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Ep. 132 Transcript: A Newbie’s Guide to Astrology Conferences

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 132, titled:

A Newbie’s Guide to Astrology Conferences

With Chris Brennan and guests Jo Gleason and Rhyan Butler

Episode originally released on November 16, 2017


Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: theastrologypodcast@gmail.com

Transcribed by Mary Sharon

Transcription released April 17th, 2021

Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

[intro music]

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode is recorded on Thursday November 9th, 2017 starting at 4:08 p.m. in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 132nd episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron please, visit theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode I’m going to be talking with Jo Gleason and Ryhan Butler about some tips for attending astrology conferences especially if you’ve never been to one before. Hey guys, welcome to the show. 

JO GLEASON: Hey. Thanks for having me, Chris. 

RYHAN BUTLER: Hey Chris, thanks for having me. 

CB: Hey. All right. So, Ryhan, we’ve done a show together. This is your second time on the podcast. I’m trying to remember what episode that was, but it must have been like what–

RB: Oh, what’s the number? I don’t know. It was back when you let me talk on my iPhone instead of–

[Jo and Ryhan laugh]

RB: –instead of the crazy recording system that it has now become. 

CB: Right. Those were simpler times before I lost the ding radio episode where to chat and

[Jo and Ryhan laugh]

CB: instituted a system of five backup recordings.

RB: We were all more innocent back then. It’s fine. 

CB: Yeah. There were much more younger, younger days. And, Jo, this is your first time on the show. But you’re a longtime listener, right?

JG: Yeah. Yeah, longtime listener. It’s kind of surreal actually cuz it seems like not too long ago I was like binge listening to these episodes while I repainted my spare room. So, yeah. Yeah, longtime listener. 

CB: Awesome. Well, it’s great to have both of you on today. And I’m excited about this topic because this is something that Kelly and I have talked about at different points or occasionally like Austin and I have mentioned on forecast episodes or something like that or one of the early episodes with Kelly was her and I recording sort of recap of what happened at a Northwest Astrological Conference a few years ago. 

RB: Oh, I remember that. Yeah.

JG: Mhm. Mhm. 

CB: Yeah, but we’ve never actually done an episode that sort of gives people background information on what conferences are about or what makes them useful or interesting or how to go about going to one and some sort of tips and guides. And I saw last month both of you attended the SOTA conference, the State of the Art astrology conference. And you were doing some interesting like social media posts and stuff, and it made me think that that would be a great topic for a show because there’s probably a lot of people that haven’t attended a conference before and could use some background information on what makes them so great and why they might want to attend one. So, when was that conference that you guys just got back from?

RB: The 18th to the 23rd of October, I think. 

JG: Mhm.

CB: Okay, yeah, that was just a few months ago. And where was it again?

RB: Oh no. No, it was a few weeks ago. Not months. [laughs]

CB: Oh, sorry. Yeah, a couple weeks ago. And what city was it in? 

JG: It was in Buffalo, New York. 

CB: Okay. And that’s an annual conference, right?

RB: Yes. 

CB: Okay, cool. So, in terms of backgrounds and introductions, one of the questions that I had that I thought would be a good talking point is all three of us have like different histories with conferences and we’ve attended different amounts so that we kind of represent a nice spectrum of that in terms of number of conferences attended and experience in doing this. So I wanted to ask first right off the bat, what was your first astrology conference? Or when did you attend your first astrology conference?

RB: Jo?

CB: I’m going to start with–

JG: Oh, it’s me. 

CB: Yeah, let’s start with Jo. Yeah.

[Ryhan laughs]

JG: Start with the least experienced. Okay. Yeah, so I’ve only been to two astrology conferences. My first was in 2016, and it was also SOTA. And then I went to SOTA 2017 this year. So, yep, just small regional. And only been to two. 

CB: Okay, perfect. Well, that’s good because then you having just attended your first two recently, you’ve got a good experience or good perspective in terms of what it’s like for a new person. So you can sort of draw on that here for this episode. 

JG: Yeah, totally. 

CB: All right. And, Ryhan, you’re somewhere in between her–

RB: Yeah, I’m somewhere in between her just getting started and you like all of them. I usually try to go to one or two a year. I feel like that’s a good number for me for someone who typically, I’m gonna use the word hates travel. 

[Jo laughs]

RB: My first one was in 2011, the AFA conference in Tempe, Arizona. I forgot where it was. And that one’s a little bit different because it’s not like the typical conferences where you have like multiple tracks and you have like several talks going on at the same time. That one was sort of more symposium ish where there were like 130 of us. We were all in one room, and it was rotating speakers between you Chris and Demetra George and Ben Dykes. I think it was just you three. But I’ve been to the more astrological organizations one like ISAR conferences and NCGR conferences and then of course the smaller, more regional conferences like SOTA. So, all in all, I’ve probably been to about 10 since 2011. 

CB: Yeah, so you’ve gotten a pretty good sort of sweep of all the different types of conferences at this point.

RB: Yes.

CB: And you’ve also started speaking at them. And I heard that you’re going to be doing a keynote lecture one next year, right?

RB: Yes. 

CB: All right.

RB: Yes. 

CB: So that’s exciting. 

[Jo laughs]

RB: I’m doing that on SOTA next year. It’s exciting and terrifying, but I’ll get through it. 

[Jo laughs]

CB: Yeah. I remember seeing one of your first lectures, which is I think electron reception at an–

RB: Yeah.

CB: –NCGR conference a few years ago, right?

RB: Yeah, my first one in 2013. 

CB: Right.

RB: That was also terrifying, but I got through it. And now, look at me. 

[Jo laughs]

CB: Right. It’s the sort of rite of passage. 

RB: Yes. [laughs]

CB: So, one of the early general discussions that we wanted to have sort of right at the top which was what did you expect at your first conference versus how it was in reality. Sorry, I forgot to mention that in terms of my background I think the first conference I ever attended was back in 2005. And it was the Northwest Astrological Conference, and I’ve attended maybe a few dozen major conferences and then minor or smaller events since that time. So it’s a little harder for me to remember some of my initial reactions and stuff. But do you guys remember what you expected from your first conference versus how it actually turned out?

JG: Yeah. Honestly, I remember when I found out astrology conferences existed. And I was so excited. I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is a thing people do?” So I just tried to Google as many as I could find. And they all seemed intimidating like, “Oh my gosh. I don’t even know.” I wouldn’t know anybody. It was nerve wracking to consider actually going. But I will say that for my first conference I expected to go to more lectures, I think. I expected my days to be totally full of workshops. You’ve got 15 minutes, grab something to eat, go to the next lecture. And it was a richer experience than that. There was so much more that I learned and didn’t expect to experience just by spending time with the people there and the astrologers there, so that was a pretty big thing for me. I was expecting like an intensive, and I got a lot more than that in a different way. So–

CB: Right. And that’s a really important point because that brings up one of the two primary distinction of the two things that conference is about and the thing that you usually go into them assuming that it’s primarily about is education which is a big part of it since they’re centered around the lectures or the presentations and the workshops that astrologers give there. But then the other half of it that’s also important or the other 50% is the social aspect of actually meeting with other astrologers in between lectures or at night at dinner or something like that and building the friendships–

RB: The wee hours of the morning. 

CB: Right. 

[Jo and Ryhan laugh]

CB: Right, so that’s the social aspect of it. And so that was one of the things that was surprising for you is that it wasn’t just a like educational intensive, but you actually met a lot of other astrologers in person. And that social aspect ended up being important. 

JG: Yeah. Well, also, you can go to tons of lectures and stuff. But at some point, your brain is so full of information that you just need to chill and absorb it. And yeah, I expected to just go full speed ahead and try to gather as much as I could. But, that was not quite the case. 

CB: Right. And in terms of why they’re important or what makes them so great, what is so great about meeting other astrologers in person? Or what does it make a difference? I guess that’s one of the questions I think a lot of younger astrologers might have at this point or that you might not understand until you attend a conference which is if you can download a webinar online or if you can chat with other astrologers on Facebook or some online forum or something like that. What difference does it make to attend the conference in person? I know, Ryhan, that you wrote blogs. And you and I interacted for years before we ever met up in person. Do you remember that first conference that you attended in 2011 and that making a real difference for you?

RB: Yeah, because it made me realize how big and diverse and different the actual in person astrological community is in a way that I really didn’t from the internet, if that makes any sort of sense. But, on the internet you just sort of interact with people as like a wall of text. 

CB: Mhm.

RB: And it’s very different to then go and like have dinner and have sort of the same conversations that you would have with those people online but in a much more like personable and more intimate setting. It goes beyond this idea of, “I talk to these people online, and they’re my online friends.” to “No, I’ve actually met this person. And they’re like my real life friend.” and just sort of the camaraderie that evolves from those meetings. 

CB: Right. Yeah. And that’s huge or it’s something that’s hard to convey until you actually get there and you do make some of those connections both with people maybe you already knew before you went there but also–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –oftentimes meeting new people that become sort of lifelong friendships that you–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –wouldn’t have made if you hadn’t showed up to that place in person. 

RB: Definitely. 

CB: Sure. All right. So and in terms of that, one of the questions that we wanted to address early on was just what makes astrological conferences important. And so it seems like one of our answers right away is that social aspect. It seems like the other part of that is the educational aspect. And what do you feel about that in terms of being one of the primary things that are important about conferences? Or do you feel like that’s one of the primary things?

JG: Yeah, I do feel like that’s a primary thing. Like Ryhan was saying, it’s totally different to experience someone on the internet or just experience their writing versus experience them teaching right in front of you. A lot of work goes into these lectures, and you can get a lot out of it especially if it’s interactive. And it is different than downloading a webinar or even buying a book or just interacting online. It’s totally different. It’s more intimate. And in a lot of ways, you get more out of it that way. And I think that’s super important. It totally changed my perspective of astrology in general just cuz like things online, you can create an entire perception just from what you see online. But there’s something very visceral about seeing all that happen in person. So, yeah, the educational part is huge. A lot of people put together amazing presentations that are really detailed, and they’re willing to stay and help you after the lecture or whatnot. So, yes, I absolutely think that’s important. 

CB: Right.

RB: Yes, it’s a lot different than webinars or things you can download online. Because while a lot of astrologers who offer those kinds of things will of course be open to accepting email questions about the content or anything like that, it’s a whole different ball game when that person is like right there in front of you and all you have to do is like raise your hand and get like a direct response from them for whatever question or concern you have about what they’re saying. It becomes like much more of an immediate connection, and I feel like students get it much more quickly than if you tried to like write this big whole email response–

JG: Yesh. 

RB: –trying to talk them through this situation. 

JG: Yeah, totally. 

CB: Right. Yeah, definitely that. Like actually building a personal connection or meeting somebody whose work you’ve studied online or through their books or something for a long period of time that can really make a difference?

RB: Mhm. 

CB: So, one of the things we should talk about since we’re sort of taking for granted the nature of an astrological context at this point is maybe we should talk a little bit about just what the structure is of them or what goes on there. So, the main thing of course that people go to astrological conferences for and the main thing that they’re centered around is the lectures. And there’s a few different types of lectures that occur at conferences. There’s standard lectures which are basically usually like 75-minute or sometimes 90-minute presentations by the headline speakers. So usually there’s a group of, let’s say, a dozen or maybe two dozen or so professional astrologers who were invited to speak at this conference and give usually like one or two presentations over the course of a weekend. So most conferences last for maybe two or three or four days. And you’ve got the standard lectures which usually take place from like nine in the morning until about four or five o’clock at night, and there’s usually about four of those during the course of the day with several of them running concurrently on different tracks. Is that the setup essentially at SOTA as well?

JG: Yeah, that–

RB: SOTA has hour and two-hour slots that kind of alternate. 

JG: Mhm.

CB: Okay.

RB: But, yeah, it’s more or less the same thing. 

CB: Okay, interesting. But it’s usually like, I don’t know, four or five different lectures or different rooms where there’s different lectures happening at the same time?

RB: Mhm.

CB: Okay. So, those are sort of the core lectures. And then there’s also keynote lectures which sometimes occur like at night. Usually after dinner there’s like a major keynote lecture which is by typically a more prominent astrologer who gives a presentation for the entire conference. So it’s not restricted to just whatever the smaller number of people they would normally have in a standard lecture room, but instead it’s sort of presenting something broader to the entire conference.

RB: Yeah.

CB: And that’s what you’re gonna be doing next next year, right? 

RB: Whoa. Buckle up, everybody.

[Jo laughs] 

CB: Have you started thinking about themes or like topics yet?

RB: Yes. 

[Jo and Ryhan laugh]

RB: That’s all I can really say, but yes.

CB: Okay, I’ll just assume you have it all planned out but you just–

RB: Yeah.

CB: –wanna be secretive and–

RB: Thanks. I appreciate getting the benefit of the doubt there.

JG: Yeah. Yeah. Very mysterious. 

RB: Right.

JG: Very mysterious. 

[Ryhan laughs]

CB: It’s building anticipation.

RB: That’s right.

