April 2020 Grey Matters

Updated: Apr 30

The Grey Matters


April 2020



Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

Table of Contents

Generalist Major in Wortcunning Updated

Medical Minor in Wortcunning Updated

New Meditation Major in Psychic Arts

Beneath the Covers

Lore Talk: Information Literacy

The Field of Wisdom

Sources of Ceremonial Magick: Hermetica

Ask the Wizard



Generalist Major in Wortcunning Updated

Grey Matters Staff


Dean of Wortcunning Katy Ravensong has posted updates to the Generalist Major in Wortcunning. Clarifications and additions have been made to the Required Core classes.


Find the latest Major at https://www.greyschool.net/forum/dean-s-office-5/generalist-major-in-wortcunning.

Medical Minor in Wortcunning Updated

Grey Matters Staff


Dean of Wortcunning Katy Ravensong has posted updates to the Medical Minor in Wortcunning. The Minor is largely the same; only a few corrections have been made to adjust the names of classes as necessary.


Find the latest Minor at https://www.greyschool.net/forum/dean-s-office-5/medical-minor-in-wortcunning-updated.

New Meditation Major in Psychic Arts

Grey Matters Staff


Dean of Psychic Arts Ambika Devi is offering a new Major in Meditation.


Find the details at https://www.greyschool.net/forum/psychic-arts-dept/major-in-meditation-in-the-psychic-arts-department.

Beneath the Covers

by Apprentice Apollinaris


When we think of the history of magick, our thoughts tend to drift back to ancient Egypt or the early Celts, or perhaps the origins of Enochian magick in the 16th century. What often goes overlooked is our more recent history; a history that has had a tremendous impact on today's magickal community. A knowledge of that history can give us an understanding of what works and what does not, as well as an appreciation of the contributions of the women and men who have laid the foundations for what we have today. For this reason, I am always interested in books that look at the history of magick or witchcraft as it has developed over the past century. Some notable titles include Bull of Heaven by Michael Lloyd, and the late Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon.

Perhaps of greater interest to Grey School students is John C. Sulak's The Wizard and the Witch: An Oral History of Oberon Zell & Morning Glory. Of course you know Oberon Ravenheart-Zell is the founder and headmaster of Grey School, but how much more do you really know about him? Are you familiar with his many other accomplishments? Do you know why he bears the name Ravenheart? As for Morning Glory, she now has a shrine at vGSW, and it is well deserved because she truly was a goddess incarnate, but she was also a very human woman with fears and frailties like everyone else.

One thing I like about The Wizard and the Witch is that Sulak does not shy away from those frailties for either Oberon or Morning Glory as he narrates the story of their lives using hundreds of interviews with them and many people who have interacted with them over the years. I think this is important, because we don't need Oberon and Morning Glory to be myth; we need them to be leaders who pioneered new ways of living, and who made some mistakes along the way that we all can learn from.

The Grey School of Wizardry is mentioned in the book, but not until the second to last chapter. The first chapter starts the reader out in 1942, with Oberon's birth, since that is where the story really begins. The first interviews are with Charles and Vera Zell, Oberon's parents, who talk about his birth and early childhood. From there, the following chapters take us through Oberon's youth, leading up to his founding of the Church of All Worlds and beyond. Morning Glory enters the story on page 98, and the reader gets to hear about Oberon's first encounter with her in his own words. "As we turned to look at each other face to face, suddenly for both of us, the whole rest of the world just disappeared."

The downside of a book like this is that it can become a bit tedious to read (Lloyd's work is similar in this respect). Sulak keeps a flow to the narrative, but the many, many interviews seem to drag the story out unnecessarily even as they add a sense of immediacy to the tale. I found this to be one of those tomes that was easier to read a little at a time. You will love the sixteen pages of (mostly) color photographs in the middle of the book. Ever wonder what our Headmaster looked like in high school?

