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July 2023 Grey Matters

Grey Matters

June 2023

Table of Contents

1.) GSW's 19th Birthday

2.) Welcome New Provost and Dean of Students

3.) Highspire Halloween

4.) GSW Named Top-Rated Non-Profit

5.) Core Energy Practices Physical Class

6.) June 2023 Solstice Moot Writeup

7.) Monthly Class Spotlight

8.) August Astrological Forecast

9.) An Interview with Frater U.D.

10.) GSW Alchemy Dept Crossword


Happy 19th Birthday, GSW!

By Headmaster Kingsley

Today, August 1st, 2023, marks a significant milestone in our journey here at the Grey School of Wizardry. Nineteen years ago, our virtual doors opened to the world, embarking on a mission to teach the Wisdom of the Ages to aspiring scholars around the globe, making esoteric knowledge available for generations to come.

In these nineteen years, we've seen remarkable growth and transformation at the Grey School. Faculty members have contributed their expertise, classes have been continually refined, new programs have been implemented, and we've even managed to accomplish a long-held dream and established a physical campus in the historic village of Whitehall, NY.

Our dedicated educators, past and present, have shaped and nourished a comprehensive curriculum designed to support and inspire a broad spectrum of learners. From beginners embarking on their journey in the trade of Wizardry to seasoned practitioners seeking further scholarly engagement, the Grey School has been a hub for thousands seeking to delve into the rich world of Wizardry for the modern age. More than mere fantasy, we provide the lessons necessary for not only exploring the esoteric arts but also for becoming agents of positive change in their communities.

This past year has seen some of the most significant changes in GSW's history. With the addition of our Physical Campus, GSW now offers regular overnight classes, providing students the opportunity to not only learn but to fully immerse themselves. Unprecedented updates to our web presence have expanded our reach into the realms of social media and launched a live lecture series on our school's Discord. These lectures have been well-received, attracting attendees from all around the world, regardless of their enrollment status, to gain insights from experts on various subjects.

The night of November 26, 2022 in particular will forever be etched in our hearts and history. On this unforgettable evening, I, Nicholas Kingsley, had the profound honor of receiving the Torch of Wizardry from the esteemed Oberon Zell, the visionary founder of our institution. Captured with impeccable detail by Oculus Alchemy, a prestigious New York-based TV station, the event was nothing short of magical.

The evening began with an inspiring talk by Oberon Zell himself, imparting wisdom, sharing anecdotes, and setting the tone for what lay ahead. As the anticipation in the room grew, we made our way to the walls where a symbolic torch-passing ceremony was to take place.

In a touching and graceful gesture, Oberon passed the torch to me, entrusting me with the legacy of the Grey School. With the flicker of the flame and the weight of history in my hand, I then walked the walls and lit the school's brazier, igniting a new chapter and signifying a continuity of our mission.

But the night was far from over. A sumptuous dinner was served, filled with laughter, memories, and lively conversations. I took to the stage to give a speech, expressing gratitude and laying out our exciting future plans. The energy was palpable, the connection with the audience both present and watching online was profound, and the sense of community was robust.

As the evening wore on, the sky was set ablaze with a round of spectacular fireworks. Each explosion resonated with our collective joy, lighting up the night sky and reflecting the excitement and promise that lay ahead for our school. At least twenty were present in person, sharing in this incredible experience, while hundreds watched online, their virtual presence amplifying the significance of the moment.

This was more than a ceremony; it was a celebration of unity, a renewal of purpose, and a night that will always be remembered in the annals of the Grey School of Wizardry. To commemorate this remarkable occasion we will be adding "Headmaster's Day," as an annual school holiday on November 26th. May it forever serve as a cherished opportunity to look back and honor the legacy, dedication, and vision of our Headmasters--past, and present, and help to inspire those who will guide us in the future.

Indeed, this year serves as a milestone in the Grey School's remarkable journey. We've taken our inaugural strides towards securing accreditation, a strenuous yet paramount endeavor that fortifies the merit of our secular esoteric education. It's a path laden with challenges and steep climbs, yet our determination is steadfast. We're committed to ensuring that our wizards are armed with the knowledge and skills to confidently navigate the world. This pursuit underscores our devotion to academic excellence and our enduring promise to our charges.

