Been going to the same Astrology Conferences year after year? It’s time to get out of the same old routine! ISAR 2016 wins my prize for “Best Connections” and it’s a conference well worth attending if you are just starting to branch out as an astrologer.
I first attended ISAR’s biennial conference in 2014. It marked the very start of my career as an international astrologer (I had spoken at UAC in 2008 but was working full time as a teacher so wan’t able to travel much). My book “Growing Pains” had come out the year before and was starting to gain some attention outside of the UK.
ISAR 2014 was the start of my tour of the USA. I can honestly say my life radically changed since this tour: on the last night of the tour, I was invited to India! And so ISAR holds a very special place in my heart! I appreciate all the ISAR does for me and continues to do for the astrological community. And I’m so happy ISAR is an affiliated sponsor of IVC 2020!
The International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) conference is held every other year in a different location in the continental USA and is one of the biggest astrological events in the world. It could be very easy to be swallowed up by the atmosphere–unless you walk through the door to register and bump straight into President of ISAR Ray Merriman and one of the astrological writers you most admire, Erin Sullivan. Which is exactly what happened to me. Ray has been a personal friend for nearly a decade but Erin I had only admired from afar. We had exchanged numerous Facebook messages and before actually meeting her in the flesh, I had been a little worried about what I would say to her. I need not have worried! We got on like a proverbial house on fire!
Once I registered and settled, it didn’t take long to find other friends (my astro brother Ian Waisler, Demetrius Bagley, Elizabeth Kullen, Cindy Chamberlin, Margaret Gray, Nick Polimenakos and others) and be swept off to nearby Tanaka Farms to pick organic produce for our (independently organised) vegan supper. And who should I meet straightaway? Dennis Harness!! Like Erin, Dennis is an astrological elder whose writing I admire. Chatting amongst the rows of pumpkins, getting lost in a cornfield maze and petting goats is one hell of a way to get acquainted!
Ian had very cleverly found an Air B and B near to the conference hotel and with the help of housemates, had prepared a sumptuous cruelty-free meal for all of us. Oh and I got to sit next to Dennis!
All of this was before the conference actually started!
The opening ceremony of any conference is important and I was not disappointed with this one: Aleks Imsiragic had put together one of the best and most exciting introductory trailers I have ever seen. I was so proud to see several of my personal friends from around the world featured. But more than that, it made me really look forward to the rest of the conference
As I have mentioned elsewhere, I am not a particular fan of politics but the recent presidential debate had ignited my interests. And a good thing too—the grand opening ceremony centred around astrological predictions for the upcoming election. PR guru Shelley Ackerman did the excellent job of getting some serious press coverage for the panel discussion on the elections. I was floored by the different methods each astrologer used to come to the same conclusion: Hillary for the win!
NB: Clearly the astrologers got this one wrong. This left a few astrologers feeling like they had egg on the faces but the analysis of this wrong prediction is so important to our craft. We need to look back on what went wrong and hone our techniques. This is a great opportunity for research.
I was so pleased the board had collaborated in generating ample PR for the conference—and like it or not, the controversy around securing Hillary’s accurate time of birth not only had astrologers and non astrologers alike talking, it also showed astrologers doing their homework by not just accepting any old data that comes their way.
After the opening ceremony, we were sprung loose to catch up with friends and acquaintances and to take in our new environs. I got to see my beloved astro sisters Ana Carrapichano and Michelle Gould and catch up with all the gossip.
The “Org Party Crawl” was a chance to mingle amongst various astrological organisations to see what was happening. I made a point to visit each of the seven groups and was just amazed at the ingenuity shown. Special shout out to Rick Levine who played live music at the OPA party and to Queer Astrology for being so loving, welcoming and open. The rest of the groups were just as lively and innovative and if I had the time and energy I would have joined all of them.
Well Day Two was my book signing! And as this is my blog and I’m self-employed, I make no apologies for plugging myself!
How generous of ISAR to arrange book signings for us writers! I was not only pleased to shift some books but also to chat with other astrologers about my work in astrology and education. I loved the support I received from other astrologers (is there a better acknowledgement than having someone tell you how much they love what you do?). In particular, I was thrilled to be invited to work with Kepler College!
