The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 352, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Laura Nalbandian
Episode originally released on May 16, 2022
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: email@example.com
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released May 16, 2022
Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with astrologer Laura Nalbandian about organizing astrology conferences, and also how to give a good astrology lecture if you’re an up-and-coming astrologer and you want some tips for how to do that the most effectively. So hey, Laura, welcome to the studio.
LAURA NALBANDIAN: Thanks, Chris, for having me. I love doing this with you. It’s awesome. Thank you.
CB: Yeah. You are only one of my second guests to come out here since December when I had Kent Bye out, and I’m starting to do more interviews in person and I’m actually very excited about it. So thanks for being the second person.
LN: Thank you.
CB: It’s actually fitting because in your astrology conference, you gave me my first lecture ever at the Northwest Astrology Conference in like 2006/2007. So it’s sort of fitting.
LN: It is. NORWAC has had a history of providing space for folks who otherwise would not have an opportunity to speak. They don’t have a CV, they don’t have a resume, they don’t have the experience. And Mom and I really felt that was something important. How are you going to ever get the experience if you don’t get the experience? If somebody doesn’t give it to you, you know, create that space?
CB: Yeah, NORWAC has always been good about having a mixture of some new speakers and some intermediate and some advanced established major astrologers at the same time.
LN: Yes. Our goal is diversity. That diversity is diversity of age, diversity of gender, diversity of topic, diversity of race… It’s just all about diversity. We don’t want to be a one-note event. We’re not looking to be about one particular style of astrology, we want to give people the opportunity to visit and explore different topics and meet the needs of the wide variety of astrologers and students out there.
CB: Right. So let’s talk a little bit, for those that are maybe new or haven’t seen you before. You’ve been on the podcast a few times in the past, we did the Neptune episode last summer, but what are your credentials when it comes to organizing astrology conferences.
LN: So Mom, Maggie Nalbandian, created NORWAC in 1984.
CB: Which is the Northwest Astrological Conference?
LN: Yeah, Northwest Astrological Conference. She started in 1984. And I worked mostly in the bookstore side of things and then registration, and it probably wasn’t until the later 90s that I really started getting into more of the organizational process contracts with the hotel, how to organize the conference itself, keep track of things, registration, advertising, taking in advertising… I mean, there was a myriad of things that I learned through just doing it in person, you know, hands-on the experience versus– I don’t know, maybe there’s an event-coordinating school. There probably is kind of a trade school for something like that but all of mine was on the fly, real-time learning the experiences, learning the process. And then I was hired in 2008 to do a non-astrology conference. And I did a public health conference for 10 years for a nonprofit in Washington that really advanced my skills of doing the back-end coordination. Then I’ve done UAC. I did United Astrology Conference in 2002, then I coordinated UAC 2018. I was the registrar for 2012 for UAC, and I assisted in registration. I can’t remember, there was 2008 and there was 2012, and then [laughs]
CB: Yes, you have a little bit of experience. You’ve done one or two, this is not your first rodeo.
LN: No, it’s not my first rodeo in other words. I’ve been doing this a long time. I have developed a mind for organizational structure and organizational flow, my natural Capricorn ability, but I’m also not locked into ‘This is the way we’ve always done it, we have to do it this way.’ I love bringing new elements to the conference, shaking things up, doing something different. I mean, it’s 38 years.
CB: Right. Yeah, it’s time to try one or two new things during the course of that.
CB: And even before that, your family ran a famous bookstore in Seattle and there was also classes taught there, so you also had background with that as well as doing consultations and teaching on your own.
LN: Yeah. I started studying astrology in ’83 and started full-on practicing in ’88/’89, but I had been teaching since ’86/’87. We had classes every night of the week and sometimes given the building we were in, we might have two classrooms so there’d be two classes going on. So astrology at different levels, Tarot, meditation, metaphysics, all kinds of classes, but definitely astrology throughout the years. So I’ve been teaching since late ’86.
CB: Okay. In terms of that, and you’re actually on your way, you’re driving through town to go to the OPA, the Organisation for Professional Astrologers. It’s not a retreat, but it’s a conference that’s happening this coming week. And one of the lectures or talks you’re going to be giving is how to give a good astrology lecture.
LN: The one I’m doing at the event is actually on how to create a budget and set your rates. I-Astrologer, which is the event, is this year extended virtually and in person. So they started in early April during virtual events, then they’ll have the on-site events on the 28th through the first of May so that’s just coming up. And then they’re going to extend the virtual lectures through mid-May or maybe even late May, and I’ll be doing the one on how to give a talk, how to do public speaking. I’ll be doing that one virtually in May.
CB: Okay. And then next month, of course, is the first Northwest Astrology Conference that’s going to be happening in-person in three years now after the pandemic hit in 2020, where you had to go online for the past two years.
LN: Yes. Yeah. This will be, as I keep saying, 38th year. The last two years, 2020 and 2021, were only virtual. It was a big deal to drop our first in-person conference and make that decision before it was actually required.
CB: And you had basically a month to do that, I think?
LN: Yes. And I had six weeks to convert from an in-person conference to a virtual conference. I had brilliant people helping me and we were able to accomplish that. And so this year a lot of people wanted me to do a simulcast, and I just know the process of organization and what it takes, and I really felt that coming back in person first and getting that back under our belt was going to be important. And then working effectively toward simulcasts so that everything was done and organized well for a successful outcome versus trying to hold all that down at the same time. I just didn’t think I had the bandwidth for it.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense, to sort of step into new things instead of diving in all at once to do the most hardest thing. So, that’s happening and that is so far successful because you guys are sold out as of probably the end of April now, right?
CB: Okay. So NORWAC is sold out but you will have recordings of it both audio and video recordings available to buy after the conference.
LN: Right. They can go to norwac.net, y’all. And you can look at the audio store, the video store and shop there. You’ll see all kinds of audio and video. We run sales periodically and so you can catch those. But I would say the audio will probably be up during the conference. So if you’re just gotta get Austin’s lecture, you’ve got to get something from Demetra or whoever it might be and you don’t want to wait, the audio will be up that weekend. The weekend of Memorial Day weekend. So what is that? That is May 27th through the 30th. We will be capturing video of everything. But as to how quickly we can get that up, I can’t promise.
CB: Sure. Sure. But it’ll be there eventually if people can’t make it.
LN: Hopefully within the next week from the conference, it should be up and ready to go.
CB: Cool. Okay. You’re also organizing, for those that can’t attend NORWAC because it’s sold out, you’re organizing the International Society for Astrological Research. It’s going to host a huge conference here in Colorado in August and you’re also the head organizer of that?
LN: I am. I am. ISAR 2022 Joining Hearts & Minds. They can go to isar2022.org, find all the information there. It’s August 25th through the 29th. So it’s in Westminster, which is just a suburb here of Denver, and there’s 100 speakers. We’re looking to see 500 plus attendees, that’s our goal. It’s gonna be very exciting, lovely weather. It will be a great time of the year. And so if you missed the boat on and you missed the chance for NORWAC, you can certainly email me and get on a waitlist, and look for to see if cancellations are going to happen. I already have a waitlist. But, you know, ISAR is going to be great. It’s not a But, but And. ISAR is going to be fantastic. A lot of fabulous speakers there.
CB: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. And having that many rooms, it’s going to be something like 10 lectures running concurrently?
CB: Okay. Yeah, that’s gonna be great. I’m glad it’s happening not far from Denver, from my hometown, so I’ll just drive over there. It’ll be really good to see people in person again. One thing that’s interesting to me to witness to see how this goes is there’s been such a huge influx of new people and younger astrologers into the astrological community over the past four or five years. And since it’s been three years since the last big in-person conference, which was probably the last NORWAC that happened in May of 2019, there’s a tonne of people that have entered the field since that time that haven’t had the experience of attending an in-person astrology conference, and have only been able to attend them online through Zoom lectures. While that’s still cool and you still get a lot of the information and stuff, there’s something I have trouble conveying to people that haven’t been to a conference yet what it’s like to meet up with other astrologers in person and to have that shared love or that shared interest in something, and be able to speak in that language to a bunch of different people at the same time. That’s really hard to replicate in the online format.
LN: It is really difficult to replicate in the online format. We did, at NORWAC, probably the best we could in replicating the energy that comes from that. But it’s not the same. When you’re in a lecture room at an in-person conference, right? You’re sharing that space, which would be similar to a Zoom experience. Now, you can’t send private messages in a lecture hall, you can’t stand up and shout to the other person across the room. Right? You have to sit quietly and listen to the speaker. There is that difference. [laughs] But afterwards, it’s super. You’re walking out the door, you’re sparking up a conversation with somebody… that you literally cannot do in a virtual environment.
CB: You can’t go out and get drinks or like have dinner with the people in your Zoom Room after going to a Zoom lecture.
LN: No, you can’t. The environment in a conference is magical and special. Right? There’s often overused words like synergy and you know, that kind of conductivity that happens in that space where your intention– mind, body, emotional intention is occupying the same space as somebody else also with that mind, body, emotional intention. There’s something magical that happens and you can’t replicate it virtually.
CB: Yeah, there’s this sort of uranian-lightning-in-a-bottle quality of there’s unexpected things that happen when you put that many astrologers and that much energy just ping-ponging around in a space for like a week. Things happen that sometimes are very innovative and beautiful and new that you couldn’t have gotten otherwise. So in the episode I think I’ll release before this one, I just recorded an episode with Demetra George about her new book, Ancient Astrology Volume Two that just came out. One of the things that we talked about in that episode and a correction I actually had to make as a follow up is, we knew that it had been almost 30 years to the month when a group of astrologers met up in 1992 at the United Astrology Conference in Washington, DC. And over the series of a number of dinners over a course of a few nights, that led to the initial foundation of Project Hindsight and this idea between, in particular Robert Hand and Robert Schmidt and Robert Zoller to start a subscription-based translation project and start reviving and recovering ancient astrology, which hadn’t been done up to that point. And then what happened now is that Demetra’s publishing her final book, the second of a two-part series on that, which is kind of completing all of that work that was started exactly 30 years ago one full Saturn cycle when Saturn was back in Aquarius in 1982. What we didn’t know is I assumed that that conference must have taken place in May of that year, but it wasn’t. I got an email from Ronnie Gale Dreyer afterwards who corrected me and said, “Actually, your timing was even more perfect than you realized because that conference was like April 19th through the 21st,” or something around that. And that’s exactly when Demetra and I were recording that episode and it was exactly when her book came out that day on April 20th, 2022. So she ended up publishing her book, which sort of marks the final initial phase of the recovery of everything that started in 1992, 30 years to the day of that meeting, which only happened because of that astrology conference and because of the energy of a bunch of people getting together and starting to talk and say, “Hey, what can we do? There’s this thing that’s never been done or this thing that should happen but nobody’s done it, maybe we should somehow take the reins and do this thing.” And then it turned into this massive project over the past 30 years that’s influenced the community in different ways.
LN: It’s revolutionized the community in a way in the sense that it revolutionized from where it was at that point, but it brought back what was hidden or lost or perceived lost or inaccessible. So it really did change the field itself of astrology.
CB: Yeah. And just if nothing else, reconnected us with our histories that even if that’s not your thing or you don’t use that form of astrology, we now know you can now pick up a book like Demetra’s book or my book and read and learn about the history of astrology and where it comes from and how it got to where it is today. That project took about 30 years and is now, you know, there’s still a lot of other work to be done but at least the initial phases of that where now it’s accessible to the general astrological public and audience of new students of astrology is now completed. And it all started at an astrology conference.
CB: Yeah. That’s my pitch for why in-person astrology conferences are important, just because there’s some lightning in the bottle or some uranium element that you can’t replicate anywhere else. And it’ll be really interesting to see then what comes out of these two conferences this year and if there’s some other version of that that happens again with Saturn and Aquarius in the first astrology conferences this year that have happened in three years.
LN: Yeah, I’m interested to see. Because things do happen, people connect, ideas are flowing, you never never never know what could arise and come out of something like that. So I like your analogy of lightning in a bottle, I think that captures it well.
CB: Yeah. All right. That being said, if one was an up-and-coming astrologer no matter how long they’ve been studying, when we transition our topic which is what does it take to give a good astrology lecture? What are some do’s and what are some don’ts? What are some things to avoid? Because there’s lots of things where you can’t learn until you just do it at some point, and you learn by process of making mistakes and finding out what works and what doesn’t. Astrologers that have been doing it for a while, you’ve learned from your mistakes and part of the process but for me, something I’ve gotten pretty good at over the course of the past decade or two is I’ve had to do it enough times where nowadays when you want to learn something new, it’s pretty easy to go out there. And instead of just trying it and failing and doing trial by error and learning everything from scratch, sometimes it’s good instead to see if there are guides out there, if there’s anybody specifically that will tell you what some of the main tips are when you’re first getting started and the things that they wish that they first knew when they started giving astrology lectures. So, what are some of the first things that you wish you knew? Or how do you usually start this discussion?
LN: So I started teaching, as I said, in ’86. And the story goes in my mind that it was a failure.
CB: Okay. Bad first lecture or first class.?
LN: First class.
LN: Let me just say this, I was smart enough to ask a friend who was not a student to sit in on the class and give me feedback. And so she’s the one that told me it was awful. [laughs]
CB: Okay. It wasn’t just like a friend because that can be dangerous in and of itself, but it was like a blunt friend or…
LN: Yeah, it was a blunt friend that I knew would tell me the truth.
CB: Right. They’d be like, “That was great.” Because actually what you’re supposed to do, and I learned that from another astrologer, is to some extent, everyone’s gonna give a terrible first lecture and you don’t even necessarily need to know when you’re walking out the room that you did a terrible job. Sometimes just a pat on the back, “Yeah, that was great,” and then go get a drink is the best.
LN: Yes. And we went to get a drink and then she told me. [laughs]
CB: Okay. So once you had sufficiently had the edge taken off by a few drinks, then she… You know?
LN: Yeah. She said, “That was awful.” And she said, “Here’s why.”
LN: She said, “You quoted a bunch of great astrologers, but I didn’t really hear what you thought. You had a stack of books on the podium, and you hid behind them.”
CB: Yeah, I love that. That’s a common- That’s funny though because that’s one I was gonna bring up later. But I did that, too. It’s a common thing and I’ve seen it with a bunch of people. Which is, the astrologers, we mostly learned from books and books are very important. And you’ve read so many books by the time you give your first lecture that you feel sometimes like actually bringing them physically and stacking them up to show all the things you read in preparation for this lecture. That seems like a good idea at the time, [Laura laughs] but in retrospect it’s not. It’s really not useful.
It’s not useful. And I found not everybody has their own style. Some people need to write out the whole lecture. I’m not one of those people. I found that the more I had it scripted, the more stilted, the more boring the process became for me.
CB: Yeah, that was my second lecture. Did the first one with all the books just winging it, and I went terribly. Then I tried writing and reading a paper in my second one. Very boring. If I can be more monotone than I already am, I actually cranked up by reading a 20-page paper in front of a live audience. [Laura laughs]
Laura: Do not read your lectures. [laughs] That is one of my number one rules.
CB: Okay, so rule number one.
LN: Yeah, for me is don’t read your lectures. Have an outline. The thing is, when you’re reading your lecture, you’re tending to look down or at a screen in front of you and you’re not engaging with the audience. So when we speak that overused word, synergy, that’s what’s happening as well in a lecture dynamic. When you have information, if you want to have bullet points on the screen in a PowerPoint, that’s great. Don’t write everything out on your PowerPoint, either. Because basically, why would somebody come to the lecture? They could just get your PowerPoint and read it.
CB: Yeah, that was my third lecture mistake. I’ve done all of your things so I’m feeling good about this. So, don’t read it directly from the PowerPoint?
