Postscript to the Intl. Astrology Day (IAD) 2014 San Francisco event – in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Mar. 26-Apr.1, 2014)


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, 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!

Contact Bles Carmona for personal readings at, via Facebook at, or follow her on Twitter@BlesildaCarmona.

How do we celebrate International Astrology Day (IAD) 2014? in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Feb. 26-Mar. 4, 2014)


Straight from the flyer: International Astrology Day (IAD) is an annual observance/holiday celebrated by astrologers and astrology enthusiasts. It is held on the spring equinox, the day the Sun enters Aries, which is the first sign of the Tropical Zodiac, and has long been considered the astrological new year. This year, the Sun enters Aries on March 20.

In observance of IAD, the Association for Astrological Networking (AFAN) coordinates astrological lectures and events around the world. So that’s how we astrologers roll: we celebrate IAD by learning and mingling with fellow students of astrology. Yes, at some level, we are all students/lifelong learners, even the most experienced professionals among us, because there is always something new and exciting to learn or review. IAD-San Francisco is a joint presentation of the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) San Francisco Bay Area Chapter and the San Francisco Astrological Society (SFAS). A portion of the proceeds from the IAD-San Francisco event will be donated to AFAN.

IAD 2014 will be happening on March 22 (Saturday) at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin St. at Geary, San Francisco, CA 94109, Starr King Room, from 10 AM-8 PM. This year’s theme is “Astrological Visions: Navigating the Waters of Change.” The following day, there will be a Michael Lutin Post-Conference Workshop, “Weird Visions,” at Fort Mason Center, Building C, Room 260 from 10:30 AM-4:30 PM. Why am I informing you peeps ahead of time about these special events?

Well, I was hoping that you could help me out. As far as I know, I am the only Filipina-American astrologer who is able to attend these events at this time. Also, as far as I know, I am the first and only Filipina-American to serve in the Board of NCGR San Francisco, and I do admit that it could get quite lonely out here. Therefore I am reaching out to any one of you who feels that this is the time to dip your feet in the waters of astrology at last and learn about yourself and the world in the process. You won’t be alone because I’ll make sure that I’ll be here for you and we can have fun times together, just discussing our charts and sharing insights borne of study and experience. If this is something you want to explore, please let me know.

Here is the schedule for IAD 2014 on March 22, 2014 (Saturday):

>10 AM Opening Ceremony: Rio Olesky on Didgeridoo

>10:15-11:45 AM Keynote Address: “Thriving in the Midst of Crisis” by Michael Lutin (, educated in the finest eastern schools and Phi Beta Kappa member, who has written four books plus book and lyrics for five astrological musicals. Teaser: With the political, moral, religious, and economic pandemonium brought about on outer planet transits, how can you experience ecstasy and find stability?

>Noon-1 PM “Understanding Neptune: The Planet of Influence” by Deborah Smith Parker (, author, poet, lecturer, and Vice President of the San Diego Astrological Society, practicing astrology for more than 35 years. Ms. Parker will discuss both the personal and collective impacts of Neptune in astrological interpretations. She will also include the role of Neptune in public policy from war, to fads, to pharmaceuticals, the development of the fields of psychology, trauma medicine, and more.

>Lunch 1-2:15 PM

>2:30-3:30 PM “Astrology, Practical Mysticism, and Planetary Initiation” by Greg Bogart, Ph.D., MFT (, a psychotherapist in Berkeley who also teaches in the Counseling Psychology and East-West Psychology programs at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). He will discuss the implications of the Grand Cross: Uranus in Aries, Mars in Libra, Jupiter in Cancer, and Pluto in Capricorn, plus Saturn in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces. Studying these transits can prepare us to meet the challenges of planetary initiation.

>4-5 PM “The Other Side of Neptune” by Linea Van Horn, C.A., NCGR-PAA (, founder and past president of SFAS, published writer and respected teacher. I am proud to call her my mentor in intermediate astrology. Excerpts from the lecture teaser: Consider Neptune: Field of dreams or den of illusion? Holy Grail or snuff planet? Realm of infinity or hall of mirrors? For anyone with control issues, Neptune is an exercise in frustration. For those on a spiritual path, he shows the way. What qualities can we develop to make the best use of this enigmatic planet?

>5:30-6:30 PM “How Do We Know What We Know?” by Jessica Lanyadoo (, astrologer, psychic medium, and medical astrologer with a weekly column, “Psychic Dream Astrology” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian; and Barry Perlman (, intuitive astrologer, speaker, and co-owner of “The Sacred Well,” a metaphysical shop in Oakland, CA, where he teaches classes and hosts a monthly Astrology Salon. Their topic will be inspired by that weekend’s Mercury-Neptune conjunction in Pisces. They will explore different intuitive and sense-based tools that can be identified in an individual’s birth chart, moving beyond the cerebral to better experience and understand the world we live in. They will also lead us in reflecting about the role of astrology itself, which straddles a complicated line between being a logical rule-based system and a divination tool requiring intuitive synthesis.

>6:45-8 pm Esther Lau Social Reception: Ms. Esther donated very good wine for IAD 2013, and now for IAD 2014, we are blessed by her generosity again. Ms. Lau is the President of Empress Investments International, a private investment company specializing in securities, real estate, and entertainment, with offices at the One Market Plaza, Spear Tower in San Francisco. Every year, Ms. Esther gives beautiful calendars designed with Chinese fine art works to NCGR and SFAS volunteers (read: Board members). One time, after an NCGR evening lecture, she spared me a 30-minute bus ride from Fort Mason to the Civic Center BART by driving me to the BART in less than half the time. Ms. Esther is the very soul of kindness and humility. I can safely say that she is one of the benefactors of the San Francisco Bay Area astrological community.

The following day, Sunday, Michael Lutin’s post-conference workshop is about “Weird Visions” since Chiron and Neptune’s transit through Pisces will be affecting us all until the mid-2020s. It will be a guided imagery seminar, through the depths of the unconscious to spiritually enriching fulfillment, moving us from the shame of failure to personal triumph.

Early Bird registrations were closed at the end of January. However, here’s a rubric for current registration options:

Registration Rates* Advance (Ends 3/15/2014) Week of Event
IAD SF Conference $85/$100 $95/$110
Lutin Post-Conference $65/$75 $70/$80
BOTH EVENTS $140/$165 $155/$180

*Prices are NCGR, SFAS, or AFAN Member Rates/Non-Member Rates

For more information and to register online with PayPal, go to:

So make plans, my friends, and I hope to see you there at the appointed time!

IAD 2014 flyer                                                                        #

Contact Bles Carmona at, via Facebook at, or follow her on Twitter@BlesildaCarmona.