The echo of our third annual conclave at Highspire Manor, our enchanting physical campus in Whitehall, NY, continues to resonate. This successful gathering saw wizards from diverse locales converging to partake in delightful banquets, intellectually stimulating lectures, and thoughtful dialogues. As we look forward, we're already in the throes of planning next year’s festivities, which aim to further cultivate the sense of camaraderie that forms the bedrock of our community.

Whats more, this October heralds significant enhancements to our school website, a transformation designed to streamline the user experience and keep pace with the rapid digital evolution. We recognize the importance of maintaining an accessible and intuitive online presence, reflecting our commitment to quality and innovation. The forthcoming updates are poised to make navigation smoother, information more accessible, and the overall experience more pleasing for pupils, faculty, and visitors alike.

As the veil between worlds thins, our inaugural Highspire Halloween event draws near. When twilight descends and the chime sounds at 5PM, our hallowed Highspire campus will metamorphose into a realm of magic and mystery. With enchanting decor and experiences, we'll celebrate the camaraderie that defines our school's ethos. This unique event embodies the enchanting solidarity that weaves the tapestry of our school's spirit and promises to be an unforgettable experience for all who attend.

And before the year's end, we're set to launch a reimagined and restructured youth curriculum, emphasizing parental involvement, soft skills, and real-world strategies. Catering to the 11-17 age group, this innovative approach to our youth program aims to inculcate leadership, conflict resolution, and other vital soft skills, equipping our students for the challenges ahead. Upon turning 18, the young wizards will be poised to embark on their GSW studies at Level 2, a testament to the strong foundation laid by this revamped curriculum.

In the grand scheme of 2023, the Grey School of Wizardry has experienced unprecedented evolution, marked by the introduction of new programs, the transition to a new Headmaster, and our ongoing journey towards accreditation. Amidst these dynamic changes and significant milestones, our central pledge remains unwavering: The Grey School, as ever, is resolute in its mission to offer the highest quality education in Wizardry, a unique blend of time-honored traditions and forward-thinking innovation.

Thank you for being a part of our Wizardly family. It's an honor to be on this journey with you.


Announcing GSW's New Provost and Dean of Students

By Headmaster Kingsley

Greetings, Wizards one and all,

I hope this message finds everyone in good health and high spirits!

Today I have the honor of bringing you some exciting news regarding important transitions within our esteemed institution. We are moving forward on our magical journey, and today, I am privileged to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of two remarkable members of our community.

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Dean Kayser as our new Dean of Students. Known for her profound understanding of folk magick traditions and her empathetic grasp of our students' needs, Dean Kayser is a model of our school's spirit. Her intellectual prowess and emotional acumen have consistently demonstrated a delicate balance, ideally suiting her for this elevated role. With her wealth of experience across all levels of Apprentice Leadership during her time at GSW, I am confident that under Dean Kayser's guidance, we will foster an even more supportive and stimulating environment for our Apprentices, Magisters, and Faculty alike.

Additionally, I am thrilled to share the appointment of Dean Alexander LaFountain as our new Provost. A man of many talents, Dean LaFountain brings an extraordinary blend of skills to this position. His adeptness in ceremonial magick, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Healing, combined with his service in the U.S. Army and the healthcare industry, perfectly align with our institution's core principles. His exceptional administrative skills, honed during his various tenures at the Grey School, including a previous term as Provost, assure me that our institution will continue to thrive with his support.

With these changes, we also look forward to identifying a new Dean of Faculty to succeed Dean LaFountain. I am certain that The good LaFountain's discernment and experience will be invaluable in this process.

These strategic transitions aim to strengthen our beloved institution's legacy, fostering growth, and ensuring the Grey School of Wizardry remains a leader in secular esoteric exploration and education. I am excited for the enriched academic community that Deans Kayser and LaFountain will help cultivate through their unique talents and passions for not only GSW, but the Trade of Wizardry as a whole.

Please join me in congratulating Dean Kayser and Provost LaFountain on their well-deserved appointments as we eagerly anticipate this new chapter in the Grey School's illustrious journey.

Onward, my dear Wizards, the future awaits!


