In 2015, I didn’t know “The Astrological Community” was even a thing. I started practicing professionally, and in 2016, I got a conference scholarship from AFAN and (classic NORWAC sentiment) my life changed forever.
#NORWAC2019 is my third NORWAC, and I volunteered at UAC last year. I care deeply and sincerely about the people here (including you!), about the community we create together, and astrology as a practice and way of life.
Here’s some tips I’ve learned as someone still new to the community, but not a first timer either. There are people who have been coming for 30 years! If this is your first NORWAC, remember you only get one “First NORWAC.” Revel in it.
*This is not officially sanctioned info, just a Sagi-Virgo wanting to be enthusiastically helpful.*
1) Know where you are.
Praise and be grateful for Laura and the Nalbandian family, who run this glorious show. Thank Maggie, especially, who started NORWAC in 1984.
My first NORWAC in 2016, I stumbled into the banquet to find myself in the memorial for Maggie Nalbandian. At first I felt like an intruder. I had never met Maggie. I was so overwhelmed by the conference already, knowing no one, suddenly amid a very familial moment. But a stranger smiled and gestured for me to sit down at their table. I felt the room, hundreds of people, so warm, so loving, so much light. Maggie was there with us, and she is here this weekend too.
(One thing I know you can do to help Laura out, is you can NOT lose your meal tickets. Write your name on those things. Guard them like a Cancer moon.)
2) Make yourself at home.
Familiarize yourself with the program, conference layout, rooms, schedule, where the washrooms are, where the water is at. Catherine made this awesome spreadsheet for the schedule, including bonus events like The Astrology Podcast live recording Thursday night at 8:30pm. Help each other out, be of service, because we all get lost sometimes, yknow. This is our community, and we make it by what we bring to it, what we give and share.
3) Say hi.
Especially to the person sitting next to you, or who you keep running into. If you’re here, you most likely have at least a little feeling for fate. My first NORWAC, I was so shy, I only spoke to five people. Each one changed my life, and some are amongst my closest friends. You never know who you will meet, but you’re probably meant to meet them.
4) Fill in your badge (the nametag you get when you check into the registration desk).
It’s polite. And fun. If you don’t, people will assume you’re a Scorpio. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, no sign shaming please.) And wear your badge around your neck! If it’s not visible, a Room Monitor will ask to see it, and if you don’t have it, you’ll have to go back to get it (and possibly lose your seat!).
5) Leave the hotel.
Past the exit beside the Dash Point Room, there is a pond. The fence code is 8733. You gotta use the code to get in and out. Make sure to close the gate behind you! There’s a ‘Welcome to NORWAC’ event back there at 5:45pm on Friday. Also the mall across the way is surprisingly calming with lots of soft fabric and high ceilings.
6) Manage your energy.
Eat. Sleep. Drink water. Laugh. Check out Nicholas‘ awesome post for places to find food and necessities. Take your space. Do your best not to be leaky. Respect each other’s processes. Deep bonding and transformation happen with consent and compassion.
7) Go to the bookstore.
Buy books. They have boxes for you to ship home what you didn’t bring an extra suitcase for. If you’re broke, pitch in with friends and share custody. Also check out the vendors. Buy their wares. Scope that neon sheet in your registration package. Those are all previous lecture recordings available for sale. Huge knowledge.
8) Talk to the speakers, but not too much.
Every one is different, and astrologers are professionals who can manage their students/fans/followers, but we’ve all been that person waiting with bated breath to talk to Rob Hand for just, like just one minute. Be considerate and aware of your and others’ time and energy. If you have really specific questions, or want a reading, most speakers have sign up sheets for consultations in the bookstore.
9) Be curious. Look for synchronicity. Follow your gut.
My first NORWAC, I thought I knew exactly which lectures I needed to go to, speakers I needed to see, astrologers I needed to meet, but the ones I accidentally ended up listening to, that folks invited me to, who I randomly got introduced to, the surprises have the most impact on my practice. Tap into your mutable placements/houses, deep dive into the mysterious threads you’re following, even if sometimes it seems to be taking you off path. Trust you’ll find your way back, and that you’ll have help along the way.
10) Believe in your reasons for being here.
Whether you’re fresh to the zodiac, or have decades of professional practice, we all have our purpose here, whether we know it (yet) or not. When faced with the immensity of tradition and knowledge that is astrology, it can absolutely be intimidating. Once you know the basics, you build a practice one step, one idea, one technique, one conversation at a time. Community is built and held the same way. Even though we’re human and it’s complicated, living in times of isolation and extinction, for the moment you are here, you are enough, and you belong here with the rest of us.
I’ll be around. Come say hi. I’m grateful you’re here.