Whether you’re new to the Witchy world or a seasoned Witch, building your Book Of Shadows is an important rite of passage.
The thing is, I’ve seen many switched on, initiated Witches get so daunted or overwhelmed by creating their Book Of Shadows, they keep putting it off (potentially forever).
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Your Book Of Shadows doesn’t need to be complicated or a social media masterpiece. It doesn’t even have to be big, we’re not aiming for an encyclopedia (you can build up to that if that’s your thing). Just start off simple.
Think of Book of Shadows as a Wiccan book that holds all your essential wisdom, your to-do list and anything else that will help you be kickass at your craft. It’s a learning companion and sacred tool all rolled into one.
So forget about those Instagram-worthy ones you’re bound to see around and just focus on taking small, simple steps to build your personal Book of Shadows.
What Is A Book Of Shadows Anyway?
There is lots of conflicting advice and opinions out there about what a Book of Shadows is and should contain.
A Book of Shadows is your personal book of magic. It can contain your experiences with all your magical work (spells, rituals, divination, dream work etc).
Your Book of Shadows is not necessarily a Grimoire, which is more of a textbook which focuses on the how-tos for rituals, spells and potions, and isn’t about your spiritual journey. It’s also different from a Mirror Book which is more of a Witch’s Dear Diary where you record reflections on your dreams, Tarot readings, paranormal experiences, hot dates etc.
Some people, myself included, choose to combine all their magical and personal practices into one volume. Others prefer to keep them separate.
Do whatever works for you, hotpants.
The Modern Witch’s Book of Shadows
Today, just like Wicca itself, the Book of Shadows has adapted with the times to become a highly personal and ever-evolving journey of love – in many different formats and guises.
Digital devotees can use countless apps:
- If you are artistic, try Canva if you want a drag and drop image editor.
- Use Google Docs if you want a word processor that can link between different files and is accessible from anywhere.
- Evernote is a journal program and has a lot of great functions like including video and audio recording, tagging, the ability to clip content from webpage to name a few.
- If you are a writer who with a passion for sharing your learnings, you could start a blog or an Instagram account.
For those who want a physical Book of Shadows:
- For the highly practical, a three-ringed binder will allow you to keep moving things around, easily adding or taking things away.
- If you like things functional and simple, a lined notebook may be your thing.
- For something a little more special try a beautiful leather or moleskin notebook (who doesn’t love the way they feel?)
- I personally love sketchbooks from the art store. You can get different sizes and they have nice thick paper perfect for using ink pens, paints etc
- Or, you may love a beautiful ready-made Book of Shadows that are available online or in specialty shops.
Suffer from Perfection Paralysis?
Many Modern Witches have a “down and dirty” Book of Shadows, which is a constant work in progress, along with a “pretty” version that feels more special and something that you feel comfortable to share with others (if you want to).
OK, So What Next?
So you’ve got your Book of Shadows format sorted out. What now? Go with your intuition. Act spontaneously and trust that what will unfold will be perfect for you.
Start jotting down your notes, ideas, illuminations and whatever else floats your boat.
Spells and rituals. Potions. Essential oils. Herbal remedies and teas. Rocks and crystals. Solstice celebrations. Recipes. Tarot layouts. Your freaky dreams and experiences. Goddesses. Correspondence charts. Songs. Prayers. Meditations. Goals. Sketches. Doodles. Your coven code or manifesto you live by.
All this and more can be recorded in your very own Book of Shadows creation.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong. Every Book of Shadows is going to be different. You have the freedom to imprint your heart and soul into your book. Treat it as your personal journal, something that will help you to work with Witchcraft in a way that will positively influence your life and the world around you.
A Sneak Peak into MY First Book of Shadows
Here’s my first Book of Shadows. I started this when I was 15 years old. It’s the first record of my magical craft. It allowed me to have a visual representation of the rituals performed and also it holds all the building blocks for writing my own spells.
I did a lot of detailed crafting for this one. I made my own paper from scratch. I collaged, I painted and sketched. It was a real labour of love.
I hope you enjoyed seeing into my first Book of Shadows.
I’ve also created a free resource to help you build your own Book of Shadows. It includes a 5-step guide plus over 50 ideas of what to include. I’ve also included 8 workbooks for celebrating the Sabbats which includes rituals, tarot spreads, recorded meditation and more!