The Book of Shadows of any magickal practitioner is as unique as their fingerprint. Some use it as a journal, some use it as a spell book. Some people don’t feel the need to keep one at all.
What does yours look like? Do you hand write it? Is it typed? Do you let others handle it? How is it set up…a journal or a spell book? Both? Was yours given to you by someone?
Today’s prompt is all about that magickal book and what it means to you. Enjoy!
Well, starting off with the basics of do I even possess one. And the answer to that is quite simple: no.
I used to think I needed to have one to be a real witch or a real pagan. After all, the websites and beginner books all stress having one and writing all your experiences into one. So I used to agonize over my not having one. I collect journals, I love how they look. So I have a pretty bad habit of collecting them and never using them. I actually started that bad little habit trying to find the perfect journal to use as a “Book of Shadows”. I wanted it to be pretty, pagan-looking, or at least innocuous enough that no one would notice what it was immediately. And I wanted to be able to write it all by hand, absolutely not typing it…because that would be wrong. Or that was what I thought at the time. I thought that I would let no one handle the thing, because it was only mine, absolutely not the property of another human being.
Of course, after a few years, I’m beyond all that now. I don’t really care about a “Book of Shadows” anymore. I don’t feel the need to have one at all. I rarely write down my practices, or my thoughts. It’s mostly in my head, or I write things here on my blog for myself to read, and you, my good readers. I kind of like having a digital, online repository for my information and thoughts. I don’t really care about writing versus typing, and whatever I choose to write by hand is my very personal observations that I do not want to share with anyone else. I think now, the closest thing to the proverbial “Book of Shadows” I will ever has is a journal of sorts to write down observations for divination, plant/flower information (herbology-type stuff), and perhaps a few details on rituals or spells that I want to perform. Nothing at all too formal for me. I don’t really do anything formal in terms of ritual or dedications, so I don’t think of the “Book of Shadows” in the traditional sense of the phrase.
I don’t want one given to me. I want to pick it out myself, I’m picky that way, and particular in my personal taste. I’m sure people will probably pick it up off my bookshelf on occasion. My friends and family are constantly going through my bookcases, because I have unusual books that they haven’t seen before. But it doesn’t bother me as long as they don’t actually read the thing. I’m not as frantic about things as I was when I was younger.
Another thing for me is the name of a “Book of Shadows” itself. I just don’t like the name. I need a different name for the journal/information-index/book that I’d write. I’m just not sure what I want to call it yet. Grimoire, Book of Shadows…those are the two I’ve heard most often. Neither fits. And yet I don’t like the sound of either. I’m going to have to eventually settle on something to call it. I’ll just hope that sometime down the line I’ll figure out a good name for it that I can stand to use without wincing at the name.∗