LN: Yeah, don’t read it. Don’t write everything out on the PowerPoint if you have your notes somewhere that you can glance at. But look, you want your information to flow a little bit more naturally. So I often pick people in the audience to literally speak to, look at, then I’ll pick somebody else to look at. You don’t want it overly scripted, start here, start here, start here. I’ve seen lectures do that too. Then they go back, they go center, they go side. You can see that with people who do teleprompters, too.
CB: Yeah, the Presidential ones. We always see them because there’s usually just two and they look back and forth.
CB: So part of it then is even early on, the person is nervous and they’re wanting to- primarily the astrologer, the presenter is thinking of it as an informational lecture and they’re usually hyper-focused on the information and conveying the information as precisely and exactly as they want, and that’s why they’re writing it out. But part of the learning process is realizing that it’s not just a lecture, it’s actually a presentation. And a presentation involves you connecting in some capacity with the audience.
LN: Right. I actually believe that there is an entertainment factor. I’m not up there to make jokes. And some people do. I mean, I like to make people laugh in my lectures, but it’s spontaneous. I don’t have scripted jokes and that sort of thing. I find humor in the absurd and when I’m talking I might find something humorous and say it. There’s several criteria that I’m looking for. One is style. Right? That’s the presentation, are you- Is your energy open and out to the world? Or are you really just afraid? And I get the fear. I’ve been there. You might even need to rehearse a number of times so you feel comfortable, even small groups to do your lecture to.
CB: Yeah, that’s a huge tip. If you can, before you get to the conference, try giving your presentation at least one or two times to like a local astrology group or just to some group of astrologers before you get up and give it for the very first time in front of an actual conference audience.
LN: And then information, of course, is your technique sound, is your information sound. Is it organized in such a way that you have delineated your information? Now, one of the big pieces for me also is, you’ll find– and I’ve done this oh, so many times. I’m better at it– is that I’ll start out with my concept. I know where I’m starting, I know where I’m supposed to end in a timeframe. But I start to slow-
CB: Over time.
LN: Yeah, timing. If I’ve decided I want to explore the 12 archetypes in a particular thread or thought or application or planetary application, I’ve done it where I have like, Aries, Taurus, and going really slow. And then all of a sudden, I’m looking at the clock and now I’m starting to race. And then you’re at Pisces and you’ve got two minutes.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really common early beginner thing, just getting your timing all wrong and going over your time. But that’s something, especially the in-person conference, that you have to be really strict on. Because there’s a person usually right after you, so you have to get cut off at a certain point and clear the room so the next person can come in and give their talk. So timing is actually really important because if you don’t get that right, like you don’t get to present everything you wanted, that may lead to audience disappointment if they don’t get to experience everything that you promised would be in the lecture.
LN: Right. I do a survey after NORWAC and these are the things that I get back. Time management was poor, they didn’t finish their lectures. And they do tell me, “Lecturer read their notes. They just read their paper, didn’t look up.” “Lecturer delivered, did not match description,” is another one.
CB: Right. And that happens for a variety of reasons.
LN: It does. Often in a conference scenario, you’ve submitted a lecture a good six, eight, 10 months prior to the conference.
CB: Or UAC, that feels like sometimes longer. Like a year or two maybe?
LN: It is. Yeah. And now you want to tweak it. But trust me, when I get feedback from the audience that your lecture did not match your description, I’m gonna go back and listen to it and see how often it was. And then that’s taken into account for me in choosing speakers in the future.
CB: Yeah, I attended a lecture several years ago not too long ago and I was actually kind of disappointed because it was one of the few lectures that I made a point to attend because I really liked the description and the title and what it was going to cover. And then the speaker went through the entire lecture and then by the end he hadn’t actually gotten to it. I don’t even think it’s because of time management. I think it was just maybe he submitted a description but then in the two years since he submitted it, he decided to focus on a little bit other parts and therefore didn’t get to the central thesis that I went there to watch. And it couldn’t even though as otherwise a good lecture, help but be a little bit disappointing that it wasn’t on topic.
LN: Right. For NORWAC, on our website, we say at the top, “Lectures are subject to change.” And my speakers know that they can tweak their write-ups before I go to print.
CB: Okay. Well, how late do you go to print?
LN: I will go to print when I get back to Seattle. So it’ll be-
CB: a month, basically.
LN: Yeah. The printer only takes four or five days to print. So I try to put it off as actually long as possible for that reason so that if there are changes, I’m not having to create a route of sheets and that sort of thing.
CB: And this is because everybody that attends an astrology conference will get like a print schedule of what the speakers are, what their bios are, what the lecture, titles, and descriptions are in a little notebook that you get when you first-
LN: Yeah, your program guide. It’s a booklet. For us, it’s just a saddle stitch booklet. For ISAR, it’ll be a full-on bound book. Oversized, it looks like a magazine.
CB: Okay, right.
LN: Another issue that I found that-
CB: And that’s really important for new astrologers that might be attending their first conference this year, I keep thinking of a lot of listeners of the podcast. That’s really important what’s in that schedule, because one of the crises that you’re going to have as soon as you show up at your first astrology conference is there’s going to be like five or 10 astrology lectures going at the same time, four times a day in the same slot. And your crisis is you have to choose one of those because unfortunately, in the current constraints of physical reality, we can only be in one place at one time. So you get to pick one lecture that you can attend. And sometimes there’s like five lectures that you want to see at the same time, and you have to make a decision based on the description that that speaker wrote and then go into that room and sit there and probably can’t get out because it’s kind of awkward. I mean, you can do it but-
LN: You can, it is. And I’ve told attendees, “Look. If you don’t know for sure whether you’re gonna like this lecture, sit in the back.”
CB: Yeah. Don’t sit at the very front row.
CB: Okay, it’s a good tip.
LN: Sit in the ack. And then if you feel like, you know, this isn’t my jam, this is not my thing, this is really not working for me… Walk out. It happens. But make sure you don’t let the door slam, it interrupts the speaker. Some conference centers and hotels have soft shutting doors. Some don’t. And they hit and that bar goes [*]
CB: I’ve heard that clang of many people walking out.
LN: You’re up there speaking and somebody leaves to maybe even just to go to the bathroom and comes back and you’re thinking, “Why are they leaving?”
CB: Right. You’re like, “Am I doing that badly?” I mean, are there any tips? There should be a guide for how to exit the room gracefully like that. Like maybe look at your watch and exclaim like, “Oh, I’ve got to be somewhere!” [Laura laughs] Run out or look like you forgot your wallet.
LN: Wave a piece of toilet paper in the air, “I’m just gonna go…” [laughs]
CB: That’d be a good signal. It would be like baseball signals. Like, “You know, you’re doing great but I have to go to the bathroom.”
LN: [laughs] I have to go.
CB: Yeah. Maybe that’s someone I know. Yeah. One of the things you’re doing this year is you’re trying to make things more accessible with sign language interpreters.
LN: Yeah. The astrological community, we’re going to try to get ourselves there. To be honest, it’s a monetary issue. You know, people who do ASL they need to be paid. They only work in one-hour blocks, lectures are usually 75 minutes. You have to have enough of them to rotate them out. They’ll clearly state, you know, I’ve looked them up; what are the average rates for ASL interpreters? You have independent interpreters that tend to be lower, and then some that come out of companies where they pay their ASL interpreters a rate but then the company tax on $20 an hour $10 an hour.
LN: Right. So at NORWAC, fingers crossed, we’ll be using video cameras that will connect up to Zoom. They will, from Zoom, have the captions, the subtitles and captions there on the screen that anyone in the room can read if they’re having difficulty with English possibly not being their first language and reading is easier. Or potentially in the future, those who are from the Deaf Astrological Community who have really had no opportunity to be at a conference because of the financial barrier that they experience as well as the conference coordinators or the event planners run into in trying to provide ASL. I mean, I’ve had ongoing talks with those in the Deaf Astrology Community and those who are advocates for and allies to the Deaf Astrology Community. That’s been ongoing over the last probably five years or so. It’s slower than we all want it to be, it’s slower than it probably should be, but we’re working on it.
CB: Yeah. So you’re taking steps and just like with now, you know, for 38 years you’ve only recorded audio, you’re trying to now figure out and incorporate and learn something new of doing video and then eventually live casting, also trying to incorporate other things like that at the same time. But taking sort of baby steps towards that each time and each year.
LN: Yes. And I do think that certainly with the subtitles on there, and then we have that it will capture the transcript of that as well, and so that can be available to the Deaf astrologers as well for them to read. They can be in there either virtually in the future or come to in-person in the conference, and then have space upfront so they get clear view of the subtitles on the screen. I think that’s important. I think that’s important for sure. I’m not sure how in the future we’ll… My goal, I’m not sure how it will work, would be to have maybe a track or a section of the conference where the speaker is deaf and they are delivering their lecture in sign language. I think that would be spectacular.
CB: Right. For sure. Yeah. How did we get there, in terms of circling back around?
LN: I think we branched from the program guide. But in terms of we talked-
CB: Righ, people giving lectures and etiquette for that.
LN: Yeah, we did that. We’ve talked about, you know, don’t bring a stack of books and put it on the podiums. Your bona fides don’t have to be aired out for everyone.
CB: Yeah, it’s really about what you present. That’s the information that’s important. And then on slides, I did find it was my third astrology lecture, like public lecture, where I did get a handle on it after swinging to those two extremes of winging it and trying to go off the top of my head and that not really working, and then going to the other extreme of reading a 20-page paper at like a Project Hindsight conference and it being really boring. And then the third one, I did find the middle ground which at least for me, and different things work for different people-
LN: It is different for each person.
CB: For me, having the PowerPoint slides helped, and having some short bullet points on each slide to just remind me of the main points that I could just glance at if I forget where I wanted to go next. But then otherwise, try to stay engaged with audience as much as I can. That’s something I’ve tried to refine and go from long paragraphs on the PowerPoint slides, which you really shouldn’t do. Don’t write out more than one line sentence for any bullet point. And even that might be too long. But basically, keep it as concise as possible. The bullet points are just something you’re supposed to glance at to remind yourself very quickly. Because also when you’re speaking, you can’t read. You can’t actually read a paragraph. It’s going to be very hard for you to actually do that smoothly.
LN: Oh, I’ve seen people do it.
CB: Yeah. And then it just grinds everything-
LN: It does. It does. Yes, bullet points are very important. There are several reasons we’ve already sort of laid out why not to do that. It does drag on. And again, the audience is thinking, “Why am I listening to you read something that I could read later?” The other is that too much information on the screen is distracting as well.
CB: From the speaker.
LN: Well, it’s distracting the audience. They have to stop and read. I mean, where are you at? What are your lecturing? How do they keep up with what’s on the screen while you’re talking?
CB: Because the audience’s immediate impulse when you’re sitting in the lecture is every time the speaker changes the slide, their impulse is to look at what’s up on the screen and to take in that new information instead of what the speaker is saying at least for a few seconds.
LN: Yes. Then you’ve got the phenomenon, “We’ll see if it sticks.” It’s a whole bunch of people now standing up and with their phones, taking a picture of the screen.
CB: Yeah, we’ve got to get over that because that’s a little weird, especially because a lot of those presentations you can get afterwards and so it’s really unnecessary.
LN: Yes. Yes. Those bullet points are very important. And always make sure your text is a minimum of 24 points.
CB: Oh, in size. Okay.
LN: Yeah, in size. Anything smaller is too small.
CB: Okay. So, no five-point Comic Sans…
LN: Yeah. Nine, 10, 12, 14, those are all too small on a big screen. They need to be big fonts out there for you to again, for the mind to be able to grasp that sentence quickly and then to move on. And if I have bullet points that are going to show up on a page, I’ll actually duplicate that slide so the last slide has everything on it and each slide before it descends to the first line. So when I advance it, it’s adding a line. So I’m not putting all the information out there once.
CB: So you use the animate feature?
LN: You can, or you can just create the full slide with all the information on it and that’s your last slide. And then descend it back to there’s the first slide has one line, the second slide has two, the third line has three, the fourth… Till your last slide has all of them. And then it’ll look that way. So every time you advance the slides, it looks like it’s just adding a line. And so they’re not, again, when you put all of that information up there, their first thing to do is stop and read everything.
CB: Sure. Yeah, that makes sense. So that helps to combat that in terms of having too much information as soon as you switch to a new slide? Got it.
LN: Right. Imagery is great. Beautiful imagery on the screen with a small amount of text can help stimulate creative process and actually convey something visual that isn’t as easy to convey linearly or through language.
CB: Sure, so images and also especially for astrology lectures, diagrams. Like if you can either learn to make your own diagrams, which is doable, or find somebody that will work that you can afford if you can afford it, to make diagrams for you that will hugely improve your lecture both in terms of the audience having some visuals if you’re explaining some complex technical concept that they’ve never learned before. But also, it becomes a way to remind you of what you wanted to talk about next without actually writing the text out necessarily, but just having a diagram and remembering, “Oh, this is the next spot in the lecture where I need to explain this diagram.”
LN: Right. The other thing here is, if you’re doing a 75-minute lecture and you’ve got 25 or 30 slides, you’ve got to know that in 75 minutes, you’ve got two minutes, maybe three per slide.
CB: Why do I feel like you’re just going through a list of all the mistakes I’ve made? [Laura laughs] Like, 15 years of lecturing at NORWAC. And I realize it’s not because of your just thinking of all the things I’ve messed up, but it’s because these are things that everybody, or many people make that mistake at different points over the course of like 30 years of you watching people and getting feedback on astrology lectures.
LN: Right. Let’s say you want to do a lecture on the history of astrology and you’ve got 75 minutes.
CB: All right, hypothetically, if some young astrologer wanted to give a lecture on 75 minutes. Early in my career, I would say I could fit an easy 105 slides into that lecture, which you said that’s inappropriate. [Laura laughs] So, what is that? That’s about a little bit under a slide per minute. I could pull that off, you’re saying I can’t pull that off?
LN: No. No.
CB: In my 20s, I would say I’m damn well gonna try because I have a lot of things to say and that’s going to-
LN: So what I’m saying here is, then what your lecture becomes the history of astrology and you pick a subset. You break it up. Right. What part of the history of astrology can I comfortably present in 75 minutes?
CB: Or that you need to break that topic down to the bare essentials and you don’t need to go into every detail of every possible thing about it.
CB: Sure. And that’s maybe just a symptom of the thing we talked about first of bringing the books, it’s just at what point what are you shooting for? What are you trying to accomplish? And are you trying to demonstrate how much you know and that you know everything about this topic? Or are you trying to convey something that somebody can actually grasp in 75 minutes from your lecture?
LN: Right. I want to make people think and I want to make people feel, that’s my intention. Those two are important to me. Not everybody wants to make people feel something, but the type of astrology that I do has emotion and feeling in it. Those are two things I want to accomplish. I want them to think, “Mmmh, I didn’t think about that before or think about it in that way?” And while that really hits me, there’s a feeling I have about that. It speaks to me.
CB: Yeah. To feel impacted by something you just witnessed.
LN: Right. And I’ve had tremendous feeling from great intellectually-given lectures. Rob Hand, I mean, I have where my mind has been completely blown away by the end of a 60-minute keynote where he started out somewhere, intentionally, and then weaving the threads together to come to a conclusion that was just like, “[*]”
CB: Yeah. There’s this really powerful one he gave in 2007/2008 and I never forgot that lecture. It’s one of the best lectures I’ve ever seen because he did it, like you’re saying, in his typical Rob Handian fashion of Sagittarius stellium of like very circuitous and you’re like, “I have no idea where he’s going, this is very entertaining and interesting.” And then by the end he pulls it off. He’d weave it through and come back to the main point, and then it would just be super impactful. That was usually the final keynote lecture. We had him do that for years because he could always pull that off.
LN: Yeah, the Sunday night.
