Thoughts on keeping a magical book or ‘book of shadows’

windvexer:

I will just call it a ‘book’ for simplicity 🙂

Here are some of my thoughts on creating and keeping a book. YMMV

Ask yourself what your book is actually for

My book is a tool in my practice. It is meant to inspire me and help me grow. I include things I want to learn or understand better. I add sigils and spelled pages so the book itself is magical and can provide for me when I need it. I write about ethics and morality, and what I believe is important. I also write tips and tricks that seem useful but that I am unlikely to remember. I do not include anything I already know well, because I don’t see the point in writing down information I already know that I will never look up.

Everyone keeps a magical book for different reasons. Ask yourself what yours is for, and use that as the core of your book.

Don’t write your book for other people

Don’t think of your book as being an heirloom that will one day be used to train other witches or be passed down to your children. Think of it more like a school notebook that will help you get to the next level. Very likely by the time you become a mentor or have wee little witchlet babies, your opinions or beliefs will have significantly changed and nothing you are writing down now will be important. Think of your magical book as field notes, not the finished memoirs of your magical journey.

What is the point in stressing over the exact placement of your color correspondences, and spending four hours decorating the pages with utmost care, when three months from now you may discard colors as being unimportant, and six months from now your journal will be full and you’ll need to get a new one anyway? When you are fifty or sixty and have a lifetime of information to share, then such pains would be worthwhile. For now, is the information you copy off the Internet or out of other books really so worthy of all that care and attention?

Don’t rewrite books that already exist

It is a romantic notion to have a tome that explains magic, details how to cast spells, reviews every plant you’ll ever encounter, and has an encyclopedia of spirits and rituals to boot. But creation of such a thing would take months, if not years, of full time work. The good news is that such books already exist, and you do not need to rewrite them. I admire the patience of those who decide to rewrite field guides of plants around the world, drawing their own pictures to boot, but I would much rather pick up a copy of Medicinal Plants and Herbs on Amazon for $6, and save myself months of labor.

To create accurate entries in your book, you will need resources such as these anyway. I understand that not everybody has the resources to collect books, or the privacy to download PDFs of books, or swing by the library whenever they need something on plants or mythology or what have you. But if you do have access to such resources, just buy the book somebody else wrote and save yourself the trouble of trying to replicate professional publications.

I’m not saying that including information from other books in your special book is bad. I am saying that if you intend on writing a full-length publication on plants or animals or magic or whatever, it may be a lot more convenient and helpful to just see if one already exists and buy it.

Things you could include:

  • Use your book not only as a tool of information, but also as a tool of inspiration. Draw or paint images or symbols that inspire you. Write quotes or passages that instantly take you to that witchy headspace. Try including some of your favorite witchy tasks or actions that always make you feel great.
  • The steps to take in case of certain emergencies – such as attack from another witch, danger from spirits, different mundane disasters, and so on. During times of panic or stress it can be difficult to remember exactly what can be done to relieve the situation.
  • Lists of the magical items you have on hand. I create enchanted items like a hen lays eggs and it is difficult for me to remember what I already have. Consider how useful (and satisfying) it would be to have a list of all the enchanted items you have on hand – it would also be easier to think of new things to make or experiment with.
  • Your current protections, how they were made and what powers them, etc. It is not good to create protections and forget about them. It is also easier to create safe spaces and protect those you love when you can easily see what has already been done.
  • Self-love magic, or steps to take in case of mental upset. When I am depressed or anxious it can be difficult for me to remember the helpful magical actions I can take to manage my emotions. A page in my book called “Read me if you’re depressed” is infinitely helpful to get back on track.
  • Mixtures and recipes you are likely to use but unlikely to remember, especially helpful magical baths, cleansers, incenses, teas, or charm bags.
  • A quick list of the medical dangers of the magical ingredients you own, so you can run through and double-check before you start any magical action. For example, noting that you shouldn’t throw angelite in water and then drink it, or that Valerian root may negatively interact with depression medication, or not to rub cinnamon oil on your skin.
  • The steps to anything you are trying to learn – such as the steps to enter trance or complete a certain ritual.
  • Magical actions that will probably be useful to have around or that you would like to try later, such as breathing or gazing exercises, energy work techniques, and alternate forms of things you already do (such as a new way to ground or shield).
  • Meditations or mental rituals that you can do anywhere, and your experiences with them.
  • The names and preferences of spirits you have encountered so you can help foster relations with them in the future.
  • Spells you really enjoy that you are likely to use over and over again in the future, or spells that were really cool that you don’t want to forget.
  • Writings about your beliefs and paradigms, what you believe magic is all about, and what you believe your place in it is.
  • Sources. Where did this information come from?
  • Your opinions. Don’t just include information – include what you think about it. Write about why you like it or don’t like it. Question the information itself. Ask how it fits in to your paradigm and how it could be improved.

