September 2020 Grey Matters
The Grey Matters
Table of Contents
2020 Master Wizard Awards
New Apprentice Leadership
The Grounds at vGSW
Lore Talk: Lammas
Beneath the Covers 1
Beneath the Covers 2
A Meeting of Wizards
2020 Master Wizard Awards
By Grey Matters Staff
Voting has concluded for the 4th annual Master Wizards Award and we are pleased to announce the results. Recipients of this vaunted title are recognized for a lifetime of achievement and demonstrated a high level of vision and wisdom in exemplifying and demonstrating the ideals of wizardry.
The full list of awardees can be found at https://www.greyschool.net/post/the-2020-master-wizard-awards and includes Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and Michio Kaku (professor of theoretical physics).
New Apprentice Leadership
By Grey Matters Staff
Congratulations to our new scabbard of prefects and apprentice leaders! We are proud of all our worthy apprentices and look forward to seeing their accomplishments this term.
Prefect Sky Walker of the Four Winds
Prefect Selah Nyx of the Standing Stones
Prefect Blue Capucian of the Flowing Waters
Prefect Rievahdel of the Dancing Flames
Vice-Captain Merquatyl Draconis
Captain Malcorr Greyseeker
By Dean Emrhys Starhawk
Greetings Apprentices! The merit counts are in and I'm pleased to announce that the Flames Lodge has brought home the coveted Lodge Cup! Congrats Flames Lodge on earning the most merit points! Let's hear it for our Flames Apprentices!
By Provost Nicholas Kingsley
Did you know that Magick Alley Offers Previews of some of our Most Popular first level courses? You did? Oh, well... Did you know that as an Apprentice or Magister you can download these Previews for free and share them with your friends?
The Grounds at vGSW
By Apprentice Rievahdel
Have you been to the second life virtual campus lately? All I can say is just wow! We recently got a new groundskeeper Hunter Hellsing, and he has been hard at work. The grounds are now reflective of the fall season that we are in with oranges, yellows, and reds. It is an amazing explosion of color. In addition to the trees, there is a new club house, and a ton of new decorations. The pathways have pumpkins and other fall themed motifs, there is even a new rowboat by the dock, and a wicker man replica near the stones lodge.
I have heard that there is more to come, so keep checking back to see what else comes in store.
Another point about the campus, the lodge houses get a new makeover every term, and the prefect of each lodge puts in time and effort to make our lodges hospitable and comfortable. Check back and see how the look of the lodges change as well.
I would like to take a moment to give my appreciation to the GSW Staff and our groundskeeper for making our campus such a beautiful place.
The Mabon Moot
By Apprentice Rievahdel
We had another successful moot to end the term.
Our ritual team did a wonderful job putting together a ritual which celebrated thanksgiving, and balance.
We also had a presentation about ritual etiquette from apprentice Starry Sun, a video presentation by Julie Alexandra on how to use a cast Iron Cauldron, a presentation about mindfulness meditation by Blue Capucian, and a trivia game at the end.
These moots take a lot of time and work to put on and I would like to give a job well done to Blue for putting it on wonderfully.
Our next Moot will be Samhain which will be put on by the waters and the stones together and promises to be every bit as good as the last one.
This moot was a little bit unique as well, because it is the first one that we were able to live stream onto YouTube. This was Malcorrs effort.
To all involved, thank you for your work and efforts.
Lore Talk for Lammas
By Apprentice Merqatyl Draconis
(Disclaimer) Bardic Circle shares much of its content with the Lore and the Performance Magick Departments. Lore: “Much of a Wizard’s true power comes from their vast knowledge, Lore particularly concerns myths, histories and legends” (https://www.gswhandbook.com/forum/lore-dept).
“Performance Magick divides into Stage Magic (Illusion, Glamour and Legerdemain) and the Bardic Arts (Music, Poetry, Storytelling); each with its own techniques for opening the mind” (https://www.gswhandbook.com/forum/performance-magick-dept; https://registered.greyschool.com/index.php?module=Departments&func=display&tid=8).
Being a Lore Major I focus on the Lore aspect of Bardic Circles. Lore Department’s mission is “…to help the student develop the ability to access, synthesize, and critically evaluate arcane knowledge from a variety of magickal cultures” (https://registered.greyschool.com/index.php?module=Departments&func=display&tid=15). “Grey is the Lore Departmental color. It represents knowledge, lore and wisdom in its purest form” (Department of Lore :: Grey School of Wizardry :: The College of Magickal Knowledge).
Knowledge is neutral, it is intention that makes it black or white magick. Lore department’s classes focus on the archetypes, heroes and heroines that empower one’s intention with respect to a specific archetype.
In Wizardry we use correspondences or associations to empower our rituals, spells and meditations with meaning that links the Cosmic Consciousness to our individual personalities:
Abundance, Gratitude, Introspection*: The theme for Lammas is Investing in Community. We now see our idea we generated back at Imbolc coming to fruition. We now celebrate the beginning of harvest and the fruits of our labors. We have made a difference.
