Category Archives: SOTA 2016

SOTA 3 May 2016

Hi All,

It looks like spring weather is finally showing up here. It also looks like SOTA is moving along towards heating up. We have gotten confirmations from a couple of readers and are hoping to finalize the list of mediums for the opening. We’re also moving closer towards having a bookseller. I would mention that we may or may not still need one more reader for the trade room. If this interests you, email me and I’ll be happy to send you more details.

Registration Special Offers

If you’re planning to take advantage of the at-par rate for Canadians or the 4-for-3 special, time is running out. These will both expire May 31. A word to the wise should be sufficient on that one.

Also, if you’re a potential vendor, be aware that we will not hold space for you beyond June 25. Any space left at that time will be strictly first-come, first-served and we may not be able to accommodate requests for either wall space or multiple tables. ‘Nuff said on that one too.

Not a lot of news this week, since I have been kept busy with tax season and various domesticities that got behind while I was away. Hopefully there will be more news next week. Meanwhile, let’s look at another lecture:

Speaker: Shelley Ackerman

Shelley Ackerman was here years ago. At that time she did a lecture on the charts of entertainers — a lecture for which she is well qualified, since Shelley has been active in the entertainment field herself. In the interim, however, she has made quite a name for herself in the astrological pond with her mundane work. Here’s her lecture:

Rude Awakening Uranus in Taurus 2018 -2025

Spring 2018: The daunting and “muscular” transit of Saturn/Pluto in Capricorn will be met and ignited by Uranus in Taurus.

How will Earth respond this time? Historically, Uranus in Taurus has always coincided with the introduction of new values while shaking up the economic status quo.

But this particular planetary combination is unprecedented. How will it play out? We will explore several likely scenarios.

Now I ask you, how can you possibly ignore an opportunity for a look ahead presented by a top astrologer. Don’t miss this one.


I’d also like to briefly mention the banquet. Last year, if you’ll recall, we held it in the Courtyard, which was a lovely venue — EXCEPT for the kids splashing and squealing in the pool. The hotel will not close the pool to other guests, so we have moved the banquet to the Fillmore Room. It’s not as glamorous, but the acoustics are better and there will be no noisy children unless one of you decides to bring some. The food will be buffet and a menu will turn up in the summer.

While I know that you can NEVER please everyone with a banquet menu, this one got very high marks for both quality and variety of food. We DO try to accommodate both vegans and vegetarians as well as carnivores. And if you have special needs we will do our best to meet them if you let me know in advance. Note that I am saying special needs — for example if you have celiac disease, diverticulitis, nut allergies, or anything along those lines. If you are simply a picky eater or are on some kind of self-prescribed diet, you may simply have to pick and choose. But we DO have a variety — and as I said, people were pretty well-pleased with the fare. This hotel is noted for its food and is a popular local spot for weddings and banquets.

We have decided against a band. This is another place where you can’t please everybody. However, a band is expensive and we would rather put the money into speakers — because really, that’s what SOTA is about. We will, however, have the usual infamous 50-50 draw (which has been known to be good entertainment all on its own) and REAL entertainment by the fabulous Franco and his cast of several. Who knows? Maybe this year he’ll convince Shelley to be a part of it?


Oh, and for those of you who missed last year, we now have pictures up on our Facebook web page, courtesy of long-time attendee Bill Buchan. Just  search for SOTA Astrology Conference and you’ll find them along with a bunch of interesting articles and commentary. Thanks go to Demetrius Bagley for keeping this up-to-date.

And on that note, I have 4 bags of laundry  warning me that if  I don’t put stuff away I will be forced to iron — which may not be as bad as doing taxes, but it’s definitely in my top 10 tasks to avoid list. Have a good week — and don’t forget to share SOTAnews with your friends!




SOTA 24 April 2016

Hi Everyone,

I am back from GLAC. Best one ever! I heard some good speakers, danced up a storm and otherwise partied well. Also came home with books and jewelry. Congratulations to Pam Wenzel, Sue Bacon, Sara Cartwright and the rest of the GLAC staff for putting together this wonderful conference. I came home exhausted but happy

…And note that we have a conference pass to GLAC 2017 as a door prize at the SOTA banquet this year. No word on dates, speakers, or other possible changes for next year at this time, but we’ll keep you posted closer to the date.

