Category Archives: SOTA 2015

Newsletters for SOTA 2015

SOTA 9 June 2015

Hi All,

We’ve got reminders, and questions, and news, and opinions and a few lecture descriptions here for your perusal, so get yourself comfy and have a look:

First of all, a reminder that June 20 is the last date to register for SOTA at the current rates. As of June 21, ALL fees go up, including those for the Pre-Conference workshops, one day admissions, lunches, and everything else. This will be your one and only email reminder, so if you’ve been meaning to register do it NOW or at least make a note to do it when Mercury goes direct.

Secondly, if you have already registered, please reserve your hotel room if you haven’t already done so. As usual, we only have a small block of rooms and once they are gone, they may or may not be gone. First come, first served.

Third, a reminder that we have not one but two pages on Facebook. SOTA Astrology Conference (Facebook Page) generally has a mix of conference-relevant news and posts. SOTA 2015 Astrology Conference (Event) is the place to go if you’re looking for a ride, a roommate, or information about activities or hotel amenities. I am hoping to get some stuff on there about area restaurants and attractions, but so far it hasn’t happened.

Fourth, please feel free to share this newsletter with friends, download flyers, or do anything else you feel might motivate your friends to come. Our advertising budget is nil. Even if it wasn’t, we feel word-of-mouth advertising is often more effective than ads.

Now on to the queries:

First of all, we have an attendee from France who is interested in making a side trip to Niagara Falls (about 25 minutes away by car) either on Thursday during the day or possibly Monday after the conference. If this appeals to you, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with her. And if you haven’t seen the Falls, it would be worth your while.

Secondly, I had a query from a newbie who is interested in coming but feeling a bit intimidated because she doesn’t know anybody. I keep telling people that after the first couple of lectures, you will INDEED know people. This is one of the friendliest conferences you could ask for — from the attendees to the staff to the people. I also generally suggest that newbies come to the Opening Reception and Keynote — and yes, we generally ask them to stand up, which COULD be awkward, but after that pretty much EVERYBODY will go out of their way to say hello. Plus there is food, and a cash bar and a good keynote by Jacqueline Janes.

And just in case you’ve forgotten what the keynote is about, here’s a recap:

State of the Art Evolving

Keynote Address by Jacqueline Janes

Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries formed seven exact squares between June 2012 and March 2015. Seeds of change and transformation were sown and a matrix of possibilities formed. Now what? As astrologers, mediums, and intuitives, what is the future of our professions, our “state of the art”.

Jacqueline is inspiring, insightful, and thought-provoking.  Many of our attendees — as well as several attendees at other conferences — have said she is one of the people they try to hear. So we’re happy to make that possible.


And once again, the Opening is a great way to stick your toe in the Aquarian conference waters — especially if you happen to live in the Buffalo-Niagara area. Cost is only $25 for the lecture and reception; the cash bar is extra, of course. But even so, this is an inexpensive evening out and a good way to meet like-minded people. And you can always bring a friend. Plus, we are expecting the absolutely wonderful AFAN hospitality room to be open for all registrants, speakers, and staff from about 9:30 onwards.

That said, I know that not everyone can make it to a Thursday night event. Some of you have to work, making it impossible to attend anything on Thursday or Friday. That’s why we’ve scheduled Jacqueline for another 2-hour lecture on Saturday. And here it is:

Archetypes of Otherness

Natal charts hold a wealth of information about the shape and form of the many relationships in our life. We will not just focus on the intimate other, a favorite, but also the sibling other, the working other, and the peer other. Mom and Dad, too, have qualities of archetype otherness.

If you’re thinking that this lecture’s got something for everyone, well, it probably does. Come and have a listen!

10 Best Reasons to Come to SOTA

OK, I mentioned opinions. Around this time each year I try to come up with ten good reasons to come to SOTA. This year I asked a number of people what THEY are looking forward to. And here are the answers:

10. A free shuttle to and from the airport.

Yes, and that same shuttle will take you anywhere within 3 miles of the hotel and then bring you back. You say you’re driving? There’s free parking too. That’s money saved…

9. Lots of restaurants within walking distance.

In fact, I quit counting at a dozen, ranging from fast food to family style to pub fare to things like The Cheesecake Factory. Oh, and a steak house, too. And Altone’s, home of the baklava cheesecake. And a sushi place, which I haven’t tried yet. I will try to come up with a list at some point…

8. The shopping mall next door.

I am not a shopping mall fan, and even I was impressed with Walden Galleria. There’s a Lush, a Macy’s, an Old Navy, a wonderful tea place, a Lane Bryant, a Barnes and Noble, and lots of other neat stuff. You can travel light and pick up some new stuff. And if you forget something, you can pop next door and find a replacement.

