Table of Contents
1) An Introduction to Your New Headmaster
2) Passing of the Torch Livestream Recording
3) An Interview with Headmaster Nicholas Kingsley
4) December 2022 Astrology Overview
5) Monthly Class Spotlight
6) GSW Wizardry Department Crossword
7) 'Twas the Night of the Winter Solstice
An Introduction to Your New Headmaster
By Headmaster Nicholas Kingsley
Greetings Apprentice Wizards, Magisters, and Faculty Alike!
My name is Nicholas Kingsley and I am honored to hold the office of Headmaster here at GSW. I believe that communication is key to any lasting relationship and so I want to make myself available to conversation on matters within GSW. In order to best facilitate this I am happy to meet with you via ZOOM, VGSW, Skype, Discord, Facebook messenger, Phone Call or Forum Message, by request. If something is urgent Email is the best way to get my attention. I can be reached here: Headmaster@GreySchool.com. You can expect a fairly speedy reply to messages during my office hours of 8:30 AM EST - 8:00 PM EST Wed-Sun. I try to take Mondays and Tuesdays to myself and as a result messages and assignments submitted on those days tend to not get a response right away.
I look forward to the exciting years of Wizardry to come and all that they will entail! A little bit about me...
I've been a student of the Arcane and mysterious for roughly two decades now with my passion and focus being Wizardry. It can be said that I enjoy the bardic arts and, if I'm honest, I often find myself telling a tale to any who will listen. I am of course also a lover of philosophy, and pondering the greater mysteries such as, "What is the meaning of life?", and the classic "What's for Dinner...". To the matter of Wizards being "know-it-alls"... I'll concede to that as a partial fact. It should be noted that I don't believe a good Wizard needs to actually know everything about everything, only that they should have a means of finding out... Having grown up with the Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard as my constant companion, I would dare to consider myself a true Wizard at heart, and a child of the teachings endorsed by the Grey School. I am honored to have been welcomed onto the GSW faculty in the summer of 2017 at the age of twenty-three, becoming the youngest Professor to ever teach at the school. My day-to-day is filled with teaching at the Grey School as a Professor in the department of Wizardry, and of course, serving faithfully as Headmaster. I've also been known to found the occasional magickal order and am always keen to undertake other such projects of intrigue as need be/whim demands. In 2019 I took on one of my more Ambitious projects, that being creating a physical space for the Grey School of Wizardry! I managed to do so, and our Manor, "Highspire" located in Upstate N.Y. and nestled in the picturesque village of Whitehall, now serves as the official physical Campus for the school .
Though Perhaps most importantly about a Wizard is their favorite quote, and I would be remiss if I failed to share mine:
“The Difference between a rock and a stepping stone is how it's used."
Passing of the Torch Livestream Recording
By Grey Matters Staff
As of November 26th, the Torch of Wizardry was passed to then-Provost Nicholas Kingsley in a formal ceremony in Whitehall, NY. With the passing of the torch, he has assumed the Office of Headmaster of the Grey School of Wizardry.
Those who could not attend in person were invited to participate in the livestream. Now, the recordings are available for those who would like to revisit the momentous event or who could not watch the event happen live.
Visit the forums at Passing the Torch (Live-stream Recording) | Grey School to catch up on what you missed!
An Interview With Headmaster Nicholas Kingsley
By Apprentice Fred
You pull into a steep, curved, partially overgrown driveway. It is just before two o’clock on a dreary fall Saturday afternoon. Your heart is pounding—you had received an invitation to meet the current Provost, future-Headmaster Nicholas Kingsley, just days prior, and want to make a good impression. You check your phone to find that he has sent you a message recently. A dark silhouette of a cloaked figure with a pointy hat stirs in the window before you. You quickly type a courteous message in reply, and before you can hit send, a swift figure, clad in robes and wielding a staff that is neither a prop nor required to allow the gentleman to walk, has already reached your car. You are about to meet a wizard.
