March 2021 Grey Matters
The Grey Matters
Table of Contents
1.) Dean's List Fall Term 2020
2.) New Apprentice Leadership
3.) Lodge Cup Awarded
4.) Ostara Moot 2021 Livestream Recording
5.) Ring in the Spring
6.) The Rules of Wizardry
7.) Designing a Gargoyle
8.) There’s Magic in the Stars
9.) Mulan's Ruse
10.) Grey School of Wizardry Turns 17
11.) April Challenge Roundup
12.) Between the Covers
Dean's List Fall Term 2020
By Dean Adservio
As of the end of the Fall Term on the Spring Equinox in the year 2021 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 Flowdragon (Colors of Magick, Introduction to Popular Astrological Systems, The Elements)
Apprentice GladiusDivini (Technomagick 100, Children of the Night, Core Energy Practices 101A, The Elements, White Wizard's Library, Wizardry 100, Core Energy Practices 102D, Cleansing, Shielding, and Meditation, Introduction to Herbology, Dragonlore 102, Defense Against the Dark Arts 101, Wizardry 200)
Apprentice MasterWooson (Core Energy Practices 102D, Introduction and Overview of the Chakra System, Perchance to Dream, Path of the Seer, Introduction to Zen Practices)
Apprentice OberonMorningstar (Wizardry 400, Magickal Tools, Ethics 200)
Please join me in congratulating these hardworking wizards for their dedication and commitment to their studies!
New Apprentice Leadership
By Dean Emrhys Starhawk
Good evening everyone! Well another school term has come to a close and with it's closing we leap into a brand new term! Each term we have a changing of the guard and sometimes we see familiar faces continue in leadership roles and sometimes we see new faces in new roles! That being said I want to personally thank all of last terms Prefects and last terms Captain for a job well done! We had an amazing leadership team and I have no doubt that these fantastic Apprentices will continue to excel in their studies here at the School! Big round of applause for last terms Prefects and Captain!
All of that said, let's meet the Spring 2021 Apprentice Leadership Team! These remarkable Apprentices will serve the School and you as your Leaders (Prefects, Vice-Captain, and Captain) until the Autumnal Equinox this year. Let's give a warm welcome and big round of applause to:
Good job on earning such a prestigious position at the School! I look forward to working with all of you as we move into some exciting new stuff for the School and all of the Apprentices and Magisters!
Lodge Cup Awarded
By Dean Emrhys Starhawk
Good morning and happy Spring Equniox to everyone! As you are all aware, each Equinox brings with it the start of a new term here at the school. Each term a Lodge has the chance to win the coveted Lodge Cup which is proudly displayed on our virtual campus. The following is the results of this terms Lodge championship!
1st place: The Waters Lodge with a whopping 12.69 points! 2nd place: The Stones Lodge with an impressive 10.67 3rd place: The Flames who were hot on the Stones Lodges trail with a 10.40! 4th: The Winds Lodge sail into place with 8.70! 5th: The Psyche Lodge who put up a darn good fight this term and came in with a 2.96!
Big round of applause and congratulations to the mighty Undines for earning the Water Lodge another Lodge Cup victory! The points will be reset today so the fun begins anew! Finish your home work, nail those exams, and complete the merit challenges to help your Lodge take first place when we announce the next Lodge Cup awards at the Autumnal Equinox!
Ostara Moot 2021 Livestream Recording
By Apprentice Malcorr Greyseeker
Ring in the Spring
By Magick Alley Team
Well met Wizards, Its time to Ring in the Spring!
I have heard speak of it on the wind.
I have seen it in the leaves.I wonder now...
Is it time to bring back School Rings?
I have seen questions about rings come from a few of Apprentices, and it's right about that time for the Ring in the Spring yearly event! If we have at least ten people interested in Ordering their School ring, Rings will become available for Purchase on Magick Alley's Wizard's Wardrobe section. These Rings (Roughly $80 for pictured version) are a potent symbol of your Wizardly status and I'd be lying if I said I was ever far away from mine. Its a great bit of kit to show off some school pride and complete your Wizardly look. Not only this, but purchases of Rings go a long way to support Magick Alley and the Grey School as a whole. So, if you don't have yours yet, or if your interested in a second one, Send a message to MagickAlleyTeam@Gmail.com with the Subject line "Ring in the Spring" expressing your intent to buy one of these signets of Wizardry.
The Rules of Wizardry
By Apprentice Pageturner
Before he was busy running from his cult, the Greek thinker Pythagoras* posited “Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the universe and God”. The three rules of wizardry seem deeply tied to the concept of identity, which according to Pythagoras is a pretty big deal. The rules of wizardry operate as a magical guideline to how we should handle ourselves, and by that I mean our own concept of self. In order to answer the question of why these rules are so vital we have to dig deeper into the root of them, so with no further adieu let’s begin.
