Category Archives: SOTA 2017

SOTA 11 June 2017

Hi Everyone,

Lots of news again this issue. Having trouble knowing where to begin in fact….

Hotel WiFi

As mentioned last time, I DID visit the hotel and they appear to be ready for us. The wifi has been upgraded and my roommate had no problems whatsoever with it. I didn’t bring my laptop, so obviously I didn’t have complaints either, but since we were in the same room, I would say the problem is resolved.

Hotel Food

There was MUCH discussion of food, and I will begin working on the menu shortly. Meanwhile, I have noted that we are not the first group to complain about the salt issue. The chef has been put on  salt rationing and I hope this problem will be resolved too.

As for the roast beef, I am exploring options, but the easiest option might be not to HAVE roast beef. I’ll keep you posted.

As for you vegans, you need to contact me so I know how many of you there are. If there are enough, we will have a vegan buffet option and Dawn Silver has offered to help me with this, since I am a carnivore. If there aren’t enough vegans, they we will look for a nice vegetarian option for the buffet instead and you vegans will get special meals (though if there are things on the buffet that work for you, you can take those too.

Please remember, however, that not EVERYONE is vegetarian or vegan. We try to please everyone, but right now the carnivores outnumber the vegetarians. And we DO have a budget. So don’t expect a totally vegetarian meal. And you vegetarians could help me by letting me know if you’re vegetarian. Should there be a vegetarian majority, we will alter the menu accordingly. Otherwise, it will be one GOOD main, plus salad and rice or potatoes and other veggies.

Opening Ceremonies – Please RSVP

And still on the subject of food, if you are planning on attending the Opening Ceremonies and keynote, it will be necessary to preregister for it. We sometimes have tickets available at the door, but this is only in the event of cancellation so I wouldn’t be counting on that if I were you.

Once the day comes, all I can order for extra  food is things like chips and pretzels. And we want everyone to have decent food. So be forewarned on that one and reserve early. Note that if you have a deluxe package or are a vendor (one vendor per table) or staff you are already reserved for this.

If you have a full package, single day(s) or pre-conferences, you are not. And yes, you can come for just the opening if you want to, but again you have to reserve.

Featured Speaker: David Cochrane

…And what will you be missing if you don’t attend? Aside from the food, there will be a WONDERFUL keynote with David Cochrane. David was one of our more popular speakers last year. This lecture will be light (as befits an opening reception) but also thought-provoking. Just in case you missed it the first time, here it is again.

The Astrologer’s Journey: Roller Coasters and Merry-Go-Rounds

David will share with us how his passion for astrology has resulted in a life-long roller coaster ride. On the other hand, some astrologers are enjoying a pleasant ride on a merry-go-round. David illustrates his points with humorous stories that also have some serious implications for how we can best pursue astrology and best serve our clients.

Hotel – Reserve Your Room NOW

And speaking of the hotel, this would be a good time to reserve your room. As you know, we do not get a large block of rooms, and once they are gone they are gone. So call the hotel at 1-800-323-3331 NOW and tell them you’re with SOTA.

Divination Night

Meanwhile, somebody asked me what has happened to the mediums. Well, we have had mediums every year for the last 5 years or so. Maybe longer. And there are other forms of divination. So this year we thought we’d feature some of those — runes (Franco), dukkering (Emmajay Paterson), tarot (John Marani), gemstone oracle (Dawn Silver), crystal ball (Patty Mac),  Cassandra Butler (topic TBA), numerology (Judy Conkel) and more.

We would be happy to add a medium to this list if one would like to volunteer (you know who you are). And if any of you have other talents not listed here and would like to share them, let me know. Face reading? Tea leaf reading? Handwriting analysis?

I bet a LOT of you have interesting skills. And while you DO have to do approximately 8 10-minute readings at no charge, this gets your skills out there and in fact, we will save a space in the trade room for those who are asked to do readings during the rest of the conference.

Additionally, we’re working on a system so that people can get a second reading that night for a small fee. So don’t be shy. Volunteer. Let people know about your talents! And become a bigger part of the SOTA community. Drop me a note if you’re interested, huh? And no, you don’t have to be a speaker to do this; you just have to have a skill…

Volunteer – we can’t do this without you!

