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April 2024 Grey Matters

Grey Matters

April 2024



Table of Contents

1.) Retirement of Dean Ravensong

2.) Highspire Campus Opening 2026

3.) Dean's List

4.) New Apprentice Leadership Scabbard

5.) Lodge Cup Winner Announced

6.) Izanami - Japanese Death Goddess

7.) April Astrological Forecast

8.) Divination Dept Crossword


 

Retirement of Dean Katy Ravensong

By Grey Matter Staff


Effective April 1st, Dean Katy Ravensong has decided to accept a well-earned retirement from the duties of her position as Dean. While we will certainly miss her in the capacity she has filled so admirably, she will remain a Lector with GSW and may continue teaching classes as she wishes. Please stop by the forums at greyschool.net/forum/school-announcements/retirement-of-the-ravensong to share your well wishes.







 

Highspire Campus Opening 2026

By Headmaster Kingsley


The Grey School of Wizardry, in a significant evolution from its renowned online presence, is

thrilled to unveil our Highspire Campus, slated to open in 2026. This initiative marks a transformative leap, transitioning from the virtual to the tangible, and invites learners to immerse themselves in a richly interactive educational environment. Set against the backdrop of our enchanting campus in Whitehall, New York, GSW pupils will be given the opportunity to learn and live at Highspire manor, taking their studies in modern Wizardry to a new level. Find our more or apply today at https://www.greyschool.net/highspire

 

Dean's List for Fall Term 2023

By Dean Meighen


Fall Term 2023

 

As of the end of the Fall Term on the Vernal Equinox in the year 2024 CE, the following Apprentices have distinguished themselves through academic excellence and earned Dean's List nominations in at least three of their classes. By the power vested in the office of the Dean of Curriculum, I am pleased and honored to award these deserving individuals the honor of the Dean's List.


Their names are henceforth recorded here so that their achievement may be distinguished in perpetuity.


 

 Apprentice Phyrepharie

15 nominations

 

Apprentice Minyassa

8 nominations

 

Apprentice Shawn

3 nominations

 

Apprentice Dega

26 nominations

 

Apprentice Fenler Novastrum

4 nominations

 

Apprentice Wisdmawk

5 nominations

 

Apprentice Merqatyl Draconis

10 nominations

 

Apprentice Circe

4 nominations

 

Apprentice Grey_owl

9 nominations

 

Apprentice Venus Hellfire

3 nominations

 

Apprentice Xeno

6 nominations

 

 

Please join me in congratulating these hardworking Wizards for their dedication and commitment to their studies!

 

New Scabbard of Apprentice Leadership

By Grey Matters Staff



Having been duly elected by their peers, please welcome the newest Scabbard of Apprentice Leadership! May they guide their lodges well and in the spirit of their Elements!


Coterie of the Flowing Waters – Prefect Flaming Phoenix

Order of the Dancing Flames – Prefect Abbie

Society of the Four Winds – Prefect Tim

Circle of the Standing Stones – Prefect Dega

Captain – Captain Minyassa

 

Stones Lodge Wings the Lodge Cup

By Headmaster Kingsley


Good morning to all our esteemed wizards, and a warm welcome to the blossoming Spring and our exciting new Term!


A hearty round of applause for the Stones Lodge, our proud victors of the Winter 2023 Lodge Cup! Your achievements have truly set a high standard for excellence and camaraderie within our community.


Good form and here's to a great term to come!


 

Izanami – Japanese Death Goddess

By Apprentice Dega


Introduction


Within Japanese mythology and the Shinto religion, there exists the 7th generation of gods and goddesses of Japan, Izanagi and Izanami, who have a tremendous impact in Japan even to the modern day (Wikipedia, 2024). This Apprentice chose to focus on Izanami, a creator goddess who turned into a death goddess when she died giving birth to the fire god Kagu-Tsuchi (Kamiya, 2023). I felt this would be an interesting topic, as this goddess transformed into a death goddess, which seemed unique given her backstory. This essay will detail that backstory, to include the culture to which it is associated, various characteristics, and whether the deity is friendly or not. While Izanami is not the most popular of goddesses, she represents a very similar position of Kali, the Hindu goddess of creation and destruction, but in a refined, Japanese manner.


Izanami – Japanese Creator Deity





In the Japanese myths and religion, there are two gods, Izanami and Izanagi, who were paired together to create a number of islands. Eventually, they mated and created a number of gods as children (Wikipedia, 2024). Here, this Apprentice details Izanami, who is a creator god linked with creation and death in Japanese myth and the Shinto religion (Wikipedia, 2024). Here are some details about this myth (Wikipedia, 2024) :


- Associated Culture: Japanese and part of their creation myths and roles in the Shinto religion

- Friendly or Not?: When Izanami was living, she was very friendly; upon reaching the

Underworld Yomi, she maintained a neutral demeanor. Once her husband visited her in Yomi and left her, she vowed to take 1,000 lives each day. Thus, started with ‘yes’ and then

transitioned to ‘no’ when abandoned in the Underworld.

