Let’s Talk Witch – Back to the Basics, Your Book of Shadows
A Book Of Shadows
If you practice magick mainly alone, your Book of Shadows will be among your most valued tools. There are Books of Shadows of all kinds, from dark leatherbound volumes with pentagrams engraved in gold leaf on the front to equally effected ones scribbled in old school notebooks.
Many magickal practitioners have a large book of unlined paper in which they record spells they have created themselves, any particularly beautiful chants they write or speak and personal associations for different herbs, flowers and crystals. They may also record the names of those who need healing and the dates when healing was sent.
Other sections describe seasonal celebrations, wisdom received during full-moon meditation and other times of power. Some practitioners will create lists of protective angels and pre-Christian deities whose qualities form a focus for different strengths and qualities.
It can be incredibly useful to have to hand details of a particular incense mix created when you threw lots of ingredients into your mortar and it smelled fabulous.
There may be a chant you created one morning at a sacred site high on the moorlands when the sky was blue and you had the place almost to yourself (if you don’t count the children and the dog).
Even if you do buy a leather bound book, as your Book of Shadows, keep a notebook for your enroute scribbles (in a waterproof bag with a waterproof pen for days when the sky is not so blue).
Keep a back-up of any charts or lists you develop on computer and a back-up CD in case you ever lose your book–for the contents are more precious even than the book itself.
Make time at least weekly to update it and express your insights, while you are waiting for a candle or incense to burn through at the end of the spell. As such a time you will find that you are especially open to prophetic abilities, and the most down-to-earth among us may write beautiful chants when inspired by a particular ritual or spell.
Keep your Book of Shadows safe and only share its insight with those who will respect your tradition. One day it will become a heirloom of great spiritual worth.
The name “Book of Shadows” is also given to the formal handwritten reference book that is held by the High Priestess of a coven. Gerald Gardner, who founded the Gardnerian tradition, believed that the Book of Shadows, or grimoire, should be hand-copied from teacher to student, and some covens still adhere to this practice.