OK, I hope I’ve given you some things to think about — and I hope to hear from some of you about food, divination night, or anything else you might want to talk about — including topics and possible speakers for 2018.

We are a community, and in a community people work together to make things happen. For example, we now have 2 new monitors — Winston and Dina Knocton. This didn’t happen because I knew them. It happened because another monitor — Marina George — knew them and asked if they’d be interested.

People like Marina are worth their weight in gold. And people like Franco, who is game for everything. And people like Dawn Silver, who has been hugely helpful on many fronts. This, folks, is how things happen. And yes, it’s a bit of work for you, but the satisfaction of seeing things happen can be great.

I can’t do this single-handedly. Nor can Pam or Sara or Wendy. They all have their own work to do — and right now Wendy is standing with a baseball bat, ready to ward off hackers.

So give it some thought, huh? And get in touch if appropriate.

Meanwhile, have a good week!




SOTA 4 June 2017

Hi Everyone,

Lots of news and  a few requests for help/information. Dig in…

Monitor Needed

First of all, it appears we need another monitor. Yes, again. The last call was filled very promptly (thank you Marina and Dina — and Dina welcome aboard) but last night I was informed that one of our regulars cannot make it this year. So we need yet another one.

The ideal candidate would be someone who is not as yet registered for the conference and can be available from the evening of October 18 (for the training, which is non-negotiable) through to October 23. And it goes without saying that you also need to be prompt and reasonably friendly. Now reality is that you may not be needed on the 23rd and may not be needed until the evening on the 19th but until I have a full contingent of monitors, I can’t set a schedule and therefore can’t give you yours.

The work is relatively easy — checking badges and taping — but we DO  have a protocol. Hence the training. For the right person, this is a good way to get a FREE conference including possibly free Pre or Post Conference lectures, free lunch, and a free banquet, depending on what sessions you’re selected to work. And yes, we will try to see that you get a couple of your preferred lectures, though I can’t guarantee that. Still, free is very nice. We may even be able to help you find a roommate, though I can’t guarantee that.

Interested? Email me… Given that the $100 Full Conference Special has now expired, this is probably your last chance to get a cheap conference. Maybe even a free one… And yes, by all means share this with your friends!

SOTA 2018

Secondly, even though this year hasn’t happened yet, we are getting a tentative start on next year. Why? Because it’s a UAC year and historically people simply can’t afford to do both UAC and SOTA. Our aim is to give people an alternative to UAC, which is large and expensive. We can’t afford to bring you 150 speakers, but we are taking pains to bring you the speakers and topics you want to see. We still have a lot of decisions to make and are hoping you’ll be willing to help.

First of all, should we keep the same format as this year or possibly go to mostly 2-hour lectures for next year only? Some people like quality and depth; others like quantity. UAC will be having only hour-and-a-quarter lectures, so more depth is something we can do if you want it. On the other hand, if you like the format as it is, we’ll leave it alone.

And that brings us to speakers and topics. We already know that several of our 2017 SOTA lecturers will also be lecturing at UAC. We expect the same will hold true for 2018. So what speakers do YOU want to see??? Let me know. Big names or less big names. We’re easy, so long as they draw. Please don’t suggest yourself, though. That really doesn’t tell us much except that you want to speak.

Third, what about topics? For the past couple of years we’ve had heavy doses of traditional and psychological. Do these still appeal, or do you want something else. And if you want something else, what else? Research??? Professional development topics such as creating web sites and marketing??? Medical astrology, addictions, and similar topics??? Basic planet/sign/house stuff??? Aspect theory??? Specialties???

Tell us what you’d like to see and we’ll do our best to provide it. Just email me. It doesn’t have to be a major missive — just a few words as to what you want.

And rest assured that we will be working to keep the cost as low as we can. And we will announce what we’re doing at the conference. Oh, and by the way, remember that if you’re registered this year, you are also eligible to take advantage of the attendees-only rate for 2018, which is even lower than the early bird rate.

Need a Webmaster?

