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Book of Shadows ~ Introduction and Suggested Outime
11 years ago
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What is a Book of Shadows?  It has many meanings, but I would like to share this one with you.

“Creating your own Book of Shadows is an ongoing, creative, magical process that will accompany you though out your entire life as a practitioner of Wicca.  A Book of Shadows is your personal compilation of invocations, rituals, spells, and magical techniques with which you work, and which you will find powerful, meaningful, effective, and evocative.”  That is one of the best reasons I have ever read to start and continue your own Book of Shadows.  By the renowned High Priestess Phyllis Curott, who is in addition an author, an attorney, and a Wiccan High Priestess.  She remains very active as an advocate for the rights of Wiccans and Witches, including that Wicca is a recognized religion with the right to practice that religion as any other religion, and without prejudice, harassment, or fear of loss of job, and be victim of hate crimes, etc.

Your Book of Shadows may be where you record your poems, songs, and chants; wisdom imparted from personal power animals and spirit guides.  You may include what you remember from various rituals such as the “Drawing Down the Moon” experience, as well as any other wisdom imparted from others. 

11 years ago
This is something I would be interested in learning more about how to create my own.
11 years ago

thank you Mels

I just hope I do it well enough

BB, Sandi

11 years ago
Fantastic topic Sandi.  I am sure you will exceed everyone's expectations. You always contribute A++++ work.
11 years ago

Some may question the history of when the first Book of Shadows was written (I personally do not know when the first true BoS was written), or some may call it lore; call it what you will; but you can’t pick up a book on Wicca/Witch Craft that you will not find a section referencing the need and use of a Book of Shadows.  To clarify this for all, I am not debating this issue, nor am I saying this is the only way; it is merely an outline to go by for you.  Also let me clarify this at the onset, there are numerous ways and methods of keeping a Book of Shadows.  Choose the method that is right for you, as you are the one that has to use it.   Over the years you will have many volumes of BoSs.  You will also hear/read the word Grimoire; this will be covered later, not to confuse you too much.  I would like to focus on the Book of Shadows now.  I remember my confusion!


You can buy a Book of Shadows with blank pages in New Age and Metaphysical book stores or online at many of the links on the Web of the Wiccan for shopping, such as Azure Green or Isis Book Stores, and numerous others, even Ebay.  The come plain front, Celtic knot, Triple Goddess, many different styles.  Cost is about $20.00 with Shipping and handling charges this may vary.

Many witches create their own BoS hand written on parchment paper or some make their own paper, or use a color theme according to want they are writing about, or you can choose what ever paper you desire.  They may be bound in ornate silk or leather bookbinders.  These can be quite expensive.  Many a begin by using a spiral notebook or a  3  ring binder and decorate it if they choose and insert the pages in plastic sleeves to protect their work (this is my personal favorite). A spiral binder notebook is the first one many practitioners start out with and many hand write it in a more ornate BoS later. The thoughts are that by hand writing it infuses it with their personal magical energy and it helps you to memorize. (That I have read in many books, by authors like Curott, Scott Cunningham stated that in one of his many books, HPS Denise Zimmerman, Raymond Buckland, etc.)   This is the good and important part; you can choose to do it any way you wish  

Many modern witches use the computer to do their DoS (Disk of Shadows), use eloquent fonts and borders, and papers when they print out.  Some simply print out the pages they will need for ritual or spell casting.  As they do with binders, simply take out the pages you need and leave the BoS put way.  All of this is a personal choice. There is no rule that will bring a curse upon you if you chose not to hand write it.  Example: My first one is now on parchment paper, by color codes in calligraphy.  It is beautiful, but could or would I do that now, I doubt it.

11 years ago

thank you for the confidence you have in me, now I really have to may sure I deserve that praise.

You  are a true gem, Jewel.

BB, Sandi

I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job with the topic, Sandi.
11 years ago

I think a BOS/DOS is part of our creative process, as Wiccans, and as Witches; it grows, as we grow in our spiritual lives.

It's a wonderful opportunity to express ourselves, as well.

I was out with a friend today, who found some beautiful accents for her Book's section on Sabbats, in the scrapbooking section of our local craft store!!!  I would have never thought of that....-adorable lambs and candles for Imbolc, pastel papers and eggs for Ostara, etc.    This same friend (my best friend)is original in everything everything she touches; she and her husband made a leatherbound BOS for me this Yule, complete w. lock and key, that I treasure.  I haven't used it yet, I'm still using my current binder, for now.  It is of the type that you mentioned, where you can remove, sort and add things as necessary.  (Haven't finished embroidering the coverpage for the leather one yet).

I wish everyone here much joy in their BOS/DOS's growth.   There was a time when BOS were written entirely by hand, and destroyed upon the passing of it's owner, but I think that time is passed.  One of my daughters will receive mine, unless my youngest son  follows in my faith, in which case, I imagine they'll each end up with half my Book.  (As well as their own).   

11 years ago

thank you

your BoS from your friend sounds like a beautiful gift of friendship.

I hope it will help shed some light on how to think of creating their own. Most of mine are hand written.  And one is done on parchment in calligraphy, and I did all the decorating.  It is very pretty if I do say so. It took long enough.  Everything was calligraphy and in there apporpriate color.  I was working terrible hours.

I hope everyone will find something they will identify with and all will enjoy reading about it as another method.


11 years ago

In the beginning you will probably write your rituals before you actually perform them.  They will be copied form various sources, books, and even WoW and you probably will use them.  As you grow and cast many circles and have many magical experiences, many will be spontaneous both within the circle and in life.  Whenever possible write down what you did and said and experienced as shortly as possible after this has been done.  Why?  If you wait too long you will not remember.  By always recording you will see the progress you are making and in what areas your strengths lie and what is weaker and you need to work on.

What should a Book of Shadows contain? It contains everything that is important to you as you progress in the path of the Craft.  While there are many ways to set up your Book of Shadows, I will give you just one of many outlines you may wish to use, or use bits and pieces.  And maybe a few suggestions to go with what is included in this outline.  This is your BoS choose what works best for you.   And this is simply a suggested guideline.  Remember to credit anything you copy from another source, even the Internet so you do not violate copyright laws.  And if from another Wiccan, a personal courtesy and cannot be considered as “stolen” writings, this includes poems, articles, anything you did not personally write or draw, paint, etc.  It’s called plagerisiam I think, if you don’t have permission and name where you obtained said information.


