cover photo features someone wearing a zip-up jacket, fuzzy trapper hat, and goggles, left fingers placed thoughtfully on their chin while contemplating a luminous sparkler held in their right. © Matt Palmer


Hidden Powers (of Non-Magic People)

“We do not need Magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling



{ MODULE #4 }

Power of Love

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, a deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

Perhaps it is appropriate that the preparation for this lesson falls on the heels of a sorrowful event, given that the two sides to the coin of Love are Grief and Attachment. Upon writing this, it was only yesterday evening that the Head Office announced the passing of our beloved Polaris Black (R ’20), now honorary Professor of HOL. Rightly so.

As humans, we are quite skilled in loss aversion. It is difficult to accept that we must change or go without even the things that we come to view as undesirable in our lives once they’ve become a part of our habitual routine, and even harder to say goodbye to those habits and relationships which have always comforted us or shared our history in some way, however big or small.

After my schooling at HOL I ventured off into the world for twelve years and only recently returned as a Post Graduate. It wasn’t the first time I’ve poked my head in to say hello, on numerous occasions even toying with the idea that (given how much I missed the community) I would make a comeback. Up until the Spring term of 2020, there was always a voice in the back of my head that said “Not now.” For whatever reason I always felt it just wasn’t quite the right time —the fluidity of “Time” itself playing a large part in the power of Love—  and continued to watch as year after year passed. Saying goodbye to missed opportunities, yet focusing on a path that has enriched my life in a multitude of ways I never expected that have given me so much to bring home to these halls.

Although I didn’t know Polaris quiet as well as others I’ve befriended recently, I was blessed to cross paths with her on occasion these last handful of months, and the love that everyone who knew her shared was palpable. The relationships she built and efforts she put into completing her full Seven Years here are among the most enriching I’ve seen, and even from what little time we got to spend together, I could tell she was a powerfully kind, hardworking, and giving spirit.

In October of 2003, when I would have been just at the start of my Third Year, was one of the first times I experienced a grieving like this when we lost Alektaia “Taia” Khalikiope of Hufflepuff. She was my friend, as she likely was to all who knew her. The kind of person who would say things like “Being goofy is kind of a way of life.” (thanks to Professor Sollarna Fumbleknot for this quote in her Wizarding Times article from that year). It’s been so long since then that much of the memory has faded for me, I’m sad to say, but the impression of who she was in my life has never left. As the saying goes: “People will forget what you say and do, but they’ll never forget the way you made them feel.”

As I’ve grown and matured in my short few decades on this planet, one thing I can tell you is that grief changes as you get older. In some ways, you take it better. In many ways, it hits you harder. The loss of Polaris, although I didn’t know her as well as I did Taia, was quite a blow for me as I returned home the evening I found out. Walking back from a yoga class, I popped onto mIRC and saw that Prof. Dario Brighton had changed the #hol topic with an “In loving memory of” addition, which led me quickly to the Great Hall where Prof. Kyrie Adderholt’s “In Memory Of” post was waiting to fill me in on the appropriate details from the Head Office.

The tears came immediately, so it helped that the next move upon arriving to my destination would be to shower. I felt gratitude that the class I’d just taken was on Heart Opening, and that it left me feeling centered and relaxed, because it was exactly what I needed to tackle that moment head on. The water cleansed me as I continued crying. Not because I was surprised. Only days before I’d seen Taia’s name pop up in Prof. Felicia Hartwick’s “Hufflepuff Spirit Awards” posting, which reminded me of the ominous feeling I’d been having since I’d been made aware of Polaris’s absence earlier in the month when I said to my fiancé that something seemed strange, and I hoped everything was alright.

It can be very challenging to believe that everything is, in fact, “All Right” when things don’t entirely feel that way. How can it be alright when things aren’t going as planned, or preferred, or in a way that makes any sense? Why do we sometimes lose the parts of our lives that are so precious? I can’t answer these questions for you any better than I can answer them for myself, however I will say that I do not grieve the loss of Polaris for Her so much as for we ourselves. I believe that Death, just as Life, must be celebrated. That if you cannot celebrate one, you aren’t fully able to accept, appreciate, and celebrate the other. For they are each other’s reflection. The cycle of birth, maintenance, and destruction is a miraculous thing that we do not understand, yet I am grateful for each and every breath as it moves through these same cycles. From moment to moment, we are in a perpetual state of living and of dying. Of allowing the past and the future to unite together in what we tell ourselves in Here. What is Now. This present moment is made up of all that has come before us, while magnetized toward all that will ever be.

We cannot make a single decision without the Life which comes from creating, nor the Death which comes from sacrificing all that we have chosen not to do. We cannot embrace the privilege of what we do have without honoring that we wouldn’t have the opportunities we DO without those (the lost ones) who came before us, paving the way.

Albus Dumbledore himself, wise creature that he is, said that “To the well-organized mind, Death is but the next great adventure.” Because why not?? To the dead, perhaps coming to Life would be as terrifying as coming to Death is to us who believe we are living. Maybe neither experience is really all that different from the other. Who are we to say? These lives are finite and limited for a reason. It is exactly because we are finite and limited that we’re able to sift through a very specific, particularly focused set of circumstances, relationships, and experiences. To see things from a point of view we would never have known had we started the entire race at the finish line. Where then is the climb? Where then do we get to explore and learn and grow?