On to the news: First of all, as some of you may already know, Wendy Guy was responsible for thwarting a major hack on our website, for which I am very grateful. Not only did she know what software to use, she stays vigilant and does a fair bit of blocking of suspicious addresses. I couldn’t do this without her. And if you’re trying to do a website single-handedly, you may need a Wendy too. In fact, our Wendy has openings in her schedule for a couple more clients. Again, contact me and I’ll put you in touch with her. I’ll also vouch for her work. She’s prompt, efficient, and knows what she’s doing! And I couldn’t do this without her!


Also, I am happy to report that Barr’s Gemstones and Treasures will be our gem and mineral vendor this year. They will be joining Earth Haven Learning Centre (books), Silver Raven Soaps, and probably  Keyhole Gallery. At the moment I’m still waiting for some cheques, but will confirm the whole roster of vendors in the next issue.

I am headed out to the hotel on Tuesday for a site inspection, so will probably have more to report on that next time as well.

Featured Speaker: Adam Gainsburg

Meanwhile, I promised you I’d fill you in on Adam Gainsburg’s post-conference. Actually, Adam will also be participating in the main conference, doing a lecture on Lunar Nodes and their Dispositors on Sunday. And then on Monday, he’ll be presenting a 3-hour post-conference on Heliacal Saturn Phases. Here’s a description:

Post-Conference: Heliacal Saturn Phases

My post-conference will be on the heliacal Phases of Saturn as signifying a broader responsibility we each carry for serving or upholding a better society (Saturn-Sun). I have formed this system of phases on the same principles as Venus and Mars — what I call Saturn’s Sky Factors – its unique brightness cycles, speed changes, etc. — rather than its chart factors alone. This workshop will first present Saturn’s Phases, then demonstrate how to integrate natal Saturn with phasal Saturn for the complete picture of a native’s Saturn dharma. I’ll use attendee charts for this.

Sound good? I’m sure it will be. And note that he  will be using attendee’s charts for this.

As mentioned last week, Adam will be following Gary Caton, who will be presenting The Mercury Elemental Year. This is two of your favorite presenters back-to-back with 3 hour presentations! How often does this happen??? If I were you, I’d take advantage before June 22 when the rates increase. At $100 US, this is a steal — and it WON’T be the same old material. So why not sign up now and save money??? You can’t go wrong with these.


You can expect the next newsletter around June 11 or thereafter, and you can probably expect more news.

Until then, enjoy the nice  weather.




SOTA 23 May 2017

Hi Everyone,

It seems like ages since I’ve sent out a newsletter. As you know, I was off to GLAC, and came back to a great deal of deadlined work. So I apologize for my non-communication.

Special Discount Offer!

You may have been hearing rumors about a special discount on Full Conference packages. That rumor is true — but there ARE some kickers.

Who qualifies

First of all I have only 20 of these discount packages, which give you the full conference for $100 US. No frills, no keynote, no evening activities, but if you are looking for an inexpensive way to experience SOTA, this might be your answer.

However, this package is ONLY open to first-time attendees. Why? Because we want you to try SOTA. And because we’re looking for new attendees. We have a very loyal group of regulars, but we need to add to it and grow.

Third, payment is by cheque (or if you’re on this side of the border, Interac will  work), only. This is a BIG discount. We can’t afford to pay PayPal fees on top of it.

How to claim your discount

Now then, I have gotten a couple of emails asking me how to claim this. It’s simple. Write a cheque, payable to Full Circle Seminars, put it in an envelope, and send it to me, noting your email so I can confirm receipt and also noting where you heard about this.. My address is on the flyer.

And because there has been confusion about how to claim this, here’s what we’re going to do. 1) You need to contact me and tell me you want to claim one of these. Also tell me where you heard about it, since several of our speakers have been kind enough to advertise this. You need to do this by May 31. Then send your cheque. And we will honor all fees that come in up to June 5.

I’m doing this because some of you don’t realize that if you mail that cheque May 30th, it won’t get here for the 31st. It generally takes 3-5 days for a letter from the US to reach Canada. So once you’ve claimed your discount, send your cheque. That’s it. Simple. But said offer expires May 31 and cheques MUST be received by June 5 and we can’t be responsible for lousy mail service. If the cheque is not received by then, you will not be eligible.