Ways to organize your book:

  • Use an existing method of journaling such as the bullet journal method as inspiration to create and organize your book.
  • Use a binder so you can rearrange pages to your liking
  • Don’t use sections at all. If your book has five sections (Plants, Spells, Rituals, Correspondences, Crystals) then I will bet you $10 that you are going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out where to put anything that doesn’t fit neatly in to a predetermined category – and that it will happen a lot. Even worse you may be tempted to disregard or throw away information that doesn’t fit neatly in to your book, simply because adding another section would ruin the ‘aesthetic’.
  • Try writing in chronological order. In a few months it will be exciting to look back on your progress and see the changes as you flip through the days. If you use an index, you are also not likely to ‘lose’ any information. And there is no need to ever reorganize or worry about where to put what.
  • Create a clear system of labeling so that when you go to each page you immediately understand what is on it. Sigil is an obvious header. Essayor Musings may be a good way to start off blocks of writing. Numbering each page and adding dates may be very helpful to you as well.
  • Don’t worry about skipping pages or not having enough room. It is easy enough to write (cont. page 47) and carry on a few pages later. If you have pages left blank, fill them with artwork, pressed flowers, quotes you like… whatever suits your fancy.
  • No page needs to be totally filled. It is okay to waste space. It is okay to start a page and add to it for weeks, and it is okay to start a page that never gets finished because you don’t need it any more.
  • It is okay to cross things out, have scribbles, etc. Perfection is not necessary.

Decoration

  • No book has to be decorated. That’s up to you.
  • Do what makes you happy. Your pages do not have to be perfectly matched like a team of horses. Some of my pages are written in pencil, others in ink. Others have fancy calligraphy, others are painted. I use cursive or block letters to write depending on how I am feeling.
  • Write when you feel like writing, and decorate when you feel like decorating. I am usually in one mood or the other. I have pages and pages of undecorated content that I add when I am feeling studious, and when I am feeling creative I go back and add drawings or color.

Getting fancy

Use whatever works for you, but it is good to plan ahead:

  • Do you want to carry your book around with you? If so, use something that will fit in your bag or purse. A two inch binder is mighty useful but not mighty portable.
  • If you will be using ink, do some testing to make sure that the pens you have will not bleed or smear on your paper.
  • If you plan to decorate your pages with paint or watercolor, get an artist’s book or papers that can handle it.
  • If you plan to be very artsy with your book, decide if lined paper will drive you crazy or not. If you want your pages to be highly organized, grid paper may be the best for you.
  • My book often acts as a coaster or sits with the art supplies. There isn’t much room in my room for sacred objects. I bought a $3 journal for my book because I didn’t want to deal with the fuss of taking care of a beautiful $50 leather bound Etsy journal. I also didn’t want to worry about ‘ruining’ such a beautiful object with my writing or art. Buy or prepare a book that suits your needs so you do not become a servant to it.

Anonymous asked: Hello! Im starting my first BOS and was wondering what sort of things you put n them? Thanks!

spiritualwitchery answered: Hi there, The short answer is anything.

He’s a list of what I have so far in mine (in no particular order)

  • A dedication
  • Spells
  • History of witchcraft, wicca, paganism (whatever your belief is)
  • Witchy terms (eg. Athame, webweaving)
  • Moon phases
  • The “witchy” year (Wheel of the year)
  • Elements
  • How to set up an altar
  • Crystals
  • Rituals
  • Divination (tarot, scrying, psychic readings etc)
  • Psychic tools
  • Circle casting
  • About my goddess
  • About my God
  • Pantheons
  • Calling the quarters
  • I have a whole page on my rules and beliefs (Some put the wiccan rede in)
  • Recipes
  • Herbs
  • Oils and Incense
  • The Sabbats
  • Journal (I have a separate, easy to carry journal but some people add it to their BOS

There is soooo much that you could add to it, here’s a basic list of what I’ve added. I recently added my family tree, but that’s just something I felt I needed to do.