Grief is a beautiful and healthy thing. It’s a part of Love, because without Attachment there would be no Grief in our losses. Yet there is such a thing as too much of either, and we can easily fall into the trap of allowing ourselves to become consumed by these energies. The Power of Love is represented by the element of Air and the color Green, and is located exactly where you would expect:

In that circulating area of the pulsing, drum-beating Heart.



30 points

please submit all work to with the subject “Module #4 – Your HOL Name

Meditation (10 points)

“Half Scroll” / 50 words

Spend some time in reflection of this month’s lesson. Rather than actively thinking about the topic, find stillness and simply notice. What comes up for you? Don’t get too hung up on any particular memories, images, concepts, or feelings that arise, but do take note. Each time something pops up, acknowledge it, then return to centering yourself. Perhaps following your breath with each inhale and exhale as you re-anchor into the quietness. We can tend to have easily active Monkey Minds that want to jump around a lot, and we call it a meditation “practice” because over time it can become easier and easier to calm our inner chatter, as well as doing so for longer periods of time. Some days are more overactive than others, but just because we keep becoming distracted doesn’t mean we’re doing anything wrong. It’s like any muscle, the more you work at it the more you see the strengthening benefits in other areas of your life. After you’ve spent five minutes or so seeing what bubbles up, spend another five minutes jotting these things down. This can be listed as short bullet points with or without addition details, essentially in any brainstorm style you prefer. The goal is to quickly write out as much as you can remember, however seemingly insignificant, or any last minute ideas to get it all out of your head without worrying too much about how cohesive your notes are once written down. You may include anything that has to do with preparing for, practicing, and wrapping up your meditation experience if you’ve used any music/props/scents, and such.

Monologue (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Consider what you’ve written down from your brainstorm. What jumps out at you that’s wanting to be explored a little more deeply? Come up with a topic based around these meditations and write an essay about your personal perspective on the matter. This could be a single aspect or multiple elements from your list. In addition to sending in via e-mail, you feel like sharing with your peers go ahead and post this to the corresponding “Monologues” thread at the Class Forum with or without including your “Meditation” and/or “Mindfulness” responses added in together. This is voluntary and will not effect your points one way or another, however it will add to our community vibe and could stir up conversations or contribute toward any “Mining” points others may wish to accrue over time.

• Mindfulness (5 points)

“Quarter-Scroll” / 25 words

In what way(s) is this month’s Power currently in- or out-of-balance in your life? Is there anything you could do, communicate, or adjust that would help either regain or maintain this balance, and/or in what ways might you already be doing this, whether you’ve fully realized it or not?



30 points

Choose any TWO of the following prompts.

Extra Credit options may NOT be used in place of Assignment work.

In addition to submitting via e-mail, you are encouraged to please share these publicly in the corresponding “Extra Credit” thread over on the Class Forum wherever comfortable. While this will not effect your points earned, it will encourage interactions by providing additional ways for people to connect. Particularly those who take part in the “Mining” portions of these exercises over time if they enjoy or relate to your work and choose to touch base on something you may have shared within their own writing.

Manifestation (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Write some kind of a Short Story or Poem that revolves around this month’s Power. Let those creative juices flow! Please note that regardless of number of lines, even poetry submissions must adhere to the 150 word requirement for full credit.

Memory (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Share a story from your past that reminds you of this month’s Power. This may be from your real life (keeping privacy rules in mind), and/or experiences you’ve had here at HOL.

Media (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Based on your reflections from this month’s lesson, choose one piece of media you find in any way to relate to these concepts floating around. This could be a book, television show, movie, musical album, etc., and doesn’t have to be something completely new to yourself, so long as it speaks to you as connecting to the vibe you’re associating with this energy. Perhaps you’ll go into detail about why you chose this in particular, along with what aspects correspond most appropriately with your sense of this month’s power. What’s your general opinion of your selection’s strengths or weaknesses? Anything unexpected or enlightening come up along the way? Include whatever you feel compelled to share!

Mining (15 points)

“Scroll-and-a-Half” / 150 words

Head over to the Class Forum and explore. If you find something written in a previous post that in your mind relates to this month’s power in any way which inspires you to further expand or reflect upon, you can use this as an option for Extra Credit here. You’re welcome to poke around or ‘mine through’ the past years of work shared from previous members of the class to find thoughts, concepts, theories, or stories that strike a chord in you and help point toward something you may wish to write about here.


++ Please Note: in accordance with official HOL School Timelines, NO EXTENSIONS are permitted past end of semester deadlines. “Muggle Studies: Hidden Powers” is a One Term ClassAny Assignment, Extra Credit, or Exam MUST be received by 11:59pm HOL-time on January 15th (for Fall), then June 15th (for Spring) in order to qualify for House Points or a Quill unless a minimal grace period has already been granted. ++