It was so fabulous to see my brilliant friend and head of Cosmic IntelligenceAgency Julija Simas and
fellow agents Armand Diaz, Cassandra Butler, Vanessa Guazzelli Paim, Demetrius Bagley and Margaret Gray (who I’ll be collaborating with very soon in Dublin) at our board meeting to discuss upcoming projects including webinars, interviews and a whole slew of other exciting goodies coming your way very soon. Just check out that lovely tablecloth
(really a delicious silk scarf that Julija gave to me)! Oh and I got to have dinner with internet sensation David Palmer “The Leo King” and his lovely fiancée Leanna!
After an evening of astrology chatter and sharing starry love, it was time to get down to the business of taking in astro knowledge. As part of the voluntary crew, it was my job to work with my astro brother Samuel Reynolds to ensure all the audio-visual equipment was working for all the speakers. This meant I could pop in and out of several talks without seeming rude. And what a lineup it was! In between my dips
into a spectacular array of lectures, I had the chance to chat with a few interesting people.
I have no idea why it never occurred to me that I might run into the divine Matt Savinar whose astrology magazine Hexagon I had the pleasure of being in. One of the very best things about conferences is the opportunity to meet folks in person and in Matt’s case, it was the chance to thank him for all his promotional work for “Growing Pains”. It’s well worth checking out the Hexagon website!
And speaking of astrology magazines, I also bumped into
Tem Tarriktar of the Mountain Astrologer. Again, I have to say how nice it is to see respectable astrology magazines with such excellent websites. Of course, I had to have a selfie with Tem!
Another surprise of the evening was meeting the Astrodienst founder, Alois Treindl. Astrodienst is a FREE astrology programme that I had been using since the early noughties well before I was able to afford Solar Fire and other expensive astrology programmes. I can honestly say Astrodienst was an integral part in helping me pass early astrology exams and in supporting my early astrology consulting career. I was so pleased Alois was honoured with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement award! The photo is a little blurry but here I am with Erin Sullivan, Lynn Bell, astro brother (and date!!) Ehsan, and Alois!
The funniest moment of the evening goes to the beautimus Chris Renstrom, who mispronounced my last name. Well. . .we can’t let there be any doubt on how this very tricky name is pronounced now can we?? So here we are with me schooling Chris on the correct pronunciation (so lovely to finally meet you Chris!).
At the risk of seeming like I am astro-worshipping Frank Clifford, I just want to say as one of the few
(honourary) Brits attending ISAR that I hooted and hollered when he received the “Best Article” award for contributions to the fabulous ISAR Journal! Seriously a proud moment!
I have to put in a huge shout out to the totally gorgeous Hakan Kirkoglu . . . Just because he is totally brilliant. And gorgeous. And don’t we look marvellous together?
The evening finished with me gatecrashing Ray Merriman’s after party in his hotel room. I had managed to capture another photo of him with the lovely Antonia earlier in the evening before I polished off the last of his beer with Glenn Perry (who I will be seeing again at the Kepler Astrology Conference and at the First Annual Astrology Conference in Portugal).
Everyone looked chipper enough to me on Sunday morning. And the incredible thing was the buzz was still going strong. Sometimes conferences can feel like you’re being herded from one lecture to another and everyone is drooping by the last day. But everywhere I looked, there were happy faces and as the conference came to a close, there were many invitations to collaborate with other fantastic astrologers.
I finally got to meet David Cochrane and his lovely wife Fei after hearing so much about them. David was kind enough to give me a shout out for my research into astrology and education and to invite me to present this research at the upcoming Kepler Conference(not to be confused with Kepler College) in Florida in January.
All good things come to an end and I was fortunate to have been close to my astro sister Michelle Gould as she prepared for her lecture and for the closing address of ISAR. Michelle had put an enormous amount of work into making the ISAR conference such a success and it was an honour to have been able to spend so much time with her.
I was fortunate to have been able to stay on for another night–and even got to autograph a couple more of my books.