this is such a huge part of our craft, and i think its about time we talk about it.
a side note before we start, there is an amazing video that personally inspired me by a witch (herspeak) that you can watch here! i will include some of the information she gives in her video in this post for those of you who don’t have the time to watch!
first off… grimoire? book of shadows? whats the difference? what on earth even is a book of mirrors?? wait… there’s even more??
well first lets quickly talk about the different types of books!
- grimoire: a textbook of magick, a reference book filled with anything you desire or need to remember (lists, correspondences, how-to’s, spells)
- book of shadows: for wiccans/pagans, this can be seen as more religious, but it is typically more known for its personal/spiritual journal aspects (religious or not); some may use it for references also
- book of mirrors: a book of reflections, for recording experimentation and its results including successes and failures (some like to keep their book of shadows pure with only successes)
- book of light: a book used usually by wiccans/pagans that is used by eclectics, referring to light as knowledge; used for notes and information often to be shared whereas a book of shadows is personal and private (sort of makes me think of a less organized/personal grimoire)
- the tree: a seax-wica (an anglo-saxon paganism) version of a book of shadows
- book of ways: a devotional book for wiccans/pagans
(of course all of these things are up to further interpretation!)
back in the day when witchcraft was more ruled by covens, only one spell book was required for each coven, but now that witchcraft is often a solitary and/or personal path, witches are often encouraged to have their own! most witches will have either a book of shadows or grimoire. some witches will have both, and some will have one book that includes the aspects of both and call it one or the other.
let’s start with the basic thing nobody talks about… the book itself!
what should you use? well first off, you don’t need some big, expensive, and fancy leather book straight out of hocus pocus. if its so fancy that you aren’t going to work in it, don’t use it! you could use…
- a sketchbook
- you could make a book (a traveler’s notebook is a great idea)
- an online book
- a binder and insert pages
- an old thrift store book and paint over the pages
- you could even write and paint on paper and paste all over your walls and work space and make a room your ‘book’
- you could choose something that relates to your field of magick if you have a defined one, get creative!
make sure your book a reflection of you. but remember, we are what makes books come alive. reading is what makes languages have purpose. without you there to read it, your book is meaningless. the connection between you and your book is beyond special from the first moment you begin working!
so where on earth do i start? if you already have one, what’s holding you back from working more?
well what interests you? if you don’t know yet, here is a wonderful masterpost of types of magick! find what you like, what sounds cool to you, what resonates with you, research it! (maybe make an entry about it and your discoveries!)
once you know your interests, don’t waste time on things you aren’t interested in. if you don’t care about herbal magick, don’t write down a seven page list of all herbs and their properties. i personally had to retry creating a grimoire a few times in order to learn that lesson.
so how do i bond and grow comfortable with my book? how do i create a connection? how do i give it my personal touch?
- do what makes you happy.
- create your own aesthetic. maybe ask friends around you what your aesthetic seems to be if you don’t know yourself. don’t follow that big ole leather book stereotype unless you like it. if you do, another great idea for aging your pages are coffee and tea stains on your paper.
- sleep with your book under your pillow! bond with it like you would your tarot deck. carry it around throughout the day. let it become a companion.
- your book isn’t just a place to write about your craft, infuse your craft! if you like lunar magick, bathe it in moonlight. if you like herbal magick, spray your pages with an herb and water mix.
- don’t stress about organization or a table of contents yet. you can put an index at the end when you know you’re done. its your book so you’ll probably have a sense of where things are anyways, but if you’re forgetful like me, use some labelled bookmarks!
- in fact, don’t stress about it at all if you can! your book shouldn’t stress you out. mistakes happen. keep negative energy away. you and your book are a conjoined, powerful force! you can paste over pages, paint over them, or even just rip them out. in the wonderful words of herspeak in the aforementioned video, nothing is special until you say it is.
- remember, it might take a couple tries to get it right, and that’s okay! you might have to make a couple throughout your lifetime to hold all the knowledge you learn, so no worries.
- don’t just copy and paste other peoples’ information into your book, that isn’t how you learn. take note of things that are important to you. are you memorizing or understanding? allow yourself to understand. if it shines and you find it important, write this information in your own words and in a setup you enjoy.
- you don’t have to be an artist to make a beautiful book! your book is already beautiful, unique, and magickal because its yours!
here’s some ideas for pages in your book!
- correspondence lists. i definitely think color correspondences are important for just about every witch! what do these things mean to you? how do they make you feel and what do you relate them to? do this with other things you find interesting!
- devote a page to your sun and moon sign or maybe you and your partners signs and how they interact.
- create a protection sigil just for your book.
- make a page about your totem animal/spirit animal. please don’t appropriate these terms though, you can also use daemon, patronus, eomkin, or even just your personal corresponding animal.
- you could make a page for each holiday, its history and dates, and add a paper pocket into the page filled with recipes.
- you could collage things that make you think of a deity you like whether you’re secular or whether you participate. if enjoy and appreciate a deity, give em a page! if you worship or work with one or many, dive in much deeper and show how that relationship affects you.
- paste in pictures from books or parts of posters that show what magick means to you.
- practice spirit work? draw the spirit! collage the spirit. find art that makes you think of the spirit and pop it in there.
- press plants you find, tape them in, bring a little greenery into your book. label them if you like. give them your own names if you don’t know your plants well.
- write your dreams out, decorate in a way that feels right, use colors according to how it made you feel.
- draw out the ingredients you want to use in a spell/potion/oil. dab a bit of the creation on the page.
- make a page for your familiars. list any spells for them, where you found/adopted them, their breed and things about them, what’s their favorite snack, and if your familiar is cooperative, maybe try to get a paw/nose print!
- make a pendulum chart.
- find one of those adult coloring books. tear a few pages and stick them in either randomly or maybe in a page about meditation. when stressed, use it as a meditative practice.
- chakras, what they mean to you, correspondences, and which you may need to work on. here is a fun test you can take that tells you if your chakras are under-active, over-active, or open.
- any fictional/real witches or wizards that stood out to you? why?
- write about magickal experiences you had as a child you can’t explain today. what about imaginary friends and were they imaginary?
- get geeky. make spells about video games! inspire spells based on favorite characters and abilities or get inspiration from your favorite playable mages! get really creative with this one.
- make a page about past lives if you know of any.
- what do the elements mean to you? what are your favorites? which do you feel connected to?
- stick envelopes in there and put recipes, spreads, all sorts of things in there to save some pages! utilize fold out pages for long chunks of information.
- do you cast circles? what do you use? what do you think the energy looks like? the color? the shape if you don’t see it as a circle? draw the seen and unseen.
- make a page about your spiritual or psychic gifts. how did you discover them?
- make a list of things to research. cross them out as you do.
- print out aesthetically pleasing pictures you find portray you and your craft. collage your personal aesthetic/witchy moodboard
i could list on and on, but i hope i’ve given you some creative inspiration! make your book what you want! keep researching and gain inspiration from others if you’re ever lost. feel free to message me if you ever have questions!