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February 2024 Grey Matters

Grey Matters

February 2024

Table of Contents

1.) GSW Now on Instagram

2.) Instructor Ferraz Promoted 3.) Highspire Campus Program 4.) Candleside Chat 5.) New GSW Class Site 6.) Interested in Apprentice Leadership? 7.) The Education of the Bard 8.) February 2024 Astrological Program


GSW Now on Instagram

By Headmaster Kingsley

Well met Wizards one and all,

I hope that the day finds everyone in good health and high spirits!

We're Excited to announce that You can now follow the Grey School on Instagram! -


Instructor Ferraz Promoted to Professor

By Headmaster Kingsley

Well met Wizards one and all, I hope that the day finds you in good health and high spirits!

It brings me immense joy to announce the well-deserved promotion of Instructor Ferraz to the esteemed position of Professor!

Based in Brazil, Professor Ferraz is a wizard of remarkable skill and breadth, with a multidisciplinary background that spans across fortune-telling, psychoanalysis, and biology. With his hands-on work in the field, Professor Ferraz embodies the spirit of a Brown Wizard, drawing wisdom from the living Earth and sharing it with our community.

A practitioner deeply rooted in Germanic Traditions, Professor Ferraz brings the profound wisdom of Galdr and a diverse cultural heritage to his teaching. From his early days as the first Brazilian Apprentice at GSW and a Lodge Prefect to his impactful work for the people of Brazil, his journey has been one of leadership, unity, and unwavering dedication to the Trade of Wizardry. As he steps into his new role, Professor Ferraz brings his academic expertise as well as invaluable field experience and a dedication to ecological awareness that is vital for the future of wizardry and our planet.

Let us all congratulate Professor Ferraz on his new role, where his expansive knowledge, philosophical insights, and commitment to education will continue to enrich and inspire everyone in our community.

Ho the Megapode!

~Headmaster Kingsley


Highspire Campus Program

By Headmaster Kingsley

Well met everyone!

We have some exciting news!!

We at GSW are thrilled to announce our Highspire Campus Program, an immersive, in-person educational experience in the Trade and practice of wizardry. This innovative program is set to commence on May 4th, 2026, at the historic Highspire Manor in Whitehall, New York.

The Highspire Campus Program marks a significant expansion of our educational offerings, combining the wisdom of our online courses with the richness of on-site, experiential learning. This 6-month program offers our Apprentices a unique opportunity to live and study at Highspire Manor, fully immersing themselves in both the practical and theoretical aspects of wizardry.

Key Features of the Highspire Campus Program:

# Six Months of In-Person Education: A rigorous curriculum equivalent to 70 online courses, Half the required studies to graduate.

# Historic and Enchanting Location: Highspire Manor and its extensive facilities.

# Experiential Learning Opportunities: Including expeditions and hands-on workshops.

# Distinguished Guest Lecturers: Including renowned wizards and local community leaders.

# Community Engagement: Participation in local village activities and history.

# Comprehensive Support: Tuition covers lodging, meals, and a rich educational experience.

# Accessible Payment Options: Partnership with Afterpay Financial Services for manageable payments.

This program is designed for serious apprentices who are committed to deepening their knowledge and skills in a unique and dynamic setting. It promises to be a transformative journey, blending the philosophical and metaphysical with the everyday, as well as fostering personal growth and community support skills.

Join us at Highspire Manor and be part of this extraordinary chapter in the history of the Grey School of Wizardry.

For more details and Preregistration, visit our website at


Candleside Chat

By Grey Matters Staff

Make sure to check out the first Candleside Chat of 2024 at

Up for discussion are the release of our new website, the 2026 Physical Enrollment program, The Upcoming Realms Project and the release of the Updated Psyche Program!


New GSW Class Website

By Headmaster Kingsley

Well Met Wizards one and all,

I hope that the day finds you in high spirits and good health!

As we unveil our new class site on the First and revel in all the exciting changes that come with it I believe it is important that we manage our expectations, at least, to a degree. It's important to acknowledge that while it marks an improvement for GSW, it is not without its limitations. You will likely encounter loading times of 5 - 9 sec, occasional glitches, or the need to refresh the odd page for full functionality. These issues, while minor, are part of the reality of transitioning to a new and more dynamic system. Should you encounter any bugs, or if you have suggestions for new features or improvements, we ask you please make a post here -

Contrastingly, these inconveniences are minimal compared to the challenges of our old system. Previously, many of you faced instances of some fairly substantial hurdles, such as feedback not being received, lessons disappearing, prolonged load times of 30-40 seconds, site URLs redirecting incorrectly, and even lost assignments due to submission delays. These issues at times significantly hindered the learning experience and efficiency of our platform and, sadly, have caused a great many to Drop Out over the years.

