How to make a Book of Shadows
How to make a book of shadows – and what is it? Discover how to make your own, and start recording your journey beyond the veil.
Compiling your book of shadows
Details of rituals were recorded in what is known as a book of shadows by practicing witches. While each coven may have a copy, most wiccans today have their own personal tomes – recording not just rituals but also information about crystals, herbs, divination and more. The contents of a personal book of shadows is really up to the individual. However, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your sacred book.
Do not collect spells in your Book of Shadows
You may think of a book of shadows as a spell book, but keeping hundreds of spells (from how to keep a healthy computer to getting rid of an ex) is not as helpful as you may think. Spells written by other people are brilliant for beginners to give them ideas about materials, what time of the day or night and which gods/goddesses to call… But they lack any personal energy and prevent you from learning to craft your own spells. Try not to have more than one or two examples of each kind of spell e.g. love charm, job spell. Instead, have a reference sheet for which days certain spells should be performed and the basic outline of a spell/ ritual.
Recording your journey
You may already keep a dream diary and a record of any magic work you do. Dreams you think may be important and significant magical work should be recorded in your book of shadows. You may also want to note any moments of deja vu or animal encounters that stand out, as you may find a message coming through to you in the form of a spirit animal guide or any other form.
Drawing down the moon, the great rite and the charge of the God and Goddess are examples of rituals common to modern wiccans. Even if you do not plan to perform them, you may participate in one of these rituals at some point. If this is the case, having read up on them beforehand will be helpful to you. You should also keep a record of any rituals you perform on the sabbats as these will be helpful next year.
The sabbats keep us in step with nature as the year progresses. You may want to collect a few recipes for dishes to cook at the sabbats, for example pumpkin pie for Samhain or spiced cider for wassailing.
A magical glossary
Noting down new terms and concepts is also a good idea as there are always new things to learn in the craft. You dont want to be turning widdershins (anti-clockwise) when you should be deosil (clockwise) and have a nasty shock to find the ritual skyclad (naked).
Other information to include in your Book of Shadows
Information on herbs, crystals, astrology, divination, mythology, shamanism etc. can all be included in your book of shadows if you wish – however there are plenty of books on the subject so it need not clutter your book. You may want to only include information that is relative to you at the time, for example if you had a vivid dream about a bear you look it up and note that the bear symbolises a fierce but protective nature and the corresponding Goddess is Artio. In which case, you may use your book of shadows to build up your own library of dream interpretation.
Personalise your Book of Shadows
With the above in mind, there are no rules with your book of shadows, so decorate it however you wish, with whatever you like inside. Handwritten is preferable as it imbues more of your own energy into the pages. Also, fountain pen ink will fade over time, whereas biro is more long-lasting. You may want to bind the book with a ribbon or keep it hidden in a box as your book should be kept private – or at the least kept away from prying eyes.