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Book Of Shadows


Guest KayBeth13
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As someone who writes, I find the idea of a book of shadows very appealing, but is it something most pagans do? Or is it something more for one path of paganism?

 

Or, is it something that is completely up to me? Any help would be nice thanks :)

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I don't believe it belongs to any particular path although I know not everyone calls it a 'book of shadows' as such.

 

Personally I've always kept one, it just contains information that I use most commonly and my attempts at a journal :D mine is nothing fancy, just an A5 ring binder but it works for me :D

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I would say its up to you. My attempt is nothing fancy either, just a journal of progress. I think of a lot of what I do in my everyday life as part of my religion, so mine has all sorts of things including poetry, recipes, herbal remedies, notes on divination, whether things worked or not and why. I think most people's BOS is very unique to them. I suppose in my case in some ways its really just a journal or diary but everything in it, I think, is related to paganism.

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It's entirely up to you and it's what you make it.

 

I don't have one, partly because it's not part of my path, partly because I don't do magic as such and partly because I've never been good at that sort of thing. However, if the idea works for you, then do it. If you do a search for "Book of Shadows in the search box, you should come up with some ideas. I think that there's been a good few discussions on the topic.

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Agreed with everyone else...Whether you keep a Book of Shadows is up to you. I keep one of my personal progress, which includes the progress (or lackthereof sometimes) of my meditations and trancework. I keep another for the work I do, and one for dreaming. I am ok with having three like this becuase I have kept a diary since I could write almost, so I'm used to keeping them at such an intensity...but it is also not for everyone either. That said, if you do practice your work daily, or even weekly, it's a good idea to have such a book to track your progress, insights, and experiences. But otherwise it's really only if you want one, and if you will personally get something out of doing it.

 

XP,

Rebecca :)

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Its really a wiccan idea. I don't know what traditional lineaged Wiccans use a BOS for, but from what I can see, most wiccans use one as a journal/idea/recipe book. How many people actually get past the "I really must start a BOS" stage though, who knows? I always liked the idea of keeping a diary and have about 25 ones I started over the years, but never kept up. I don't really do ritual stuff and so now I don't see the need for one. Mike

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Thanks guys. I actually found an old notebook today and started scribbling very brief thoughts about what it is i'm wanting and what i understood from the things I'd been reading so on and next thing I knew i'd made 3 pages of notes- so I've decided I'm calling it my Pagan Discovery book, rather than the book of shadows. I think the idea of it being a journal is more to my style. Thank you for the advice!

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i am not a wiccan so dont have a BOS (and like others i dont think it has to be confined to that one path), I do have a box though and all my bits of pagan learnings go in there. for me thats all my explorations from magic, divination, bits of teachings from other faiths that i find useful or meaningful. and because i am athiest it also includes that as well as scientific bits and bobs. It also includes things that inspire me, which can be allsorts of things. i have got bits of fabric, old photos, pictures, feathers, and various stuff that mean something to me in a more spiritual way. eventually my pagan biography will go in there along with the things that my ancestors/relatives that have passed away have left behind. and i will save it for my son.

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In my own tradition its an actual document which you copy out from your High Priestess or initiator after your first initiation. In fact there are three Books of Shadows in total. These days though it seems to mean to most folk a magical diary/herbal/recipe book or whatever else you want to write in it......

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  • 2 weeks later...

It really is up to you :) if the idea appeals to you then go for it, and include the things which feel the most important to your path. Although the concept of a Book of Shadows is wiccan, there is some historical evidence to support the idea of a book of magic: the earliest mention of a magical book is actually made by the ancient roman poet Horace. The other thing is that the book is going to change and grow as you add to it. You'll always be coming across new things and wanting to make a note of them. And if you're a perfectionist like me, in time you'll want to start over from scratch at least once! Right now I keep several books - a Book of Old Ways (my path's philosophy, the meaning of my altar, the wheel of the year etc), a Book of Magic (all my spells, rites, meditations and correspondences, and a journal part) and a Book of Divination (description and analysis of various methods of divination).

 

Are you finding your Discovery book useful so far? :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

My B.O.S is, like many have said before, a journal of sorts. It tracks my progress on my path, and also includes my personal beliefs, correspondences and any information I'd like to keep close to hand. Sometimes it's formal, sometimes it's very relaxed. Whatever feels right at the time. I also record rituals and spell work (if any) within it. I used to keep it all scrawled in different notepads, but now im starting to write it up neat! This probably isn't helpful seeing as you've started yours, but I thought I would contribute :}

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I think whether or not its actually called a Book of Shadows depends on your path. But keeping a record of things done and experiences is essential for me. Some things that I want to share I put on my blog. But others stay in the book. I find handwriting things in a special way makes them more significant and valuable, so I do distinguish between my rough notebook and more significant things that make it to my Book of Shadows. There I put things that I want to revisit and things I might want to do again as well as experiences that mean a lot to me and so are reverenced by being carefully written out on good quality paper with a liquid ink pen.

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Its really a wiccan idea. I don't know what traditional lineaged Wiccans use a BOS for, but from what I can see, most wiccans use one as a journal/idea/recipe book.