CB: It’s part of showmanship. 

JG: Yeah.

[Ryhan laughs]

CB: So, keynote lectures. And usually the keynote lecture is typically given by one of the more prominent astrologers. Like Rob Hand would often give the keynote lectures at Norwalk or like Steven Forrest or someone like that. So–

RB: They are usually also tied to like some event like opening ceremonies or like after the banquet or something like that. They usually always follow some big thing. 

CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point. So, there’s those lectures that basically everybody at the conference sees cuz it’s usually in whatever the largest room is that can fit everyone. Then besides those there’s also workshops which usually happen. There’s pre conference workshops that happen the day before the conference starts, and there’s post conference workshops typically that happen the day after the conference ends. And those are typically multi-hour sort of intensives on a specific topic that’s led by a single astrologer. 

RB: Mhm.

CB: And that’s something that you sort of sign up for separately if you want to do that in addition to the main conference program. 

RB: Yeah, I think the word intensive is a good descriptor for them as far as the differences between workshops and more standard lectures. 

CB: Sure. Yeah, cuz the standard lectures are just 75 minutes or maybe 90 minutes or I think you guys are saying that they’re like an hour at SOTA and most of the other standard conferences. And that’s a decent amount of time to give a lecture about a single topic, but it actually goes by pretty, pretty quickly in some instances–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –just in terms of especially from a teaching standpoint like how much you’re able to actually convey in an hour or in 75 minutes or what have you. Whereas with these workshops, you’ve got like an afternoon to present and really unpack a set of ideas. So, yeah. So those are workshops. And then finally the fourth category is usually referred to as free speech lectures or sometimes they’re called different names, but typically these are lectures that take place either during lunchtime or sometimes if you wanna skip lunch or if you wanna grab your lunch and go to one of the rooms, you can watch a lunchtime lecture that takes place sort of in the middle of the day or sometimes they take place in the evenings.

RB: Or ungodly early.

[Jo laughs]

CB: Oh, the morning ones. I forgot. Did you have to do one of them once?

RB: That was my first one. Was it like eight in the morning, the NCGR one? It was like eight in the morning. 

CB: Okay. 

JG: Oh my god, dude. Wow.

RB: Yeah.

CB: Yeah.

[Ryhan laughs]

CB: That’s rough. 

[Jo laughs]

CB: So it’s like those are typically cuz one of the tricky things from an organizational standpoint is that you usually have these big conferences that the organizations or the organizers put on, and a lot of astrologers apply. But there’s only so many spots available for people to speak, so oftentimes there’s more applicants than there are basically lecture positions. And sometimes what they do is they open up additional slots during those weird times either really early in the morning or in the middle of lunch or in the evening, and they give people the chance to give a talk. But they’re kind of sort of outside of the standard schedule. 

RB: Mhm.

CB: And usually sometimes those are like good slots for like newer speakers where sometimes–

JG: Yeah.

CB: –if you’re like a younger astrologer or if you’re newer to the field, you’ll be offered like a free speech lecture like that. And then eventually if you do well, you can sort of graduate to the main standard lecture.

RB: Yeah, it’s definitely a training ground for getting like an actual lecture session. And the reason why they are called free speech lectures is because the person who gives it is usually not compensated for it cuz like this is the first go-round, so it’s like they’re testing you essentially. 

CB: Yeah. So you’re usually not paid for them, but you at least get the chance to sort of present a topic to an audience.

JG: Mhm.

CB: And that can be good practice for a lot of people at getting experience and giving talks. So, those are the four lectures. And that’s basically at least in terms of the structure of the educational part of the conferences that’s essentially it, right? Is there anything else educationally–

JG: Yeah, I think that–

CB: besides that?

RB: Not really. 

JG: I think that covers it. 

CB: Okay. And so, let’s see. So, where should we go? So, that’s that. There’s other minor things that you could say are like quasi educational that are often at conferences. Like for example, there’s usually like a trade show or a bookstore, right? 

RB: Oh, that’s true. Mhm. Yeah. Most conferences have some sort of tradeshow that’ll have books or related occult paraphernalia. 

CB: Right. And that’s usually fun because typically most locations or most cities don’t have like a really good local astrology bookstore anymore. But usually when you go to a conference if it’s a decent-sized conference, they’ll have a good collection of astrology books that you can actually look through in person and pick up and take home if you want.

RB: Mhm.

JG: Mhm.

RB: The trade room is usually also the only place that’s open to the general public without having to like purchase a conference pass. Some just random tidbit of information.

JG: Oh yeah, definitely. 

CB: Right. That’s a really good point. And so the conferences usually have like vendors and they’re selling different often like astrologically themed sort of merchandise and different stuff like that?

RB: Mhm. Software–

CB: Right, software. 

JG: Oh. Yeah. Yeah. 

CB: So you can see like what Solar Fire looks like or what–

RB: And that can be actually a really good thing to go to and get your hands on a program if you’re kind of in between putting down money on an astrology program. They usually will have the vendors who do the software will give you like they’ll walk you through it. You know what I mean? Like you can kind of see–

JG: Mhm.

RB: –what all it can do when you can have them talk to you about it before you kind of decide which way you wanna go if that’s something that’s on your radar. 

CB: Right. Totally. And that’s actually a good point maybe just about conferences in general is that they’re almost like good getting a taste test for a bunch of different types of astrology and a bunch of different things all things astrological in like a really short pretty intense span of time over the course of a few days cuz even the lectures, it’s not like for most of the standard lectures since they’re just 75 minutes each, you’re getting a really intense short term exposure to a concept or a new technique or a new approach to astrology. And then if you like it, then you can sort of go on to study it more. But you’re not necessarily gonna walk out of the lecture as a master of that technique or something.

JG: Yeah, it opens a lot of doors. And it’s one of those things where it’s always great to find at least one lecture at a conference where it’s a topic that you’re curious about but totally unfamiliar with cuz it can really give you kind of an overview and just acquaint you with that subject so you kind of know where to go after that if you decide you want to pursue that further. 

CB: Right, definitely. And so that’s definitely a good thing to look at the programs. All the conferences usually have a program or a website where they outline what lectures and what workshops are going to be presented, and you can kind of get a feel for if there’s stuff that you’re interested in. And so it’s a good idea right from the start to kind of plan out what talks you want to see over the course of the week or the weekend. That way, you know which ones you want to go to and you can kind of make a tentative schedule about which lectures you’re gonna try to hit. And usually one of the main difficulties is that oftentimes they’ll end up being like two lectures that are happening at the same time that you really wanna see, and you have to make a choice between one of them basically, right?

RB: Mhm.

JG: Mhm. Yeah. 

CB: Okay. So one of the ways around that of course is that usually there’s recordings that are done of the lectures that are sold by the conference organizers after the conference is over. So oftentimes a good way to break one of those decisions is just figuring out which lecture would be better to see in person versus which one you’re okay getting a recording of afterwards?

RB: Yeah, that’s a good way to kind of balance the two. Because the speakers are there in person, you can always go and just talk to the speaker of the one that you missed. Because probably they’ll have extra handouts, and that might be useful too. 

CB: Yeah.

JG: Oh. Hey, that’s a good point. Yeah.

CB: Yeah, that’s definitely a good point. And so in terms of that, oftentimes people will go looking to attend specific lectures. But then the other flip side of that is that conferences are really good in terms of seeing a variety of different lectures and getting exposure to a bunch of approaches that you might not otherwise have forced yourself to see or that you might not have seen otherwise so that sometimes the educational aspect is just finding something new or exposing yourself to something new? 

JG: Yeah, definitely.

CB: I think, Ryhan, you were saying that that was one of the things that you noticed at the first conference or the first few conferences you went to. Was that from the lectures or just from meeting people in person?

RB: Well, so my first conference was the AFA conference. And that one was sort of more linear because it was more symposium style. But then after that, I did UAC 2012. 

CB: Okay.

RB: And so UAC is a different monster for those who have not been to an astrology conference or have not been to UAC. Because while more like the national, regional conferences will have maybe five different talks going at the same time if they’re like one of the bigger ones, UAC has like 18. 

CB: Yeah, UAC is the–

[Ryhan laughs]

JG: Yeah.

CB: The United Astrology Conference is huge because it’s a conference that only takes place like maybe twice a decade, and it’s when all of the national organizations pool there that would normally host their own conferences every couple of years anyways. They all agree to hold off on holding a conference for a couple of years and pool their resources to do one big mega conference that has anywhere from like 1500 to 2000 astrologers in attendance and over 100 astrologers speaking. 

RB: Yeah.

CB: So, that was your second conference. Would you be–

RB: That was my second conference. [laughs] 

CB: Yeah.

[Jo laughs]

RB: And just like imagine sort of like the day and night from like, “Oh, we’re all in one room. We’re all friends and family. We all did the same thing.” Now everybody’s just kind of scattered to the four winds cuz there’s two different talks going on. But like UAC is actually kind of interesting because if you ever felt that astrology was sort of like a one trick pony,  like seeing 18 different types or applications of astrology being discussed in the same place, will kinda change your mind on that. Because it’s kind of crazy just how much variety there is in the field in general but also how different people can take the same thing and apply it in different ways. So it’s really fascinating as far as broadening one’s perspective. 

CB: Right, definitely. And with UAC especially because they sort of go out of their way to create different tracks that have different topics or themes or traditions.

RB: Yes.

CB: And so–

RB: Like UAC especially works really hard to make their tracks different and thematic to where like you always have certain talks happening at the same time whereas other conferences, they may not have like a track in mind per se. Like UAC is divided up by health and wellness, and in this room every hour there’s a talk about astrology and health.

CB: Right.

RB: But other conferences are gonna have that sort of like specificity. 

JG: Mmm. Yeah. 

RB: Yeah.

JG: That’s a good point, too. 

CB: Yeah. And that’s really important. Because usually at other conferences, it’s more like you’ll have five different astrologers talking about different topics. But it’ll sort of change from session to session which topics–

RB: Right.

CB: –or which traditions are in which room. But UAC–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –it’s always like this room for this week is gonna be lectures–

RB: Yeah.

CB: –on vedic astrology or–

RB: Yeah, so you can basically just camp in a room and get all the same kind of, not the same talk but all the same sort of theme. 

CB: Right. Well, and that becomes one of the questions sometimes with conferences where it’s good. Cuz sometimes it’s easy to just see all the talks that you would normally want to see if there’s like a type of astrology that you already gravitate towards, but then other times it’s sometimes useful if you run into a space where there’s like not any talks that you particularly know anything about or that are on a topic that you’re familiar with sometimes to like force yourself to go to a talk that is outside of your area of expertise or interest. And sometimes that can be sort of a useful growing experience in terms of seeing other types of astrology in action. 

RB: Yeah, definitely. But, I would say don’t pressure yourself to feel like you have to go to a talk every session to get the most out of your money. Because I didn’t do that. [laughs]But it’s also rewarding just to kind of give yourself a break from being in that sort of student position and just sort of mingle with people in the trade room or you know at the hotel bar or just sitting outside in the lobby and just give yourself time to not be in a chair staring at a projection. 

CB: Right. Yeah, cuz one of the experiences that people have is that it can be a really intense and kind of exhausting experience over that few day period. And you can experience a certain amount of burnout after a certain period of time. Did you feel that, Jo, after your first or second conference?

JG: I did. I did feel that. And especially at my first conference I think I felt this weird pull. This is also kind of part of my personality. Like I love to work hard, and I love intensive experiences. So, it was like this weird pull between, “Do I go to this lecture or do I just chill with this group of people who’ve decided they’ve had enough lecture for the day? And like do I just hang out with them?” You know what I mean? Like should I be studious or should I be social?

RB: Give in to peer pressure?

JG: Right. And I was like, “This is kind of a weird feel–” Like that’s another thing I didn’t expect of just people just being like, “Oh yeah, I’m just gonna chill now.” And I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I did just say, “Okay. Well, I’ll just skip that lecture and I’m just gonna hang out.” it was so much fun. And again like sitting around the table with professional astrologers whose work you’ve only seen online just speaking to them as people, I feel like I learned as much as I would have in a lecture just in a different way cuz you really get a more personal view of how these astrologers interact and just how they think about astrology in general. Yeah. That’s definitely something I experienced. 

CB: Yeah, definitely. And that’s a really important point because even though we’re kind of drawing a distinction earlier between the educational aspect of conferences versus the social aspect. There is a lot of overlap there because sometimes just talking to people one on one is educational. And you’re learning things just in and of itself by building those connections.

JG: Yeah, I–

RB: The social and educational aspects of conferences are much more like interwoven than they are distinctive or separate. 

CB: Sure. 

JG: Mmm. Yeah, absolutely. 

