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A Newbie’s Guide to Astrology Conferences

A Newbie’s Guide to Astrology Conferences

In episode 132 of the podcast astrologers Jo Gleason and Ryhan Butler join the show to discuss what astrology conferences are all about, why you should try to go to one, and some strategies for making them easier to attend.

Ryhan is a board member of the Association for Astrological Networking (AFAN), while Jo is on the board of the Association for Young Astrologers (AYA), and one of the functions of both organizations is trying to make it easier for astrologers to connect with each other and attend community events like conferences.

Both just returned from the SOTA astrology conference in New York last month, and we thought that we would take some of the energy and enthusiasm they had coming off of the conference in order to talk about what makes conferences important these days.

You can find out more information about Jo on her website AmyJoGleason.com

You can find out more about Ryhan on his website at MedievalAstrologyGuide.com

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast.

Show Notes

  • Background and introductions.
    • When did everyone attend their first conferences?
  • General discussion: what did you expect at your first conference vs. how was it in reality?
  • Why are astrological conferences important?
    • What is so great about them, especially compared to what you can get online?
  • The purpose of conferences is half educational, and half socializing.
    • The lectures and the workshops are the educational part.
    • The socializing is what happens in between.
  • What conferences are like on the ground.
    • Sometimes easier to have a friend there (could be roommates you meet)
    • Connect with conference-goers on social media before the conference
    • Look for general non-lecture hangouts
      • Hospitality suites, etc
    • Start conversations after lectures on lecture topic
    • Stay in touch with conference-goers in Facebook events where dinner plans and whatnot are often posted
    • In general, accept invitations to dinner/hotel bar with groups
      • You often learn just as much from connecting with other astrologers as you do in lectures
    • Could seem cliquey at first glance but groups are generally welcoming to newcomers
  •  Lectures.
    • Different types of lectures.
      • Standard lectures.
      • Keynote lectures
      • Workshops
      • Free speech lectures.
    • Good idea to plan out what talks you want to see ahead of time.
      • This is especially necessary for pre and post workshops.
    • One difficulty is choosing between multiple lectures happening simultaneously.
      • Helps sometimes that you can buy the recording after.
      • Decision then is which would it be better to see in person.
    • Seeing a variety of different lectures is good.
      • It is one of the things that makes conferences great for education.
      • Exposing yourself to new ideas, concepts, and traditions.
      • Get recommendations from other conference goers.
    • Balance between staying up late socializing vs. getting up early for lectures.
  • Getting to a conference can be expensive.
    • Three main things that you need to cover:
      • 1. Buying a pass to the conference itself (workshops separate expense)
      • 2. Buying a plane ticket or whatever to get there.
      • 3. Paying for a hotel room while there + related food expenses.
  • Defraying costs
    • Early bird registration makes it cheaper.
    • Room share/roommate opportunities
      • AYA room share
      • Check with orgs/conferences to see if there’s a roommate program
      • Room with a friend.
      • Share a room with a friend to cut down on room expense.
    • Find cheaper ways to travel. Car, bus, train.
      • See if you can share travel expenses with friend/roommate.
    • Scholarship opportunities
    • Volunteering opportunities, Room monitors, etc
  • Major upcoming astrology conferences in 2018:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 132 transcript

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    • Yeah, that would be fun to do sometime, from the perspective of how a conference is organized and put on. Maybe I could have you and Laura on the show sometime to discuss it? Might have a wait a little while since I just did this one and I try not to repeat topics too soon, but maybe sometime next year?

  • I went to my first (and only) astrology conference, NORWAC, in 2015.

    Even though I got terribly sick after the first day, it was still an incredible experience.

    Having only seriously studied astrology for about a year, it was completely overwhelming. Yet it was refreshing to relax and allow myself to be a beginner at something, to observe what I was naturally attracted to and what I wasn’t.

    It is also not terribly expensive if you plan ahead, although paying for the food is a gigantic rip-off; the portions are a pittance.

    Being in an environment that reinforces astrology substantially expedites learning.

    • Adam, The food issue is a big one. Food tends to be price-y. Not much the conveners can do about it. That’s how the hotels make their money or so they tell us. There are often cheaper places in the surrounding area and it’s worth your while to check them out. I have found places with ginormous portions and often bring half of my order back to eat the next day. Two meals for the price of one. To which I’d add that getting a microwave in the room is a smart move and worth the small bit of extra money. I also try to do the breakfast buffet. Then I’m full for much of the day and can sometimes get by with a bowl of soup later in the day. And by all means, if there are hospitalities, go! There IS food at these, though it tends to be largely finger food and sandwich stuff…

      I hope that despite getting sick, you enjoyed yourself enough to go to another conference. We need people like you! And most conveners are ready to give you tips to stretch your money or otherwise help.