Category Archives: SOTA 2018

SOTA 17 Jan 2018

Hi Everybody,

Here we are again with another edition of SOTAnews. This time, let’s look at what Armand Diaz is doing. Armand was one of our top-drawing speakers last year and many of you asked us to bring him back. We were very happy to oblige. Here’s his topic:

As Above, So What? – Armand Diaz

Astrologers are fond of quoting the Hermetic maxim, but why does it work? If the stars indicate (or impel), we’re still left with question, why? Learn the past, present, and future of explanations of why astrology works, from ancient times to synchronicity to contemporary field and consciousness theories.

Armand’s lectures have a distinctly philosophical bent. He’s inclined to make you think. So if you’ve been thinking about — and wondering — why astrology works, this one’s for you. You can expect an enjoyable tour of existing thought. And you just may learn something in the process.

Luncheon Speakers

I also wanted to give you another reminder about our lunches. We have 3 good presenters with 3 good topics — Huber Aspects and Their Patterns with Michael Barwick on Friday, Aftermath: Living in a Post-Mars-Square Uranus World with Julie Simmons on Saturday, and Mystery Midpoints with Kathy Rose on Sunday.

There is an additional charge of $20 each for these, and that charge goes up to $25 on March 22. You will get a menu at the conference so you can choose your own lunch. Lunches tend to be simple — salads, wraps, etc. — however, you DO get your choice as per the menu and you get a good discussion to go with that lunch.

Now technically you can sign up for these by 10 pm on the day of the luncheon, but you need to know that the room only holds 15 people and for that reason by the time the conference rolls around, they are often sold out. Which means if you really, really, really want to hear one of these, I would be registering early if I were you. You should also note that these won’t be recorded.

Lunch Options for Conference

That said, I know some people just want to turn their brain off at lunch. And if that’s what you want to do, there are options there too. If you want to get some fresh air while you’re at it, there is a Panera right across the street. And the Walden Galleria Mall next door has TONS of options from smoothies to fast food of all sorts, to pubs. Check their website if you’re looking for something specific.

I would mention that The Cheesecake Factory, while tasty, is not a great option because service tends to be slow. A better option, might be Alton’s, which is a block or so down the road (and the shuttle will take you and pick you up again if you reserve in advance.) Alton’s is a local favorite with a little bit of everything and friendly, efficient servers. If you go, try the baklava cheesecake. It’s wonderful, and no, you can’t get it at The Cheesecake Factory.

And if you don’t want to go out, there is the hotel restaurant. A bit pricier than Alton’s, but they have good fish and chips. And if you haven’t tried the beef on weck sandwich, you need to unless you don’t eat meat. Again, this is a local favorite.

So there you have it. And you can make an informed choice.

Albuquerque in June

Apropos of nothing, it appears I will be busing it back from Albuquerque in June. If it happens that you have live in or have friends in Tulsa, OK, Joplin, MO, Indianapolis, IN, Cincinnati or Cleveland OH, or Erie, PA and you’re looking for a workshop or lecture in June, let me know and we can see if we can work something out. I have a fair number of topics and my fees are reasonable.

And with that said, I’ll be back again next week with more SOTAnews. Meanwhile, feel free to share this with your friends…


SOTA 12 Jan 2018

Hi Everybody,

Hope everyone has survived the cold snap…It warmed up here, but now it’s cold again…

Banquet Entertainment: Franco

I’ve been asked several times if Franco and/or his sidekick Joe Pardy will be doing the banquet entertainment again. I am happy to tell you that yes, Franco will be doing the banquet entertainment. No word on Joe Pardy, though. Which is not surprising because I am always the last to know who and what will be featured as the banquet entertainment. Franco never tells me. And I’m never disappointed. I hope YOU won’t be disappointed either, but I don’t think you will be.

We will have the usual 50/50 draw as well. And last year the food was very, very good. We’re going to try to keep it that way this year, though we won’t start working on the menu until spring. So if there’s something you’d like — or something you’re seriously hoping NOT to see between now and then, please let me know. And once I have menus — for this and for the Opening — I’ll let you know.

