Category Archives: SOTA 2014

SOTA News 20 July 2014

20 July 2014

Hi All,

A heads-up: I just heard from one of our speakers who tried to book a room for Friday night and was told our room block was full. I have asked the hotel to increase our block and am hoping that will happen on Monday.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already booked your room, it’s time. Call the hotel at 1-866-961-3780 and tell them you’re with SOTA. If they tell you our room block is full, email me. I will make sure you get in at the conference rate, at least until rooms run out. And I DO think they might run out this year. So once again, we’re back at snooze and you lose.

Now you can of course look for accommodation elsewhere, but it’s to your advantage to stay at Sheraton at the Falls. Why? Well first of all, that’s where all the action is. You won’t have to run back to your hotel to change for the banquet or drop off your trade room purchases or whatever. Nor will you have to lug stuff with you. You’ll simply have to go upstairs. Instead of an hour, it’s 10 minutes max. You can hang out with the speakers for the other 50 minutes, because this is where they will be staying.

Secondly, if you want to go to evening functions like Sweet Messages or the banquet or the opening reception or the AFAN suite, you won’t have to worry about driving home or going home alone late at night or any of those things because your room will be a short elevator ride away. Nor will you have to go out in the rain, hunt for parking, etc. Once you’re there, you’re there — and if you want to connect with people, well, Sheraton at the Falls is where it happens. It’s also got the only Starbucks in town, if that’s an incentive…
Last time I checked the rooming list, there were a number of you who weren’t registered yet. Now’s the time. Once the rooms run out, they run out. ‘Nuff said…

Ok, now just in case you haven’t already registered for SOTA, let me also tempt you with a lecture offering. This one’s a 2-hour presentation by none other than Cassandra Butler:
Astrological Signatures of Psychics and Astrologers
It takes a certain type of person to buck the prevailing social consciousness and pursue astrology as a hobby or a vocation. Astrologers’ divinatory cousins — psychics and mediums — also follow a road less travelled. How are their natal charts similar to each other? Are there astrological signatures? Are there particular transits during which people become “more” psychic? Cassandra will present her original research into what makes us similar and different. Her findings just may surprise you!

Cassandra needs no introduction to you regulars. For the rest of you, she is one of Buffalo-area’s top astrological teachers. She also has strong foundations in healing and spiritual studies. And she does AMAZING foot reflexology as well, though she may not have a lot of time for that at the conference. For one thing, she will also be giving messages at Sweet Messages Friday night. In any case, Cassandra has a wealth of knowledge and is always happy to share it. And we’re always happy to have her at SOTA.

Cassandra is just one of our speakers. As you can see from the flyer, there are lots more. And that doesn’t even count our Open Forum speakers. So again, if you haven’t registered, now will be a good time. Especially if you want to attend the banquet, because tickets for that are in very short supply and probably won’t last until September.

Meanwhile, get out there and enjoy that summer weather. I look forward to seeing many of you at SOTA.


SOTA News 17 July 2014

17 July 2014

Hi All,

Well, just as Mercury went direct, my computer started to go retrograde. It has had minor surgery to remove a Trojan which kept redirecting me to sites advertising Russian women and big winnings of one sort or another when I was actually searching for dim sum. It now seems to be happy, healthy, and quick once again, so I’m off and running with another edition of SOTAnews.

Over the past week, we’ve had some discussion of Sweet Messages and have done some restructuring in order to streamline it so nobody will be waiting until 10 pm to get a message. Here’s what we’ve done: Instead of having a big room with rows of seating, we will now have round tables. Each will hold 5 people plus a medium.

When the doors open at 6:30, one of our lovely monitors will greet you and escort you to a table. She will continue escorting people until 7 pm when Chantal Patenaude will welcome all of you and briefly introduce the mediums. Then our monitor will again escort each medium to a table. So nobody will know who will be getting a message from whom until the actual time comes.

I know this is a little bit different than how we have done it in the past, but it has worked very successfully in Lily Dale for a number of years, and I’m sure it will work for us as well.

Should it happen that you don’t get there until 7:30, fear not. There will be some seating at the front where you can wait until there’s a vacancy at one of the tables. You can even have a cookie and a cup of tea or coffee while you wait. However, if you’re VERY late and don’t get there until 8:55, be aware that you’ll be out of luck. Our last seating will be at 8:45 so as not to abuse the generosity of our mediums, all of whom are donating their time at this event.

