By Susan “Moonwriter” Pesznecker
Dean of Students
Grey School of Wizardry
Once upon a time, actually not that long ago, a Wizard lived in the mythical land of Norcalifia, where he enjoyed spending time with family in a natural setting, working on his art, and studying wizardry. Many other magickal folk visited him on his land. Most of the visitors were adults, but several brought along children who they were raising in the grand tradition of magick. It gave the Wizard pause, and one night he began thinking about how hard it must be for youngsters to study magick in a decidedly “mundane” world. Then and there, he resolved to do something to bring children closer to the wonders of magick and wizardry. His first step was to write a sort of “handbook,” the Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard. As is often the case, one good idea leads to another, and as the Grimoire took shape, it occurred to the Wizard that it might be wonderful to start a school for magickal children, a special place where they could study wizardry, practice magick, and chat about arcane topics in their very own Great Hall.
Sound like a fairy tale? It’s anything but. The Wizard is none other than Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, a noted Pagan elder living in Northern California with his family. The school is the Grey School of Wizardry, an on-line school of magick, arcane lore, and general wizardry that opened on August 1, 2004 with 25 registered students and a handful of faculty. Originally designed as a school for children ages 11-17, the Grey School was surprised not only by the youths who came knocking on the door, but also by the adults who sought entrance. Rather than turn anyone away, adults and children alike were welcomed, and the rest is history. Today’s Grey School accepts students age 11 and older and includes some 700 active students and more than 40 staff and faculty, with enrollments increasing daily. Students and faculty hail from all fifty states, a number of US military bases, two American Embassies, and several countries, including Australia, Austria, Canada (7 provinces), Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Istanbul, Mauritus, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela. The northernmost student lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, while the southernmost resides in Santiago, Chile. Students’ ages range from 10 to 72.
Everything done at the Grey School is driven by the school’s visionary motto—Omnia vivunt, omnia inter se conexa (everything is alive, everything is interconnected)—and its mission statement: “It is the Mission of the Grey School of Wizardry to make available the Wisdom of the Ages to a new Generation and a new Millennium.” New students enter a 7-level program, each level increasing in rigor. Completing one level requires 24 credits, equal to about 8-12 classes, depending on difficulty. Classes are divided among 16 departments. The following section introduces each department and gives an example of an entry-level (Level 1) class and a more challenging class:
Department of Wizardry (Color correspondence: Indigo): Indigo relates to perception, imagination, illusion, and the ability to see patterns. This Department provides a basic introduction to Wizardry and magick.
· Level 1 class: Wizardry 100: Becoming an Apprentice
· Upper level class: Wizards of History 301: Medieval (Level 3)
Department of Nature Studies (Silver): Silver represents the color of the Moon, the secrets of nature, women’s mysteries and magicks, and witchcraft. Nature Studies includes all aspects of natural science and mysticism that relate to nature and its mysteries, plus such practicalities as naturalist studies and outdoor craft.
· Level 1 class: Green Magick 101
· Upper level class: Natural Wonders 606: Geysers and Hot Springs (L6)
Department of Magickal Practice (Gold): Gold represents the color of the Sun, the sign of Leo, adolescence, joy, fruitfulness, and nobility. Magickal Practice includes the practical foundational basics and magickal hardware: theory, tools, regalia, the sanctum sanctorum, principles of correspondences, signs, symbols, spells, and charms.
· Level 1 class: Your Sanctum Sanctorum
· Upper level class: Planetary Correspondences (L4)
Department of Mind Magicks (Aqua): Associated with Friday and the planet Venus, Aqua is an excellent hue for peacefulness and profound reflection. Meditation is the basis of most of the Eastern disciplines of magick and wizardry. This discipline also includes all forms of psychic development, dreamwork, pathworking, and other mind magicks.
· Level 1 class: Core Energy Practices
· Upper level class: Meet the Indigo Children (L4)
Department of Healing (Blue): Blue is the color of emotional work, healing, wisdom, and thoughtfulness. Healing refers to all forms of magickal arts and practices devoted to curing diseases, relieving aches and pains, promoting tissue regeneration, and restoring vitality and wellness.
· Level 1 class: Introduction to the Healing Arts
· Upper level class: Healing Charms and Talismans (L4)
Department of Wortcunning (Green): Green is the color of vegetation, as in gardening; also fertility and prosperity. Wortcunning (an arcane term for herbalism) is the lore and art of knowing and using the magickal, medicinal, and other properties of plants.