What about the extra events?

Should you want to also register for things that aren’t included, you can do that on the website as per usual. The rates on the flyer are good until June 22 when pre and post conferences, single day admissions, and divination night will all increase in price. Give us a try; there’s no better time, and this offer will not be repeated.

Featured Speaker: Gary P. Caton

One of the speakers at GLAC was Gary Caton, who was of course well-received. Gary will also be featured at SOTA, and if you’ve never heard him, rest assured both of his presentations will be worth your while and neither one was featured at GLAC.

On Friday, he will be presenting The Centrality of Mercury in the Hermetic Worldview in the main conference. And then on Monday, he will be presenting The Mercury Elemental Year as one of our two post-conferences. Both of these present new material from his forthcoming book, which will be available at the book store in the trade room.

The Mercury Elemental Year

This workshop will begin by illuminating the astronomy of Mercury and its yearly dance with the Sun, which traces a 6-pointed star in the heavens. Afterward, Caton reveals how Mercury’s cycles correspond with the ancient mystical document the Emerald Tablet — source of the famous alchemical aphorism “as above, so below”. Finally, he will teach you to see the underlying patterns behind Mercury’s 3 retrogrades each year and how to harness their transformative power in your birth chart.

Mercury spends more time in one element each year than all of the other 3 combined! This means that each of us was born wiith an unconscious preference for communicating via one element more than others, and that there are 3 houses in our chart that are deeply susceptible to the power of symbol making — where our ideas, images, and words matter most.

This is not the same old stuff and it’s being taught by a master. Plan on attending. You’re sure to learn something about Mercury in general as well as your own Mercury.

Featured Speaker: Adam Gainsburg

There is also a second workshop on Monday with Adam Gainsburg — this one on Heliacal Saturn phases. We’ll talk more about this one next week. For now, suffice to say that put these two topics together and you’ve got a full day of solid and usable learning by 2 of your favorite presenters. And right now, you can attend not just one but both of these for a mere $100 or just one for $75. But again, fees go up as of June 22.

Extra Goodies

For those of you planning to stay on for the post conference activities, we are planning on getting together for a group dinner off-site, assuming I can find someone to coordinate it, which I’m pretty sure I can.

We are also hoping to have the AFAN Hospitality Suite open again. Note that we can only get this room for two nights as per our contract. We will probably do it Thursday night, when everyone is keen to talk, and either Friday after the divination night or Saturday after the banquet. If you have a preference, please let me know SOON, as I will be booking the room on June 6th.

The hospitality suite is open to all registered attendees, speakers, vendors and staff, and yes it provides FREE hospitality in the form of food and wine and sometimes beer. Unfortunately, only those registered for the day in question can attend the hospitality suite; we cannot accommodate friends of speakers, friends of attendees, or others.

And for those of you who LOVE the hospitality suite, why not consider joining AFAN? There is no other organization like it out there. They are strictly service, not self-service, and they do amazing things in the community to promote networking and astrology. They’re also inexpensive to join, even in US dollars.

More next week. Stay tuned!



SOTA 21 April 2017

Hi Everyone,

Last week was not a good week for getting newsletters out. If you missed yours, I apologize. However it IS up on the web site.

Meanwhile, let’s move  on…

First of all, I am trying to schedule a site inspection. One of the things I will be dealing with is the banquet menu. We try very hard to accommodate everyone, but frankly this year we could use a little help. Our vegan contact at the hotel has left. Demetrius has also moved on to other things. So if somebody out there is vegan and would like to liaise with the hotel and me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Meanwhile, I will be addressing the too much salt issue we had last year. And maybe the tough roast beef, though the easiest thing there might be just to forego roast beef… Anyway, if you’re a vegan and want to work with us on this, please contact me. Otherwise, you could be disappointed. The rest of us are carnivores….

Also an early reminder that vendor’s fees are due June 1st. After that I will release space. And fees are in US funds. Cheques are the preferred option for this.