A Highspire Halloween

By Headmaster Kingsley

Well met Wizards one and all,

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

I'm absolutely delighted to announce our inaugural Highspire Halloween, an evening to celebrate the wonders of our magical community at the Grey School of Wizardry. As twilight embraces our beloved Highspire campus, we open our doors to an evening brimming with joy, excitement, and a touch of the extraordinary.

Here's a sneak peek of what we have planned:

  • 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Welcoming Reception: Begin the evening by mingling with fellow community members over themed welcome drinks.

  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Enchanted Banquet: Dine amidst fellow wizards in the grandeur of the Great Hall, where a sumptuous feast awaits you.

  • 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Relaxation Time: A pause to Prepare for the evening's entertainment.

  • 7:30 PM - 9:06 PM: 'Hocus Pocus' Screening: Join us in the Cottage on the Environs for a nostalgic screening of the cult classic 'Hocus Pocus'.

  • 9:06 PM - 9:30 PM: Intermission: Time to stretch your legs, have a quick refreshment, and prepare for the costume contest.

  • 9:30 PM - 10:00 PM: Costume Contest: Show us your creativity in the Great Hall during our costume contest! The grand prize of $300 could be yours!

Your RSVP will help us create an experience you'll never forget. Highspire Halloween isn't just an event; it's a celebration of our unique community and the shared love for the art of magick.

So, gather your robes, put on your brightest smile, and join us for this enchanting evening. We can't wait to spend this magical night with you!

Learn more and RSVP by clicking below!


GSW Named Top-Rated Non-Profit of 2023

By Headmaster Kingsley

We have been honored with one of the first Top-Rated Awards of 2023 from! We appreciate all of your contributions!


Core Energy Practices Physical Class

By Dean Meighen

Greetings, Apprentices!

We are proud to announce the year's final offering of Core Energy Practices 100 and 101: Combined [Physical Class] on August 18 - 20th at the Physical Campus. These classes offer an unrivaled opportunity to engage in deeper learning and exploration of some of the most foundational skills an Apprentice Wizard needs to master, including grounding, centering, and meditation. While enjoying the scenic beauty of the Adirondack Mountains in Whitehall, NY you will have access to your instructor and Headmaster for live teaching and conversation on not only the class material but all aspects of Wizardry!

The cost is $200, which includes tuition, lodging, and delicious meals served at Highspire Manor. Space is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot soon. Further details can be found, and payment made, by clicking on the button below.

We hope to see you there!


2023 June Solstice Apprentice Leadership Moot Writeup

By Prefect Fred

On or around every equinox and solstice, Apprentice Leadership puts together a moot, which is a school-wide event where apprentices, magisters and faculty gather for an extended period of time, on Discord and/or the Second Life vGSW campus. The most recent Apprentice Leadership moot was held Sunday, June 25, 2023, and it was held by Captain Knute, Vice Captain Cerberus Bindweed, and Prefects Selah Nyx, Skywalker, Minyassa, and Fred. In attendance were Headmaster Kingsley, Dean Meighan (Dean of Curriculum) and Dean Kayser (Dean of Lore, formerly Dean Ombra), as well as several apprentices. This was an exciting event for all involved, and if you’re keen on joining in for future moots, there will be one held by the Flames Lodge in July (contact Prefect Minyassa for details) and another held in September before the end of the term (contact your prefect for details as we approach the end of term).

The opening ceremony was conducted by Captain Knute, and remarks were heard from all faculty present. Dean Meighen gave updates on some future classes that are in the works, while Dean Kayser gave specific information about her newer classes and the ones that she is actively working on creating. Headmaster Kingsley had words of wisdom for those present, but held back some news for future announcements, as he is wont to do. There was a brief pause before Captain Knute gave his presentation, which led into the Captain’s Ascendancy ritual.

The Captain’s Ascendancy is a ritual that every captain aspires to undertake, and hopes to complete successfully. It is held on Second Life, and the Captain starts at his lodge’s island (Flames) where he beseeches the egregore of his lodge for its support. Each egregore speaks through the prefect of its respective lodge, and the Captain must petition for the support of each egregore for successful completion.