Note that Chantal Patenaude will be doing double-duty this year. Not only will she be mistress of ceremonies at Sweet Messages, she will also be discussing the paradigm shift in her lecture on Friday. Here’s the description:

Heaven and Earth: The Quantum Effect

We on earth have a direct link with the bodies in the heavens around us. That relationship has gone through many changes over time; the changes continue to this day. Have we uncovered all there is to know or are we on the verge of a major paradigm shift on all levels? Let’s explore this perspective together.

I just heard that Chantal’s lecture at Lily Dale this week drew a whopping 44 people. And she’s been lecturing at Lily Dale for a number of years, so it sounds like people know a good thing when they hear it. Come and find out for yourself!

Another person who will be doing double-duty this year — as he does most years — is Franco. Franco has always described himself as a renaissance man, and I would have to agree with him. Engineer, astrologer, musician, pagan, and lately world traveler, Franco invariably amazes, both in his role as organizer and presenter of the banquet entertainment and as a lecturer. As usual, I can’t tell you what he’s got up his sleeve in terms of banquet, because I never know. Nor have I ever been disappointed — and I don’t think you will be either. But we’ll leave that discussion for another newsletter. This time, I would like to note that Franco is displaying yet another talent this year — that of a researcher. Here’s his topic:

Astrologers: Analyze This!

Many astrologers notice a pattern in four charts and make a conclusion they have discovered a technique or a “signature”. Many mistake this as 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 presentation will give you insight into how to conduct a proper astrological analysis.

Franco has been doing some interesting research in the area of cancer of late, and I’m sure if you ask, he’ll be happy to tell you about it. In fact, I think he’s still collecting data so as to have a bigger sampling. So do ask him about this when you see him, but maybe not at the banquet. Cancer just isn’t very funny…

If you’re planning to come on Friday, you can make a day of it and hear Franco, Chantal, and a couple of other fantastic speakers. Maybe Ellen Bourn (who will also be at Sweet Messages) for example. Or maybe Adam Gainsburg. And maybe lunch with Brad Kochunas so you can find out why people really come to astrologers. No matter who you hear, you’re pretty much guaranteed a good lecture featuring new material. So come for the day or come for the duration, but by all means come and join us. We’re friendly, we’re fun, and we try to stimulate both sides of your brain…

Oh, and just in case you don’t want to be all on your own, you need to know that it’s perfectly fine to share copies of the newsletter or the flyer and to direct people to The more the merrier — and the more we’ll be able to do for SOTA 2015 as well. So spread the word!

I hope to see you there.



SOTA News 6 July 2014

6 July 2014

Hi All,

It may be summertime, but the living ain’t easy here. Rewarding, yes, but not easy. I am in the midst of clearing away copious quantities of stuff belonging to my husband, plus some stuff of mine and generally trying to get his estate settled so I can get on with my life. And in the midst of this, I’m also trying to work on SOTA.

And yes, there’s work to be done, though overall things are going very well.

Here’s what’s happening:

Sweet Messages

As many of you know, we have sometimes had mediums give messages at the opening. This year, we decided to do things a bit differently and make Sweet Messages a separate event. So on Friday night from 7-9 pm in the Ruby Room, Chantal Patenaude will be introducing a number of mediums, each of whom will be giving a number of messages. As yet, we don’t know how many mediums we will have, but we are hoping for 10 or 12, each of whom will be giving 4-5 messages to the audience.

At this point, we don’t know how many will be in the audience, but we are going to guarantee that 50 of you will receive messages. You will also receive coffee and tea or cookies as you listen and wait for your message. The one request we will be making is that no one enters or leaves while a medium is in the process of giving messages as it really disrupts the energy flow. So we will have a monitor doing door duty and we ask that you cooperate on this one. There will be breaks at regular intervals for comings and going, and we’re all will understand because we want the energy to be at its best.

We also want our mediums to be at their best, which is why we would like to get 10-12 in total. We don’t want to burn them out or abuse their generosity. Which is why at this time I’m looking for 2 or 3 mediums or psychics who have experience working from a platform or podium or otherwise in front of an audience. And yes, mediums in training are more than welcome. If this happens to be you — or if this sounds like someone you know — please contact me and I’ll give you further details.