…And now it’s back to SOTA. I was happy to see that a couple of people have taken advantage of the Full registration at par for Canadians. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, you’ve still got time to take advantage of it. The offer is good until May 31, but it’s strictly cheques or email transfer. You can’t register on line for this. I’ve also had at least one grousing query as to why not the Deluxe package. Simple — we can’t afford to do that. You have a budget. We do too. And we’re not in a position to take a loss. This is STILL a good value and a savings, even if you have to pay for the opening and other extras in US funds. And let’s face it — not all of you come to the opening or the banquet anyway…

Also note that we still have a 4-for-the-price of-three special going. This is also for Full conference and also runs until May 31. And since it is payable in US funds, yes, you can pay by PayPal. Or by check if you prefer. Why not share SOTA with your friends? The more, the merrier!

If you need more info on these, you can either contact me or check out the Special Offers page.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to confirm that both Tim Brainard and Pat Beers will be back in the trade room as readers. Tim will also be taking part in our Mediums and Messages program Thursday night along with 4 other as-yet-to-be-determined mediums. So 15 of you will be treated to a special message and the rest of you can prepare to be amazed. This is no trick. These mediums are specific and accurate. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t do this.

We’re still looking for at least one more experienced reader for the trade room. If you think that might be you, please email me and give me a bit of info on yourself and your specialty. We’d like to have a few back-up names on file in case we need to add another medium later.

On other fronts, we still have space for vendors, so if you’re interested, please let me know.  Space is strictly first-come, first-served, and this year I’d really like to have the trade room finalized by June 25 absolute latest. NO space will be held after that date, not even if you’re a regular. Meanwhile, yes, I AM holding space for a couple of you regulars, but only until June 25.

For those who have asked, the AFAN hospitality suite is a go. I hope to have more about that next week.

…And in case you missed it, Jessica Lanyadoo will be back by popular demand. And she’ll be doing a lecture that should appeal to most of you:

Making The Most Of Your Crazy

In this class we will explore what planets govern the most common mental health maladies (as opposed to severe mental illness), the spiritual roots of our struggles and predispositions, and how to best cope with them. We will explore the motivation of the planets that govern our issues to better understand our own needs.

I don’t know about you, but I very definitely have a crazy — and I am fond of making the most of it. If you have one too, this is a lecture you won’t want to miss!

Additionally, Jessica will be lecturing on Understanding and Maintaining Health Through Astrology. Since we’ve had a LOT of requests for more medical and health-related astrology, it’s worth your while to stick around on Sunday afternoon for this one. Maybe even stick around until Monday. Then you can join us at The Half-Asleep Prophets’ Party Sunday evening and take in a post-conference or two on Monday

That’s  the news for this week. More next week for sure. And don’t forget to share SOTAnews with your friends!




SOTA 5 April 2016

Hi All,


I need to open this time with a correction. Some of you may have gotten a flyer saying that the Deluxe conference package includes 2 lunches. That was a mistake. Somehow this remained on the flyer from last year when we ran out of banquets. The Deluxe package actually includes the Opening, the How To, What To mini-lectures Friday night, and the banquet. Luncheon lectures are extra. I apologize for the confusion. You can download the corrected flyer here or from the website sidebar.

Two Full Conference Specials

Secondly, a reminder that we have two Full Conference specials running at the moment, both of which are valid until 10 pm Eastern, May 31. One of these is a Canadian money at par special, meaning you can register for SOTA for only $200 Canadian. The other one is a 4-for-the-price-of-3 special, where 4 people can register for the full conference for only $600 US.

Some conditions apply for both of these; for example, the Canadian money at par is cheque or email transfer (Interac) only. You can check out the Special Offers page on our website for the details on the 4-for-3. Or you can email me for more information. Note that these packages do not include banquet, opening, or anything other than the main conference lectures; extras, regrettably, will cost you extra because they cost US extra and we can’t afford to operate at a loss. However, you will still be getting remarkably good value for your money. We have a full contingent of excellent speakers, including some old favorites, and some new-to-SOTA presenters.


Third, just after I finished this, I got a cancellation notice from Ronnie Dreyer. She has a family commitment — a wedding — the same weekend. It was totally beyond her control and she is not happy about it. Neither are we. Ronnie was one of your favorite presenters last year, and she will be missed. But fortunately, we had other presenters waiting in the wings, ready and able to fill the gap.