· Level 1 class: Kitchen Witchery 101
· Upper level class: Anatomy and Physiology for Herbalists 601: Skin, Muscle, and Bone (L6)
Department of Divination (Yellow): Yellow is associated with mental work; meditation, will, intellect, divination and communication. Divination is the art of foretelling or predicting the future or of discovering things that are lost, hidden, or secret. Although not all seers were Wizards, all Wizards are expected to be seers.
· Level 1 class: Mantic Arts, Divination and Augury
· Upper level class: Tarot 301: Choosing a Deck (L3)
Department of Performance Magick (Orange): Orange is attuned to warmth, friendship, abundance, spirit, will, principles, theory, and alertness. Also called conjury, stage magick, and performance magick, this area deals with illusions and special effects, as well as the bardic arts of music, chants, poetry, singing, and storytelling.
· Level 1 class: Conjury 101: Magic Without the K
· Upper level class: Storytelling 401: Tales of the Fabulists (L4)
Department of Alchemy and Magickal Sciences (Red): Red is the color of fire, inspiration, vitality, pride, anger, bravery, strong emotions, purification, and arid places. Alchemy is the magickal art and science of transformation and transmutation. Aspects of magickal sciences include philosophy, life extension studies, robotics, artificial, and traditional sciences, such as metallurgy, chemistry, and the photographic arts.
· Level 1 class: Principles of Alchemy
· Upper level class: Photography (L5)
Department of Lifeways (Pink): Pink is the color for relationships with other people – especially those involving family, self-awareness, love, intimacy, and romance. Lifeways addresses aspects of personal life, interpersonal relationships, and life cycles.
· Level 1 class: Lifeways 101
· Upper level class: Ethics of Magick 400 (L4)
Department of Beast Mastery (Brown): Brown is the most common color of fur and feathers, and represents all things soft and fuzzy. Beast Mastery concerns everything to do with animals of all kinds, especially animal communication, zoology, and the lore of totems. The lore of magickal animals, such as unicorns and dragons, is also included in this department.
· Level 1 class: Beast Mastery 101
· Upper level class: Paleontology 301: When Dragons Roamed (L3)
Department of Cosmology (Violet): Violet is associated with power, wealth, good fortune, judgment, industry, and religious thought. This department explores the wonders of the Universe: constellations, calendars, the solar system, celestial knowledge and origins, and astrology.
· Level 1 class: Introduction to Cosmology
· Upper level class: Archaeoastronomy 301 (L3)
Department of Mathemagicks (Clear): All creation is suffused with magickal formulae – underlying everything, but invisible to all but the imagination. The Pythagorean Mysteries laid the foundation for all mathematics, particularly arithmetic, geometry, and music. In this department are included sacred geometry, numerology, and chaos theory magicks.
· Level 1 class: Mathemagicks 101: Magick And Number
· Upper level class: Pythagorean Numerology 401 (L4)
Department of Ceremonial Magick (White): The color of purity, white represents friendship, sincerity, divinity, and blessings. Ceremonial Magick is based upon both the Qabalah and the Hermetica, along with Neo-Platonism and Oriental doctrines. This department covers all forms of rites and rituals, for all purposes.
· Level 1 class: About Rituals
· Upper level class: The Celtic Fire Festivals (L6)
Department of Lore Mastery (Grey): Lore means “teachings,” and lore mastery is the primary attribute of the Wizard. In this department, students study the books, teachings, people, and wisdom of the ages, as well as myths, legends, and folktales.
· Level 1 class: Myths and Legends
· Upper level class: The Development of European Magic (L7)
Department of Dark Arts (Black): The Dark Arts include binding, banishing, fortitude, consistency, and protection. Black magick itself is not necessarily evil; ethical Wizards chiefly use the Dark Arts to protect themselves and others from harm.
· Level 1 class: Defense Against the Dark Arts 101: Rose and Thorn
· Upper level class: Identifying Psychic Attack (L4)
As shown in the above list, each department is identified and guided by a corresponding color. Students and faculty use the department-specific colors to craft and wear tabards and other regalia identifying their field of study.
Grey School students—known as apprentices—study at their own pace. Depending on level, each class is completeable in one to three months. A core of basic wizarding skills is covered in a series of required classes; spread among the levels, these “requireds” include such topics as core energy practices, magickal ethics, shielding, spellcraft, and the safe use of herbal preparations.
To graduate, students must finish all seven levels of study and complete at least one Major, which selected upon entering Level 2. Individual academic advisors guide students through the completion of their Major, which represents an intense course of study from one of the sixteen departments. Finishing a Major means completing a wide range of specialized classes and a culminating project known as a “Practicum.” In a Practicum, students work through “lab” and “lecture” sections and showcase their amassed knowledge in a unique and rigorous final project. Students who finish the program are certified as Journeyman Wizards.
