Hello all witches and all non-witches! This is part four of Wicca 101. Keep in mind that Wicca and it's beliefs are very individual so during these articles I will be sharing MY thoughts, so please don't jump me. I hope you enjoy!

If it harms none, do what you will

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In this part I will sum up what a Book of Shadows is, it's history, what it's used for and some tips on creating one! Just like most things in Wicca, a BOS is very individual so the things I say will not apply to all- but as always I will try to keep it general!

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What is a Book of Shadows?

A Book of Shadows can be described as many things ; a journal, a spellbook, a cookbook and so on. Basically, a BOS is a book in which a Wiccan or a Witch writes their recipes, spells, rituals and notes on life. It can contain facts about herbs and crystals, and the uses of them. It can contain instructions for other Wiccans or witches on how to preform things.

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A BOS might also be called a Grimoire, and although they have similiar traits, a BOS generally contains a lot more of personal notes and experiences and a Grimoire is believed to simply be a record of spells and information.

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The history of the Book of Shadows

Magical and religious texts have existed for a long time, some of the first finding of a magical writing was from ancient Mesopotamia. There have been writings from the medieval times of Merlin, and furthermore. So although these kind of magical scripts have been found, the concept of BOS dates no longer back than around the 1950's, the time of Gerald Gardner. There might be some older, but not as old as ancient Mesopotamia. So no, the Book of Shadows-concept isn't ancient and old, but its predecessor, the Grimoire, is!

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What is a Book of Shadows used for?

A BOS, like I said, can be used for a number of things. I thought I would list some things:

  • Keeping record of your magical journey
  • Information on Sabbats and Esbats
  • Ingredients for spells and potions
  • The uses of herbs and crystals (what they do, what they mean etc)
  • Divination work, write down what you saw or experienced. It might be helpful in the future!
  • Your studies; divination, potion-making, spellcasting, rituals, astrology, candle magic, dieties, sigils, palmistry etc.
  • Spells
  • Recipes
  • Ceremonies
  • The elements
  • Lists of things. Like an encyclopedia of herbs, ingredients, etc.
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There is really no end to what you can put in your Book of Shadows, and the best part; you get to choose. You do not have to share it with ANYONE if you do not want to. You can, but you do not have to. Traditionally, you aren't supposed to share it- but that is okay if you want to. Some even advocate the burning of a BOS once the witch is dead. I strongly disagree because I feel that is a total waste of knowledge, but everyone have the right to an opinion!

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How do you create a Book of Shadows?

In modern day, there are so many ways to do create a Book of Shadows, and it's really not anyones business to tell you how to do it.

Of course, many prefer the classic book to write their Book of Shadow in. You are probably thinking of a big, leatherbound parchment book- and it's not unusal that Wiccans or Witches have one of those- but many also have a regular notebook from the Dollar Store.

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Tip: if you can't afford/find one of those cool, leatherbound books- you can totally do one yourself! There are a lot ot diy tutorials out there.
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Having a digital BOS has become really popular too. Not only is it usually more accessible, but if you figue you want to change something or add something, you don't have to redo it all because *caugh* you wrote in ink and you don't want it to be ugly and just cross over and get frustrated and do it all over *caugh* - you can simply add, delete and change as you want in a digital document.

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Tips

  • If you feel comfortable doing spells, you can put a protection spell on your BOS to keep it safe!
  • Putting sigils and markings on your BOS might also help you protect it, or keep it hidden from those you don't want finding it.
  • If you'd like to have physical BOS, but also want it neat and tidy- you might want to write on another paper or on your computer before writing in your book! Decreases your chances of having to redo an entire page because you forgot something.
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