I hope this helps

Brightest Blessings to you

Rachael-Elizabeth

Exercises For Your Tarot Journal

mondinfinite:

Here’s a bunch of tarot exercises you can try out with your cards and write up in/on your journal:

Daily draw

Pick a card each morning. Write about it! Look out for the card as you go through your day. Or pick a card in the evening – what might it mean, considering the day you’ve had?

Write up a reading

You don’t need to record every reading you do –sometimes it’s good to just take your message, put the cards away and move on. But when you’re learning, it’s helpful to spend extra time on a reading and really explore the deeper elements of your cards.

Interpret someone else’s reading

Lots of bloggers post readings they’ve done online. Pick any reading, and read the cards for yourself. What advice would you give the querent?

Same cards, different deck

If you have more than one tarot deck, this can help you to find common threads between them, as well as highlight major differences and thus totally expand your understanding of individual cards. Pick any card from your first deck, then find the same card in another deck. What do they have in common? In what ways are their messages different? Are there symbols common to both/all cards? How would you deliver each card’s advice to a querent?

You could also try doing this with a larger reading. Do your reading as normal, and then find the same cards from another deck and lay them beside the first ones. What does the reading say now? Which messages have become confused? Would you give yourself different advice, or are any particular cards changing their message for you?

Read for someone

Never mind if you’ve only just got your first ever tarot deck. Make it something fun, tell your mate you’re just learning. They’ll have their own ideas about what the cards mean, and as you talk it over this will really help to personalise your understanding of the cards that come up!

Work on a tricky card

If there’s a card you’re really struggling with or which seems to have made literally no sense in a reading, don’t ignore it. Spend some quality time with this card. What confuses you about it? Do you draw a total blank, or does it give you strange feelings? Look up different meanings online or in your favourite book. Study the card carefully. Look for symbols, expressions, colours, animals. Write whatever comes into your head about the card.

Choose your own adventure

Draw a card. This is the start of your story. Now draw another. This is what happens next! Carry on and write a little story! Plenty of authors use tarot to help with the writing process!

So there you go. Get scribblin’.

Anyone else got any cool journalling exercised to share? Did you try out any of these exercises? Let me know in the comments!

Witchcraft 101

the-darkest-of-lights:

I was asked to make a post about some basic information for beginners. This post covers a lot of information to start you off on. 🙂

I suggest you pick out a topic and start there by studying it and practicing it, and don’t forget that it’s your journey and you decide what you believe to be most important. Feel free to expand your horizons.

Some subjects:
–symbols
–animal magic
–
history
–sacred geometry
–herb magic
–crystal magic
–spells
–potions
–amulets/charms/talismans
–animal spirits
–deities
–elemental magic
–esoteric
–angel magic
–numerology
–poison path
–hexes
–alchemy

Some wonderful authors:
–Scott Cunningham
–Dugan
–Gerna Dunwitch
–Worth
–Eileen Holland
–Judika Illes

I do have a list of great beginner books that I suggest:
Candlelight Spells 
- Gerna Dunwitch
Spells For The Solitary Witch 
- Eileen Holland
Mrs Bs Guide To Household Witchery 
- Kris Bradley
The Way Of The Green Witch – Murphy Hiscock
Book Of Witchery – Dugan
Cunningham’s Book Of Shadows – Scott Cunningham
Practical Protection Magic – Dugan
Pure Magic – Judika Illes

Some tips:
1. Do your own research.
2. Don’t be afraid to read about ‘taboo’ topics.
3. Libraries are great places (if you can’t find a book your looking for, you can get one shipped from another library for free).
4. There are many magical subjects to study.
5. You don’t need any tools.
6. You can work magic in the kitchen with everyday ingredients.
7. You can write your own spells.
8. Don’t do anything your not comfortable doing.
10. Don’t forget to Take notes (book of shadows)

A book of shadows is a book that one uses to write about their experiences, their path, and anything they feel is important to add.