7. The Pre-Conference workshops.

I will vouch for both Gary Caton and Eileen McCabe. You will definitely get 3 hours of good information from each of them. Gary’s work is innovative and original, a far cry from the same old stuff. Eileen is a very solid presenter with a background in social work. She has many years of teaching/lecturing experience, and her presentations are both practical and psychologically sound. And this will be the first time presenting at SOTA for both of them.

6. The new hotel.

Some also mentioned “no hockey brats”. So far this hotel has bent over backwards to work with us. We’ll see how it goes during the conference, but I am optimistic. And the hotel is indeed very comfortable…

5. The vendors.

All of your favorites from last year are back, along with Sue’s Salves (botanicals), and Linda Kane Ford (meditation and chakra disks). And Billee Dommell will be back with all those wonderful minerals and jewelry. Additionally, Joy White will be back with her carvings. I’ve been asked to be sure Brad Kochunas doesn’t buy them all up before anyone else gets a chance, but I fear I can’t oblige on that one. It’s first come, first served…

4. The fact that so many of the Open Forum speakers from last year will be back.

Uh-huh…In order of appearance, Jodie Cara Lindley, Wade Caves,  Adrianna Dream,  Alex Trenoweth, John Marani, Carol Mason Godzick, and Marilyn will all be back. All have  interesting topics.

As an example, here’s Jodie’s topic:

The Birth Chart As Medicine

Explore the links between the Birth Chart and the ancient Native American Medicine Wheel. Dive into the structure, meaning and use of the Medicine Wheel, compare it to the Birth Chart, and open to a new way of viewing the Chart as Medicine. The angles, planets and signs are featured.

And here’s Jodie’s Bio:

Jodie Cara Lindley has created a unique session she calls Shaman’s Astro, which combines shamanic principles, journeying and astrology . She regularly offers Shamanic Journeying Circles and workshops, and practices as a Registered Massage Therapist and Reiki Master in the greater Toronto area.

Space doesn’t allow me to include the other 6 lectures here, but trust me — they’ll ALL be interesting! And now back to our top 10:

3: The AFAN hospitality.

See above. This year this will take place after the opening ceremonies and again after the banquet. We are hoping Eric Pride will be back to host it.

2. Being with like-minded people.

Yep, to me the gathering of kindred spirits is what it’s all about. Reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

1. New books, new ideas, new speakers.

We’ve got those too. Helene Arts will be back as our official bookseller, and she’ll have all of the speakers books, other new books, and a fair number of out-of-print books as well. As for new speakers, people are excited about Shirley Soffer, Patricia Price, Rhyan Butler, and the return of the one and only Sylvia Jean Smith after a lengthy absence. As for new ideas, “new” is in the eye of the beholder, but rest assured there will be plenty of food for thought.


So there you have it. I hope some of this piques your interest enough to attend for the day or for the duration. And I hope you’ll tell your friends and that all of you will register before June 20th to save yourself some money!

There will be no SOTAnews next week as I’m off to Astrology’s weekend with Deborah Houlding on the weekend and will spend the remainder of the week doing catch-up. However, if you’re in or around Toronto and want to catch me live — as well as hear one of the best horary astrologer out there — why not check this out. Simply [go to] Astrology Toronto. Or message me and I’ll put you in touch with their President, Michael Barwick (who is also lecturing at SOTA, by the way.)

Have a good couple of weeks!




SOTA 31 May 2015

Hi All,

It would appear that someone has stolen spring — at least here. I am hoping they will return it later this week in a more balanced state. We went from unseasonably hot to unseasonably cold in the space of 24 hours.

