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The Grey School of Wizardry

I have at last passed the faculty training class for the Grey School and am working on getting a second class accepted by the Dean of the Dept. of Wizardry.  Once I have two classes up and running, they will grant me the honor of being a full member of the faculty.  I have nothing but admiration for the school and its faculty.  It is hard to see much unless you register as a student, but the website is

Writing classes has always been interesting to me.  The research involved and the thought process of how to make it clear to young students educates me as much as it does the students.  It permits me to study the magical arts and their history and to convey what I have learned to a new generation, who will grow up taking wizardry as something perfectly normal.  Mentioning where I teach always produces an interesting reaction from people.  Usually they seem entirely accepting, though clearly the cannot know what I am talking about.

Once I have attained professorial rank in the school, I must have business cards made.  I wonder if the school has given thought to a design.  Perhaps they will adopt whatever I come up with.  Something elegant and businesslike bearing the school emblem, the pentankhaduceus  or pentankhaduce, which cleverly combines the pentagram, ankh, and caduceus.  These symbolize the Gallo-Germanic, Egyptian, and Greek magical traditions, the three main springs which have fed the river of wizardry in the West.

It is fascinating to me to see things that seemed but fantasy when I was a teen, now flowering into the sunshine, no longer “occult,” hidden, but treated like any other scholarly discipline.  Or rather like a whole college at a university with sixteen component departments.  I myself am most attracted to the departments of Wizardry and Lore, two departments that deal with how wizardry is conveyed from one generation to the next.  I am happy leaving the teaching of practical magic to the excellent professors in those departments.  It is philosophy, theory, and narrative that has always interested me most.  I would happily live in an “ivory tower” if ivory was not such a very impractical building material.  Let the elephants keep their ivory.  A tower would be nice, rather than a dungeon where I now work.  More airy.  More windows.  A deck on top to pace on and look at the stars.  Of course, I would just have to vacuum the spiral stairs…

The physical manifestation of the wizardry school remains to be built.  All it would take is the chance direction of several millions into the hands of wizards willing to buy and maintain an old castle or country home in Britain, or even in America (there are a few old county homes), or perhaps to build one from scratch with all the benefits of modern Green architecture.  I would gladly devote my lottery winnings to an endowment for such a school.  Just have to get lucky.

You would think that if anyone could manage to win the lottery on purpose it would be a wizard.  I am not sure why I am so reluctant.  Perhaps because I haven’t enough faith in myself?  Actually, I do wish I could carve out more time to do practical magic of that sort.  Enchanting wands is certainly an important and noble calling, but I have always had visions of handling large sums of money.  When I saw the photo in “The Week” of the ugly 27 story “mansion” built for a billion dollars by some mogul in Mumbai, I sighed.

Why is money wasted on the rich, who have such poor imaginations?

Alas… earwax.


Fading Gardens

It is the time of year when the trees give one great show of colored leaves.  The oaks turn a beautiful brown, grow crinkly, and then blow away in the wind.  The young oak outside my kitchen window still holds onto a few green leaves at the very tips of her branches, despite the winds.  October has been remarkable this year — dry, clear, sunny and quite comfortably warm.  The air is crisp, the sun warm, and so while I have donned my Giamos uniform — the black turtleneck — still by afternoon I am discarding layers. Corduroy jacket.  Waistcoat.

Hazel, Cherry, and Smokebush are all holding onto their leaves yet.  The smokebush, which was colorful all year, now stands out all the more behind the now-bare branches of the Rowan.  The Hawthorn, which was for a month so very beautiful with red haws and green leaves, now i entirely bare. Yet, that Hawthorn remains quite alert even in Giamos, branches always ready to knock off my hat.

My roses, new this year, are on my mind.  I need to protect them for winter.  The Lena rose has done so very well and still is full of pink blossoms.  The climing rose not as well.  It seems not to have grown and looks a bit peeked.  It may be the soil and less sun, as it is under the east wall of the house.  I shall have to see if I can keep her alive through the winter months and do better by her next year.

I get a little melancholy to face another winter.  If March would be like this October, then we all would be happy, but in the Spring in Minnesota this weather hardly returns until May.  As I recall, though, this past year’s Spring came a month early.  The weather changes and we, I fear, are receiving a fairly benign change.  At least in terms of temperature.  The consequences of warmer winters in the northland, however, include bugs and parasites being able to overwinter instead of being killed off.  It is not so good for the trees.

Our street was once lined with elms.  There are still one or two left.  The City replaced those that died of Dutch Elm disease with ash trees.  Most of them are not even very old.  There is one very large one two doors down from us.  But they are now succumbing to the Ash borer beetle and I noticed one tree had been marked by the City foresters for removal.  Alas for the Ash trees.  They are such a major part of our northern forests.

Minerva, my tabby cat, is out hunting this morning.  She loves her morning constitutional.  She would love an evening one too, if I let her out.  She goes out in the early morning light, the sun warm but feeble, so far South.  She finds a sunny spot on on of the garden chairs and hunkers down to absorb the warmth before heading out on her walk.  I do not know where she goes, but she does return, often talking with great animation, telling me all about what she has seen.  If only I spoke Miaow.

It is the waning of the year.  Samhuinn is but a week and a half away.  Parties to celebrate the new year and to brave the chills and short days of Giamos.  The reign of the Holly King comes, and he is a little gloomy and harsh at times.  Who can blame him for being crabby when his subjects spend the time of his reign dreaming of his rival brother the Oak King and his sunny fruitful and green reign in Samos.  Samhuinn, say the sages, means “the end of Samos” – the end of summerlight.

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