Some info for your Book of Shadows 
(BOS) and you can put anything you’d like in it, as each book is individual to the owner who write in it. You can also have many Book of Shadows and it’s ok to keep your old ones. Here are a few subjects you can go over in the book:
–lunar calendar
–info about your deities
–herbs
–crystals
–sabbaths
–correspondences
–tool info
–symbolic info
–a bio
–book protection spell
–spells
–charms
–potions
–recipes
–notes from your craft

The Basic Tools Of A Witch
**tools do not need to be used but make casting easer and this is not a complete list, as different paths have there own lists.

The Chalice 
- often made of silver, though it can be made of any material. It is associated with water, and feminine energies.

The Cauldron – a tool of fire, often used to burn offerings, fire magic, or mixing potions. Many use cast iron cauldrons as cooking vessels.

Dowsing Rods – a divination tool often used to find lost objects or find underground water for well making.

Magical Journal – a magical journal often called a Book of Shadows due to pop culture, often used to keep a log of magical experiences, practices and recipes. 
Many believe the power of the written word, I personally believe that there’s more power in writing down it all by hand. You can use you book any way you want and name it what you want. It’s supposed to be personal and over the years you may have a series of books written by you.

The Wand – can be made with a verity of materials, many use certain woods and crystals while others use copper. They have masculine energies and considered tools of fire/ air. They are used to direct magical energies.
 Willow wood is associated with lunar magic; Oak wood is associated with fire magic
; Apple wood is associated with love magic,
 to name a few woods and magical uses.

The Athame – a double sided blade that is never to be used to cut any physical surface. It is usually considered to be a tool of air/fire. Used to direct energy, it has a masculine association.

The Besom – a broomstick; it combines both masculine and feminine energies, used to “sweep away unwanted energies”; never to be used for mundane but only for the magical, or else you risk loosing any magical power stored in it.

The Smoke Fan – used to move magical energies in a space, a tool of air as it can be used in combination with sage for a cleansing ritual.

Basic Tool Consecration
Prior to consecration, I rub the tool with fresh lavender, eucalyptus or mint leaves.
When I consecrate my tools I hold the tool in my hand and visualize it absorbing my energies, then I purify it from its old energies with the elements; I choose to use the smoke method. While I smoke cleanse the tool I usually say aloud a blessing of the elements:


I hold in my hands the (tool)
which I dedicate as a tool of the (name of element) element
I dedicate it to positive uses
as I was the Path of the Wise

Basic Herbs:

Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
Gender: hot
Planet: mars
Element: fire
Deities: Krishna, Vishnu
Basic Powers: purification, protection, exorcism, love

CAMOMILE (Anthemis Nobilis)
Gender: hot
Planet: sun
Element: water
Part Used: flowers
Basic powers: prosperity, meditation, money, induces sleep when burned

CATNIP (Nepeta Cataria)
Gender: cold
Planet: venus
Element: water
Deity: Bast
Part Used: leaf
Basic Power: love, animal connection, relaxation

HONEYSUCKLE
 (Lonicera Caprifolium)
Gender: hot
Planet: jupiter
Element: earth
Part Used: flowers
Basic Powers: prosperity, clairvoyance

LAVENDER (Lavendula Officinal)
Gender: hot
Planet: mercury
Element: air
Part Used: flowers
Basic Powers: love, protection, purification

MUGWORT (Artemisa Vulgaris)
Gender: cold
Planet: venus
Element: air
Deities: Artemis, Diana
Part Used: herb
Basic Powers: protection, clairvoyance

THYME (Thymus Vulgaris)
Gender: cold
Planet: venus
Element: air
Part Used: herb
Basic Powers: clairvoyance, purification

YARROW (Achillea Millefolium)
Gender: cold
Planet: venus
Element: water
Part Used: flowers
Basic Powers: love, clairvoyance, exorcism

Beginners Oil Apothecary
Almond Oil
Gender: masculine
Planet: mercury
Element: air
Powers: love, prosperity, wisdom

Bergamot Oil
Gender: masculine
Planet: mercury
Element: air
Powers: prosperity, protection