While these are unpaid slots, I would be happy to offer a one-day admission for Friday or Saturday to anyone not already registered for the conference. And this is also a good way to get your name out there. Many of our attendees book full readings based on what they see and hear at events such as these. So why not give it a try? We can guarantee you a supportive audience as well as a bit of food and drink when you’re finished. Plus those cookies…

Open Forum

We STILL haven’t filled all our slots. Frankly, I’m surprised. But I’ve not given up. I know where some of you are hiding, and I’ll be contacting you. I’ll also have a short list of topics we would welcome, so if anyone would like to see that, let me know. We are sticking to our original rules of new speakers only and one slot per customer for the time being, though if you haven’t lectured in 2-3 years and would like one of these slots, we might possibly consider you. And yes, again, these are unpaid slots.


It’s once again time to remind — or even nag — you to reserve your hotel room. Call the hotel at 1-866-961-3780 and tell them you’re with SOTA. This is especially important for those of you who are planning to arrive on Wednesday but haven’t reserved a room yet. Our block is nearly full for Wednesday and while I may be able to get more rooms, you need to reserve now so I know where we stand. So do me a favor, huh? Reserve now!

Single-Session Tickets

You can of course register for just one Pre-Conference or just one luncheon. However, if you’ve decided you JUST want to go to Ellen Bourn’s Kabbalistic Astrology or Joe Polise’s Astrology and the Hermetic World View or whatever, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. No single-session tickets are available for anything in the main conference. We MAY offer half-day tickets, but this isn’t a certainty yet. We WILL, however, offer single-day passes both on-line and at the door.

Just remember that if you’re paying at the door, it’s US cash only. No cheques, no credit cards. Thanks for understanding.

The Banquet

We still have tickets left, but not a lot of them. Again I would reserve your space early.

OK, that’s the news of the week. Stay tuned for more next week. And meanwhile, enjoy this glorious sun.


SOTA News 29 June 2014

29 June 2014

Hi All,

And a happy July 1 or a happy July 4, whichever you celebrate. Here in SOTAland the fireworks started on June 27, and will probably continue until July 2nd if last year was any indicator. Because I am blessed with a view of both the Harbour and the Mountain I don’t even have to leave my house to see a good display. Which is wonderful because I truly enjoy them.

OK, so what’s new with SOTA? Not a lot this week. We’re close to finalizing Open Forum and close to finalizing Sweet Messages; I’m hoping to bring you more news about those next week. Meanwhile, a few updates:

As you probably already know, SOTA registration rates increased as of June 26. You can check the attached flyer and /or for further details on that. I’ve heard from a couple of people who missed the deadline and wanted to know if they could get in at the earlier rate anyway. The answer to that one is “no”. I mean that wouldn’t be very fair to those people who got their fees in on time, now would it?

For those who prefer to pay by cheque ( or email transfer  on this side of the border), yes, you can still do that, but if you’re paying in Canadian funds, there is a 10% surcharge to cover the exchange rate. In other words, the $110 single day rate of $110 US is $122 Canadian..

For those of you who have asked about Pre-Conference workshops, yes we still have space available in both workshops and we will continue to sell tickets until they are sold out or until the workshop starts. There are two things you need to know about paying at the door, though. First of all, rates will again increase as of September 26. Right now you can sign up for one Pre-Conference for $75 or both for $110. After September 25 the rate goes up to $80 for one Pre-Conference or $120 for both. Also note that if you register at the door it’s cash only in US funds.

For those of you who ARE planning to come to one or both Pre-Conferences, you need to know that our hotel room block for Wednesday night is very close to full, so I would advise you to reserve your room NOW by calling 1-866-961-3780 and telling them you’re with SOTA.

And if you ARE going to be there Wednesday night, don’t forget our wonderful early bird meet and greet in the AFAN hospitality room. Your host will once again be Eric Pride, possibly with assistance from the one and only Terry Johnson, whom of you may remember from previous years. We’re happy to have both Eric and Terry back.

As a bit of incentive, let’s talk about our morning Pre-Conference workshop with none other than Lynn Koiner. Lynn has lectured at SOTA in the past, and some of you have been asking to have her back ever since. Additionally, many of you have asked for more on medical astrology, which happens to be Lynn’s specialty.

