The Grey School of Wizardry is a school specializing in occult magic, operating primarily online and as a non-profit educational institution in the State of California. It was founded by present headmaster Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, a founder of the Church of All Worlds. The school was reported to be "the first wizard school to be officially recognized as an academic establishment." It is a secular institution, not a religious one, and is not affiliated with any religion or religious organization. Over 450 classes are offered in 16 magical departments. Graduates are certified as “Journeyman Wizards”, using the traditional title journeyman signifying one who has completed an apprenticeship.
Before the school opened, the Grey Council was established in 2002 by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart as an advisory group to determine the curriculum. The Grey Council was composed of some two dozen authors, mystics, magicians and leaders of neopagan communities around the world, including Raymond Buckland, Raven Grimassi, Patricia Telesco, Frederic Lamond, Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, Donald Michael Kraig, Katlyn Breene, Robert Lee "Skip" Ellison, Jesse Wolf Hardin, Nicki Scully, Sam Webster, Trina Robbins, Ronald Hutton, Amber K, Ellen Evert Hopman, Luc Sala and Jeff McBride. The Grey Council worked through 2003 to produce a textbook—a grimoire—for the school, the Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard (2004). This was followed by the Companion for the Apprentice Wizard in 2006.
The Grey School of Wizardry first opened on the pagan holiday of Lughnasadh on August 1, 2004. In 2011 it reported 735 students. The school's motto is: Omnia vivunt, omnia inter se conexa (“Everything is alive; everything is interconnected” — Cicero). It is a nonprofit educational institute for children 11–17 years of age, and also for adults of any age. The name of the school may derive from the colors associated with the wizards in the J. R. R. Tolkien classic Lord of the Rings and, in particular, with the appendix to the name of the protagonist Gandalf (the Grey). It was incorporated as a non-profit educational institution in California on March 14, 2004, and received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service on September 27, 2007.
The school provides a seven-year apprenticeship curriculum in wizardry. Faculty and students represent a wide variety of faiths, including Pagan, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim.
The curriculum begins with simple lessons, and increases in complexity as students progress. More than 450 classes are offered in 16 color-coded departments. These are: Wizardry (indigo), Nature Studies (silver), Magickal Practice (gold), Psychic Arts (aqua), Healing (blue), Wortcunning/Herbalism (green), Divination (yellow), Performance Magics (orange), Alchemy & Magickal Sciences (red), Lifeways (pink), Beast Mastery (brown), Cosmology (violet), Mathemagicks (clear), Ceremonial Magic (white), Lore (grey), and Dark Arts (black). Although some classes address mythology and comparative religion, the school's grimoire (textbook of magic), Companion for the Apprentice Wizard, and the school's philosophy focus on magic rather than spirituality.
The program was partially inspired by the fictitious "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" from the Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling and, like Hogwarts, the Grey School hosts four youth houses: Salamanders, Undines, Sylphs, and Gnomes, that are associated with the Elements Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Likewise, there are four equivalent Lodges for adults: Flames, Waters, Winds, and Stones. Houses and Lodges are moderated by faculty Heads and student Prefects. Despite this resonance with a fictional school, the Grey School of Wizardry is "an entirely serious project"; it is an institution for educational enrichment with offerings for children, as well as ongoing educational opportunities for adults. The Grey School provides an interactive social environment, with clubs, merits, challenges, awards, a quarterly student-run school magazine (“Grey Matters”), several week-long summer camps (“Conclaves”) around the US and overseas, and a virtual school which offers home schooling and a G.E.D. program. The virtual school was founded primarily to provide an education stream for modern Pagans and their children that is Pagan-focused.
According to Isaac Bonewits, "The Grimoire collects in one book a library of wisdom about ceremonial native and Earth-centered magic, Paleo- and Neopagan religions, the obligations of the wise to protect the defenseless, great wizards and witches of the past and present, and more." Bonewits also asserts that the school presents an opportunity for males who are unsatisfied by the teachings of the modern Wicca movement.