Birth Time Confirmation Techniques

Oh, and speaking of Franco, he is also presenting on Birth Time Confirmation Techniques on Saturday morning. Franco is a good presenter with solid material as well as a great entertainer. So do check this out please…

Featured Speaker: Alan Clay

Sedna Consciousness, the Soul’s Path of Destiny:

Meanwhile, SOTA is also happy to have Alan Clay presenting on Saturday. Alan hails from New Zealand This is his first time at SOTA. Alan is a seasoned speaker and this is new and original material. So do come and check it out. And give him a warm welcome while you’re at it. Here’s his topic:

Discover the evolutionary spiritual power of Sedna, the new esoteric outer limit of our solar system and learn of the profound implications for society and for each of us individually in the coming years, as she approaches her closest point to Earth.

Featured Speaker: Faith McInerne

Chiron and the Asteroids

And for those of you who are interested in asteroids and the like, let me also remind you that after lunch on Saturday, Faith McInerney will be presenting on Chiron and the Asteroids. This is another 2 hour presentation from a speaker who is easy to listen to and knows her material.

Should you want more Chiron, we can accommodate you there as well, but you’ll have to wait until Sunday, when Brad Kochunas presents: Chiron: Learning to Fall.

More about these another week. Meanwhile, keep warm and stay tuned!


SOTA 3 Jan 2018

Hi Everybody,
And Happy New Year!

It’s a new year, so it’s time to announce our new offering. Each year we try something new and this year is no exception. On Saturday at 8 am. Susi Rosinski will be joining us to lead a session of Qi Gong.

Susi Rosinski

Qi Gong

Susi has extensive training — some of it overseas — as well as an active program in the Buffalo area. This is a gentle exercise, so even if you hate exercise, there’s no need to be afraid of it. Beginners are welcome. In fact, all registered attendees are welcome, even if you’re new to Qi Gong. If weather is good, we’ll be doing it outdoors. If it’s raining (and no, folks, it won’t be snowing!) we’ll do it indoors, probably in the trade room. Either way, this is something to kick-start your energy level. And unlike coffee, you won’t be running on nervous energy afterwards. So try it — if you like it, we’ll do our best to bring you more next year!

And of course along with the Qi Gong, we have plenty of new speakers with new topics. You’ve heard about some of them already. What I’d like to do to kick off the new year is talk about one of our top-draw speakers from last year, Ryhan Butler. Here’s his Saturday topic:

Ryhan Butler

Crisis Alert: Illness, the Moon, and Critical Days

The critical days are a technique native to the field of medical astrology which tracks the progress of an illness by following the motion of the Moon. Explore the history and development of this inventive technique and how it unites astrology and medicine.

I know a great many of you are interested in medical astrology topics and additionally a great many of you are Ryhan fans. So how could this not be a good idea? Come and check it out!

Meanwhile, Ryhan is also doing the keynote and we haven’t talked about that yet. Here’s the description:

Keynote Address – Putting the U in Community

Astrology has experienced several ups and downs throughout its long history. How does the current state of astrology relate to some of these peaks, valleys, shifts, and developments of our art’s past? What are we astrologers doing to facilitate our own sense of community and represent that to the outside world? Are we to devolve into warring tribes or can a greater sense of togetherness prevail?

Now for those of you who are sighing heavily, I’d like to reassure you that this is NOT going to be either tedious or political. This is Ryhan. He is neither tedious nor political. If I’d wanted a tedious political keynote I could have done it myself and then you WOULD have been sorry!

And now for some politics…

Secondly, and I hate to say this, but pretty much EVERYTHING has a political component to it. Just going out for dinner with friends these days can have a political component. Some won’t eat meat, some won’t eat carbs, some don’t eat salads, and on and on we go. Sometimes you win the vote and get to go to the place of your choice. Sometimes you don’t and you then have to decide whether the company will make up for the food or not. And if it doesn’t, you may have to go looking for dining companions with whom you have more agreement or a restaurant that will meet everyone’s needs.

The thing about politics is that the majority generally wins. And yeah, there are times when what’s good for the majority is not good for you or at least is not your preference. Third, I know some of you are going to say that you’re not part of the astrological community.