Eucalyptus Oil
Gender: feminine
Planet: moon
Element: water
Powers: cleansing, healing, protection

Frankincense Oil
Gender: masculine
Planet: sun
Element: fire
Powers: peace, protection, exorcism, spirituality

Jasmine Oil
Gender: feminine
Planet: moon
Element: water
Powers: love, sexuality, goddess

Lavender Oil
Gender: feminine
Planet: venus
Element: water
Powers: cleansing, purification, relaxation, healing

Patchouli Oil
Gender: feminine
Planet: Saturn
Element: earth
Powers: love, healing, passion

Sandalwood Oil
Gender: feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: water
Powers: dreams, divination, enhancing psychic abilities

Beginner Crystals

QUARTZ CRYSTAL
Planet: sun, moon
Element: fire, water
Powers: protection, healing, power, lactation

AMETHYST
Planet: Jupiter, Neptune
Element: water
Powers: dreams, overcoming alcoholism, health, healing, psychic abilities, peace, love, protection, happiness

TURQUOISE
Planet: Venus, Neptune
Element: earth
Powers: protection, courage, money, love, friendship, healing, luck

TIGER’S EYE
Planet: sun
Element: fire
Powers: money, protection, courage, energy, luck, divination

SUNSTONE
Planet: sun
Element: fire
Powers: protection, energy, health, sexual energy

MOONSTONE
Planet: moon
Element: water
Powers: divination, psychism, sleep, gardening, protection, youth, dieting

ONYX
Planet: Mars, Saturn
Element: fire
Powers: protection, defensive magic, reducing sexual desires

APACHE TEARS
Planet: Saturn
Element: fire
Powers: protection, luck

OBSIDIAN
Planet: Saturn
Element: fire
Powers: protection, grounding, divination, peace

MALACHITE
Planet: Venus
Element: earth
Powers: power, protection, love, peace, business success

JET
Planet: Saturn
Element: earth
Powers: protection, anti-nightmares, luck, definition, health

FLUORITE
Powers: mental powers, calming

CARNELIAN
Planet: sun
Element: fire
Powers: protection, peace, eloquence, healing, courage

Candle Colors
WHITe – all purpose, unity, purity, cleansing, peace, balance, spirituality, healing, innocence, rain, magic involving young children, truth, consecration, balancing the aura

RED – passion, vitality, strength, survival, fertility, courage, sexual potency, mercy, action, danger, war, fire element, conflict, sports, independence, assertiveness, competition

BLUE – communication, will power, focus, forgiveness, good fortune, weight loss, truth, fidelity, patience, domestic harmony, organization, removing bad vibrations, sincerity, astral projection, water element

YELLOW – masculine divinity, great fortune, abundance, prosperity, male energy, understanding, divination, fast luck, solar/sun energy, positive attitude, justice, health, attraction, luxury

GREEN – prosperity, abundance, money, physical & emotional healing, growth, luck, marriage, tree/plant magic, acceptance, weather, counteract envy/greed/jealousy

PURPLE – wisdom, influence, spiritual power, contact with spirits, drive away evil, change luck, independence, government, break habit

PINK – love, compassion, nurturing, femininity, friendship, romance, partnership, spiritual & emotional healing, protection of children, domestic harmony, self-improvement, maturity

ORANGE – creativity, self-expression, intellectual matters, overcoming addiction, legal matters/justice, joy, business success, ambition, vitality, fun, action, opportunity, celebration, investments

BROWN – ouse blessing, animal/pet magic, earth magic, concentration, material goods, stability, locating lost objects, earth element, real estate, construction, food, financial crisis

BLACK – grounding, wisdom, learning, protection, safety, reversing, uncrossing, unhexing, repelling black magic, banishing negativity, releasing, shapeshifting, defense, scrying, pride

Casting circles
Using an athame draw a circle around your working area, and then invoke the elements and chosen deities (optional) then proceed with your magical workings. There are may ways of casting a circle, everybody does it there own way.

Invocation of the Elements 
Via Cunningham’s Book of Shadows:
Air, Fire, Water, Earth

Elements of astral birth
I charge you now; attend to me!
In the circle, rightly cast
Safe from psychic curse and blast
I charge you now; attend to me!
From cave and desert, sea and hill

By wand, blade cup, and pentacle

I charge you now; attend to me!