CB: Sure. So and that’s definitely something I know that more experienced astrologers, there might be a tendency for newer astrologers to go to the conference and be more nose to the grindstone in terms of like attending every single lecture–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –of which they are like back to back. And there’s like four lectures a day plus the keynotes plus workshops, and that’s especially more typical if they haven’t built up any social connections. Whereas definitely I’ve noticed that the longer that people have been in the community that sometimes there’s a tendency for more established astrologers especially if they’ve been to a lot of conferences and they’ve seen a lot of the presentations and are kind of familiar with the topics already to not attend as many talks but instead to go and focus more on the social aspect, especially because then at these conferences, it’s like you’re catching up with old friends that you [crosstalk] have seen at the previous conference, and you want to see how they’ve been since that time. And so, you’re reestablishing [crosstalk] connections that are already there.

RB: Yeah. But listen, also, those professional astrologers are probably also trying to find time to finish their presentations in that room. [Jo laughs]

CB: Right. That is the mistake that I frequently make, which is my procrastination goes all the way up until the last minute before the lecture actually begins.

RB: That’s not good, Chris. [Jo laughs]

CB: Is that where you’re usually as well?

RB: I usually finish before I leave. Before I leave to go to the conference, I’m usually finished. But I do know certain people that I will not name who are regularly on your podcast, [Jo laughs] who are not as prepared.

CB: Yeah. [Ryhan laughs]

JG: Yeah. Yeah, that was a thing too like hearing someone say, “Oh, we’re going to go grab dinner. Do you want to come? Oh, no, I got to go finish my lecture.” And noob astrologer Jo is like, “Oh, they’re not completely prepared?” And it’s just like it’s funny, but these are all just normal people too. They’re brilliant minds and all this stuff, but they’ve got lives. They’ve the people who procrastinate it. It’s just [crosstalk]

RB: My heart goes out to the people who really want to be in a lecture to support a friend or are interested in their topic and they’re sitting in the back with their laptop because they’re also working on their presentation at the same time. [Jo and Chris laugh]

JG: Oh, yes, that’s some conference real talk. This happens.

CB: Yeah, there’s a lot of that, especially some of the younger astrologers where they are going to support a friend or something like that, but they still have to get their own presentation done. That is not an infrequent occurrence. So that’s a little bit more practitioner side of things. But in terms of lectures, or some of the other topics that we meant to touch on with respect to that, that brings up some of those other random things that you wouldn’t think about or you wouldn’t come to mind, in terms of stuff to be careful about during lectures. I don’t know if that’s a topic we should go into at this point. What do you guys think? Are there any things that come to mind in terms of going to a lecture that you watch out for, or that you keep in mind, or that you learned only after either making a mistake, or going to a few conferences? 

RB: How do you mean?

CB: One of the funny things that comes up is if you’ve done a lot of conferences and you’re say jaded about it, [Ryhan laughs] what happens if you go into a lecture not really knowing, and then realizing that it’s not your cup of tea, or that this might not be a great lecture? If you had to choose between two and you were conflicted, you didn’t know which one to go with then you go into one room and sit down, and you’re there for five or 10 minutes, and you realize that you made the wrong choice for whatever reason. There’s often a question of etiquette about whether to excuse yourself and leave or whether just to stick it out. I don’t know if you guys have had [Ryhan laughs] that experience.

RB: I’m a bit more direct about that stuff, and it’s my conference experience, too. And it doesn’t hurt my feelings that people leave my lectures early for whatever reason. [crosstalk] So, I’ll just get up and quietly, excuse myself and do whatever my other thing was. But sometimes, the longer lectures will have breaks in the middle and that can be a really good time to just not come back.

JG: Right. Yeah, just slip out then, and yeah.

CB: Right. That’s easy. I guess it’s when you end up in a very small room where it’s just [Ryhan laughs] 20 people and in the process of standing up 10 minutes in the lecture, you have to make eye contact with the speaker [Jo and Ryhan laugh] and then walk out the door. And I feel often like social pressure not to at that point, so I usually will just stick it out. But I wish I was more-

RB: That’s so nice of you. Also, I think it also matters where the door is. Because if the door is towards the front, [crosstalk] oh, that’s bad times. [Jo laughs] But if the door is at the back, then that’s much easier.

CB: Yeah. Or sometimes, it’s a really creaky door that makes a lot of noise as soon as [crosstalk]

RB: Then everybody knows and then the [crosstalk] speaker is like, “And Chris Brennan is just leaving my talk, thanks.” [crosstalk] [Jo and Chris laugh] And then it’s just all the recording for all posterity. 

CB: Right. [crosstalk] 30 years later, somebody’s listening to that lecture. I’ve heard things [Jo laughs] like that on lecture recordings.

RB: Have you really?

CB: Well, I remember I got a lecture recording from 1990 and it was Joan Quigley, who was Ronald Reagan’s astrologer, giving a talk shortly after her book about Reagan was published at UAC back in 1990 or so, and she turns at one point and she says, “Lee, switch it to the next slide,” or something like that. She was giving orders to Lee and I realized that’s actually Lee Lehman who she’s [Ryhan and Jo laugh] talking about. [crosstalk] And so, you’ll hear these funny exchanges where 20 or 30 years ago, it’s like a much younger astrologer earlier in their career that’s doing something and then who now in retrospect is a larger figure in the community.

JG: Oh, that’s adorable

RB: That’s great. I would pay money for Lee Lehman to change my slides for me. [Ryhan, Jo and Chris laugh]

CB: All right. 

JG: You would have to. [Jo laughs] [crosstalk]

CB:  I don’t know if this will happen. At this point, you’d have to phrase in the form of a horary question and then she would [crosstalk] [Jo laughs] 

RB: She would change my…. How much do I need to pay Lehman to change my- [crosstalk]

CB: All right. Yeah. So [crosstalk] yeah, so that was one. I know, in terms of it wasn’t quite restricted to conference to lecture etiquette, but I know there was one other thing that you had thought about Jo, in terms of that sometimes, new astrologers don’t realize or in terms of different quasi social form conferences that can sometimes come up.

JG: Right, right. So, I’ve noticed, especially when I’ve met younger people at conferences, younger astrologers who are new to the in-person community, sometimes you can build up this perception that when you’re with a bunch of astrologers, you speak astrology all the time, and that’s all you ever talk about. It’s a huge part of what everybody talks about. Obviously, that’s why they’re there. But it’s not usually part of a normal or polite introduction to start listing your natal chart placements to somebody right up front. You can, but it’s not something where it’s like, that’s what astrologers do. And I know if I had gone to a conference much earlier in my studies, I probably would have done that very same thing and be like, “Oh, I’m Jo. And this is every planet placement in my chart.” And it’s important to keep in mind that some people, and it’s easy to forget this when you’re excited about the practice and you’re excited about astrology, some people are very private with their charts and they don’t really want to exchange that chart information just right after shaking your hand. So, that’s just something to keep in mind. A lot of times people will end up talking about their charts, or people will ask you about your chart, but it’ll happen organically and it’ll happen naturally. So, it’s just an awkward social [unintelligible] to go up to somebody and start talking about your chart right away.

CB: Sure. Yeah. And that really varies from person to person, or context to context, but it’s definitely [crosstalk]

JG: Yeah, some people are totally cool with that and they’ll just launch right into that too, but it’s just something to be aware of.

RB: A lot of times that just comes up organically in a conversation anyway. 

JG: Yeah, yeah.

RB: In a way, somebody will inquire about this or that, and then you can share that. But I know a lot of times, we talk about our astrology in an attempt to relate to other people that are at the conference. But I know for me, and this might sound really terrible so buckle up, I get tired of talking about astrology after [unintelligible] [Jo laughs] I’m sorry to say that, but after doing the lecture for an hour or 90 minutes to two hours, I don’t want to talk about astrology again for a little bit.

CB: Right. [ Ryhan laughs] Well, that’s one of the tricky things being especially a professional astrologer is that if you’re a professional astrologer, then that means that astrology is not just something you’re passionate about, but it’s also your job. And so, especially if somebody comes up to you and literally hands you a copy of their chart, and you’ve just met them and they say…

RB: Has that happened to you, Chris?

CB: I’ve watched it happen. [crosstalk] It’s always amusing to watch it in conferences because it’s something that comes from, like Jo was saying privately earlier, that always comes from a good place, but it’s something that typically you only see new astrologers do. You don’t usually see Rob Hand walk up and hand people [Jo laughs] his chart.

RB: That would be amazing. 

JG: If Rob Hand handed me his chart and he was like, “What do you think of this aspect?” [Chris laughs] I’d be like, “Let’s have a seat and let’s talk about it.” No, but no, yeah, that’s important to mention. It’s always coming from a good place. It’s always like Ryhan mentioned, it’s a [crosstalk] way to seize connection. It’s an icebreaker. Yeah. But just trust, if you think this might be something that you would do or would have done, trust that the ice will be broken anyway. These people are so nice. That’s something that… I was so welcomed with open arms by all these people. I remember walking up to Kelly Surtees and Sam Reynolds and Christopher Renstrom, and they all just shook my hand and gave me a hug, and no icebreaker was really needed because [crosstalk] 

RB: The best icebreaker you can give at an astrology conference is to be like, this is my first conference. 

JG: Absolutely. [crosstalk] And they’ll be like, “Hey, come sit with us. Let’s hang out. Let’s get to know each other.” Yeah, that’s a really good point, Ryhan. That is the best icebreaker you could have.

CB: Yeah. And that actually leads us to another topic. But just before we get off of it, sometimes to go to the back pedal a little bit, sometimes at certain conferences like at Norwalk, they will give you an opening where on your name tags, sometimes they’ll have a blank spot where you can list your sun, Moon and rising sign. [crosstalk] And that is an okay instance to share chart details or sometimes to open that conversation because it can also indicate other people if they put that on their name tag that are open to having a dialogue about their chart or about your chart placements or what have you. 

RB: Yeah. 

CB: So, just depends, but it’s something you have to feel out depending on the context. So, what was the last point? Because I actually was going to lead to a really good transition point. What was the very last thing that you said, Jo?

JG: Oh, I was just saying how I was maybe not intimidated, but I just wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw these “famous astrologers” and they were just so welcoming, and they invited me to hang out with them and all that thing.

CB: Okay. [crosstalk] That’s perfect. Yeah, and that brings up a very important point. And this is actually something I’ve been struggling with trying to figure out, which is there’s different personality types and there’s some people that might be extroverts that have no problem going into a group or a conference setting like that, and just introducing themselves and striking up conversations and starting to make friendships right away. But there might be other people that might be more introverted, or somewhere in between were going to a conference, especially if it’s your first time and you don’t know anybody or there’s not anybody there that from online previously, it can be hard to make those initial contacts and strike up some of those conversations because sometimes you really just have to go for it. And it may or may not even necessarily be successful depending on the context. But that’s something I’ve been trying to figure out more and more how to find ways to make that easier for people because I realized that if I was coming into the astrological community now or especially, let’s say 10 years ago before I was doing speaking stuff and was more introverted, I think I’d have a hard time making some of those connections. And so, I’ve been trying to find ways and think of ways that people can do that and start to build some of those relationships in a way that’s a little bit easier. So, I know you guys are both involved in organizations that helped to facilitate some of those social interactions, right?

RB: So, saying that, but one thing I’ll say is that if somebody at the conference asks you to go somewhere and do something, just say yes. Because we met an individual at SOTA who I don’t remember if it was his first conference or if it was his first time at SOTA or something, but I had seen him at another lecture that I was in, and then I happen to pass him down the hall, and I’d always just see him sitting by himself and I was like, “Hey, a bunch of us are going to go to the bar right now. Do you want to come with us?” [crosstalk] And he was like, “Yeah, I’ll be there.” And I was like, “Great.” And so, just be open to that stuff, especially if you’re more introverted.

CB: Yeah. And it was maybe the second day of the conference because [crosstalk] I had seen him around too. Yeah, I think it was Saturday. Because I was like, “Do you know who that person is? I haven’t seen him with anybody. We should invite him somewhere.” And he was awesome. Yeah, he was [crosstalk] he was introverted, but yeah, he was so happy to have an invitation and just join the crowd.

RB: Also, if you are a new or younger individual and you see other new or younger astrologers, talk to them because they’re probably us [crosstalk] [Jo laughs] and it’ll be fine.

JG: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you’re right.

CB: Good. And there’s a good set of instructions here for both sides, which is that if you’re somebody that’s going to a conference and you don’t know anybody yet, then try and especially during lunches or around dinner in the evenings when the lectures are over, try and go to the social spaces like the bar, or the lobby where usually there’ll be a cluster of most of the astrologers hanging out. And that can be hard because sometimes you could end up standing around if you don’t know anybody. But then from the other side, I definitely like to encourage, and I’d like to see more of this happening, which is that if you’re an established astrologer that’s going to any of these conferences, or astrology enthusiast, or whatever that’s made some friends or whatever, and you see somebody who’s hanging out by themselves, or doesn’t seem to be connecting with anyone, to go up and introduce herself. Because oftentimes, there will be new astrologers that don’t know anybody at conferences and that’s a great opportunity just to say, is this your first conference or what have you and strike up a conversation and build some of those connections, or to help somebody out who maybe hasn’t had the opportunity yet to do something like that.