Astrological Communities

You don’t belong to ISAR, NCGR, AFAN, AFA, or ACVA. Well, yeah, ok, fine. But if you’re coming to SOTA, you’re still part of a community. Because everyone who comes to SOTA will tell you right away that there is a sense of community here. You feel it.Many make friends. And if you’re not here, many ask if you’re ok. Note that this is not about speaking or not speaking; it’s about being here.

Oh, and those acronyms you don’t belong to? I just want you to know that if there was no AFAN, there’d be no hospitality suite, because SOTA probably couldn’t afford it. Also note that AFAN never asks for your membership card before they let you in or feed you or serve you. They do this for the community. And yeah, of course they’d like you to join, but I have never seen them hard-selling anybody. Oh, and AFA? If it wasn’t for AFA, we wouldn’t have books. They are pretty much the only place where you can do a one-stop book order. They are also very active publishers, which is important to all of us.

The deal with any community and any segment of any community is that you get and you give. There are benefits to all of them, not the least of which is the people you meet. But don’t just take my word for it. Come and hear what Ryhan has to say. And yes. there will be good food and some drink to make the medicine go down, but I have a feeling it won’t come to that. Expect lots of food for thought and a pleasant evening. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Oh, and speaking of AFAN, here’s information on scholarships that can be used for SOTA:


(2) $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 perform a minimum of 1 hour per day service at the AFAN booth during the conference should AFAN host one at that specific conference.

(2) $700 Full Conference Scholarships, for registration, hotel, and meal expenses at a conference of your choice.

One Full Conference Scholarship is reserved for an international (non-U.S. or Canada based) applicant while the second is open to any recipient regardless of location. Recipients of the Full Conference Scholarships will be required to perform a minimum of 1 hour per day service at the AFAN booth during the conference.

And yes, you DO have to be a member to be eligible…

Now off I go for another week. Stay warm. Don’t want anybody in this community losing fingers or toes or ears the this god-awful cold…Keep counting down the days to spring. It will be here before you know it. At least I hope so…

And as usual, please share SOTAnews with your friends…


SOTA 19 Dec 2017

Hi Everybody,

This will be the last newsletter before Christmas, so before I do anything else, I want to wish all of you who are celebrating Christmas or Hanukah the very happiest of holidays and all the best for the New Year.

I also want to remind those of you who want to take advantage of the attendees-only registration fee that those cheques must be in by December 31. We will not honor the attendees-only rate after that. Sorry, but all good things must come to an end…

SOTAnews will be back with more news in the New Year.
Meanwhile, let’s talk about 2018:

Panel Format

One of the things mentioned on the 2017 feedback form was that you like the panel format. I do too, but panels are labour-intensive. Forunately, Brad Kochunas came to my aid this year with a topic — Confessions of Failure. Now we tried a panel on failed predictions once before. The speakers then INSISTED that they NEVER failed. Which is probably bullshit, because most of us have missed the mark more than once. However, so far, Brad has been successful in finding three panelists — and by the way, none  of them are shabby astrologers. On top of that, they’re honest, gutsy, and authentic.

These are the kind of lecturers and astrologers we need in our ranks, because how do we get better if we pretend that we never fail? Now maybe YOU’D like to join Brad, Kelly Surtees, Wade Caves, and William Stickevers on a panel. Clearly you’d be in good company. And you don’t have to be a speaker to get in on this. You simply need to be sincere, honest, and desirous of making astrology better. Oh, and registered for the conference. Does that sound like you?

If it does, email me and I’ll put you in touch with Brad. While this is unpaid participation, you WILL  be heard, noticed, and appreciated. And maybe we’ll let those of you who are never wrong do another panel next year and fight to the death for your chosen techniques. Meanwhile, I think this year’s panel promises to be a good discussion with much food for thought. And note: A new flyer is ready for download that reflects William’s participation thanks to Jo Gleason.

Now let’s end the year’s SOTAnews with a look at another of SOTA’s new speakers for 2018.

