In this post, we’ll talk about how to make your own Book of Shadows. What it is and why you need one…
What is a Book of Shadows?
You might have seen old Books of Shadows (BOS from here) in movies and tv-series (like charmed) where the book is filled with spells and information about almost anything.
Your BOS from here is a book you use to write down your spells and other rituals you need to remember. It should be handwritten, but we’ll get into that in a moment. Your BOS is a sacred tool. It’s an item of power and you should take good care of it. Just like you would with any other magickal tool.
Should you buy a finished Book of Shadows or should you make your own?
Even though you can buy a finished BOS, I really don’t recommend that.
They are often “gimmicky” and the rituals and spells written down are more for fun than enything else.
No. You should write down every spell by hand. Not only does this transfer energy to you (the writer) but it also helps you remember the rituals.
Take your time writing down your spells. Consider this a ritual in itself. Don’t haste this. Taking your time also helps you write eligible enough so you can read it again.
Should you use a simple notebook or a long lasting one?
First of all, you need an empty book.
A simple notebook can do just fine, but since this is a sacred item and possible something you’ll want to keep with you or the rest of your life (and maybe even pass down to future generations), you should invest in a good high quality BOS.
Some also choose to use a 3-ring binder. It’s not as pretty or fancy as having a leather journal, but it’ll make it easy to later add or remove pages.
Some choose to have a binder or a simple and cheap notebook as their “draft” and then later transfer the rituals and spells to their main BOS (you know, the fancy long lasting one).
How do you start your Book of Shadows?
When you have made your decision and are ready, the very first thing you should do is to write your name on the very first page.
Some witches spend a lot of time here. You don’t have to, but just remember that the very first page you create in your BOS will set the precedent for how your book will turn out.
Many witches write something like:
“This Book of Shadow belongs to [YOUR NAME]” and then a quote or a poem that is meaningful for them.
What should you write down in your Book of Shadows?
Now, what and how you write in your BOS is completely up to you.
However, this next section deals with the sections that are almost universal for Wiccans and Witches.
Guidelines and rules:
Your coven or traditions laws: Yes, there is rules in magic. They vary from coven to coven, but it’s a really good idea to have them written down in your BOS. Preferably in the front of the book.
This section will primarily serve as a reminder of what’s acceptable in your coven (or tradition) and what’s not.
If you are a solitary witch, this is a good place to write down your own “rules”. What you think is acceptable behavior.
Trust me, you will need this. Maybe you don’t feel like it right now, but in your journey as a witch, there will come times where you’ll need to look back at these “guidelines” to help you make the right decision.
This section of the book is also a good place to write down the Wiccan rede.
If you have been initiated into a coven, you can put a copy of your initiation ceremony here.
If you are not in a coven yet or already dedicated yourself to a god or a goddess, this section is a good place to write that down.
For some, this section will be several pages long, for others, it’ll be a short line with your name, the names of your gods and the date.
I’d suggest you use at least a few lines more and write down why you are dedicating yourself to your gods as well.
This section of your BOS is also a good place to write down legends about your gods and if possible, artwork or images.
Your BOS is the perfect place to keep old sacred texts. If you find a text that has a special meaning for you, write it down. Many witches also use this section to write down chants and old prayers.
As a witch that does Magick and spellcasting, your correspondence tables are or will be some of your most important tools.
It can be phases of the moon, different colors and meanings, herbs etc.
They all have different purposes and as time goes by, it can be very hard to remember everything.
Keeping charts in your BOS makes all of this information handy when you need it.
Herbs and Uses:
Any BOS should have a section about herbs. What they’re called. What they look like and what you can use them for.
One of the key elements in spellcasting is herbalism. Plants has been used for thousands upon thousands of years by people. With time, you will use plants and herbs for healing, spell-casting, cleansing and much much more.
This section is dedicated to the “kitchen witch”. Here you’ll write down the recipes you use to make potions, oils, incense or herb blends.
You can even put down special recipes for Sabbat celebration meals and so forth.
For most Wiccans and Pagans the year has 8 holidays. You should write down the rituals for each of the sabbats. For example, for Yule, you could write down how to clebrate the winter solstice. It doesn’t have to be complex. It can be very simple or very detailed. It’s up to you.
This section is also where you’ll put your other rituals. For example, if you have a full moon ritual.
If you’re using Tarot, Runes, Scrying or any other form of divination in your practices, use this section to keep this information. Many witches use their BOS to keep record of their divination results but some prefer to keep that in a journal instead.
You can use this section to write down your spells. A good tip here is to divide them up by purpose. For example; prosperity, protection, healing, etc. This will make it easier to find them. Some witches use color codes to keep track of their spells.
You should know that some witches like to keep their spells in a separate book called “Grimoire”. If you are a new witch, it might makes more sense to keep everything in one book. But as with everything else, do as you please, as long as it doesn’t cause harm.
It can be hard to keep everything organized. Start out with a good system from the beginning. That will help you a lot.
A good tip is to add the source of your content (if any). That might be useful later.
I highly suggest you get a real good, sturdy book of shadows from the beginning. This is a book that will follow you for many years to come. At least if it is durable. You can use a simple notebook or sheets of paper in a binder, but it just doesn’t have the same feel to it.
Finally, remember that your BOS is a very personal thing. You can do with as you want. This article here is meant to help you get started. If you want to change things around or if you need other sections that aren’t included here, that perfectly fine. It’s your book.
Remember to leave a comment if you found this useful 🙂