CB: Sunday night sermon?
LN: He called it the Sunday night sermon.
CB: Okay. Yeah. Because it was never just, you know, because he focused so much on the history of astrology and philosophy. It was often of that theme in some way. But it also had a very impactful component just emotionally or intellectually or what have you that left you walking out of it feeling like you had experienced something.
LN: Right. And that’s the deal. So thinking about where you want to start, let’s say I want to teach the history of astrology and I know I can’t get that done in 75 minutes and probably couldn’t get that done in 75 weeks.
CB: Let’s pick a different topic. Maybe something a little less personal. [Laura laughs] I just feel… All right, go on.
LN: So if I want to teach– in fact, I’ve tried this. I tried doing this in the past. I wanted to talk about evolutionary astrology in 75 minutes. By the way, not doable.
CB: No. Okay. You can’t teach the entirety of school of astrology in 75 minutes, you’re saying?
LN: No. No. I found that out the hard way. If you want to impart some basic- If I wanted to impart some basic components about evolutionary astrology, then I need to think about what are some of the few things I want to tell the audience? And where do I want to land? Those are the first two things I think about.
CB: Your beginning and end.
LN: I think about my beginning and ending. Because that then helps me fill in. Because if I don’t know where I’m ending, I have watched speakers, you know, they’ve over researched. I mean, just over-researched and they have all this information and now they’re trying to squeeze it down into 75 minutes. And they feel frustrated and so does the audience.
CB: And if they’re like, primary final thesis and they had a really good one at the end of the lecture, but they spend too much time in the middle and never get to the end, then it just doesn’t land the same.
LN: It does not. It doesn’t. Know where you want to start, know where you want to end. Know what timeframe you’ve got, kind of map it out. Think about, again, if I have 10 slides and I have 75 minutes, that gives me seven and a half minutes per slide. Think literally in those terms. Some of them are going to be a brief slide that might go by, but some you might– that bullet point takes a longer discussion or thought process that you’re going through.
CB: Yeah, it might take longer to go through that one slide than you think, which then cuts into other slides.
LN: And then the other mistake that gets made is I have a premise. And now I have examples, right? And the examples really show my premise! Right? It really details it. But I’ve taken 60 minutes or 70 minutes to tell you my thing. “Tada! Here’s my thing.” And now I’ve got this little bit of time to show you how it works. And I’ve got 10 slides that I wanted to show you about how this thing works.
CB: I’ve heard this phrase so many times in lectures and they’re like, “And I had a lot of really good examples, but I’m out of time.” That’s so disappointing for the audience because that’s really where it gets to the meat of what everyone wants to learn, which is how to do that. And if you don’t get there in time and you don’t end up being able to include what you wanted to include in those examples because you got stuck on the early prerequisite concepts and blew the time on those, it doesn’t work.
LN: And there is an important part of telling them what you’re going to tell them. “Hi, my name is Laura Nalbandian and today I’m going to be talking about blah, blah, blah.” So I tell you what I’m going to be lecturing on. “We’re going to be covering these few things, and then we’re going to do some examples.” So that would be sort of the telling them what you’re going to do and then of course, then do it. And then measuring your time in the process. I personally do not solely depend on the room monitors to give me time cues. I’ve got a watch or my phone propped up with time showing. Or if I don’t, and I’ve left it outside the lecture room because I’m running the conference and I didn’t bring it and I didn’t want it to rang, I will ask the monitor, “How much time do I have left?” That’s cool to do. Ask them. How much time do I have left? So then I can measure, do I need to drop something here and get to the meat of this thing or the examples so that I can really show you that what I told you here is how I use it and show you how it works.
CB: Yeah. I got in the habit of either asking the room monitor if they are up for it and hopefully it’s not too much of a burden, or just asking a friend in the audience to let me know when I’m halfway through this and let me know when I’ve got like 15 or 10 minutes left because then I know how to pace myself from that point on.
LN: At NORWAC we have monitors that give the 10-minute sign and the five-minute sign. We are all about having speakers start on time and end on time for the reason you had said, there’s another speaker coming in and they’re anxious. They want to get their equipment set up, they want to get their PowerPoint set up. They want to get that going and they want to make sure it’s ready to go. And they’re nervous.
CB: Yeah. And it’s not fair to them if you mess up, to take time from them if you go long or something.
LN: Right. I have forcibly ended lectures by some big-name speakers. They see me come- Jeff Jawer, I’d open the door and he goes, “The boss is here, I have to stop.” Rick Levine, Rob Hand. Any of them.
CB: Well, cuz they know it’s dangerous once you walk into the room, and then they know they’re going over time. Like they’re in trouble and they need to wrap it up.
LN: They need to wrap it up. It’s a matter of respect for your fellow colleagues. Back in the day when we recorded on– what were those called? Cassettes? Yeah, cassette. And even on discs that had limited- They were like 80 minutes on a disc. You might be able to get away with five minutes but after that, you’re done. It’s been cut off. You’re not going to get it on the recording.
CB: I don’t want to say I miss those days but at least there was like a physical reason of, especially as organizers, you could say, “Sorry, but your lecture recording literally will get cut off at this point.” I know I have some truncated lectures as a result of that in my early catalog, but nowadays it’s a little unfortunate that we lost that with the recorders that can go for two days or something.
LN: Yeah, and more putting it up on the website and it’s a digital download. I’m okay with two to five minutes of going over. Any more than that, I’m not. I really much prefer my speakers to be on time. And let me tell you, speakers who might hear this, future and past and present. I get feedback from my attendees in the surveys that tell me how much they appreciate that I keep NORWAC on time.
CB: Okay. So you’re like a NORWAC Eye of Sauron. You see all and you hear all that happens yet you’re not directly in the room.
LN: Yes, that’s right. [laughs]
CB: Okay, that’s good to know. That’s good to strike fear in the hearts of the new speakers this year. That was just circling back as to why it’s so important. Leisa and I would do this with our local Denver astrology group, is usually when there’s a conference coming up, we’ll try to schedule it relatively close so that a month or two before we’re gonna give a new lecture at a conference like at NORWAC, we will schedule to give that presentation locally. Because the best thing that does is it helps you get your timing down. It helps with that. It also helps with knowing audience reaction and knowing if there’s a point that you end up spending more time on than you’re expecting or less time. Different things like that you really can’t know until you have a dry run of that lecture.
LN: Right. And if you cannot find an audience, and most of us in this day and age have a Zoom account, then just deliver the lecture and set a timer for it. Set a clock, watch it, and see how it goes.
CB: Yeah, do it with friends online, whatever.
LN: But at the very least if you cannot get any of that, do it for yourself.
CB: Do it with your stuffed animals. Just set them up in an audience and-
LN: [laughs] I love that. I want a video of that.
CB: That’s gonna cost you.
LN: I want to see Chris Brennan delivering a lecture to a bunch of teddy bears and unicorns.
CB: I’m doing it out of fear of you barging in that room and cutting me off at the end of a NORWAC lecture. So,
LN: [laughs] Now, there is a competing theory about what I’m about to say about a lecture. There are some who say never bring your personal into a lecture. Or bring anecdotal stories. And then there are others that say, and I’ve looked at not just lecturing for astrology, I’ve looked at lots of websites that give you the bullet points of what to do and what not to do when you’re doing a public speaking gig.
CB: Or like Toastmasters where you can go and [inaudible] the whole thing. It’s an organization for teaching people how to give presentations.
LN: Right. But if you look at TED talks, they’re very personal. They’re talking about their lives in some way. Right? Now with astrology, you have to deliver information. You’re delivering technique, or story around methodology and really wrapping people into that. But bringing some personal element into it personalizes it and gives other people a place in their own lives to associate to the information. Now if you spend 75 minutes talking about yourself, you’ve done something wrong.
CB: Yeah, that’s the extreme version that does not pretty much ever typically go well. Is when people only focus on themselves an entire lecture.
LN: Yes. So, don’t do that. [laughs]
CB: Yeah. That is a debate that people have about whether it’s ever okay to share your birth chart at all in a lecture or personal examples, or talking about your own life. I’ve usually ended up in the middle ground of that. I know there’s different views that can go to either extreme but I’ll do it occasionally if I have a really good example, and just try not to dwell on it and make it the entire lecture.
LN: Right. And I will use my personal story. Here’s the reason I use family members, with permission, and people I know. I actually don’t like to use public figures because we only know what we know about them, the public view of them, and we don’t know their personal lives really. And so I tend, in fact, I don’t. I don’t use public figure charts. I don’t know what some of their history is, if I’m using somebody’s chart who’s done heinous things, or is a racist, or a misogynist, or whatever. I tend to stay away from public figures.
CB: Yeah, the whole personal versus celebrity chart example is a whole debate in the astrological community for a bunch of reasons.
LN: A lot of reasons. So I’m on the camp that I don’t use celebrity charts or public figure charts. I tend to use the charts of people that I know, or client well enough that I’ve got permission that I can use the chart without their name on it and explore that. But I think that when talking about one’s personal life, it should be brief. As you said, should be brief and short, not to dwell on it, and to move on. So you’re not making the lecture- I’m not going to make the lecture about me, but I can tell anecdotal stories and feel comfortable doing that. And it really resonates with people when I do.
CB: Yeah, because having a first-hand experience, you are able to tell a much more vivid depiction or account of what that example is about and what the important points are.
LN: Absolutely. So I’m good with that if you bring some of the personal into it.
CB: I guess the counterpoint is that you have to be really good at telling that story. Because one of the things I see people fall into as a trap is that they the astrologer presenter know it so well that they take for granted without conveying that the audience shares the same level of understanding of why this is a great sample. And that can be the drawback as you know them too well so you’re taking into account or taking for granted things that the audience doesn’t know versus with a celebrity, at least abstractly or in theory, the benefit there is if it’s a big enough celebrity then everybody has some shared understanding of who that person is theoritically.
LN: That leads to a broader topic. Again, if you’re going to talk about a topic… How do I… Where do I want to go with this? One of the things that we’ve really worked on with NORWAC is trying to detail is this a beginner, intermediate or advanced lecture? And what genre is it? And I was very clear with the speakers, is this a beginner overall lecture for a beginning astrologer? Or is this beginning to the technique? So if you’re wanting to teach something in classical astrology like Profections, right, is this a beginning class on Profections? So somebody who has some knowledge of astrology, it might be an intermediate level overall for astrology, but it’s the beginning level for Profections?
CB: For that technique. Okay.
LN: That can be helpful in that process-
CB: -to articulate whether, especially in your description, whether this is a beginner, intermediate or advanced lecture.
LN: Right. Because what can happen is that, and what I was trying to do is sort of go off of what you were saying is that if one is using one’s own chart, I’m more intimately aware of the nuances of my life that nobody else is going to be aware of. Right? Where that shared experience of a public figure, we have some sort of potentially agreed-upon vision or knowledge or image of that person.
CB: Right. The classic. Like everybody uses Hitler as a chart example situation.
LN: Right. Or political figures like Trump and Obama or whoever it might be. And then we have a potentially shared experience politically but we won’t go there. So what I wanted to say is that don’t assume- Well, first of all if you’ve clearly stated your class is advanced and somebody walks in who is a beginner and starts to hijack the conversation to a beginner level, this is an overarching big piece that I had to learn firsthand as a young astrologer doing lecturing. That is when somebody sees your vulnerability, stands up in the guise of asking a question, and starts to deliver a monologue.
CB: Oh, man. That’s one of the worst.
LN: We call that hijacking the lecture.
CB: A full lecture in and of itself which is just like different audience members as a lecturer that you will have to deal with and just be prepared to deal with.
LN: I have banned someone from NORWAC for hijacking lectures on a regular basis.
CB: And when you say that, to make that not sound severe, what we’re talking about is an extreme example. Being like, “I have a question,” and then literally talking for like 10 minutes in the middle of somebody’s lecture.
LN: Yes. And attendees coming to me, speakers coming to me detailing, then having a conversation with the person telling them not to do it. Tried to interrupt me and I said, “Stop, you need to listen right now. That’s the whole point.” Then did it again, and then I said, “You can’t come back.”
CB: So to anyone listening that’s going to attend an astrology conference, don’t be that guy. Don’t be the guy that tries to hijack or highlight yourself when it’s somebody else that’s giving the lecture.
LN: Right. I have seen this done skillfully, where a young astrologer may have been teaching- Who was I listening? I was listening back to an old lecture of NORWAC and somebody in the beginning stages of the more of the traditional astrology as it was starting to come out from our hat. It had some of the elders in the audience and that young astrologer elicited feedback from them which was different, and they were respectful and didn’t hijack it. They gave just enough and then gave it back to the speaker, which I thought was really cool.
CB: That’s the idea.
LN: One of my lectures when I was a young lecturer, an older woman, a friend of my mom’s was in the lecture and this happened to me. And she was brilliant. She stood up and interrupted the woman and she said, “I’m not here to listen to you. I’m here to listen to her.”
CB: I love that audience member, the audience member that sticks up for the speaker and tells the loudmouth to quiet down. Because then the speaker doesn’t have to do it.
LN: Right, it gets tricky. So I’ve learned, I’ve developed skills for derailing that.
CB: As a speaker you mean?
LN: Yes, as a speaker.
CB: For derailing the initial person from hogging the-
LN: Yes, I will interrupt them if they’ve gone… If I do not see a question happening, I interrupt them and say, “Is there a question you’d like to ask?”
CB: Okay. So that’s your… Because I was going to ask like, what are your phrases to help gently sit down somebody that is being obnoxious or starting to be inappropriate in the level of time? Because I know there’s a good way to handle that and then there’s also a bad way to handle that.
LN: Right. Sometimes you have to get a little bit more aggressive. But generally speaking, in a public scenario, when you’re asking somebody is there a question that you have for me, in the beginning of a lecture, I will actually set an intention and I’ll say, “If you have a question about the topic that I’m discussing, I would love for you to raise your hand as you have them.” I will not answer questions about your personal chart. Because people will do that. “Well, I see you’re talking about that, but I have I have Mercury-Venus conjunction in Pisces and it’s a post Saturn in Virgo and it’s got a T-square to Uranus,” and then just go off, “Well, how does that work for that?”
CB: Right. Or the classic like you just taught this, but I have this in my chart and it doesn’t work like that for me or something like that, which is also a little annoying.
LN: My first step is to say, “Is there a question that you have?” Because I’m not hearing one yet. I might say that, I’m not hearing one yet. Do you have a question?
CB: Or I don’t understand what your question is, something like that. You’ll be very blunt.
LN: I’ll be very blunt.
CB: I am more softer.
LN: I will say, “Do you have a question that I can answer here?” If they ask me, some if they keep going, I will say this is a discussion you and I can have after the lecture.
CB: That’s a good one. I like that. That’s a good because that’s just a clean transition, it is not necessarily offensive.
LN: It’s not offensive. I’d like to have this. That’s a great idea. That’s a great topic. Let’s have this at another time. I need to get on with my lecture. Just do that. If somebody asks me a question about their personal chart, I’ll say, “We’re not doing that here. However, if you’d like to set an appointment with me at another time to talk about your chart, I’m happy to do that.” That’s setting boundaries with people. Because people are just anxious to know about themselves. They really are, right? That’s the whole thing.
CB: Yeah, that’s a primary thing for 98% of people in astrology.
LN: Right, they want to know more about themselves and here’s an opportunity potentially to ask you in an environment where I might get that information at no extra charge.
CB: Yeah. I messed up. I did that in a Rob Hand lecture at NORWAC very early on. He was doing a solar return workshop and he was asking for examples from the audience to put up on the screen. But I misunderstood what he was asking and I was like, “I’ve got a great solar return chart that’s coming up. I’d love to have you look at it.” And he’s like, “Oh, that’s great. But I’m actually looking for ones that people already experienced so they can tell me how it went and how we can see.” So being clear about that as a speaker if you’re looking for an example that has already occurred so it can actually be used as an example for discussion versus just a prediction where we don’t know what will actually happen because it hasn’t happened yet. Also, as an audience member being clear what the speaker is asking for and only volunteering that which the speaker has actually requested.
