16 April 1950 - 7 February 2018

Memories of Debbi

Debbi Kempton-Smith became an astrologer in her twenties and continued using astrology to help people until the end of her life. She was also an author, whose articles appeared in such diverse publications as Mother Jones, The Vegetarian Gazette, Traveler's USA Notebook, Popular Photography and PC Mag, as well as various astrological publications. And her book, Secrets From A Stargazer's Notebook, is one of the most enjoyable astrology books I've ever read. She was also a social activist. But to me, Debbi will always be one of my dearest friends.

I don't remember the date I first met Debbi, but I definitely remember how. I was at an astrological get-together, a sort of mini conference, and on the first day there was a scheduled entertainment. Several astrologers were going to come out, one by one, and put on a performance to demonstrate their respective Sun signs.

Debbi, being an Aries, was first. The emcee announced that the first sign was about to come out, the room became quiet....and there was a suspenseful pause. Then Debbi sort of burst into the center of the room, dressed in fiery colors (and, I might add, looking very sexy). She had everyone's attention when she did a short but very passionate dance, and when she was finished she was gone. It was clearly the seeds bursting onto the scene in Spring, combined with the Martian fiery passion.

All of the other signs were also done well, but Debbi's performance left the greatest impression on me. I started hoping I would get a chance to meet her during the conference.

Perhaps I even said a silent prayer to one of the gods (Mars?), because when I got to my assigned seat that evening at the dinner table, Debbi was assigned the seat next to me! We talked quite a bit during the meal, and I discovered I really like Debbi the person, not just the evocative Aries dancer.

We stayed in touch by mail and telephone after the conference and our relationship became a deep friendship that transcended astrology. (When I withdrew completely from astrology for a few years, Debbi and I often visited each other.

I had a favorite pet named 'Guana', and Debbi fell in love with him and always insisted on holding him when she came to visit.

One Autumn when she came to visit she told me she had always wanted to see a pumpkin patch, and she was as excited as child when we went out to one near me and she could pick her own pumpkin!

I remember getting a phone call from her early one afternoon in 1981 saying that she was coming to Philadelphia on some business, and could she please interview me? She wouldn't say why, on the phone, but of course I said yes...I always jumped at the chance to see her. We met outside a bookstore, and she guided me to a room in the back (she had arranged the use of the room with the owner). When we sat down she began asking me all sorts of questions about Chiron....and at the end of the interview, as we walked to a coffee shop to have a cuppa, she told me she was writing an astrology book and was going to our interview for the chapter on Chiron. (And so she did, in her wonderful "Secrets From a Stargazer's Notebook".)

Debbi and I shared a mentor by the name of Al H Morrison. Al was probably most famous for introducing the modern day astrologer to the Void of Course Moon. (After Al died, Debbi took up the banner and published a VOC Moon ephemeris each year on her website.) Al, and the VOC Moon, both are a part of Debbi's book.

And so it was no surprise, when I went to the publishing party for "Secrets", that not only was Al there, but Debbi gave him a place of honor almost as if it were his night, not hers.

Opening Secrets, the first thing you read is the dedication:

"...for Al H. Morrison friend

If you haven't read her book, trust me when I say that you will love it when you do read it...order a copy today! Here is a page Debbi wrote about her book with a link to a sample chapter: SECRETS. It is a fun book to read with a lot of good astrological info. Last I checked, you could still purchase it from many places, including

One of the things I loved most about Debbi is that she liked to surprise people, especially if the surprise made people smile. One year (1995), I decided to treat myself to a trip to New York for my birthday, and of course I let Debbi know I was coming and hoped to see her. She told me that she would love to see me, and would take me out for a birthday dinner. Little did I know what she had in mind! When I got to her apartment, she called a cab and would not tell me where we were going...until we got there. And the reason was because she had actually arranged a huge surprise party for me at the restaurant. (And was I ever surprised!) Here are a few picks:

Debbi looking on when I blew out my birthday candles

Debbi clapping after my success at getting all the candles!

And my favorite, a picture of the whole table, with Debbi giving me a pair of 'rabbit ears'. (I have no idea why I'm looking at the ceiling.)

Debbi, true to her Arien nature, loved to go where no one had gone before. When she heard that astronomers had discovered the first planet around another star, she was ecstatic, and began looking at charts with the star strongly aspected to see if the individual's life had changed in any way when humanity became aware of another solar system. Before too long she had a whole slew of such stars to explore. You can read a bit about her findings here: EXO-PLANETS. And her enthusiasm was contagious...she got me into researching them as well.

When she came out with an updated edition of Secrets in 1999, she added a chapter on these exoplanets

But perhaps the world will remember her most for desire to get people to actively help others, and help the world. I think you will get a good glimpse of her soul by exploring this page on her website: HEROBICS.

Debbi was a private person in many ways, and never posted her chart online. But I don't think she'd mine me posting it now that she has passed on.

I've included a few Centaurs in her chart that are in significant by aspect or house placement, and one asteroid, Heracles, which ties in to the myths of many of the Centaurs.

I always missed Debbi a whole lot when we did not connect for awhile, but now I miss her so much more. I'd love to pick up a phone...more than anything....and hear her voice. Perhaps it will be a long time before I can think of her without the pain of her being gone overwhelms me.

But I know that Debbi wanted all of her friends to be happy. I found this written on her website by whoever has taken over its management:

"In her will, she left a note for all whose life, one way or another, she touched. She said, “Cheer up! For I love you all very much! I’ll be waiting for you all in the next world… But please don’t rush… It is a more imaginative galaxy here, but they don’t have nachos.”

So I'll do my best to cheer up....and until I do see her again "in the next world", I'll just keep sending this thought into the aether, hoping she will hear it: Debbi, I love you. Thank you so much for making my life more beautiful, just by being you.

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