The Grey Matters
Table of Contents
1.) Imbolc 2021 Moot Recording
2.) Defensors Club
3.) Homesteading Club Approved
4.) GSW Ritual Club Changes
5.) New Policy Regarding Club Presidents
6.) Ask the Wizard
7.) New Class Announcement: Information Literacy for Wizards
8.) Department Challenge Roundup
9.) Modern and Classical Astrology
10.) The Stages of Wizardry
11.) Resources for Improving Your Writing
Imbolc 2021 Moot Recording
By Captain Malcorr Greyseeker and Apprentice Leadership
By Captain Malcorr Greyseeker
Ever take a course in the Dark Arts department and think "Wow, I wish we could explore more into that topic."?
You are in luck! We are looking to bring the Defensor's Club back from the ashes. We cannot become a fully recognized and functional club without your help and interest! If you want to see the details, check it out here:
Homesteading Club Approved
By Prefect BlueCapucian
It is with great pleasure I announce that a new club has been approved; the Homesteading Club! This club will involve discussion and sharing for all things home related. We will share about gardening, cooking, preserving food, sewing, crochet, knitting, pets and livestock. We will have meetings on vGSW and Discord. Our plan is to have an active interaction on the Wix/forums and Discord. We can share at any time with these platforms and meet "in person" at scheduled times on Discord and on the vGSW campus. Join us and let's share our successes, failures and knowledge of many lands.
Learn more at https://www.greyschool.net/forum/homesteading-club
GSW Ritual Club Changes
By Dean Adservio
I have some exciting news to share with all of you concerning the GSW Ritual Club. The Administration recognizes the great importance and service that you all provide to the school and are exceedingly grateful. In fact, we want to continue supporting the club and helping it to become something special. To that end, a few changes have been made to how the club operates.
1. The GSW Ritual Club has organized itself as a formal club as defined by the Apprentice Handbook (https://www.greyschool.net/clubs). This means it has a charter, an elected president, and a faculty advisor.
2. The club will begin to participate in an ongoing process of studying and learning from rituals both historic and modern, under the guidance of the faculty advisor.
3. The club will continue to design and perform rituals for GSW events. However, the expectation is that the club members will be able to draw on what they have learned through the last point to help them become even better at doing so. Also, there will be mandatory rehearsals and performances that need to occur before the rituals are performed at GSW events. This will help to elevate the performance aspect to an even higher level.
The Vision we have for the club that we aim to achieve through these changes is twofold:
1. That the GSW Ritual Club will aid and support interested apprentices to learn and deepen their understanding of ritual as well as their skill at performing it, and
2. That the GSW Ritual Club will continue to exemplify the best that the school has to offer in their public performance of ritual in support of school events.
If you have ever wanted to participate in the Ritual Club, now is a great time to jump in! Join us on the forums at https://www.greyschool.net/forum/gsw-ritual-club and, if you wish, come participate in our next scheduled vGSW meeting in the Clubhouse at 4 PM Eastern on 2/2121.
New Policy Regarding Club Presidents
By Dean Emrhys Starhawk
Good evening Apprentices! I hope everyone had a safe and fun filled weekend!
I just wanted to take a second and inform the School body of a policy the Admin Council put into place effective immediately. The new policy is that all Apprentices desiring to serve as a Club President must complete the Wizardry 100 class. This ensures that the Clubs are continuing to uphold the vision of Wizardry and the vision of this School. Before you submit your club charter to the Dean of Students office please ensure this requirement has been met.
Please note that clubs approved before this policy took effect are exempt; however the Wizardry 100 class is still a core required class for all Apprentices so get on that!
I hope everyone has a safe and productive week!
Ask the Wizard
By Grey Matters Staff
Apprentice DarkArckana asks: "Can you be a hero and a wizard at the same time? Like some sort of magickal hero that draws upon their wisdom and power to aid them in their mission?"
What a great question! This actually touches on some very important elements of what “wizardry” means here at the GSW, so I’m going to do my best to answer it comprehensively.
