Well, IAD 2014 has come to pass in San Francisco last weekend. I saw many familiar faces and a few new ones – literally since I was manning the registration table – or was it just because I forget to associate the names with the faces? Tsk, such a pre-Alzheimer’s candidate am I at my tender age of 43 (grin).
Anyway, as people tend to say after any event they dreamed into being, I will also declare that IAD 2014 in San Francisco was a smashing success! We had more or less 60 attendees this year, not counting the Board members of the San Francisco Astrological Society (SFAS) and the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR)-San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, in which I am a member of the Board as recording secretary. Our attendees ran the gamut from beginners to very established professionals in the astrological field.
So of course, my internal dialogue in reaction to seeing… oh, that’s Michael Lutin! Oh, that’s Linea Van Horn! Oh, there goes Christopher Renstrom!… My inner superfan is going: Bles, keep calm and don’t start screaming! Mustn’t… appear… too… star-struck… (struggling to contain my enthusiasm) …aaarrrggghhh!
I lose the battle, and toward the end of Day 2 I approached Christopher Renstrom, who does the daily horoscopes for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com, as well as being the astrologer for Patti Stanger, the renowned “Millionaire Matchmaker.” He gave me a couple of hugs: one because he remembered that I asked to have a photo taken with him last year, and another hug because I told him that I follow his “Ruling Planets” daily horoscope on Twitter and Facebook. Who else among the Who’s Who of Astrology were there? I spotted Don Cerow who always gives these very visually enthralling presentations on the constellations and the cosmos in general while tying these up with socio-historical phenomena. Nora Jean Stone was there, the snarky prolific social media maven of the SFAS who also goes by her Twitter handle, @AuntyAlias. Cathy Coleman, PhD, the learned East-West astrologer, was there and she has a blog, “In The Stars-Shining Light on the Astrology of the Week” that you can subscribe to, which I do. Closer to “home,” of course I am loyal to and proud of our very own local celebrity, NCGRSF President Steve Pincus, who was literally a rocket scientist at NASA before becoming an astrologer. Ever heard of Uranian astrology/cosmobiology? Fear not, because that happens to be Steve’s specialty, if ever the spirit moves you to ask him a question or two about it. Steve is one of the humblest low-key guys I know who can easily cut through the BS and make things happen. Don’t let his tie-dyed shirts and unassuming demeanor fool you: he’s at the top of his A game every time.
Of course, the main stars in this stellar gathering are our lineup of speakers: Michael Lutin, Deborah Smith Parker, Greg Bogart, Linea Van Horn, and Barry Perlman (Jessica Lanyadoo had to bow out due to a personal matter). Now if I were you, I would Google any one of these exceptional astrologers that I have mentioned here, so that you can see the many points of view present in the profession. When I first came to America in 2004, I subscribed for a while to “The Mountain Astrologer” (TMA) magazine. For me, these established names were simply bylines-on-TMA-magazine articles back then, and even then I was already in awe of these people – the clarity of their writing style, the substance of their topics, the dashes of humor every now and then. And now, to my sheer enjoyment during the two-day IAD 2014 SF, I’m seeing them before my eyes in flesh and blood! My mind, so inspired, became abloom with many possibilities.
Now our NCGR Chapter Executive Secretary, Aude Guerin (a beautiful and brainy belle from the South of France) and I got to talking after Day 1 wrapped up and we who stayed behind were already sipping our wine during the Esther Lau social. So Aude and I were sitting there, asking each other who among the speakers we liked best, what our personal main takeaways from each lecture were, and our experiences during the whole day of lectures in general. Aude has her Sun in Pisces and I have my Moon in there, so obviously she and I can connect very easily if we so choose, and with the wine we were drinking that evening as social lubricant, we did. Of all the things we talked about, this one stood out in my mind. Aude observed that the attendees of the IAD event every year tend to be aged on the north side of 40-50, and then she raised her brilliant question: What can we do to increase attendance among the young demographic?
Our mental faculties dulled by the wine, we just sat there and contemplated the magnitude of the question for a while. To Aude I opined that if we got young people to be fascinated by astrology and gardening, there may be less preoccupation with sex and a decrease in teenage pregnancies. Looking up, the youth will be taught about the beauty of the universe which they can thus connect with how they define themselves as individuals, with astrology giving them a blueprint to their potentials – plus there are math calculations involved, so it’s not all subjective interpretation. Looking down, the youth will be taught about the beauty of the earth through gardening. Maybe, just maybe, if the youth participate in sowing the seeds of plant life in the soil, seeing how precious that plant is, and how challenging it is to maintain its health by watering, pruning,, etc., then this may retard the urge of the youth to plant a seed in the womb of their partner before the two of them are ready. Maybe if we help the youth get in touch with the sky and the earth again, they will find themselves being equally soaring and grounded again, empowered to attain their dreams and do their respective parts to serve humanity, or even just their local community.
Who has the power in astrology? Ideally, the answer should be: everyone. Astrology is not just about the astro-royalty or astro-luminaries up there in the community’s firmament… all those famous names, and maybe some famous egos. Of course I remain a fan of these celebrities – but the old guard is stepping down now to make way for the new.
Now please help Aude and I come up with answers to this question: What can we in the astrological community do to increase the attendance of the young adult demographic (16 years old and above) in astrological meetings? Aude and I have actually come up with some ideas, but please, we would like to hear more from you, my dear readers. Thank you very much, and may the stars shine down on you!