RB: We talked a bit ago about why conferences are important, that stuff, and one of the main things is that there’s supposed to be for community building. And going back to how conferences are different, or why they’re better than online interactions, you just don’t have that same sense of community building, you just don’t have that connection. And all of us as astrologers ought to be, and I think some organizations are doing this better than others, ought to be looking for making these new, or bringing in these new additions to our community and being like, “Yes, we want you here. You’re welcome. You’re valid. And you should have fun and enjoy yourself here.” This isn’t study hall. Conferences are not study hall. They’re supposed to be this horizon expanding experience where yes, the information that you receive from lectures is important, but also that connecting with people is what brings you back next time.

JG: Absolutely. Yeah.

CB: Right. A lot of people, especially people that have come to their first conference or their second conference, often describe this experience that I don’t know if anyone’s ever fully been able to articulate it, or if this is the right way to articulate it, but they often refer to it as they feel they finally found their tribe, or that there’s some really visceral or primal experience of finding a group of people that they belong to. Because typically, for most people, if you study astrology, it’s this weird, isolated thing that [crosstalk]

RB: You lose the ability to talk to other people. Yeah, been there. [Jo and Ryhan laugh]

CB: Right. Well, it’s just that most other people in your life, if you’re a normal person, you’ll have other normal people around you. And they’re not necessarily going to be into this weird out there thing, which let’s all just admit that astrology on some level is even as a valid phenomenon, [crosstalk] it’s still incredibly weird [Ryhan laughs] that it works.

JG: It’s actually perceived as weird. It’s completely absurd. Yeah. [Jo laughs]

CB: Right. And so that in and of itself, just most people’s experience as a result of the fact that astrology is not viewed as a legitimate phenomenon by a large portion of the world immediately, can make the study of astrology isolated, or isolating. And so, the experience that you have when you go to one of these conferences is radically different because suddenly, it goes from maybe you just know one or two people tops in person locally, they do astrology, or maybe all of your friends who do it are online. So suddenly, you’re in a room with 100 other people that are all talking about astrology and there’s something tremendously empowering, but also comforting about that because suddenly, you’re not alone in doing it.

JG: Absolutely. [crosstalk] Yeah, that’s huge. [crosstalk] Go ahead. [crosstalk] I was going to say, one thing that might sound silly, but helped me feel a lot better at my first conference is that I had added a lot of people on Facebook before I went [Jo laughs] and this is within the months before, it wasn’t like the week before, but [Ryhan laughs] so people read, I know I just go on this random [crosstalk]

RB: [unintelligible] added astrologers. Maybe you’ll see these people at SOTA [crosstalk]

JG: Yeah. I just go through Chris Brennan’s friend list and add everybody. No, not really. That did not [crosstalk]

RB: I think I did that in real life. [Ryhan laughs]

JG: I think I’m going to decline further comment on that. But these people had seen my face, they’d seen my face before, and it was like, “Oh, yeah, I recognize you on Facebook.” And I knew Ryhan before I went to my first conference, so that was really nice to have somebody that I knew there to introduce me to people because I’m very extroverted. I’m a very social person. But even I felt shy in that context of just like, “Oh my gosh, all these people!” Everyone is talking about astrology. It’s exciting, but it was scary to just walk up to somebody. But when they recognized me, and Ryan, that made it a lot easier. So, if there are any astrology groups on Facebook, or somewhere where you can connect with people beforehand, that can make it a little easier and be able to say, “Oh, yeah, I recognize your name and your face and it’s nice to meet you in person.” So, it seems like a small thing, but I think that’s helpful.

CB: Yeah, definitely. So, definitely easier if you have a friend there or somebody that you can meet with ahead of time, if you can establish any connections with that or just like establish with somebody online that they’re also going to this conference and maybe meeting up with them in person once you get there. 

RB: Yeah, so definitely. 

CB: So, is Ryan how you ended up at the first SOTA conference a couple years ago?

JG: So yeah, Ryan is the reason I went to SOTA the first time in 2016. He encouraged me to apply for the AFAN scholarship actually, because I had actually planned to go to NORWAC that same year, but I literally just chickened out. I was too scared. 

CB: Oh, really? 

JG: Yeah, I had the browser tab open. I was looking at flights and hotels, but I was just too scared. I hadn’t met you in person yet, Ryan. So, I was just way too freaked out. I was like, “This is a lot of money to spend. I don’t know if it’s going to be worth it. I don’t know how much I’ll get out of it.” But you really encouraged me to go to SOTA, and I just trusted you on that. And I’m so glad that you lit that fire under me and encouraged me to go because it’s like, once you go, we were mentioning earlier, once you go to a conference, you get it. You’re like, [Chris laughs] “Oh, this is huge. I want to do this every year. I can’t wait for the next one.” And you have just so much respect for the people that put these on year after year. But yeah, Ryhan encouraged me to go. That’s one thing Ryhan is really good about is reaching out to, especially new and younger astrologers and making them feel welcome and getting them involved and integrated into the community because there’s really no replacement for that feeling. So, yeah, it’s all because of Ryhan. 

RB: Oh, please.

JG: It’s true.

CB: Right. Well, that’s really funny hearing that because then Ryhan is passing that down because that was [crosstalk]

RB: Yeah, because I got it from Lisa and you and Patrick because that’s why I went to my first one was because Patrick Watson encouraged me a lot and you as well, Chris, to go to the AFAN conference. And Patrick agreed to be my roommate, which helped with costs and stuff like that. And that’s where I met everybody else in the world. And I got introduced to Lisa, who was on the AFAN board at that time, and she told me about AFAN scholarships and UACT 2012 was coming up. And so, I was able to get one of the AFAN scholarships to go to that. And then, ever since then I’ve been trying to push that out to other people who are interested in going who maybe don’t feel like they can afford it. It’s like, “Oh, well, we actually have things in place to help those people.” And I love giving people money that’s not mine. Many of us do. [Jo laughs] So, it’s very nice exercise to, on the one hand, help people get places they didn’t think they could go, but also having been the recipient of it myself to pass that along to other new people is really fulfilling for me. 

CB: Right. Yeah, definitely. And that seems to be part of the generational aspect of astrology because it’s at the conferences where the new generations of astrologers actually fully interface with the established generations of astrologers.

RB: That’s an interesting point. I hadn’t thought about it like that.

CB: Yeah, [crosstalk] it’s really important because that’s actually the establishment whatever extent I remember Ryhan seeing you get in an argument with somebody a few months ago on Reddit or something [Ryhan and Jo laugh] and she was convinced that there was an establishment astrology community and there was her as like a rebel who was outside of the establishment. And you were trying to explain that there’s not that much of an establishment and it’s much more free form than anybody realizes, even from an organizational standpoint, but to whatever extent, there is any astrological establishment or established community of people that’s coherent, it really is at the conferences to the extent that you have older astrologers or astrologers who have been to multiple conferences that meet up periodically, every year, or every few years at these gatherings. And that really does become the interface point between and why it’s important to get new astrologers there because that’s when they actually do get fully integrated into the established community, which is basically just a social community by making those connections.

JG: Yeah, that’s a really good point.

CB: Yeah. So, I noticed that that’s one of the things that happens is that once people have that experience of sometimes being helped in order to get to those things, and that’s often necessary is having some encouragement, or some help, or some aid on the part of more established astrologers that have gone through it towards new astrologers where it’s not something they’ve done before. And oftentimes, once that happens and then they get going, they often will pass that down to other people in the future. And that’s just part of the, to whatever extent there is astrological tradition that’s [crosstalk] 

RB: That’s what I was going to say. 

CB: Right. [Jo and Ryhan laugh] That’s what tradition is. [crosstalk] Yeah. And there’s probably some aspect of that in the past, and in the ancient traditions as well, or in the Renaissance, or what have you with like students and teachers and things like that.

RB: I’m imagining Masha’allah sells plane ticket. [Jo laughs]

CB: Right. To go to the big conference in Baghdad?

RB: Yeah. [Jo laughs]

CB: Yeah.

JG: Oh, man.

CB: So, that’s important. I guess there’s a few other things to tick off before we move off of those in terms of just what conferences are like on the ground and why they’re important. So, what are some other things that you can do in terms of connecting with other people or making establishing some of those social connections?

RB: Well, one thing that I hope conferences do better within the future and that Jo has initiated with SOTA is better social media presences. 

JG: Absolutely. 

RB: Because this is something that astrology sucks at, I’m sorry. [crosstalk] That there’s not a whole lot of social media presence, which is why I think that a lot of people who are interested in astrology, one, don’t realize that conferences are things. Two, people who are more into astrology, miss out on certain announcements, which is where you get the idea that it’s much more insular than it is. What I mean by this is, conferences, sending out requests for speaker applications. If that word doesn’t get out, then it can feel insular because it’s the same people over and over again. And just having an online place for people who are interested in the conference to be able to keep abreast of information and changes as it comes out. Because that’s where you can get situations like Jo mentioned, to where you meet people in real life that you’ve had some connection with on social media like to recognize your face or name or something and that can have a social media place for conferences can help with that. 

CB: Yeah, definitely. And that’s something we’ve lagged behind just because the more established astrologers that are doing organizing the conference typically tend to be the Pluto and Leo generation and not all of them have fully embraced some of the social networking stuff quite yet. So, some of that stuff is still slowly getting integrated.

JG: Yeah, one thing I would say to speak to that is one of the first things I did several years ago when I learned that astrology conferences existed, was I looked for people who’ve logged them. I went to YouTube and tried to find videos because I’m a young person and you can YouTube things as easily as you can [Ryhan laughs] Google them. And so, I was just like, “Oh, maybe somebody logged one of these conferences and I can see what it’s like when you get there.” And I found next to nothing. I found some lecture recordings of a Rob Hand lecture and The Blast Astrology Conference from a long time ago. And I was just like, “Man, this just looks like study hall.” What we’re saying it’s not always just study hall these conferences. And so, when I actually went to my first conference in 2016, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is so fun.” People need to know that this is what this is like. Because I might not have chickened out on NORWAC that one year if I had really seen just how social and how fun these things are. Shout out to Wonder Bright though. Her efforts at NORWAC, the picture she takes, that was one of the things that made me want to go to NORWAC was because that looked really fun. [Jo laughs] And I was like, “Oh my gosh!” Synastic Snaps, that’s what it is. Yeah, that’s excellent. 

But yeah, that’s part of my initiative with The Association for Young Astrologers. And for SOTA as well, I’m social media manager, and program designer for 2018 for SOTA, is to really get that out there and let people know what this is really like, how much fun it really is, and just bring it to people’s awareness just so it’s not official conference pictures or whatever, but it’s [Chris laughs] real stuff taken by my real iPhone and put it on Instagram or wherever. But yeah, I think that’s important. And I hope to bring more of that to the community myself in whatever capacity I can.

CB: Yeah, definitely. That would be awesome. And there’s been attempts at different points often that are not usually successful to do a hashtag on Twitter for certain conferences. [Ryhan laughs] And everyone is, you’ll see one or two people or a few people doing little things like that. But that’s definitely the other piece of getting more younger astrologers into the community. It’s just they would be more comfortable doing things like that. 

JG: Sure. 

CB: So yeah. So, that’s something we’re working on and then Ryan with your organization, one of the other social things that they really do and are good at is organizing things like hospitality suites at conferences, [crosstalk] right?

RB: Yes, hospitality suites are often like little clubs that an organization will sponsor during the conference, like for SOTA, AFAN, or the Association for Astrological Networking usually runs it. Actually, I think we’re the only ones who have in the past, unless I’m mistaken. And it’s usually a Friday/Saturday night after everybody’s eaten dinner and are back at the conference, and it’s like 8:00, and nobody wants to go to bed, you just go to the hospitality suite and there’s drinks and snacks and everybody else is there. And you just hang out and talk to people and meet people and stay up way too late and hate yourself in the morning. [Jo laughs] And it’s a lot of fun. They’re usually really well located and really well advertised that this is where it’s going to be at this time. And there’s really no excuse for not going unless you just don’t feel well or something.

CB: Yeah. So, one of the things definitely is to locate and identify if there is an AFAN, which is the Association for Astrological Networking, if they have a hospitality suite at that conference, or sometimes if there’s just other parties that will be going on and somebody else’s private hotel or [crosstalk] 

RB: Yeah, somebody else’s room. [Ryhan laughs] 

CB: Yeah. Those are good social opportunities. And then sometimes there’ll be a dance party at some conferences, or there’ll be people meeting up at the bar, or sometimes it’ll be like an open bar after a keynote lecture or something like that. 

JG: Right. That’s a good point to mention, too. There’s usually one night where there’s a banquet or a dance or something on a Saturday night or something like that. Or at least I think they do.

RB: Yeah, usually banquets are extra typically for the conference cost.

JG: Oh yeah, you can get a banquet ticket and everybody just gets to sit down and eat together and sometimes there’s music or other entertainment  and that’s usually really fun. 