In The Wizard and the Witch you will learn about the many events that led eventually to the founding of the Grey School of Wizardry. You will read about how two people came together and were handfasted in a ceremony which, for the magickal community, was as momentous a union as that of Charles and Diana. You will learn not only of the triumphs, but also of the tribulations that Oberon and Morning Glory faced over the years. You will, through this book, come to know Oberon and Morning Glory as two of the most remarkable magickal people of our time.

Lore Talk: Information Literacy

By Apprentice Merqatyl Draconis


(Disclaimer) Lore: “Much of a Wizard’s true power comes from their vast knowledge, Lore particularly concerns myths, histories and legends” (Lore Dept, 2020). Lore Department’s mission is “…to help the student develop the ability to access, synthesize, and critically evaluate arcane knowledge from a variety of magickal cultures” (Department of Lore [Grey], 2020). “Grey is the Lore Departmental color. It represents knowledge, lore and wisdom in its purest form” (Department of Lore [Grey], 2020). Knowledge is neutral, it is intention that makes it black, white, good or evil. Lore classes focus on distilling the archetypes, heroes and heroines that empower one’s intention with respect to a specific set of correspondences.

Information Literacy


Information literacy is a skillset so people can “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" (Information Literacy Defined, 2020). As occult scholars we are consumers of information, and as such, the ability to weed out information from misinformation, or blatant fabrications, is one of the core functions of the Lore Departmental mission.


The Association of College and Research Librarians (ACRL), a subsidiary of the American Libraries Association (ALA), in 2016, revised and proposed a new framework for Information Literacy that is currently used today:

· Authority is constructed and contextual

· Information creation as a process

· Information has value

· Research as inquiry

· Scholarship as conversation

· Searching as strategic exploration (ACRL, 2016)

These topics are interconnected concepts that make up the main elements of the Information Literacy skillset (Information Literacy, 2020).

Authority is Constructed and Contextual


Source materials reflect the author’s experiences, credibility, and authority within a specific community. The information need, and the context of its use will mandate the amount of authority necessary (ACRL, 2016). For example, if I am taking a course in Cosmology, and one exercise said to talk about this person, and must be more than 100 words, well the authority required for that assignment will be significantly less than the authority required for the Cosmology Final assignment.


Apprentices might consider authority as the amount of references used to back up a point, and the context of the assignment will determine the number of authoritative sources necessary (e.g. 1 source/300 words, 500 words/assignment, 1500 words/final, etc.). Contextual mandates and proposed authoritative resources are prescribed through the syllabus during curriculum design. Because GSW does not have a research library yet, the instructor is considered the subject specialist about the course, due to their experience with the source material and the number of submissions made from previous courses.

As for discerning what information is considered authoritative, one would investigate the author’s affiliations, background and topics of study. For example, GSW Faculty must document their authority in a specific field before they can teach in that field.

Information Creation as a Process


The Information Creation Process, much like the Writing Process, requires assimilation, evaluation, application, synthesis, and revision to obtain a final product that can be used to convey a message. The medium, cultural context, and method of conveying the message reflects the author’s influences during the creation process (ACRL, 2016). For example, on the Forums each post conveys a bit about a person’s nature, their process to get that information from inside themselves to the post they left behind. The course Write and Cite in the Lore Department is one of the first requirements of a new Apprentice, because creating information from source material is the first step in scholarship.

Information has Value


Information possesses several elements that give it value, from legal, political and socioeconomical; to cultural and content (ACRL, 2016). The value of any information is in its real-world application. For example, if I’m in Cosmology, and I’m writing a paper on Max Planck, the value in the information will focus around him finding energy quanta and providing the foundation for Quantum Mechanics, more than the fact that he was from a wealthy Austrian family of 6 children. Again, back to context. The value of information is in how it conveys the meaning of the context or assignment.