The true strength of our new site lies not just in overcoming these obstacles but in its potential for growth and adaptability. Unlike the previous system, which required specialized technical expertise for modifications, the new platform empowers us to make changes directly and efficiently. This flexibility is invaluable, allowing us to continually evolve and improve our site to meet the changing needs of our most Wizardly community.

As the Grey School of Wizardry embarks on a new era with the launch of our updated class site, we reaffirm our commitment to providing unparalleled esoteric education. This platform, while a significant improvement, is part of a journey towards perfection. Its strengths lie in its enhanced functionality, enriched learning tools, and a foundation for future growth and innovation. We eagerly anticipate embarking on this journey with our community, both new enrollees and returning members, to explore and grow together in this dynamic educational landscape.

Yours in Service,


Interested in Apprentice Leadership?

By Grey Matters Staff

The Spring Equinox is coming soon, and with it comes a new Term at GSW. If you are interested in pursuing a role as Prefect, the time to act is now. Review the information at and confirm that you meet the requirements. Then, reach out to your Lodge Prefect or the Captain to get the inside scoop on how to prepare to put your name forward when the time comes.


The Education of the Bard: Celtic Poets, Historians and Scholars

By Apprentice Dega

“Irish Civilization was thus from the beginning marked by intellectual passion. Now the bardic schools were the seat of that passion. In them was the flame nursed, fed, distributed siolta teine- (seeds of fire)…at what time they were founded we don’t know, for the bardic order existed in prehistoric times, and their position in society is well established in the earliest tradition.”

- Alice Stopford-Green (Carney)


In the modern day, many people have an aversion to education; while many pursue education to achieve certain financial goals, Celtic Bards pursued their art by following their talent or by family tradition. According to Philip Freeman, “In the ancient Celtic world, a poet was the modern equivalent of rock star, academic historian, and political commentator all rolled into one” (Freeman). However, this skill and fame came at a price; Bard training was unique and effective due to its intense focus on learning. Occasionally, notes Lewis Spence, Irish Bards acted as diviners, and the Filids, the higher poetic caste, employed spells and studied traditional incantations (Spence, Druids: Their Origins and History). While surviving documents of the era do not always agree, the strenuous training of the Bard is indeed legendary.

Bards and Fili

In my previous article, ‘The Way of the Bard: Guardians of Celtic Tradition’, I detailed a class distinction between Bards and Fili (Minatani); in short, the Bard would be recognized and employed per his place in society and education. As the Bardic profession established itself, Bards were considered those not having scholarly training and resting upon innate talent for poetry (World History Biz); this consideration often denigrated Bards as lyric poets, oral performance poets, or simply illiterate poets (World History Biz). Thus, the Bard was considered part of the lowest-ranking members, whereas the Fili were the gifted, high-class amateurs (World History Biz). The Bardic profession was varied and diversified due to talent, skill, and status (Minatani).

The Scholar’s Primer – Auraicept na n-Eces

Before jumping straightaway into the curriculum of the Bardic profession, let’s consider one of the older primers that survived: Auraicept na n-Eces (The Scholar’s Primer). The Scholar’s Primer is an estimated 7th century Old Irish document focusing on language and grammar (Lets Learn Irish). Material from The Scholar’s Primer survive in 15th century texts such as The Yellow Book of Lecan and the Book of Ballymote (Lets Learn Irish). According to one source, this book was “filled with word games, puzzles, playful meanings and all sorts of quirks to start stretching and expanding the new student’s minds” (Lets Learn Irish). When the students were given breaks, this was the book they read.

Bardic School Framework

There could be no one overall template comprising a Bardic school to relate modern readers to this organic secular institution, as each was highly developed in Ireland since the High Middle Ages and was equivalent to a university education (Lets Learn Irish). Many scholars contend that Bardic schools survived until the middle of the 17th century.

Instruction included the Irish language, literature, history, and Brehon Law (Lets Learn Irish). Bardic schools were usually situated in quiet areas devoid of noise and people (Carney). The academic year began in November and ended in March (Carney). In addition, an Ollamh would be the master of the school which demanded that he be a strict disciplinarian (Carney) and the school was usually the Ollamh’s home (Lets Learn Irish), especially in the 14th century.