CB: Yeah, and that actually brings up a good point which is that there’s a tricky thing in terms of meals because with most conferences as part of your conference package, you can buy like a meal ticket which will be for like lunches and dinners and sometimes you’ll have to pay extra for like a banquet that takes place to the end of the conference. And whether that’s recommended cuz you can kind of go either way about whether that’s a good idea, I tend to side more with saying if you can afford it, then it’s a good idea to buy the meals packages because then sometimes you’re sort of thrown into or you’re forced basically into a social situation where there’ll be a large banquet table with like 10 or 12 chairs around it and everyone just sort of gets randomly assigned most of the time, and that can sometimes sort of lead to meeting new people and sort of forcing some new social interactions that you might not have otherwise if you just go to a conference and then go and eat out by yourself every night or something like that. 

RB: As far as all of the sort of extras that conferences have I think the banquet is probably the one that I would recommend people spending a little bit more to get if that’s an option for them–

CB: Mhm.

JG: Mmm. Yeah.

RB: –just because it is like the big formal sit-down dinner of the conference essentially. But other than that, just go to the grocery store. 

CB: Yeah. And–

[Jo and Ryhan laugh]

JG: Yeah. Having the freedom to kind of like be able to just grab something from the store nearby and just chill in your room if you want to, that’s always a good option now. 

CB: And that’s a really good point cuz that’s the tricky part is that it’s often such a huge financial investment especially for younger astrologers that you’re often looking for ways to cut corners as much as possible or cut out costs. And food is one of the ones where that’s possible, and like not buying banquet tickets for every night or something like that is one area where you can get by not doing that and therefore spending a little less. But that means one of the things that everybody should do as soon as they show up to a conference or before they even get there is try to identify if there’s any grocery stores within walking distance of the hotel is usually a good idea. 

RB: Mhm.

JG: Yeah, totally.

RB: But a lot of times the hotels will have shuttles that can take you there in off hours. 

CB: Sure. 

JG: Yeah, that’s true. 

CB: Yeah, that’s a good point. Or shuttles from the airports that you don’t have to take a cab–

RB: Mmm.

CB: –and pay extra money to get from the airport to the hotel. 

RB: Mhm.

JG: Mhm.

CB: All right. Well, that actually brings us then to our next sort of general area which is that conferences the financial aspect of things which is that conferences can be kind of expensive. 

RB: I’ve heard.

CB: Yeah. We should talk about that. And first, why that is and what’s some of the things you need to pay for. And then secondly, some strategies for covering those costs and deferring those costs. So, typically there’s really just like three main things that you need to cover, three primary things that you need to cover as expenses for conferences. So, the first one is just buying a pass to the conference itself which is the pass just as like your entrance fee to get into the conference which basically just includes the lectures which are the core of the conference, the educational component. And that’s your primary expense. And usually that’s like 2 or $300 basically or somewhere in that range, right?

RB: That seems right.

JG: Right. Yeah. And usually the earlier you register, the lower the price. So, yeah planning ahead is really helpful in that case.

CB: Yeah, that’s a really, really important point that one really easy way of deferring expenses or spending less is that the earlier or the further ahead of the conference that you buy your ticket, the cheaper it’s gonna be because it gets progressively more and more expensive the closer you get to the day of the event. 

JG: Right.

CB: So, early bird prices are really helpful. So, that’s your first expense. And with that, the  workshops the pre and post conference workshops are separate expenses. So those are seen as like–

RB: Right.

CB: –add-ons or like optional things if you want to do one of those intensives, but it’s not usually included in the price of just a basic conference ticket. 

JG: Right.

CB: And they’re usually like super specific like workshop techniques things. So it’s like if you’re not already sort of interested in that, then you can probably pass up on it unless it’s something that just sounds super fascinating. 

JG: Yeah, totally. 

CB: Right, and especially cuz–

RB: And they also tend to be more advanced, too. So, probably not good for like the newer astrologers or first-time conference goers. 

CB: Sure. Yeah, especially depending on the topic–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –and because it also adds additional costs. Because typically the conference itself will just be, let’s say, three or four days usually over the course of a weekend.

RB: Mhm.

CB: But the workshops are usually you have to add a whole separate day on either before that main conference–

RB: Right.

CB: –sort of cluster of days or after that day, so that leads you to have to spend extra money in order to go in earlier or to stay later than you otherwise would. 

JG: Yeah.

CB: So, that’s your first expense. It’s just buying a pass to the conference itself. Second expense is getting there which typically for most people involves buying a plane ticket or basically whatever it takes to get to the conference, so your travel expense. And then the third major expense is paying for a hotel room or staying somewhere basically which usually means paying for a hotel room while you’re there plus any related food expenses which. either you can tack that on as part of the hotel room expense or put that separately as like a fourth expense. But those are basically the main three. So, those are the basic expenses. And as a result of that, it can get obviously kind of expensive. So the conference pass itself it’s like 2 or $300 a plane ticket. Depending on how close you are to the location can be anywhere from what like best case scenario like let’s say $100 to 4 or $500 maybe for a plane ticket, let’s say. 

JG: Yeah. Yeah.

CB: Does that sound right more or less?

JG: Yeah, probably closer to that upper end. But yeah.

CB: Yeah. I guess what like Seattle to Denver has been like $400 lately. So, I guess it’s–

RB: Whoa.

JG: Oh my gosh.

CB: Yeah, it’s surprisingly expensive. 

RB: Yeah, I think I paid like $258 for my ticket from Dallas to Buffalo. 

JG: Yeah.

CB: Okay, that’s pretty good. 

RB: Yeah. And that’s what I thought, too. [laughs]

CB: Sure. 

RB: It’s okay. 

CB: Right, so there’s that. And then finally the hotel room itself, it’s typically like maybe around $100 a night. 

RB: Yeah, that’s right.

CB: And you’re staying there for what at least probably like four nights or so, give or take? 

RB: Yeah, three or four. A lot of the hotel rooms though will have like they’ll be discounted for the conference, so make sure that you mention that when you book your hotel room.

CB: Sure. And then finally there’s the related food expenses which either some of those expenses are gonna come from buying if you do buy like the banquet ticket or any of the meals that are like the community meals like lunches or dinners that you can buy from the conference itself which means you’ll be sitting in a social setting versus if you just buy food there locally like going to a–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –local coffee shop or something, eating in the hotel. Usually there’s like a restaurant in the hotel that can usually tend to be kind of expensive. 

RB: Yeah, that is more expensive. But one thing I wanna say about the room really quickly or about hotel is that I really encourage people going to a conference to stay in the conference hotel. 

JG: Yes. Yeah, that’s a little bit better. 

RB: It tends to be a little bit cheaper than surrounding hotels because you will get like the conference group discount thing, but there’s also like a safety thing involved in this because a lot of these events or things can run late into the night. 

CB: Mhm.

RB: And the last thing that you need to worry about is how you’re gonna get to your hotel down the street at 2:00 in the morning. So, I really just recommend, unless you have like a crazy good deal or you can stay with a family member, just to stay in the hotel. 

JG: Yeah. Yeah. If you’re on the fence about that, I would recommend you do anything possible or anything you can to make it possible for you to stay in that–

RB: Anything possible.

JG: Anything possible. Do as much as you can to stay in the hotel cuz there will be a time when your second one does not come and your brains filled with astrology and you’ve been socializing for a whole weekend and you just wanna go back to your room. And if your room’s down the street, you’re gonna have a bad time. So, yeah, it’s totally worth it to stay in the conference hotel in my opinion.

CB: Yeah, and that’s definitely also important not just for necessarily even just for a safety reason even though that’s a good consideration. But also it often will interfere with your ability to socialize if–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –if your hotel if your room wherever you’re staying is like a few miles away and you need to leave there by let’s say a certain point each month night, then you may not be able to like stay up with everybody or go out as freely because you’re not staying on the same premises where everyone else is staying. 

JG: Yeah, totally. 

CB: So, yeah, that’s a really good recommendation. So, those are kind of the primary things. Those are the three expenses, and the trick then is just figuring out how to defray those as much as possible for a lot of people unless it’s just not an issue with you in which case just– 

RB: Congratulations.

CB: Yeah.

[Jo and Ryhan laugh]

CB: Yeah. Well, a lot of people do treat it more like a vacation or something where–

RB: Yeah.

CB: –instead of especially people where maybe astrology is not your primary profession or you have like another profession that brings in like a decent income but you’re very passionate about astrology. And so maybe once a year instead of going to Disney World or something, they’ll go to an astrology conference. 

[Ryhan and Jo laugh]

RB: I wonder what fun that must be.

[Jo laughs]

CB: Yeah. No, it’s a pretty good deal. And–

RB: And I think of my conferences as like subsidized vacations unless–

CB: Yeah. Well, for that–

JG: Yeah.

RB: But I speak at them. So, that’s why I think of them that way. And also everybody doesn’t have that opportunity. So–

CB: Yeah. It’s kind of tough because for professional astrologers they’re both meeting up with friends and having fun and stuff, but then they’re also like work if you have to give a lecture or like a workshop or something. 

RB: Mhm.

CB: So, it’s a little bit of a mixed bag in terms of like relaxation or vacation but for just normal attendees for a lot of people even though it’s intense. It is kind of like going to a vacation, and sometimes they’re held in like a major city oftentimes.

RB: Mhm.

CB: So, you can if you want to like go out and do sightseeing–

RB: Totally.

CB: –before or after and sort of check out the city. But for those that are new to conferences and do need to defray expenses and kind of find a way to get there by making it cheaper, there’s a number of different options. And it basically just involves one of those three or four expenses and finding ways to cut those down. So, Jo already mentioned for the conference pass that the early bird registration the earlier you register, the cheaper it’s gonna be. And that’s a huge thing just in terms of getting the price down of the conference pass itself. So, usually it’s a good idea to research ahead of time and find out what conferences are happening over the course of the next year, decide one ahead of time and then book it as soon as possible at least the conference ticket. That way you can get that for a relatively low prize. 

RB: Definitely. 

CB: And in terms of that, scholarships are probably the next–

RB: Yeah.

CB: –step for conference–

JG: Yeah.

CB: –tickets, right?

JG: Mhm.

RB: Yeah, I think that’s really all that there is. Like AFAN has annual scholarships that we give. We usually give around six to where four of those will be like specifically to help people get to conferences, and they’re like different denominations of awards and things like that. But they are annual. So if you have your eye on a conference in the future that you could maybe make if you had an extra $500, then this is really like your opportunity to apply and get them. A lot of these will at least cover the conference pass or so you don’t even have to worry about that. Like a third of your expenses is eliminated. And they may also have extra award money, that is beyond that amount that they will give you to be able to subsidize like travel and hotel costs. 

CB: Okay. Right. And so–

JG: Yeah, that’s great. 

CB: And that was how you said that you attended UAC, right?

RB: That’s how I got to UAC. Yes. 

CB: So, you became or you were a member of AFAN. And you applied. Did you have to do like an essay or anything?

RB: Yes, that’s actually a good point. Yes, you have to have a current membership for AFAN. We do our best to support our members in doing what they need to do to connect to the astrological community at large, which conferences is as Chris astutely pointed out sort of the–Just lost my word, so that’s fine. But, anyway–

CB: But that’s–

RB: You have to apply, and it’s usually like an essay type format where I think our guidelines are like, “Tell us why you got into astrology. Tell us why you were gonna to this conference specifically, and talk to us about your current financial position. Like what’s keeping you from being able to go there financially?” And then that’s really all that we ask. And then AFAN gets together as a board and just sort of votes and decides who should get what award. We try to pick awards that can help the right people. Like if you only need a couple of $100 to get to go to this conference, then we try to make sure that those people get that so that the people who need a little bit more financial assistance we have more money in the pot to get them there essentially. 

JG: Right.

CB: Sure. And that’s one of the great things that AFAN does and that’s unique about it as an organization–

RB: Yes.

CB: –is that you guys actually have like a mandate in your bylaws that you have to give away–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –like pretty much all of your income or something like that through scholarships and other things, right?

RB: I don’t remember the specifics of it, but like last year I think we gave away like between $2,000 and $2,500, something like that. 

CB: Okay. Yeah.

RB: So, it’s a pretty good amount to get people–

JG: Yeah, that’s great. 

RB: –to conferences and stuff. And yeah, we’re the only organization that does them regularly. At least we do them annually, so–

CB: Sure. So, that’s AFAN. And that’s one organization, but then there’s other organizations to give out scholarships both national ones and also sometimes local astrological organizations. And then there’s also sometimes the conference organizers themselves will put out different scholarships. And I know, Jo, that you collected and got together a few different ones that are available in the next year, right?

JG: Yeah. It looks like for UAC cuz everybody’s getting really excited for UAC 2018 cuz it’s been what, since 2012 since there’s been a UAC. UAC is offering a dozen scholarships to people who need some financial aid. And we can link to that in the show notes, and there also is a group discount–

CB: Mhm.