To all I will leave you with this to digest.    The outline suggestion will follow tomorrow.  Blessings  to each of  you. May your life be filled with the magic of knowing the Divine is around you at all times. 
That was a very good definition, I think...
11 years ago


I was thinking though.  Like you, much of my Book's material is handwritten, and it occurred to me today, that when I transfer my stuff from my current BOS, to it's permanent home, (the one I mentioned in an earlier post) that it would be subject to damage.  Where it is now, each page is in an acid free sheet protector.   The new BOS is of the type that you tye parchment pages into, with leather.  I don't know if I'd want to use sheet protectors in it, it would take away from the beauty of the book, I think.

This is why I think backing up my BOS to a disk, might be a good idea....I've heard that there is a program for this, (how to create your own DOS) somewhere.  Has anyone here heard of it, and if so, do you know where I can find this program?  Thanks.  I'll check Patricia Telesco's book, The Wiccan Web, and see if it's in there.

11 years ago
Sandi awesome introduction! This has been great and useful information for all our new Wiccans and even those who have been Wiccan a while, but never started their own BoS. As I have been going through my BoS for the Spellcasting work, I've realized that I need to re-organize some of my notebooks! Mercy what a tideous job it has been so far Keep up the awesome work, sweetie! I am so proud of your hard work for WoW!
11 years ago
So glad you're posting this, Sandi... Sunny, wrap the whole leather book in some silk cloth I think, then perhaps put the whole thing in a container of some kind. I have a wooden box that is lined with metal. My book isn't bound in leather, it is bound in paper that looks like leather.....and the pages are probably archival. Just a thot. ts
Sunny, I think...
11 years ago

as you had time to transfer your BoS to its destination; that is a another idea which can be a personal choice for everyone to consider. I always suggest to everyone to do what works for you. And when you find that info you included you may want to share that too. There are so many ways to do anything and all are productive and useful.  another thought, when you find that info if you could include the approximate price, that may help many members.  I don't like to assume what is anyone's personal budget is, especially as they begin or continue to add to altars different items, and add or replenish  herbs, oils and other necessary items.  t/y BB, Sandi

11 years ago

Thank you so very much for the words of inspiration. I could not do it with out your always enlightening topics and willingness to help. And knowing your dedication to WoW and committment to all of the members you continue to be the ever present spirit that makes WoW the site it is and will continue grow into.        

Blessings & Light, Sandi

11 years ago

Thank you for your words of encouragment. 

that is a great thought you posted about covering your BoS

I like that idea.  There are so many good ideas to share in WoW.  Stars to you for sharing.

Brightest Blessings, Sandi

BoS ~Suggestioned Outline
11 years ago

Book of Shadows


Title Page: “This is the Book of Shadows of (Your Name)”

Dedication Page: Here you should record a simple statement of your spiritual commitment.  Write down what it is that draws you to Wicca, what it is you hope to learn.  Note the date and astrological aspects and consider this first writing the beginning of your book.  Read it periodically, and on the anniversary of the beginning of your book.  It will be an important  touchstone on your journey.

Invocation of the Goddess:  Many begin with the “ Charge of the Goddess” adapted from Leland’s Aradia by Doreen Valiente and Gerald Gardner.  You will find many invocations in Witch Crafting. You may also write your own as soon as you feel ready.   And write down any that come to you spontaneously from other sources.

 Invocation of the God (see above)

Diagrams for your altar, and markings for your working tools

Info on DOS from
11 years ago

Windlistener's site.  (I found nothing on the subject of Disks of Shadows in P. Telesco & Sirona Knight's book "The Wiccan Web")$25

Disk of Shadows

Most Wiccans or Witches are familiar with the term "Book of Shadows"(BO. It’s a printed or paper collection of an individual’s Wiccan-related or Witch-related information (rituals, spells, etc.). Many Witches and Wiccans, however, are starting to keep a "Disk of Shadows." Disk of Shadows (DO refers to a word-processing or publishing program that serves as a "computerized" version of the Book of Shadows. I have both a Book of Shadows and a Disk of Shadows. It’s really easy to keep a Disk of Shadows, and it’s a good way to organize and preserve a great amount of data.

My Disk of Shadows is my main source of information. It’s where I keep all the information that I collect off the web and from email groups. In essence, my Disk of Shadows contains ALL the information I’ve collected, including items that I haven’t yet tried. My Book of Shadows is where I keep pages that I’ve printed out of the DOS and my "writ in ye own hand" information.

Advantages of a Disk of Shadows

Having a Disk of Shadows allows you to keep "tried and true" information or information that you use on a regular basis in your Book of Shadows. Information that you haven’t tried, or information that you don’t use on a regular basis, can stay in the Disk of Shadows. This keeps your Book of Shadows small enough to be manageable in circle (instead of a series of volumes to rival Encyclopedia Brittanica).

Having a Disk of Shadows allows you to include pictures and diagrams, without having to print it all out or become an artist. Many spells, rituals, and crafts come with pictures and diagrams that are an important part of the information, but artistically challenged folks like me could not duplicate them with potentially goofing it up. A simple copy and paste operation to the Disk of Shadows ensures that all diagrams are included with the spell or ritual.

It allows you to edit and add notes to information without getting sloppy and running out of room. For example, when I find a spell on the web, I add it to my Disk of Shadows. After I do the spell, I want to keep notes on it (what moon phase I tried it in, what time of day, what the results were, etc.). I can easily just add the notes to the DOS and still end up with something legible (rather than miniscule notes scribbled in the margins).

The DOS also allows you to make your pages pretty. It’s certainly not necessary, but I feel it’s more "magickal" if the pages look pretty. Having a DOS allows you to experiment with colored backgrounds, graphics, borders, colored text, and different fonts to highlight items. I have listed some good links for pagan graphics at the bottom of this page. You can use graphics from these sites to decorate your Disk of Shadows pages.

For items that I really prefer to have "writ in my own hand", I can still use the DOS to print out pretty lined paper with graphics and borders. Then I can hand-write items and still have a really nice "magickal" look without a great deal of effort (and without having to be an artist or spend a fortune on pretty paper). I can print out a page from the DOS and have a nice looking page for my "hard-copy" BOS. You could add marble backgrounds and so on (though you can expect to go through more ink cartridges depending on how fancy you want to get).