This is my will, so mote it be!

Dismissal of the elements
:
Earth, Water, Fire and Air

Elements both strong and fair
Return to your abodes now
Flee!
 This is my will, so mote it be!

Centering ritual
To be centered means to be balanced physically and spiritually.

Body mind and spirit now align

center focus on this goal of mine

subtle bodies balance to the core

clear and strong I’m ready to explore

Chant to help create a sense of connectedness:
To the sky spirit
rise 
with my voice
lift my eyes
see the sun, moon, and stars
touch them all, mine and ours

Circle of Protection Incense
Designed to protect a person, home, or place of business from evil influence.
1 oz powdered sandalwood
1/2 oz powdered 5 finger grass
1/4 oz. powdered frankincense
1/4 oz grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. salt peter
1 dram of gardenia oil
2 dram tincture of benzoin
1/8 Fl. Oz =1 dram 
1/4 Fl. Oz = 2 dram

Tincture of benzoin
2 oz powdered benzoin
4 oz water
12 oz alcohol
Keep this mix in a bottle for 2 weeks and shake daily, then strain the liquid for use.

Anonymous asked: What do you suggest needs to be in a book of shadows?? Especially for starting one

swampseer answered: I use my book/book for spells, recipes, whatever concoctions, important crochet patterns, how to’s, important interactions, dates, all sorts of stuff. The only thing I suggest everyone have is a correspondence table to whatever you use in your practice. It could be colors, herbs, moon phases, all of those or just whatever  fits with your practice.

Books are very individual things, friend! I do suggest that you keep a table of contents towards the front, though!

brittanymsimas4 asked: Hello, I’m Brittany. I am only 18 and have been learning new things, spiritually. I’m completely open and wanted to ask your opinion on what may be a good start or some topics I could research or practice. I’d appreciate your opinion very much (: Ty.

the-darkest-of-lights answered: [[I would like more specific topics, I do however have a few willing teachers. I’m just not sure what is best to start practicing. I was hoping for more of your opinion as to certain steps to take ?]]

Hello Brittany. So many topics or subjects you could study. It really depends on what you’re interested in. It’s always good to learn how to magically protect yourself. As for specific subjects:

Amulets
Crystal magic
Crystal grids
Curse protection/ casting
Elemental magic
Divination
Crystal gazing
Runes
Pendulum
Tesomancy
Tarot
Sigils
Potions
Kitchen witchcraft
Herbal magic
Color magic
Knot magic
Meditation
Spell making/ casting

There are lots of other subject I can’t think of at the moment. You can choose from any of these or any that goes with your interests. Also don’t be afraid to try new things.

How To: Book of Shadows

A Basic Method

  1. To make your Book of Shadows, begin with a blank notebook. A popular method is to use a three-ring binder so items can be added and rearranged as needed. If you use this style of BOS, you can use sheet protectors as well, which is great for preventing candle wax and other ritual drippings from getting on the pages! Whatever you select, your title page should include your name. Make it fancy or simple, depending on your preference, but remember that the BOS is a magical object and should be treated accordingly. Many witches simply write, “The Book of Shadows of [your name]” on the front page.
  2. What format should you use? Some witches are known to create elaborate Books of Shadows in secret, magical alphabets. Unless you’re fluent enough in one of these systems that you can read it without having to check notes or a chart, stick with your native language. While a spell looks beautiful written out in flowing Elvish script or Klingon lettering, the fact is that it’s just hard to read unless you’re an Elf or a Klingon.

    When it comes to the contents of your personal BOS, there are a few sections that are nearly universally included.

  3. Laws of your coven or tradition: Believe it or not, magic has rules. While they may vary from group to group, it’s a really good idea to keep them at the front of your BOS as a reminder of what constitutes acceptable behavior and what doesn’t. If you’re part of an eclectic tradition that doesn’t have written rules, or if you’re a solitary witch, this is a good place to write down what YOU think are acceptable rules of magic. After all, if you don’t set yourself some guidelines, how will you know when you’ve crossed over them? This may include a variation on the Wiccan Rede, or some similar concept.
  4. A dedication: If you’ve been initiated into a coven, you may want to include a copy of your initiation ceremony here. However, many Wiccans dedicate themselves to a God or Goddess long before they become part of a coven. This is a good place to write out who you are dedicating yourself to, and why. This can be a lengthy essay, or it can be as simple as saying, “I, Willow, dedicate myself to the Goddess today, June 21, 2007.”