Harvest, Community, Investment*: Piggybacking on Litha’s celebration of full fields, and the anticipation of the coming harvest, we reap the early rewards of our labor, with the first harvest. This gives us opportunity for planning, and investment. We begin to start the savings portion of the Winter Budgets we started in Litha. This is also the time we look at surplus and how to distribute it. In the old days, surplus went to the community stores, taxes were already taken out, so the Government (Lords) and Clergy (Priests) were already paid, and now the surplus was able to go back to the community.
This is also the time for family. Pregnant women are starting to nest, and expectant fathers are looking to family to help with adding that room on the house, or making sure there is enough milk to go around when the newborn comes around Imbolc.
In Lore, we use Archetypes during Conclaves to tune our associations and correspondences to specific energies we wish to Celebrate.
Mythic Feminine (Earth Mother, Pregnant Mother*): This is the archetype we focused on during Litha, and her influences continue through Lammas through to Mabon, when the Crone takes her place. We align ourselves with the fertile abundant energies of the Earth and our own Maternial symbolism of her energies seen in nature and around the hearth. The mother archetype ensure the families survival and gives strength when needed so the family and community can grow strong and prosperous.
Mythic Masculine (Harvest, Play/Work, Investment): These are the archetypes we focus on during Lammas to associate ourselves with family, community and our place in the universe. As the Sun remains high in the sky, so too does his energy and fire infuse the masculine side of our nature to provide for loved ones and offer the foundations that build community. We engage in games of skill and chance: Young people show off their skills and strength, to win that apprenticeship coming soon. Women show off their baking skills, for those who wish to look to those skills when times are lean, and the community will come together over the long Winter months.
(Disclaimer) Deities and Heroes: Because GSW is a Secular School for Wizardry Deity Archetypes are personal and should not be injected during public gatherings. Legends are examples of how the archetype was portrayed in the daily life of a hero or heroine, when reading the legend, folklore, or sacred text, focus on how they archetypal deity accomplished the task and reflect on its significance for your Wizardry.
As a Cybermancer, I focus on technology as my Library and Tools to accomplish my Wizardry. For Lammas, we reflect on the first evaluation and see what we can trim down to make the project streamline, either people, time, resources. Whatever it takes to get the project in on time and under budget. Now we see how the investment paid off and look at the projections for the rest of the year. With August being the second month of Q3, now is the time to start preparing for next year’s evolution of the project, (Waxing Moon) and looking at what will need right sized to meet the requirements (Waning Moon).
With respect of job searching, this is the time where internships are winding down and schools are beginning to pick back up. This is a hiring time for instructors, and planning time for those instructors who wish to work at a specific institution.
Apprentice Life Application
(Disclaimer) As the Stones Prefect, it is paramount that I focus on how GSW, Wizardry and Lore applies to Apprentice Life. Below are ways you can focus meditations during this time between Beltane and Midsummer:
Acquisition (Waxing, First Quarter, or Full Moon): We are currently in the Waxing Gibbous Moon (The moon between First Quarter and Full). August 2nd, 3rd, and 4th apexing at 11:59am EDT on August 3rd. We see the energies at their most prolific. Festivals, Fairs, and Carnivals will dot the landscape (pre-covid). During the Covid-19 Crisis, this is time to spend with family, to play outside and air out the house. Oh yea, don’t forget the barbeque. Be open to expressing yourselves and celebrate Life!!
Elimination (Waning, Third Quarter, or New Moon): For two weeks after the Full Moon we will once again be in the influences of the Waining Moon, and the time of elimination. This is the time for charity. We bake bread from the grain harvest, during the full moon phase, and after our families have hand their fill, and our savings is complete, this is the time to share the surplus with the community. While focusing archetypically on removing the surplus and contributing to the greater good. This is the time to look at the projects and see what can be sold off, donated, and removed to, we make way for the new.
*Correspondence Lists were taken from:
Marquis, M. (2015). Lughnasadh: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Lammas.. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Beneath the Covers
by Apprentice Apollinaris
The title on the cover of a book can sometimes be misleading. If you should see Dennis William Hauck's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Alchemy on a bookstore shelf, you might expect some light reading. After all, its target audience are supposed to be idiots. Hauck's book is a beginner's guide, but it is a guide to a very complex subject. An idiot is unlikely to understand ten percent of this book.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Alchemy is divided into six sections. The first section opens with a chapter defining alchemy and describing its various manifestations. The remaining chapters in this section cover the history of alchemy. Five thousand years of history. I found this rather tedious, and most of it did not help my comprehension or appreciation of alchemy. In a nutshell, the science of alchemy originated in Egypt, experienced a revival in Arabia, experienced another revival in medieval Europe, and eventually gave rise to the contemporary science of chemistry. Some of this history is necessary to understand the philosophy behind alchemy, but most of it could have come later in the book after I knew a little more about what alchemy is.
The second section introduces the reader to the fundamental principles of alchemy. This is where the book gets interesting - and mind bending. Hauck explains the complex, symbolic language of the medieval alchemists, and presents concepts like First Matter and the three essentials of Salt, Mercury and Sulfur in a way that the reader can understand. It seemed odd to find something as basic and universal as the four elements described in the same section with ideas specific to alchemy, but this is a complete idiot's guide and that would include mundanes with no magickal background whatsoever. This second section is the heart and soul of the book, for an understanding of all of these principles is essential to understanding everything that follows.
