Saturday, April 21, 2012

UAC 2012: The United Astrology Conference

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Despite the fact that the acronym for this gathering is pronounced YOU-Whack, I doubt Tony Soprano or anyone in his “family” will be attending. Nope,  the “You-Whack” name aside, I don’t think these conference goers will suddenly develop any tendencies to make people disappear—permanently. The thousands of astrology lovers descending on New Orleans are unlikely to be the least bit menacing, especially at a “do” dedicated to Venus! I’m enchanted with the idea that the astrological community can help rebuild New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by bringing our business and enthusiasm and starry-eyed gaze toward the future to this very special city. My husband and I are big fans of the HBO show, Treme, and I’ve gotten a new appreciation for The Big Easy since watching this program. (Season 3 is in production. Rumor has it,  it’ll air in fall.) I’ve been to New Orleans so many times in my living room, though only once previously in person a long time ago. I expect to feel right at home when I get there.

If you’ve never been to a UAC, it’s the huge international astrology convention held every four years, sponsored by the world’s biggest astrological organizations: National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR), Association for Astrological Networking (AFAN), International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR), and Organization of Professional Astrologers (OPA), among others.

Joyce at UAC '95 in Monterey, CA.
I haven’t attended a UAC since 1995 when it was held not far from home for me in Monterey, CA. My UAC “fast” has been largely because of a hiatus I took from practicing astrology in any kind of public way for most of the 2000s, while I made adjustments in my personal life—going from very single to very married and completing a three-decade long career in my day job as a civil servant, where I worked in waste prevention and recycling programs. (I wish I were still this young and still had that gaudy, blingy purple sweater. Better yet, that it still fit.)

Now, I’m back—and back to going UAC, a wacka do!

It occurred to me there were several things I wanted to share with my readers about UAC. Especially if you’ve never been to one, you might appreciate some feedback from Been There, Done That. It’s not too late to sign up, and if this post inspires you, we come to my first point:

If you’ll be at UAC, please look for me and say hello. I love to meet my readers. Want to make a point of it? E-mail me to swap cell phone numbers, and we can plan to converge, if at all possible.

Tips for Not Getting Whacked Out at UAC

Going to a UAC is unlike anything you’ve ever done before—unless you’ve ever been to another UAC. Especially if you are sensitive to energies like I am, you’ll need to prepare yourself or live in a daze of overwhelm the entire time you’re there. I considered asking Auntie Joyce to step in to add some of her acerbic wit to this advice column, but I think I’ll save her for afterwards, when I’m sure I’ll have some very funny stories she can help me tell.

  1. Be well rested going in. There will be so much swirling Uranian energy, so many cool people to see and talk to, books and gismos to see at the trade show, and such an exciting city to explore: you’ll bust a corpuscle or pop a gasket if you’re not centered and physically ready for the assault to your senses. This is the Niagra Falls of astrological highs and you’ll be in a place that will remind you, unfortunately, of the potentially devastating effects of too much wind and water element combined. Take care of yourself, and don’t burn the candle at both ends before you jump on that plane to New Orleans—or into your car, if you live close enough to drive there.

  2. Scope out a retreat.  If you can afford your own room, that’s ideal. If you can’t, figure out when you can zig and zag with your roomie to get some private time. Find a beautiful corner or place around the corner—a coffee shop or serene rest stop—and be willing to go there when you’re drunk on too much astrology.

  3. Don’t try to “do it all.” Have I ever learned this one the hard way! Today I started looking at the specific lectures in 15 tracks. In Track 1 alone, there were six lectures I’d love to hear. Obviously, I can’t be six places at the same time. If you know how to do that, this is your golden opportunity. You could make a fortune at this conference selling your secret at the Trade Show. The talks are taped and you can buy CDs of anything you can’t live without. As tempting as it is, if learning is your main reason to be at UAC, you’re going to have to be very disciplined on the choices you make or your head will spin and all your money will fall out of your pockets at the tape booth.