JG: –option that they have going on where I believe if you get together with your local community and that there’s I think five or more of you, you can get a group discount for bringing some local astrologers or bringing some people from your astrology school with you to the conference. So, it kind of just varies from conference to conference from what I understand. I’m not totally positive if Norwalk has specific scholarship opportunities for their conference in March. I would have to double check on that, but I do know UAC has both a scholarship opportunity happening and a group discount thing happening. 

CB: Okay. And yeah, I think Norwalk like last year I know Sam Reynolds who has been on the podcast–

RB: The diversity scholarship. 

CB: Yeah, they’ve done that–

JG: Yes, that’s it.

CB: –for the last couple of years, the diversity scholarship which has been really great. And I know the organizers of Norwalk supported that, and that was one of the scholarships that they offered over the past couple of years. So–

JG: Yeah.

CB: –sometimes just looking at the organizers website or their social media accounts can give you some information about that. 

RB: But that’s what I mean about astrology needing to be more with the social media stuff cuz people don’t know about these. 

CB: Yeah.

JG: Yeah.

RB: Like they don’t–

CV: Yeah. 

RB: So now they will because they listened to the podcast, but it’s been–

JG: Exactly.

RB: –we’ve had years with AFAN where we barely had enough people apply to meet the number of scholarships that we offered. 

CB: Yeah, and that’s actually a really great point because what I realized at one point is that oftentimes people assume that tons of people have already applied and so there’s no–

RB: No. [laughs]

CB: –need to apply. But in fact it’s often the opposite that most of the scholarships in the astrological community have so few applicants that it often just goes out to like whoever applies. 

RB: Exactly. 

CB: So, that’s–

JG: Yeah. Yeah, definitely do that. 

RB: Do it.

JG: Yeah, definitely do that cuz I thought the exact same thing in 2016, And Ryhan was like, “No, listen. Just apply. There are hundreds of people that got in line before you.” And I’m really glad that I did so. Yeah, that’s a great point. Just go for it. You don’t have nothing to lose. 

RB: Exactly.

CB: Right. So, there’s that. And then also, this is also not typically very well known. But even more obscure of a fact is that sometimes local astrological groups or local astrological chapters in various cities will sometimes offer their own scholarships for conferences. So I know back in like 2009 or 2010 I think that we saw one, a local scholarship that was put forward by the Rocky Mountain Astrologers group which meets every month in Boulder. And they gave her a scholarship to go to a major conference. I think it was like an Easter conference or something like that. 

RB: That’s cool. 

JG: That’s awesome. 

CB: Yeah, so it’s good to check in with your local astrology group as well because occasionally you’ll find one of them offering some sort of scholarship. And all of those can be hugely helpful especially in defraying that primary expense which is just the pass to the conference itself cuz oftentimes–

JG: Right.

CB: –that’s one of the primary things that the scholarships will cover is the conference ticket although some of them I know like the AFAN scholarship for example will sometimes help to cover the plane ticket or sometimes part of the hotel room or something like that I think in some instances, right?

RB: Yes.

CB: Yes, give or take. Maybe it really depends or, right?

RB: It really depends on what your financial award amount is. Cuz like if you win a $500 award and the conference pass is only like $250, then you get an extra $250. 

CB: Sure, sure. 

RB: And then that’s your plane ticket. But, yeah, another way you can cut costs is you can actually be staff at the conference. And this is one that I don’t think a lot of people know about either through–

JG: Yeah.

RB: Mostly it’s the room monitoring. If you apply to be a room monitor, then you are an individual who sort of monitors a room. You are assigned a room that a speaker is in, and you sort of like check badges. And you assist the speaker with whatever they need to do to give a good lecture. The downside for this is while it can get you to the conference or you know have your conference pass cost like slashed or paid or whatever, is that you’re kind of stuck wherever they assign you. So, you may not necessarily like get to experience the lectures that you really want to be there for. But–

JG: That said, it still gets you to the conference and–

RB: Yeah, it still get you in the door. The speakers are–

JG: Yeah. 

RB: –still there, and you can still talk to them. 

JG: Right, they’re still all there in between times. So like once you’re kind of off duty at night, you can still hang out with people and meet people. And so that’s a really, really good option if you’re just desperate to get to a conference and meet some people. Check out volunteer opportunities for room monitors and stuff like that. 

CB: Yeah, that’s a really good idea. And I think most young astrologers that I know, that’s often how they’ll get their foot in the door. Or at least I know a lot of my contemporaries that’s how we first started going to conferences was by volunteering and doing room monitoring or other sort of things like that basically to work for the conference in exchange for a free pass. And my first conference was at Norwalk in 2006 Norwalk 2005 and Seattle, and I volunteered. And they let me attend the conference for free in exchange for being a room recorder a room monitor like you guys are saying and basically sitting in the rooms and starting the recording, starting and stopping it on time when the lecture started so that they would have a recording of the talk as well as the counting the number of heads in the room. And if you basically do that, then in exchange they give you a free pass. So the downside, like you said, it’s just that sometimes you can get stuck in a single room and have less control over picking your lecture topics. But–

RB: And unfortunately there is no right way to quietly excuse yourself politely, and that’s torture.

CB: Right, if you’re a room monitor.

[Ryhan and Jo laugh] 

JG: Yeah. 

RB: So it’s like, ” Oh, this lecture sucks. I’m out. Not gonna happen.”

CB: I actually have to admit that I did do that once–

RB: What? [laughs]

CB: –when I was the room monitor at the ISAR conference in 2005. That was probably my second conference, but there was an AYA. There was an Association for Young Astrologers panel that was taking place like right at–

JG: Oh no.

CB: –the same time as this lecture that I was supposed to be monitoring, and I couldn’t get out of it. But they wanted me to sit on the panel. 

[Ryhan and Jo laugh] 

CB: And so it was like a second conference, so I started the recorder and then like took off. 

[Jo laughs]

RB: “Oh, I have to go to the restroom for an hour and a half.”

CB: Yeah. 

RB: Yeah. 

[Jo and Ryhan laugh] 

CB: And I think I just had somebody else who was sitting there watching the lecture and had no plans on leaving like watch the recorder, and then I ended up on that panel and then came back and stopped the recorder afterwards. But–

JG: That’s hysterical. Yeah.

RB: Now everybody knows. 

CB: Yeah.

JG: Yeah, now they know this. 

[Ryhan laughs]

CB: I would not recommend–

RB: Don’t give Chris any more room volunteer opportunities. 

CB: Yeah. 

JG: Everyone just thought you could be in two places at once, and you just ruined the mystery. 

CB: Right. Yeah, I definitely would not invite me to be a room monitor in the future. 

[Ryhan and Jo laugh] 

CB: Luckily, that was my last room monitor gig. This is actually my defraying expenses tip, and this has been my plan that’s been a long-term like decade-long plan which is just get invited to speak at astrology conferences. 

[Jo laughs]

RB: Yeah. 

CB: And that’s actually a very good way of defraying costs.

RB: Yeah, that’s what I was saying earlier. Like that’s why like I think conferences is sort of like subsidized vacations because you get paid to speak there. Usually that means you don’t have to pay the conference price, and they’ll give you some money, check. Yeah.

CB: Right, a relatively small cheque. But–

RB: Yeah.

CB: Yeah, that’s been my long con is this whole thing is just an elaborate sort of rule–

RB: Rules to get free conference tickets?

CB: Exactly. And–

[Ryhan laughs]

JG: Yeah, that’s the whole reason you wrote this book. It’s all just for free conferences. 

CB: Right.

JG: You get it, Chris. You get it.

RB: I feel like he was doing that before that happened. And–

[Jo laughs] 

CB: The 700-page book? But, no. That is definitely if you are a professional astrologer and you–

RB: Or even an aspiring professional astrologer because this is what the free speaking slots that we talked about earlier, like these are for you to get your foot in the door to get that practice and to sort of be evaluated as a potential paid speaker. 

CB: Yeah, exactly. And so if you are an aspiring professional astrologer if you’re serious about doing that, then definitely trying to get speaking positions or trying to apply for free speaking positions can also be another way of going to conferences. So I was half joking about that but also half serious. 

RB: It’s a legitimate strategy. 

[Jo laughs] 

CB: Yeah. It’s a legitimate strategy especially if you are like serious about doing astrology as a profession like–

RB: Mhm.

CB: –you or I was from very early on or from a point where we realized this is what we were gonna do professionally and would like to be giving talks at conferences or what have you or have something to say. So, yeah, I’m trying to think is there anything else in terms of defraying expenses? So we talked about getting a pass to conferences and how to get discounts on that or how to get a scholarship. What else did we talk about? It’s really hard to defray the travel cost of the plane ticket. 

RB: Yeah.

CB: Getting those earlier especially more than three weeks ahead of time cuz three weeks is always the point at which it really goes up. But sometimes–

JG: Yeah, yeah. Just buy early with that if you have to fly. 

CB: Right. Or sometimes you can find like other cheaper ways like taking a bus or–

RB: Oof. 

CB: I’ve driven to conferences before. 

JG: Right.

CB: For The Blast in 2008, me and Nick Dagan Best and our friend Meredith Garstin and Curt Manwaring we all pooled our money and drove from Maryland from like the East Coast all the way down to Arizona. So–

RB: No, no, no, no.

JG: Oh my god. Wow.

CB: Yeah.

[Ryhan laughs]

JG: How many hours was that, Chris?

CB: It took us a few days. 

[Jo laughs]

CB: We didn’t drive as hard as we could have. But, yeah, that was a rough–

JG: Oof.

CB: That was a rough drive cuz then you already get to the conference and you’re exhausted by the time even show up, so you’ve got to factor in things like that. But sometimes if you don’t have a ton of money, you got to do what you got to do in order to make it happen. And I know for the first few years of me attending conferences, I would do stuff like that. I know other astrologers would do stuff like that where you just sometimes you got to suck it up in order to–

[Jo laughs]

RB: I thought you were gonna tell us that you drove from Colorado. And I was like, “Oh, that seems fine.” And then you were like, “Oh, Maryland.” And that’s just like extreme mode. 

CB: Right. Yeah. That was extreme mode. Or like ISAR 2005 I showed up, and I didn’t have any money. So, I was able to crash in a room with Nick Dagan Best. And I had enough money to pay like my share of the room, but then I didn’t bring any food money. So my plan–

[Ryhan and Jo laugh]

CB: My plan was just not eat for–

RB: Exactly for three days?

[Jo laughs]

CB: Something like that. I had $20 or something, and so I really had to make $20 stretch over the course of like a weekend or a week or something like that.

JG: Oh my god. Chris, wow. 

CB: And so the plan was just to like walk to a grocery store and buy some cheap food, and then it turned out that they booked a hotel in the middle of nowhere. 

RB: Oh no. 

CB: And I had to walk for several miles to get to the hotel the grocery store. So, that was a weird experience because actually on like the first or maybe second night I met Alan Oken who was like one of my biggest earliest like influences cuz I bought like one of his books. His complete astrology book was like the second or first book that I ever bought. And I met him, and I like shook his hand. And like he looked at me, and he was like he reached over and shook my hand. And he palmed me like $40. And he said, “I have a feeling that you need this.”

JG: Oh my god.

CB: And he just gave me $40, and then that was the end. And I looked at him and thanked him. 

RB: Of course you did.

CB: And that was basically how I survived that weekend cuz I just showed up to this conference–

RB: Wow.

JG: Oh my god. 

CB: –sort of empty. So, sometimes because of the astrological community you can find people that will do things like that. They will make things happen even under really strange and unique circumstances. 

[Ryhan laughs]

JG: That is such a great story, Chris.

RB: That is amazing. 

CB: Yeah. 

JG: Oh my gosh. Wow. 

CB: So, it was always a really nice sort of gesture that he did. And so I’ve always tried to do similar things when I think about–

RB: Well, you can palm me $40. 

[Jo and Ryhan laugh]

CB: Right. Well, I think we got you there though. We got you to that.

RB: Yeah, you got me there. That’s fine.

CB: We got you to that 2011 conference and–

RB: UAC and then to ISAR, yeah.

CB: –and then UAC. Yeah. And then we roomed together, didn’t we in UAC 2012? Or one of those. I think we–

RB: Yeah. Absolutely. Right.

CB: –shared it. Okay. So, yeah. So, doing things like that. And that’s both a lesson for younger astrologers where sometimes just like try to make it happen and sometimes trust in the process and sometimes you just have to walk into that abyss of going into a situation where you have no idea really. You have a general idea like listening to this podcast but honestly have no idea what you’re gonna find and just sort of trust that it’s gonna work out or that you are gonna have an experience that you’re gonna remember afterwards that will hopefully be good. And in many instances like the story that you were talking about Ryhan with your first conference or Jo your first conference and talking about your trepidation going into it, finding out that it was worthwhile in the end even though you couldn’t have anticipated what you found while you were there, right? 

JG: Absolutely, yeah. 

CB: Yeah, so there’s–

RB: We were all there to make connections and to help each other and build this community. And I feel like I’ll speak for myself I guess that if you make that effort to be included, then we’ll do whatever we need to make that happen. 

JG: Yeah. Yeah. 