A DOS makes collecting information much easier, because you can simply copy and paste from the web and email groups. I used to try the "print it all out" method, but then I was wasting HUGE amounts of paper, and I’d end up with lots of unorganized printouts and lose half of them.

A DOS is searchable for keywords, which is an incredible boon! When I need information on mallow, I can do a "find" and get all rituals, spells, herb remedies, etc. associated with mallow. It’s much easier than continually referring to the table of contents to find information. Not too mention, it’s almost impossible to find every reference to "mallow" in a handwritten book of shadows of any reasonable size. This ensures that I can reference EVERY bit of material associated with an herb, oil, holiday, etc.

A DOS is more durable and more likely to be available to be handed down or shared, as long as you keep it on current technology. Paper copies can befall all kinds of accidents. I’ve already spilled a whole carafe of ale on mine once; fortunately, I just printed out another one. A DOS is more durable and more likely to be around for years to come. But the key here is to keep it on current technology.   

For example, if I had been keeping my DOS on diskettes, it would certainly but time to upgrade it to CD.

As I mentioned before, my BOS is a combination of printed pages and pages "writ in my own hand." For those that feel they should write ALL (or most) of their BOS in their own hand, a DOS will keep the information safe and organized until you can transcribe all the info into your own handwriting.  

(Cont. in next post)

Info on DOS from Windlistener-Continued...
11 years ago

Most word processing programs and publishing programs allow you to "hyperlink" your text. This comes in handy for information that you may want to add in two sections of your Disk of Shadows. For example, if you have a spell that you want into two sections (perhaps oil recipes and the spell section), you can add the full information to one section, and then a hyperlink in the other section. So you could add the full spell under the "spells" section, and add a link in the "oil recipes" section that you can click on and it will take you to the "spells" section. This helps keep down the size of your DOS to keep it manageable, and makes it easier to maintain.

Some tips for your DOS:

1) Keep it organized, right from the start! I’ve let mine get a little out of hand. I got busy and just began slapping things into it, so now I’ve got about 300 megs of organized material and about 500 megs of unorganized material! So keep it organized from the beginning, and place each bit of information in the proper place right away (rather than coming back and organizing it later.

2) When adding info, don’t forget to include the source and the date that you added it. This comes in handy later, especially if you decide to share the info or "hand it down" to the next generation.

3) Be sure to add a table of contents or index. I have mine organized into sections (Blessings, Kitchen-witch, etc.) with subsections under each of those. It’s a great way to keep things organized.

How to make a Disk of Shadows

This is the easiest part of all!

1) Pick a word processing or publishing program you are comfortable with and create a file. I use Microsoft Publisher because it's extremely flexible.

2) Add a page for a "blessing" of the book, just like you would for the paper Book of Shadows. I typed in a Morrigan book blessing and added a nice picture of the Morrigan. Then I did a purifying blessing ritual on my whole computer (cast a circle around it and so on, using just a general "tool consecration and blessing" ritual).

3) You probably have an idea of the sections that you will want to have, so you can create some of these right away (for example, a spells section, a sabbats section, and so on). I make these by creating a seperate page with each section title. Remember, because this is a Disk of Shadows, it's really easy to add more sections later, so you don't have to come up with all your sections right away. You can add more later as needed.

4) You are ready to begin adding information! You can copy and paste in text and pictures to your little heart's content. Just don't forget to keep updating your table of contents page, and SAVE OFTEN!

5) Whenever you need to work with a spell or recipe, you can print it out and add it to your hard-copy Book of Shadows. Then you can add notes, etc. after you are done.

Some sites for pagan graphics:

Lailiel <>
Clipart Castle <>
Magickal Moon <>
Siverhair <>
Pagan Graphics <>
Draeconin <>

Windlistener's Web <>

BoS Outline Suggestion cont'd
11 years ago

In Sacred Space:

            Purification of Self

            Purification of the elements

            Purification of the Circle with the elements

            Grounding, centering, meditation

            Casting the Circle

            Invocations for the four directions/element

            Invocation of the Goddess and the God

Statement of Purpose (why are you casting the circle and invoking the Goddess and God, and the elements. State your reason)

Magic/Ritual/Spell/Divination/Journey, etc./ Taking in and raising and directing of energy


       Libation – cakes and wine/ ale


Closing Circle

       Giving Thanks

       Thanking and bidding farewell to the four elements/directions

       Thanking and bidding farewell to the Goddess and God

Sealing the circle with fire (a “phrase” used by some author’s of closing the circle widdershins- counterclockwise and returning the energy to the earth)

       Farewell (this is more for coven members, than Solitary)


11 years ago

Rituals, These should include:

       Consecration of tools, jewelry, and other magical objects

            Cleansing and Purification           


            Peace and Protection


            Honoring the Divine-in Nature, oneself, etc.

            Creativity, prosperity, fertility

            Love-in all its wonderful forms


            Giving thanks, making an offering

            Banishing and binding rituals, etc.


Esbats: lunar rituals, dark moon, waning moon, waxing moon


Full Moon Rituals:  Drawing Down the Moon


Eight Sabbats:  The Wheel of the Year

Self-Dedication and /or Initiation Ritual

11 years ago

Chants, dances, songs, prayers, invocations, words of wisdom, and quotes from others


Wisdom and insights that have been given to you in ritual, meditation, etc.


Tools of the Craft and their markings: List each tool and its magical purpose and connection to the elements, as well as how they are to be marked


Magical Information: Table of Correspondences, spells, potions, talismans, sigils, symbolism, and information about herbs, oils, gems, candles, crystals, magical alphabets, and methods of working magic such as elemental, knot, trance, and others.  It may also contain dream symbolism and methods of divination such as scrying, reading signs, using runes and tarot cards.  All of these should be enumerated; for example, each rune should be drawn and its meaning and interpretation written next to it. (These are often collected in another volume called the Witch’s Grimoire.  A Grimoire  would contain this section of information.  It is what I personally do.)   But remember it is your decision as to how you do your Book of Shadows.