LN: These are healthy boundaries, right? It’s really important as a speaker that if one person stands up to hijack your lecture, derail it, you have potentially 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 other people depending on who you are who are depending on you to deliver the information.
CB: And to be able to stand up for yourself in some instances and defend that because every minute is like eating into slide time of you getting to everything in that 75 minutes, which-
LN: I’ve had well-known speakers not able to do it.
CB: It’s tricky. It’s something you have to learn.
LN: It is something you have to learn and it’s nerve-wracking at first, you don’t want to offend anyone. But there are other people in the room who are squirming in their chair because they want the person to sit down. They want them to sit down.
CB: That can be really tricky because sometimes it comes from this person who does that and it can be too much. Sometimes it comes from a lack of social awareness on some level. Sometimes it’s genuine and it’s not meant on the part… Sometimes it is like that sometimes there’s just somebody who is a jerk about it or trying to challenge the speaker.
LN: I’ve seen that, challenging the speaker.
CB: It’s really a rude thing. But other times it can be coming from a genuine place and just like an obliviousness that-
LN: I would say that’s the lion share.
CB: You think that’s most of it?
LN: Yeah, this oblivious lion share. There was malicious intent to show up someone to literally derail the lecture to show them up too. That can happen. But it’s not the vast majority. In fact, it’s a small piece of that.
CB: And that’s really important to understand as a speaker because that’s one of the reasons why you need to try to deal with it in as classy, delicate a manner as you can. Because even if you start sweating because you’re running out of time and you know if this person keeps talking longer, you’re not going to get to your main point and going to get kicked out of the room, you need to try to deal with it as carefully and gently as you can while still being firm about it. Because you ultimately don’t fully know where that person is coming from. And if you shut them down too hard, that could also get awkward in terms of the audience maybe having a negative and turning on you, which I’ve seen at different points.
LN: One solution to that is stating it very clearly at the beginning, “I will not be taking questions during my lecture.” Now the problem with that is if you don’t time manage well and give space for Q&A, you’ll never get to those questions.
CB: And then people will also complain potentially about that.
LN: Yes, exactly. So I try to allow the questions to happen organically as they occur. That works better for me. And it doesn’t for other speakers. So you need to find as a speaker or as a potential speaker, find your way in that. It just takes practice what that will be.
CB: The two options are either you will accept some questions during the course of the lecture, or you’re going to ask them to save their questions until let’s say predefined times like halfway through or at the end of the lecture. That’s super important because that goes to time management just again, because if you take too many questions during the course of the lecture, you will not get to all your points.
LN: That’s right. You can say, “That’s a great question. I don’t have time for that right at this moment in time. Come to me after the lecture.” It’s okay to say those things. You are trying to meet the needs of however many people might be in your lecture, not just that one person. Also, knowing that this one person’s question might actually be the same question that’s on any number of people’s minds who are too timid to actually ask the question. We don’t want people not to ask questions. We want them to be pertinent to the lecture at hand. “Okay, you talked about this technique. I wasn’t quite clear on how you got from point A to point B. Can you clarify that for me?” That’s a great question.
CB: Because 30 other people may have the same thing. That may be a weakness that you’re not aware of until that question comes up in your lecture where there’s something that’s not clear at that point, which is another reason why it’s good to do one or two versions of that lecture before you get to the conference. Because if those questions come up at that point, you may realize there’s something you’re taking for granted or is not explicated well enough at that point that you need to actually then address in the lecture at that point that way it doesn’t come up as a question.
LN: Right. One of the other things I’ll talk about, and this takes lots of practice and I find myself slipping on a regular basis when I lecture or teach. Let’s define lecture and teaching. A lecture is going to be a short, anywhere from- It can be a short 15-minute, can be a 30-minute, all the way up to even a 90-minute lecture. When you start teaching, you’re doing a longer workshop or an ongoing class. Those are just my definitions for the difference between a lecture and a class. There’s the point I just slipped into. I probably have done it a lot. That’s the verbal vocal tics, such as um or right.
CB: Such as um or right. I’ve got a lot of those. I’ve got the upspeak that’s why, which is a version of a tic.
LN: Right. I find myself using right a lot. There’s the uh again.
CB: I use sure. I picked that up on a podcast, but now I can’t stop.
LN: There was one woman, uh- It’s one of those spaces where your brain is reaching for the next word. If you are doing a lecture where you’re reading something, it’s less likely for you to have a verbal tic to struggle to reach for the next word as your mind is cataloging and moving. I’m an extemporaneous speaker so it’s all happening. I know the outline of what I’m going to lecture, but the words I’m going to use are not planned. It is about using breath and it’s about using space in between words and breaking the habit of uh, um.
CB: Because that can get, when you’re nervous, amplified and people can start saying uh between every word or sentence, and that can really drive you crazy as an audience member. One of the things people have to train themselves to do sometimes is instead of externalizing it, sometimes to be silent in those, which can be really hard.
LN: The silence is the trick. Linda Lehmann hums a little. She goes hmm when she’s reaching forward. I find that acceptable. In fact, I find it pleasant instead of the uh.
CB: Sure. Sometimes an answer or a middle ground can be finding something that’s at least somewhat appealing auditorily.
LN: Like I said, it takes practice, it takes awareness and it takes… If you’ve got a video or you’re recording, get a copy of your lecture that you’ve just presented. Listen to it carefully. Find those places, and breathe. Breath is super important when you’re breathing. It’s also super important when you’re lecturing. Those are some of the things that I think about. Body movement, how do you stand? If you look up how to give a lecture online, there was someone who said don’t move.
CB: Some people say don’t move?
LN: Yes. Stand your ground, deliver your lecture. There are others that pick the opposite view. I think there’s a middle ground in there.
CB: Sounds like a fixed sign versus like mutable cardinal sign.
LN: You’d think. I’m a mover when I am giving a lecture in person. Now, over the last two years, we’ve sat in front of computers. We don’t get to move about. It’ll be interesting when I go back to NORWAC and deliver a lecture, I’m going to have to actually… Because we’re going to capture the video, we need the person to stand at the podium. It’d be interesting to see who does and who doesn’t. The AA Conference in England when I talked to Wendy Stacey, these were the techniques they were using and she said sometimes speakers wandered away from the podium and then they wander back. I think too much movement. I look back at my old lectures, even in my own mind, I moved too much. There’s just too much movement that was happening.
CB: Sure, so it becomes a little distracting?
LN: Yes, it becomes a little distracting. But I do like the quality of being able, in a smaller room or even a bigger room where there’s space, to walk to one side and look at someone and then move over here and then talk to someone over here. There’s dynamics. You want dynamics. You want dynamics of your voice. You want dynamics of your presentation. You want some dynamics, even if it’s not great movement, you can move your hands, you’ve got inflection of voice, you’ve got facial expressions. All of that needs to have some level of the dynamics so that there is energy movement and there isn’t that one note thing that’s happening that people will… You don’t want people nodding off in your lecture.
CB: Because that’s the thing at conferences is like it’s an intense and tiring experience. You’re flying all the way out to a foreign country or city or state. You’re staying in a hotel so you’re not sleeping in your normal bed. You’re getting up early each morning because lectures are starting at 9:00-10:00 a.m. You got to get breakfast and you got to get showered before. You don’t want to be stinky walking around the hotel room, around the hotel ideally. You’re sitting in like four to five lectures a day. Then in the middle of that, you’re going on, you’re socializing with a ton of people, or afterwards people have dinner and then stay up late like talking in the lobby. You only sleep for a few hours and then you go to sleep, you wake up and do it all over again the next day. The people sitting in those rooms then sometimes they’re having a pretty intense and tiring experience and if you then get up in the front of room and present a really boring uninspired, flat thing that while interesting on some level is not dynamic enough to keep their attention, you’re going to accidentally put some of them to sleep. For sure you’re going to put some of them.
LN: This is the big challenge for keynote delivers. Now the one on Saturday morning is okay. Sunday morning is tough because they’ve been partying all night. Now I put a big-name speaker in there Sunday morning, they don’t want to miss him so they’re dragging their ass into the lecture room with their coffee and they’re bleary-eyed. Then there’s also after dinner, you’ve eaten and now you’re going to try to stay awake for a lecture. Those folks that are delivering those evening keynotes got to keep the energy up. They’ve got to keep a level of up and down. That energy’s got to move so that it keeps people their attention. That’s an important process here.
CB: I love that because it brings up if I’m… Actually, go ahead.
LN: No, there was something in my brain and I kept circling back to it and then danced away from it. It was like there was something I really wanted to say and now I can’t remember what it was. That’s because I derailed myself.
CB: Okay. Well, then I don’t apologize for derailing you to go on this thought which is something really important about being an astrologer, which is some people will say… There may be reaction to hearing some of this is like, “Well, I’m not a TED Talk person. I don’t need to learn those skills because I’m about doing the information. Or I’m not about to being theatrical or something like that. Learning to be a presenter is not my thing because that’s not what I am. I’m an astrologer.” But that’s one of the beautiful things about being an astrologer is you have to learn so many different things and so many different fields all come into play as part of being a professional astrologer that to some extent, you actually do have to learn how to do some of these things well and wear many different hats as an astrologer, not just as a public speaker which you now, congratulations, are. But doing other things like running a business, being a consultant, or counselor in terms of doing some level of counseling with individuals, learning sometimes how to run a website or sell your lectures afterwards. Sometimes learning a bit of history or learning biographies like how to read biographies or do research for individuals. There’s so many different hats that astrologers have to wear and this is potentially one of them, if you ever want to speak or present what you learn, not just at a conference in lectures, but also in workshops or in private classes to individuals.
LN: I have to say that not everyone is built to lecture. There are some great authors out there who couldn’t lecture, and that’s okay. Now, I consider myself a good lecturer. I deliver a good lecture, there’s energy, but I can’t write my way out of a paper bag. So there’s different skills, and it’s okay. I will also say this, I started out terrible at what I did, and became better at it.
CB: Right. And you don’t want to sell yourself short. Because I was also somebody that started terrible and also was just was petrified of public speaking, which that’s like there’s always that stat about how that’s supposedly one of the biggest fears of people is public speaking. There’s some people that may feel that even more intensely. I certainly did early on. I remember when I was going to Kepler College in the mid-2000s, one of the things at symposiums they would make us do was public debates where we’d pick a debate topic and debate it. I had a really good thing to say at one point, but I was just so nervous that when I stood up, I just could hardly speak and I was shaking. Public speaking was not my thing when I started out. If anybody saw me then or went to one of my early lectures, they would be like, “That guy is not going to have a career talking about astrology.” But after-
LN: Can I say I had my concerns?
CB: You may say that. We are friends so you may say that. I’m sure there was some earlier, there was probably even some late honestly, and we’ll get into reasons for that, not great feedback thing. Because one of my other things that we might transition to at some point is procrastination and getting your lectures together on time and being ready to do what you got to do at a conference, which is another thing that people sometimes struggle with for some of the reasons we talked about before like for example, submitting a lecture description a year or two ahead of time, sometimes setting it up. Because ideally, we’re talking about something that you specialize in or have done a lot of work on, but sometimes speakers also want to present something new and something that they’re working on, but they haven’t presented or taught before. Sometimes speakers will set a thing for themselves to work out a new lecture and it’ll take work to put that together in different capacities because it is teaching, you’re teaching something. Sometimes speakers will overestimate how much time they have to prepare for that and then all of a sudden, it sneaks up on you and you’re flying out to give this lecture like next week and you’re not finished with it. That’s a terrible position to be in.
LN: It’s scary. It’s nerve-racking. It’s stressful.
CB: It’s bad for your health. It probably has shaved like 10 years of my life span just trying to do preparation in time for a lecture.
LN: Right, I have been teaching I think about 35 years. That’s when I first started teaching classes. I’ve been lecturing since maybe 25 of those. The teaching gave me better skills as a lecturer. I was doing this weekend and week out. I started out with one class. It was a six-week class. Then I got to the point where I was teaching four nights a week, four different levels 10:00 to 12:00, sometimes 20 students a class. You’re doing that on a regular basis. Your communication skills, I should hope, get better. Mine did. That really laid… I had about five years of teaching prior to doing my first NORWAC lecture. Nervous is all get out. But at least I had those five years of comfortability of delivering information.
CB: In part because this is in the olden days like before the internet so this is back in the day when before indoor plumbing and stuff. You were teaching classes in person, which is definitely more common to some extent back then.
LN: Yes, definitely. It was exactly the only thing we did. I think we finally branched off that they would conference call into the class.
CB: Nice. I can see that like 1980s or ’90s like a bunch of people in suits on a conference call learning astrology or the old like I hear about the correspondence courses of people taking classes from like Olivia Barclay or people in the UK and doing it. It’s like all written out and stuff like that.
LN: Yeah, but I didn’t do that. That would have been the end of me for sure. Just stick a fork in me, I’d have been done. Writing is just not my thing. But having that skill of teaching and being in front of people I thought would translate well. It did. But the scarier part is you have… I had been teaching students in material I knew really well and seeing every week. Now I’m going to be in front of people I don’t know like the first big-name astrologer that came into my lecture about how to coronary at that moment in my 30s or whatever it was or 20s or 30s when I first lectured.
CB: Like Rob Hand or Demetra George.
LN: Stephen Forrest came in. Maria Kay Simms came into one lecture and I was just like, “Oh god!”
CB: And they sit down in the front row?
LN: Yeah. Well, luckily, Stephen sat in the back. [laughs]
CB: He’s learned to be able to escape if he needs to.
LN: In the early days, I had 10 people in lecture when Steven Forrest walks in there so he’s not hiding anywhere.
CB: Yeah, that’s a little tough.
LN: And so for your first-time speakers, you… Now there’s a big difference between first-time speaking back before the internet and first-time speaking now. The reason I say that, Chris, is that I didn’t have a previous audience. Nobody knew my name. So that when I went in to do a lecture or present a lecture, I might have five people, 10 people. And over time, it built up. Now, you have astrologers who have internet following. So, their lectures could be and may very well be better attended than my first lectures were because they have an audience, they have a following that is built in.
CB: Yeah, to some extent.
LN: Right, to some extent. It’s true. So I always put my untested, untried speakers in a small room, and sometimes they do have a bigger following than that room will contain.
CB: No surprises there.
LN: Yes, in the last few years or previous to virtual conferences there were a couple of surprises in 2018 and 2019.
CB: Yeah, I know that small room well from personal experience and having like 10 people that were all friends at my first lecture, as well as seeing other friends of mine coming up and having the small-room experience and being one of the friends sitting in the audience of like five or 10 people for their first lecture.
LN: Yes. It’s better to have those five to 10 people in that room, and it seats 40 to 50 people, than to be in a room that seats 100 to 150 and you’ve got five to 10 people. It’s demoralizing.
CB: There’s just like a tumbleweed blowing [crostalk]. [Laura laughs] Yeah, that’s rough.
LN: These are things that one can and may expect and not be demoralized by it. In fact, be grateful because you may not have this big audience that you feel pressured to deliver. I remember one of my first early big lectures on a stage. I think it was the San Francisco Astrology Group. There might have been a good 100 to 200 people in the audience. Angel Thompson was there. There was some other people there that were- I had been lecturing and talking for a while, but I was still nervous when you start getting… Then I did bigger stages where I wasn’t necessarily lecturing like UAC where I was on a big stage and there’s 1400 people in the audience and you’re talking to them doing something. After all those years, I still felt nervous to that point, to the point at UAC where I lost my voice and I was struggling to do the… The words-
CB: That was good. I remember that. That can be rough.