CB: Right. Yeah. And that’s part of what we’re doing here now as part of we’re younger astrologers but we’re becoming part of–

RB: Older.

CB: –or becoming the established astrological community in the generation that will take over from the generations that are currently have been around for a few decades. But that’s part of what then we have to do or the obligation that we have is to help bring in and make it easier–

RB: Yes.

CB: –for some of those other astrologers that are just coming into the community to find their ways in. 

RB: Yeah, and that’s always the hard part. Because I feel like the astrological community in general does a really kind of poor job of nurturing into young.

CB: Mhm.

RB: And so I just think it’s important for us as we’re sort of on that line of becoming more established or what have you to do our best to not forget that. 

CB: Right. Yeah. And that was the–

RB: And to make up for it. 

CB: Yeah, and I think that was the genesis off really behind the association that’s still the fundamental mission behind the Association for Young Astrologers was that it’s the Association for Young Astrologers. And it’s not necessarily just of young astrologers, but it’s for helping all of those people that are just now coming into the community. And I know that that’s still a large part of your mission at this point. Right, Jo?

JG: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We wanna create that space where it might feel like there isn’t a space for you or if you don’t know anybody if you’re new to the community like we– Yeah, AYA just wants to welcome all these new people and yeah, and just have a space for them. 

RB: We didn’t talk about room shares. 

JG: Yeah. 

CB: Oh, we skipped that?

JG: That’s another–

RB: Yeah, that’s something that AYA does.

JG: Yeah, I was kind of waiting. [laughs]

RB: Well, just jump in there!

JG: All right. Yeah. Here we go. Yeah. So, another way to defray costs a little bit is to find a roommate or if possible, find a room share. Sometimes, conferences themselves will have a roommate program or if you’re seeking a roommate, you can submit your name. And AYA several years in the past has done room shares where everybody, we get a big suite, and a bunch of people stay in there and you can end up getting the cost per night down to 30-40 bucks [crosstalk] sometimes. Yeah, sometimes even dollars.

RB: Sometimes [crosstalk] even share in NCGR, 2013 and I paid $30 for the whole four-night thing. And I met all kinds of interesting characters. That’s where I first met Sam Reynolds at the room share [crosstalk] and I met James Braha there. [crosstalk] So, you’ll just run into all kinds of interesting people. And it’s really fun. Because you’re in a room with a bunch of other younger and new astrologers and so, you’re all at the same place, and then to look back on it five years in the future to see where you all are now, it’s weird.

JG: Yeah, yeah, very cool. Chris, I know you were the president of AYA for a while there, and you put on room shares yourself. But did you ever stay in room shares? 

CB: Oh, yeah. That was my first several years. And that became when I was president the only thing that we really consistently did and focused on was just getting younger astrologers to conferences, and often the room shares were the biggest piece of that because it’s like that really becomes the main expense, especially if it’s a five-day conference [crosstalk] or if it’s $100 or $115 a night for just the hotel room, that’s $500-$600 just to have a place to stay. So, and that’s the biggest area where we felt we could help younger astrologers to defray expenses was by we would rent out usually a large hotel suite, a presidential suite or something like that, and then pack 15 [Jo and Ryhan laugh] astrologers into it. Because the more people you have sharing one room, then it just cuts down on the fees like you guys were saying, and it has this other additional interesting effect of really tightly binding together this group of people who are not just coming to their first conference or their first few conferences, but also have this shared experience together of living together and sleeping together and eating together for a week, and that can create a really memorable experience oftentimes. 

I know we have a lot of fond memories of that. At UAC 2008, we rented out a presidential suite, and we had a ton of people in there. It was at least 15 people, and we were all sleeping on blow up mattresses and stuff for everybody. And so, it was just wild to walk into this room and see everybody scattered around at different points. I remember, it doesn’t always go smoothly, of course, because [Jo and Ryhan laugh] then you have different personalities and people, maybe certain personalities might clash or I remember [crosstalk] in 2008, there was an argument in the AYA room after the Return of the Magi premiere, and there was [Chris laughs] an argument about the quality of the movie. [crosstalk] Yeah, so it doesn’t always go super smoothly, but at least everybody-

RB: That’s such a nerdy thing for us to argue about. [Jo laughs] Can we just address that for a second, a room full of astrologers arguing about how great the Return of the Magi was?  [Ryhan laughs]

CB: Well, have you seen [Ryhan laughs] the Return of the Magi? 

RB: No, I actually haven’t? 

CB: Okay, watch the Return of the Magi and get back to me on that and then [Jo laughs]

RB: Well, will it make it less of a nerdy thing to argue about?

CB: I think you’ll understand why.

RB: Oh, wink, wink. Okay.

CB: Yeah, [Jo laughs] it was not. Well, actually that’s funny because that was a premiere. We organized the premiere of Return of the Magi at the 2008 UAC and that was one of the things that I hosted as we hosted the premiere of this movie in front of 1500 astrologers. But it was the person’s first time making a movie, and he was an amateur filmmaker, and the first cut did not go over well at all, it bombed. And so, it was a big embarrassment for AYA back in 2008. [crosstalk] But as an event, it was actually fun and we got popcorn for everybody and organize this huge event. So, it was a memorable experience and it was part of just the conference going experience back then. But it’s one of those funny memories, then is people talking about it and the discussions that it sparked in the subsequent days in the hotel room with all the young astrologers. So yes, [crosstalk] right. So, that’s one of the things that AYA has been doing all along is organizing those room shares. So, I’m really glad to hear that you guys are continuing that tradition. And I think it’s something that people should definitely take advantage of by getting in touch with you guys to find out how they could take part in that if they wanted to. And even if they can’t, through AYA, sometimes just connecting with other friends and sharing a room with people or connecting the conference organizers and asking them if they’re connecting any people for room shares is a really good idea.

JG: Yeah, absolutely. And this goes back to the idea that sometimes it’s easier to go to a conference for your first time if you know somebody there if you have a friend, and sometimes the friend that you bring to the conference is the roommate that you meet when you get there, or people from the room share. So that links to these things together that could make that first experience a little bit smoother.

CB: Yeah, definitely. And building that connection even more by having that shared experience with a friend because that’s also nice because you can compare notes and [crosstalk] sometimes even when it comes to lectures, getting recommendations from other people, what lectures you should go see, or if you just came out [crosstalk] right, exactly. Or if you just came out of a lecture sometimes being able to tell a friend about it or hear from another friend, like how was that lecture just came out of can be really good or figuring out what recordings you should get afterwards and stuff like that.

JG: Yeah, totally. 

CB: All right. So, room shares, have we covered that? Is there anything else we should talk about in terms of that in terms of deferring that cost?

RB: I think that’s actually everything this time. 

JG: I think that’s it. [Ryhan laughs]

CB: Okay. So, yeah. So, those are some of the expenses, the major expenses, and those are some ways to defray the costs. And, of course, there’s sometimes other incidental expenses that can come up, especially depending on if you aren’t really tight on money, sometimes, you’ll show up to the trade show, and there’ll be like 20 astrology books that you want to buy and a question of, can you actually afford to get this book? Or should you have brought a little bit of extra money in order to buy astrology books or something like that can be a conundrum that you might run into. But that’s really depending on the situation. So, I think we covered all the cost stuff. So, the very last thing is just briefly mentioning that there are some astrology conferences coming up over the course of the next year, I think there’s at least four of them that I know of off the top of my head.

RB: With UAC, it a sleepy period of time for conferences.

CB: Yeah, UAC, the United Astrology Conference, it’s taking place in Chicago in May of 2018. And that’s really, there’s at least four conferences happening, three or four conferences happening next year. But UAC is really going to be the biggest astrological conference basically [crosstalk] next year. And everything else is going to be dwarfed by it just because like we were saying earlier, it’s going to have the largest number of astrologers in attendance of probably any conference this decade because it’ll have something like 1,500 to maybe upwards of 2,000 astrologers in attendance plus over 100 professional astrologers giving workshops and presentations. [crosstalk] So, all things considered, that’s probably the main conference that we have to recommend everybody [crosstalk] to go to. I know you guys are-

RB: UAC is such a crazy thing that I’m not sure I would recommend it as a first conference. [crosstalk] It’s so easy to get swept up in it if you don’t know people. It’s a mess. I’m just saying [Jo laughs] mess and I don’t mean it that way, but it’s a lot to process, especially if you’re by yourself.

CB: Yeah, that is a good point. It could be very overwhelming because it’s such a big conference for a first-time person. And so normally, if it was ideal, it would be better if you went to a smaller conference first. I guess the only issue is just it’s such a unique opportunity.

RB: Yeah, you’re not going to have it again for another four years [crosstalk] best case scenario.

CB: Well, best case scenario was six years ago 2012. [crosstalk] And it’s always such a difficult thing getting three or four astrological organizations to work together and cooperate that UAC was supposed to happen. The last one was supposed to happen in 2016. But because of infighting between the organizations, they actually didn’t get it together until two years later. So, it’s happening two years after when it should have. So, it’s such a unique thing. And also, the quality of the presentations at UAC [crosstalk] tends to be better than the presentations at a normal annual conference that happens every year just because UAC is at least theoretically, it’s supposed to be the best of the best.

RB: Right, the Olympics.

CB: Right. So, everybody, all the professional astrologers bring their A game, and [Ryhan and Jo laugh] that’s the [unintelligible] versus the blow off lecture where you just came up with some concept or something that you have, when you’re doing the last-minute lecture prep, UAC is definitely not one of those.

JG: Yeah, totally.

CB: So, UAC as the main one, definitely next year, you can just Google it, or I’ll put a link to all of the conferences that we mention in the description page for this episode. 

RB: And we’re all going to be at UAC, right? 

JG: Yeah, I’m going. 

RB: I’ll certainly be at UAC.

CB: Yeah, I’ll be there. Pretty much everybody who’s ever been on the podcast is going to be there. [crosstalk] Austin’s speaking there. Kelly’s speaking there. Demetrius is there. She’s the one that’s running the traditional astrology track. Ben Dykes is going to be there. Pretty much, if you guys can name anybody.

RB: Yeah.

JG: Ryhan is going to be there. [crosstalk] Ryhan is going to speak there, too. 

RB: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I said [Jo laughs] that more it’s just for people listening, since Jo and I are very focused on encouraging people to be there and connecting with people when they get there, we will be at UAC. So, if you are interested in going to a conference for the first time, but you don’t really have anybody around, contact us, we’ll be there. [crosstalk] We can guide you on your first thing. That’s why I mentioned that. We’ll all be there.

JG: Right. And get hooked up with the Association for Young Astrologers because that’s going to be our whole thing, especially for UAC is gathering the young people, the new people who’ve never been there before. And yeah, just come talk to me if you see me. Look for the red and orange hair. [crosstalk] That’s me.

CB: Definitely. And Ryan, AFAN is going to be doing a hospitality suite and like the whole nine yards as well, right?

RB: Yes, [crosstalk] as far as I know.

JG: Yeah, that’ll be great.

CB: Okay. And one of the things that we’ve been talking about at NORWAC this year, I meant to do some meetup with podcast listeners because since as the podcast has grown over the past few years, more and more people will come up to me at conferences and say, “This is my first conference and I’m here because you mentioned on the podcast.” 

RB: Oh, that’s so cool. 

CB: Yeah, it’s actually really interesting. And it’s something that constantly surprises me and Kelly are constantly mentioning, and also Austin, that we keep having people come up and talk to us because we’re always surprised because we record these things, us three are doing right now where it’s just we’re each at our separate homes and we’re talking over Skype or something, and then we put it out in the world, but then you don’t really have a full sense of how many people are actually listening to it. But then when you go to these conferences, suddenly, there’s dozens of people coming up and saying they listened to that last episode. And you really get a sense for how many people are listening. So, I mentioned that just because I’ve been meaning to find ways through the podcast just to have a meet up and to connect other podcast listeners and also to help people who, if it’s their first conference, to help them get integrated and meet other people that have similar interests, or what have you.  

So, we’re definitely going to be doing at the very least some podcast meet and greet for listeners. That’s something Kelly and I have talked about and definitely want to do. And best-case scenario, we might do some live recording of a podcast episode at the conference, but we haven’t really fully worked that [crosstalk] out yet. [Ryhan laughs] But one way or another, we’re going to set something up. So, we’ll have an announcement about that, hopefully, sometime in the next few months. And then people if they want to join us and they’re going to be at UAC, can do so. All right. And that’s UAC, but there’s also other conferences.

RB: I think one thing that we should have done earlier was differentiate between types of conferences because you have UAC, which is the granddaddy of them all. And then you have the national conferences, usually how I refer to them, which are run by an organization like NSA conference, or NCGR conference, and they’re usually every two years, I think. Does that sound right, Chris?

CB: Yeah, it’s every two or three years.

RB: And then you’ll have the regional conferences, which tend to run annually, but they’re always in the same place.

