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 Book of Shadows

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Posts : 62
Join date : 2010-12-07
Age : 25
Location : Ohio

PostSubject: Book of Shadows   Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:31 pm

I was tempted to give this a category all its own.
I absolutely adore the idea of a book of shadows and I'm very passionate about creating one that's just perfect.

A little history first. :)

The Book of Shadows was first introduced by Gerald Gardner in his coven sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950. According to him, it was a personal cookbook of spells that have worked for the owner; they could copy from his own book and add or remove material as they saw fit. He said that the practice of Witches keeping such a book was ancient, and was practiced by the Witch-cult throughout history. According to tradition, Gardner claimed, the book was burned after a person died, so that it would not be discovered that they had been a witch. Unfortunately after his own death, Gardner's Book of Shadows was instead published by Charles Cardell out of spite, and many of the key rituals of the Gardnerian tradition (which were the basis for most of the Alexandrian ones) were now public.

Interestingly, Gerald Gardner did not mention any such thing as a "Book of Shadows" in his 1949 (though written three years earlier), novel about mediaeval witchcraft, High Magic's Aid. Doreen Valiente claimed that this was because at the time, Gardner had not yet conceived of the idea, and only invented it after writing his novel. High Priestess Doreen Valiente made the claim that Gardner found the term "Book of Shadows" from a 1949 edition of a magazine known as The Occult Observer. In this edition, she claimed, was an advertisement for Gardner's novel, High Magic's Aid, which was opposite an article titled "The Book of Shadows" written by the palmist Mir Bashir. The article was about an allegedly ancient Sanskrit divination manual which explained how to foretell things based upon the length of a person's shadow. Valiente theorized that Gardner then adopted this term for his Witches' Grimoire.

Now for the good stuff.

Today, a Book of Shadows can be written in many different ways, and can have a variety of rules and traditions attached to their use. And it is now quite common for all Witches, Wiccan, Neo-Pagans, New-Agers etc to write, use and share their own however they wish. Whether they are solitary, traditional or eclectic. Though some covens still have a central BoS that is kept by the Priest and Priestess.

A Book of Shadows may be a personal diary or notebook, recording what methods work and what doesn't and editing the content accordingly. It may be a collection of everything you have learned in the craft and used as a manual. Or be solely a guide for rituals and ceremonies and codes on ethics within magic. Or all of the above.

A BoS may be written purely by you, for your eyes only. Or a collaboration between friends or a family project that is meant to be handed down to children and grandchildren.

Creating a Book of Shadows

For anyone who is creative about writing, scrapbooking, drawing, or just have your usual book fetish, you can have a field day with the mass amount of options you have for creating your BoS.

You can write it by hand, type it up and print it out, or keep it on the computer. After writing\typing in can be kept in a journal, scrapbook, CD, Computer File, File Cabinet, Binder Etc. (I supposed Floppy Disk of Shadows has a nice ring to it) So the sky really is the limit, but I'll go over some pro's and con's in a minuet just because I'm on a roll here.

It can be written and constantly rewritten or replaced as necessary with updated versions. I think it would be cool to keep the older versions to look back on over the years. :)

Some people also keep a second book called a Book of Mirrors along with their Book of Shadows. The former being like a personal journal for more introspective entries. The latter leaning towards the instruction manual style. Some people keep a third or separate book solely for spells, a spell book is often called a Grimoire.

As far as I'm concerned, what you call the book itself can be just as flexible. Some people use the name 'Book of Light'. I think giving the book a human name (Like 'Melissa') might be kind of interesting, or a coded word\phrase\acronym.

Pro's and Con's of Written vs Typed

Some people say that writing your BoS by hand helps to add your energy to the book as well as help to memorize the content.
Typing can speed up the process by a great deal for those who end up with a dictionary's worth of information they want to save. (Ah the miracle of Copy & Paste)
If you accidentally spill something on paper, you're screwed.
If your computer crashes you can just grab the backup cd if you made one.
A CD is easier to lose and brake than a book. (But easier to copy!)
Written words can be more meaningful when passed down to others or read in the dark.
Typing on a computer allows for use of drafting, quick editing and spellchecks.

This site was a genius idea.
There's another million ideas in there, as well as how to's for safely aging paper. Wink

Eye Candy

(To be continued: A list of material to add to a BoS, like the Wheel of the Year, Witch's Pyramid, Wiccan Rede etc)

(Side Note: Does anyone else find it amusing that my spellcheck underlines the word 'Wiccan' in red?)

Last edited by Chimera on Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Posts : 8
Join date : 2011-01-19
Age : 47
Location : Michigan

PostSubject: Re: Book of Shadows   Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:44 pm

I have my BOS with spells included and information as far as dates, purpose for my need to do/write the spell, outcome, etc. I also keep a separate book for spells only. I made a recipe box using good old fashion index cards to write spells on and keep in alphabetical order. I started putting my BOS on a flash drive for safe keeping but haven't updated that in a while.
As for brahmbookworks.....definitely eye candy. B E A UTIFUL BOS's. I purchased some 'how to' books in an attempt to make my own... Reader That hasn't worked out so well yet.
I don't have my spell checker on, that might be why your 'wiccan''s are not underlined on my end.
Nice information you have given. I am familiar with Gardner and did not know that the name BOS was started by him. Thank you for sharing.
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Posts : 62
Join date : 2010-12-07
Age : 25
Location : Ohio

PostSubject: Re: Book of Shadows   Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:56 pm

Oh good idea! I never thought of keeping record for the date and purpose of individuals spells. :)

Done with part 2
A list of things that could be added to a BoS, none of it is mandatory:

The Wiccan Rede (And maybe how you interpret it)
Wheel of the Year\The Sabbats (Ways to celebrate them, their symbolism)
Moon Phases
Astrological signs
Rituals and
Spells and divination
Chants and Poems
Animals (Info on certain animals that have significance to you or visit you often)
Directions and elements
Tools (Athame, Boline, Chalice etc)
Candles and incense
Biography's or dedications to people
The Witch's Pyramid or its many variations
Descriptions on certain symbols
Cooking recipes for foods you would make at a ceremony or Sabbat
How To's for any fun crafts you'd like to make for celebrations or gifts.
I am planning on dedicating one part of my BoS to my health, by adding yoga positions, Maslow's pyramid, and information on Feng Shui and things like that.
Crystals (There spiritual properties and correspondences)
Description of your path and what it means to you\why you follow it
Your Spiritual Goals
Observations of the natural and spiritual world around you.
List of books you want to read
Inspirational quotes
Thoughts ans Questions
Meditations\Relaxation techniques

I also heard of a project where you take a blank piece of paper and fold it in half, on one side of the crease you write a list of things that you want from your path, and on the other side write a list of things you have to offer to it and see if the two are balanced. I added that to my book as well.
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