LN: So look, all those kinds of things, if you lecture enough, if you teach enough, this is part of the instrument that you need to take care of. So warm tea, making sure that your vocal cords are warmed up. If you’re going to be talking for a long time, for workshop particularly, making sure that you have what you need to keep your throat operating and your voice operating.
CB: Bringing adequate water with you before you get started so you don’t find yourself with dry mouth like 10 minutes into a lecture and you still have like 50 minutes.
LN: I’ve done that. I’d had to stop and ask the room monitor to grab me some water because I’m like- Now my other big embarrassment, I’ll tell some stories, is I did my very first keynote at NORWAC. I’ve never done keynotes at NORWAC. It’s a couple of reasons. One is the audience was big and it scared me. Number two is NORWAC at that point because I coordinated, NORWAC is not about me promoting myself in that arena. It’s about promoting other people. It’s always been… That was mom’s motto, that’s my motto. It’s not about me being out front, NORWAC is my thing so I get enough from that. But nobody took the spot so I had to fill in.
CB: It’s like a pinch-hitting. Is that the baseball analogy?
LN: Yeah, that’s it.
CB: Not a baseball guy.
LN: I’m not a baseball girl, but I do believe that is what it’s called pinch-hitting. I did the lecture. It was material I knew really well is, which is what I wanted to make sure it was material I knew really well. But I had a brain freeze right in the middle of it.
CB: That’s the thing where you’re just like you forget everything you wanted to say.
LN: Everything you wanted to say, you knew you were heading somewhere and it’s gone.
CB: Right. And you’ve practiced a million times, you had a great lecture all laid out.
LN: I’d given that lecture at UAC, I’d given the lecture at other places. I’ve taught the material. I knew it up and down. And I froze.
1CB: That’s the thing. That’s why this is probably a pre-PowerPoint if you’re talking about your first keynote.
LN: No, my first keynote was only a few years ago. It was probably 2018 or ’19.
CB: Did you have slides?
CB: Because that’s where slides come in handy for me is just like I know if I space something out in the middle, I can always just glance at it and know what the next thing was I was supposed to go into it.
LN: I was doing a lecture on Mars and I asked for a… It’s what I do. It wasn’t out of the ordinary. I said, “Give me a sign and let’s talk about it.” Somebody said Mars and Taurus, and I have Mars and Taurus and I went blank.
CB: Well, see that’s a special thing there. That’s risky that you can do that. It’s a style. It’s more engaging. There’s a version of a lecture where it is more interactive with the audience and there’s the wild card thing of like taking charts or taking examples.
LN: Which I can do in my sleep generally, but I froze. What I had to say to everyone is this is where I’m at. I’ve had a brain fart.
CB: Did you just pack it up and go home at that point or?
LN: No, I just stood there in it until I could regroup. It seemed like an eternity. It was probably 10-15 seconds, which is still when you’re staying in or you have 500 people staring at you, you’re like that 15 seconds is a lot of time.
CB: And you still remember this in your dreams, your nightmares years later.
LN: Yes. Look, things can happen. My point with this is things can happen. Your slides might get mixed up even though you had them all laid out. The font that you had imported into your PowerPoint, you fire it up, you’re in front of the class and the fonts disappeared. Stuff is going to happen. It’s okay. Own it. Don’t own it in the way by saying I’m a dummy or “God, I can’t believe I…” Don’t do that. Just say, “Well, these things happen. I’m going to fix this right now.” Or, “We’re going to move on to something else.”
CB: Just try to breathe and do what you can to recover and just go forward from there.
CB: Another one is like projector not working or laptop not working, how to console some people of just like, “Calm down, we’ll figure it out,” and pulled it off at the last minute like grabbing a projector from another room just to save them from that. But the tendency is just to panic and freak out.
LN: Speakers panic, man! Even the best speakers panic. Because it’s their career, it’s their image, it’s their reputation. You’re up in front of a crowd, you are performing and delivering information. There’s a shared expectation from a personal point of view of what you’re going to do, and the expectation from the audience. So speaker anxiety is a real thing. Any of us who’ve been speakers know this and then any of us, and I’ve done both sides, who have assisted a speaker of getting their technology set up or getting them ready to go that once a little thing doesn’t go right, they can lose it. If that happens, always be kind and polite to the people who are trying to help you.
CB: Don’t start like punching your room monitor if-
LN: There’s been some bad behavior from speakers.
CB: I was not referring to a specific situation, I was just making it-
LN: No punching. But there have been speakers who have been abusive and blamed the room monitor because they can.
CB: I was actually that room monitor once. It’s funny, one of my first conference again in NORWAC, it’s funny how many of my horary childhood wounding experiences, good experiences happened at NORWAC, but I was volunteering at my first or second NORWAC and I was setting up the bookstore and then I did room monitoring. I don’t know which one if that’s the first or second, but there was a big-name speaker and he was a jerk to me at the beginning. I always remembered that. That was ironic because I ended up working with him and collaborating on something years later. I can’t remember if we ever talked about it. But it was funny how that experience was for me as a room monitor just because I was just there as a student trying to attend a conference.
LN: Just trying to attend the conference, trying to be of assistance to the speaker. Just remember, they’re doing the best they can. We’ve brought in people who have skills. We haven’t just brought in people off the street who know nothing. We try to get people who have some computer skills. In fact, we do.
CB: To be fair, I knew nothing so maybe I wasn’t the right for that. I was just a random dude.
LN: You weren’t a random dude. You’ve never been a random dude.
CB: There was a period where I was as a random person early on, let’s say, I’m attending NORWAC for the first time. I know now you run a much tighter ship. I’m just saying my entryway into this was very circuitous. I was a Kepler student, I’d moved to Seattle, and I moved to the U District and just happened to move into a place like down the street from your family’s bookstore where Greg was running it. I think that was my initial entryway into then working at the bookstore at NORWAC and volunteering. I was a little off the street but not completely. I didn’t have huge experience as a room monitor. Let’s say when the speaker was asking for something, I was like, “Am I supposed to do that? I don’t know how to do that or something like that.” So he had some reason to be a little bit annoyed and brusque with me.
LN: Yeah, we now have more people in the room. There’ll be an audio recorder who will just do audio. There will be a person who will be handling the computer and the slides getting that ready. Then there’s somebody at the door looking at name tags and taking room counts and then giving the speakers the time card.
CB: So you’ve got like a whole crew now? It’s not like one person?
LN: We will have three people per room. Two will be in there the whole time, and will tell the room monitors to make sure there’s water at the podium for them. Those things are nice. We can do that. But I think that with the exception of the few astrologers that I know, most of them are just freaked out and their anxiety gets the better of them and they snap. Then there are those who have a chronic history that I’ve known of who tend to demean or treat the volunteers and those who are helping them as servant-type energy.
CB: Yeah, that was my experience. But that’s something you’re actually careful about, if you hear really bad stuff goes down, like sometimes you’ve had to go to extremes of you might not invite somebody back.
LN: I won’t.
CB: So being somewhat not protective, but-
LN: I am protective. I’m also protective of my speakers. I’m protective of- I’m a mama bear when it comes down to it.
CB: That’s part of setting good boundaries and creating a good environment. It’s one of the reasons NORWAC’s not just persisted as long as it has for 30 years, but why it has this reputation of being a great first conference experience because of the community and the ways that you’ve cultivated it over the years to be as the best version of that conference as you can.
LN: Absolutely. I actually create intentional space. We actually open a circle at the beginning of the conference and then I energetically hold that space through the whole thing. So there’s this containment field that we engage in, and then I energetically hold it until it’s released.
CB: It’s deliberately closed at the end of the-
LN: Then it’s still deliberately closed or we release the circle at the end. But that is creating safe space. I believed on the previous podcast that I did on Neptune, we might have mentioned IAEA, we might have talked about it a bit, the International Association of Ethics and Astrology. Now, they took a document that NORWAC had, which was called safer space document, and then they took a document that Tony Howard had worked on and then it morphed into an open document on speaker ethics. Then IAEA took all those documents and coalesced it and refined it into one document. Each of the NORWAC speakers have received that document. There’s links in it on diversity, on all kinds of things, language that we use, history is told by the conquerors, how you tell history, how you use history, whose charts you’re using, to be more mindful, imagery that you’re using. Now remember, if it’s a virtual dynamic or it’s being recorded by video, if you’re using as a speaker an unauthorized copywritten image and you do not have permission and do not show permission for using that and it gets published through Vimeo or YouTube, they will pull it.
CB: Or if you use another astrologer’s diagram in a lecture.
LN: Yeah. Or music.
CB: That’s a tricky one. Because I’m thinking like Tarnas who likes to do the music, but don’t use copyrighted music basically because you’re going to get NORWAC sued or you’re going to get sued.
LN: Yes. The thing is that YouTube won’t post it. Everything gets screened. Vimeo does the same thing. So you want to be very careful. On the IAEA website, it’s ethicalastrologers.org, there is a video put out by Chris-
CB: I’m thinking of the AFA person that-
LN: No, he’s out of England.
CB: Okay, Chris Mitchell?
LN: Yes, thank you.
CB: All right, I’m good.
LN: You’re good. There’s a short video on how to find images that are safe to use and different websites and how to access them and do that. So, those of you burgeoning astrologers, doing your PowerPoints, be careful about the images you use. They’d have to be public domain, clearly have to be public domain or you need to figure out how to access them in a legal way.
CB: Yes. And if you’re going to borrow one from another professional astrologer, it’s a professional courtesy, just write an email to that astrologer and ask them if you can. 99% of time, they’ll say yes. Remember, Melanie Reinhart did that several years ago for some sect diagram that I had and I really appreciated that she actually asked because I’ve had the other experience as well where I had a famous astrologer use one of my diagrams in a lecture that I didn’t agree with and it created a lot of community controversy and I had to call him out on that. You don’t want to be on that side of it either.
LN: No. So if you’re going to… Look, let me start it this way. There isn’t an astrologer currently living whose astrology happened out of nothing. Astrology is built on the work that every other astrologer preceding us has done in some way. There’s rarely any truly original material. It happens, astrocartography. There’s some original material that comes out. Having said that, if you’re doing a lecture on profections or a lecture on evolutionary astrology that’s based on Jeffrey’s work, or it’s based on Steven Forrest’s work, you need to acknowledge them. You need to.
CB: Acknowledge your teachers and sources as long as you can. You don’t want to go crazy with it in terms of like you get into the first issue of like bringing out all the books that you read syndrome.
LN: Right. But don’t take something from somebody’s work and put it on your screen of your PowerPoint without saying where it came from. It’s rude and it’s immoral. It’s unethical.
CB: And copyright issues, and that’s just part of the broader conversation about ethics. I’m so glad it’s happening now, because in the past like 30 years ago, they didn’t have ethical guidelines. None of the organizations had ethical guidelines and it was just like the Wild West in terms of the organizers having to deal with stuff as it came up on the fly. And sometimes you did have to do justice-type situations of things where you had to make a judgment call and-
LN: Oh, we’ve done it.
CB: you know, just ban certain speakers from conferences or eject certain attendees or things like that. But now it’s being codified so that it’s much more clear what the rules are and what the expectations are, both for speakers and attendees.
LN: Right. And the speakers have to agree to abide by the ethical standards as they’re submitted. I didn’t get it in time for their speakers’ contracts that went out or their way to accept it. So next year that will be built in, they have to read that and then they have to acknowledge that they’ve read it and they accept it as part of their accepting the invitation to speak. This came in, the document was finished after the speakers were selected. So I sent it to them saying, “Please read this. We have adopted this as a code of ethics from IAEA. And so they’ve all agreed to that. IAEA I hope will be working on an attendee code of ethics. All right, not to hijack a lecture, how to enter and exit a room politely if you should need to leave. There’s how to engage with a public speaker at a conference. What are imbalance power dynamics and what are those like? And so speakers need to be aware of those as well. You may be a new speaker, but you’re still in a position of power as a lecturer at NORWAC, and you are a representative of your own business, your own brand, and NORWAC’s business and brand in everything you do within the confines of NORWAC. So if you are doing something sketchy with attendees in some way or sketchy in some other way in a business practice, that reflects on your brand, it reflects on NORWAC, which I take very seriously.
CB: All right. Well, that has struck fear into the hearts of… Yeah, it should.
LN: One other thing I want to say is a big no-no and I keep circling around in my brain and that’s, I think, the one I lost and keep circling around again, so I’m back, and that is do not make, and I’m going to say it, do not make your lecture a sales pitch for a product, a book.
CB: Because there’s a delicate balance in…
LN: There is.
CB: You know, it’s tricky because there’s extreme–
LN: I want you to market, but I don’t want the lecture to be a market, a marketing an hour and 15 minutes of… There was an astrologer who had a book, and the title of the book was the title of the lecture. And the reports I got back and I listened to it later were true, danced all around the topic and just said, “Keep buying my book. Buy the book, it’ll tell you. Buy the book, buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.”
CB: Yeah, that’s the worst case scenario version of that for an audience member, was just the person that opens exclusively talking for like 20 minutes about product or retreat or a book or whatever that they’re trying to sell and then like gets to the lecture, but the lecture itself in extreme version is almost like a footnote to whatever this other thing is.
LN: Right. So I tell my speakers, “Of course, you can tell them about your book. It should be at the end of your lecture. Tell them about a book, an upcoming workshop, an upcoming lecture, an upcoming magazine article. Make it at the end. Your lecture should be on what you’ve told me your lecture is going to be on. And should your lecture not meet those qualifications of what you have laid out that you will deliver, I will take that into consideration for future invitations.” And there have been those who do not make it back to NORWAC.
CB: Sure. Because there’s a process of you give your first lecture, that’s actually at NORWAC or any other conference really, that’s often in some ways in the long-term an audition for are you going to be invited back? Did you give a good lecture? Was it promising? Or even if there were problems, was it good enough that there was clearly something there that it’s clear that you’re an astrologer that they would want to have back the next time and maybe go from giving one lecture to two lectures or eventually in the long-term, going from two lectures to giving a workshop before or after the conference, eventually go to giving a keynote someday if you have a really good track record.
LN: Yeah. I mean, take a look at Diana Rose Harper. She actually started out as a volunteer. She then, I can’t remember if she came in under the diversity scholarship for NORWAC, then I invited her to lecture in our first virtual conference in 2020 and it exploded for her. Just the popularity, the interest in her work, it was more than she could actually handle.
CB: Because she just gave a lecture that knocked it out of the park.
LN: Right. And so we had her back, and now she’s doing a workshop.
CB: I think I actually invited her to the podcast after seeing that NORWAC lecture actually, so yeah, that makes sense.
LN: Patricia Walsh came in, I didn’t know her. She did a first time lecture, rave reviews. Invited her back, she ended up doing keynotes and workshops in a pretty short order. Same with Mark Jones. I didn’t know how he was going to deliver.
CB: Right. And you have a funny story about meeting him, I don’t know if you tell it normally.
LN: Well, we met at an EA conference in South Dakota in the Black Hills. And it was the conference center was built on top of granite and quartz. And for some reason, he wasn’t sleeping and I wasn’t sleeping, we found out that together where we were just so blurry-eyed. That story he told me that he was so tired he was just standing in the shower crying. And I said that’s how I felt because the vibration was so high of all of that just sitting on a mountain of quartz and granite that was overwhelming. But I remember being taken with what he was doing. And then when he came to NORWAC and he was such a big hit, I told him that I’m just going to… “Dude, your star is rising, and we’re going to ride that star until it flames out.” That’s just what we’re going to do. And he was all for it.
CB: You put it in that terms? Flames out?