One of those  presenters is none other than David Cochrane. You may know David because of Cosmic Patterns. However, he is a tireless researcher and a frequent presenter at UAC. He also has some excellent instructional videos on YouTube. You don’t see him so much at regional conferences, because well, all that research takes time. But he WILL be at SOTA this year. Here’s his topic:

The Discovery of Why Astrology Works: Fractal Sacred Geometry

Astrologers have very recently discovered that the tropical zodiac is a perfect representation of prime number and Fibonacci number sequences! This is now understood in detail. Science, mysticism, astrology, and psychic ability are not antithetical to each other but rather are different lenses into the same awesome and mysterious reality.

And in case you are worrying about this topic being too dry or too complicated, stop now! David is a good teacher and a clear presenter. And he is very definitely neither dry or humorless, despite him being in my opinion, one of the finest minds in astrology today. So you just might want to add this one to your list of must-hears.

And since David is now filling in for Ronnie Dreyer, here’s his second topic:

Marriage and the Navamsa Chart

Vedic astrologers regard the navamsa chart as extremely important. It is not possible to give an astrological reading without it. It is often called a chart of dharma, marriage, and happiness. We will learn what the navamsa chart is and we will see examples of its power in relationships.

David has done extensive work with harmonics and I can’t think of anyone better to introduce you to the navamsa chart.

David, Fei, or both of them will also be doing a Sirius demonstration as part of our How To, What To series. People have been asking for something like this for years, and we simply haven’t had space in the main conference program. So if you want to learn more about how to use Sirius — and believe me, Sirius has more features than the average astrologer will ever get around to using on a regular basis — come and give this a listen. And check them out in the trade room too…

Oh, and for those of you wondering about Solar Fire, we’re hoping we can get a demonstration going for that too.

Our other new presenter is Aaron Fried. Aaron is an up-and-coming astrologer currently from the Buffalo area. He will be filling in for Ronnie for the luncheon lecture. I don’t have a topic description yet, but here’s his title:

Astrology as a Contemplative Art: Metaphysical Medicine

Since Aaron is a Yogi as well as an astrologer, I strongly suspect he will have something of value to say. And while it will have nothing to do with twins, perhaps we  can get Ronnie back next year to present her research.

Aaron will also be presenting as part of the How To, What To, When To, Why To mini-lectures on Friday night. More about that another time…


And on that note, please be aware, SOTA will be in hiatus for a couple of weeks while I attend GLAC, work on the trade room, where we STILL have no confirmation from a bookseller, and finalize the roster for Mediums and Messages at the opening. I hope to come back with lots of news for you.

I also hope to come back with a revised flyer that reflects our lecture changes. Note that the info about the Deluxe package HAS been changed.

Meanwhile, pray for spring and enjoy your astrology. I hope to see some of you at GLAC.




SOTA 27 March 2016

Hi All,

Well, the early bird rates have come and gone. A BIG thank you to all of you who registered. We have had record numbers; in fact, we’ve already met our June 25 target.

Canadian Registration Special

Just one thing bothers me. Specifically, our Canadians are not signing up. And frankly I can’t blame them. They get hit with a 25-30% surcharge right across the board. So we’ve been trying to come up with some kind of a price break that won’t break our budget too, given that we are also paying for everything in US funds. And we’ve decided that here’s what we can do:

Between April 1 and May 31 those of you on this side of the border can register for the Full Conference package for $200 Canadian. Full conference does not include the opening, the Friday night how to what to, or the banquet. These would need to be paid for in US funds. The same for the luncheons and the Pre and Post conference stuff.  But you will still get all those great lectures in the main portion of the conference without having to pay an additional $40-$50 in exchange.

You can either pay by cheque or Interac (email transfer) and we will honor this fee until May 31. After that, it’s back to US dollars again. Americans, please note that this applies to Canadian residents ONLY. Every time I try this some clever soul from the US sends me a money order in Canadian funds. This year those will be returned.

4-for-3 Registration Special

However, before you start crying foul, here’s another deal just for you, and this one will work on either side of the border. It’s designed for those of you who want to save money not just on the conference but maybe on the hotel too. So between April 1 and May 31, if 4 people register together, we’ll do a 4-for-3 package. In other words, 4 register, but you pay for 3.

This one is again Full Conference only and it is also US funds only. No extras are included, but with the money you save you can maybe sign up for a luncheon or the How To What To or something else you like. The only thing is that to do that, you’ll need to register for those things separately. With 4 people registering at once, it’s just too hard to keep track of who is signing up for what. But yes, you will be able to register for this on PayPal or you can send your checks to me at the address on the flyer.