- Characteristics: Creator goddess of many islands of Japan; considered the Mother Goddess in Shinto; mythologically-speaking, Izanami is a direct ancestor of the Japanese Royal family; in the religious book The Kojiki, Izamani transferred her soul upon death to an animal and a human, but no mention of incarnation of these beings; while in the Underworld Yomi, Izanami hid in the shadows to cover her ugly, rotting appearance; after being scorned by her husband in Yomi, she vowed to ‘destroy’ 1,000 lives of the living each day; in the ancient text Nihonshoki, Izanami did not go to the Underworld Yomi, but permanently resides on the island of Awaji in a temple, and had three gods with her husband Izanagi: Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi, and Susanoo; became a goddess of death after giving birth to the fire god (Kamiya, 2023).


According to one scholar, “Izanami is a Japanese creation goddess with the power to create land, trees, islands, and other gods. However, when she became the goddess of the dead, she also gained the power of death and could command gods and spirits of the underworld” (Kamiya, 2023). This sets the tone why she is appropriate for not only this final essay, but in research to my ancestry as well (dell Uragano, Deathlore 300: Lesson 5 - The Afterlife: The Good, The Bad, and The Boring, 2022).


A Kojiki Backstory


One of the more interesting things about the ancient text the Kojiki, is that it speaks about life in the afterlife in Yomi the Underworld; apparently in Yomi, even the gods live with a decaying presence. It is not clear if this is true for mortals entering Yomi, but this is a clear transition from the ‘perfected bodies’ of the dead in Heaven in Christian religions. For example, in the Greek myths, the Underworld is simply a holding place of people but they don’t seem to live like mortals do (Durant, 1939); being alive is clearly better than being dead, but the Japanese myths of the Underworld Yomi seem to denote a more deeper meaning, possibly to live life to its fullest.


As the story goes, the happy couple entered tragic times when giving birth to their last child,

Kagu-Tsuchi (Incarnation of Fire), Izanami died (Wikipedia, 2024). Becoming enraged at his

wife’s death, Izanagi killed the child, which created dozens more deities in Japan (Wikipedia,

2024). Here this Apprentice likens the death of Kagu-Tsuchi just like the element of fire (Zell-Ravenheart, 2004), trying to ‘kill’ fire only spreads it as we see dozens more deities created.


Eventually, Izanagi could not stand the loss of his wife and went to bring her back from the

Underworld Yomi; this echoes many other myths such as the Greeks (Durant, 1939) and to some extent Jesus with the Christian religion (God Almighty, 1990); this theme of bringing someone back from death seems to be a common desire in humankind.





Izanagi finds Izanami, but she hides in the shadows (Wikipedia, 2024). Izanagi offers to bring her back to the land of the living, but Izanami reports that once one eats food from the Underworld, one cannot leave; this is similar in theme to the character Chihiro in Spirited Away, where she fades away into nothingness until Haku gives her some food from the spirit world (Miyazaki, 2001). However, Izanami tells her husband she might be permitted to visit from time to time (Wikipedia, 2024).


After talking for some time, sleep takes Izanami. She forbids Izanagi to follow her (Kamiya,

2023). Wanting to fully get a glimpse of his wife, he lights up a hairpiece to use as a torch and

sneaks in to discover that in the Underworld, Izanami’s body rotted like a corpse with maggots and other creatures running about her (Wikipedia, 2024).





Shocked, Izanagi starts for the land of the living, waking up his wife; Izanami shrieks for Izanagi to take her with him, but he refuses. Upon this, Izanami vowed to take 1,000 lives each day of the living (Wikipedia, 2024). To counter, Izanagi vows to give life to 1,500 people daily!


For this Apprentice, this last piece tells two-fold lesson. One, once people are dead, they are

dead; leave them be, the two worlds of the living and dead only touch when someone dies.

Izanami may or may not truly have maggots and a rotting body, but if that’s what it takes for the spirit world to have Izanagi move on with his life, so be it. Two, bringing someone back from the dead can have massive repercussions; Izanagi trying to return his wife costs 1,000 lives a day (Wikipedia, 2024) ; obvious, this myth explains the multitude of people dying daily, but there is an undertext not to dwell on people who have died.


Conclusion


The study of the goddess Izanami invokes special feelings that can only be described as a

harkening to a culture this Apprentice is far-removed; as a 3 rd generation (Sansei) member of my Japanese family, the stories of the Kojiki and Nihonshoki are never ‘familiar,’ but they do resonate in my spirit as ‘true’ or ‘noteworthy to remember later’ (Kingsley, 2023) . However, it is clear that some sort of these values have trickled down to me through the generations, and tends to make me consider, “What about death? How do I want to die? How do I want to be remembered? What burial process should I consider?” While I seem to have a few more years to contemplate the issue, one never knows when their time is up, except for another death god, the Shinigami (dellUragano, Deathlore 300: Lesson 8 - Death Personages, 2022).


