sometimes a bottle of wine, sometimes a scarf, and sometimes some other goodie. Speakers and attendees donate these prizes, and they are often very generous. It’s a way of giving back. So if you’re coming and would like to donate something, let me know. Your offering will be gratefully appreciated for sure.

Secondly, there’s the AFAN hospitality suite, hosted by none other than Eric Pride. Hospitality is an under-statement with AFAN. This is THE place to be for after-lecture networking. There will be food, there will be wine, and there will be great conversation. And again, if you want to bring your favorite cheese and some crackers or a libation, feel free. It will be gratefully accepted.

Eric, by the way, will be doing double duty this year because he is a lecturer at Open Forum. Here’s his topic:

The Bridge Between Astrology and Magick

Eric Pride explores the boundary between the astrological and other esoteric communities and reveals the fruit of these mysterious intersections.

And while we’re on the subject of Open Forum, we had a cancellation this week. Pundit Prakash has had to cancel due to impending surgery. He has been replaced by none other than Matthew Currie. Stay tuned for more details on this one…

Not all of our lectures are general interest or alternative topics. We have quite a number of lectures geared to professional development. One of those is by one of your favorite lecturers, Samuel Reynolds. Here’s a description:

Horoscope Writing for Money With Love

Horoscope columns have gotten a bad rep, sometimes with good reason. The astrology seems missing from some and we’re left with vague cliches. Reynolds, a horoscope writer for several international publications, will show you how to write horoscopes that can earn money while keeping your integrity and love for astrology.

You know, I tried my hand at writing horoscope columns for about 6 months. I hated almost every minute of it. Maybe if I’d heard this first, I would have been happier and more productive with it. No matter. If you’ve ever toyed with writing horoscope columns — or if you simply want to know how it’s done, this is for you!

On another level, for you speakers and consultants, voice projection can make you or break you. So we have Kathy Thompson in Open Forum to give you a few tips:

Voice Coaching for Astrologers

Your voice and words are essential consultation and lecture tools! Techniques to improve your speaking voice, eliminate vocal fatigue, warmer tone, vocal endurance, increase range and more.

Kathy is an accomplished singer who has traveled all over the world. She is also an excellent voice coach. You might be amazed by what a bit of coaching can do for you.

Ok, so I hope some of these lectures and workshops are getting you excited. We’re aiming to give you good value, good information, and some good fun as well. But again, our fees on EVERYTHING go up September 26. So if you haven’t registered, register NOW. Snooze on this one and you’ll be paying more. Why do it?

…And on that note, I will close because I’m already running late with the mailing. Happy Fall and have a most excellent week.


SOTA 18 September 2014

18 September 2014

Hi All,

The absence of SOTAnews over the past week or so definitely doesn’t stem from a lack of news. There are a number of important things happening that you should know about.

First of all, Sheraton at the Falls has actually REDUCED our hotel rate from $117 per night to $99 per night. That’s plus tax, single or double occupancy. Additionally, they are giving each hotel guest a $15 voucher for the Seneca Casino across the street. How’s that for a nice perk. Nothing like making the hotel more affordable, is there? Note, however, that the last day to reserve your room at this rate is September 22. On the 23rd, rates will go up — this assuming rooms are still available. So don’t dawdle; call the hotel NOW at 1-866-961-3780 and tell them you’re with SOTA. Snooze on this one and you’ll definitely lose.

Second, SOTA is looking for one reader for the trade room. If you think it might be you we’re looking for, please let me know. If we haven’t filled the spot by September 25, chances are we will just run with one less reader.

Third, yes, banquet tickets are BACK! If you need one, let me know.

Fourth, the last day to register for SOTA at the current rates is September 25th. As of the 26th, ALL fees will go up. So this is another case of snooze and you lose.

Pretty much all of us here in SOTAland have spent vast portions of our lives on a spiritual journey. That journey is comprised of different things for different people. Obviously mine involved astrology, but it also encompassed a great number of other things, one being religion.

Growing up, religion only came in 3 flavors — Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. When I moved to Montreal, however, things were very different. And one of the things I remember is seeing flyers here and there that said “Maybe you’re a Baha’i and don’t know it.” Well, to make a long story short, I wasn’t, but I did spend some time learning about Baha’i and I don’t regret it one bit.

That flyer came to mind the other day when somebody asked me why there was a lecture on spellcraft on the program. And the first thing that came out of my mouth is “Because maybe you’re a spellcrafter and don’t know it.”

Most people who haven’t explored spellcraft have all kinds of weird and wonderful notions that involve sticking pins in little dolls or burning candles to make someone fall in — or out of — love. There’s a lot more to it than that, and much of it is a lot less exotic than you might think. In fact, if you write abundance checks or do other New Moon or Full Moon rituals, yes, you might be a spellcrafter without even knowing it.

Here’s what Deirdre Norman has to say in her workshop description:


A spell is simply our formalized intention. We use our intention every day — to get out of bed, to complete a project, to exercise. A spell is the use of symbolic actions and words to express our intention and focus our will in order to achieve a tangible outcome and change the world around us when other efforts are insufficient. It is most often in the form of words or a formula. In this workshop you will learn the basic steps of spellcraft for everyday use.

Not convinced that’s for you? That’s ok. Vedic astrology and astro-mythology aren’t for everyone either. That’s why we try to offer a variety of different topics and a variety of different speakers with different expertise.

So if Spellcraft isn’t for you, maybe one of these other lectures from our Open Forum track will be:

The Astrology of Movies

Adrianna Dream
Love movies? Crazy about actors? Astrology proves the stars are their roles. Grab some popcorn to watch the real magic of the big screen!

And by the way, Adrianna is serious about that popcorn. It WILL  be provided. Just remember that the Board Room holds 15 people absolute max, so it will be first come, first served.

Or how about:

The Astrology of Adolescence

Alex Trenoweth
Adolescence is frequently viewed as a difficult and troublesome time of a person’s life. However, the cycles of Jupiter and Saturn can provide beneficial insights.

Alex, by the way, is coming all the way from England by way of the ISAR conference to join us for this lecture. Let’s give her a good turnout!

And if none of these catch your fancy, worry not. We have more — LOTS more. Plus books and prints and jewelry and readers and lots and lots and lots of good conversation.

So join us, huh? Before time runs out and the rates go up. Because nice as it is, it just won’t be the same without you!

Have a good weekend and don’t forget to take your sweater. The heat wave is definitely over…