LN: Yeah. I said I’m just going to… And that second time I said I’m just going to ride that horse until it quits. I’m pretty blunt. I’m pretty honest with people. Look, it’s my business. I want to elevate people. I wanted him to do great. And as he did great, I did great.
CB: Yeah. And then he started literally like somebody who was not super well known, and I don’t know if he had books.
CB: Okay. And then he was just most of the past decade just like packing conference lectures and workshops over the course of the past decade every NORWAC.
LN: And I had to sell UAC, the UAC team, the presidents, they were the older generation on some of the younger… I said, “He’s killing it at NORWAC.” “Well, that’s just NORWAC.” It was like, “Oh really?” I just kept pushing for Mark and Patricia and Jason Holley, because they were killing it at NORWAC, they were drawing big crowds.
CB: That’s really hard for the more established astrologers who sometimes don’t know who the up-and-coming astrologers are. Because I think it happens to everybody, which is just once you’ve been in the field long enough, you’re focusing on your own thing. And so you’re primarily aware of just all the things you have to do and focus on, whereas earlier in your studies you’re kind of taking in everything and you’re reading everything and aware of what’s going on a little bit more. So sometimes I’m sure that’s been tough for you working with, because you make an active point to pay attention to like who are the up and coming astrologers.
LN: Who are the up-and-coming astrologers, and then I have plenty of allies in the field who bring names to me.
CB: I think those are spies. I think that’s the–
CB: Allies, okay.
LN: They’re allies to the astrological community and allies to me because they are out there in the social media sphere where I do not hang out. And so they’re seeing things, they’re watching things out there that I’m not aware of. So I trust their judgment. Therefore, whoever they bring to me, then I will go look at and decide for myself. But I have a lot of trust in those allies who let me know who’s doing what where. They got… What’s the line? They got their finger in the pulse of what’s happening out there.
CB: Okay. So your eyes and ears extend beyond NORWAC to all outer reaches of the world?
LN: That’s right.
CB: Okay. That’s good for people to know. You hear what’s going on.
LN: I do. I do. I make a point of hearing what’s going on.
CB: The pulse of the astrological community, that’s the good version of that phrase.
LN: I do. And a lot of the young… There’s a young woman who I’ve known since she was five years old. She’s my daughter from another mother. Her name’s Sidney, [Sidney 01:55:15]. She’ll be at NORWAC. She was a host at the virtual conference last year helping to run one of the rooms. She’s going to take a much more physical presence in bringing her in. She spends a lot of time on social media so she tells me what’s going on as well. So I’ve got my spidey senses out there into the world and connections to what’s going on, and then I just pay attention and then I look.
CB: That’s good. It’s like the president receives that like daily briefing each morning. [Laura laughs] Like, you’ve got the briefing on what happened on Astro Twitter and what Facebook is doing and…
LN: Well, NORWAC, as it comes time for me to pick speakers, I’ve got lots of people who are sending these things.
CB: Because that’s something you can do that people should know about.
LN: Yeah. And they can go to the website and go to the contact page and there’s information there on what to send and when to send. If you don’t send under the right timeframe, if you send it too early, it gets buried. If you send it too late, it’s too late.
CB: NORWAC election astrology.
LN: Right. And I get a lot of them, and I will then run some of these names by those who I trust, my allies in the community, and see what’s happening. Or I’m just asking around. And I can see what’s going on and who’s rising. I want depth of my speakers and depth in their information, depth in what they’re presenting, and that doesn’t always happen, but I want to give people a shot. I really want you to know even if you don’t do well on your first one, doesn’t mean I’m not going to invite you back.
CB: Right. I am testament to that. I might release that lecture, a recording of it buried in the vault somewhere, but just for like to encourage people, because I don’t want also this discussion because we’ve focused a lot on the negative things to only be like depressing or intimidating, but I might release that someday. Let me know people in the comments on YouTube if you would like to see that.
LN: Oh, they’re going to want to know.
CB: Okay. We’ll see. It might be kind of brutal. I don’t know if I want that out there.
LN: Right. So look, I have surveys that go out, and I ask about each and every speaker. Who killed it? Who knocked their socks off? Who hit it out of the park? Whatever analogy I’m going to use, and then who didn’t? And then why?
CB: Right, and why and if they still had potential but just stumbled on something.
LN: Right. And I send those comments to the speakers. Sometimes it’s really hard to read. I have to read my own comments, I don’t get a choice. I’m not like the other speakers, they’re coming to me, I get the surveys. And there’s at times some harsh criticism. And I learn from it, I grow from it, it’s not easy. Nobody wants to have to think that you blew it in some way or you did something wrong or you just failed in some way.
CB: Yeah. That’s really funny because I just realized it’s like the YouTube comments of astrology lectures the lecturers get basically after the lecture a few weeks later. And it can be like the YouTube comments, it can be pretty brutal.
LN: They can. They can. Some speakers don’t want… I used to say, “Do you guys want your comments?” And some would say no.
CB: You gave them the option.
LN: But I send them to them and tell them, “You can open these or you can delete them.”
CB: Okay. So then it’s on them, you’ve done your part and you light the bomb and walk away.
LN: That’s it. That’s it. That’s it. That’s it.
CB: I like that, that’s smart. I mean, it’s what I would do. I would play it safe. Yeah, I don’t want to be in that blast radius when they read some of those comments.
LN: Well, the thing is that it’s okay to be hurt by it, it’s okay to feel upset and go, “I don’t know what they’re talking about. How could they blah, blah, blah?” That’s okay. Give it a little space and go back and read it again.
CB: Well, and there’s some that are valid, constructive things, some that’s just not.
LN: No, some of them are not, some of them are not. And if I can judge before I send it that it’s just not a valid comment, it’s just somebody’s ego, then I probably won’t send it.
CB: Like I didn’t like this person’s hair and that ruined the lecture for me.
LN: Yeah, exactly.
CB: So that’s one you would filter out?
LN: I put filter…
CB: You would think about it for a minute if they needed to know that their hair’s not…
LN: It’s distracting.
CB: Maybe for next year they should switch that up a little bit.
LN: I have given harsh comments to… Back in the day, we had the new speakers came from third-year Kepler students as well. And we didn’t have online surveys. So we had these pieces of paper that we would give–
CB: Rolodex or something?
LN: Yeah, the piece of paper for the survey. They’d have to actually take a pen and paper, fill out the survey. And I remember giving those to one Kepler student who did not take them well. And they were pretty consistent in the comments about what was wrong. And I’m just the Capricorn harsh reality girl, rip the bandaid off, tell me now. And that was like in the beginning. You sucked, here’s why you sucked.
CB: Some people that take criticism better or worse, and that can be an own thing to wrestle with how to deal with that.
LN: Right. And some of the comments that people get are just ridiculous. And so you have to take them with a grain of salt. But once you get past the anger, upset, whatever it might be that the emotion is after reading them and may very well be valid in your experience of it, go back and take a look at it and ask yourself, “Is there something that I can take from this?” And I send them all their good comments too by the way. They were fantastic, it was the best lecture I’ve ever heard in my life, I send all of it.
CB: Great hair.
LN: Yeah, great hair, they were really funny, whatever it might be, all the comments go. And the lion share of them are positive, sprinkled in there are those little owies that can be… And so it’s just a matter of being able to assess it objectively. Is this something I can learn from? Is this something for me? If not, chuck it out, move on. It’s somebody’s opinion.
CB: Yeah. Do not seek revenge necessarily on that one commenter no matter how strong the urge. Just analyze that. Good advice. I feel like there’s a lot else there. I know we’ve been going for about two hours, so I’m trying to think if there’s any other areas. Not that I’m in a hurry to wrap this up, I’m not sure how you’re feeling. But are their major ones that we haven’t touched on yet? Are there any like really good things? Because maybe we’ve focused so much on things not to do, which is fine and constructive.
LN: Well, I talked about some things to do. Make sure that you are up and open. It’s hard.
CB: Hand movements, good, you do a lot of hand movements.
LN: I do a lot of hand movements, I think those are good. It conveys some energy, you can move your shoulders, you can do some things that convey some energy that can move the energy out into the room. And so the key here is to hopefully make it as natural as possible, so that there isn’t a visual that you’re seeing the person think about, “Now I have to move my hands, and then I should…”
CB: That would be me if I was trying to do that too much, would just be way too overdoing it, forcing it. But yeah, you also don’t want to be doing like backflips or something like that necessarily.
LN: No, definitely not. So it needs to be natural, it needs to feel natural. But just because you’re giving in a lot of cases they’re academic lectures, not all of them are academic, some of them are showing a technique in a way. And then some of them are interesting lectures, interesting oddities about astrology or a way to use astrology. But there are some that are highly intellectual academic kind of presentations and that sort of thing. And that can be presented in a more serious way. Although, it doesn’t have to be. I mean, Rob Hand cracked jokes in Rob’s Hand’s way. I mean, if you are a Rob Hand-type and you see yourself as a Rob Hand-type, get some Rob Hand lectures and listen.
CB: Yeah. There’s a bullet point or footnote about that I want to make, because I’m realizing because Rob hasn’t been lecturing for a few years, that reference is starting to be like reference of a seventies song or something. Who is the next person that’s relatable in that way that everybody knows that’s a lecturer? Is there? Because I don’t know if there is.
LN: Well, there’s Rick Levine, but that’s of that generation as well. Then you’ve got… Oh gosh, there’s so many of them. There’s a lot. There’s Jason Holley who likes to tell stories, wrap it up in myth and be funny.
CB: The point is just that there’s different styles.
LN: There’s different styles. Mark Jones is soft-spoken and a bit serious in his delivery.
CB: There’s Richard Tarnas.
LN: Right, Richard Tarnas, who is soft-spoken and academic and fascinating. If you can be soft-spoken like you and keep me just like at the edge of my seat, that’s a cool thing to do. Requires no fireworks.
CB: Yeah, he’s not up there cracking jokes and things like that, but it’s still… So there’s different ways you can do an engaging lecture that can be different styles and just find your own style and what that is exactly.
LN: Yes, find your own style. I loved watching and listening to Jeff Jawer. I could watch and listen to him. There was a woman by the name of Diana Stone out of the Portland, Vancouver area in Washington who came to NORWAC each year and did a keynote. Freaking hilarious, it didn’t even have to be about astrology, and she would wrap astrology into it and we’d all be nearly falling off our chairs laughing. And then there’s, like I said, Rob Hand or Lynn Bell. Lynn Bell delivers a keynote that’s engaging, that gives lots of visual imagery and myth.
CB: Kelly Surtees started doing keynotes a few years ago. And I remember the last NORWAC, seeing one of my friends who I’ve seen come up and give a lecture to a packed ballroom of like four or five hundred people, and just being really proud of her that she knocked it out of the park. And I think she’s doing a keynote at this one again.
LN: She is. She did her very first keynote at NORWAC, and she was scared out her brain. She made her way through that. And then I asked her to do a second one because I knew she was going to get better and better and better. And I can see where talent is going, that’s my talent. After being in this business as long as I have, one of my talents is being able to see talent even before it’s really been truly fleshed out and actualized.
CB: Yeah. And I’m thinking of another style and another one like that’s really funny, where early on, 10 ish, 12 years ago, there was this time, one of the things that’s annoying in terms of picking things as a speaker is sometimes you have new friends. And so when I was still a younger astrologer 10, 12 years ago, there were three of my friends that were all giving their first talks at NORWAC all at the same time. And that’s rough, because you got to be choosing which of your children.
LN: Right, because we would often put, we don’t do that anymore, we would choose one time spot to put all the new speakers in so they weren’t up against Steven Forrest or Lynn Bell or…
CB: Which sucks really bad.
LN: Right. And then you have that. So now we don’t do that. And so we put the untested, I’m going to now just call them the untested at NORWAC speakers, because they could be out there in, like I said, social media world doing stuff. And they may not be a first-time lecturer for another conference, but more untested, I should say, because new speakers come into NORWAC and I’ll give them two lectures because they have proven themselves someplace else. But an untested speaker comes in and they’re going to end up in the small room.
CB: Yeah. I remember my three friends all being relegated to the three smaller rooms. But what’s funny about it now and why I brought it up is my friends were Laura Michetti from Kepler College, who now recently got her PhD, I think, from Pacifica studying astrology, Austin Coppock, it was his first lecture, and I think the third one I want to say was Andrea Gehrz, but there was one other who was doing it all at the same time. And so my brilliant strategy was to like tell them all ahead of time I’m going to sit in your lecture for about a third of it and then I’m going to go to this other friend’s lecture. That’s how I figured that one out. But now this year, and that was Austin’s first lecture at NORWAC on something I forget at this point, but now this year he’s built it up and he’s sold out an entire pre-conference workshop at NORWAC as well as two lectures I’m guessing.
LN: He’s doing two lectures and the workshop. So the workshop holds 150 people, so that’s sold out or will be sold out by the time this probably hits an airing. And so he’s in a big enough room for his breakout where they should be able to fit. I mean, he’ll also be lecturing against other well-known speakers.
CB: Right, and the competition between…
LN: And different genres.
CB: Exactly. And that’s why I actually mentioned that just because it made me think of another, Austin has his own style and metaphors, sometimes dark metaphors, there is a place for everybody in the community.
LN: Yes there is for sure. I have this big poster board that you would use. Not poster board, it’s like the kind of board you would use in a science fair. It’s like that trifold thing. So I cut off the wings because I don’t want the wings. And so I built a graph on it for each day, the lectures, and the time slots. And then I built the little blocks to be the size of the smallest… What are those called? They’re sticky.
CB: Oh, like a pin board?
LN: No, it’s the paper you pull up.
CB: Post-it notes.
LN: Thank you. Was having a blank there. So the small square Post-it notes, and then I put the lectures on those and then I can move them around. And then I sit with them for a few days, go back and look and see if I’ve got anybody competing in topic or competing in genre.
CB: I love that, that delicate balance that you have to deal with every year of the… It’s like a science, but an art of speaker placement, who goes in what room, which speakers go up against each other, which ones go in the morning versus like the afternoon, there’s like a million different things. And all of that, that needs to be written in a book, because in and of itself could probably fit like a tome of how to do that process.
LN: It’s a delicate dance. And when we did it for UAC, we went to Chicago and I had made these big, huge, we put them all across the window, had everything, and we’re running, it was a whole team because we had to look and make sure we weren’t putting somebody on the same day twice and looking at the balances.
CB: How many speakers was UAC?
LN: 120, and you had 15 lectures going on at once.
CB: Same time and there’s four of those a day, four blocks of those. And then there’s also workshops and there’s also keynote lectures that are in front of everyone. So what are some of those things that come into account when you’re trying to like place speakers?
LN: Well, first of all, I’ve used multiple techniques over the years. So for instance, if somebody has a keynote and two lectures, which I don’t do as much anymore, so they have something to do each day, I put them on the schedule first so I don’t end up… Because it’s happened, where I inadvertently put them on the same day, I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I catch it eventually when I do a number of reviews of the board. Because I’ll put it away, then take it back out, look at it again, look at it carefully.
CB: Because you don’t want to have them do like a lecture, a full lecture, and then immediately after that have to do a keynote lecture because it’s too much.
LN: This year that is happening with Kira Sutherland, because we had a cancellation and she stepped in. And I said, “Do you want me to change this or drop this?? And she said, “No, I’ll do both of them, I can do both.” And I said, “Okay.”
CB: Showing off.
LN: Okay, we’ll see how that does. So now where we have a lot of new astrologers and I have the rooms labeled where they’re supposed to be, that’ll put the new astrologers in their rooms, look at the combination. Again, you have to count in, what is their lecture topic? Is it traditional? How much traditional do I have in that particular block, that breakout session? Is it a variety enough even if it’s traditional that the traditional folks aren’t going to scream too much that I put two of them at the same time? But I try to get a variety of techniques. I try to get a variety of astrologers, modern, psychological, evolutionary astrology, which is a modern type, traditional, and within traditional, traditional magical, Hellenistic, medieval, you’ve got different genres there.
