When I arrived at Hilton Airport West Palm Beach I hadn’t slept decently in over a week. I felt dirty, hungry, and had a lingering headache and a feeling of “why did I do this, again?”. I had just managed to begin stuffing my mouth with bacon when Marion waved at me, and it was then that my experience at StaarCon 2023 just began.
As someone who has organized several online conferences and events and is familiar with the stress that it entails, I have nothing but admiration for the organization of this completely hybrid event. The experience, both in person and through the platform was made really easy. As well, there was someone in the main desk at the conference area (usually Christiana) at all times, so any question would be answered and directions were given if necessary.
The conference room facilities at the hotel were beautiful and well arranged, I never once had the feeling of being crammed and attending to the classes was very comfortable - I had been forewarned about how air conditioning is used in the US at morgue temperature, so while I was a bit cold, I knew to bring a cover with me! - and the place smelled really well.
There was a whole tech team working at all times, making sure than when technology acted up (when doesn’t it?!) there was a prompt solution given. Each room had a dedicated team and a moderator acting as an intermediary between the presenter and the audience, both online and in person so that interaction was easy among all parties.
As a presenter, I felt really well taken care of by the tech team who made me really comfortable despite my nerves. The equipment was super easy to use and made to be convenient to presenters (keeping me from having to carry my own laptop overseas!) and the whole environment was super welcoming.
Keep in mind that there are a bunch of sessions that I haven’t had the opportunity to see yet (that’s what the Afterglow is for!) so what I am saying here is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. The program was full of many different topics, ranging from Tarot, to Healing, to some sessions oriented towards the business side and much more. I personally love a varied program with something for everyone to enjoy.
My favourites so far (note SO FAR! I haven’t got started with the replays of the sessions that I missed which are around 20 if not more) are:
- Sheilaa Hite: I am, I was, I will be - Past Lives, Destiny, and the Tarot.
I am not sure where I stand with past lives, but Sheilaa sold it to me! It was not a session full of spiritual fluff, but actually useful information that can be applied to everyday situations. It was a complete surprise for me to love this session so much, since I had my reticence on the subject. Well, I am happy to have been proven wrong!
- Michelle Barrie: Oracular Intentions with Sound Bath Meditations.
First of all, huge shout out to Michelle who saved the day by taking over the sound bath only a few days in advance. This was a beautiful session that I wouldn’t mind re-playing online. It was my very first time in a sound bath and while there were some moments in which the sounds were a bit difficult on the ear, I could totally feel a before and after the session energetically speaking.
- Mitchell Osborn: Tarot Improv.
This should have been the first session and we would have been cured from any shyness for the entire weekend! Mitchell has a way of keeping an audience engaged and participating in these exercises was not only easy, but also hilarious.
- Beverly Frable: Divining with Nature using Ancient Divination Practices.
First of all, this session came with a bag of cowrie shells to divine with, so I’d be happy if that had been all! It was a super engaging and interactive session in which Beverly walked us through different ways of answering our questions with resources that are always around us. This made me think of divination in an entirely new way and opened up a lot of possibilities that I hadn’t considered before. Run, not walk, to the replay!
- Christiana Gaudet: Closing Ceremony.
This was not a session per se, but it was an incredibly emotional moment. The moment Adrian entered the room playing his bagpipe I began to tear up, and I wasn’t able to share a thing knowing that I would start bawling if I did! To me, it was ending with a golden brooch.
The Vendors: Shut Up and Take My Money
The vendors made it impossible to keep the cash in your wallet, and I was SO glad to meet and support some incredible people. I loved every stall, and I would run to see them between sessions in case there was something else that I had missed. While all of them where incredible, I have to give a special shout-out to Stacey Williams, the brilliant artist behind the Southern Gothic Oracle and the Southern Botanic Oracle and now my dear friend. And the fabulous family at The Giants Forge, who made the most amazing wooden designs and were also incredibly kind and engaging. I had to be really, really strong to not buy some of the spell necklaces from Under The Witches Hat (and some were antique, so if you know me, you know it’s a sacrifice!) but nothing will stop me from getting her e-books!
But the Real Magic Was the Friends We Made Along the Way
I was a presenter, I went to some amazing classes and I bought the coolest stuff, and yet, none of that compares to the friends I’ve made and the community I have experienced at StaarCon. I would give all of that back, keep these connections and still say it was well worth the trip!
I got to meet my friend, padawan and Emotional Support Leslie (from Tarot Moderna) and found out that she’s every bit as amazing in person. Marion won my heart the moment she let me take a shower in her room that made me feel like a real person again, and then won it again many times over with her wit and support - speaking of which, go check out her stuff! -. I loved meeting Jackee, who is incredibly easy to talk to and very, very smart. Stacey who made my entire trip very early on by bringing her incredible oracle and then introduced me to the old-fashioned and mac and cheese. Kamille, who is the opposite of my inner Herod, and aside from being funny as hell, is also super supportive. Paula, who is funny, caring, and one of the most welcoming people I’ve met in my entire life, and of course Anthony, who is not only a brilliant astrologer but also literally the kindest person that exists. Like, for real, if you don’t know him you wouldn’t believe it, but it has set a whole new standard that I am inspired AF by.
There were many others that I connected with, even if for a brief moment, and to all of you I am super grateful. Thank you for the support, for the presence, for making it so special.