This long tradition produced many poets, historians and scholars which also saw the revival of the study of traditional Irish historical lore and genealogies (Lets Learn Irish). Such training involved “transcribing old Irish saga texts, historical tracts, and genealogies from the 12th century manuscripts of the pre-reform Church schools” (Lets Learn Irish). Ogham study was also part of this tradition, as many first-year poets were required to learn up to 50 varieties of Ogham tablets (Lets Learn Irish).

Overall Graduation Requirements to Ollamh

According to Carney, the main focus for Bardic schools was “reading well, writing in the Mother-tongue, and a strong memory” (Carney). Another source cited that the properly trained Ollamh needed to know 350 tales, competent in all historical science and Irish jurisprudence (World History Biz). Yet another source cited an Irish Poet’s School syllabus from the 1100s that listed a course of seven years to become an Ollamh, including an additional five years of postgraduate study (Lets Learn Irish). For Spence, “A good deal of traditional matter concerning the Irish Bards may be gleaned from the texts. It is said that they studied for twelve years to gain the barred cap and title of Ollamh. The meters employed by them were exceedingly varied” (Spence, Druids: Their Origins and History).

Drawing from Carney’s research, he stated:

"As far as can be ascertained, each student in Kilclooney would have to master Latin as well as the native Gaeilge. It was said that the students of those schools were far more than just poets or fili in Irish. They were all-round scholars that won fame and respect both at home and abroad. It is claimed that their apprenticeship took no less than twelve years (although some suggest six or seven) and it demanded considerable sacrifice from those involved" (Carney).

As one can see, there was considerable time dedicated to the study of the Bardic arts. Once the Bard’s training was complete, they commanded the respect and fear worthy of their station (Freeman).

Education – The Bardic Way

Many contemporary readers might envision Bardic learning as simple, relaxed, and fun-filled; according to records left behind of the Bardic training, the physical, mental, and emotional demands were indeed great. Let’s take a look at the learning environment recorded in ancient texts (Carney):

1 – As said before, the Bard schools were isolated places, outside the reach of noise and the interactions of people.

2 – Student domiciles consisted of a low hut, beds, tables, seats, candles, and sometimes a clothes rack.

3 – Students were given a thorough examination and divided into classes in regard to their age, genius, and previous schooling, if any.

4 – Professors gave a subject suitable to the capacity of each class. The subject would have a set number of rhymes, which detailed strict rules on syllables, quartans, concord, correspondence, termination and union.

5 – Subjects were given at night, and students worked the subject by himself on his bed, continuing on the whole next day in the dark, and ending at a certain hour of the night when the Professor brought in the lights; after the lights were brought in, the students committed their work to writing.

6 – Once the writing of the subject was completed, students were dressed and commanded into a large room where the masters awaited. The students demonstrated their performance, which may either be corrected or approved.

7 – The next day, the students were given fresh subjects, starting the process all over again!

For some schools, like the Kilclooney school, the students had to write their performances and remember what they wrote to recite it all verbatim (Carney). Such training, even today, is rarely seen nor often allowed in modern schools.

Free Time for Bard-Trainees?

According to written records, Bardic students from Saturday until Sunday night were allowed to visit home; other times, the students visited local gentry who would “curry favor with them as the trained poets had the power to praise or denigrate individuals at any level of society” (Carney). According to an ancient writer, Bardic students “rarely return to the Academy empty-handed. On the contrary, generous gifts of food and liquor were heaped upon them along with warm renewals of hospitality” (Carney). In addition, Gaelic chiefs and Norman lords often were patrons of the Bardic students. Here, careers and reputations were built by denial of personal free time on the weekends. Citing poetic stories of these lords and chiefs by the Bard students by telling of heroic deeds helped build great reputations later when the students graduated for future employment.

Divination and Incantation

Sometimes, during an especially ecstatic state of flowing poetry, the Irish Bards sometimes acted as diviners concluding a poem with a prophetic declaration (Spence, Druids: Their Origins and History). Concerning incantations and spells, Spence explains:

"The Filids of Ireland, the higher poetic caste, employed spells, and a feature of Bardic training in Ireland was the study of traditional incantations which were believed to produce magical results…They appear to have undergone a severe course of instruction in the magical arts, in the recitation of tales, the study of grammar, the deciphering of the Ogham script, as well as in ‘Philosophy’ and law, and in poetical composition…and they seem to have been versed in the significance of obsolete and abstruse terms” (Spence, Druids: Their Origins and History).

