A Guide for Your Books of Shadows

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• What is a Book of Shadows ?

Traditionally, all spells, formulas and rituals would be recorded in a Grimoire, which is now more commonly known as the Book of Shadows. Sometimes people will refer to it as either one, there’s no right or wrong name, it’s what you choose.

It’s a book of learning, sometimes these are passed down through generations with each adding to it as they learn and work. Sadly now it is uncommon and so you may need to make your own.

It is never too soon to make one. You’ll want a record of everything you’ve done, whether it worked or not. It is not a diary, rather something to record rituals, modifications, and any other workings or findings that need recording.

Some people choose to write in code, and a lot of old ones were done in runes, magical alphabets or pictures. Many people believe they should not be shared, unless you are passing on to someone or within your own coven. This may have come from fear of being tried or a want to keep what works within a few people.

• How would I record something ?

You’ll want as much information added as possible, after all if you’re going to pass it on to someone they won’t know all the details you did.

Sometimes you may draw a symbol and add notes. Other times you may record spells, formulas and rituals, therefore wanting more than a few words describing what you did. I have done a simple amulet before that took two pages of notes.

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• So how would I record spells and formulas ?

You may not need or want all of these, you may have others you want to take note of, but this is a good start.

Type of spell or formula – this should state what the type of spell is (blessing, binding, protection etc). When developing formulas for lotions and potions you need to be clear of the exact purpose.

Date and time made – this gives a cross reference if you want to use planetary hours or magical days.

Reference – you’ll want to make your own system for this so you can find the pages easily again. You may choose to write SPELL largely so when you flick through it jumps out, you may want to colour dot the corners, have symbols to set it apart. This is up to you and how you would be able to find something perhaps years in the future.

Astrological phase – if you have an interest in astrology you may want to record where the planets are when you prepare.

Specific purpose – clearly state what this is for. It helps to focus and also leaves no one in any doubt of your intention should your book be shared or found. If there is more than one purpose record them all.

List of ingredients and supplies – having all the ingredients to hand within your space ensures that you won’t use the wrong thing, or need to leave your sacred space. Also if you want to repeat it you’ll be sure that nothing will change.

Specific location – some spells require a certain setting, you should note where you are when working.

Date, time and astrological phase when used – different to when setting up. Sometimes you would make a lotion at a certain phase of the moon, but want to use it on a different day. If casting a spell to take immediate effect, this would be the one to fill in. Also with spells you have not made yourself, you wouldn’t have a reference of when it was made, but you would have one of when to use. This is the most common one used in a BoS.

Results – record everything you feel are associated with your working, how successful you consider it, how it may be improved.

Deities invoked during preparation and/or used – if you call on any to aid you, here is where to record it. It will help you find who aids you best in which aspects.

Step by step instructions for preparation and/or use – list the order of ingredients, list words used, list when tools are used. Imagine you are writing the method for someone else, what would they do to follow the spell.

Additional notes – if anything seems strange, bizarre or noteworthy add it here. If you ever rework it you’ll know what to expect.

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• So how would I record a ritual ?

Rituals are performed differently all over, you may find a need to record yours. Here’s a good start.

Type of ritual – there are many types, you’ll want to record if it is one of invocation, honouring, supplication (asking a favour) or gratitude.

Date and time made – it will help to be consistent with recording this, you may decide upon time (am or pm)/date/month/year. You may decide time/month/date/year. It depends on how you would normally keep track. Stick to what you know and use rather than switching to something new.

Moon phase and astrological correspondences – as you become more proficient you’ll wish to be more accurate and will want to draw in as much power as you can.

Weather – weather has an effect on mood and the way you would carry out your ritual. A ritual honouring Thor or Mars would have more energy in a thunderstorm for instance.

Physical health – your health is important in any working, after all your energy is being used as well.

Purpose of ritual – again, state very clearly and list all that apply.

Tools and other items required – you should list how tools were laid out and what you used. If your intuition tells you to use something make note of it so you can find out why.

Deities or energies invoked – you should start any ritual with a clear idea of the specific deities/energies required for success.

Approximate length of ritual – if you wish to repeat it in the future you’ll need a record of how long it took. Devoting less time may not give the same results if repeated. If you are calling on a God or Goddess you owe them the right time.

Results of ritual – record the results you felt from it, how you yourself felt and how any energy has changed.

Ritual composition – list the order of ingredients, list words used, list when tools are used. Imagine you are writing the method for someone else, what would they do to follow the ritual.

Additional notes – note down anything else you feel is noteworthy, how you might improve it, strange feelings or occurrences, any specific thoughts and ideas that might come to you.

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• What else would I add in ?

Anything you may find helpful. Lists of herbs and their uses, you may want to draw the herbs. Any crystals, stones, candles, symbols and their respective meanings and uses. Start with what you work best with and add if needed.

☆☆Thank you for reading, I hope this was of use☆☆

Source: A Guide for Your Books of Shadows

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