Captain Knute, after earning the support of the Dragon, visited the Raven on the Winds Lodge island, the Wolf on the Stones Lodge island, and finally the Salmon, on the Waters Lodge island. With each progression to the next island, Captain Knute’s struggle grew fiercer, as he had to convince each egregore that he was worthy of receiving a small portion of their power to use to better the school in his captaincy. This is typically easy when dealing with one’s own Lodge, but when the Captain is bargaining with the egregore of his opposing lodge, success is not guaranteed.

Each egregore needed to be convinced, and the Salmon, his last stop, was not willing to simply hand over power relegated for the Waters Lodge to a Flames Apprentice, captain or not. However, Captain Knute debated well, and convinced all four egregores to join him in his quest, and to offer a portion of their power to him for the remainder of his term.

The final leg of the journey took place in the ritual circle on the main island. The captain reaffirmed his commitment to the school, each egregore again pledged their support, and the final element of Psyche was invoked. Captain Knute is now empowered, and if you haven’t already, reach out to him on Discord to congratulate him!

The next segment was a guided visualization led by Prefect Fred, focused on exploring emotion as well as all four elements. Each person present was given an opportunity to share what they had encountered during the visualization, and everyone walked away wiser for the process.

Prefect Minyassa then gave a lecture about animals in their natural habitats, and how the summer solstice affects their behaviors. As Grey School is open to apprentices worldwide, he also gave a mirror presentation on the winter solstice for those in the Southern Hemisphere. We explored all manner of mammals, insects and birds, across many different biomes. He is a master of Beast Mastery knowledge, and this was a great reflection of his years of study and hands-on experience.

Prefect Skywalker, our own master of the ocarina, has given concerts at moots in the past. He felt the time had come to share the synchronicities that led up to him acquiring his first ocarina, and the passion he had for playing it. It was riveting to see someone pull the curtain away, just a bit, to look into their life and what set them on such a wonderful path. I know I’m glad he found that first ocarina.

Prefect Selah Nyx then gave a presentation about astrology, specifically about Saturn. Her presentation contained insight about cosmic forces, including the planets and astrological zodiac, but also contained wonderful information about the scientific names and explanations for various cosmic phenomena. This area is Prefect Selah Nyx’s specialty, and being able to hear her speak about this topic was extremely enlightening.

Vice Captain Cerberus Bindweed rounded out the event with a very detailed and informative lecture on the safety and shelf life of essential oils. His PowerPoint presentation made everything very clear, and there was a lot of wonderful information in his lecture. Distinctions were made among different chemical classifications for various oils, as well as differences in expected shelf life and safety concerns. Tips were given on how to prolong the shelf life of oils, as well as how to identify the actual expiration date on products bought from manufacturers. As a certified aromatherapist in Australia and the United States, I had expected a brilliant lecture from Vice Captain Cerberus Bindweed, and he did not disappoint.

The 2023 June Solstice Apprentice Leadership Moot was a fantastic success. If you weren’t able to make this one, you have two more this term to look forward to: Flames Lodge’s moot in July, and another Apprentice Leadership moot in September. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.


Monthly Class Spotlight: Core Energy Practices - Physical Class

By Prefect Fred

The Monthly Class Spotlight series is a great way to explore potential classes that one may not have considered in their studies thus far, and this month’s article will be no different in that regard. It is different, however, in that this is a review of the first in-person class held at Highspire Manor, over the weekend of June 16-18, in Whitehall, NY. In-person versions are not available for most of the broad and diverse classes offered at Grey School of Wizardry, so I am keen to share with you my insights gleaned from this class. If you are inspired to do so, you can check out the official listing for the second instance of this class, being held the weekend of August 18-20, here.

Core Energy Practices are among the first classes an apprentice at Grey School will take, as they are required to progress to level two, and they are foundational for much of the work that apprentices will undertake during their studies. Centering, grounding, cleansing, shielding and meditation are normally spread between two classes, but are combined into the single weekend for the physical class. Expect to arrive early- to mid-afternoon on Friday, diving into coursework on centering and grounding before dinner, with nightly accommodations in the cabin on the property. Saturday is set aside for discussing and practicing cleansing and shielding, between provided meals. Sunday is reserved strictly for meditation, meals and closing remarks.