Apprentice Dega


Works Cited


dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 0 - Syllabus. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from The Grey School of Wizardy: https://www.greyschool.net/lessons/7547

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 1 - Burial. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from

The Grey School of Wizardry: https://www.greyschool.net/lessons/7548

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 2 - Cremation. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from The Grey School of Wizardry: https://www.greyschool.net/lessons/7549

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 3 - Sky Burial. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from The Grey School of Wizardry: https://www.greyschool.net/lessons/7550

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 4 - Water Burial. Retrieved February 8, 2024, from The Grey School of Wizardry: https://www.greyschool.net/lessons/7551

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 5 - The Afterlife: The Good, The Bad, and The Boring. Retrieved February 11, 2024, from The Grey School of Wizardry:

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 6 - Taking it with you when you go. Retrieved from The Grey School of Wizardry: https://www.greyschool.net/lessons/7553

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 7 - Death Superstitions. Retrieved from The

dell Uragano, O. (2022). Deathlore 300: Lesson 8 - Death Personages. Retrieved from The Grey School of Wizardry: https://www.greyschool.net/lessons/7555

Durant, W. (1939). The Life of Greece. New York: Simon & Schuster.

God Almighty. (1990). Holy Bible (New Revised Standard Version). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Kamiya, A. (2023, February 8). Izanami, Japanese Goddess of Death | Mythology & Role. Retrieved from Study.Com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/izanami-japanese-goddess-mythology-role.html

Kingsley, N. (2023, May 19). Unraveling Magick: An In-Depth Examination of the

Psychological, Spiritual, and Resonance Models. Retrieved October 13, 2023, from

examination-of-the-psychological-spiritual-and-resonance-models

Miyazaki, H. (Director). (2001). Spirited Away [Motion Picture].

Wikipedia. (2024). Izanami. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izanami

Zell-Ravenheart, O. (2004). Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard. Franklin Lakes: Career Press.

 

April 2024 Astrological Forecast

By Grey Matters Staff


As the pages of the calendar turn to what promises to be an eventful month, April emerges not merely as a spring awakening but as a cosmic ballet, orchestrating a series of celestial phenomena that eclipse the ordinary. The astrological forecast for this month is akin to a celestial symphony, with movements ranging from the year's inaugural Mercury retrograde to a solar spectacle unseen since 2017, a dramatic Mars-Saturn tango, a fortunate Jupiter-Uranus rendezvous, and the ushering in of Taurus season, among other significant cosmic occurrences.


April starts with the universe playing its own version of an April Fool’s joke, as Mercury retrograde kicks off in Aries on the first of the month. Mercury, the maestro of communication and the infrastructure of our digital and literary pathways, finds itself in the fiery embrace of Aries, the zodiac's trailblazer. This period, while traditionally marked by technological and travel mishaps, also beckons us to channel Aries' unbridled courage, satiate our curiosities, leap into the unknown, and vocalize our desires without restraint.

As Venus, the planet of love and aesthetics, enters Aries, it stokes the flames of assertiveness in our quests for pleasure and injects relationships with a dose of spontaneity and zeal. The total solar eclipse on April 8th casts its shadow across America, a celestial spectacle that last graced the skies in 2017 and won’t do so again until 2044. Eclipses herald times of significant personal and collective transitions, and this particular event, aligning with Chiron, prompts a journey through our deepest insecurities towards the liberation of our true purpose.


Matters get more complex on April 10th as Mars, the dynamo of drive, collides with Saturn, the custodian of discipline. This celestial confrontation might stir the pot of stress and contention, yet it also offers a crucible for fortitude and perseverance. The following days provide a respite, preparing us for Taurus season, which begins on April 20th, inviting us to embrace sufficiency and contentment in our lives.


On April 21st, Jupiter and Uranus align in a rare confluence that last occurred in 2010, historically signaling eras ripe with breakthroughs, awakenings, and innovations. This alignment promises to usher in a phase of creative and expansive shifts across various spheres of human endeavor.


As we bid adieu to the eclipse season with the full moon in Scorpio on April 23rd, we're invited to release the last vestiges of metaphysical clutter. And for those feeling the weariness of the month's astral whirlwind, Mars' return to Aries on April 30th ensures a resurgence of vitality, igniting our endeavors with Aries' indefatigable spirit.


April 2024 is not just another chapter in the calendar but a pivotal moment promising transformations, challenges, and awakenings. As we navigate this tumultuous yet rewarding period, remember: the stars may guide us, but it is our choices that define our destinies.

 

GSW Divination Department Crossword

By Grey Matters Staff





Complete this month's crossword online at https://crosswordlabs.com/view/gsw-divination-crossword


Or download a PDF:


GSW Divination Crossword - Crossword Labs
.pdf
Download PDF • 53KB
 

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