“Shall I show you about the grounds?” he asks. You take a moment to don your own wizard’s robe that you opted not to wear for the long journey by car to Highspire. A true wizard should look the part, but even with your black robe on, you feel under-dressed and awkward in front of the personage before you. You’ve seen the beard before on his Candleside Chats, you’ve heard his calm, reassuring voice, prone to bursts of excitement, and that hat… that is truly a wizard’s hat. But you hadn’t ever noticed, or perhaps the camera has never captured, his eyes. They twinkle simultaneously with the vigor of youth, and the wisdom of a thousand lifetimes’ experience. Eyes that, if you had taken a moment to consider, you might suspect they could very well pierce into your soul’s history, and beyond the veil of your own destiny. But you do not consider the possibility that he possesses such ability, and for the moment only consider that he is indeed a handsome fellow.
As you walk through the grounds of Highspire, you meet Sherpa, the outdoor grounds-cat. He is active and talkative, inviting you further towards the mountain. The path is steep, and you note that before you ever return to this place, which you most undoubtedly will many times, a few trips to the gym might be in order. You focus on not losing your step, on walking in your new robe, but all around you is Nature’s splendor. The leaves have fallen, the air is cool and slightly damp, the sky overcast, foreshadowing the snow of the fast-approaching winter season.
The bunkhouse stands before you. Provost Kingsley points out the campfire in front of it, the seemingly freshly-painted exterior walls and door, and settles his hand on an ornate lock. With his other hand he deftly produces a key from his hat; he moves so quickly that the key may have literally appeared from thin air, if you were to believe your own two eyes. Once unlocked, he reveals the intricate patterns, the sigil, that held that door shut. You walk inside and immediately are hit with a wave of insight. It’s as if your perspective has been split in three, and you can view this single-room bunker as it was, as it is, and as it will be, all at once.
A quick glance around shows some concrete walls and floor, with a frayed old rug covering much of the floor. There are a few desks, presumably for students, as well as some large boxes containing beds, to be assembled and used by in-person apprentices and magisters over the coming years. It is dark, but the light is sufficient after your eyes have adjusted for a moment.
At that point, you realize that this building has been here for a while. It was probably used for storage of your typical yard and garden tools, maybe housed an animal or two at one point, with or without the owner’s knowledge. This shed, as it used to be, was a mundane collection of tools that had fallen into disuse and disorder over the years. Cleaning this building out would have been quite a challenge for someone at some point, but it gave way to the vision for Highspire and all that the campus could become.
The lights are dim, but the Provost tells you that the whole place is solar-powered. Nothing screams modern wizardry more than solar power. And at that point your vision shifts from what the building probably used to be, to what it will become. You realize that you are standing at the nexus of the future of the Grey School of Wizardry education, and the vision of making the school’s resources available to all who wish to learn. Some places are powerful because they tap into an existing energy at the location; some places are powerful because we make them powerful, through use and experience. This building already feels powerful, but it feels like a small bud, with much more growth ahead of it. You suspect that six beds and four desks might be sufficient in the near term, but that a class held in the bunkhouse will most likely house many more fledgling apprentices and magisters at once, perhaps only a few seasons into the future.
You leave the bunkhouse, setting back on the trail upwards. You wish to travel the whole grounds, but time is wearing short. You’ve been allotted a specific time frame with the Provost, and struggling up a mountain might not be the best use of that time. “Next time,” you tell yourself.
Still seeing stars from the magnificence of the bunkhouse, you approach the Highspire Manor proper. The exterior is rustic, but not dilapidated. Autumn pumpkins line the front in an elegant way, and you secretly hope that Highspire received many trick-or-treaters a couple of weeks ago. The front door gives way to a most pleasant odor, not quite cinnamon, not quite lavender, and not quite the smell of old tomes, though of the three, you’d suspect books were the source, if only you could see any as you entered.
Provost Kingsley gives you a short tour of the interior of the manor, from the entryway, to the living room, to the great hall and the parlor. The kitchen is off-limits, not out of secrecy, but from lack of magnificence. You know this building is some four stories, with many more rooms than you have access to at the moment; if you were turned loose to explore it would take you a whole weekend just to appreciate the entirety of the building. However, you settle on taking a seat in the great hall, before the fireplace and the chessboard and pieces, and nervously prepare to start the conversation proper.
You came prepared: you have a two-page list of questions to ask, things to say, ways to give your conversation structure. While this will serve as a loose guide for your conversation, you correctly suspect that your conversation will take on a life of its own.
