What do you say when your best friend and spiritual brother passes away? I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined myself in just such a situation. Yet, here I am. I have not only lost a significant person in my personal life, but I feel that the world has lost a brilliant, creative soul who was our finest astrologer. Kelly Lee Phipps was a man of many talents and interests, a modern-day “polymath,” as he would say. While he is best known as an astrologer, he was also a teacher, story teller, gamer and athlete.
Kelly lived to write. His gift of communication was such that he uplifted the reader in whatever he wrote, be it an astrology book, a blog (Traveling Magi), or a fantasy novel (Brazenwood). Even when he was not writing about astrology directly, his enthusiasm for the subject was always in the background. For instance, he had visions of expanding the story of Brazenwood into a series of twelve books and movies, each with an appropriate astrological undertone. His love of writing was a natural fit for astrology in that both often involved character analysis and development.
As a poet, he had an amazing memory for poems, not only for those which he wrote himself, but also those of other poets. Poetry was a key medium through which Kelly shared his teachings, readings, insights and wisdom. His favorite poet was David Whyte who lived on an island near Seattle. I shall never forget one time when Kelly visited me in Seattle. We took a trip to the island where David Whyte lived in order to meet Kelly’s idol. While we were unsuccessful on our mission, we did see much natural beauty on the way, and we did manage to see the office where David Whyte must have composed many a poem.
Kelly’s gift of communication was not limited to writing. When speaking to others in person, he was quite inspirational. He knew how to incite laughter with his quick wit. Those who listened to his Cosmic Weather podcasts could hear his jovial personality as he sought to educate the masses in an entertaining and engaging manner. As a master storyteller, Kelly would often share engrossing experiences in his life not only to entertain his audience but also to subtly motivate people to take their life to the next level by following their passion. This message was a big theme in Kelly’s life, given that he was a model of living authentically. He loved to socialize with people and was always willing to help the downtrodden in some way, even if it was only to lift their spirits. Lord knows, he lifted me many times when I was down!
As an astrologer, Kelly was able to gain a unique and profound grasp of the subject through integrating it with his knowledge of physics, astronomy, mathematics, mythology, linguistics, religion and philosophy. It was this unique perspective of astrology that played a major part in bringing him and me together for the first time in Atlanta at the 1998 United Astrology Conference. It was a meeting of destiny, for after the conference was over, I had planned to travel south in order to do some sightseeing along the way to Key West, Florida, where Kelly was living at the time. As a result of this fortuitous meeting, I ended up staying with Kelly instead of a Key West hotel!
Ever since our friendship began, I always cherished the conversations we have had which have included exchanging new astrological concepts that we had developed or some philosophical exchange of some kind or just some plain talk about the spiritual significance of the day’s events.
Kelly had a deep philosophical and spiritual outlook on life. Part of this came from an innate connection with the divine (which we all have), but part came from the fact that he was an “eternal student” and incredible scholar. He was a voracious reader of any book that called to him. Almost inevitably, whatever book he did read seemed to stimulate his creativity in some fashion and help him arrive at some new astrological insight. His e-book, Elemental Wave Chronicles, demonstrates his scholarliness as he describes Jupiter-Saturn cycles in the context of world history over the last five thousand years. This book and his other masterpiece, Celestial Renaissance, will go a long way in showing readers that astrology is more than just a cookbook of tired predictions. It is an art form of self-knowledge, whether the “self” is a person, a relationship or a society.
A most prolific writer, Kelly had some brilliant works in progress when he passed. I and others are working on publishing his unfinished magnum opus, The Tao of Astrology, (which he had been working on intensely over the last two years), so that we all can benefit from the creative insights that he wanted to share with the world. Some of his students and colleagues have already been exposed to some of the material from this work, and they will, no doubt, spread his message. Another significant work that we are in the process of publishing is his book called The Physics of Consciousness.
Kelly’s film, Return of the Magi, was ground-breaking in bringing astrological understanding to the masses. As far as I know, he is the only person to make a movie to educate people about what astrology is and what it is not. In this film, he interviews many modern astrologers for their perspective on the subject, nestling these interviews within a storyline that shows how astrology can be an asset for bettering one’s life.
One other side of this creative genius that I would like to mention was that he loved to play strategy board games as well as role-playing games (such as Dungeons and Dragons, which he played in his youth). It was in role-playing games that he became an accomplished “game master,” using his creative storytelling skills to guide participants of the game at hand into stimulating adventures. His love of games included football, for Kelly was a fine, athletic defensive back and at one time played for the University of Colorado Buffalos. As you might expect, he was a big fan of the Denver Broncos, too. I will always have fond memories of watching Bronco games with him. I can hear him now enthusiastically exclaim “BOOM!!” as if that would assist the Bronco defense in stopping the dastardly offense from advancing.
Even though I am still in shock over his absence in my life, I believe that in time, Kelly’s legacy will be noticed not only from the profound impact he had on clients via recorded astrological readings, but also from the influence he had on his students as they mature into fine astrologers using the techniques and approaches that he taught. Of course, as more people read his written works, they will come to appreciate his profound insight, too.
Rest in peace, my brother. You are with us always!