Despite that, SOTA is chugging along very nicely, and you’ll find attached your revised and up-to-date flyer. Additionally, we have news:

First of all, we still have an attendee in search of a roommate. If you want to save money and meet someone neat — and if you’re female — message me and I’ll put you in touch.

Secondly, we need to talk about those luncheons. You’ll note that we have dropped the rate for the luncheons this year. We’ve also made another change — specifically, we’ve made it possible for you to choose what you want for lunch this year. Yep, that’s right. Those of you who have signed up for luncheons will get your very own menus for each day upon registration. Fill them out and turn them back in to the reg desk each morning and voila! Your lunch will be waiting for you.

Now before you get carried away with your fantasies, let me be clear. These are light lunches — mostly in the realm of sandwiches or salads, but you  WILL have a choice —maybe a nice beef on weck (a local specialty — and ‘weck is short for kummelweck, which is a sort of roll indigenous to the area). Or perhaps a Caesar salad. Or a tuna pita.

There will be a number of different options — including vegan and vegetarian options. They will be filling enough to keep you going and light enough that you won’t be overstuffed and falling asleep. Plus, of course, you get a wonderful lecture each day from the likes of Adrianna Dream, Armand Diaz, and Chantal Patenaude. Sure, Taco Bell or Subway will be cheaper, but you won’t get that lecture, now will you?

What? You say you’ll get the recording? Well, unfortunately, this year that might not be possible. Because the luncheon room is a bit of a distance from the rest of the lecture rooms, there is a possibility that we will be unable to record these lectures — and even if we do, you’re going to miss out on the visuals. And you’re probably only be saving yourself maybe $5.00 max by the time you buy the recording.

So the bottom line is if you’re absolutely certain you want to hear one or all of these, sign up NOW. Our room holds only 20 — which includes the speaker and the monitor. So while on one hand, you’ll be able to sign up by 10 am each day for the luncheons, when the seats are gone, they are gone.

Also, the cost of luncheon lectures goes up as of June 21st, which is another good reason to sign up now. Meanwhile, if Al, Carol, the hotel and I can ever manage to be in the same place on one day, we will see what we can do about recording. Just be aware that at this point there are no guarantees recordings will be available. ‘Nuff said.

And what about other speakers? Well, Samuel Reynolds is doing not one but TWO lectures this year. Check these out. For Saturday, there’s:

Five ways to turbo-boost the marketing of your astrology business

Drawing on his own social media and marketing prowess, Reynolds distills five easily implemented tips or principles to accelerate the marketing of your established or newly minted astrology business. For example, he’ll illustrate how two common possessions like your email list and your own astrology chart may already hold the key to boosting your earning potential.

And then on Sunday, there’s

The Astrology of Mid-Life

In an hour-long talk, Reynolds discusses seven common astrological transits or events that occur at mid-life, during the ages of 41-60: transiting Uranus opposite natal Uranus, transiting Neptune square natal Neptune, second Saturn opposition, fourth Jupiter return, the second progressed lunar return, second Saturn return and the fifth Jupiter return. He will discuss what each astrological event signifies and briefly suggest ways to manage each event.

Samuel really needs very little introduction for you regulars and maybe not for too many others either. He just finished getting rave reviews at NORWAC, he got equally excellent reviews at ISAR last year, and come to think of it, I’ve never known him to get anything less than excellent reviews. If you haven’t heard him, you need to.  I nearly always learn something from his lectures, and I’m old and jaded. So chances are good that you’ll learn something too.


And on that note, it’s suppertime here in the zoo. Have a good week. And stay dry and warm…



SOTA 23 May 2015

Hi All,

Schedule Changes

First of all, open up the flyer please. We have a schedule change in the works. And we’ll have a new flyer in the works too, but at the moment Demetrius is on the road (and scouting out speakers at NORWAC) so it may take a few days for new flyer to materialize. Meanwhile, please follow along and we can sort this out post-haste:

If you look at your flyer, Michael Barwick is scheduled for Friday, October 23 from 10:15 – 12:15. That’s not gonna happen. Michael’s lecture has been moved to Saturday, October 24 from 10:15 to 12:15. And Wade Caves, who was in that Saturday time slot, will now be lecturing in the Friday, October 23 slot. Topics — Wish Upon Your Fixed Stars for Michael and Connections in Horary for Wade — remain unchanged.

