April 2020 Grey Matters

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

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

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

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 o