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November 2021 Grey Matters

The Grey Matters

November 2021



Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

Table of Contents

Welcome New Faculty Member: Instructor Guasón

Sign Up for the Magickal Tools Physical Class

End-of-Year Candleside Chat

Two Wizards Talk Podcast Episode 5: Out There

Alchemical Doodles for Personal Transformation

Gaining the Power of Sound


 

Welcome New Faculty Member: Instructor Guasón

By Dean Ambika Devi


Please join me in congratulating our newest Faculty Team member, Instructor Guasón, to our team! He shall be an instructor in our Lore department and a great addition to our Faculty Team! HUZZAH!













 

Happy Birthday and Q&A With Headmaster Oberon

By Provost Nicholas Kingsley


A very Happy Birthday to our Illustrious Headmaster, Oberon Zell!


Thank you for everything you've done and continue to do for each of us every day. You inspire us as mentor and friend to reach for ever greater heights and set a stirling example of Wizardry in the modern world.


Best wishes today, Headmaster, and may we see many more!


To celebrate, we're releasing this Q&A from the 2021 Conclave for Free here on Facebook.


Enjoy and be sure to wish the HM a happy day!

 

Sign Up for the Magickal Tools Physical Class

By Provost Nicholas Kingsley


Looking to make some mystic tools?


In the Magickal Tools class on offer at our Physical Campus Apprentices and Magisters alike are given the knowledge necessary to forge, craft, carve and shape their very own set of arcane instruments. In this class one will cut a Wand, shape a Chalice, carve a Pentacle and forge an Atheme.


Interested? Sign up here: https://www.greyschool.net/.../magickal-tools-physical...


 

End-of-Year Candleside Chat

By Provost Nicholas Kingsley


Check out the last Candleside Chat of 2021 to learn more about exciting upcoming changes and plans pertaining to the GSW! Along with reading Grey Matters, it's the best way to stay in the know!


https://www.greyschool.net/forum/school-announcements/watch-now-2021-end-of-year-candle-side-chat

 

Two Wizards Talk Podcast Episode 5: Out There

By Dean Adservio


This week, I have the pleasure of presenting you with another episode of Two Wizards Talk. In this episode, Provost Kingsley and I get out there while discussing Broken Phones, Weird Dreams, Rampant Speculations, Mind Palaces, The Value of the Human Mind, and Self-Knowledge.


You can listen at https://www.greyschool.net/videos?wix-vod-video-id=17d35fbf6f8b464d94926d356e8ff8d1&wix-vod-comp-id=comp-k3gbbox8

 

Alchemical Doodles for Personal Transformation

By Apprentice SkyeFyre (Commentary by Dean Adservio)


These eye-catching doodles are far from simple works of art, though they are that: they are reflections on a personal journey of understanding into Alchemy. Apprentice SkyeFyre created these as part of the Level Six class "Transformative Doodling" in the Alchemy Department, which calls on Apprentices to meditate deeply on alchemical symbolism and meaning. These meditations are turned into drawings, or "doodles," such as these that become snapshots of the Apprentice's understanding of the subject matter and how it may change after repeated meditation. In this case, Apprentice SkyeFyre meditated on the topic of the planet Saturn and the alchemical operation of calcination which it represents over a period of 7 days. In Apprentice SkyFyre's own words:


"The heavy darkness was very prevalent in the first few, dominating the tiles. In later tiles it seems to be pushing to the outer edges. Other elements that I noticed were the presence of the Elements themselves. There is a tile that has a very definite feel of fire, water, air and earth. This is likely due to the fact that the Elements are key to my very being. It may show where I am blocked in each of my elements and in the areas of the body associated with these energies. Instead of rigid closed squares the works became more flowing, often with a flowing or twisting feel. It is interesting to lay them all together and see the patterns change. In the last one, it is mostly light. The dark areas are smaller and may be smoldering embers where the others are actual dense energies which were consumed."


This kind of reflection gives rise to a deeper understanding and wisdom than mere book-learning and rote repetition, and it is uniquely powerful to be able to chart out and analyze in near-real-time how one's comprehension of and relationship to these concepts is evolving.