The schedule switch was necessary because Wade will be unavailable on Saturday. So if you’re looking forward to hearing him — or even talking to him — better plan on being there on Friday or he’ll be gone. And if you’re here on Friday, please stick around for Michael’s lecture on Saturday. Both of these gentlemen have something worthwhile to say — and you don’t have to be a traditional astrologer to appreciate it.

On other fronts, I THINK we have filled our vacant staff position. If we haven’t, you’ll be hearing about it in a future newsletter.

Trade Room

We’d also like to officially welcome Joy White and Mary Lou Vaughan back to our trade room. Yes, that means those wonderful carvings are going to be back again. If you missed them last year — or if, like me, you came back to get one and found them sold — check them out EARLY this year. The trade room will be opening some time Thursday afternoon, and if these sell the way they did last year, many of them may be gone by Saturday —especially since the trade room is open to the public. You don’t have to be an astrologer to like these goodies.

In addition to Joy and Mary Lou, we’ll have Billee Dommell and David Jordan with their wonderful selection of jewelry and minerals, Sue Morris with her wonderful herbal/botanical/astrological concoctions for bath, body, and abode, and probably Linda Kane with her beautiful meditation and software disks. Plus software, books, and more. So do drop in if you’re in the neighborhood even if you can’t make the conference.


And for those of you who are trying to save money so you can spend it in the trade room, I will mention that at the moment we have an attendee looking for a roommate. I know this lady and will vouch for her lack of abrasiveness. So message me if you’d like to share a room and I’ll put you in touch. In my experience it’s far nicer to share memories and shop than to spend all your money on the hotel. After all, $99 a night is $99 a night. And half of $99 a night leaves more money for you!

Closing Prize Give-Away

Also, a brief reminder about our closing prize give-away. Those of you who have been here before know that each year we have a prize give-away at the closing ceremony. EVERYONE who is there for the closing is eligible — speakers, staff, attendees — everybody. All of the prizes are donated, and I generally have no idea what will be there until Sunday morning. However, I can tell you that these are generally small but nice prizes.

In the past, we’ve had chocolates, books, scarves, jewelry, and bunches of astro-kitsch — candles with Suns and Moons on them, plaques, incense burners, little neat wooden boxes, and occasionally meditation CDs or the like. All prizes are donated by speakers, staff, and attendees, and all are generally nice to go home with.

And yes, if you want to donate something, we would be delighted. In fact, this is the perfect spot to do some regifting of those things you got and never used. No guarantee everyone will win something, but the more prizes we have, the greater the likelihood of that happening. And again, the only kickers are that you must be present to win. So if you can stick around until 3:15 on Sunday, there may be a little something in it for you. Once again, this is free. There are no tickets to purchase.

We MAY also have raffles at some point in the conference, but that remains to be seen.


Now, if you’re planning to be there on Sunday, you’ll probably be wanting to take in some lectures. We’ve got a variety of good ones, including this one by Julie Simmons:

Houses: The ‘Where’ of Astrology

Astrological houses are where we enact our life stories; from beginning to end. In this session we will investigate the archetypal meaning of the houses and how to use the scenery of our lives to gain deeper understanding of our experience, both collectively as well as specifically. Bring your chart.

Julie is a seasoned astrologer and lecturer with many years of experience. She has studied with the likes of Eleanor Bach and Diana Stone, and has often been on the leading edge of techniques. She was using asteroids long before they became trendy. She was at the forefront of the experiential movement. Her work is both solid and insightful and very much tailored to her audience and the questions they ask. Her lecture style is low-key. There is no hype. But she has a solid following and invariably is one of the speakers we get excellent feedback on — as well as requests to bring her back. So we’re happy to oblige.


And on that note, I’m going to sign off. Have a terrific week and don’t let that Mercury retrograde jangle your nerves.



SOTA 17 May 2015

Hi All,

Hoping to get this issue out in a timely fashion for a change.

A few announcements are in order. Some of these are repeats from last week, so feel free to skip down to the featured speaker if they don’t apply to you.