CB: Right. Yeah, that’s a really good point. Because that’s pretty much all that’s happening. Besides UAC, next year is the regionals. [crosstalk] Yeah, because the regionals usually what happens is the sponsoring organizations that do UAC, they all make an agreement together that they won’t do a conference, one of their own conferences within a year of UAC, but they’ll all just pool their resources for the mega conference of UAC, but the regional conferences who are just local organizers aren’t part of those agreements. So, the two regional conferences next year is NORWAC in Seattle is going to take place, the Northwest Astrological Conference is going to take place sometime before UAC, I think in March or April and then [crosstalk]

RB: Early this year, [crosstalk] that’s something that I think is important because NORWAC is usually held Memorial Day weekend.

CB: Yeah, it’s always at the very end of May, typically. But that’s the weekend that UAC is occupying this year. So, NORWAC will take place in Seattle earlier in 2018 and that’ll be a smaller NORWAC than usual. It’ll mainly be local people or people from the Pacific Northwest, but it’ll still have maybe 100 or 200, or more astrologers in attendance compared to its usual 250 to 300 plus. And then the other regional conference is going to take place next year is SOTA, right?

RB: Yes. SOTA always takes place in early October. I think regional conferences are a really great way to get started going to conferences, just because they tend to be smaller, more intimate, and slightly less chaotic than some of the larger ones.

JG: Right. So, if you’re just wanting to get your feet wet, one of these regional ones would be a really great way to do that, if you’re not ready for the granddaddy of conferences as Ryhan put it. [crosstalk] Or just go for it. [crosstalk] Yeah.

RB: You’ll see what I mean, Jo.

JG: Oh, I’m ready. [Ryhan laughs]

CB: Yeah, I would recommend just going for it no matter what even if you have trepidation as long as you can do it. But however, if you can’t for whatever reason, if it’s too expensive, or if you have something scheduled that weekend, and you can’t make it off work or whatever, then go to the one of the regional conferences, and that’ll still be the next best thing. So, those are the three conferences happening next year. I know there’s also other conferences. We’re all US astrologers, so we’re focusing on the North America conferences. There’s also other annual conferences. In the UK, there’s the Astrological Association hosts an annual conference. Typically, it’s every fall, I think, around September, but for some reason this year, I think I heard that they’re moving it earlier. So, it’s going to take place actually, right after UAC I think in June or something, and I’ve no idea why they’re moving it forward from its usual space in the fall to be that close to UAC. But for whatever reason, if you’re in the UK, or if you’re in Europe, and you can’t make it to the United Astrology Conference in Chicago, you might consider going to the Astrological Association conference in the UK, I think somewhere around June. But other than that, I’m not sure what other conferences are going on. There might be, I think there is actually-

RB: There’s one happening this year.

CB: Which one?

RB: GLAC, Great Lakes.

JG: Yeah, Great Lakes Astrology Conference. I’m not totally positive. I heard somewhere that they’re not having GLAC this year because of UAC, but I can’t confirm. I’d have to check that out.

CB: Sure. And then I think there might be some big conference that’s happening in India that I know a lot of astrologers from the US and the UK have been invited to. And there may be other regional conferences in different countries that are happening as well. So, check with whatever your local astrological organization is, wherever you live, and that’s typically where you’ll find out more information about local conferences. All right. Well, I think that bringing us to the end of this episode, then we’re coming up on two hours here. So, I think we surprisingly, we got through [Jo laughs] just about everything that we planned. It took a little bit longer than anticipated, but I think we did pretty good. Is there anything that we meant to go over that we didn’t get a chance to?

RB: I do have one more thing that I want to mention that I’m not sure we ever planned on talking about. But as far as going to the conference and that whole experience, a lot of conferences, or I assume all conferences, I’m not sure why they wouldn’t, will give attendees feedback forums, fill these out. 

JG: Oh, yeah, that’s super important. 

RB: If you get one, fill these out. Because we’re still old school, a lot of times, these will be paper forms, but some organizations have moved for Mailchimp, or SurveyMonkey things. And make sure to fill these out because these are super important. This is how conferences figure out what to do differently next time, what to do better, who to invite back, things like that. So, if you go to a conference, even if you’re a veteran and you’ve gone to a bunch of them, make sure to fill these out.

CB: Yeah, definitely. And that actually oftentimes does have a bearing on. They take that feedback seriously. [crosstalk] And oftentimes, [crosstalk] the early speaker selection, and the subsequent conference is partially predicated on who got good feedback at the last one. So that’s definitely important. And then one thing I meant to go back to that we glossed over is Jo, you were talking about how just looking at over the past few years before you attended conferences and not seeing a lot of social media stuff being posted from conferences and that you wanted to fill that gap, and that was actually something that you did a really good job of at the SOTA conference last month was you actually did a whole Instagram series of trying to document the conference, [Ryhan laughs] right? [Jo laughs]

JG: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you, Chris. Yeah, I was glued to my phone the whole time, which was a little bit exhausting, but it was really great to just cover what that was like. I would get up in the morning and I would put a little update on my Instagram story actually for the Association for Young Astrologers on Instagram. It was a project on there and say, “Hey, I’m going downstairs to grab breakfast, and then we’re all going to go see Adam Gainsburg’s talk, and he’s talking on this.” And blah, blah, blah, and just how the day goes along. I’ll be doing that at UAC as well [crosstalk] and at SOTA as well. I’ll get over it, Ryhan.

RB: Sorry. [Jo laughs] I’m just excited to see it. 

CB: Yeah. And I think-

JG: You can tease me later. Right. Yeah.

RB: No, it’s not even like a teasing thing. It’s just a lot of effort.

JG: I enjoy that stuff. Like I said, I’m super extroverted, really social, but it is a lot of work. And I can see why, if there’s not a specific person doing that, if you don’t have time, you don’t have time. So, I’m making time to do that. So, if you absolutely cannot make it to a conference, do keep your eye on social media just to get a feel for it and see if that’s maybe something you’d like to plan for the next year. But yeah, yeah, that’s something I did it SOTA. I keep that Instagram story updated [Ryhan laughs] 24/7, [crosstalk] just as my friends.

RB: Literally, 24/7, I think there’s a picture of us sprawled out on a hotel room bed at 2:00 in the morning. 

JG: Oh, yeah, for sure. [Ryhan laughs]

RB: And that’s conference life.

JG: It is conference life, but it’s so endearing. There was one point one afternoon, I think it was Saturday afternoon, where we were all really tired. Okay, so we were there with Wade Caves and Wade had his projector that he used for his letter. [Ryhan laughs] And he projected we moved the hotel furniture and we projected Mean Girls onto the wall [Ryhan laughs] and we just, because it’s really… Well, that was on the Instagram story, too. No, all this is to say there’s just so much stuff. There’s so many small things and small ways that you bond with people and things that you totally wouldn’t expect to happen at a conference. And that’s really what I want to bring to people. And I want to get people excited about attending because it’s so worth it. It’s so worth it.

CB: Yeah, definitely. And I really appreciated that you did that just because it was able to convey some of that. Because usually, what happens is speakers or other attendees go to these conferences. And initially, sometimes you’ll see some pictures of people showing up, but then as the weekend wears on, and people get more and more exhausted, like the pictures [crosstalk] will slowly disappear [crosstalk] [Ryhan laughs]

JG: People just go to their rooms and project movies onto the hotel wall and yeah.

CB: Right and forget [Jo laughs] to document it.

JG: Right. [Jo laughs]

CB: So yeah, I’m glad you did that and that’s great that you’re planning on doing it for UAC and for SOTA next year. So, people can check out. Will you be doing on your personal account or on the Instagram account, or what?

JG: I will probably be doing a little bit of both. But anything that I do for these conferences, that’s definitely going to be on AYA’s Instagram and that’s just AYA Astrology on Instagram. And yeah, and I’ll keep Facebook updated as well.

CB: Okay, awesome. And the UAC people are actually doing a much better job. So, Laura Nalbandian [crosstalk] is the primary organizer of UAC. And that’s what’s awesome about UAC this time around is they’re doing a super good job with just about every aspect of it, where one of the things they did is they actually hired a conference planner, who is Laura Nalbandian, who’s a second-generation astrologer, and who has a lot of experience organizing conferences like NORWAC, but one of the things she’s really good at is delegating responsibility and getting people to do specific jobs. So, one of the things they’re doing a great job at is they have a social media team, and two of the people that are doing that are Sam Reynolds, [crosstalk] who have been on the podcast in the past, and I think he’s one of the people that’s running either the Twitter or the Facebook account. So, it’s Sam, and then there’s one other social media person, Demetrius Bagley, who is the other social media guy.

RB: That’s such an amazing double team for that.

CB: Yeah. [Ryhan laughs]

JG: Yeah. Yeah.

CB: They’re both social media experts. So, they’ve already got stuff going. They’ve got the Facebook account and the Twitter account, and they’ve already got the hashtag picked out for UAC, which is #uac2018. So, you can already start following that. And I think it’s already got some activity, but it’s going to get more and more activity on Twitter and Facebook over the course of the next few months until we reach May and the conference takes place. And that’s definitely one way you can follow what’s going on in terms of that conference. 

RB: Awesome. 

CB: All right. Well, great. Well, awesome. I’m glad we had this discussion. Thanks a lot, both of you for joining me today. I’m glad that we got to do this. And actually, I think we were able to cover enough to give people a sense of both why it’s important as well as why they might want to attend and how they might make that happen in a way that I don’t know I’ve seen other discussions like this have gone that into depth. So, I hope people find it useful.

RB: Yeah, I definitely hope we can encourage more people to try and go and make sure that you’re looking up different astrology organizations on social media because AFAN will be posting things about their annual scholarships really soon. So, if you’re planning on trying to make one of these 2018 conferences, keep your eye out because probably around early to mid-December, is when AFAN will be making their announcements about scholarship applications.

JG: Right, [crosstalk] and just really quickly before we wrap up, AYA is doing a room share at UAC and we have just announced that. So, if you are interested in getting in on that and sharing a suite with a bunch of other young astrologers, go check out our website, which is youngastrologers.org or you can find the same announcement on Facebook as well. So definitely, check that out.

CB: Definitely. And then I heard that the three primary astrological sponsoring organizations of UAC all three, they have three additional scholarships to give out each [crosstalk] so Ethan is going to give out three, the NCGR is going to give out three, and [unintelligible] is going to give out three.

RB: And those are specifically for UAC. 

CB: Right. So, if you’re a member of one of those organizations, be on the lookout for that at some point in the next few months because it’s going to happen pretty soon. Or if you’re not a member yet, you can always sign up to become a member. There’s nothing wrong with signing up now. And then you’ll get that notification because that’s one of the reasons why the organizations do these things is, they actually want you to sign up in order to be able to apply for things like scholarships. So, couldn’t hurt to sign up for one of those memberships now if that would help, it’ll give you a shot to get a scholarship and then-

RB: There’s such small investments. It’s $30 to $45 for a membership to any one of these three organizations and be able to do that to get a chance at a $500 scholarship. Sign me up.

JG: Right, yeah.

RB: But I am signed up. [Jo and Ryhan laugh]

CB: Yeah, and then it gives you access to some news. And sometimes, that’s how you find out about community things like scholarships, or room shares or other things is through those organizations. So that’s one of the real benefits that they still serve in the community, even in the internet age where everybody’s on Facebook and Twitter and everything else, they still serve that as a really important role and purpose. 

RB: Definitely. 

CB: All right, awesome. Well, I think that brings us to the end of this episode, then. So, both of you, thanks a lot for joining me. Where can people find out more information about you? Ryhan, what’s your website at this point?

RB: My website is medievalastrologyguide.com. And of course, I’m on Facebook and whatnot. 

CB: Awesome. And Jo, where can people get ahold of you?

JG: They can go to my website. It’s amyjogleason.com. And I’m also on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter all the time since it’s what I do. But yeah, they can check me out there and connect.

CB: Okay, awesome. And your organization website is youngastrologers.org, right?

JG: Yes. Yeah, youngastrologers.org. And you can follow AYA on Facebook as well. We keep that up to date with our little monthly dinner and drinks events, and we’ll have more news about UAC coming up. So yeah, check that out, too.

CB: Awesome. Sounds good. All right. Well, I look forward to seeing all three, well, both of you, all two of you, [Jo and Ryhan laugh] including myself at UAC here in a few months, which even though it’s [crosstalk] November, it sounds like that’s very far away, but it’s actually in November.

RB: It’s actually really soon.

CB: Yeah. They come up super-fast when you least expect it. So, I look forward to seeing you two there and I look forward to seeing everyone who’s listening there. Will see you at the conference and definitely come up and say hi. [crosstalk] If you see one of the three of us, we’re all three, very much open to that I think, right?

RB: We’re going to be the people without gray hair there. [Jo laughs] 

CB: Yeah.

RB: My statement is still accurate, Chris. 

CB: Yeah, [Jo and Ryhan laugh] I will have no hair, so your statement is so accurate. All right. On that note, I think that’s a perfect note to end on. [Jo and Ryhan laugh] All right. So, thanks everyone for listening and we’ll see you next time.