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UAC 2012 (Part Two): The Conference

Catch part one, all about New Orleans, here.

The conference

UAC presented a classic conference-goer’s dilemma: one ass, many potential seats. I tried live-tweeting the sessions I attended, but the hotel wi-fi was spotty at best (and I have thus far managed to resist the siren call of the smart phone). I went to a few sessions, but not as many as I have at past conferences. I find I don’t have a lot of patience anymore for sitting still and listening to much of anything for an hour and ten minutes; or perhaps it was all those transiting planets in Gemini. In any event, here were a few of the sessions I sat in on (most of them before my own talk blew me out of the water, energy-wise), along with some of my fairly shallow notes, tweets, and observations. (The lectures should be available for purchase at the conference website by the end of June.)

  • Richard Tarnas (What is the Relationship of Myths to Planetary Archetypes?), who spoke about the nexxus where the names assigned to the planets do and don’t intersect with mythology. At the time I didn’t think I was keeping up. Weeks later, though, this is the talk that keeps popping into my mind and supplying little nuggets to chew on.

My tweets from the session, which reveal my vacuousness:

  • Richard Tarnas – myths, planetary archetypes, and at one point *jazz hands*.
  • Tarnas: Astrology of modern planets don’t nec reflect myth so much as the era in which discovered. You, Uranus, are no rebel.
  • Greco-Roman gods = patriarchal thugs. Heh. Good one, Richard Tarnas.
  • Brad Kochunas (Parenting and Astrology).  I’m a huge fan of Brad’s writing, and it ends up he’s a top-notch speaker, too – organized and engaging. I went to his talk on astrology and parenting, and while it’s a topic that didn’t interest me in the least, I enjoyed it completely. So if this is a topic you’re interested in, I’d definitely recommend ordering the tape.

Favorite quote:
“Parents are entrusted with a small portion of the sky.”

  • Joyce Levine (Predictive Techniques: An Overlooked Key), whose practical approach to predictive techniques reminds me so much of my teacher.

My tweets from the session:

  • Joyce Levine: During Neptune transits, postpone big decisions, you don’t really know what you want. 
  • Joyce Levine: Pediction begins with the natal… “We react to the world based on what we’re like.”
  • Donna Van Toen (Astrologers’ Charts). She is just fantastic, funny and smart. I’ve enjoyed her postings on Facebook for a few years now, and I adore her sass. Along with everyone else in the room, I spent the entire lecture ticking off imaginary boxes next to each of the signatures for astrologers that I have in my own chart. (Sun/Neptune or Pisces signature, check; Moon/Pluto aspect, check; Sag Ascendant and thousands of planets in the 9th house, check; sorry, I know there were more but I ran out of paper.)

My favorite takeaway phrase (used to refer to people with strong Aquarius signatures in their charts): “People who muck about in groups.”

  • Kelly Surtees (Predictive Pot of Gold: How to use Secondary Progressions in Predictive Work), who stunned a roomful of people many of whom didn’t really know who she was and who were therefore completely unprepared for what a kick-ass speaker and first-rate astrologer she is. If you’re flummoxed about how to combine transits and progressions to best effect in your readings, consider ordering Kelly’s talk – it will be truly helpful.

My tweets from the talk:

  • Fixed stars add mythology and story. When pr. Planets conjunct FS, you embody its myth.
  • Surtees: Pr lunar phase the single most valuable predictive tool. Know ’em, use ’em, love ’em.
  • Surtees: Take note of Pr angle rulers switching signs – major shifts.
  • Kelly Surtees: Pr Sun changing sign is like having a personality transplant.
  • Rob Hand (Reform and Reaction: A History of Twentieth Century Astrology), who is Rob Hand. If he is in the building, one shows up. Mind you, I was still in a state of shock from my own lecture, which had ended just 45 minutes earlier. So my mind was completely AWOL during the first few decades he talked about.

Here are some weirdly scrawled, mostly silly notes I found:

  • (After he made some self-deprecating crack about his “poor Latin.”) Yeah, Rob Hand – we totally hold your bad Latin against you. <I’mSoSure>
  • “Astrologers are incapable of being scientists as science is currently understood.”
  • (Robert Hand crunches his ice. Awesome!)
  • Donna Cunningham (The Incredible Vulnerability a Stellium Creates), a great talk on stelliums which all you 1980s-born people should totally order on CD.

Me, rockin’ the Marriott. Pic by Kelly Surtees.

I also attended my own lecture, of course, though with the elevators at the Marriott being what they were (on one memorable evening, Jonny and I WALKED downstairs from the 34th floor because we could not get a freaking elevator) that was by no means a dead cert. My lecture “When Will I Get Married?” was scheduled for 9 am on Sunday, when I had assumed everyone would be sleeping in after a Saturday night of partying in New Orleans and that my audience would comprise two ancient spinster sisters, perhaps accompanied by their cats. Instead, I addressed a standing room only crowd of happy, enthusiastic women (and about four men, God love ’em) who laughed at my jokes, took pictures of me in my Mardi Gras hat and sent them to my cousin, and generally gave me the best time I had all week.

And in the end…

As is my wont in group situations, where my introverted nature (which no one who meets me in person believes exists) takes over, I preferred spending time huddled in the lobby bar with Jonny, having drinks and people-watching. But I had a wonderful time catching up with Kelly, as well as her fellow Aussie Lynda Hill; lunching with the charming Katie Sweetman of Empowering Astrology and the gracious Sonja Francis of; gossiping with the delightful Samuel Reynolds; catching up with Bill (who for some reason I called “Bob” one morning when I encountered him in the elevator – sorry, Bill!), Donna, and Arlene, who I met in Phoenix last March, and with Moses Siregar, who I’ve known since we both started our websites at the end of the last century. And it’s always nice to see some familiar faces from home – Jim, Shannon, Kenneth, and Holly.

There are some NOLA sights I regret missing, but I ran out of mornings. Inevitably, there are more lectures that I’d like to have heard. And there are some people I never met or would have enjoyed spending more time with, but everyone’s run off their feet at these things and I don’t help matters by being shy and not throwing myself into the social mosh pit.

Desperately seeking a beverage at Cafe Treme.

But overall, it was a rich and colorful week. I fell in love with a city, and got to share it with the person I like best in the world. I had some of the best meals of my life. I caught up with some friends and made a few new ones. And best of all, I got to walk around the Marriott with a “speaker” badge on – the kind of thing that threatens to make a Leo really insufferable. (“No, please, you’ll give me a big head… and then my crown won’t fit.“)

Adios from San Diego!

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