The Book of Shadows & How to Start Yours

The Book of Shadows & How to Start Yours

10 min read

Hey there, Dearest Magical Being!

One of the doubts of most beginners, related to Witchcraft, is about the creation of the Book of Shadows. Many do not know where to start, what to write, how to proceed, how to make the Book, in short, countless doubts that arise when making their first Book of Shadows.

Because of these doubts, I decided to make this post in order to clarify some questions and also demystify, because writing your Book of Shadows is not as difficult as it seems.

What is a Book of Shadows?

The Book of Shadows, or BOS, is not considered a Magic Instrument itself, but rather a very important artifact in a Witch and Wizard’s life. The Book of Shadows is a Personal Magic Diary, where we record our enchantments, spells, rituals, and experiences.

In it, we also transcribe all the spells that we find interesting, recipes for potions, methods of performing rituals, tales about mythology, magical information, myths of Goddesses and Gods, our thoughts, dreams, invocations and everything else that is relevant and related to Witchcraft.

The Book of Shadows of Each Tradition

In some Traditions (for example Gardnerian), the Book of Shadows is a collection of texts containing the rituals, practices, and wisdom of that specific Tradition. These texts are usually copied by hand by the practitioner, from the copy of his / her initiator.

Tradition material cannot be changed, although some additions can be made. Some still maintain a private Book of Shadows, in addition to that of their Tradition.

The Book of Shadows gets its name because its content must be kept in the shadow of the reality of this world. It is traditionally in a black cape with a silver or gold pentagram on the cape, but other colors such as green, brown, and navy blue can be used and other symbols set, leaving it up to each Witch and Wizard to choose.

In some cases, a practitioner’s personal Book of Shadows is an online archive, like Journey.cloud, but most practitioners do not accept such a practice, considering that the book of shadows must be part of the altar, also having its magical value. There is no problem with having a Book of Shadows on your computer, after all, it is very practical to have saved files to read wherever you are, without having to go around carrying a huge and heavy book. Not to mention that the private Book of Shadows cannot be seen by other people, just for you, in this case, a file with a password comes in handy.

We live in the 21st century, this is called adaptation. But never forget that writing by hand has its own and exclusive health and mnemonic benefits. You can also collect your interests in your digital Book of Shadows and only write those you experiment and love in your physical Book of Shadows, for example.

Should you buy or make your own Book of Shadows?

Whatever. You decide. After all, there’s a consecration ritual of magical instruments, which obviously serves for the Book of Shadows, so there is no problem buying ready-made or making it. Of course, if you make your own Book, it will have your personal touch, it will have your energy and it will be the way you want it to be. However, there are many artisans who make beautiful Books of Shadows and make them available for sale on the internet.

But it is not mandatory to be “that” Book of Shadows, all decorated, as we always see in posts out there. What matters is the power it will have, so it doesn’t matter if it is a simple notebook, an agenda, a folder, a binder, etc.

What matters is that it is your Book of Shadows and will be used for magical purposes.

What to write first?

The Book of Shadows is like a Witch or Wizard’s diary. In it, you write down everything related to your magical practices and what you have learned.
You see, when you do your self-dedication and commit to studying Witchcraft, you learn a lot of things because it is not just to practice magic, it is necessary to know its meaning, its origins, why, when, where, how, etc.
The Book of Shadows serves to be consulted in case of any doubt because obviously, there is no need to memorize everything that is read.

OPENING TERM

On the first blank page, write in your own hand with any pen, or pencil. On this 1st page you will write your name and the words of consecration of the Book, but do not write anything copied, write whatever comes to your mind, because the consecration is yours, the Book is yours, private and non-transferable. Ah, don’t forget to do this on a New Moon or Full night, after 6 pm, just throw coarse salt around the place where you are with your Book of Shadows, light a white candle and a myrrh or sandalwood incense.

I’ll give you an example of something to write so you can get a sense:

“I (your name) consecrate this Book of Shadows to the Goddess and the God, for here will be all the magic that I will use in honor of them.
I leave here all the power, respect, adoration, consecration, and dedication.
By the power of the Mother Goddess and Father God, by the Law of Cause and Effect, by the Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Spirit, that from this moment on, the bond between us and my commitment to the deities is registered.
So be it! ”

After writing these words down, read them out loud and then lift the Book and raise it to the 4 quadrants: North, South, East, and West.