11 years ago

This is a basic outline or guideline only to follow or not to follow, it is up to you.  Some of the above may be unfamiliar right now, but you will learn about all these aspects of Witchcraft as you read books, Spell casting 101 by Ravyne, many avenues of information including the Internet, groups, kindred spirits in your circle of friends.  You maybe enrolled in an Internet School, or go the gatherings of people of like thoughts and share as well as gather information.  You may belong to a coven.  Or have an invitation to work with a coven, they teach all of this to new potential coven members.  I have never been a part of a coven, so I cannot share very much information about their methods.  I would think they would be the same in many respects as well as differ in many.  We have members that qualify all of the above methods of learning, I would think.  Then not to omit anyone there are solitary witches that do not belong to a coven, but practice alone.

 I would recommend that you keep a magical diary, whether it is part of you Book of Shadows or separate.  In it you can write about your magical experiences as you work with Spell Casting 101 and Witch Crafting in general, as Ravyne has stated it is an on-going life long learning experience.  By keeping a magical diary, you can read and see your progress as it unfolds with your continuing growth.You may wish to keep several journals-the fore mentioned magical diary, in your BoS or separate; one for dreams (suggest that you keep at very least a pad and pen by your bed, so you can record your dreams in the middle of the night if they wake you, or what you remember first thing in the morning before you get out of bed before you forget them);

11 years ago
one for tracking whether your intuition proves true, and one for divination, another for evaluating your magic.  It is important as you

learn or try new methods introduced to you to record your experience with what “method” you are working with so you can track your progress.

In you Magical Diary, write about your dreams, journeys, synchronicities, magical experiences, and divination – this is where you should write down the results of throwing the I Ching, drawing runes, a tarot card reading, or the many other forms of divination.

Later you will find it important to read and review later and note what came true, what didn’t, what you misinterpreted, and the same with your intuition.  

You will recognize patterns, which will help you realize your deepest spiritual nature. 

Phyllis Curott

Personally, I have many and will continue to add to them.  Just recently I discovered a symbol of important meaning to me regarding a dream I recorded over 10 years ago.   And the meaning of a word while I journeying, I just found by reading a book.  They haven’t been totally revealed, but I had the beginning because of my journals, now the middle, and hope to find the true spiritual meaning it has for me.

This is only an outline or guideline to go by.  There are many, it is your choice as to how you set up your Book of Shadows.  I chose this one because it is through in my opinion only, to present to you. 

There is one other thought I will share from Raymond Buckland’s book.  Have a set of pens of different colors that you only use for your Book of Shadows and magical work.  The colors are intended to coordinate with the type of work you are doing.  An example would be if you were writing down a spell for prosperity/abundance use green, if you or printing it out use green paper. This is his belief and suggestion that I am merely passing on to you.

BoS cont'd
11 years ago

In my opinion you would want to use, at the very least, dividers or what ever works best for you, to enable you to get to a page or section quickly.

I hope this is of some help to you no matter at what stage you are as a practitioner.   It is done with heart filled blessings as you travel the enchanted world that we live in.

Brightest Blessings, Sandi


I very much like the color
11 years ago

....coding idea, Sandi, although I use dividers in my current BOS.  I may use that in my next workbook.  The overflow from my BOS (things like Pagan Poetry and Lore, and such) go into a workbook. 

Never did find that DOS program I heard about; if anyone ever hears of it, please let me know....(Thanks)

11 years ago

Fantastic work Sandi and Sunny. Sunny, I am trying to figure out the program you are talking about. Once you download it, does it leave a pentagram icon and allows you to enter in spells?  I have it somewhere on disc, I will look for it.

I haven't checked out these sites in awhile, but they have alot of helpful pagan downloads. Sorry if its a repeat of what someone else did.

I'm not sure Jewel,
11 years ago

someone on another site mentioned to me, that there is a Disk of Shadows on the market, it's one where you enter your data, and personalize it....I've never found it, but I'd like to.  In the meantime, thanks for the links, I'll go and check them.

And Tsandi, thank you for your suggestion, on how to protect my entire book, but I'm more worried about damage, like miniscule rips, and wear and tear, fingersmudges, etc,  to the individual pages.  Once I remove them from their clear protectors, they'll be subject to damage from my use of them, you see....I wish there was some way to combine my old and new BOS; I really like the convenience of having binders that I can easily open and remove/add info to and from....This has a lot to do with why I haven't transferred my material from one BOS to the other...I really like the system I have now.  Will have to see about attatching a binder mechanism into the leather BOS, hopefully, it'spossible.

11 years ago
This is great information!
11 years ago
I bought the movie "Practical Magic" very funny, great story. I bought it just because of the BOS. It's gorgeous....and It's my kind of BOS. Not that the magic they used is my kind of magic.....the more mature ladies were wise! I recommend it! To me, dog eared pages mean it's being used. But I can totally identify with overly worn and so worn it's pages have artwork, herbs and stuff pasted in, etc. They include remedies my grandmother taught me....she was a doctor. She was also more magical than she dared to admit. It's hard to know how to proceed, but I really believe and agree, each to their own...because each has a different method. Nothing wrong with modern materials....BOS's evolve with the times, too. I like to think each is a work of art. ts
11 years ago
You know,Sunny, I really like the DOS idea....I just made a portfolio for a friend of mine that included CDs on some of the pages. I used a paper that looks like leather, and it's tough. I'm thinking I might include CDs on some of my pages. I used some clear plastic that comes by the yard, that is really heavy. I got an envelope template from the art store, and used that to make envelopes for the CDs in their cases. I do use Gray's Anatomy for some of my pictures by the way. And others.....I'm not that good or fast enough to draw all the images I want on my pages. But I really like the idea that the DOS has a "Find" on it.....I never thought of that..... Thanks for posting all that, Sunny! Sandi, I can hardly wait to find out the difference between a BOS and a Grimmoir...I think of Grimmoirs has being grim. Is that too silly? ts
Hiya, Tsandi...
11 years ago

This post is in regard to your (6:06) post...

I loved the movie, "Practical Magic".  It is a wonderful movie to refer to when trying to explain the difference between "witches" and "Wiccans"....The older ladies in the movie were definitely witches in that they practiced witchcraft; but they were not "Wiccan" because they interfered in their nieces "free will"  (although they did so with the most loving intent).  Wiccans do not believe this is ethical, and generally frown on acting in this manner.  (And the younger sisters' own experiences bore out the hazards of well, doing the same type of thing that their loving aunts did....)

But to get back on topic, yes, the BOS in the movie was gorgeous, wasn't it?  And those women had STYLE!