You get out some formal and vaguely professional-sounding introduction and almost immediately derail the conversation. The wizard, the man in front of you, is obviously your superior. He is about to take over the highest post at Grey School, and he is the one orchestrating its future from here on out, as he has been doing for a number of years at this point. He is younger than you are, but confident, as one who possesses great self-knowledge would be. You know he is wise beyond not only his years, but also well beyond the years of most people who have ever lived and died. Your hands knot up as you try to spark a conversation, and while you suspect the light rock climbing had some hand in this, you are sweating primarily from nerves.
At some point early into the banter and repartee, you realize this wizard, who jokes about his thirty-story statue honoring his humility, is friendly and personable. Within a very brief period, you realize that while this wizard, who has taught several of your classes so far, is much more than a scholar in an ivory tower, aloof and unaware of the world around us; he is down-to-earth, and sympathizes with the general population, as well as you in particular. Instead of directing the conversation, you can let it flow, and you can learn much more by riding the current, and not trying to fight against it.
One of the Provost’s first remarks is about loyalty. This strikes you as no mere coincidence, as you value loyalty above almost anything else. You’ve written about it in some of your homework assignments, and it is entirely possible that he makes this remark only because of what you have written in the past. However, the stories from that day are too real to be fabricated easily, and what would even be the purpose of making that up? Instead of hanging up on this striking similarity, you pay attention to the stories.
The Wizard Kingsley recalls his first meeting with Headmaster Oberon Zell-Ravenheart in 2017. While their relationship sprang from a gesture of goodwill in assisting with packing and moving the old Magick Alley shop, time and again Provost Kingsley had proven his loyalty to Headmaster Oberon. From revealing secret back-door dealings within Grey School, to sharing in the vision for a physical campus, Provost Kingsley showed nothing but faithfulness. You note that if Provost Kingsley values loyalty highly enough to take pride in sharing his own, he would most certainly value loyalty in others. Together, you make the distinction between blind obedience, and earned loyalty and trust, and you feel like you have shared as much about yourself with him, as he with you.
You do manage to steer the conversation to Provost Kingsley’s past. He shares how he first encountered magick: his grandfather, himself a Norwegian wizard, trained in runic language and a scholar of philosophy, had found a book in a shop, and, saying, “now THERE’S a wizard’s book,” handed it to a ten-year old Kingsley. That book was none other than the Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard, by Headmaster Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. Time spent at his grandfather’s camp, sharing conversations on all things mystical, and looking up at stars, were how his grandfather instilled a love for magick over the years. You consider that the man before you was blessed to have found this passion at such a young age, and to have a mentor as well to learn from, and forge wonderful childhood memories with.
The next section of your conversation is a little bit crazier than you had suspected. While he certainly has the commanding voice of a wizard, you did not suspect voice acting to appear on his resume. Nor did you consider that a wizard of Provost Kingsley’s caliber was a video gamer, but here you are discussing Guild Wars 2, where he organized large groups in exploits within the game world, as well as captivating an audience outside of the game. Your own time with video games now deepens your connection to the Provost, and Grey School. You recall that the Discord chat sometimes shows other apprentices as they play various video games, and you can see how in this age of electronics and entertainment, exploring alternate realities is a natural draw for wizards.
After that period of time, he spent some time homeless. This would have been roughly ten years ago, but you are not aware of any point in modern history where being homeless is a badge of honor or point of pride. Provost Kingsley notably does not have a pang of regret in his speech, and describes the situation simply as it was. Introspection is clearly one of his more powerful tools, and he has been able to push aside the negative emotion that must have accompanied him at that time, as he then describes how he got back on his feet by serving as a butler to a distant relative. While Provost Kingsley had spent time in service to others, at various sandwich shops over time, he now grew to serve fewer people in greater capacity. It was a lesson in how to serve others better, and he shares that lesson with you now.