 

The idea for the Book of Shadows is said (by Doreen Valiente I think ) to have come from an article by Mir Bashir in the Occult Observer about an ancient Sanskrit manual of divination. Most paths that come from the Western Mystery/Hermetic Tradition have a book that fulfils the same role as the Wiccan Book of Shadows although it often goes by other names, a Ceremonial Magician may have a Grimoire, a Druid may have a Book of Wisdom or a Book of the Sacred Grove. It is just the development of the commonplace book, something that was very familiar before the twentieth century. The commonplace book was a notebook where people copied things from other books that they could not afford to buy, quotes, recipes, bits of scripture etc. and added useful jottings that they might need later. The Book of Shadows is really just a magical commonplace book, use one if you need one - it is a tool rather than something specific to one particular path.

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Without wishing to derail the thread but if I may? On a personal level my Book of Shadows is more of a journal (maybe even a diary of sorts) thus far....but it is not defined by its title. I see it as more of a companion to my own personal progression, rather than a sacred text since it was written by, well, by me. I wondered if folks here could maybe offer their own opinions on whether my battered and filling notebook is a suitable home for my thoughts on all subjects, or whether I should limit what goes into my B.O.S to spell work and/or rituals (of which admittedly, so far there are none) thoughts? Andrew.

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I wondered if folks here could maybe offer their own opinions on whether my battered and filling notebook is a suitable home for my thoughts on all subjects, or whether I should limit what goes into my B.O.S to spell work and/or rituals (of which admittedly, so far there are none) thoughts? Andrew.

Hey, Andrew - just exactly what your BoS should be! If you ever take initiation into a Wiccan tradition, then you will gain the BoS for the line/group but that is a historical book from which important rituals are still used (well, in my line, anyway!). However, I have books like yours and I have books of season rituals down the many years of practice and so on and so forth! There are no rules!
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Without wishing to derail the thread but if I may? On a personal level my Book of Shadows is more of a journal (maybe even a diary of sorts) thus far....but it is not defined by its title. I see it as more of a companion to my own personal progression, rather than a sacred text since it was written by, well, by me. I wondered if folks here could maybe offer their own opinions on whether my battered and filling notebook is a suitable home for my thoughts on all subjects, or whether I should limit what goes into my B.O.S to spell work and/or rituals (of which admittedly, so far there are none) thoughts? Andrew.

 

I think you're doing perfectly - a B.O.S is as unique as the individual. Echoing what others have said before - you put in it what feels right to you.

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  • 1 month later...

My BoS is completely on computer, I won't risk having a physical copy lying around where prying eyes may see, however I have downloaded an application called Dropbox which allows me to access my BoS on any phone or computer I use, as long as it has an internet connection. Very handy idea for anyone else who can't write theirs out physically.

 

RA

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  • 1 month later...

LOved reading this thread. I think often (without sweeping generalisation, cough cough) paganish people are creative, searching people.... so things like journals and BOS hold value to give a chance to create, explore and learn about the most interesting and amazing landscape ever- the one inside us. The most significant thing, IMHO, is that you do what you feel called to do- what others do is whats good for them. Do what works for you. And if anyone says its the wrong way.... well, there are plenty of paths for us all.

 

Looking back can really give you encouragement- seeing how you've changed and grown, but also, what worked and what didnt- can give you both perspective and help you grow.

 

Taz

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My BoS is completely on computer, I won't risk having a physical copy lying around where prying eyes may see, however I have downloaded an application called Dropbox which allows me to access my BoS on any phone or computer I use, as long as it has an internet connection. Very handy idea for anyone else who can't write theirs out physically.

 

RA

 

Yes I use dropbox as well for storing and sharing interesting snippets. I also use Evernote

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My BoS is completely on computer, I won't risk having a physical copy lying around where prying eyes may see, however I have downloaded an application called Dropbox which allows me to access my BoS on any phone or computer I use, as long as it has an internet connection. Very handy idea for anyone else who can't write theirs out physically.

 

RA

 

Yes I use dropbox as well for storing and sharing interesting snippets. I also use Evernote

 

I'm afraid I would feel even less safe with my BoS Material in the internet ether, however much they promise its safety! My stuff is safe at home on a shelf or in a filing cabinet :)

 

I have, on several occasions, tried to type the Hymn to Pan into my computer - to print it for ritual use - and it inevitably crashes the computer ............. so I don't try that any more !

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I have, on several occasions, tried to type the Hymn to Pan into my computer - to print it for ritual use - and it inevitably crashes the computer ............. so I don't try that any more !

 

I agree, some things just don't like to be electronic somehow!

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My BoS is completely on computer, I won't risk having a physical copy lying around where prying eyes may see, however I have downloaded an application called Dropbox which allows me to access my BoS on any phone or computer I use, as long as it has an internet connection. Very handy idea for anyone else who can't write theirs out physically.

 

RA

 

Yes I use dropbox as well for storing and sharing interesting snippets. I also use Evernote

 

I'm afraid I would feel even less safe with my BoS Material in the internet ether, however much they promise its safety! My stuff is safe at home on a shelf or in a filing cabinet :)

 

I have, on several occasions, tried to type the Hymn to Pan into my computer - to print it for ritual use - and it inevitably crashes the computer ............. so I don't try that any more !

 

Speaking as one who is well known for blowing up electronics ( my record is 3 new laptops in as many months...) I understand what you mean. I have multiple back ups and yes paper copies of the important stuff.

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Hi all. This was a very interesting read for me. A book of shadows sounds like a good start for me. noting anything of feeling and ideas. To have something which would prompt me on things pagan sounds very helpful. Some very helpful comments on here.

Thank you. :)

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