It is important to stress the extremely large jump in immersion from online classes to the in-person structure. Headmaster Kingsley, who resides at Highspire, and Dean Meighen, the Dean of Curriculum, are available for not only instruction, but wizardly discussions throughout the day. Both of these men are normally extremely busy, somehow finding time to grade assignments and engage with the apprentice body; having access to them for a weekend is a rare opportunity, and you will find wisdom and advice in vast quantities. The classwork itself is significantly more impactful than the online structure, and back and forth discussion about the material as it is introduced, or related tangents, is not only allowed but encouraged. One will also find that time dedicated to solo practice of the methods taught in this class is more beneficial than normal, as afterwards there is ample opportunity to share experiences with the instructor and fellow apprentices.

While I felt I got a lot out of the online courses when I took them many months ago, going through the material again, in a more hands-on format, greatly expanded my understanding of the material. Having the concept of centering described to me in person clarified details that I wasn’t even aware I had missed, and my former grounding technique, while effective, has grown significantly more efficient when paired with the specific visualization techniques that were shared in-person, but were not online. With my newly strengthened centering and grounding skills, cleansing also took on a different, clearer meaning, and it is much easier to use these skills in my daily life now that I understand these tools more deeply. I had loved the shielding portion of the online class, and even took the online course dedicated to Shielding (Dark Arts department) a while back; I have since revisited the tools and techniques from these classes, armed with the refinement I acquired in the in-person class, and feel that I am now able to glean even more from material I had already taken and felt competent with.

The final lesson is on meditation. There is a distinction made within the in-person class between Eastern and Western meditative techniques, and instructions are given on visualization as well. All of this is leaps and bounds above what was in the content online, and being able to discuss experiences with meditation in near-real time is something I don’t normally have.

All in all, I truly wish that more apprentices could take advantage of this opportunity at Highspire. If you have even the slightest interest, I would encourage you to consider enrolling in this in-person class and making the trek to Whitehall, NY. As an added bonus, the material that is normally worth four credits will instead yield five, even if you have already taken the online course before. And I promise you will enjoy the provided meals – my compliments to the chef!


August Astrological Forecast

By Apprentice Selah Nyx

Happy August, Grey School!

This month brings us a sense of abundance and creativity, as we celebrate the beginning of harvest season in the Northern Hemisphere. (Those of us in the Southern Hemisphere are welcoming the beginnings of Spring, so while the season might be different, the theme of abundance and creative energy is still in full swing!)

But that doesn’t mean August is all fun and games…

This month also brings us two full moons - the first on the 1st, sitting in visionary Aquarius, and the second on the 30th, our blue moon, sitting in dreamy Pisces. That makes August an emotional month, and one that will be full of revelations as we find some clarity about our goals and desires!

Add to that six retrogrades (yes, really!), and our August picture starts to take shape. A retrograde planet is generally believed to reveal a shadow side of its respective energies, because the planet itself appears to be moving backward through the sky.

In truth, that backward motion is an illusion created by one planet catching up - and passing - a slower planet as they orbit the sun. This makes the slower planet appear as if it's moving backward in the sky but illusion or not, it represents a shift in the overall influence of the planet in astrological circles.

Where Venus might normally have you feeling affectionate and generous for instance, a retrograde vibe could spark a more rebellious side of your personality. Likewise, a direct Saturn is often thought of as the taskmaster, pushing you to own up to the responsibilities in your life but in retrograde, this practical exploration turns more toward your innermost thoughts and feelings.

Venus, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto are in retrograde all month long; Mercury and Uranus join the party toward the end of the month, and then Jupiter begins its retrograde walk as we say hello to September.

This retrograde conglomerate translates into an abundance of reflective influences, inspiring us to dive deep and get comfortable with our true selves. We all know Mercury has us waiting to engage in deal-making and serious conversation as an example, lest we change our minds after some deeper thought. A retrograde Pluto will have you tearing things down to see how they work and more importantly, to give you the opportunity to build something better in its place, while a backward-moving Uranus inspires us to slow things down a bit and get some clarity on the strategies that are driving us forward.

And a retrograde Neptune? Well, it’s your opportunity to peek behind the veil and finally see through some illusions of your own.