Featured Speaker: Naomi Bennett

And now let’s look at a one of our lectures….Naomi Bennett hails from Texas and is a new speaker this year, for us, anyway. She HAS lectured for a number of NCGR Chapters. Her topic is The Great Debate of House Rulerships, and she has some interesting ideas to share:

The Great Debate of House Rulerships

Astrologers have been arguing about house rulerships for most of the 20th century and it’s still not over. Naomi Bennett discusses her discoveries to verify the ancient  design left to us from the Hellenistic Egyptians that fit the ancient astrological design perfectly. But what about the modern design? Do we just ignore it? This lecture will either settle the debate or just stir up the pot some more.

Ain’t nothin’ like a bit of controversy to liven up a Sunday and get us ready for lunch. Bring your open mind and join Naomi!

And on that note, I am off to work on other things. Have a good week and enjoy that sunshine!



SOTA 16 April 2017

Hi All,

I had some questions about the opening, and also about pricing in general, so let’s start out with those.

About the Prices

First of all, pricing. All fees are in US dollars. And yes, I live in Canada and I would love to give Canadians a price break. However, the reality is that speakers are paid in US funds (including the Canadians), the hotel charges us in US funds, and giving Canadians a price break could very well leave SOTA with a deficit.

And yes, when I looked, it seems we had left the US dollar notice off our flyer. Jo has fixed that. (Download the new flyer.) Sorry for any confusion.

About the Opening Ceremonies

Secondly, I have had questions about the opening. First of all, David’s talk will not be taped. You’ll need to be there. And you would be best to pre-register for it, because no, I can’t guarantee there’ll be space at the door.

We try very hard to have a nice array of food for the opening, and we have to order that in advance. We tend NOT to order a lot extra because we don’t like waste of either food or money. So the best way to ensure that you have a space at the opening is to pre-register.

Your $30 US fee covers both the nibblies and David’s talk. Food for the mind AND the body. And those who have attended before know that this is not just a bunch of chips and veggies and dips. We try to have a nice array of hot and cold appetizers for all.

So please help us do that by reserving in advance. While we sometimes get cancellations that open up spaces, we can’t guarantee that. In fact, last year we didn’t have any. And yes, if for some reason you only want to attend the opening, you can do that, but again you have to pre-register.

About our Booksellers

Third, is the big news. We now officially have not one but two booksellers — Kathryn Aunger and Rosemary Tayler of Earth Haven Learning Centre. They have done book tables before and know how to make an attractive and easily-browsed table.

And in addition to the speaker’s books, some other books worth noting, and Llewellyn’s Daily Planetary Guide, they will be bringing their own Lunar Gardening Wall Calendar (and apparently Gary Caton had a bit of a behind the scenes hand on this), and probably a few books on lunar gardening, gardening by the planets, and growing herbs.

I think these will be a nice addition and the time is certainly right to look at gardening topics. And another nice addition is they take credit cards. So please welcome Kathryn and Rosemary aboard and plan on visiting them in the trade room. (And yes, there will be more time between lectures this year so you can do a good browse…) Note, however, that there will be no used books this year. My apologies to you bargain-hunters. Sometimes you can’t have everything…

About Divination Night

We are still in need of readers for divination night. I would prefer volunteers, but I DO have a list of people to call on if I’m stuck. And yes, we will take psychics, mediums, runes, horary, or any divination tool. However, we already have a couple of Tarot readers on board, so something other than Tarot would be our preference.

More About the Trade Room

We also have some space in the trade room still. Best to contact me soon on that one though. Now that we have a bookseller, I would like to get on with finalizing.

Featured Speaker: Armand Diaz

And last but not least, a reminder that Armand Diaz is back. Some of you weren’t too happy he wasn’t there last year. So this year, you can be happy again. Here’s his topic:

Relationship Transits: Crossing Paths

Our lives have continuity. Astrologers tend to focus on the specific duration of a transit, yet each transit both reverberates from past experiences and transforms us for the future. In this workshop we will delve into the area of relationship transits, discovering how both natal chart potentials and past transits weave together a complex tapestry of experiences that helps to create our relationship life.

How’s that? I don’t need to tell you that Armand is an excellent speaker. Do I need to tell you he is the author of Separating Aspects, which is on relationship astrology? Well, I just did, just in case.

And on that note, I’ll wish you all a good week!