United Astrology Conference 1986 Documentary
A video was posted online a few days ago by a filmmaker who did a documentary on the 1986 United Astrology Conference (UAC) in San Diego, California.
This was the very first time that the three main sponsoring organizations AFAN, ISAR, and the NCGR got together in order to hold a large conference like this.
It has been 28 years now since the first UAC, and there have been several other successful conferences since then, so it is interesting to see how it all got started.
The most interesting part is seeing what a lot of prominent astrologers looked like and were doing almost 30 years ago. Since this was a major conference there were a lot of big name speakers there, and a number of them did interviews for the documentary.
There are too many names to list here, but it was particularly interesting seeing people like Rob Hand, Jeffrey Wolf Green, Michel Gauquelin, Alan Oken, Michael Lutin, Erin Sullivan, Jim Lewis, Jeff Jawer, Philip Sedgewick, Joan McEvers, Marion March, and many others.
The documentary was shot and edited John Steinberg, and he was assisted by his wife Rachelle Young Steinberg and their two children, according to a post she made on Facebook. The video was just uploaded to Vimeo on May 30, 2014, and it can be viewed in two parts:
I have just a few random thoughts that I wrote down while watching the video, largely from the perspective of a younger astrologer who wasn’t even 2 years old yet when this conference took place:
- First, just superficial things: I couldn’t get over how young everyone looked. Michael Lutin, Philip Sedgwick, Rob Hand, Erin Sullivan, Ray Merriman, etc. Everyone had all of the same mannerisms and hand movements, but they moved a bit faster. Rob Hand especially had most of his characteristic hand movements down, but they were done faster. He comes off as almost nerdy rather than old and wise, because he wasn’t quite that old yet.
- I got to see some people on video that I had never seen before even though as I was familiar with their names, as they died before I got into astrology. Michel Gauquelin (famous for the Mars Effect), Jim Lewis (created AstroCartography), Joan McEvers and Marion March (The Only Way to Learn Astrology series), and a few others.
- There were some other people whose names I wasn’t as familiar with, so I wrote down some names and looked them up later, and it turned out that several of them had already died as well: Buz Myers, Stephanie Erickson, Roger Elliot, and a few others.
- It was also interesting seeing some astrologers who were not as active in the community by the time that I got into it as well, like Leyla Rudhyar (Dane Rudhyar’s partner), Jeffrey Wolf Green (founder of Evolutionary Astrology), Bruno and Louise Huber, Theodor Landscheidt, etc.
- It was interesting seeing some of the planning stuff in the early part of the video. I didn’t know that Jeff Jawer played such a formative role in some of the organizational stuff back then, and it was interesting seeing some of the discussions between the different organizers.
- It was interesting seeing that Michael Lutin did his play even at the first UAC, making me realize that it is a pretty long tradition.
- Some of the statements about the upcoming Saturn-Uranus conjunction in Sagittarius towards the end of the video were hilarious, and it made me realize that astrologers are always talking about upcoming planetary alignments and generally over-hyping them. This isn’t just a recent phenomenon (*cough* cardinal cross *cough*).
- There were a lot of people I didn’t recognize at all, and I wish that they would have mentioned their names in the video. Maybe someone who was there can go through sometime and write out a list of names and what time they appear in the video?
- I had never seen a video of Jeffrey Wolf Green, and I was trying to figure out what was up with his accent, because he had this weird, almost affected accent that was hard to place, but I thought he was from California. It turns out that that is kind of his normal thing apparently, according to the description under this video of him.
- The hotel actually looked kind of crappy, and I was trying to determine if that is because I’m more used to what the major UAC hotels are like nowadays, 30 years later, or if it is just because they got a cheaper hotel and then had many of the lectures outside. Having some of the lectures happening outside right next to each other seemed like it would be kind of distracting or annoying. At one point Alan Oken snaps at the camera man when he wandered into his lecture from the side.
- Finally, watching Gary Christen from Astrolabe print up a copy of a chart extremely slowly on an old mid-1980s dot matrix printer really drove home the point of how much technology has changed in the past 30 years, and how much easier astrologers have it today.
There are a bunch of other interesting things in the video, but those are some of the main ones that were striking to me. If you noticed anything interesting that you would like to share, then please post it in the comments section below.