By: Savanah Fahrney-day
A Book of Shadows is a place to record all of your magickal works. Some witches keep everything in one book, while others have a few. A Book of Shadows (or Books) can contain as much or as little as you would like. The important part is that you feel comfortable with your set-up and that you can find what you need without looking through everything.
I like to keep several books for organization purposes. I try to start a new set of books each year, as I grow and change. Since I am a Sacred Sisco Tradition (SST) Witch, my year starts at Yule instead of Samhain or January 1st. At the beginning of each book I have a blessing written specifically for that book. I also end each book with a closing. I write a little about what I learned (related to that particular book) during the year and where I would like to be next year. By breaking this down into several different books, I realize I learned a lot more than I would have thought and that I am able to verbalize what I wanted better than when I only kept one book.
I have a book for prayers, chants, songs, and morals. I always include my personal morals and values in this book. This changes slightly each year as I learn and grow. It also seems to take up more room each room. I write down my goals for the year here, allowing space to remark as I complete or revise them throughout the year. If I don’t meet a goal, I note that at the end of the year. This allows me to either revise it or come up with a new plan to complete it. I like to review my long-term goals on a monthly basis and my short-term more frequently. I also include the standards (Wiccan Rede, Witches Creed, 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief, 13 Goals of a Witch, etc) in this same book.
A meditation/visualization journal split into two sections allows one to record any exercises that are interesting as well as have a section for journaling meditation experiences. A separate dream journal works well, as long as you leave space to go back to a certain dream. It is not uncommon to suddenly remember something about a dream or realize what it meant days, weeks, or even months late when you are consistently recording your dreams. Depending on where you feel the most drawn, you may have one book on healing therapies or a book on psychic development. Some choose to keep these together, while others have a separate book for each healing modality and psychic ability. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of room to write and stay organized.
Deity information can be kept with Sabbat & Esbat information or you may choose to keep two separate books. I have four books on deity information alone (Greek/Roman, Celtic, Native American, and Misc.) My Holy Days book contains information on the Sabbats & Esbats, as well as other holidays celebrated in the SST. It includes the dates and meanings as well as my ideas on how to celebrate each one, how I celebrated it, and ideas for next year.
I have two books that I do not update every year. The first includes basic information, such as magickal symbols, magickal alphabets, basic correspondence charts (herbs, crystals, days, months, colors, moon phases, etc), and information on the properties of my tools. I have left space in each section, so I can add to it. Each new tool I receive, purchase, or make is listed (sometimes with a picture if I am proud of my craftsmanship), along with a complete description of it. I like to list what it is made of, how it was made (if I know), who it came from, etc.
The second is basically a book of contacts and websites. It contains the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all my magickal friends as well as notes about them (birthdays, family members, how we met, lodging space available for visiting, if they can stay here – space-wise & personality-wise). I also use this book to keep track of websites that I love, what I love about them, products/services they offer. If my computer ever crashes again, I won’t have to try to remember all those sites saved in my favorites folder. Another thing I use this book for is courses/workshops. Every course/workshop I take is recorded in here (whether it is online or in person). Contact information, course notes, costs, and other courses offered is all listed. It can be time consuming, but I feel it is well worth it. I also list all of my students (by magickal name) as they complete my courses. On those blue days (where you can’t help but think of "everybody hates, guess I’ll go eat worms"), I use this section to cheer me up. It reminds me that even though I don’t get paid a lot, I still receive some wonderful rewards.
The last book I have is for spell, incantations, herbal remedies, and rituals. I keep everything organized by type, then purpose so I can find it quickly. If I’m looking for a spell for prosperity, I flip to spells, then to prosperity and can find what I want without going through the whole book. I’ve heard that you should only record spells that you have done, but I don’t feel that is necessary. If you leave plenty of space to note if/when you used it, how it felt, and the end results, you can keep all of your spells & rituals together without having a separate book or file that can get forgotten about.