While the discussion of divination, incantations, and spells is outside the scope of this particular article, it is clear that history acknowledges the magickal workings of the Bards based on their intense training. A future article will delve more deeply into this fascinating and textured segment of Bardic training.


While the surface has barely been scratched concerning the intense and varied training of the Bards, this article attempted to provide a short and concise overview of Bardic education. From The Scholar’s Primer to Ogham tablets, the difference between the castes of Bard and Fili to graduation requirements, Bardic education methodology to weekend free time, one may conclude there is still much more yet to learn and discover. In addition, the learning of incantations and expressing divinatory statements sounds the stuff of legends. Indeed, this may have been the case. Upon researching the evidence for this article, this author is at once stunned and impressed by the ancient training methods of the Bards and Fili; as others conduct future research, it is hoped that researchers take a step back and realize, in speaking of the ancient Bards, they do not make Bards like that anymore!

Works Cited

Carney, Noel. Milltown's Bardic School: Kilclooney Castle. 25 February 2019. 15 October 2023. < >.

Freeman, Philip. The Philosopher and the Druids. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.

Lets Learn Irish. The Bardic Schools and Auraicept na n-Eces. 30 April 2023. 24 August 2023. <,middle%20of%20the%2017th%20century>.

Minatani, Corey. "The Way of the Bard: Guardians of the Celtic Tradition." Oran Mor: The Celtic E-Zine of the New Order of Druids VZW/NPO 69 (2023): 5-9.

Rolleston, T. W. The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, 1910.

Spence, Lewis. Druids: Their Origins and History. London: Rider & Company, 1949.

—. The Magic Arts in Celtic Britan. London: Rider & Company, 1945.

World History Biz. Bardic Order, In Ireland. 19 August 2015. 15 October 2023. < >.


February 2024 Astrological Forecast

By Grey Matters Staff

As the calendar flips to February 2024, an air of anticipation envelops us, bridging the gap between the frosty embrace of winter and the spark of spring. This month, we find ourselves at the crossroads of tradition and transformation, courtesy of an extraordinary surge in Aquarian energy. With a staggering six out of ten major astrological bodies navigating through the sign of Aquarius, the universe seems to conspire in favor of innovation, social justice, and community spirit. It's a clarion call to those who dare to dream, to the architects of change, and to the hearts yearning for a touch of the unconventional—it's your moment to lead the parade.

The cosmic dance commences on February 5th, with Mercury, the harbinger of communication, stepping boldly into Aquarius. Its rendezvous with Pluto, the harbinger of transformation, challenges us to dismantle conventional boundaries and embrace the possibilities that lie beyond. In this era christened as the Age of Aquarius, the seeds of revolutionary thought are sown, poised to sprout into existence. The New Moon on February 9th, intimately linked with Uranus, the beacon of freedom, ushers in a wave of unexpected opportunities and beckons us to shatter the chains of the past, setting our sights on uncharted territories of passion and innovation.

Mid-month, between February 13th and 16th, Mars and Venus, the celestial bodies of desire and affection, weave into Aquarius, culminating their cosmic flirtation on February 22nd. This celestial alignment heralds a period of burgeoning relationships, setting the stage for emotional investments that will define the coming years. The wisdom of this phase lies in the art of balance—navigating the thrill of new connections with mindfulness and resilience, welcoming the unknown while safeguarding one's tranquility.

As Pisces season dawns on February 19th, with Mercury trailing on the 23rd, the focus gently shifts towards introspection, creative indulgence, and the soothing rhythms of poetic expression. Imagine drifting into a dreamscape, serenaded by melancholic melodies, a testament to the yearlong journey of Saturn in Pisces, inviting a moment of reflection on our spiritual and emotional evolution.

The month's celestial curtain call occurs on February 24th with the Full Moon in Virgo, a time when Jupiter's grace in Taurus lends us the strength to cleanse lingering shadows from our aura. As February wanes, a rare conjunction of the Sun, Mercury, and Saturn in Pisces on the 28th pierces through the preceding tumult, offering a glimpse of clarity and the promise of enchantment as we step into March, ready to weave our own spells of magic in the dance of life.



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