The conversation circles back to loyalty, and how that ties in with the vision of Grey School. The power to have a positive impact on your community doesn’t have to be a large, forceful impact felt by the masses. A gentle nudge, one person at a time, can shape the course of history. Provost Kingsley took some time crafting wands and staves and selling them at his shop, before joining the Grey School of Wizardry as an instructor in Performance Magic and Wizardry, the youngest instructor the school has ever had (“and ever will have, if I have anything to say about it!” - Provost Kingsley).
With no remorse, the wizard before you recounts how at such a young age, he struggled to have the experience and wisdom so often attributed to a master wizard; as a professor, the implication was that he was a master wizard, and he had even taken on an apprentice. He and his apprentice had parted ways less than amicably, and this is where you detect a note of sorrow in his voice. And yet, here he sits, having taken on many apprentices since, and with the intent of taking on more over the years. This man has taken the time to learn from his experiences, using journaling and introspection as his primary tools, and has more to offer the apprentices and magisters he will support, than he ever has in his past.
As you discuss the past, your conversations turn more towards the school itself. Former master wizards had done a disservice to the Grey School’s mission, and Nicholas Kingsley helped Headmaster Oberon Zell-Ravenheart drive out those seeking personal gain through the school. When prompted, Provost Kingsley shares that the school currently has teachers and staff that do embody the guiding principle of service to others, as well as loyalty. You trust that should any wizards stray from that path, Provost Kingsley and the administration would immediately rectify the situation, though you obviously wish that this should never come to pass.
The school’s future is the next topic you both examine. From previous Candleside Chats, you recall that the Grey School of Wizardry is looking to expand its physical footprint to facilitate physical, on-campus learning alongside the online structure of the school. This future is exciting, but the path forward is clouded at best. Student housing is a priority, as is a Headmaster’s Tower built on the Highspire grounds. Additions to the manor, greenhouses, a canal transit system, and all sorts of shops and studios within Whitehall are all on the table. Perhaps a studio for dance or martial arts, that would be utilized by the Grey School as well as be open to the public, or even a blacksmith, with a master blacksmith teaching physical classes in Whitehall, are among the ideas you bat around. As you explore the potential of the future, you realize that the Provost identifies heavily with the school, and even before he is Headmaster, it is hard to tell where the person ends and the school begins.
As you wrap up your conversation, you notice that the sun has traveled a long ways down from where it was when you began. You have not been checking the time, but you sense that you have overstayed the intended time frame, yet not overstayed your welcome. The conversation could have lasted another six hours, and in time, it will last that and more. You rise and begin the conclusion of your journey.
Together, you exit through the kitchen, and take a walk back up the path, noting the fires are still lit. It is already starting to get dark, and is a bit chillier than before, but the air is charged with power. The ground seems less treacherous than before, almost welcoming your footsteps. Another look at the bunkhouse shows it hasn’t changed in two hours, but it feels different to you now, almost beckoning you to return. You have made up your mind to return at your next opportunity, perhaps to take an in-person class in the spring, or perhaps at Conclave next summer.
And then it clicks. This is home. Maybe not your home right now, but a home for powerful magick, and a home for Grey School students and staff. As the physical campus grows, more and more people will call this address, and this town, at least a temporary home. This is a bud waiting to bloom, a crucible ready to forge something good and powerful, a nexus that shall be known to the world in time. You are part of this now. How you choose to be part of this is up to you, but just hearing those words in your mind puts you at ease and gives you purpose.
You descend the path together. You thank the Provost for his time, and he thanks you for yours. You warmly shake his hand, before returning to your car. The next time you see him, he will be the Headmaster of the Grey School of Wizardry. You have not just met any wizard; you have just met The Wizard Kingsley.
December 2022 Astrology Overview
By Apprentice Selah Nyx
Welcome to December, Grey School!
Traditionally, this last month of the year prompts us to look ahead. There’s the holidays to be sure, but it's hard not to also think about the coming year and what we hope to accomplish. As it happens, December has a few different energies that can help in that regard, and you can use them as you manifest your best 2023!
The first is expansive Jupiter, still sitting squarely in Pisces for the first three weeks of this month. Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Pisces, very at home here and full of good wishes, encouraging us to explore and expand our creative and spiritual natures. Also in Pisces right now is mystical Neptune, Pisces’ more recent benefactor, and this is a fantastic influence all the way around. Neptune turns direct on the 3rd, and we’ve had the benefit of seeing the “truth of things” while it was in retrograde. Now that it’s stationing direct, we can use that knowledge to make some powerful changes, and Jupiter’s generous influence will help us find the best path.