Research as Inquiry


Research is a continuous process of inquiry, observation, theory, experiment, and conclusion. Many of those conclusions will send you down new lines of inquiry. For professional academic researchers, this is their entire life (ARCL, 2016). For the Apprentice, know that your profound thesis at the end of your course, or the magnum opus produced in your practicum will not be the philosopher’s stone. It will not answer all the questions of the universe, but it may get you a bit closer to understanding the inquiries behind the questions.

Scholarship as Conversation


Scholarship is the discourse between communities of scholars as well as it is written in journals, or given in talks and presentations (ACRL, 2016). The Grey School of Wizardry is a community of like-minded scholars that collaborate, deliberate and evaluate research, findings, and theories about arcane and occult knowledge. How we relate source materials, course materials, and personal experiences; all through the lens of the departmental missions as well as the GSW mission is the core of Apprentice Life at GSW. Our community says as much about our scholarship as it does by how many papers we write.

Searching as Strategic Exploration


Authoritative and contextual information searching is non-linear. Scholars must be willing and open to many possibilities and be ready to try different approaches as necessary (ACRL, 2016). Information searching is as much a process to find the right sources as it is to create the synthesized information afterwards.

For example, I want to research Pythagoras, for Mathemagicks, but I get lost on some Youtube-Nut-Job who says that the pyramids were created with sacred geometry but doesn’t have any evidence to back up his claims. Now, you think he might be onto something good, but you find out that he has no authority, his references are conjecture, and have very little to provide foundation and stability to the contextual message that he wishes to rewrite Pythagorean Mysteries as Egyptian Mathematics and Architecture.

Though you like his idea, and wish that he could had provided more, but your assignment needs to be turned in tonight, and you don’t have enough time to contact the author. Therefore, you must put his theories on the back burner, and be willing to pursue another line of research that has more authority and credibility to support your assignment topic.

Conclusion


In the future it would be nice to see a Lore course based on Information Literacy, it is as valuable to a scholar as typing skills, but it is rarely covered in depth among many educational institutions. However, as a scholarly community, and one of the foremost communities studying Wizardry, scholarship is our trade, our craft. Therefore, it is our duty to be able to take Information Literacy skills and critically evaluate, theorize, experiment, synthesize, and contribute to the greater body of Wizardry Knowledge for those who will come after us.

References


Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016, January 11). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Retrieved April 3, 2020 from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Department of Lore [Grey]. (2005, January 1). Retrieved April 8, 2020 from https://registered.greyschool.com/index.php?module=Departments&func=display&tid=15

Information Literacy. (2020, April 2). Wikipedia. Retrieved April 3, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_literacy

Information Literacy Defined (n. d.). In The Library With The Lead Pipe. Retrieved April 8, 2020 from http://inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Information-Literacy-Definitions.doc

Lore Dept. (2020, April 4). Retrieved April 8, 2020 from https://www.gswhandbook.com/forum/lore-dept.

The Field of Wisdom

By Apprentice haroldlampley


Wisdom is at the basic foundational core of Wizardry. Wizards, in their general nature, have and exhibit wisdom in almost every aspect of their life.  They are required to have this extortionary insight in order to come up with viable solutions to push their communities forward in trying and challenging situations.  Wisdom has many different connotations and can be defined in a plethora of ways. In order to proceed with the assignment, one would have to first define what wisdom means and how it relates to the people who are being viewed as wise.


First, Merriam-Webster defines wisdom as 1A. ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: Insight 1B. a good sense: judgment 1C. generally accepted belief 1D. accumulated philosophical or scientific learning: knowledge 2. A wise attitude, belief, or course of action, 3. The teachings of the ancient wise men.


Second, intrinsically, I believe that wisdom is having the arcane, mundane, a vast knowledge of science, and a diverse amount of life experiences to provide advice and guidance on the situation at hand.  This definition that I’ve presented is vague and ever encompassing of everything.  However, at the basic fundamental one who has wisdom must be able to provide a path to the person who is seeking guidance otherwise wisdom can’t be transferred appropriately.