I have known a great deal of people in my time to say things like “it’s just who I am”, or “I was only staying true to my nature”. They may even cite the parable of the frog and the scorpion, claiming that their own misdeeds are a product of their identity. To ever make such a claim seems contradictory, however, to the nature of freewill. When we begin to do things unobserved simply because “it’s what we do”, we give up that freewill piece by piece until we really are no longer distinguishable from scorpions and frogs. The whole idea of freewill in the first place seems to be one of self realization, that you can only be good by making yourself good. We as Wizards have a duty to live in the present moment, and to be truly conscious of the decisions we make in the world. We physically choose to do everything we do, and if you’re anything like me you seldom do anything without thinking it through first. That means that if I do a nasty thing to someone, it was me alone that did it. I could say “I was having a really bad day” or “I was justified for xyz reasons”, but the penultimate truth of the matter is that I did it; excuses really don’t count in the grand scheme of things. It serves us in becoming better Wizards to always remember that we are an accumulated consequence of all our actions, and we must stand by the things we have built and be ready to answer for them.
I believe that the 2011 animated classic “Rango”, directed by Gore Verbinski, best demonstrates the second rule. In the film, the titular main character fabricates a western sheriff persona upon arriving at a rural town. He then goes on to receive treatment from the citizens of this town as if he truly is a sheriff. The concept is this; you become your thoughts, and who you see yourself as is who you will become. Ever notice how most CEOs tend to be narcissists? They simply thought highly of themselves enough and for so long, that eventually other people started to believe them. Everyone to ever become something great started out as just another life form on this planet, and by virtue of their name grew to be something greater. Take your favorite celebrity for example, how are they truly different from you? What makes them so great? Fame alone. The same logic applies to Wizards, the more renown or infamy your name accumulates, the more power you seem to possess. It is then up to us to shape our image and perform our deeds, in hopes that the power we garner with our reputation is rightfully deserved. We need only be vigilant that we don’t let our reputations shape us, lest we lose ourselves to whatever grand images we have conjured up.
So let’s say I have grown my reputation sufficiently enough to the point where I have enough power for people to really listen to me, to give me input on matters of great importance.
What then? I suppose I could go about doing things the way I normally would, but now I have access to things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Because of my new found power, I have been granted access to a range of new opportunities which I would have had no chance of obtaining before. Do I then abuse my power, and get all the things I’ve always wanted? Perhaps disappointingly, no. When we gather a reputation and amass power, we owe it to every single person who was willing to place that power in our hands to carry out our deeds in a way they would deem fit. Therefore, when we are given power we also accrue the added duty of wielding it correctly. The inverse is also true, in that the more we are responsible for the more power we truly have. In an ideal world, our leaders would respect these virtues and strive to uphold the same standard for their subordinates. I need not say that sometimes that simply does not happen, but that’s what makes Wizards different. We aren’t necessarily being commanded to act a certain way by our peers, but the world itself. We place ourselves not before the eyes of the crowd, but before the judgment of that which is greater. In this, I hope to never be found wanting.
In the end, these rules mainly protect us from ourselves. They act as a handrail, a ball of yarn in a maze, and as a means of self-observance. They stand as a strong divider between wizardry and sorcery, and they teach us to view ourselves as part of the whole. These rules build better Wizards, plain and simple.
*Many prominent classic philosophers claim credit for this one, although Pythagoras features prominently among them
Designing a Gargoyle
By Apprentice DaraEnodia
I decided to purchase some air-dry clay to make my gargoyle. For some Valentine’s Day fun, I challenged my husband to a gargoyle making competition, or more accurately, a grotesque making competition, since our sculptures will not be attached to drainpipes (Pesznecker 2007). It has been several years since I have tried working with clay, and this air dry clay was not the easiest to work with, so we wanted to create something a bit on the easier, beginner-level side.
My Underworld animal spirit ally, the animal that usually joins me when I visualize journeys to the Underworld, is a Turtle, and I thought, if I could use gargoyle-related protection anywhere, it is probably when journeying to the Underworld. Thus, I decided to sculpt a turtle with some dragon and serpent-like features. I gave this turtle antler-like horns, a split serpentine tongue, spikes along its back, and a triple-spiked tail. Although turtles do not seem common enough in gargoyle art for potential symbolism to have been discussed in the book Gargoyles, dragons are much more common subjects of gargoyle figures and are associated with the devil and power (Pesznecker 2007, pg. 23-35). My turtle dragon gargoyle turned out a bit cartoonish, but I still like it.
Once I had a little practice in, I decided it was time to bump it up a notch and see if I could make the gargoyle I really wanted to make: a Gamelyon. When I was working through an exercise from the book Witches Book of Spirits that was supposed to be similar to astral projection (Hunter 2017), I visualized my energy body and felt as though there was something wrapped around my head.
My initial reaction was concern; last time I saw something like that, it was an energy parasite that took days to get off of me. But unlike that previous occasion, I had not noticed any of the negative effects of an energy parasite and had been practicing a lot of cleansing, healing, and body scans, so I was not sure what this was. At first I thought it was a small dragon based on the tail and wings. Then a golden furred paw reached down in front of my face and I saw it was half lion, half dragon. And it was a baby. And she breathed fire. She told me her name was Roxy.