 

Gaining the Power of Sound

By Dean Ambika Devi


The use of sacred chants has become incredibly popular since 2013, when Oprah and Deepak Chopra launched their first of what would become a successful series of 21 day meditation challenges. As an assignment from my PhD professor back then, I began following the global phenomena to report back about what was being used as tools for the participants. The experiences focused on a variety of wellness topics ranging from self-love to manifestation. Each day recipients received encouraging thoughts by Oprah followed by a new mantra presented with little explanations from Chopra. He would then lead a meditation with background music and bring the listeners back to the present moment with the sound of chimes.


As a master's student studying the language of Sanskrit, I was trained to understand the potency and power of this ancient mother tongue. My professors were very particular and taught me the importance of perfect pronunciation. They remain valued friends and teachers as I continue to study, publish, and teach this topic.


When I questioned my one of my professors, about the mispronunciation presented in the meditation challenge style I had encountered—my esteemed professor said this to me:


Imagine you are standing on the threshold of a door. It is an obstacle you wish to get through. On the other side is great healing or knowledge you crave. In your hand is a ring of keys. One of these could potentially open up that mystical door. The transcendence you hunger for is on the other side of that door and the proper mantra can open it. When you mispronounce the mantra that you think is correct or use it at the wrong time, you will never be able to get it to open. Instead, you stand there jiggling the keys and cannot get one into the lock. Mispronunciation can not only prevent entry—it can cause harm.


Ancient cultures have known the healing power of sound for centuries. In the beginning there was sound. This is found in all of the ancient scriptural books. I have been taught the transcendent nature that properly pronouncing the word Samskrutham संस्कृतम् —which is the way to say the name of the language Sanskrit—activates the pineal gland in such a way, that it can urge a release of the sweet nectar known as Ojas ओजस्. This mysterious essence translates to splendor, vitality, power, luster, appearance, and bodily strength. You can think of Ojas as the container that holds your happiness. It is the purest essence of Kapha Dosha one of the Ayurveda qualities of the body’s humors. In the physical body, Ojas is related to the reproductive, hormonal, and cerebrospinal fluids.


A sound just like a smell can induce an instant reaction


As a very young yogi, I learned in study of the ancient Vedic text known as the Upanishads, that each sound from the Sanskrit alphabet resonates and vibrates with one of the corresponding fifty petals of the first six chakras. These profound energy centers are anchors of layers that compose our bodies, minds, and spirits. Try to imagine these as multi-dimensional rather than thinking of them as flat discs, spinning like wheels. Yes, in the two dimensional artwork we see chakras imagined to be like flat disc-like lotus flowers, each possessing specific numbers of petals. We can also see this idea expressed in the more modern Huangdi Neijing known as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine in the modern translations of the text.





Keep in mind that in the ancient times there were no autopsies performed. Therefore, the culture did not know what the organs looked like and imagined them to be like multi petaled flowers as well. Perhaps this interpretation came by way of the ancient artwork of the chakras?


In the model of the chakra petals we focus on the fist six chakras. The first chakra, Muladhara Chakra मूलाधार चक्र, commonly called the root chakra has four petals with four corresponding sounds. There are six sounds for the petals of Svadhishthana Chakra स्वाधिष्ठान चक्र, the second and ten held in the third, Manipura Chakra मणिपूर चक्र. Anahata Chakra अनाहत चक्र, the fourth in the location of heart center, carries 12 sounds and Vishuddha Chakra विशुद्ध चक्र, the fifth chakra of the throat has 16 petals. The Third eye, Ajña Chakra आज्ञा चक्र carries the final two in its scarab like shape. The seventh chakra, Sahasrara Chakra सहस्रार चक्र, known as the Crown Chakra has 1,000 petals. It is seen as the highest spiritual point and is beyond this reality. It is not included in this progression.