Third, wisdom can also take another form of trial and error, and this is the tried and true fashion of the ancient Wizard.  This is a form of self-growth and the beginning stages of leadership development. Self-reflection is the only way to learn new paths from your life experiences, and one should never regret their actions because it creates a part of who they are after their life experience.  Furthermore, a Wizard can’t have true wisdom without being able to organize, distribute, and provide guidance without adequate knowledge of or self-reflection of their life experiences.


Now that wisdom has been defined, proceeding with a list of influential historical and personal people who have wisdom is infinite but some of these people are Nikola Tesla, Abraham Lincoln, Merlin, Jesus, Martin Luther King, President Barak Obama, Aleister Crowley, Raymond Buckland, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, Elizabeth Lampley (my mom), Paula England (one of the teachers in my high school I went to), and myself.  The previous list of people are people who have changed the direction of history and have had wisdom.


Nikola Tesla (Tesla) is one of the greatest people in history, and had vast wisdom during his time on Earth. Tesla had a wealth of scientific knowledge and was able to use that wisdom to change the course of history. His greatest invention was Alternating Current, and it is currently used in modern day electricity.  This creation is something that the people of that time didn’t know that they needed, but it ended up helping the advancement of later generations. This type of wisdom is what helps move the world forward.


Finally, my mother, Elizabeth Lampley is the next person that I choose with Wisdom. My mom was not only able to overcome a life with very little materialistic things but also seemed like she had extreme wisdom.  My mom had advice that seemed like it was from ancient times, and knew things before they happened. I believe that most of her life experiences helped with providing the fundamentals of the advice. Additionally, her intuition also assisted with pulling the advice from the great banks of universal knowledge.


Works Cited


“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

Sources of Ceremonial Magick: Hermetica

By Dean Frater Adservio


“But the Father of all things, the Mind being Life and Light, brought forth Man like unto himself, whom he loved s his proper Birth; for he was all beauteous, having the image of his Father.”



Corpus Hermeticum: first Latin edition, by Marsilio Ficino, 1471 AD, an edition which belonged formerly to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Amsterdam.

The Hermetica is a collection of Greek-Egyptian texts that lays out a system of philosophy. They date to around the second century of the common era and, despite some scholarly debate, are generally believed to have been codified during the time when Egypt was occupied by the Romans. At this time, many different religious and philosophical beliefs existed in something resembling a form of syncretic harmony: early Christianity, paganism, Gnosticism, and more rubbed shoulders among the urban centers of Roman Egypt.


The Hermetica takes the form of dialogues, or discussions, between a teacher and a student covering the nature of the Divine, the cosmos, the mind, and nature. The teacher is generally identified as the mythical sage, Hermes Trismegistus.


Many texts of the hermetic tradition (named for Hermes Trismegistus) were lost over the centuries. However, some of them survived and later became popularized during the Renaissance in Italy. Scholar Marsilio Ficino translated thirteen of them in 1471, which would go on to heavily influence philosophers, magicians, and alchemists up through the 17th century. Later, the men and women responsible for the nineteenth-century occult revival would tap back into that stream and bring it forward into their own teachings.

So, what do we as modern practicing magicians inherit from the Hermetica that we can use in our practices? Quite a lot, actually:


  • The doctrine of the microcosm and macrocosm, “As above, so below.”

  • An understanding of the purposes of alchemy, astrology, and theurgy.

  • A teaching of reincarnation

  • Reflections on morality and good and evil

  • A cosmogony and creation myth, explaining the divine nature of man and explaining why we can do magic and command spirits

  • And a lot more too, if we can dig it up and understand it


The hermetica is one of the oldest sources of ceremonial magick that we can still get our hands on in any sort of comprehensive way. Its wisdom has influenced literally millennia of magicians and their influence is still felt today. It is well worth some study for any ceremonial magician.