After a little searching, I believe that this dragon-lion mix is known as a Gamelyon (and hopefully someday I will find out how to pronounce that) (Abaroth). Lions and dragons are some of the most commonly used imagery in gargoyle art. The lion is associated with the sun, resurrection, and the deadly sin of pride, and dragon was associated with the devil and power (Pesznecker 2007, pg. 23-35).
Roxy started showing up right at the time I found out I was pregnant, so I associate her with the little girl that’s due to appear in our lives in June. I decided to make this little gargoyle statue to put in the baby’s room as a protector, if it turns out well enough.
To sculpt this Gamelyon, I found two videos on YouTube, one of a lion being sculpted and another of a dragon (Crafts Dec 2, 2020; Windy Jun 3, 2020). I was most concerned about my ability to sculpt the lioness head, so I started with that. My first few attempts looked more like a grey man alien than a feline. Once I got something that I was happy enough with, I decided I would pursue thee rest of this sculpture. I tried to mimic the video for the lion for the head, neck and front paws, leaving off the masculine mane to keep it feminine, and the dragon for the back half, back paws, and wings.
Abaroth. "Heraldic Mythological Beasts." https://abarothsworld.com/heraldry/mythological%20beasts.htm.
Crafts, Clay. "Lion Making Very Easy | Mitti Se Sher Banane Ka Tarika | Clay Lion Making Process Step by Step." YouTube, Dec 2, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmxb54V_Jdc&list=WL&index=11https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmxb54V_Jdc&list=WL&index=11.
Hunter, Devin. The Witch's Book of Spirits. Llewellyn, 2017.
Pesznecker, S. Gargoyles: From the Archives of the Grey School of Wizardry. Red Wheel Weiser, 2007.
Windy, Mad. "Super Easy Clay Sculpting Diy - Make a Cute Dragon out of Clay." YouTube, Jun 3, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-8qc9HVIuc&list=WL&index=10https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-8qc9HVIuc&list=WL&index=10.
There’s Magic in the Stars
By Apprentice Selah Nyx
What IS a constellation?
Wikipedia defines it as:
"an area on the celestial sphere in which a group of visible stars forms a perceived outline or pattern, typically representing an animal, mythological person or creature, or an inanimate object."
Other dictionaries and encyclopedias offer similar definitions and certainly, we've come to rely on this definition (or one of its variations) in both astrology and astronomy circles as well. But there is more to our constellations than just an imaginary pattern and exploring that deeper meaning will be the focus of this essay.
Currently, there are 88 recognized constellations, a list that was formally acknowledged by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1922, and one that collectively spans the skies around the globe. These "celestial boundaries" were officially adopted by the IAU in 1928 and cover our astronomical "celestial sphere" - an abstract sphere that’s concentric to Earth, but considerably larger in size.
Photography of the Constellation of Orion, By Till Credner - Own work: AlltheSky.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20041769
Drawing of Orion, By Johannes Hevelius (28 January 1611 – 28 January 1687)Scanned by Torsten Bronger, 4 April 2003. - http://pp3.sourceforge.net/wiki/ori.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89215
This sphere is like an (invisible) outer shell, surrounding the Earth and housing all of our constellations, as if they were "projected" from Earth, out and onto the sky. The celestial sphere offers astronomers a practical tool for estimating positions of objects in the sky, even when distances are unknown.
The first 48 Western constellations come from the Greek and are referenced in both the poetic work, Phenomena, penned by Greek poet, Aratus in the 3rd or 4th century BC, and the mathematical and astronomical treatise, Almagest, written by Claudius Ptolemy sometime in the second century AD (Wikipedia). The remaining constellations weren't added until man began travelling to the Southern hemisphere, between the 15th and 18th centuries AD.
Now, while the celestial sphere includes all 88 constellations, your physical location will determine which constellations you can see. The celestial sky is divided into two hemispheres - the Northern and the Southern. As the earth rotates, different parts of the sky become visible, but not all constellations can be seen by everyone. Orion for example, is one of the most famous (and most visible!) constellations and can be seen throughout the world, regardless of the hemisphere you're in. The Draco constellation on the other hand, is only visible in the Northern hemisphere, while the Crux constellation (also known as the Southern Cross) can only be seen in the Southern Hemisphere (Conghalie).
Planisphere celeste ; par M.Mrs. Drioux et Ch. Leroy. Librairie Classique Eugene Belin a Paris. (to accompany) Atlas Universel Et Classique De Geographie ... 1886.
Purpose and Uses
Man has utilized the constellations in several different ways over the centuries. The first, and probably the oldest, was for religious uses. In very ancient times, early civilizations believed that the Gods lived among the stars and used them to tell their stories. This may explain why the constellations are named after the gods and heroes associated with a particular culture, and change as you move to different parts of the world.
To the Greeks for instance, the constellation Orion is named after the great hunter in their legends, so the stories of this constellation revolve around his origins and adventures. But to the Egyptians, the same constellation represents Osiris, Lord of the Underworld and Judge of the Dead. It's no surprise then, that the Egyptian history of this constellation reveals a much different collection of stories.