A Book of Shadows is a spiritual journal in which you record your spiritual journey.
In the 1950’s, Gerald Gardner introduced the Book of Shadows (aka BOS) to his coven. It was his personal book of spells, rituals, etc. The people in his coven were allowed to copy his BOS and take it as their own, adding to it and subtracting from it as they saw fit.
Today you don’t have to be a Wiccan to have your own BOS and you don’t need to copy from anyone else’s BOS. I’ve kept a BOS for the last 26 years. It’s grown from a single 3 ring binder (which I still have) into well over 40 journals worth of writings. It’s an ongoing collection of spells, rituals, correspondences, magical alphabets, Sabbat and Esbat info and so much more. I journal about my beliefs and how they’ve changed and grown over the years. Some of what’s written in my BOS is of my own creation and some is from other people’s creation. I also record my dreams and visions and any oracle readings.
Let’s talk specifics. My BOS journals are now divided into individual categories, for the most part. Below I’ve listed most of those categories:
- Amulets, Talismans and Charms
- Animal Totems
- Arts & Crafts
- Astrology (Planetary, Zodiac, Days of the Week, etc.)
- Candle Magic
- Chants, Invocations and Prayers
- Circle Casting
- Color magic
- Crystal information
- Daily, Weekly, Monthly Rituals
- Deity and Faerie information
- Divination Outcomes (Oracle, Tarot, Tea Leaves, Runes, etc.)
- Energy Work
- Esbats and other information about the Moon and her phases
- Glossary of Terms
- Herb Information
- Incense and Oils
- Information of Planes of Existence
- Information on my Ancestors (Date of Birth, Date of Death, Things they liked in life)
- Laws/Rules (Hermetic Laws, Law of Attraction)
- Magical Alphabets, Symbols and Sigils
- Magical Offerings (for Deities, Elementals, etc.)
- Magical Recipes
- Magical Tools (Use, Cleansing, Consecration)
- Information & Ideas (the 4 Agreements, the 5 Sutras, etc.)
- Mudras & Mantras
- Other Rituals (Tea Rites, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, etc.)
- Personal Beliefs
- Sabbat Work & Correspondences
- Shrines and Altar Setup for every occasion
- Spellwork (Healing, Cleansing, Protection & Prosperity)
- Tree of Life
- Working with Spirit Guides
This is most of what’s in my collection of BOS’s. I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but this will definitely get you started.
Just remember that this isn’t a contest. A bigger BOS doesn’t necessarily mean a better one. I’m a note take so mine’s going to be huge. It would probably be just as effective if I just had the more important information written down in 1or 2 journals, but that’s not how my mind works.
Also, your BOS isn’t going to look like mine. This is an individual process and while I can tell you how I work with mine, I can’t tell you how to do yours. It’s something you just have to figure out for yourself.
Many Blessings and Happy Journaling!