Wizards of Old and New, the Grey School is Calling For You!
Article ID: 12285
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: February 11th. 2008
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When the word “Wizard” was spoken, as many of us were growing up, the image of an old man with a flowing white beard and billowing robes often sprang to mind.
But, oh boy! How that’s changed!
Mention the word Wizard to mostly anyone these days and the image they’ll conjure up is of a near-sighted, bespectacled teenage boy with a bowl-cut hairstyle and a lighting-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead.
Harry Potter has changed the face of Magick and Wizardry forever.
Many people saw the emergence of Harry as a bad thing, a negative image thrust upon the global community. Many thought that his involvement with magick and the occult, and his often irresponsible uses thereof would teach children to behave in the same manner, however one man saw the potential and opportunity that Harry and his companions offered.
Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, a man who is credited with being one of the “Founding Fathers” of the ‘modern neo-Pagan movement’, (a term which he coined well over fifty years ago), took the idea of a ‘School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’ for young people and made it real.
On August 1st 2004, the electronic doors to a real, live and online School of Wizardry were opened. Based loosely around the “Hogwarts” school from the Potter novel series, the Grey School of Wizardry had a projected “7 Year Level” study system, 4 Houses which students were ‘sorted’ into (according to their Astrological Sun Signs) and an established Faculty of around 15 people, all experienced in their chosen fields and most possessing a teaching degree in their everyday lives.
When I came across the “Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard” (New Page Books, 2004) in late 2004 at a store in Melbourne, the first thing I noticed was the symbol on the cover. The “Penkhadeuce”, as it is named, combines a Pentagram, an Ankh and the non-winged Caduceus.
The image drew me in and so I picked up the manuscript and began to read.
I initially dismissed the book itself because of my preconceived thoughts of ‘wizards’ and it wasn’t until almost halfway through 2006, when I couldn’t stand not having that image close-by to study and meditate on, (I’m a Leo and am all about imagery), that I picked up my copy of the Grimoire.
I read it through, cover-to-cover, examining the various ‘Departments of Wizardry’ and the multitude of information covered, both theoretical and practical. This led to my exploring the Grey School website, still skeptical and unsure of whether I’d made up my mind on the whole ‘wizardry’ thing. It seemed a little bit strange to me, especially with the self-confessed passages that referred to the Hogwarts set-up.
However, after carefully considering what meager income I was receiving, I managed to find the money to enroll. I’d decided that it was something I’d wanted for a long time – a school to learn all the things I wouldn’t normally know, reading the generic books that get pumped out each year.
Once my membership was approved, I was quickly convinced that the cost for the first year was well worth what was on offer. In fact, taking into consideration the content of the school’s study program, (which continues to grow almost weekly), the asking price the Grey School has set is quite low when compared to other-such online metaphysical study schools.
Whilst the school was created with 11 – 17 year olds in mind, some of the courses of study that I’ve undertaken have proved quite challenging and engaging. On the other hand, some of the classes are quite simplistic and can be tedious to work through. (A couple of the required classes for the first year level are like this.)
Some of the requirements have also left me wondering how an 11 year old could cope, or even understand the concepts involved, if I couldn’t myself. Even someone with more than a decade of personal study under his belt, this school keeps providing challenges at every turn.
This is quite likely why there are more adult students enrolled in the school, in comparison to youths. Which fact brings to mind the level of care and attention the Faculty gives to monitoring the interaction between youth and adult students.
The school takes the utmost care in maintaining a separation between the two age groups, for the sake of safety on everyone’s account.
This protects the youths and their families, the adults and the school itself. It certainly makes me feel relaxed when talking on the social forums, knowing that the conversations are monitored and if there’s any inappropriate materials posted, the posts will be removed quick smart, with the offending student, or students, taken through the school’s disciplinary system.
The school’s forums are built around a standard forum language that allows PM’s, or “private messages”, which can be used to contact any student registered. This, besides users listing their private email addresses in their Profiles, is probably the only weakness in the policing of contact between the age groups.
That being the case, I also know that there is always someone on the forums. Given the many, varied time zones that all our students live in, there is usually one regular adult that is widely known throughout the school and respected browsing the forums. Not to mention the constant presence of the website moderator and editor and various Faculty members.
Another reason, I believe, that so many people are joining the school is because of its lack of “religious” influence. It is stated in many areas of the school, and in interviews with Headmaster Oberon, that Wizardry is closer to science than religion. It’s the pursuit of knowledge and the application of that knowledge in one’s daily life.
Wizards don’t have to subscribe to any particular creed or doctrine, and this is demonstrated in the fact that the school has students that are Christian, Wiccan, Buddhist, Atheist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Vodun and many more.
There’ve been a number of occasions where a student’s personal view-points or beliefs have led them to step out-of-line in their forum posts, both youth and adult, that have led to them either leaving the school or being removed.
Due to my personal experience in my magickal life, I’ve taken up the position as Advisor in the “Defence Against the Dark Arts” club forum, which deals with many issues, both school-based and the more serious everyday-life ones that effect the students. Anything from ‘hauntings’ to family problems. It’s almost like a peer-support group, with a spiritual bent to it.
I also found a place to explore my interest in writing in an extra-curricular club called Whispering Grey Matters – the school’s e-zine that’s published quarterly. I filled the position of Editor of the Opinions and Wizarding desks for a number of issues, in which I acted as both Editor for numerous students’ submissions and as writer of my own articles. I really enjoyed the experience writing for the paper, and although it distracted me at times from my studies, I took the time to sort out the priorities, and will be returning to the paper sometime in 2008.
My overall experience that the school has given me is one of self-growth, which is what I imagine the founder’s had originally planned. Their vision was one that would see the next generation of Wizards and Witches to grow up enlightened and with a sense of purpose that drives them to create a better world through informed and responsible choices.
Copyright: Copyright © Laneth Sffarlenn 2007
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