Modern students are recommended to pick up two translations: "Hermetica" by Brian Copenhaver and "The Way of Hermes" by Clement Salaman. The former is an academically rigorous and accurate translation with plenty of footnotes that serve as explanatory material. The latter is a more modern and poetic rendition more suited to casual reading.

Ask the Wizard

By Grey Matters Staff


Here we answer questions submitted via email or by posting on Facebook! If you have your own question, email doc@greyschool.com.


"How much time do you have to complete each class? I've been crowded with too much and I don't have any more time left to waste so I need to know -- would the time I take to complete a class take any position in what grade I get for the class' final?"


Nope! All classes are at your own pace and your grade is based on the quality of your work, not how fast you turn it in.


"How should an apprentice approach picking a major and minor? Are they choices to be made purely out of self interest, or should there be some synergy between the two? Similar question with asking an advisor. Should they only be those that relate to your major or minor choice, or should it be based on other reasons (you enjoy their courses, a stronger tie to them, etc)?"


This is frankly a personal choice. Personally, I think it makes most sense to chose a major based on what interests an apprentice most or what they think will do them the most good to study. A minor can be used to diversity one's knowledge, to dabble in another lesser area of interest, or to pick up complementary skills.


"i finished reading the handbook and noticed the GSW makes references to the library (which i love having been a librarian myself). But i am in an iowa lock-up zone and all the libraries that i know of, even the university ones, are closed until further notice. i am literally just starting so my question may not be a problem, i may be assuming in error. If a class requires access to a DVD or book the person does not have, can not afford to buy and their library is closed, is there a GSW lending library? Is this a case where you should not take the class even if your major requires it. Should you save money and get the material later then retake the class so you can meet the materials needs. I will be happy if i learn i made a faulty assumption."


This idea has been raised before, but the logistics and cost of a lending library so far elude us. A class's instructor may be able to authorize a substitute, but if not then you would simply need to wait to take that class.


"Given my goals and situation, I sometimes wonder whether I would have been well-served if I had signed up the Magister program. Beyond what’s already written in the handbook about the topic, can you give some of your personal insights or advice on the benefits/drawbacks of Magister program? Do you ever recommend students to “switch tracks?”Thanks for your time!"


The real benefit of the Magister program is being able to take any class from any level, so long as you meet any prerequisites. This makes it ideally suited for experienced wizards who simply want access to all of our classes to help them learn and study more. The downside is that Magisters are not eligible to be recognized as Journeyman Wizards or serve as Prefects or Captains. I have recommended the Magister program to those who do not want to complete a formal course or study or follow a rigid Major or Minor, but rather prefer to take classes at will as they decide to learn more about a given topic.


"I'm in the White Wizard's Library class (which I'm liking a lot due to all the book recommendations, I just received a copy of The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie today), how would you describe the differences between Goetic and Enochian magick?

This is part of the class but I'm not fully clear about the differences. I'm not sure if this is covered in another class but wasn't sure while I was looking at the content of the class."


The essential difference lies in the nature of the spirits that the two systems work with. Goetic magick is best known for the 72 "demons" catalogued in the Lesser Key of Solomon. These are highly materialistic spirits that are mostly chthonic or terrestrial in nature. They are very "tuned" into our own material world and excel at getting things done there, but their nature can be one that prioritizes getting results fast rather than safely. Ask a goetic spirit for $50,000 and your house might burn down, putting a $50,000 insurance check in your hands. It takes experience, skill, and know-how to engage with them effectively.


Now, as far as Enochian magick goes, I will freely admit that this is not a specialty of mine. The magick deals primarily with a system of magick revealed by beings referred to as "Enochian angels" to John Dee and Edward Kelly and which they meticulously documented. Frankly, based on their writings and the experiences of magicians who have worked with them, I don't think that they are "angels" like other angelic beings commonly worked with by ceremonial magicians. I think that they are another order of being entirely. Many wizards have positive experiences working with them. However, due to the complexity of the system, Enochian is also not recommended for beginners.

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