When passing through each quadrant say:

“I ask the Goddess and God to bless this Book of Shadows and guide me on the sacred path of magic.”

Let the candle and incense burn to the end, take the leftovers and bury.

Note: It is not necessary for you to remain in place until the candle ends, but be careful not to leave the candle anywhere that could cause accidents.
After writing down the consecration of the 1st page and completing the ritual, your Book of Shadows is ready to be used.

(I know that some people have already made or bought their Book of Shadows. Even if you have already done and already written something, no problem, just dedicate it ok?)

INTRODUCTION

Go to the next page of your Book of Shadows and start writing with your words, in the form of a diary, as you found yourself in the Path. Write down whatever comes to mind, as it is your intuition that will guide you. Imagine 10 years from now, when you go back there at the beginning of the Book and read the personal things and feelings that you felt at that time. It will feel great, so write from the heart. If you want to decorate it by making drawings, pasting figures, leaves, symbols, or things you like, feel free.

After filling 1, 2, or as many sheets as you want, go to the next step: the studies. See the number of leaves left in your Book of Shadows and divide it into 3 equal parts, with the same amount of leaves.

FIRST PART

Write down the basic things related to Witchcraft, on each sheet, as you will need to refer to them whenever you need them. Separate a sheet for each topic.

What is Witchcraft? Introduction, dogmas, the Goddess, the God, etc.
Ethics and laws: the Law of Cause and Effect, the 13 Goals, etc.

The Wheel of the Year: dates for each Sabbath and a summary of what they mean. The Esbats: a brief summary of what it is all about and if you wish to leave a space so that you can add the lunar calendar of the calendar year we are in.

Incense and its uses. It doesn’t have to be all, write about the ones you use the most and over time you can increase the list. Herbs and their uses. Crystals and their uses. It doesn’t have to be all, but the ones you use the most and over time you can increase the list.

After this, the first part of your Book of Shadows will be ready because in it you will have the basics of your Craft. Leave more blank sheets, as you will certainly need to write down more things later, such as planetary tables, weekday magic, magic schedules, correspondences, and other details.

Important: this is not all, the study of Witchcraft and Wicca is very long, very extensive. Do not think that only with this you will be a priest or priestess, it takes years of study, this list is just the tip of everything.

SECOND PART

This part of the book will serve as a Grimoire, the place where you will write down the spells and recipes you have learned (and are learning), how to proceed, what to do, in short, a small manual of spells and magic recipes.
This note is very useful because when you need to consult a spell, it will be there, always at hand.
Another detail is that, with practice, you will start to create your own spells, which is very good, as it will have your personal touch. But do not forget the correspondence, each thing has its meaning, when elaborating a spell, observe carefully what you are doing.
It also applies to recipes for magical and ritualistic foods and drinks.

THIRD PART

Now comes the part of the diary. This space from the Book of Shadows will really serve as a diary. In it you will write down your experiences lived in the rituals. These are very particular things, such as:
How did you do the ritual? Describe the details of how it was done.
What was your objective, your purpose, the reason for having done the rite? Was it a Sabbat? An Esbat? A ban? A consecration? A spell?…
What you felt before, during, and after.
Meditation: Describe the same details. How, when, and where it was done, how you felt, and what the results were.

Writing these things down means that you are following your religious life and makes you feel more connected to the deities, as well as with nature and everything around you. Experiencing and writing down these experiences is very important because then you will be sharpening your spirituality. Of course, many more things can be noted, the ones I mentioned are just a few examples.

Another thing that can also be done, if you prefer, would be a separate Magic Diary, where you would write these experiences down, leaving the Book of Shadows with only 2 parts, which is much more interesting, since your private notes would be kept separately.

Once again I say: it is up to you.

And when the Book of Shadows is full, can you make another one?

Of course yes! For sure! There is no problem with making new books. The former will continue to have value, as it will serve as a consultation. I have several myself.

Another very important thing is that if you take a course or are part of a Coven, you will have more than one Book of Shadows because everything you study must be recorded. And do not despair to get started, because, during the years of study, you yourself will notice that just a year and a day are not enough.
Learning is lifelong, every day we learn new things, both in the religious life and in personal, professional, loving, etc.

“Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength, enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions.”

Starhawk

Leather Journals I Recommend

WOLA Vegan Journals 

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