So you’ve invested in that beautiful notebook you’ve had your eye on for a while, intending to turn it into your own Book of Shadows. But now the excitement has begun to wane as your mind races with questions. What should you put in your Book of Shadows? What if you make a mistake or write down incorrect information? Maybe you think you’ll just put it aside until you’ve learned a little bit more about witchcraft.
Why You Should Have a Book of Shadows
The great thing about keeping a Book of Shadows is that mistakes are okay! Think of a Book of Shadows as your own personal journal recording your witchcraft journey. Years down the line, you’ll be happy that you recorded what works and what didn’t, and how you were feeling at the time. You’ll be able to watch your confidence grow and see how much you’ve improved your craft. Don’t worry about making it perfect.
You may also wonder why you should go through all the work of starting your own Book of Shadows instead of simply referencing your favorite witchcraft books. The very act of writing down what you’re learning will help it stick in your memory even better. Plus, things in your practice may differ from what is taught in books. Making a record of what works for you and what doesn’t will be very helpful as you become a more advanced witch.
Ways to Keep Your Book of Shadows
Most witches choose to record their Book of Shadows in a notebook. If you’re an art witch, you might like to use a bullet journal or a notebook with paper that is safe for watercolor painting, for example. Maybe you’d even like to try your hand at crafting your own Book of Shadows.
Another option, especially if the thought of making mistakes is holding you back, is to go digital. It allows for easy editing until you are satisfied with the finished product. This is great for witches in the broom closet because you can keep it privately on your phone or somewhere hidden in a file on your laptop. It also has the convenience of being portable if you’re often on the go and want to avoid lugging around a clunky book.
You can also try a combination of the two and make the pages on the computer, then print them out and store them in a three-ring binder. This will give you the opportunity to organize by topics, and you can even tab the sections to make it easier to find what you need. Be creative and find what suits you, whether that be handwritten in a lined notebook or blank pages filled with colorful stickers and calligraphy.
What is the Difference Between a Book of Shadows and a Grimoire?
A Book of Shadows is less structured than a Grimoire, more of a targeted journal than an instruction manual. Here, you would record things such as recipes, remedies, spells and when you cast them. Don’t forget to record things like the outcome and how long it took to work. You may even include a record of gardening, and what phase the moon was in and what sabbat the seeds were planted for the best result.
On the other hand, a Grimoire is a spellbook with knowledge to be passed down through the generations instead of a personal notebook. This could be something you inherited or something you plan to pass on to your children or students. In general, a Grimoire is historical in nature and could be compared to a textbook versus a journal like a Book of Shadows.
Green Witchcraft is the path of the healer and medicine woman. The path may be different from what you think of when a Grimoire comes to mind, old books with secrets of the occult. Instead, it is the herbal remedies taught by wise women grandmothers, the things many people with modern minds write off as superstition. Instead of philosophical ideas, a Green Witch’s Book of Shadows records observations about the natural world.
Defined today, a Green Witch is a person of any gender who believes in natural magic. Therefore, a Green Witch’s Book of Shadows records healing remedies, gardening tips, moon phases, sabbats, and herbs and crystals to use for spells.
What to Include In Your Book of Shadows
Besides records of things you do regularly, like spells and divination, include any information you would like to consult regularly. Your Green Witch’s Book of Shadows can also be used as your own personal reference manual. Remember to date every entry for when you look back in the future. You may like to take the most useful parts of your favorite witchcraft books and copy them into your Book of Shadows to keep all your information in one place.
Records of Spells:
- Ingredients used
- Date cast
- Lunar/solar phase
- How long it took
Divination Practices You’ve Performed and When:
- Tarot or oracle card spread readings
- Rune or bone casting interpretations
- Automatic writing messages
- Other types of divination, such as tasseography, scrying, and pendulums
- Descriptions of dreams
- Meditation/journeying records
- Astrology, such as your birth chart and current transits
- Work you’ve done with deities
- Magical properties
- Medicinal properties
- Actions and energetics
- Gender, planet, and element
- Folklore and history
- Botanical description, plant family name, and folk names
- Culture it comes from and where it grows native
- Medicinal ratios and interactions
- How to make tinctures, oils, salves, decoctions, and infusions
Gardening and Cultivation:
- Growing information
- Zones where it will grow
- Planting timetable
- Insects and diseases and how to prevent
- Harvesting and preparation
- Identification for foraging
- Illustrations, sketches, pressed flowers, etc
- Sabbats; when they take place and how to celebrate
- The elements and their correspondences
- Planets and their influence
- Common symbols used in magick and witchcraft
- Your favorite incense, tea, and kitchen witch recipes
- Spirit animals, ancestors, deities, and guides
- Inspirational quotes and daily gratitude
- Vision board photos and written goals and aspirations
Much of this information is available right here on the blog! Check out the rest of our articles for information to copy into your Green Witch’s Book of Shadows. And most of all, have fun!
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