Academics are central to the Grey School. Special achievement is recognized through an active Dean’s List and the Student Achievement Award, as well as with bestowal of “Student of the Year” awards to one adult and one youth student. Led by Headmaster Zell-Ravenheart, the Grey School fields a talented, experienced staff and faculty hailing from several countries. Faculty members are selected for expertise in one or more of the sixteen magickal departments, and each prospective faculty candidate passes through a careful selection process. Most have college degrees; a large number have advanced degrees. Among the faculty are high school and college teachers, lawyers, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and professional writers.
As with any school, there is more to the program than just classes! There is also a wonderful, thriving community. Students in the Grey School are sorted into elemental Houses (youths) and Lodges (adults), depending on sun sign. The four Lodges are the Circle of the Standing Stones (Earth), Society of the Four Winds (Air), Order of the Dancing Flames (Fire), and Coterie of the Flowing Waters (Water), while the four Houses are the Gnomes, Sylphs, Salamanders, and Undines Houses, respectively. The four Houses and four Lodges create a “home” for students in the Grey School, and provide a place to talk, share ideas, study, and engage in group challenges and activities. Each House or Lodge is led by a faculty “Head” and a student Prefect. Prefects are selected for their academic excellence and overall example; to be selected Prefect is both an honor and a responsibility. The school also appoints student Captains, akin to traditional boarding school “Head Boy” and “Head Girl” positions. The Captains represent the highest student positions in the school. While a Prefect is responsible for leading one House or Lodge, Captains oversee the entire student body. Both Prefects and Captains undergo special leadership classes to prepare them for their positions; upon completion each receives a metal Prefect badge.
Outside of the Houses and Lodges, a series of interactive forums provides a “Great Hall” setting, where students can meet and get to know each other. Within the Great Hall are a number of forums, including a bardic circle, a book discussion area, and a place for general conversations; staff or faculty members mentor each forum. Students also use the forums to earn merits for their House or Lodge via the spirited competition of regular “challenge” activities. The Grey School hosts a number of student-led clubs in such magickal specialties as animal care, herbology, magickal languages, gardening, and the dark arts. Several departments sponsor departmental awards, including the Dragon Stone Award (Department of Divination), the Seal of the Ouroboros Award (Department of Alchemy), and the Webweaver Award (Lifeways). The School also creates and hosts a number of regular publications, including a Student Handbook, a Course Catalog, and a quarterly student-run newspaper known as Whispering Grey Matters.
Although the Grey School exists in a fully online environment, students have an opportunity for in-person meetings and mentorings. The curriculum includes in-person internship classes for teachers and students who live close, geographically. Some students have likewise arranged meet-ups; in the United States at least two city-based groups of Grey School students meet regularly for magickal events and practice. The Grey School has also begun sponsoring summer Conclaves, camping-style events featuring classes, outdoor activities, workshops, campfire bardic circles, and more. The first Grey School Conclave took place in July 2006 in Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park. Attended by 33 students, it was a tremendous experience for all! To date, Conclaves are planned in California, Washington, Arizona, and New York for the summer of 2007.
One of the most interesting features of the Grey School is its lack of religious alliance. We neither teach nor promote religion in the Grey School, and we have thus been embraced by a multi-faith student body that includes Christians, Pagans, Catholics, Druids, Jews, Wiccans, Buddhists, and more. Rather than focusing on religion, the Grey School teaches Wizardry as a matter of art and science, philosophy and lifestyle. While we do not offer classes on how to join or practice specific religions, we do offer some classes on comparative religions, mythology, history, and the mystic traditions and ceremonies of various spiritual practices as those topics relate to Wizardry. In addition to its position on religion, the Grey School of Wizardry neither discriminates nor benefits members on the basis of race, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. Rather, we value each student for the unique talents and point of view that they bring to our magickal community. The resulting rich, diverse environment has helped form the school’s bedrock.
Today, Oberon’s vision is alive, the Grey School growing and thriving as it works to bring up a new generation of Wizards. Incorporated as a non-profit educational institution in the State of California in March 2005, the school currently awaits its IRS Determination Letter for 501(c)(3) status. We remain dedicated to the tenets voiced by our motto and mission statement: everything is alive—everything is interconnected. We, members of the Grey School of Wizardry, are a proud part of that wonderful, living web.
Dean of Students
Grey School of Wizardry
To find out more about the Grey School of Wizardry, visit www.greyschool.com. The School is proud to offer low, accessible tuitions. For youth students (ages 11-17) entering the school, Level 1 tuition is $20, with tuition increasing by $2 for each subsequent level. For adult students (18 and over), Level 1 tuition is $35, increasing by $5 for each subsequent level. Note: youth students may need parental permission at the time of registration.