And yes, you CAN squeeze 4 people in a room, which means said room will cost you around $30 US a night. That said, I am not recommending you squeeze yourselves 4 to a room; those bathrooms are small! But having said that, I do know several people who did 3 to a room last time, lived to tell about it, and are actually still speaking. So it all depends on you. But either way, you’ll get to hear all those great main conference lectures assuming you can get out of the bathroom in time.

AFAN Scholarships

Now if that’s not enough, our good friends at AFAN are also giving away scholarships again. If you qualify, this could REALLY be the answer to your dreams! Here’s the info:

The Association for Astrological Networking steering committee is happy to announce that AFAN will be awarding $3000 in scholarships for 2016. The purpose of these scholarships is to provide members with the resources to further their astrological knowledge and enhance their professional skills.

Please note that in order to be eligible to apply for a scholarship you must be an AFAN member in good standing for the year 2016 when you submit your application.

The following are the scholarships available this year as a benefit of your membership status within AFAN:

Two $300 Conference-of-Your-Choice Scholarships (such as AFA, NORWAC, NCGR, SOTA, or similar conferences) Recipients of the conference of your choice scholarships will be required to serve a minimum of one-half hour per day at the AFAN booth during the conference.

Two $700 Full Conference Scholarships, for registration, hotel and meal expenses at a conference of your choice. Recipients of the Full Conference Scholarships will be required to serve a minimum of 1 hour per day at the AFAN booth during the conference.

Two $500 Study Stipends. Applications will be accepted for one course or term of study online or in person, up to a maximum of $500. Eligible classes for this category are those available through a school/association/etc., which offers multiple teachers or styles rather than private tutoring.

How to Apply:

All current AFAN members in good standing are eligible to apply for the scholarships. Applications should be sent by email to and should include:

  • The specific scholarship(s) applied for.
  • A short explanation of your background in astrology so far.
  • How the scholarship would help you further your aims in astrology.
  • A statement of financial need.
  • For study stipend grants only, please also include the cost for the specific study term or project proposal.

Your application must be received by April 8, 2016.

Scholarship recipients will write a brief article about their experiences to be published in the AFAN newsletter. Conference scholarship recipients will also assist at the AFAN membership table during the conference attended.

All applicants will be notified of results by April 15, 2016. Any questions/comments about AFAN’s 2016 Scholarships should be addressed to:

Frank Piechoski and/or Nadiya Shah,
Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs

And yes, you have to be a member to take advantage of this.  But if you’re not a member, I have to ask you why not.  AFAN, if you’ll recall, is the organization that sponsors our wonderful hospitality each year (last year in conjunction with Astrology Toronto, which is another group you should join if you’re local).

They are unlike any other group out there in terms of the services they provide to members. They do hospitality and networking functions, they provide scholarships, they can provide study buddies, and they offer many other worthwhile services. And they put every bit of their money back into the astrological community. No boondoggles with this lot. Alas, they are sometimes forgotten because they don’t have a flashy newsletter featuring trendy techniques, and they don’t have a grandstanding leader tooting a great big horn. So please support them and please check them out. And if you’re not eligible for this, so sorry for your luck. Now you know!


And after all that, I can still hear a lone voicing crying in the wilderness, “But what about the GLAC discount?” I know that we have traditionally offered one, but regrettably we won’t be doing that this year. You can instead take advantage of one of the above. Or you can enter the raffle for the free Full conference admission which will be held at the GLAC banquet.

Christopher Renstrom

Ok, so since we’ve been talking about the wonderful lectures you can hear in the main portion of the conference, let me give you just one example by Christopher Renstrom:

What Kind of God Are You?

If you could be God, what kind of God would you be? The Sun represents the Self, but Jupiter represents the Divine Being the Self was created in the image of. The planet of morals, justice, and plenty, Jupiter’s horoscope placement shapes our expectations of good fortune and higher purpose.

If I was to give an award for the most intriguing lecture title this year, it would definitely go to Christopher for this lecture. It’s generated LOTS of interest. And I suspect Christopher will generate a lot of interest too. He is a charismatic and engaging speaker with good knowledge of both mythology and history. So come and see what kind of a god  YOU are according to your chart.


Christopher Renstrom, Jodie Forrest, Ed Tamplin, Kelly Surtees, and lots more good speakers will be lecturing at SOTA. Come and join us — and them.

Oh, and before I sign off, PLEASE share this newsletter with your friends. Since many of you are already registered, I may be preaching to the converted. We’d love to introduce some new people to the SOTA experience — and I hope the above makes that a bit easier to facilitate.