I know that Oprah and Chopra had good intentions when they set out to create their programs, but in the mishmash of mantras what I perceived happening, was the creation of a toxic sound-soup of confusion. My professors concurred. Before you become frustrated by this, please allow me offer some explanation. Let us also keep in mind that we are only scratching a bit of the surface here. Yes, you may feel like you are going back to the beginning on some concepts that you already know. I do hope to shed light upon any you may have missed or forgotten.


Vak-yoga वाक् योग is the Vedic name of Samskrutham. This adds another layer of mystery to a much more vast amount of knowledge. Now, let us consider that when we want to open a path, alter a mood, or fully change course—that it is a good idea to utilize the correct key and to be standing at the intended door at the best time possible.


The classical phrases and recommended articulations were first passed on by voice to voice, ear to ear and taught only in this way. This insured precision and patience. Tone, rhythm, and timing are all key components. It was not until much later that any idea of written language was etched into leaves and later inked upon paper to capture these teachings.


In a seeming game of broken telephone—a game children play whispering a single phrase to then be passed through a succession of ears—has resulted in much the same way. An indistinguishable garble at the end. Let us all make an effort to be more mindful of this and continue to dive deeply into this knowledge.


It has now become popular to refer to Vak-yoga as Mantra-yoga मन्त्र यो.


Learn even more about proper pronunciation of the language which is Vag-yoga वाग्यो in this video: https://youtu.be/uMeeB1NS2pE


Now we have identified that sacred mantras are composed of particular sounds with precise rhythms and intonations to be used at specific times of day or night. The precise choosing of a moment in time is measured by Jyotisha ज्योतिष, a sister discipline to yoga. This is the science of light also known as astrology.


Yes, the timing of when to use any given sound-sequence holds tremendous importance. In order to choose this demands a great understanding of the cosmic ruler-ship of each day, hour, and minute. Consideration must also be taken as to when the mantra is to be chanted and for what purpose. This is a science and not a free-flowing art-form. Every moment is ruled by specific energies of the universe.


To engage the full power of chanting a mantra मन्त्रis to practice a transcendental form of Yoga. Therefore, these sacred utterances can be considered as mysterious invocations designed to shift the energy of the practitioner, those listening, the local environment, and the totality of the reality perceived around them. A mantra can therefore be imagined to be a form of supernatural manipulation as these yoga practitioners have the power to intervene with the cosmos, the fortunes of individuals, and Mother Nature's processes. This is why those not understanding the full force of mantra-yoga can be mistaken for spell-casters and sorcerers.


The Latin languages utilize a great deal of sounds as well as grammar from the language of Sanskrit. We can see this in the etymology of many words in our own mother tongue of English. Given the principles we are now decoding—I hope that we can now agree—that every single shaping of syllables through the use of our very sacred Throat Chakra, is a potentially, powerful architect. In addition, let us realize now that thought is a matrix Creatrix.


Let’s go on a little journey. Imagine the first pop of an idea that is to become a spoken utterance. It happens so quickly that we do not even have time to grasp the moment—unless we are in the state of meditation. In order for this seed-idea to become a word, the original impression must dive down to the center of the heart-space—the chamber of the unstruck sound—to collect air from the lungs. Next, as it gains momentum the magickal[1] seed, becomes a single syllable, a fragment of—or complete thought to be expressed as a word. The original spark travels onward to exit through the mouth. On its way there, the smooth tissue of the vocal cords strike together. This sets off a sequence of oscillations that could be full of grace and curative, or disharmonious, causing distress. Think of the photography experiments of the brilliant Dr. Masaru Emoto. He discovered the shapes of sounds which in the Vedas are referred to as Yantras यन्त् expressed in his perfect, frozen sound images.



To learn more about this, I suggest reading these two books by Dr. Emoto entitled, The Hidden Messages in Water, and The True Power of Water. If you have not seen the film. What the Bleep Do We Know, you might find that interesting as well.


Another film I often suggest to my students is, The Connected Universe, by Nassim Haramein. (movie link to IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6108612/)


Let us continue to follow the path of sound and consider that the sounds we make not only vibrate specific patterns of petals in the system of dynamic anchors strung together to form the chakra system—they also circulate back into our own heads, thereupon influencing our bodies, minds, and spirits.