To me a grimoire is a type of detailed addendum to a BOS.  The BOS has the framework or skeleton of ones magickal experiences, and the high points; a grimoire has the miniscule details, such as herbal recipes, exhaustive lists of correspondences, pertinent research, esoterica, some spells, (some I find do not belong in my BOS, but rather in my Grimoire) and such.  I would list the dictionary definition of the word, but amazingly, was unable to find the word in either of my dictionaries....(???) and I don't have time to research it,('cause I'm off to work, now...) I believe it's French in origin, does anyone here speak French?   Thanks, n BB,-Sunny


11 years ago

Merry Meet,

Sandi, this is great information!  I had no idea that there was so much involved in creating your own BoS.  As you all know by now, I am a computer geek, proud to say, and I love the idea of having a DoS, but there is something to be said for handwritten documents... they will never be corrupt, that is unless damaged by water, fire, and wear and tear.  I have seen many a disk get corrupt just because they are using a new Windows program or something was upgraded (software).  And, of course, we all know that computers can easily crash if we haven't downloaded the right virus protection at the right time, notice the sarcasm.  Who hasn't heard of "Spyware" that bogs down the mighty pc.  There are so many factors that come into play where computers are concerned so please take care to back up any and all of your magikal items on your computer because you may wake up one day to find that all that is gone.  With all that said... I would still love to get my hands on that DoS program!  Heeheehee


11 years ago

Me too, Loracal!


To All
11 years ago

I am so happy this one post started so much discussion and sharing of ideas is very goiod.  I use both the DoS and BoS now.  But I will say that I prefer my BoS written and covered and placed away. And am I ever glad that I do it that way, Lorocal, I am sure you understand lol.   As everyone has mentioned pc's have may problems to contend with. I would never trust that to be my only source of my personal BoS, only a quick update or transfer to BoS quickly.  I love the beauty and feeling of closeness to the Goddess I feel with each stroke of the pen and usually feel extremely energized, hand hurts granted. And it is my own creation from my 2 hands and my work and feelings, even artwork can be copied on photo paper and inserted. it is not a Book of Perfection to me but a Book of Expression; a personal creation.

Tsandi your old world BoS idea is a most beautiful way of presentation to me.   I love the movie Practical Magic - the Goddess Hecate was mentioned in the movie.  I am not sure that they interferred with free-will in THAT sense, but as far as I am concerned that is not a discussion I will be in.  I have the movie and love watching it.

Grimoire is indeed a french derived word., I think the basic meaning is something like a receipe book, its a cook book of sorts.  As Lorocal mentioned a BoS will be large and many volumes in a lifetime.  A lot of Wiccans/Witches place very personal info in their BoS that they, especially if they are in a coven, wouldn't want others to see.  A Grimoire would contain your Spell work and what and how you cast them.  It is something that IF you chose to share with someone else you would and they would not see the "erotic dream" you had 2 weeks ago or that 'for your eyes only' poem that you wrote, as an example.  Or if you do not want to carry and look through a large volume with everything, let your BoS contain everything except your Spells, herbs, oils, etc. so it is easier to carry and locate the spell especially if you use colors to identify the various spells.  That way your BoS may still contain both IF you like but it is your very private BoS and you can feel free to place anything in it.

I think you can see how quickly your spellcasting section can and will grow, it will be a book in itself, many books. and to add to your BoS you will be moving other info IF you intend to keep your spells in one section.   I also use a ritual circle casting check sheet that a dear kindred spirit gave me and modified it to contain spellwork  and the what type, what used, etc.  It makes it very easy for a Solitary to cast circle and not have to cut a door out or back in, or horrors accidentally, leave it open. I check everything off before I cast my circle and know I have everything I will need, including the Grimoire sheet or index card (see next section) because I use power words in all of my rituals and spell casting, the index cards come in handy for those, because some I say each night and morning as well. After I have finished I will usually sit down and complete that sheet before taking down the circle.

Does everyone do it using a BoS and Grimoire, I doubt it.  But I like the idea and it is one I chose to do. 

As with everything there is no one right or wrong way, whatever works for you personally is the right way for you.

I will look for my other info on Grimoire, there are a couple of versions I have found.  And just a tip, if you use a particular thing, spell, power words, devotional often, colored index cards work fine and are easy to get to.  Just an idea to share.

Yup, Lorocal that is the basic outline for your BoS, to grow thru out your on going learning of many different things.

Blessings & Light, Sandi

11 years ago
Thanks again Sandi. I have a DOS and plan to start on my BOS.
11 years ago

This is a great topic. Thanks for starting it, Sandi. 

I love hearing about how others have put together their BoS... I am inspired reading about how some of you have put so much time and work into creating yours.  Oh, I feel mine is pitiful, LOL. I have a blank book that has a leather cover and I started writing things in it before I had any set plan for how it was going to be organized.  I had also hoped that being an artist, I'd be inspired to illustrate each page and make it very aesthetic, but I haven't done it as I hoped I would. But then again, I consider myself a newbie (only having been on this path for the past three years or so), so maybe my current BoS can be my "newbie BoS"?  That sounds funny, LOL. And maybe my next one can be more aesthetic like I want it to be.

I do also save things on the computer and am planning to put together a DoS, so hopefully that will be more organized.

Oh - I also loved the movie Practical Magic (I even watched it the other day), and their BoS was so beautiful.  I loved those aunts... I wish I had aunts like that!!  Brownies for breakfast, that sounds good to me!! 

I have heard that some people put a protection spell on their BoS so that it can't be viewed by unwanted eyes... has anyone done this with their BoS and if so, can anyone suggest a good spell of protection?  I know the best protection is to probably find a back corner of a bottom drawer, LOL, but I don't have much space to work with. 

Anyway, I am enjoying being here.

With Peace, Light & Love,


11 years ago


Your BoS will be a work of art and your own personal creation, that is what will make it beautiful.

I had to laugh, my 1st few were spiral notebooks, notebooks, and like you it was here and there and everywhere.  Finally my 1st one was done in calligraphy by me the most unartistic person on the planet!  There are dried flowers on pages, stars, moons, just whatever I created at that moment and I was much younger then.  It remains one of my favorites.

Warning! my pc hard drive had to be erased and when it was everything was lost.  that included a bit of my BoS   but I back up (they didn't install a back up disc on the other pc, the tech's jaw dropped when she told me), so save it, print it.  Just take care that you never know when a pc will blow.