In the third section, Hauck takes us through the alchemical process, a sort of formula followed in every alchemical practice whether on a physical, mental or spiritual level. He describes how the seven visible planets correspond to the operations of alchemy, and shows the reader how these break down into a Black Phase, White Phase and Red Phase. Each operation is described as it would be performed in a laboratory and as a personal transformation. Hauck makes it clear that these two aspects are inextricably connected, reminding us of the latter part of the GSW motto, "omnia inter se conexa".
The remaining sections cover practical, real world applications of alchemy today. The book looks at the spagyric process (alchemical herbology), the properties of the planetary metals, and how alchemy can be applied to the healing and balance of body, mind and soul. For most readers, the scope of alchemy will be eye opening and, I think, a pleasant discovery. After reading this book I was inspired to take the first level Introduction to Alchemy course offered here at GSW. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Alchemy will not only introduce you to this fascinating science, it will leave you with a desire to learn even more. So don't be mislead into thinking the book is really intended for idiots. It is a fairly good work explaining an extremely complicated science, written by an author who is obviously both knowledgeable and passionate about the subject.
Beneath the Covers
By Apprentice Julie Alexandra
Now that I have gotten your attention with this monstrous chicken head in a suit, I will share my simple opinion of the most venerable Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s book. My journey with Qabalah so far has started with asking Dean Frater Adservio for any books that he would recommend for learning Qabalah. He recommended:
(1) The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford – Lon Milo Duquette (2) The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune (3) The Qabalah Workbook for Magicians: A Guide to the Sephiroth by Anita Kraft & Lon Milo DuQuette
For some reason, despite asking, I felt like I had to still learn from what the origins of Qabalah were. While I figured that there are probably ancient texts about this topic, I wanted to start with what felt like the western esoteric beginning of Qabalah by finding a copy of A Garden of Pomegranates: Skrying on the Tree of Life by Israel Regardie. When I started and continued reading this, I felt that I couldn’t follow what most of the first chapter was saying. The descriptions of the Hebrew letters themselves felt as though they were written in flowery and ornate language that I could hardly understand. I was about halfway through this book until I gave up on it and ultimately decided to switch gears to focus on The Chicken Qabalah instead.
I found that I love this book for several reasons. First, Lon Milo Duquette creates an alter-ego for sharing this knowledge of Qabalah by having the Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford deliver it instead of himself. Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford has his own institute called the Zerrubbabel Institute of Philosophical Youth. You can become a member by cutting out the certification for the institute on page 8, signing it and placing it in your wallet. There’s no need to send in any dues as it will be acknowledged by the universe that you have done your part as a Chicken Qabbalist.
This book both celebrates and laughs at the mysteriousness and bizarre pretension that occult societies can become. His writing style is colorful and amusing, it makes it much easier to anticipate each page as a result instead of drudging through dry academic material. This book happens to make me feel like I’m watching an episode of The Simpsons and learning occult knowledge simultaneously. I found that while being entertaining, I was legitimately learning about qabbalistic concepts while reading. For instance, the explanations of the 22 Hebrew letters gave descriptions about the symbolic meanings for each letter. These were concise and only lasted for a page at most. On top of this, he describes what the Hebrew letters look like in various ways to remember what the letters themselves look like. While a lot of the descriptions were hilarious, they also were helpful when it came to memorizing each letter. Towards the end, this book also had good sections for relating the qabalah with tarot. For me, I imagine that I might have to read this multiple times to gather and fully integrate the knowledge that it shares.
To give you an example of what you can anticipate when it comes to reading this book, this is a snippet and explanation of how the name “Chicken Qabalah” came to be:
“Why do I call it Chicken Qabalah? Actually, the term “Chicken Qabalah” issued from the mouth of an arrogant and hateful old man who attended my New York City YOU-CAN-FORGET-90-PERCENT-OF-WHAT-YOU-KNOW-ABOUT-THE-QABALAH seminar.
After my talk he approached me, so obviously infuriated that he could hardly speak. He said “Sir, you speak blaspheme! You are no Kabbalist! You don’t even pronounce the word correctly—it is Kahb-bah-law! What you teach is not Kabbalah! It is…it is…”
The poor man’s face turned bright red and his whole body began to shake as he searched his mind for a word fowl [sic] enough to describe my work.
“It is—it is—Chicken! Chicken Kahb-bah-law!”
It was obvious to everyone in the room that he was painfully embarrassed at the ill-chosen and infantile words that blurted mindlessly out of his mouth. People started to chuckle. He then became so flustered that he spat on the floor and said, “You and your teachings merit only spit! Spit!” and then he stormed out of the hall (Duquette, Lon Milo. 2020).”
Duquette, Lon Milo. The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford. WeiserBooks: York Beach, Maine, USA. 2001. 2020.
A Meeting of Wizards with Dean Ambika Devi and Dr. Nick, Essential Oil Wizard
By Dean Ambika Devi