Now let’s ask ourselves, What occurs when a phrase has great intention and it is mispronounced? I hope this is expanding your enthusiasm to create positive and correct sounds in any practice such as Mantra-yoga. Does it now make sense that both thought and the formulation of sound affects everything?


Just in case you feel any discouragement, I have good news for you. We can begin gently to explore these concepts and to gain sensation from them, while avoiding any possible mistakes. This is a safe exploration of your body as an instrument of sound. To do this we are going to use vowel sounds along with specific consonants safely to produce bodily-felt sensations. This is going to give you the opportunity to prove and know the full effects of your own voice.


Here is something you can try


Place yourself in a very quiet environment, free from electronics and distractions. This is preferably 30 feet from WiFi and Bluetooth devices. Place your body in a comfortable seated position with your back as straight as possible. If this is not available to you, it is okay to be in a reclining position as long as your breathing path is clear. It is most important to feel relaxed.


Begin by exhaling and then by taking a few very long, deep, cleansing breaths in and out through your nose. Once you feel that you are able to breathe deeply, progress to the next step.


Now, use the exhalation following one of your deep breaths in through your nose to make the sound टां Tum out through your mouth. This short vowel sound is pronounced, “uh” as in the words bug and cup. As you make this sound, allow your tongue to gently strike the soft tissue of the roof of the mouth, just behind the teeth rather than directly against the teeth. Repeat this for a minimum of four times. As you practice this, consciously become aware of the sound inside your body. Be neutral as you observe this and know that there is no right or wrong way. Continue to consciously experience the silence outside of your body.


Let each sound to go out slowly and fully without force. Gently allow the sound to taper off on its own through natural nasalization as your lips close towards the end of the audible sound. Experience the trailing off of each sound like the tapering off of the ringing of a bell or gong. Follow the dissipating sound as it disappears. After each sound ends, experience the totality of the silence. Allow yourself ample time to engage with the bubble of energy this has created. Observe it.


Take the next breath. Continue in the sequence as many times as you desire. Each time becoming the witness.


Next repeat the practice just as before with a new sound टं Tam. The vowel sound is, "ah" as in the word log and bog. Go through the same sequences as before with this new sound. Observe as you did before, soaking in the effects and the after sensations.


Here is a website with examples of the two vowel sounds for further guidance. https://sandiegovoiceandaccent.com/videos/how-to-pronounce-the-ah-%C9%91-vowel-and-the-uh-%CA%8C-vowel


It is very important to only use the sounds explained here for this particular experiment. Please do not use other sounds as this is a specific practice that originates from Yoga-Samskrutham University and is an outreaching from Yoga teachings that are rooted in the Bhagavad Gita श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता and in Patañjali पतञ्जलि writings.


Next, I invite you to write responses to the following questions in your journal


Analyze the state of your body before, during, and after the experience of each sound. Ask yourself if it is relaxed, tense, or neutral? What do you sense? Pay close attention to any and all changes.


Likewise, monitor the sensations of your breathing and its capacity before, during, and after each experience. Ask yourself if it seems normal, slowed down, or modified?


Further, observe the state of the mind[2] before, during, and after this sound experiment. Ask yourself whether it seems more calm, peaceful, and joyous?


Are you feeling inspired? I hope so! May we all become more aware of the words we use everyday in speech about ourselves, others, and our environment. Let us remember that pronunciation and timing matter especially when we expect to receive particular outcomes when using the practice of Vak-yoga. The information I have shared with you here is just a launch-point for the vast science of sound, that is a substantial cornerstone supporting the philosophy of Yoga.


[1] Yes I just spelled this with a, “ck.” To me this is the proper spelling of the word to describe supernatural occurrences whereas the word magic spelled only with the letter, “c,” implies foolery and prestidigitation. [2] Yogis see the mind as unified and therefor not possessed by an individual. We do not see possession of the body either but I did not want to completely confuse you in this article.

 

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