OPA Retreats: A Human Dimension to the Study of Astrology

by Maurice Fernandez

OPA Astrology RetreatI came back from the seventh Organization for Professional Astrology (OPA) retreat in Asilomar, California with a hopeful outlook. One reason for my optimism was that I experienced the community of astrologers in a different light. Professionals and amateurs alike were truly interacting in meaningful ways; it was not solely about delivering a presentation and then going back to one’s own personal business. Rather, it was a very creative mode of learning, where astrological knowledge was presented through multiple media. Workshops included creative writing, spiritual development, and counseling training. But more than anything, the retreat — despite the large number of attendees — felt like being with family: warm and intimate.

I first met Bob Mulligan, the founder of OPA, in 2003, when I was very much a newbie to the American astrology community. During our occasional brief exchanges, I gathered that he was leading the organization, and though I was really appreciative of the person himself, his generous character, and his beautiful vision, the last thing on my mind was the thought of belonging to any group. My Aries Midheaven was perfectly happy going solo and enjoying its creative freedom. So, when Bob asked me to lead a group during one of the OPA retreats, my response was to politely decline.


2014 Retreat Schedule


2014 OPA Retreat Schedule

Wednesday, March 19

Welcome Party

Day 1  Thursday, March 20

Morning Session Theme: Professional Issues for Practicing Astrologers

Five established professional astrologers will share how they have succeeded in launching their careers in these 30-minute presentations. They will provide the keys used to organize their consulting work and tell us how they have built their clientele and achieved financial sustainability. We will learn what it means to be successful. Use of today's technology and handling some of the consulting tools to achieve optimum outcomes will be addressed. Looking at a variety of consulting styles may release us from the feeling that there is only one "acceptable" way to do our work.

In the afternoon, we divide into small, randomly selected groups, led by an OPA group leader to further explore the information. Everyone will be able to give and receive information on each person's chart. Discovering and possibly identifying your consulting style may be worth the voyage. The afternoon will end with everyone back together with the larger group for sharing insights.

Afternoon Session: Theme Discussion in Random Group
Theme Discussion in Main Room

Optional Yoga
Evening Session: Track Immersion
Cash Bar

Day 2  Friday, March 21

Morning Session: Track Immersion

Afternoon Session: Two 20 Minute Presentations
Karianne Stenshagen

Norway • kariannestenshagen.com
The Moon in Relation to the Transpersonal Planets: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto
The Moon in a chart represents our most personal needs. When they form aspects to transpersonal planets, these personal needs are challenged because of evolutionary pressures. In this presentation Karianne will describe how each planet influences affects the Moon.

Judy Tsafrir
Massachusetts • judytsafrirmd.com
The 2nd Saturn Return
An exploration of the second Saturn Return through the lens of personal experience. The context of the first and second Saturn return are so different - some say Saturn ages well as it reflects the wisdom needed to help us discern right alignment and conduct, and the compassion to help us take care of ourselves and each other. Judy will also provide examples of others who have moved through their second Saturn return.

OPA Annual Business Meeting
Optional Yoga  
Hospitality Suite & Cash Bar

Day 3  Saturday, March 22

Morning Session: Track Immersion

Afternoon Session: Two 20 Minute Presentations 
Sue Morris

Pennsylvania • suesalves.com
Planting by the Moon
Blend the cosmic with the practical, the heavens and the earth, and establish a natural timing and rhythm to gardening based on the sign and phase of the moon. The gardeners best tool! Plan activities for optimal success for plant growth and nutrition. Timing is everything, especially when choosing the right time for planting, mowing, harvesting, and all other garden related activities.

Gali Livneh
Israel • healingstar11.com/en
Chiron - A Journey to the Heart Center
Chiron is one of the great healers in our chart. It's not a planet, but the impact he had on astrology is very potent. Chiron connects different realms, bridges worlds and heals through living with commitment, compassion, grace and the power to sacrifice. Gail will discuss the connection of Chiron to the Anahata - the Heart chakra - and what it means to live a heart centered life and work with Chiron in the chart to heal ourselves and others.

Optional Yoga
Hospitality Suite & Cash Bar
Banquet: Celebration of Astrology Day

Day 4  Sunday, March 23

Morning Session: Track Immersion
Silent Auction Closed
Panel Presentation: The Cardinal Cross of 2014/Q & A
Hospitality Suite & Cash Bar



2014 Retreat

Ocean Creek ResortDownload Brochure
OPA will host its Annual Professional Astrology Retreat March 20-23, 2014 at Ocean Creek Resort, in beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC. This retreat is designed for the professional development of beginning through advanced students and astrologers.

Whereas most conferences are focused externally, this experience focuses more on you, the subject, rather than the subject matter. As a consequence, you are led to embark on a personal exploration.

There are two main components to the OPA retreat: the large group experience and the small group experience. The large group experience happens with all of us gathering together each morning to listen to speakers and participate in the same forum. The small group experience happens with participants working together under the supervision of a trained leader, in a pre-assigned group of your choice. You will work with a highly skilled astrology professional and a small group of peers for fifteen hours!

Working intensively with a successful professional astrologer will provide an unmatched mentoring experience from which you will receive countless benefits. The connection with peers in your group adds a highly dynamic potency to the work and will enhance your personal confidence and knowledge. At the end of the retreat not only will you have a firm grasp of the material in your track, you will know more about yourself, your strengths and limitations, than you ever did before.

On Saturday evening (March 22) we will celebrate International Astrology Day with a banquet held at the resort. This add on event ($30 pp - not included in conference registration) will be another opportunity to connect with the OPA family of astrologers. Purchase your banquet ticket here.

We invite you to join us at the next retreat for the time of your life. It promises to be a wonderful experience in the serene setting of Ocean Creek Resort near the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC. You will have the opportunity to enrich your life, make new friends and apply new skills to your practice right away!

Register Online Now

or Download Print & Mail Registration

If you have any questions about the OPA retreat, please contact:

June Morrow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 847-864-1063
or Alexandra Karacostas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 530-520-9992

I Didn’t Know How Hungry I Was… Until I Was Being Fed

Then I discovered I was ravenous and wanted even more! I’m talking about the Peer Group Supervision experience I had on Saturday, April 10th, in California hosted by the gracious Dvora in her lovely Calabasas home.

Pull Up A Chair

Imagine having about five other astrologers listen intently while you tell them about a particularly difficult or puzzling reading you had with a client. A reading that left you feeling uneasy, guilty, puzzled, angry, or worst of all, incompetent and out of your depth. A couple of the astrologers ask you clarifying questions and then you sit back and listen to what each astrologer has to say about your experience. Braced for criticism, what you hear instead is encouragement, empathy, advice, confirmation, laughter. With each word, you feel a place inside you fill up that you didn’t even KNOW was empty, and your whole body relaxes.


My OPA Retreat Experience

opa-retreat-2As with any trip you wonder what it will be like, whom you will meet, awaiting magical moments to unfold. It starts so slow and ends so fast, you are left wondering if you were even there. When you have an amazing time and meet wonderful people, you are ultimately left wanting more. When it is over you will return home and wonder who will remember you? That is when all the smiles that touched your heart come rushing back and you smile and know you are remembered. You then are filled with great appreciation for all the special lives you have touched and shared moments with. You then vow to yourself to make a promise to never let these souls slip away. For the power of astrology has united us in karmic ways unexplainable to those that do not understand us and our ways. We will continue to unite and share in our astrological pursuits for many more lifetimes to come. This was the power of the OPA retreat at Asilomar 2009.


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