Today, Grey Matters is excited to bring you the second of a series of interviews with our fantastic faculty. It is our hope that this glimpse into the minds and lives of some of the Grey School of Wizardry’s teachers will be of interest to our apprentices and friends of the GSW.
Today, we bring you the wonderful Professor Katy Ravensong, known throughout the GSW for her love for and connection to nature and the magickal mysteries thereof.
According to her bio, “I am a practicing Green Witch living in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I am a mother, a grandmother, a student, and a crafter. I love to get my hands in the dirt. It grounds me. I make my potions and brews mostly from the weeds that grow locally. I am a crocheter and as such, I am a Magick Alley vendor. I am physically disabled but that does not stop me from being a healer (an unconventional one, to be sure). I wish to help others as I have been helped by those who came before me.”
Please keep reading below the break for the interview itself.
First of all, how long have you been practicing magick and how did you get started?
I discovered that the path I was on was called ‘pagan’ around 1999. Oddly enough, a fictional book series introduced me to the path of the witch. The author of that series was Maggie Shayne. I had broken away from the religion I was raised in with its ‘don’t do that – don’t do that’. I was intrigued by a religion that lived by one law ‘Harm None’. I studied. I practiced. I learned. I completed the first degree with Witch School. Then around 2002, I found the path that I gravitated to was green witchcraft and it ‘clicked’. This was where the odd puzzle piece that I was fit into the puzzle. From the time I began searching after reading Maggie’s book, I found that the things I was reading were things I had always felt and believed. Never before had I found a place where I fit like this.
What part of the world do you live in? Does that location affect your magick?
I am in the southeastern part of the Appalachian Mountains, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I live in southeast Tennessee. I cannot practice my craft as openly as I sometimes wish I could since this is a very conservative, far right area. I do my best to positively affect those whom I come in contact with and to ‘bloom where I am planted’.
When you are not occupying your time with the work of the Grey School, what do you do? Do you have a day job? Any hobbies you are passionate about?
I do not work on a public job as I am physically disabled. My last job was in 2004. I read (a lot). I write (a little). I crochet. I love flower and herb gardening. I make home remedies from herbs. Some of those I grow myself. I like spending time in nature and helping to take care of 4 of my 7 grandchildren.
Who do you share your life with? Do you have a partner, children, or close family?
I have a beloved husband whom I married in 1978. I have three sons, one of whom crossed to the Summerland in 1995. My husband and I currently live with our youngest son and his family.
Now, let’s talk about the Grey School of Wizardry and you.
There are many different kinds of magick that can be categorized in different ways. The Grey School of Wizardry breaks the field down into 16 Departments. Which of them is most important to you? Which of them forms the major parts of your magickal life?
There are two departments that draw me more than the others (although I have taken classes in every department). Those two are Wortcunning and Healing. Either Magickal Practice or Natural Philosophy would be my third choice. My mother healed with herbs and I simply picked up the mantle that she laid down when she left us in 2000 – thus my two main choices.
When did you first become associated with the Grey School? What led you to the GSW and why did you get involved?
I joined Grey School in 2012. I had finished Earth Song’s Goddess School in November of 2011. She was deeply involved with GSW at that time and I followed her here. I took part in the Earth Day Challenge in 2012 – just after I got here. That was involved enough that I made friends and learned a lot. I wanted to learn more. Much to my surprise, I became an instructor in 2016. Teaching was never in my view of things I would do. But I love it!
What is/are your role/roles within the Grey School?
Currently, I am assistant dean of Wortcunning and also of Natural Philosophy. I have been in Wortcunning long enough to be settled in but I am just getting started in NP. I hope to ease some of Dean Serenity’s load there. I love working with Dean Anne in Wortcunning and I thank her for choosing me as her assistant. I teach classes in several of the departments.
As an instructor, what kinds of difficulties do you find your students face and why do you think that is so?
Those to whom English is a second language have the most difficulties, I think. The reason for this is that English is a very hard language to learn the ins and outs of.
Learning to document their sources is second big hurdle, I think. We stress that whoever actually said/wrote this or that be credited for it.
Do you have any exciting plans for upcoming classes or other events at the Grey School?
I am hoping/planning to write a class on basic crochet for the MP department. For the WC department, I am thinking about putting a class together on using ‘weeds’ such as dandelion and chickweed as herbal remedies. Both are still in the planning stages.
What would you say has been the best part of being a part of the Grey School?
Community! Even though I cannot take part in the virtual world of Second Life, I have found that I can connect with like minds via the school forums. Plus, all the instructors are available via email. Everyone is helpful.
Do you have a favorite class you have taken or taught here at the Grey School?
The favorite class that I have taken was “Exploring Your Magickal Heritage” in the Psychic Arts Department. My second favorite was “Blessed of Bast: Cat Myth, Magick, and Lore” in the Beast Mastery Department. Teaching – I love all the wortcunning classes and it is hard to choose a favorite. I suppose the Herbcrafting (201, 301, 401, 501, and 601) series is my favorite. “Double, Double: The Herbalist’s Laboratory” was a joy to take and I love teaching it now.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about your path and journey in magick and wizardry.
Could you please share with us what for you has been the most rewarding aspect of this journey?
Expanding my mind! No matter how much I learn, there is always more to learn. As I learn, my mind continues to expand. The only limits are those that I put there. I am learning to let go of those. I know all the knowledge of the collective consciousness is available to us all.
What would you say was the most challenging aspect of this path and how did you conquer that challenge?
Wanting to give up and quit – more than once in the past six years. I conquered that because stubbornness “runs in the family” (smile) and the fault became an ally. Every time I walked away, I would soon turn around and come back.
For those who are seeking magical abilities, what advice would you offer?
Seek and you will find. Study. Practice. Learn. Persevere. Don’t give up! A truly magickal world awaits you.
For those who are starting out, what encouragement would you give?
Don’t be afraid to ask – for information, advice, or help! If the person you ask cannot help you, s/he will find someone who can. Use the GSW forums. Many FAQ’s have already been addressed there and there is a wealth of information in the archives.
To close up this interview, I offer you an open stage! Is there anything else you wish to share or tell us while you have the opportunity? Is there a question you wish I had asked? If so, answer it here!
I want to thank Headmaster OZ for his vision and hard work in starting this school and keeping it going. It has made an immeasurable difference in so many lives. It will continue making a difference long after he is gone (which I hope isn’t anytime soon)!
Also, I want to honor the memory of Morning Glory, OZ’s life-mate. I never met her in person but she was a wonderful woman. Her inner beauty illuminated GSW and those she came in contact with.