I was first introduced to Canadian astrology way back in 2014 via Donna Van Toen and the State of the Art Astrology Conference (SOTA). Although SOTA is held on American soil, it featured many Canadian astrologers and these contacts expanded into such a formidable circle that it eventually led to me being asked to give the keynote lecture at the Canadian Astrology Conference (CAC) in Edmonton Alberta, 13-15 September 2019.
CAC combines the talents of the Edmonton Astrological Society and The Astrologers of Calgary and, quite rightly (as they are under represented and often confused with their American cousins), features ONLY Canadian astrologers. Now held bi-annually, their first conference was in 2015 and since then, they have gone from strength to strength.
So the next question might be: How did US passport bearer, UK-residing Alex Trenoweth get an invitation to an all Canadian conference? The answer is I am a card-carrying member of the Saugeen Reservation near Southampton Ontario! That’s right: my mother is 100% Ojibwa and I have the blood tests to prove it (otherwise I wouldn’t have a band card).
How I got to be a keynote speaker is a bit of a mystery but when offered such an opportunity, I’m not one to pass it up! “The Growing Pains of Harry Potter” is what they wanted and I had a few chances to practice it to perfection at the Astrological Lodge of London and at NCGR-LA on my way to Edmonton.
This year’s work for the conference was mostly done by Tracy Quinlan who, as you shall see, did a fabulously flawless job. I’m enormously grateful to Tracy for not only picking me up from the airport but for sharing her home after a late night landing. Thank you Tracy xxxx
Of course, no conference would be complete without my perennial roommate, Mj Patterson. As I had only said good bye to her a few weeks before, it didn’t really seem like we had been apart for very long. So, I made myself at home in our room by completely de-constructing my suitcase (which had been packed in haste owing to a hot date the night before my flight) and then re-packing things they way I like them to be (I had been on the road for a couple of weeks by this time).
Once I finished re-organising myself, I wandered down to see what was happening. The first people I bumped into was Donna Young and the legendary Vincent Godbout who happily posed for a selfie. I had no sooner put my laptop away when Chris McRae and Gaisheda Kheawok materialised. That someone as well established as Chris recognised me and called me by name was completely mind blowing and seeing Gaisheda (a First Nation elder) at the same time just about short circuited my nervous system. After that, I just kept seeing more and more people I recognised and felt more and more at home. In fact, I felt so at home that I didn’t even have a chance to feel nervous about my impending first ever keynote lecture!
Following an afternoon of listening to lectures, our rumbling bellies told us it was time to eat! We headed to a nearby restaurant and despite the great conversations, that’s when my lecture nerves started to hit.
Vincent leaned over and said with a twinkle in his eye: “I can tell you’re nervous!” Vincent is also known as the mind reader “Mentalo” and his teasing did little to distract me from the thought I was about 30 minutes from delivering my lecture.
Before I worked myself into too much of a state, it was time to get ready. And wouldn’t you know it, I had sound, visual and recording issues that just about sent everyone into a meltdown. I tend to get very, very quiet when there’s a crisis and I did the only thing I could do: slowly step back and let the people with better tech skills than me get on with it. Fortunately, the issues were mostly resolved (we still had sound problems) but the lecture was very well received and I just may go down as the first passport carrying American to speak at CAC.
Saturday was a full day of really impressive lectures, an interlude of poutine for lunch and topped by an incredible banquet dinner. I know I always say this but I don’t like paying good money for school dinner food. But the food at this banquet was THE BOMB!! OMG, it was wonderful. Congrats to Tracy Q who sourced the caterer and I have to give CAC an award for the best food at an astrology banquet.
Entertainment for the Banquet Dinner was the amazing Vincent Godbout (“Mentalo”). I’ll try to describe what he did although this is one occasion that I think words might fail me.
His first trick involved spotting the liar. He asked the audience to choose three people: someone who they thought had a good poker face, one who had a bad poker face and one more person who was middle of the road. Guess which one I was?
So as (allegedly) I had the bad poker face, I had to go first. We each had to shake a vial that contained a die (singular dice) and then answer the question “Is the number. . .” by replying no. Mentalo then had to identify at which time I was not telling the truth. Being a giggler, I wasn’t much of a challenge. But the others were. Mentalo rumbled all of us.
His next trick was truly astonishing on several levels. He had to guess the names Mj and Franco had chosen randomly from a bag. As he asked questions, he was cutting a piece of paper. When he had (correctly) guessed the name he held up the paper. It looked like a badly cut scrap of nothing. Then he turned it around. It became clear he had cut out a perfectly recognisable image of Gerard Depardieu–which was the name Mj and Franco had chosen well before he started cutting the image. I honestly don’t know how he did it. But it was pretty incredible. What can I say? I like clever boys!
So I thought the entertainment was finished but I would be wrong: Canadians are fully capable of making their own music and the after hours jam with homegrown talent was absolutely joyous. I, um, believe it may have been slightly lubricated by a bit of wine but what fun it was.
I have to say I was very impressed with every single lecture I heard but I want to give a special shout out to Britanie LeClaire who delivered her very first conference lecture. Carefully researched, she presented charts on the astrology of solving “unsolved” crimes. It was riveting to see how astrology can help shed light on hidden clues and it was delivered with just the right balance of humour and seriousness.
I made many new friends and got to know a few friends a lot better. Bernadette Evans, Lesley Francis, Wendy Guy and so many others were a lot of fun and I so look forward to seeing them again in the future.
Sunday afternoon it was time to pack up. I was going to be going home to Detroit to see my family but Gaisheda wanted me to leave with a special river blessing. I don’t have photos of the blessing (some things don’t belong on Facebook) butI do have a photo of me, Chris McRae and Gaisheda that I will treasure:
Thank you Canadian Astrology Conference for a totally fabulous weekend. Wishing you all the very best for the future and thank you so much for having me!!!
If you’re curious about astrology conferences, I’ve written a few reviews of my favourites!
United Astrology Conference, various locations in the US, every four years in May
Northwest Astrology Conference, Seattle Washington, every year in June
International Society for Astrological Research, various locations in the US, every other year in the autumn
Institute of Vedic Culture (IVC), Kolkata India, 4-9 February 2020
Kepler Institute, Belgrade Serbia, every year in March
Associação Portuguesa de Astrologia, ASPAS, Maia Portugal, 23 and 24 March 2019
Associazione Cultural Jayavidya, Perugia Italy, every year in June
State of the Art Astrology, Buffalo NY every year in October
Astrology Restored, Cape Town, next one in 2020
Sedona Vedic Astrology Conference, held annually in Arizona every November
My lecture schedule is here