CB: That’s funny, because that’s like a new thing that you’ve had to figure out how to incorporate over the past 20 years as it’s become more popular. And it was interesting seeing organizers of other conferences like UAC struggle with that initially and they’re not being a place for that approach. And I’m sure there’s been different versions–
LN: ISAR did it. ISAR did it. They don’t have a track for… What they wanted to do is invite a lot of traditional astrologers. So they have topic categories. And so you can have, let’s say, you’re doing a lecture, you’re a traditional astrologer, you’re doing a lecture on relationships. So it’s in the relationship category, but it’s also tacked to… They don’t have a traditional category, it’s kind of lumped with traditional and other techniques, which kind of surprised me.
CB: Yeah. Well, even UAC in 2018 I think was the first time they had a track dedicated to traditional that was all lectures on that because I think 2012 traditional was still grouped with history track. So it was like all of the traditional technique ones had to be grouped with, I think Nick Campion was running that track and all of the just purely history of astrology lectures, which is the traditional or usual UAC track that they’ve had for years. So there’s probably just different versions of that that will happen at different points in the history of astrology, where something emerges and the call for it among attendees or students is part of what leads to…
LN: And I might pay attention to that. That’s what I pay attention to. I pay attention to what is happening, where is the movement going, where is the tide going. And then I want to make sure that I also pay attention to and give space for those topics that may not be that. I want to make sure there’s a cross session, because then you’re getting a lot more people who are doing fusion types. So they’re doing hybrids of traditional and EA like Jason Holley. He’s been studying with Demetra George, so he’s taking Hellenistic and merging it with evolutionary astrology and mythology. And there are other young astrologers who are doing fusion types. And so if you look on, I think I may have it under the schedule in NORWAC I may actually have their genre listed, but it’ll definitely be in the program guide. Because as they submit their lecture, I ask them to tell me what is it.
CB: Right, yeah. And that will be hard at some point, because there’s some people that do purely practice like one school or approach to astrology, there’s also like with the traditional thing, people that are merging modern and traditional. Then you have an additional challenge as an organizer of like where do I put them.
LN: Right. For me, what I just say is label it for you. Just tell everybody what it is so they can choose it, so they’re not left guessing as to what it is you’re doing. And so the surveys that the attendees fill out are very important to me, because that helps me also when I say, “Name five astrologers that haven’t been to astrology in the last couple of years who you’d like to see.” And so I start looking at those numbers, who would you like to have back? So I do a mathematical calculation based on the number of hits somebody gets in the survey to see who’s coming back and who I might push off to another year and who do I want to bring in. And then I look at those comments.
CB: If there’s like an uptick and hearing a name of attendees asking for somebody that you either haven’t heard of or that suddenly gained popularity that you may not know, but you’re seeing it in the feedback.
LN: Exactly. But what I also take into account of some over the years they said it would be really helpful if you could tell me whether it’s a beginner, an intermediate, an advanced, which we’ve done for years, but recently it came up, it was just in the last survey, somebody said it would be really helpful, in fact, it was more than one, but I thought it was a good idea to let us know what genre of astrology it is. Where is this person coming from? Because not all the bios are very clear, maybe I need to add that when I ask for bios, to make sure that they clearly delineate what type of astrology they practice.
CB: Yeah. I mean, you can try. It’s so hard because it is becoming so mixed together because astrologers have a tendency to synthesize their different approaches. And there are definitely some people… I’m amazed by just remarking how many people identify as like a Hellenistic astrologers at this point, young up-and-coming astrologers, which I find some is cool, but is funny because I myself don’t put that in my bio. I say I don’t identify as a Hellenistic astrology because I use the outer planets and mix Hellenistic and modern astrology, even though I am on paper as the author of that book, I’m the Hellenistic guy and that’s the primary thing that I lecture on.
LN: No, I get it. So it is difficult. But in terms of delivering the lecture, somebody might say it’s psychological traditional or traditional psychological. Fine, that’s what I’m going to put down. It at least gives the audience a clue in helping them determine where they want to go for that lecture. And it may lessen the migration process that happens, somebody sitting in lecture going, “Oh, that’s not what I thought that was.”
CB: Right. That’s really funny, because you’re usually at the registration desk, which is centered in the middle of the NORWAC hotel. So you see those, it’s funny that you call it migration, but that’s exactly what it would look like is just like birds like flying from one room to another relatively early on and sometimes during the course of the lectures.
LN: Yes. Now over the virtual conference, it’s super easy to leave a room and go to another one.
CB: It’s jarring for some people that they can’t do that as easily going to the in-person conference at the–
LN: Oh yeah. And I get a lot of attendees, first time attendees, who ask me questions like, “Do I have to sign up for the lectures ahead of time?” And I was like, “Nope. You come and you choose. And if at the last second you decide to go someplace else, you can.” It’s free will.
CB: Right, in action, but then people are like, “Well, no, I don’t want free will, I want it to be predetermined. Tell me what lectures to go to.”
LN: I get a lot of people coming up to me going, “Well, which one should I choose?” I chose all of these people because they’re good, and I chose the lectures because I like them.
CB: And that’s literally what you have to do when you get to the conference and even before, is like outline like what lectures put on a list and like check marks in your schedule of what lectures you would like to attend probably going into the conference. Be prepared to alter that, because sometimes things can happen at a conference where you decide to change your mind at the last minute and go to one lecture rather than another.
LN: You’re sitting next to somebody and you’re sparking up a conversation with them and they tell you, “Oh my God, I heard so and so, lah, lah, lah.” And you’re like, “Okay, well I’ll go to that one.” And so you bail on the one you were going to go to.
CB: Right. And then that ends up being a brilliant lecture, and then you like decide to study with that person and emulate their approach. And then you become a famous astrologer learning that approach just from that one offhand remark that some friend said you should attend this lecture. Yeah. So that’s part of the brilliance of attending a conference in person. There’s probably all sorts of little things like that that we can’t even fully articulate because you just have to experience it by going and having that experience in person at one of these things.
LN: Right. So some of the other dos that I would say is NORWAC is not overly formal, but I would say–
CB: Tuxedo requirement anymore.
LN: No, not a suit and tie for giving a lecture unless that is your mode. Philip Sedgwick always dressed in a suit and tie.
CB: I used to dress up a little bit more than I do, I don’t anymore.
LN: And I, as the conference host, I’m always dressed business casual and sometimes a little bit more, I always dress up for the evenings. And when I lecture UAC or other conferences, I dress nicer. I don’t come in jeans and a t-shirt, which I love to wear as a general rule, that’s how I dress. Except when I’m giving a lecture, teaching a class, whatever, then I’m setting myself up to be… I don’t want this to come across as old school professional, but there is a professionalism that I do encourage, I just don’t want it overly stuffy and formal in that sense. I want people to be themselves because as long as they are themselves, they’re delivering the information more naturally. So I don’t want somebody to be outside of their comfort zone, but I also don’t want a speaker showing up in their bare feet and yeah.
CB: I mean, no Speedos giving lectures. Would that be an objectionable offense that you would, not reject, but send somebody out of the conference if that was…
LN: No. No, no, no. And the thing is everything–
CB: Wait, are you sure?
LN: Yes, I am.
CB: I don’t want to open the floodgates for Speedo…
LN: Oh, for Speedo, probably. So Speedo’s just an out-and-out offense in any scenario.
CB: All right. I’m going to withhold judgment on that. I don’t know.
LN: I mean, I did Maurice Fernandez’ River of Stars Conference twice in Hawaii. In the conference center, you can’t wear your shoes inside. So you’re barefoot delivering a lecture.
CB: Were they wearing bathing suits?
CB: I always imagine that one was like on the beach or something because I never–
LN: No, it wasn’t on the beach at all. It was on the main island, the big island on the wet side, is that the… No. Anyway.
CB: Okay, well that sounds less cool than I imagined.
LN: And so it wasn’t on the beach, but it was in a beautiful convention center. And you took off your shoes, and people sat on the floor or had these little things that folded out that you would sit on and kind of support your back. I don’t know what they were. Anyway, so certainly much more casual environment. And I’ve lectured at more casual EA conferences. And again, some of those convention centers or conference centers or retreat centers didn’t allow you to wear shoes in the room, attendees or speakers. So those are things you take into account.
CB: What the context is of the hotel setting for like a [crosstalk]
LN: I don’t want to be a stuffy Capricorn and that’s not what I want to come across, I just want you to be natural. However, I probably would prefer shoes and a shirt.
CB: All right. I’ll stop making the jokes because it’s really an important point because that’s something I actually also learned during my trajectory, which is like early on I think I thought I needed to dress up more, even though that was my natural mode of things. And so I was wearing a jacket and not a tie, but a buttoned up shirt. But then I was like I’m not going to tuck it in because that’ll be my one act of rebellion or something, and I just looked really goofy I think now in retrospect.
LN: It didn’t look natural.
CB: Yeah, it didn’t look natural because that’s not what I normally wore and I wasn’t used to it. And also wearing a jacket while you’re lecturing can make you really hot. You’re already like talking and moving around and like you’re nervous and expend all this pressure and everything else. And as I got more comfortable as a lecturer, just started wearing more what I felt comfortable with, which is sometimes just a polo shirt or whatever.
LN: As a lecturer, I wear sleeveless shirts. It’s like a dress or a top that’s sleeveless because I’m moving, you’re sweating. I carry a cardigan with me, the hotel is cold. And by the way, this goes back to another point I kept forgetting about those of you who attend conferences and complain that the lecture rooms are cold, can you imagine if they were warmer…
CB: For the speaker?
LN: For the speaker and for the attendees you’re sitting in a warm room, you’re hearing talking, and you’re just kind of…
CB: Because also if they get packed, they heat up pretty quickly from all of that body heat.
LN: They do. So those of you who are listening to this coming to NORWAC, bring a sweater or a lap blanket or something to keep you warm until the room warms up. But we are not going to raise the temperature because when all the bodies get in there, it is too hot.
CB: Yeah, that’s great advice.
LN: And it also just keeps you awake for all the lectures you have to listen to.
CB: All right, so you’re not snoozing in the middle of a really good lecture.
LN: Sometimes the air conditioning can turn on and it blows cold air on top of you, I get that. We do want to know if that’s happening.
CB: That’s funny. That’s just a funny additional thing I hadn’t thought of, but I do know people that have said things like there are people that run cold that have been cold but that have started bringing extra clothes just in case they need to.
LN: Yeah. At conferences you do need to bring a sweater, a cardigan, I’ve seen people bring lap blankets that they just tuck in their bags and then pull out to stay warm. Because if you’re cold, you’re also distracted by just being cold. You can’t hear what’s going on as well, so either of those extremes. And they’re hard to come by to get always right, meaning the balance, everything in every room just right. You don’t know how many people are going to be in the room at any given moment, so it’s just one of those things that we try to do the best we can.
CB: Yeah. And so that’s one of the things to circle back to what we were talking about was competition and understanding the competition as a speaker that you’re going to be up against, where sometimes there are going to be bigger speakers in the same time slot as you or somebody’s going to draw for some reason or in some instances you’re going to draw more people for some reason, and that’s kind of a wild card factor that you can never control.
LN: True, because look, sometimes it’s purely a topic, sometimes it’s purely the speaker no matter what they’re, if they’re just reading the phone book, yes, there used to be phone books, if they were reading the phone book, it would draw a packed crowd. And sometimes it’s a combination. So the topic really can determine if it’s a really hot topic, like astrology and magic really could draw even though you may not be well known. And in this day and age where traditional astrology has been more developed and talked about, though people are really excited about that topic, in this timeframe I would say it’s the lecturer delivering it that draws more than just a topic on Profections. Because so many people have talked about them. Or they’ve talked about other elements of traditional astrology. And so I think now it can be more leaning and skewing toward the speaker who’s delivering it. But that shouldn’t daunt you if you’re a new speaker. I want you folks to lecture on things that you’re comfortable knowing. Your first lecture should be something you know well.
CB: Well, that’s a delicate balance, though. Choosing between a topic that you know will draw an audience or is more likely to draw an audience and wanting to do that, but also something that you are passionate about and finding the middle ground between those two scenarios.
LN: It is. It is. But for a first-time lecture, I would always skew towards something you’re comfortable with. I’d rather have you deliver a great lecture to a few people than deliver a bum lecture and having it bum to a larger crowd.
CB: Okay. For example like relationship astrology, I think if my perception is correct, is always a draw. Right?
LN: It’s not always a draw. It’s really weird. You always think, “Oh, everybody wants to know about relationships.” We have a lot of it this year at NORWAC. I always let things kind of organically evolve to see what comes in and then, you know, the sort of the tone of the conference gets picked up from what speakers submit and what I select. So, I think there’s a bet on relationships. And you’d think a lot of people, but I think, again, depends on who’s delivering it too. I don’t think relationship always draws just because. However, coming back to this first-time lecture or being a relative first-time lecturer, I still will encourage any of you to stick with something you have a familiarity with. Or if you’re going to lecture something, you gain familiarity with it so if somebody throws a curveball at you, a question, you aren’t left going, “Aaaaaah…” You want enough comfortability and familiarity with it so when somebody asks you something deeper or more detailed, you can deliver it if you have time to deliver it. Also, do not be afraid to say you don’t know something if it’s outside your genre. Do not make something up or stumble around trying to give them an answer you can’t deliver. Be honest and forthright. “That’s not within my wheelhouse. That’s not within my genre. You know what? I don’t know the answer to that question.”
CB: Yeah. “That’s a great question. I don’t know, I can’t answer that concisely right now.”
LN: Right. These are things that we need to practice to do. Learning how to manage the room, manage those questions when they happen, feeling okay with not having all the answers, and not having to deliver every last ounce of information that you’ve got in your brain.
CB: Yeah. And still being able to stand up there and speak authoritatively on the things that you do know, which is what’s most important. Because that actually circles around to something you said the very beginning that was a good thing to come back with, which is something I sometimes find annoying and there’s a very ambiguous line about it that’s easy to go on either side of it but self-deprecation, I’ve noticed, some people especially newer speakers can have a tendency to get up there and be like, “I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know why I’m speaking on this topic,” or something like that that’s kind of set up like humor.
LN: Please, don’t do that. Please, don’t do that.
CB: That’s one of my number one things. Because I always remember when I get to conferences and I see people doing it, don’t self-deprecate at the very beginning of your lecture because that doesn’t set you up in a good way with the audience, even though I understand the impulse and it’s coming from a good place etc.
LN: It’s defense. It’s defense. In case you do bum, you’ve already told them I don’t know why I’m here. You’ve set yourself up in that scenario. It’s not a good representation of you and it’s not a good representation of NORWAC.
CB: Cuz the audience is like, “Then why am I here? And should I leave if you’re not a good person to be sitting in this lecture and dedicating this 75 minutes of my time of my life that I will never get back?” Yeah, so don’t do that.
LN: Don’t. That is a good cardinal Don’t.
CB: Yeah. It also brings up one of those cliche things but it’s actually true, which is the fake-it-till-you-make-it thing when it comes to confidence. Not when it comes to information or pretending you know something that you don’t, but when it comes to confidence and the confidence it takes to get up there and present in front of a room full of people. It is one of those things that very, very few people go into that ever that experience, initially when they first start doing it, with 100% confidence. Everybody’s nervous, everybody gets a little bit scared or what have you and feels that at the beginning, but if you just get up there and force yourself to do it, it’s something that you will learn and once you get more practice, you will become more comfortable with.