Shawn Nygaard

Shawn is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a Tutor for MISPA (Mercury Internet School of Psychological Astrology), as is one of our post-conference speakers, John Green. Shawn has spoken at the AA conference in England, Nightlight Astrology, SFAS, and the Minnesota Jung Association. His writing has been published in The Mountain Astrologer. Shawn graduated from the CMED Institute, where he studied with Caroline Myss. So while he may be new to you, he is a seasoned speaker with excellent credentials. And his topic?

Pluto’s Riches

Pluto is the ruler of the Underworld, a realm of depth, well-suited for archetypal exploration. Curiously, “Pluto” means “riches.” As ancient coins were minted from precious metals under the ground, Pluto’s riches, gems, and jewels can be mined from materials found within the psyche. What will we find?

Sounds intriguing, huh? I think it will be. Check Shawn out on Friday if you’re interested. I don’t think you’ll be sorry!

And if you want still more Pluto, stick around for Sunday, when Wendy Guy will be discussing Out Of Bounds Pluto. More on that one another time.

Meanwhile, I’d like to once again wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukah, or simply a good couple of weeks. And please do share SOTAnews with your friends.


SOTA 12 Dec 2017

Hi Everybody,

A reminder to those of you who are eligible for the attendees-only discount, that your check must be received by December 31st to qualify. For the rest of you, you have until March 21st to get in at the lowest rate possible…


And by the way, feedback on SOTA 2017 was excellent. That’s wonderful, except that there’s always the question of “What do you do for an encore?” Especially when people say “Don’t change a thing.” Because things DO change. Sometimes speakers you want are unavailable, sometimes something proves too labour-intensive, sometimes one good suggestion results in cutting something else. We DO, however try to keep what you like for the most part or offer something similar where we can’t. We couldn’t get David Cochrane this year, for example, but we DO have our top 3 draws — Ryhan Butler, Wade Caves, and Armand Diaz back again.

Donna VanToen

Otherwise, we had such an abundance of good applicants for 2018 that I decided to cut myself back to one slot. Can’t say I won’t turn up in a second one, but for the time being, one slot is all I’ve got. And this is what it will be about:

“Beyond Planetary Stereotypes: Synthesis and Transits”

In the beginning, we learn keywords and key phrases. Jupiter is always good, so Scorpios are going to have a good year. Saturn is always bad, so Capricorn WON’T have a good year. Uranus always brings a surprise, so Aries will have a few more surprises before Uranus moves on to Taurus. Sounds good in theory, but is that how it works? Not always. You have to read transits in the context of your own natal chart. And that’s what we’ll be doing. We’ll also look at a few natal hot spot patterns that can indicate something important is going to happen. Bring your chart and you’re questions. Let’s look at how it is for you!

So there you have it. I hope some of you will come out for it.
Meanwhile, let’s look at one of our many new speakers:

Kathy Rose

For more than 35 years, Kathy Rose has been a professional consulting astrologer and teacher with an international clientele. Kathy brings to her full-time practice an intuitive, spiritual approach that enlivens her readings with a perspective and depth of insight that goes beyond measurement and calculation.

Tapping the Horoscope’s Memory!

The Horoscope itself has a memory! Planets or angles in the chart that have received powerful transits or solar arcs in the past can become highly sensitized areas in the horoscope. These “hotspots” may respond with dramatic change with any future contact.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Kathy and I will be talking about different and equally valid hot spots. So no, there is no overlap here…

Luncheon Lectures

Kathy will also be doing a luncheon lecture, Mystery Midpoints, on Sunday. This is one of three mostly interactive luncheon lectures. The other two are Huber Aspects and Their Patterns by Michael Barwick on Friday and Aftermath: Living in Post Mars Square Saturn World on Saturday. Now technically you can sign up for these right up until 10 am on the day of the lecture, but for the last couple of years they have been largely sold out by the time we got on site. The room only holds 15 comfortably — an ideal number for interactive stuff. And you get to choose your own light lunch from a menu. We’ll talk more about these later. For now you need to know that they tend to fill quickly and the price will go up after March 21st. Good food, good learning, good bargain. And the early birds will catch the biggest bargains.

We’ll talk about another new speaker next week. Meanwhile, watch out for that snow. Or better still, watch it from your window.
And please, share SOTAnews with your friends.