Practical Magic is one of my favorite movies, I have worn out one already and working on the next one.  I may watch it tonight.   Thanks for reminding me.

I look forward to hearing about your BoS when you create it.  The beauty of the BoS is in your heart that you share with the pen and paper.

BB, Sandi

11 years ago

so sorry,  yes there is a BoS blessing you can use on your book.  I am off for a few more days, working on this pc. (while sneaking in some topics for WoW, shhh) (Please back up your DoS, I lost all info on other pc, thankfully  the DoS  was in a BoS or printed and ready)whew!!!!!!!!!!    But I will make a note right now to get mine out and include it here for you and everyone.  There is also one that is used for your pc  and all connecting cables, etc.  

I will post both for you.   I have this one almost ready to bless and it will be for sure.   Thanks for asking and the kind words, they mean so much.

Brightest Blessings, Sandi

Merry Meet
11 years ago

I thank thee times three sweet sisters for taking the time to help us with our BOS. I have not started to make mine yet. Although I have contents to put in it, it is just the computer seems to keep all my information. I thank thee for giving me the insite to realizing I should do something about that. I would like to make mine out of all natural materials. Brightest Blessings


11 years ago

It is a pleasure to share information and knowledge with friends and spirit sisters.

You know I forgot my own favorite rule.  A Grimoire (meaning Grammer, hence Receipe) for places your spells, receipes, oils, herbs, etc. in and then you can add to it a bit easier than you BoS where i would certainly want my favorites included. But I know have many spells can be collected and made for even one topic, so it will grow quickly.  Especially if you write your own spells, as you do or will.  the Grimoire is easier to flip to and take the page needed or add one.  And the BoS can be more "for your eyes only" until you wish to share it. It may contain intimate poetry, dreams, artwork, etcs that you wish to save just for you for a while.  Then as the Wheel of Life Turns you may wish to combine the two.  Many possibilities for Wiccans to explore and find the right one for you.  Shawna your natural materials sounds beautiful

I will post the Blessings for the BoS and pc.   Need a bit more time.

Thank you for your kind words, it does make your heart sing, Shawna and Robyn.

Brightest Blessings, Sandi

And Robyn you should have seen my "newbie" BoS....can you say spiral notebook and 2 ring binder lol?  It the dance of life, enjoy it.

11 years ago
I use 90 pound cold press watercolor's acid free and meaty. I put my book together with some posts from the hardware store...they have a screw in each end so I can ad or subtract pages as I want. I have a wooden cover....I have plans for that cover..there is a silver clay out. I hope to mold it into something interesting, and find someone who has a small kiln. Meanwhile, I love working on my pages....There are papers out there that can be traced through. So the text portion is readable but in my own hand. And there are ways to transfer images and diagrams. I like a thin paper of some sort between my pages, not necessary, but it means I can use both sides of the paper and not wory about things like herbs etc being rubbed off onto another page. Glassine is my favorite, but it isn't easy to find. I use large pages, so 8" x 11" isnt good for glassine.... ts
11 years ago

The paper sounds beautiful.  I like the idea of the divider paper that you use as well.  I saw a paper quality that maybe close to that yesterday, loved it.  but there was like 5 sheets of paper for $7 or some thing like that. it could have been 9.97/5 sheets.   Beautiful but a little to rich for my blood right now.  I did find a paper that I would love to use for mine When I get more paper.  I love the old world look that it has and the quality was above avg. so I think when I get more that will be it.  And I do all of my header pages in calligraphy, or with a stencil sheet.  It turned out better than I thought it would. given the right hand is a bit hard to use for writing especially. and I can use my pressed flowers and herbs in between.

Thanks for the GREAT idea and sharing with us Tsandi. You are very creative.

BB, Sandi

11 years ago
Paper can be so expensive....I do a lot of things on just plain brown'd be surprised what it can I can't spell it. is hard for me to find.... Watercolor paper comes in big sheets. I tear it to the size I want. In fact, I go to my local art store and buy paper in big sheets and tear it into smaller pieces for a lot of things. Sandi, I'm so glad you got your pc going. I have an old mac I nurse along....I refuse to think about the day it just keeps plugging along. L&L ts
11 years ago
Yes this has been such an intriguing thread I actually got a ton of information into my book of shadows that I hadn't written in in over a year! Thank you for this awsome info!
Tsandi & Mels
11 years ago

you always come up with the most artistic ways and make them seem so simple to do.  What a brillant idea.   I saw the most beautiful paper the other day.  one sheet, sheer with a leaf design in it cream paper and the outline of the leaf in gold.  A bit larger than my BoS  but you're right snip it here and there and its done.  I love your  posts and ideas.

BB, Sandi

Mels, I am so glad you found this enjoyable and something to help you use in your BoS     BB, Sandi

10 years ago
What is the best way to organize BOS?
10 years ago


I know you've been a pagan/wiccan longer than me but i feel that if you organize it to your own specifications, or how you feel things should be grouped than it's the best.  I mean you wouldn't want to go looking for a spell and look in the wrong place because you forgot how it's supposed to be set up.  I'm an Admin. Assist. so i'm very particular on how things are organized, for instance, in my BoS i have a table of contents so i know exactly where to go.  But not everyone is like me so you have to feel right about your BoS because noone else is going to use it... well at least that you know of.  Does that make sense?


10 years ago

I'd never heard of a Book of Shadows until today - I'm reading a book 'If you want to be a Witch' by Edain McCoy and she mentions it. I was sklightly sceptical but am now convinced I should start one!

Thanks guys!

10 years ago


I believe that you will really want to have a Book of Shadows.  As the topic says, I can't begin to tell you how many I have over the years.  And they continue to grow.

It is your personal book that you may wish to include photos, poetry, and very personal articles for reflection upon.   I do still recommend that you take it out at least once a year and re read it, you will see your growth in many ways.  My first one was in a notebook, spiral notebooks, and Hardback books; but they all have meaning to me.  Yes it took alot of time, and still working on it (I personally do most of mine by my handwriting).  But with the options of a DoS and BoS  you can have both.  Keep us updated with your progress, I think you will find the outline helpful~it made my helter selter life a little easier. LOL

Best of luck with you BoS and your journey, may you be blessed in many ways during your path of discovery.