Firstly, wizardry is more than just casting spells or studying thick tomes full of arcana. To be a wizard at once encompasses a philosophy, an attitude, and a set of skills. A wizard is one who aims to have knowledge and wisdom that they apply in service to others, whether by giving counsel to others or by fostering and helping a wider community or through yet other means.
To borrow term from Carl Jung, "wizard" is an archetype: that is, a collection of behaviors, thoughts, and traits that revolve around a specific theme or principle. For wizards, those include knowledge, wisdom, thought, understanding, and power. The power is a a result of knowledge, for the wizard knows how to manipulate the world and its forces.
Now, let’s move onto the idea of a "hero." Joseph Campbell popularized the idea of the “Hero’s Journey,” or the near-universal monomyth of how a hero character undergoes a series of trials and struggles that leads them from innocence or ignorance into a mature adult who is fully in touch with their own self. The hero, like the wizard, is also an archetype. It centers around trial, tribulation, struggle against enemies and obstacles, victory, and becoming a better person as a result of their efforts.
Joseph Campbell identified that heroes often have wizards who mentor them and help them on their journeys. Think of Gandalf and Frodo, or of the eponymous Mentor and Telemachus, or Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker. The important point here is this: there is both a wizard and a hero, and they are not the same.
Looked at from the perspective of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, the hero is a child in the process of growing up. The adventure they go on is their process of maturation. The wizard is already grown up, wise in the ways of the world and able to guide the hero. You cannot do both at once: if you are embodying the hero archetype, you cannot mentor yourself.
So, the short answer is: no, you cannot fulfill the role of both hero and wizard simultaneously. They are two different things that do not necessarily overlap. Wizards mentor, teach, guide, counsel, and machinate in order to carry out their designs in service of others. Heros go forth boldly and valiantly to tackle issues head-on through their own resources and strength, perhaps gathering allies to themselves as they do so. However, there is a lot more that can be said on the matter. The real answer might be better phrased as “no, but . . .”
No, a wizard cannot also be a hero, but they may venture forth with the hero and face dangers alongside them. Gandalf carried a sword and staff and fought alongside his friends and allies. So did Obi-Wan Kenobi. A wizard may not be the hero, but they can do heroic things: they can be strong, courageous, determined, and face danger if needed. In that case, their wisdom and power will surely serve them well.
No, a wizard cannot also be a hero, but a hero may become a wizard some day. Once they are older and retire from their adventures, the former hero may take up the role of teacher and mentor themselves.
No, a wizard cannot also be a hero, but they are not necessarily passive observers other. Wizards are born meddlers, and sometimes that means getting their hands dirty with the work at hand.
In summary, we answer that it is not possible to be both a wizard and a hero at one time, at least not in the sense of those roles as archetypes embedded within the Hero’s Journey framework and as the role of the wizard is envisioned within the GSW. However, that doesn’t preclude a wizard from doing heroic things (in the sense of doing brave or courageous acts) or a hero from eventually maturing into a wizard.
New Class Announcement: Information Literacy for Wizards
By Dean Adservio
Well met, apprentices and magisters, as well as friends of the Grey School! I have the pleasure of announcing that a new class is available on the Grey School's web platform and is now accepting enrollments.
"Information Literacy for Wizards" offers a crash-course to get you up to speed with the essential knowledge and skills to wisely and discerningly choose sources of information for research. It also outlines basic skills for navigating the sea of information we find ourselves floating in every day.
If you are befuddled by primary or secondary sources, confused by why some news is "fake news," or unsure how to think critically about the stuff you see on social media, this is the class for you.
This class is located in the Lore Department at Level 1.
Department Challenge Roundup
By Grey Matters Staff
Wizardry Department: https://www.greyschool.net/forum/wizardry-dept/wizardry-dept-february-challenge
Modern and Classical Astrology
By Apprentice Snork
For practitioners, their approach to Astrology can be split into either Classical (Traditional) or Modern. Since it is more concerned with the happenings on the Earth, Classical Astrology is both predictive and deterministic. Classical Astrology uses only the traditional five Planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). and the two Luminaries (Sun and Moon). Meanwhile, Modern Astrology includes all the Planets in the solar system (and Pluto), asteroids, and other heavenly bodies. The focus of Modern Astrology is the person. To that end, it uses psychological principles to explore and explain a person’s Natal Chart.