SOTA 22 March 2016

Hi All,

Well, it’s now officially spring and guess what? It’s gotten cold again. In fact, they are predicting snow flurries for tonight. However, that hasn’t cooled off SOTA.  Registrations are coming in at a good pace ahead of the early bird registration deadline at 10 pm Eastern on Friday. Rates will be going up on the 26th, so if you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to get your registration in. Many of you have done that already; in fact we’re very pleased with the response to date. But if you still need to add your name to the reg list, there’s still time to do it. Just go to the Registration page and fill out the form provided. We’re looking forward to hearing from ALL of you.

SOTA Staff

I am happy to report that we now have a full contingent of staff. Wanda Davies will be joining Angie, Rachel, Cindy, Bev, and Elizabeth. We’re happy to have her aboard. You ladies will be getting an email very shortly detailing what will be happening this year.

Trade Room

Now that staffing us under control, it’s time to get the trade room up, running, and finalized. At this point Billee Dommell and David Jordan will be back with their wonderful array of gems and minerals, A-C Tapes will be back with all your CD needs, and Silver Raven Soaps will be back with some yummy soaps and other body care lovelies to treat yourself with. And yes, we are currently negotiating with a bookseller, so I’m hoping to have news on this shortly.

Meanwhile, several of you from last year have expressed interest in coming back, and yes, we’d love to have all of you. However, we need to be sure we have space for everybody, so we are now at second call for the trade room. That means that in order to reserve the quantity of tables you need, we will be looking for a firm commitment very soon. Once we reach April 25, we will no longer hold space without a table fee or a deposit. After that date it will be strictly first-come, first-served until space fills. Now if you only need one table and are fine with aisle space, we may still have room, but again it will be first-come, first-served, and chances of getting multiple tables may not be good. So now is the time to reserve.

And for you attendees, you need to know that the trade room probably won’t open until 9 am or shortly before this year. Vendors tell me that trade room traffic is close to nil before 9, so it seems sensible to give them another hour to sleep, drink coffee, or simply get ready. Also note that we will be keeping the trade room open until at least 7 Friday night. If traffic warrants, we’ll keep it open longer. However again, if there’s no traffic, what’s the point? You can make the vendors happy by spreading the word with your friends. Admission to the trade room is free for all whether you’re attending the conference or not. And it’s a great place for a bit of early Christmas shopping. So spread the word!

Opening Ceremonies, Mediums & Messages

Additionally we’re working on plans for our opening, which in addition to the usual food, introductions, and getting acquainted or reacquainted, will also feature messages from 6 mediums, some of whom you may remember from Mediums and Messages. We  have done this in the past, and it’s pretty amazing to see what these talented mediums can tell you just by looking at you. This year we have an abundance of excellent mediums available and at the moment, we’re trying to decide which of these you will be seeing in action. So stay tuned on this one as well.

How to, What to, When to, Why to

In addition to later trade room hours Friday night, we also have a very special 2-hour program called How To, What To, When To, Why To. This will consist of 9 short and sweet, lectures on various tips and tricks on everything from astrology to mediumship. We’re even going to have a tutorial on Sirius by none other than David Cochrane — and we’ll have another one on Solar Fire if Astrolabe can find us someone to do it.

Unlike  our past Open Forum -type mini-lectures, we DO have some people in mind for this program and some of you will no doubt be hearing from me. That said, just because we have speakers in mind doesn’t mean they will accept. So if you’d absolutely love do do something along these lines, email me and I’ll tell you what we’re looking for and what we can offer in exchange.

Ellen Bourn

As for the regular program, one of our regularly-featured presenters is Ellen Bourn, and I can confirm that she will indeed be back this year. Ellen’s specialty is Kabbalah and Kabbalistic astrology. Here’s her topic:

White Magic, Kabballah and Astrology

By examining the client’s natal aspects, transits and progressions, one can determine what the Soul’s purpose is for the situations the client is experiencing on their life’s journey. This class will teach you how to use perfumes, gemstones, and specific meditations to assist your client in balancing their inner Self. Knowing how to combine these methodologies will allow you to offer your client a broader perspective on their situation, and make you a more valuable resource to your clientele.

As you can see, there’s going to be a whole lot of information in this presentation. Get ready for a stimulating 2 hours!

So there you go. A few more good reasons to come to SOTA.

Merry Easter to those who are celebrating. Catch you next week!