Brightest Blessings, Sandi

10 years ago

I went out today and have bought a book that will be my BoS. It's not very big and it's not loose leaf - it does however have Book Of Shadows emobossed on the front which is quite nice and perfect for my first book.

I read in another book that I could use a hardback such as this as more of a journal and use something else to keep a record of spells, rituals and potions etc.

I don't know if anyone else does this?

Sunny Sydney Blessings


moved from another thread
10 years ago

Sandi has received 115 new, 1150 total stars from Care2 membersSandi has been awarded 222 butterflies for taking action at Care2 Sandi C.
Blessing Your Book of Shadows (a Version) February 11, 2005 8:40 PM

Blessing Book of Shadows



In the realm of magick this book shall reside.

No one but the chosen shall see what’s inside.

If breath be to Air as passion to Fire,

Let harm come to none, this is my desire.

If life be to Earth as Water to emotions,

This book be filled with magical potions.

May the Gods protect it, keep it from harm,

And upon it bestow power, magick, and charm.

No one without wisdom shall peer at its pages,

Or the knowledge inside handed down through the ages.

This book be it mine, it harbors no fears.

The knowledge obtained through blood, sweat, and tears,

My magick’s my passion, the spirit’s my guide.

The love for the Goddess I hold deep inside.

The book may she bless it with spiritual light.

And let only Her children read of its rite.

For those of the Wicca truly can see,

That this is my will, so mote it be.

10 years ago

Sandi has received 115 new, 1150 total stars from Care2 membersSandi has been awarded 222 butterflies for taking action at Care2 Sandi C.
cont'd February 11, 2005 8:42 PM

You may do this blessing during ritual or make it a special ritual.  It can also be used for your Grimoire, if you chose to create one.  Just a few suggestions, I wrote mine on parchment in calligraphy with an appropriate color of ink and included it in the front of my BoS and my Grimoire.  You can use a good-quality paper, like parchment or any other that you like.  Us your magical pen and ink or pen, write this out in your best penmanship is one way (magickal pen is one that is ONLY used for Wicca work and NO other purpose).  Personally, I have many pens in different colors that are dedicated to my Wiccan work only.   You can even use a magickal alphabet if that feels special to you.  Or type it on your computer in a fancy font of your choice.  Maybe use different colors of ink or paper, make borders, and add graphics.   You can create a beautiful blessing for your cherished book by using your imagination and talent.  As I always say, it is your choice how you do it, because it is what “speaks” to you that make your Book of Shadows and/or Grimoire a creative expression and work of art that represents you.   Just think about the history of Wicca, Paganism, Native American, Mayan, Aborigine, Egyptian, and the many others ancient cultures and their primitive artistry and how beautiful we find it to be today.  You are creating the very same concept with your work if you look at it from that aspect.

10 years ago

Sandi has received 115 new, 1150 total stars from Care2 membersSandi has been awarded 222 butterflies for taking action at Care2 Sandi C.
cont'd February 11, 2005 8:49 PM

Have fun creating your Book of Shadows and if you decide to write your own blessing do it.  It’s your book and your energy that will empower that book, so write your own blessing if you want to, draw (even if you think you can’t), write poetry or just a simple Expression of your feelings.  Trust in your talents.  Your Muse will be with you if you call upon Her for help, maybe not that moment, but She will come to you.  That is an entirely different topic that may be done at a later time. 

NOTE:  Do try to remember to include the Date, Sun Sign and Moon Sign when you write your blessing and include it on your blessing page somewhere.  You would be amazed at reflecting at a later time on your writing then and your growth.  And do this with your Spells, really with anything you place in your BoS or Grimoire.                        

Brightest Blessings be with you, Sandi

10 years ago

During the " burning times"  witches are started a written tradition  because of the reasonable fear to lose heir oral tradition. Witches were meeting " in the shadow and began to keep records.

The Book of shadow also called " black book " is  created by a witch or coven in order to trade rituals spells  incantations and everything else what like to be  used for ritual magic.

10 years ago

personally i use my franklin/covey planner as my book of shadows, that way i can keep it with me all the time. i have lots of loose leaf pages in there, articles i have clipped, sketches, etc. i have my spells, lists of herbs and their uses, and more. i try to keep my bos  with me, be a part of me in everything i do.  It also keeps my usual dates, pictures of my kids and hubby, address book as well as photos that lift my spirit. every year i take out  the pages of the calender and place them in a small binder, but my book of shadows  pages stay there year after year, adding as needed. without it, i would be lost.

book of Shadows
10 years ago

I don't think I have ever read of a Book of Shadows in the Burning Times, though some geographical areas may have, I wasn't there that I recall per sa.  That is the time when all went 'underground' in fear for their life.  Any written word would have surely convicted many in addition to the massacre it was.  I know most 'wise ones' kept and still do most things in their head not on paper.  Education was rare and only a few were big on writing.  But Irina I really don't think the BoS as we know it was begun until the 1950's when the English law against witchery was banded. 

Hi Barncat, I love my Frankline Covey, but now you can get witchy refills that will fit right in there and you will always have it near to you as well. 

Peace & Light, Sandi

10 years ago

A Book of Shadows is a personal or communal book of spells, rituals, and knowledge. If used personally, it is also often used as a journal.

The tradition of keeping a book of shadows was started by pockets of witches that had survived the Burning Times. These pockets were isolated from other witches and to preserve their knowledge and rituals, they wrote them down in their books of shadows.

Grimoire; A book, usually leather bound, which details spells usually of Black magicks or powerful incantations, along with knowledge, magic symbols and often ritual instructions. Historically, a grimoire tends to be used for refrence (akin to a manual) in calling up demons or malignant spirits, for whatever reason the operator wishes. The Grimorium Verum is a particularly good example of this, along with the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Grand Grimoire, the Grimoire of Armadel, the Grimoire of Honorius, the Key of Solomon, and the Galdrabok.

However, in more modern times, the term Grimoire is interchanged by the layman or novice with the Book of Shadows, though essentially the origin of the name for grimoire dates back much futher than the Book of Shadows' does. Possibly a collection of hand written texts, many magick practioners create their own, based on their experiences of which spells work best. These tend to be coupled with journals, ending up as collections of past spells practiced. Rune casting, Tarot, talismans, charms, Wicca, all seem to have some form of manual written specifically for their ends.