In Classical Astrology, fate is more important than free will. William Lilly (English, 1602-1681), in his “Christian Astrology (1647),” established practical rules to interpreting charts of events and questions to be answered. According to Lilly, the Planets have Elemental Dignities of Rulership, Exaltation, Fall, and Detriment. These Dignities determine how the Planet will affect the answer to the question being asked. Therefore, the Planets are divided into fortunate (benefic) and unfortunate (malefic).
Planets have a Rulership in a Sign and House. Unlike the modern sense of Rulership, Classical Astrology defines it as “strength” instead of “affinity.” Rulership is when and where the Planets express their best selves. Therefore, how Planets interact with each other is based on their Elemental Dignities (what House and Sign they are in at the time of the casting). To understand their interactions, the Ptolemaic Aspects of Sextile, Square, Triad, and Opposition are analyzed for each Planet.
In Classical Astrology, the heavenly bodies only comprise the five classic Planets with the two Luminaries. The order of these bodies is based on their distance from the Earth. Since the Earth is stationary, the order is geocentric. The Chaldean (Ptolemaic) Order is Saturn (the greater Malefic), Jupiter (the greater Benefic), Mars (the lesser Malefic), the Sun, Venus (the lesser Benefic), Mercury (reflecting the Planet he is closest to), and the Moon respectively.
Modern Astrology started in the early 20th century when Alan Leo (William Frederick Allan, British,1860-1917) created an astrology based on psychological principles. Rather than the stars predicting the future, they now indicated a person’s character. A Theosophist, he also added karma and reincarnation to the interpretation of the Natal Chart. In so doing, Leo also side-stepped the question of free will versus fate. He also sought to legitimize Astrology by applying scientific laws to the craft. Leo did this to avoid being arrested for fortune-telling.
Dane Rudhyar (Daniel Chenneviere, French-American, 1895-1985), another Theosophist, founded Transpersonal Astrology. His book, “The Astrology of Personality (1930),” presented the Natal Charts as insights, not predictions. According to Rudhyar, Astrology offered choices, with people having total free will. He saw Astrology as the “workings of cycles and holistic patterns in people’s lives.” (Rudhyar is also known for his presentation of the Sabian Symbols (a 20th Century development) for each degree of the Zodiac.)
In regards to the Planets, Rudhyar said that Jupiter needs to work within Saturn since that Planet forms the purpose of a person’s life. The Planet Saturn offers the structure to do that. Meanwhile, Uranus (a non-Classic Planet) will pierce through the walls of Saturn, and abruptly change things. (This differs from Jupiter being the Planet of expansion, while Saturn is the Planet of restriction in Classical Astrology.)
In Modern Astrology, the newer Planets – Uranus, Neptune and Pluto - are important to the workings of the charts. Included in Natal Charts are the asteroids such as Ceres, Chiron, Juno, Pallas, and Vesta. Lilith, in her various forms such as the Black Moon Lilith, are plotted as well. While the Asteroids affect an individual’s character, the outer (newer) Planets impact the character of generations.
In the 1970s, the Twelve Letter Alphabet System was introduced by Zipporah Dobyns (American, 1921-2003). Also known as the ABC System of Astrology, the system has the Houses correspond with the Signs, which then correspond to the Planets. An example would be First House (A), Ares (B), and Mars (C). In this system, the Planets are Archetypes. Meanwhile, the Zodiac Sign determines how the Planet will manifest in a House.
The ABC System changes the meanings of the Planets from their Classical sources. For example, Venus, the traditional ruler of love, is now associated with the Second House. That House governs resources, and has Venus ruling money. In Classical Astrology, Mercury is the Planet who rules money and exchanges. Another example is the Sun which is associated with Leo. Now because Leo rules the Fifth House, the Sun now governs children. Classic Astrology has the Sun ruling royalty instead.
When I first encountered Astrology, it did not interest me. It seemed to be inane and chaotic. After reading about William Lilly and his works, I realized how elegant Classical Astrology was. In contrast, Modern Astrology is more ad-hoc and int