  4. Think comedy and camaraderie. Sure, there’s a lot of serious business that can get done at a conference like this, but it is also for fun and for many of us, a vacation. The one thing you can get at UAC that you can’t get otherwise is face time. You can hear people’s lectures on CD or over the Internet or take a class from them online, but you can’t interact with some of the best astrologers and fans of astrology, en masse, like you can at UAC. You can’t have a drink or a meal with them. (OK, you can, but it’s not the same when you’re sipping your martini behind two separate computers in different parts of the country or wold.) You may be lucky enough to live in the same city with some of these folks and see them on a regular basis, but rarely will you have the chance to have access to so many of them at the same gathering. In my humble opinion, this is the most non-transferable benefit of a UAC. I am gearing my time there with this in mind. I also wouldn’t think of missing Michael Lutin’s comedy extravaganza, OMG! The Mayans Were Right! It’s described as a post-apocalyptic time travel musical evening. However, I think I’ll skip the bowling night, despite promises of Cajun food and a hot band at a local club. It’s the bowling part that doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not sure I’ve ever bowled in the double digits. Just call me Gutter Belle. (We'll be in the South, right?)

  5. Bask in the afterglow. In addition to learning, schmoozing, playing and honoring astrology’s best, there will be an afterglow that’s similar to the high of great sex. You can float on the buzz for a long time. You can keep UAC alive in your mind and heart by following up and connecting with those many people you met or re-encountered at the conference. Friend them on Facebook, email them, or call them and tell them how much you loved spending time with them—whatever works for you. Also, you don’t have to break your personal bank and buy all the CDs you want at the conference. They’ll be for sale online for years to come. You can “go back” by buying a few batches here and there. It will be like reliving the conference. Of course, since you’ll bring your cell phone, you can take lots of pictures.

  6. Plan recovery time.  Don’t jump back into your daily routine right after the conference. Give yourself at least a few days to re-enter. You’ll have so much to assimilate, especially if there’s any jetlag thrown in. You’ll need the energetic equivalent of what I call Info Seltzer to deal with your astro-indigestion. If you can’t integrate what you saw, said and heard, it won’t be useful and you won’t feel so hot. Be gentle with yourself. You’ve just had quite an affair!

  7. Loved it? Plan for UAC 2016. Download your feelings about your experience in your journal. What would you do the same? Differently? Why not start planning right after 2012’s extravaganza for the next adventure in 2016. It’ll be a lot easier to afford if you set aside just a bit of cash every month for four years. (Just $25/month will give you $1200 on the cusp of the next UAC.)

Lastly, I’d love to hear your UAC experiences from previous years or your feedback about this year’s conference, if you attend. Got other tips for the rest of us getting ready for the big event? I’d love to hear them.

I am so looking forward to connecting with as many of you as possible. The astrological community has always been international, but it’s never been closer than it has become in the last decade as our tools for virtual contact have allowed us to build beautiful, meaningful relationships from head and heart without ever having met each other in body.

Imagine that … and hugging, too!

Photo Credit: Tree Hug - © Tommy Schultz -
Happy Earth Day from The Radical Virgo! While we’re on the subject, if you need to hug a tree or your favorite planet or otherwise be inspired for this annual celebration on April 22, catch these past Earth Day posts.


Anonymous said...

I love Naw'lins (as the locals call it)! What remains with me about NOLA is it has a most interesting energy! I knew little about its history when I first visited for a concert (post Katrina), but I quickly picked up LOTS of strong feminine and spiritual energies, and a mix of many different elements. Since its so close to the mouth of one of the world's major rivers, so perhaps that's a major part of that mojo?... oh, right... it's no coincidence that astrologers will have their meet-up there.

I alo had a session with Mikey Lutin there, too. :D

BTW, your suggestions for the conference can certainly apply to my field (librarian). They can really psych us up for days!!


Joyce Mason said...

Krissy, I'm all the more excited about going to New Orleans after hearing your take on the post-Katrina energy.

Thanks for taking time to comment. I hadn't thought of it, but these tips do make sense for any conference-goer who's passionate about his or her subject, regardless of what it is.

Now I just have to remember to follow my own advice, especially about going into it well rested. :)

Triple Water Astrology said...

I thought New Orleans exhibits the Cancer energy (by the water, home like feeling).

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Triple Water--

The feeling I got is that New Orleans is "home to everyone." A sense of everyone belongs. Surprisingly, the city's chart (Feb. 17, 1805 time unknown) is highly Aquarian (Sun, Venus Mercury, but Pluto is in Pisces and Neptune in Scorpio. The watery outer planets speak to the pleasure-seeking roots of the birthplace of jazz. The planets in Aquarius reflect the utterly unique and tolerant place it is. Reminds me of a t-shirt I saw in one of the shops: "Keep New Orleans weird. Weird is why you came here." LOL!

NOLA made a deep and lasting impression on me. I'm so glad I was able to spend the last week there.

Thanks for commenting!