First of all, we have ONE staff position open at this time. Duties are taping and monitoring. You would need to be available for October 22-25 inclusive. There is no remuneration, but you WOULD get a free conference. And if you are selected to work a luncheon or the banquet, that meal would also be paid for by SOTA. We’ve had one person express interest, but so far he has not committed. So if you’re interested, message me. The worst that can happen is that the slot will be filled. In which case I’ll put you on the back-up list.

Second, all trade room space is now either reserved or committed and I’m waiting for checks from those who have reserved. We’re holding space until June 20, after that we will release it  and offer it on a first-come, first served basis. If you are interested in a spot, you can get back to me at that time or let me know now and go on a back-up list.

At the moment, Billee Dommell/David Jordan and their wonderful jewelry and minerals are ready to go. So is Sue Morris of Sue’s Salves. And of course Al and Carol Godzick of A-C Tapes will be there for all your recording needs. We’re expecting to hear from Joy White and Mary Lou Vaughan (carvings), Nora Sturtevant Bouvier (prints), Cosmic Patterns software (Fei Cochrane and Pam Gallagher), Linda Kane (original design meditation and chakra disks), and Helene Arts (books).

We’re also hoping to hear from Astrolabe; the last I heard they were looking for someone to staff their table.  As far as readers go, Tim Brainard and Psycho-Chic have confirmed and Patricia Beers has reserved space. If attendance warrants, we will add more readers, but at the moment I think three will be ample given that we also have Sweet Messages Friday night.

Third, if you haven’t reserved you hotel room, the best time to do it is NOW. Call 1-800-323-3331 and tell them you’re with SOTA. As always, our block of rooms is small and while we will try to increase it if we run out, we have no guarantee we’ll be able to do so. You’ll save both of us a headache if you reserve now.

As far as lectures go, one of your requests last time was for more predictive techniques. We’ve done our best to oblige. We have 3 full hours on transits at the Pre-Conference (Eileen McCabe), 2 hours on Profections (Maria Mateus), 2 hours on Dashas (Ronnie Gale Dreyer) and an hour on eclipses (Carol Godzick), plus 2 full hours on Solar Arcs with Janet Markham. We’ve talked a bit about the first 3, and we’ll talk about Carol’s lecture another time.

Meanwhile, here’s Janet’s topic:

Solar Arcs in your Astrological Toolbox

Solar Arcs are an effective astrological trending technique and a handy  tool for chart rectification purposes. Learn about the theory and background as well as how to combine solar arcs with other trending techniques.

Janet Markham is a Toronto based astrologer and teacher. Involved in astrology education since 1990, she is one of the founding members of the Canadian Association of Astrological Education (CAAE) where she served as President from 2005 – 2010. Janet obtained her MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from the University of Wales, Trinity St. David, in July 2013, with a dissertation in archaeoastronomy.

What Janet doesn’t say is that she is an excellent teacher and invariably winds up on our ask-back list. So we are welcoming her back once again. Expect a worthwhile presentation. All of Janet’s presentations are worthwhile.

Also note that we have made sure that NONE of the lectures on predictive techniques overlap, so if your primary interest is in prediction, consider this a crash course in predictive tools.


OK, once again I am trying to get these out in a timely fashion this week, so without further ado, have a good week and check out that New Moon tomorrow. It could be MOST interesting.




SOTA 12 May 2015

Hi All,

Again I am running slow. I don’t know who pushed the button on my roller-coaster, but I am suffering a severe time deficit. So let’s not waste any time. On with the show!

First of all, one of our staff members has decided that she’d rather be an attendee this year. This means we have an opening for a taper-monitor. Note that this is an unpaid position and would require you to be at the conference for the duration, from the 22nd to the 25th. Duties would be taping and monitoring.

Note that you would NOT get of choice of which lectures you tape or monitor; I simply can’t accommodate 6 people’s requests and guarantee they’ll all be happy. I have a rather convoluted system of drawing names out of a shoebox for each slot, and if there is something you absolutely MUST see, this is not a job for you.

On the other hand, we DO use tapers-monitors at the luncheons and at the banquet, so if you are selected for one of those slots, your meal is free — which is a nice perk. If you’re interested, email me and I’ll give you more information.