The Origin of the Word "Grimoire" is the Old French "gramaire" or "grammar," which came to English from the Greek letter of the alphabet, "gramma" which came from "of letters" or grammatikos, to the Latin grammatica, which brings us to the Old French... It gets even more complicated but at least we can agree that the consensus of Grimoire's definition is; a manual for invoking demons, magic, spells, occult knowledge, and necromancy, or an encyclopedia of spells and incantations. Recorded use of the term dates from 1849.

From everything I have read and the above information, grimoire's have been around in varying religions for awhile. The modern book of shadows (wicca terminology) has only been around since the modern wiccan religion of about the 50's when gardner et al defined the basis for Wicca. While much of the modern tradition was passed down by the poorer segments of society as sandi suggested, they probably still had some methods of communicating certain rituals in other means then oral...sewing, pictures, carving etc. Going back further in history you had educated lots such as druids who could have had written practices (though their bard's were specifically for memorizing tradition and stories for verbal recital) that would be passed as letters, paintings, tapestries etc....if put into a collection may be considered a form of BOS. Since most pagan religions are lacking in "sacred texts" its hard to pin point many traditions specifically.

10 years ago

I grabbed my note book and without thinking I said "Oh I have to put this in my BOS and my son said " Wow mommy you have a BOS?!  that is cool!"

9 years ago
I have one that is older but I can't find it and it is a notebook.  I guess I do need to do some fall cleaning.
9 years ago
You know, I don't have a BOS persay, but I have a lot of material for one. What I am working on now is a recipe book that includes recipes, sabbat information, kitchen, cooking, gardening tips and info, etc......I guess that could be considered my BOS since I'm a kitchen witch or hearth and home witch. something to think about..what do ya'll think?
9 years ago
Of course it works! Maybe you could tell me how to keep plants growing and the weeds from taking over.LOL.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
8 years ago
Thank you so much Sandi and Krista, I am so excited about starting my own Book of Shadows. I have also realized that all my diaries and journals, of all shapes and sizes, lol, were actually the originals! I had always intended to make a special scrapbook with pictures, herbs, flowers, and calligraphy. A beautiful creation that I have been carrying in my heart for as long as I can remember. I am so happy to be in awe and wonderment of my natural instinct to create one!
Brightest Blessings,
8 years ago

I bought a Book of Shadows recently from unfortunately it was The Unofficial "Charmed" Companion.

By N.E. Genge

Good read but not what I was looking for.

Many Blessings and Hugs.

re: Book Of Shadows CD-Rom
8 years ago

Sunny W-

You mentioned in your post of a Book of Shadows CD-Rom, not sure if it is the same that you are thinking of, but yes there is a CD-Rom ( I haven't recvd mine yet, but I did the tutorial and it seemed pretty kewl. It has alot of info already on it, but you can add as much or as little to it as you wish. Only downfall, it says free, but its not,  $24.95 paid thru paypal. Once I get mine I will let you know what I think.

Re: Book of Shadows CD-Rom
8 years ago
Sorry, was lost on something else, the CD is actually only $5.95 and that is just for the shipping and handling, still thru paypal.
8 years ago
This sounds so cool!!
*Practical Magic*
8 years ago

Just wanted to say

"Midnight Margaritas"..... I too love the movie and watch it all the time!

8 years ago

mmmm...margaritas.....okay..I'm leaving work and hitting a margarita...LOL

Be careful of the "store bought" BOS. Book of Shadows is something that comes from you, your family, etc. It is an intimate part of your own personal history and in that have their own magic. Purchased BOS are great to use for inspiration and adaptation....or if you are buying a "BOS" that is blank for you to fill, that is great..but I have run across one or two that are instant BOS...just pay such and such and its already full of rituals, spells etc. Maybe its just me but I don't "buy " it.

Now having said that, I can admit to not working on my own either..LMAO. I keep collecting the recipes and taking the pics and etc...but I just get wrapped up in the actual doing of things. Which right now is preserving and cooking all the wonderful produce from my garden which has taken over my life!! and darling I wish I could tell you how to maintain weed free but I have no IDEA. I'm communing with mother earth right now...I'm letting the weeds have their way for awhile as long as they don't interfere with my veggie plants...LOL

Homemade BoS
8 years ago
I began making my BoS with my father before I went through the rites. I was probably 11 when we started it and 13 when I inherited it. Anyway, I won't say what's IN it, as that is very personal, but I will share how we made it. An avid "do-it-yourselfer", my father has made several permanent fixtures in his home. From bookshelves to sweat lodges, compost bins to tool chests. At one point, he was restoring a motorcycle and when welding some component, he accidentally caught a piece of plywood on fire. The wood didn’t actually “catch” on fire though. It smoldered and warped on one side, leaving an awesome looking sheet of material left over. It is speckled with burn pocks and just looks “magical”. We used this wood to make my BoS. We hinged it together with straps of an old leather belt (the one he used to use to give me whippin’s as a matter of fact, symbolic of my maturity I guess) and leather tacks. The clasp is made from either end of the belt as well, so that it “buckles” in the front. For the binding, I attached the innards of an old 3 ringed binder to the spine of the book. For the pages, I simply use plastic sheet protectors. I too hand-write the contents and do not wish to punch holes in the paper to keep them in the book. I do, however, have a backup disk of the contents in case something should happen to the actual book. It is not elaborately decorated and I’ve sanded the edges to prevent splinters, but it is very rustic looking and one of my most precious possessions. I intend to pass it down to my daughter when/if she prepares for the rites herself.
8 years ago

Merry Meet...

I must have 5 large BOS's....and what I have in them are some articles that I have found to be interesting,some favorite spells,chants,medicines,herbs.

Alot of information throughout the years that I have gathered as well as my own rituals and spell work.

B.B Ostara

8 years ago
Glenda, I checked out the free Bos, but it's only for pc's. I have a mac. OSX...I finally upgraded. It's a problem with a lot of free programs....all for pc's. Looks intersting tho...

I guess I could get an old used pc to put a dos onto. I wouldn't use it for the web tho. Macs don't get viruses. I really love my mac.

The pc, if it were a laptop, could be the book.  I could make the cover into a book of shadows type cover....something from the future.  It would have only the dos on it.  A thot.

This post was modified from its original form on 05 Nov, 19:45
7 years ago

I am working on putting mine together