Best bets for this month include plenty of self-love and soul-searching. Read, reflect and give yourself the space you need to find the answers you seek.


Living Magic: An Interview with Frater U:.D:.

By Dean Stefanowicz

Welcome, Frater!

On behalf of myself and the Grey School of Wizardry, I would once again like to extend my deepest gratitude to you for your willingness to participate in this interview. The monumental impact your work has had within the occult community is truly beyond measure. That said, onward to the questions!


Q: I suppose we should start as most good things do- in the beginning. I am of the belief that we all, at some point or another, stumble upon an epiphanic moment that opens wide the gates of our curiosity; the "aha" moment if you will, when we come to realize that magick is real. For some, these moments pass like shifting sand, while for others they solidify, forming a belief-begotten stairway that leads to magickal pursuit. Have you ever experienced a moment like that? If so, what was that moment like for you? Furthermore, what inspired you to remain so steadfast in your well-worn, magickal journey?

A: For me, it was actually a series of experiences with practical magic which sort of gobsmacked me. I'll never tire of recounting one particular incident which was so over-the-top I can easily forgive anyone not prepared to give me the benefit of the doubt, but it is what it is: the whole truth and nothing but. Many, many years ago, in my very early days of exploring practical magic (exclusively learnt from books at the time), I was tied to a lady who was very much interested in the subject as well. One early evening, we were strolling along the banks of the river Rhine in Bonn, Germany when we suddenly decided to conduct a love-binding ritual on the fly. We didn't have any paraphernalia along, no incense, no magical weapons or whatever so we decided to simply improvise impromptu. (No drugs involved, by the way.) It was a fairly short affair: starting off with the Lesser Banishing Pentagram Ritual (very much informed by Golden Dawn magic at the time), an improvised magical circle in the sand, an ad hoc sigil drawn in the air declaring our vows of love and binding, ending with yet another LBPR, and that was it. Can't have taken longer than maybe twenty minutes from start to finish though I didn't actually check at the time. After the opration, we happily kissed and embraced, when my girl friend suddenly said: "Oh, couldn't you conjure up a pink elephant for me?" She was creative in that kind of hilarious, occasionally goofy way. Anyhow, we chuckled a lot and finally decided to head back to my car. A few minutes later, still walking along the embankment, we suddenly saw a huge pink elephant rising on the opposite side of the river. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack! (Indeed it's quite an amusing paradox of human nature, suddenly feeling all scared when your most avid or even trivial, corny wishes actually come true in some sudden, unexpected way.)

As it turned out, that pink elephant was a huge hot air balloon that had been launched by a local brewery by way of promotion. Need I explain more? Didn't think so. Anyway, this (and lots of other events of a similar ik, though not all quite as spectacular) was what caused me to think: "Hey, there's obviously a hell of a lot more to this than I ever seriously imagined. I'm going to explore it further and if it's the last thing I do." Which is exactly how it went on and I haven't ever stopped since…

Q: In your own experience, what is magick? How does it work?

A: There's a veritable plethora of definitions abounding in magical literature and while I, like everyone else, have subscribed to one or the other in the course of time, I finally arrived at one which has come to stick for me: Magic is doing the impossible. As such it is by inference beyond rules, causal frameworks or techniques. I mean, if it’s impossible, there’s simply, by definition, no method to achieve it, right? And all those vapid claims that “nothing is impossible” that keep getting vaunted all the time, are no great help either. If in doubt, how about you try some ten minutes’ worth of levitation in your living room off the cuff. Admittedly (and quite expectably), this is something you won't find too many traditionalists endorsing. However, there's a vague notion of this even in traditional discourse, most probably hailing (and adopted from) Eastern martial arts, namely when the concept of "techniques of the empty hand" is vented – though most people seem to equate (if not downright confuse) this with purely mental or imagination-based magical procedures. No matter: what it does imply is that magic is fundamentally beyond what we commonly subscribe to i.e. a mere linear, causal description of reality or the world at large. (Mind you, doing the impossible does NOT merely imply making it possible after all by trying really, really hard – because even once you're done that, it's, by definition, magic no longer!)