Secondly, it looks like our trade room is going to be FULL. While I am still awaiting a few checks, all of the spaces are currently spoken for, and have been reserved until June 20th, when checks are due. And yes indeed, we have some new vendors.

Sue Morris of Sue’s Salves will be joining us this year, and she has an absolutely wonderful array of salves, spritzers, lip balm and other goodies, including astrological massage oils. Sue is both an astrologer and an herbalist, and I can vouch for her products. They are high quality. And they do what they claim to do. And the salves are NOT yucky. There is a wonderful lavender one that can double as a light perfume. There is a tea tree salve. There is an intriguing-sounding hot pepper salve that she says is helpful for those of us who get cold feet and creaky joints. She also has a Himalayan salt room spritzer for those of us who can’t live in a salt cave all the time. And not only that, she can make you a botanical perfume that will resonate with your birth chart — though I don’t know if she’ll be able to do to many of them at the conference because they’re made to order.And yes, her prices are reasonable.

Sue will be joining Billee Dommell, Joy White, and many of your other favorites, so look for her at SOTA.

Readers: We also have a new reader joining Tim Brainard and Patricia Beers.

Psycho-Chic (yes, Psycho-Chic) hails from Michigan and I can vouch for her too. She is NOT psycho. She is spunky, funky, and accurate. And she also does healings. So don’t say there’s nothing new under the SOTA tent. Come and have a look. And remember, our trade room is free and open to the public, so please tell your friends.

And yes, we have some new speakers too. One of them is Ryhan Butler. Ryhan is one of the many people who applied for a speaking slot last fall. I had not met or heard him at the time but he came highly recommended. When he applied, I told him that we get far more applications than we have slots (true!) and sort of gently told him there were no guarantees. Happily, he came back with a good topic, a well-written 50-word blurb, and an equally well-written bio. Here they are, as submitted:

Temperament: Achieving the Balance Within

Every individual is born with a unique mixture of the four classical humours that constitutes their spiritual and physiological condition.  In this talk we’ll discuss the development of temperament theory, its calculation from a natal chart, and practical remedies to help people achieve the health of body and mind that balancing the four humours brings.

Ryhan is a practicing astrologer from Dallas, TX and is the author of the Medieval Astrology Guide website.  He has lectured locally and in national conferences, working to spread the techniques of medieval astrology.  He is an active member in AYA and currently serving on the board for the Association for Astrological Networking.

Sound good to you??? Yep, me too. I hope you’ll enjoy and learn from his presentation.


Meanwhile, I am also happy to announce the return of Sylvia Jean Smith. Sylvia has been missing — and much-requested — for about 3 years now, so we’re delighted to have her back. Sylvia’s specialty is eclipses, and this year she’ll be talking about pre-natal eclipses:

Are You an Inny or An Outy?

The psychologists are ever-ready to pigeon-hole us into their categories of introvert or extrovert, but are we really one or the other? Or are we a combination of both? Sylvia Jean’s research suggests that if the pre-birth eclipse is Lunar, more introvert qualities will show up; if it is Solar, the extrovert qualities are more apt to prevail. We will look at some famous personalities and make some decisions on these views, based on their pre-birth eclipse . However, she also intends to throw a few curves into these psychological pigeon-holes. Check the ephemeris beforehand to see what pigeon-hole you’re supposed to be in, and come in prepared to think and discuss.

And for those of you who don’t know Sylvia Jean, here’s her bio.

Sylvia Jean Smith is an enthusiastic student of life.  Two lengthy careers have occupied her professionally, nursing and astrology, along with a myriad of personal interests.  WHY, is her most often asked question, so her primary interest is research into the Universe, and why it operates with such precision…. and why we seem to follow a specific path in our own individual manner, as we tick along like the Eveready Bunny.

This, by the way, is original research. I think you’ll be well-please with its quality.


One last word: A look at the rooming list suggests quite a number of you haven’t reserved your rooms yet. If I’m talking to YOU, please call the hotel at 1-800-323-3331 and tell them you’re with SOTA. We don’t have a huge room block, and when are rooms are gone, they could very well be gone. And you DO want to be where the action is, don’t you?


OK, until next time — which I hope will be sooner than this time. Have a good week but watch out for that New Moon on the18th and Mercury’s retrogradation which starts on the same day.