Her Pre-Conference will cover psychological patterns of disease as they relate to the four lobes of the brain, and she will be discussing a whole boatload of different diseases from Alzheimer’s to diabetes and many, many more. Then, as a follow-up, on Friday morning she’ll be offering a 1-hour lecture on transits and progressions in medical astrology. This should give you an excellent overview of various factors in medical astrology.

Lynn has lectured at UAC, at NCGR conferences, and also throughout Europe. She is also a teacher for the International Academy of Astrology, where she teaches medical astrology of course. She has been a professional astrologer since 1969.

And if that’s not enough, she is also an excellent bargain-hunter and an absolutely delightful dining companion.  I’m sure you’ll not only enjoy her workshop and lecture but will also enjoy her as well. She is accessible and knowledgeable in addition to being an experienced presenter.

OK, that’s it for this week. As always, please feel free to share this with your friends and to let me know if you have any questions.
Enjoy those fireworks. And try to stay cool.


SOTA News 24 June 2014

24 June 2014

Hi All,

Last week I visited the hotel and it appears they are ready for us. Some updates:

  • Front desk appears to have its act together this year. I will be back again to double-check on that.
  • There is now an ice cream and fudge shop located just off the Starbucks. I am told the milkshakes are good. I can vouch for the fudge.
  • Around the corner from the hotel there is now a Smokin’ Joes, which not only has the usual cigarettes and souvenirs, but also a great coffee shop with lattes, and cappucinos, and excellent truffles and more. They also have a rather interesting show each evening featuring native dancers, music, and myth. It’s something you might want to check out.
  • Also around the corner there is a culinary center. This has a restaurant, a deli, a pastry shop, a wine boutique featuring Niagara Wines, and a Barnes and Noble. This looks like something we may use for events in future years; for this year, it’s merely something else to check out.

Meanwhile, JUNE 25 is the last day to save money on SOTA rates. As of the 26th, Deluxe and Full conference registrations increase by $50, while single-day admissions go up by $30. So if you haven’t already registered, now is the time to do it. By the weekend, the rates will have gone up…

In terms of banquets, it is now very clear that we are very likely to sell out before September, as the big room we used two years ago is no longer available for banquets. While I haven’t done a final count yet, I am guesstimating that there are about 15 spaces left. That means 15 Deluxe conference packages left. After that it will be Full Conferences only, with the option to add on the Opening Ceremonies. We will try very hard to accommodate everyone for the Opening Ceremonies, but at the moment there are no guarantees.

In terms of hotel, we still have a fair bit of space available for all nights but Wednesday. So if you’re planning to come in for the Pre-Conference workshops you need to reserve your room NOW by calling 866-961-3780 and telling them you’re with SOTA.

And speaking of Pre-Conferences, I’ve been asked about Georgia Stathis and about her workshop on Business Astrology. Georgia is an internationally-known business astrologer who has been lecturing since 1977. She has an MBA from Pepperdine College in California.

In addition to her extensive astrology and lecturing work, she is a licensed California realtor, with much expertise in forecasting real estate cycles. In fact, I initially tried to get her to lecture on real estate cycles, but she declined because a) she is not familiar with the Canadian real estate market and b), NOBODY seems to understand the Toronto real estate market. They’ve been predicting a bust for years and it still hasn’t happened. There have even been articles in the New York Times and elsewhere. So your guess is as good as anybody’s on that one.

Having said that, you can expect to get a good background in business astrology from Georgia’s workshop — not just basic stuff, but also some forecasting tips and techniques. I have heard Georgia lecture more that once. She is clear, she is accessible, and she delivers. This workshop isn’t called Basics and Beyond for nothing… And if that isn’t enough, she is also an expert on Synodic Cycles, which are crucial in forecasting.

Register before June 26th, and you can attend this lecture for a mere $70. Or you can register for both workshops for only $90. We will accept registrations right up until the workshop starts,but the longer you wait, the more you can expect to pay. So why not do yourself a favor and register now???

And don’t forget that Georgia will also be doing a 2-hour presentation on Synodics on Friday.

On other fronts, a reminder that we still have two vacant slots at Open Forum. If you want one, message me for guidelines. We COULD fill those slots with panels, but I’d just love to see some of you showing of your knowledge in them instead.

OK, I’ve been running late all week and I want to get this out to as many people as possible before the rates go up. I’d love it if you want to lend a hand and spread the word. Meanwhile, have a terrific week.