Q: Your book, "Practical Sigil Magic: Creating Personal Symbols for Success" is considered by many to be the definitive guide on the subject. In your experience, what can be gained through working with sigils, and why do you consider sigil magick to be among the most efficient of all magickal practices?

A: For one, barring the "empty hand techniques" referred to above (which only highly experienced magicians have access to anyway as far as I have seen to date) it's the most uncomplicated and fastest mode of conventional operative magic. It requires no intricate paraphernalia such as daggers, wands, chalices etc. nor attire, no election astrology or auspicious omens - all you need is a pencil and a piece of paper. And once you've got the hang of it, the entire operation can be accomplished within a couple of minutes.

What's more, lots of people have found it to be highly effective. And no, you may not achieve ALL your goals with sigil magic, but that holds true for all other disciplines and approaches as well: while, as a practical magician, you may easily fall into the trap of kidding yourself that you’re the Universe's coolest almighty head honcho, reality (however you define it) will invariably teach you otherwise, so don't be all puerile about it! But as coventional magical techniques and modes of operation go, sigil magic will usually beat all others stone cold in terms of speed and efficacy.

Q: Within your exploration of the "Models of Magic," you state that the models should be viewed as illustrations of processes rather than explanations of how magick works. Can you please explain what you mean by that in further detail?

A: The models are concepts ascribing the operative agents of magic to some determinate factors (spirits, energy, the psyche, information), allowing practitioners to focus on these in order to manifest their magical aims. However, they generally fall short in terms of determining robust causal processes i.e. the precise cybernetics of things. For example, in the Energy Model, magic is a question of bundling, charging, projecting or, if you prefer: manipulating subtle energy (manas, prana, chi, od, Astral Light, magis – take your pick) which is supposed to manifest the desired effect, be it healing or destruction, to take but a very obvious example out of many others. So we "know" it's “all about energy" and will hence conduct our operation accordingly. But what the model doesn't tell us about is the specific mechanics on which this approach is predicated. In other words: we don't get an explanation of HOW exactly this is supposed to work, what the energy actually does and to whom or what, under which conditions etc., you get the drift. Sure, there's plenty of people around who will claim otherwise, telling you for example about chakras or cosmic rays or divine emanations of power streams and so on, but those "explanations" are more often than not wildly contradictory, illogical or based on a myriad of both unverifiable AND unfalsifiable (pace Sir Karl Popper!) a priori assumptions. Instead, the models are more usefully handled not so much as causal but as SYMBOLIC assertions in my view. As such, they're far better relatable to that huge field of "applied symbolism" that has defined the Black Arts historically right from the outset as far as we can discern. Of course, being of a symbolic nature does not at all preclude that they can lay claims to inherent logical procedures and processes – only that they’re symbol-logical, not subject to common "rational" cause-and-effect-logic. I hope I haven't confused matters even more with this response! At the end of the day, it's a philosophical issue that would require far more space and time than available here to cover in all detail. Actually, you’re the first one to ever ask me about that in what’s been almost half a century now, so kudos to your keen perception and your immaculate zeroing in on a pretty critical ontological and epistemic issue!

Q: Final question. What advice can you give the Apprentices and Magisters of the Grey School, as they venture more deeply into their studies?

A: Read, experiment, read more, experiment more, read even more, experiment even more… then rinse and repeat. Trust me, it's not half as boring as it may sound (even if you're not the bookish type): at the end of the day, teachers, masters, gurus even, and books too, can only ever help you so far along. Which can be really great - but ultimately, it's solely up to YOU what you make of it, and whether you're prepared to pursue this most adventurous path tackling human powerlessness and taking over the reins of what otherwise would merely be your FATE, passively to be endured. Magic, after all, is about not remaining a mere slave of chance. (Or, for that matter, the stars or the gods…) All magicians I have ever encountered (or even merely read about) were rebels or guerilla ontologists of one sort or another, defying common normative reality, regardless how successful they may eventually have been in the end or not. (And who's to say from an outside perspective anyway?) At the very least, when actively pursuing magic, boredom will most definitely be the very least of your worries!

Best regards, Frater U:.D:.


GSW Alchemy Department Crossword

By Grey Matters Staff

Or download a PDF:

GSW Alchemy Crossword - Crossword Labs
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