  5. Gods and Goddesses: Depending on what pantheon or tradition you follow, you may have a single God and Goddess, or a number of them. Your BOS is a good place to keep legends and myths and even artwork concerning your Deity. If your practice is an eclectic blend of different spiritual paths, it’s a good idea to include that here.
  6. Correspondence tables: When it comes to spell casting, correspondence tables are some of your most important tools. Phases of the moon, herbs, stones and crystals, colors – all have different meanings and purposes. Keeping a chart of some sort in your BOS guarantees that this information will be at the ready when you really need it. If you have access to a good almanac, it’s not a bad idea to record a years’ worth of moon phases by date in your BOS.
  7. Sabbat rituals: The Wheel of the Year includes eight holidays for most Wiccans and Pagans, although some traditions do not celebrate all of them. Your BOS can include rituals for each of the Sabbats. For example, for Samhain you may wish to create a rite that honors your ancestors and celebrates the end of the harvest, while for Yule you may want to write down a celebration of the winter Solstice. A Sabbat celebration can be as simple or complex as you wish.
  8. Other rituals: If you’ll be celebrating each full moon, you’ll want to include an Esbat rite in your BOS. You can use the same one each month, or create several different ones tailored to the time of year. You may also wish to include sections on how to cast a circle and Drawing Down the Moon, a rite that celebrates the invoking of the Goddess at the time of the full moon. If you’ll be doing any rites for healing, prosperity, protection, or other purposes, be sure to include them here.
  9. Herbs: Ask any experienced Pagan or Wiccan about a specific herb, and chances are good that they’ll expound on not only the magical uses of the plant but also the healing properties and history of use. Herbalism is often considered the core of spell casting, because plants are an ingredient that people have used for literally thousands of years. Put together a section in your BOS for herbs and their uses. Remember, many herbs should not be ingested, so it’s important to research thoroughly before you take anything internally.
  10. Divination: If you’re learning about Tarot, scrying, astrology, or any other form of divination, keep information in here. When you experiment with new methods of divination, keep a record of what you do and results you see in your Book of Shadows.
  11. Sacred texts: While it’s fun to have a bunch of new shiny books on Wicca and Paganism to read, sometimes it’s just as nice to have information that’s a little more established. If there is a certain text that appeals to you, such as The Charge of the Goddess, an old prayer in an archaic language, or a particular chant that moves you, include it in your Book of Shadows.
  12. Magical recipes: There’s a lot to be said for “kitchen witchery,” because for many people, the kitchen is the center of hearth and home. As you collect recipes for oils,incense, or herb blends, keep them in your BOS. You may even want to include a section of food recipes for Sabbat celebrations.
  13. Spell workings: Some people prefer to keep their spells in a separate book called a grimoire, but you can also keep them in your Book of Shadows. It’s easier to keep spells organized if you divide them up by purpose: prosperity, protection, healing, etc. With each spell you include – particularly if you write your own rather than using someone else’s ideas – make sure you also leave room to include information on when the working was performed and what the outcome was.
  14. The biggest dilemma with any Book of Shadows is how to keep it organized. You can use tabbed dividers, create an index at the back, or if you’re really super-organized, a table of contents in the front. As you study and learn more, you’ll have more information to include – this is why the three-ring binder is such a practical idea. Some people choose instead to use a simple bound notebook, and just add to the back of it as they discover new items.
  15. You may want to use one notebook for information copied from books or downloaded off the Internet, and another for original creations. Regardless, find the method that works best for you, and take good care of your Book of Shadows. After all, it’s a sacred object and should be treated accordingly!

Tips:

  1. If you find a rite, spell or piece of information somewhere else, be sure to note down the source. It will help you keep organized, and you’ll start to recognize patterns in authors’ works.
  2. Add a section that includes books you’ve read, as well as what you thought of them. This way, when you get a chance to share information with others, you’ll remember what you’ve read.