On the 20th, Jupiter moves into Aries, shifting into a much more active energy and just in time for the Winter Solstice on the 21st. Use the change to set things into motion.
We’ll also enjoy a proverbial party in Capricorn this month, as the Sun, the Moon, Mercury and Venus all transit into this sign, and cross paths with Pluto along the way. Cap is ambitious and determined, so you can use this burst of influences to redefine goals and let go of what you no longer need.
Mercury will turn retrograde on the 29th, so get your negotiating done in the first half of the month, and the new moon takes place on the 23rd, just two days after the Winter Solstice and in perfect time to set some new intentions for the coming year.
And speaking of that Winter Solstice…
This is a time to rest and reflect, as we gear up for the coming of Spring. After all, there is no light without the dark, and it's here that we can explore all those hidden corners we’ve been ignoring throughout the year. Ready for a new beginning? Looking forward to creating something new in 2023? Then step into the darkness of this Solstice, gather your strength and make peace with whatever has been holding you back. Think rituals and resolutions. Update your altar, devote time to your journal and find new ways to shake things up.
This is the Void where all possibilities exist. What will you create first?
Cafe Astrology. “2022 Planetary Overview | Cafe Astrology .com.” Cafe Astrology, 16 June 2021, cafeastrology.com/astrology-of-2022.html. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.
Monthly Class Spotlight!
By Apprentice Fred
This article is the first in a monthly series focusing on specific classes offered at Grey School of Wizardry. If you’re not sure what class to take next, or are looking for a little extra inspiration, you’ll want to pay attention to this section. Feel free to share your thoughts and insights with your fellow apprentices and magisters on the relevant department forums as you go through these classes. Collaboration leads to greater insight!
Dragon Jewels: Basic Crystal Divination is a level one class in the Divination department that will equip a wizard with some basic divination tools crucial for the path into journeymanship and beyond. There are already a lot of required level one classes, but this class should be on every apprentice’s and magister’s to-do list early in their studies. If you’re already well into your academic program, and you’ve missed this class up until now, it’ll be well worth your while to check it out in the near future.
The course starts with a brief history of crystal divination, then delves into the finer details of each of the eleven major stones and their suitable substitutes. At this point, the wizard is tasked with acquiring a set of stones to work with, and spending time getting to know them. Once the student has completed this step, they will find a critical lesson often overlooked by the novice: how to ask the right questions. The class culminates with an assignment to perform multiple castings, where the student asks a question, then draws one or more stones blindly from their well-mixed cache, in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.
A wizard working with crystal divination may employ one or more of the models of magick in their search for answers. One may seek wisdom from the stones themselves, and the stones which resonate with the need of the wizard will provide the most appropriate information, giving the wizard a glimpse of something they had not previously been privy to. The stones may instead allow the wizard to commune with a particular spirit or deity, allowing information or messages to pass from them, through the stone and to the wizard. Or, the stone may serve as a focal point for the wizard’s meditation, allowing them to raise their own consciousness and come to a conclusion they may not have been able to decipher when stuck in their everyday life.
Perhaps you will employ more than one model of magick across your cache of crystals. Share a picture of your cache and maybe a story of your adventures with them in the Divination Department forums. We’d love to see how your crystal divination helped bring clarity to your magickal and mundane lives.
Wizardry Department Crossword
By Grey Matters Staff
You can download a PDF:
Or solve it online:
'Twas the Night of the Winter Solstice
By Apprentice Selah Nyx
‘Twas the night of the winter solstice
And all throughout the school
Witches and Wizards gathered
In celebration of Yule
We laughed and we danced ‘round the fire,
It was quite the sight to see
Then we gathered for Headmaster’s fireside chat
To hear stories of what would be.
We told tales of mystery and fantastic adventure
As only we wizards can do
Then we crafted and conjured some marvelous magick
And under the full moon we flew
It was then that I heard someone call
As we rose into the sky, out of sight
Happy Solstice and Blessings to all
On this, a most magickal night.