LN: Absolutely. I agree with your premise 100%. Do not fake your astrology information. If you don’t know the answer, you don’t know the answer. Again, what will reflect on you in the long run by just owning up and saying honestly and forthrightly, that’s integrity. That carries. When you try to deliver information that is not correct or we found out to be correct when you’ve delivered it, because you were just trying to make somebody happy, that will reflect on you in the long run. And not well.
CB: If somebody was like, “Was George Washington a Virgo” And you’re like, “Yes.” And then afterwards they Google and they’re like, “No, it wasn’t. Was anything they said true?”
LN: Right. When it comes to that place of confidence, ability, yes. Just get up there and do it.
CB: So confidence is the one area where it’s okay to fake it until you make it?
LN: Yes, absolutely.
CB: Okay. And that’s actually important because it will give people confidence in you at the beginning because internally even if you feel that, that’s not necessarily as noticeable to the audience as it is to you.
LN: Right. Just take some deep breaths. [inhales deeply] Oxygen in is good, right? Slow the heart rate, take some more breaths in. Introduce yourself. “Hi. I’m Laura Nalbandian. Today, I’m going to lecture on polarity points.” “Welcome to NORWAC 2022. I’m Laura Nalbandian, my lecture today is such and such.” You introduce yourself. You say hi to the crowd. “How are you guys doing today? How are you folks doing?” We’re really trying to work our way out of gender-specific pronouns.
CB: Yeah. And I struggle with that and I’ve probably messed that up several times in this very conversations.
LN: And we will. We’ve got a lot of years living our lives the way we have with conditioning the way we’ve had it, and we are going to mess up. We don’t want to, but that’s going to happen. So in the ethics document, we have laid out certain ways to use non-gender-specific introductions or salutations. Folks, everyone, you know, anything. Avoid ladies and gentlemen. Whatever gender identification to the folks in the room, that might have been an old traditional way of doing things.
CB: Yeah, I struggle with it. Because for a year it for some reason became trendy on YouTube to open every video that people made with like, “Hey, guys. Such and such” That was like an introduction to the audience different men and women and different people would make. But yeah, it’s something that because it’s actually not- Like guys, for example, is not gender neutral. It’s not a great one to have as a habit.
LN: It isn’t. What I love is my mother was from the south and so for years– and then I broke myself off of it because I thought it sounded false– but I grew up saying y’all. And you all is gender neutral. How y’all doing today?
CB: Yeah, y’all folks, which you’ve used. Yeah, sure.
LN: It’s lovely to see all of you here. Thanks for coming.
CB: That’s a good one.
LN: Yeah, you can practice this. Thinking about how to set the tone for your lecture, and then give your lecture.
CB: Right. And even if it is– this one’s a little bit more ambiguous but even if it is your first time giving a lecture or even if you’re nervous or whatever, you don’t necessarily have to say that or have to articulate. You can, but there are some things that I think are subsets of the ‘don’t self-deprecate’ thing that are variations of it that you can do okay, but you don’t necessarily have to say that or articulate that.
CB: Like just saying, “I’ve never given an astrology lecture before, this is my first lecture,” or something like that.
LN: That’s okay. I don’t want to harp on it.
CB: I mean, I don’t want to tell people not to say that because you do want to mark the occasion and it’s a big deal to give your first lecture.
LN: And sometimes people will give you an extra round of applause for that and they’ll be extra supportive. So letting them know it’s your first time lecture, or even your first time lecture at NORWAC, that’s a way of sort of setting the tone of the lecture being a little bit more friendly, you know, can break down some of the nerves a little bit before you launch into your lecture.
CB: Yeah, as well as maybe managing audience expectations, which is a lot of what we’ve been talking about, is just managing and setting good expectations from the audience on the part of what you’re actually going to offer, in the same way that astrologers have to learn setting client expectations in a consultation?
LN: Right. Right.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense?
LN: Mhm. I think we’ve covered… I’ll probably think of something later.
CB: Yeah. Anything else from your-
LN: Again, even in the presentation, if you’re going to put a quote even if it’s from a song, a poem, a book, please put who the quote comes from.
CB: Attribute it?
LN: Attribute, attribute, attribute.
CB: Don’t try to take credit for a famous Fiona Apple lyric or something in the sense of who wrote that.
LN: Right. And then, you know, sometimes you find images on the internet. Like I did a lecture on fear, Saturn and fear. Mastering fear or something like that. And there were some great images on the internet that were open source and, you know, I didn’t create them. So you can also say unidentified, unknown source. There are things that you can do to at least try not to take credit for creating something.
CB: Yeah, or just buy a stock photo.
LN: You can buy stock photos, you can get subscriptions to them. That’s a good thing, Oh, I gotta adjust my PowerPoint for… So I start to think of budget items, you know, things like canva and all that. And so stock photo.
CB: Yeah, there’s tonnes of stock photo sites where for a few dollars or five or 10, you can just pay and then you know you have the licence to use that in your presentation. That’s the safest thing that does create a financial barrier. But then there are also open source ones like you said and different versions of that that are also safe. So just be deliberate about your image use and where you’re getting it from, that’s good ethical practice. Okay. Cool. Well, this is pretty good. I think we covered a tonne of ground here today. Yeah, thanks a lot for doing this with me. And now we’re like T-minus like one month to NORWAC into the first in-person conference in three years.
LN: Yes, it is. What is today? The 25th?
CB: Something like that.
LN: Yeah. It is T-minus one month.
LN: I’ll be at the hotel on the 25th. Possibly the 24th. That’s a Wednesday, I can’t remember.
CB: It’s the 25th. So you’re gonna have your own nerves going into it. Sold out conference, it’s going to be amazing. There’s so many newer and younger astrologers that have come in from not just younger, but from every age level. Just a huge influx. And selling out is something that’s only really started happening even before the pandemic in the past several years, right?
LN: Well, it was only 2019. That was the first time we sold out. I mean, starting in 1984 we’d never sold out. We’d had good size conferences but never sold the venue out.
CB: Right. That was the first time we did the podcast live thing with Austin and Kelly at that one, I think. Because we’d done UAC in 2018 and had one there. Yeah, that was a great conference, 2019 before the pandemic.
LN: Right. And 2018 was up against UAC so it was earlier. And it always has a smaller attendance because everybody’s saving up their pennies and quarters and dollars to get to the big conference, to get the big show.
CB: Yeah. So most people need to pick if there’s two or three conferences, one to go to. And you as an organizer when there’s another bigger conference that you’re competing with know that that’s going to draw attendees away.
LN: Yep. And so we plan accordingly.
CB: Okay. What’s the capacity for the ISAR conference this year in August? I don’t know if you can talk actual official numbers but…
LN: First of all you base your capacity ultimately– for NORWAC how I do it is base it on the biggest room. Meaning that everybody’s going to come together because NORWAC has eight keynotes. So everybody’s coming back to that room eight different times. So my max is dependent on that.
CB: Okay. Because you need to have every single person that attends a conference be able to be in that room for the singular plenary format.
LN: Yes. Now, ISAR doesn’t have that.
CB: Have what?
LN: Doesn’t have these plenaries.
CB: Oh, they don’t have any keynote lectures?
LN: No. No. They’re gonna have an opening ceremony that certainly can sit six or 700 people. The banquet will not, because it’ll be in banquet style, so that’ll sit 440. And then the closing ceremony will go back to theatre. So it isn’t really dependent on that, but overall we can probably fit 700 people.
CB: Okay. So that’s going to be the big conference this year if it gets there.
LN: If it gets to that. Right. We’ll see. I mean, [gee hoff] it does.
CB: Right. Yeah. I have a good feeling about it. If NORWAC has already sold out a month before it even happens, ISAR is the next overflow of other big conference that’s happening this year. It’s at a huge hotel. NORWAC’s going to have an amazing bookstore as it always is and that’s one of the advantages of going to an in-person conference.
LN: Oh, gosh, yes.
CB: ISAR is also going to have an amazing bookstore?
LN: Yes. Gregory will be doing the bookstore for both NORWAC and ISAR.
CB: And that’s your…
LN: Brother. My brother Gregory.
LN: So one of the clan, one of the family. He knows books, he’s been in the book business for years.
CB: He’s a book guy. And that was my first connection sort of with Nalbandian, it was going to that amazing bookstore that you guys used to have in Seattle where you just had every astrology book you could imagine.
LN: Every astrology book you could imagine. The stunning titles we carried.
CB: Right. That still lingers on now at the Northwest Astrology Conference, and is the only place you can have that experience. But I may have some footage and maybe I can splice it in here of going to the last bookstore in 2019 at NORWAC and just seeing all the different books laid out.
LN: Sweet. Yeah.
CB: Some people may not be familiar with that experience of actually going to a physical store where you can physically look through and flip the books before purchasing. That’s a thing that used to happen.
LN: It’s a thing that used to happen. It really was.
CB: Right. Along with the cassette tapes and the Rolodex and everything else.
LN: [laughs] Yes. Hey, my mom had a Rolodex.
CB: Okay. I’m not knocking at you.
LN: Flip that little thing around.
CB: Right. That’s way faster than some of the other stuff today. All right. Well, good luck with NORWAC this year. Thank you for doing this. This is while it’s a business to some extent for you and your family, organizing astrology conferences is also a community service. Because if you weren’t doing this then it would not happen or might not happen, and certainly would not happen in the same way or with as much care and attention to detail and community orientation as you bring to and have brought to it over the years. That’s one thing I always want people to remember and think about that you usually don’t– when you’re just in the audience are you on the other side of it is what it’s actually like. And the amount of the labor and thought and time and effort that goes into organizing astrology conferences is just like borders of magnitude higher than anybody realizes until you’ve been in that position of how to do it on your own. It’s just kind of mind-boggling.
LN: It is mind-boggling. I surprise myself at my capacity to compartmentalize, and the fact that I’m running two conferences this year- I’ve done three in a year!
CB: Oh my god.
LN: You know, the Public Health Conference, NORWAC, and UAC all happened in 2018. And I was running three of those things. And then amount of email– That’s a whole nother conversation, Chris.
CB: Right. And just the amount of a little bit of insanity-
LN: Oh no, it’s very clear. It’s a level of insanity, there’s no question.
CB: Cuz you spent like a year for NORWAC working on this pretty consistently that entire year going up to it. You get into and there’s huge amount of nerves, energy, and effort. And then you do it and it’s successful and then you’re exhausted, and then at some in there the insanity part kicks in where you’re like, “Am I going to do this to myself again?” And the answer is always Yes.
LN: Yes. Yes is the answer.
CB: Because you have that experience each time in person of how good it is and how important it is for the community and how it brings people together.
LN: Yeah. I try to take June off and sometimes even sneak some into July before I start working on the next NORWAC that I have to have the website ready by October. As long as I can get everything and get the website ready by October and registration ready to open by some point in October, then I’m good.
CB: And that’s already the website being live and taking tickets or selling tickets and everything else. If you had just started then, that’s from October forward to May in which you’re working on this, but it started actually months earlier with speaker selection and everything else.
LN: Yes, right. All the speaker selections, I put together one big mass list. I just go through the surveys and start adding names. I take a look at the speakers that came to the conference over the last three years, start pulling names from that. And then I start building my list and this magic kind of happens from that. It’s just the universe and how it all comes together. It’s just pretty cool how the faculty comes together for the conference, and then how the lectures sort of organically come from out of all of that. I like the experience. But you’re right. I mean, I’ve started work on a conference for NORWAC. I’ve sometimes started as early as June. But as I’ve moved in this business, I realize I don’t have to start that soon. I can wait a little bit, I can take some time off, I can have a vacation, I can breathe and relax, and NORWAC will get done.
CB: So you’re telling yourself that.
LN: I am telling myself that. [laughs]
CB: All right. Well, I just want people to know how much work it is and what a community thing it is because it’s so important. And you don’t see that until you see the back end of it. But I’m glad we got to talk a little bit about that today just for people to recognize and hopefully have some appreciation of that from that standpoint.
LN: I just hope that those of you out in the community that do want to lecture, that you’ll take the time to take in the words that Chris and I have talked about. The ideas, the concept, the do’s and don’ts. He’s been in it, I’ve been in it. I’ve been in it from both sides, we have experience. And there is never going to be a time that my experiences and Chris’s experience are going to be your experience, but there is a great wealth of our experiences that can be adapted and used, and why not, to be a better speaker than to be operating in the dark.
CB: Right. Experience is such a key thing because that’s also something that can be passed on generationally, and that’s something that’s so important in organising astrology conferences. It’s like we’re starting to lose some of those astrologers or have, that were the conference organizers or previous generations. And sometimes in instances like with you, that information is passed on from one generation to another.
LN: I’m working on it. I’m working on passing this information on to my children who want to be the next generation of NORWAC producers, promoters, coordinators, whatever you want to call them. But there’s a lot of education that has to happen. Chris is right, you can’t even imagine the level of detail and the things that one has to keep in mind and detail and organize and keep straight in order to run a conference. So many moving parts.
CB: And so many things that you wouldn’t even think of until you’re there and doing it and suddenly like, “Oh, I have to deal with this,” except like hundreds of times.
LN: Yep. Exactly.
CB: Cool. Well, thanks for touching on this in this three-hour discussion where we touch on so many different things just to give people a taste of your life and how you do this stuff, as well as passing that on now to our audience and hopefully they can take it run with it and give some in lectures.
LN: Yes, I’m hoping so. I’m hoping so, I’m looking for that next generation.
CB: Yeah. All right. Well, good luck with the conference this year. And that’s it for this episode, so thanks everyone for watching or listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast and we’ll see you again next time.
Special thanks to all the patrons that supported the production of this episode of the podcast through our page on patreon.com. In particular, thanks to the patrons on our producers’ tier including Thomas Miller, Catherine Conroy, Kristi Moe, Ariana Amour, Mandi Rae, Angelic Nambo, Sumo Coppock, Issah Sabah, Jake Otero, Morgan MacKenzie, and Kristin Otero. If you like the work that I’m doing here on the podcast and you would like to find a way to support it then please consider becoming a patron through my page on patreon.com and in exchange you’ll get access to bonus content such as early access to new episodes, the ability to attend the live recording of the month ahead forecast each month, access to a private monthly auspicious elections report that we put out each month, access to exclusive episodes that are only available for patrons, or you can also get your name listed in the credits at the end of each episode. For more information, go to patreon.com/astrologypodcast. The main software we use here on the podcast to look at astrological charts is called Solar Fire for Windows which is available at alabe.com, and you can use the promo code AP15 to get a 15% discount. For Mac users, we use a similar set of software by the same programming team called Astro Gold for Mac OS which is available from astrogold.io, and you can use the promo code ASTROPODCAST15 to get a 15% discount on that as well.
If you’d like to learn more about the approach to astrology that I outline on the podcast, then you should check out my book titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, where I traced the origins of Western astrology and reconstructed the original system that was developed about 2000 years ago. In this book, I outline basic concepts but also take you into intermediate and advanced techniques for reading a birth chart, including some timing techniques. You can find more about the book at hellenisticastrology.com/book. The book pairs very well with my online course on ancient astrology called the Hellenistic Astrology Course, which has over 100 hours of video lectures where I go into detail about teaching you how to read a birth chart, and showing hundreds of example charts in order to really demonstrate how the techniques work in practice. Find out more information about that at theastrologyschool.com.
Also, special thanks to our sponsors including The Mountain Astrologer magazine which is available at mountainastrologer.com, the Honeycomb Collective Personal Astrological Almanacs available at honeycomb.co, and the Astro Gold Astrology App which is available for both iPhone and Android at astrogold.io. There are also two major astrology conferences happening this year. The first is the Northwest Astrological Conference happening May 26th through the 30th 2022 near Seattle, Washington. Find out more information at norwac.net. And the second is the International Society for Astrological Research conference, which is taking place August 25th through the 29th 2022 in Westminster, Colorado. You can find out more information about that at isar2022.org.