Every Witch makes his or her own Book of Shadows. A Book of Shadows is your personal magick diary, with notes on what rituals and magick you performed, when you performed it, what you did, what kind of results you got, any feelings you have about your magick, your life, or anything else that you feel is important to record about your experiences as a Witch. These notes help you to better understand both yourself and your magick. You can use any blank pages book (check stationary stores for books with both lined and unlined blank pages and many different kinds of covers) or you can learn how to make your own paper and how to bind it into a book or you can just use ordinary notebook paper and any binder of your choice.
The plural of Book of Shadows (when talking about more than one of them) is Books of Shadows (not Book of Shadowses). Book of Shadows is often abbreviated as B.O.S.
You will usually want to be able to easily add pages anywhere in your Book of Shadows or even move pages around. This means some kind of loose leaf binding, usually a two or three hole notebook. Some Witches prefer bound books, which means that once something is put in, thats the order it is in, and it can't ever be changed. If you use a regular two hole or three hole notebook, you can also get plastic binder pages to insert special items that you dont want to hole punch. Some Witches keep daily Books of Shadows in loose leaf notebooks, and once a year (or whenever makes sense) transfer the most important information into beautiful bound books (some even learn bookmaking and make their own books).
You may want to consider what will happen if your Book of Shadows falls into the wrong hands (angry parents, troublesome siblings, cranky teachers, etc.) and store or keep your Book of Shadows appropriately. You may want to include personal identification inforrmation (name, address, phone number, e-mail, etc.) in case your Book of Shadows gets lost.
Several people have written in and asked about sharing Books of Shadows. It is acceptable to share when you feel comfortable. Normally parts of your Book of Shadows will be very personal and wont be shared and other parts will be things you might share with other Witches. Never let anyone else pressure you into sharing something you dont want to share and never try to make someone else share something if they feel uncomfortable sharing.
Some Witches keep their Book of Shadows on a computer. It is much better if you keep a real Book of Shadows. The process of actually writing something down or drawing something out helps make it more concrete. You will be much happier in the long run with actual books. Plus, once you learn how to make magick inks, you can use magick inks for writing in your Book of Shadows.
things to include in your Book of Shadows
You decide what you want to include. You can leave things from this list out if you dont feel like including them. You can add other things that arent on this list if you feel like including them. It is your personal Book of Shadows make it your own!
Title Page Include your name, contact information, and the dates you start and end that Book of Shadows. If you end up keeping different Books of Shadows for different subjects, then label the subject too.
Dedication Page Write down your spiritual commitment. Things like why you are practicing Witchcraft, what you hope to learn, how you hope to grow, that kind of thing. If you want to dedicate your book to a particular God, Goddess, or more than one, write that down and why. Include the date and whatever astrological information you know. Over time, you may find that you want to change your dedicattion. Thats cool. In that case, add a new dedication page and keep the old one you will want a record of how you have changed and grown in your craft. Dont be embarassed by old dedications thats a record of how you grew in the craft. Some Witches add a new dedicattion once a year, four times a year, or even at each Sabbat.
Invocation of the Goddess This is an invocation of your Goddess. You can have more than one Goddess (or not even have one yet). You can start by including the famous Charge of the Goddess from Lelands Aradia or you can make up your own. Feel free to add additional invocations of the Goddess to various Goddesses as you discover them or make up your own.
Invocation of the God This is an invocation of your God (and this can be Jesus, if you are a Christian Witch). You can have more than one God (or not even have one yet). Feel free to add additional invocations of the God to various Gods as you discover them or make up your own.
Altar Diagrams You may include diagrams, drawings, even photographs, of altars that you plan or make. Include any notes that you feel are important. See also the article on altars.
Circle Write down how you call or cast your circle. Include any chants or poems you recite or make up. Include any notes about anything special you do. Save old versions. You may start with the version at casting a circle.
Rituals Keep notes on all the rituals you try. Write down what you did and how it turned out. You can also include rituals you are saving for later (so they are handy when it is time).
Lunar Keep notes on your Esbats (Full Moon and New Moon), as well as any other lunar rituals (dark moon, waxing moon, waning moon, quarter moons, etc.). You can also include notes for lunar things you might want to do in the future.
Drawing Down the Moon If you do a Drawing Down the Moon ritual on Full Moon, keep notes on what you did, any visions or inspirations, and how things turned out.
Sabbats Keep records of what you do for each of the eight Sabbats in the Wheel of the Year. You may also want to save ideas for upcoming Sabbats (rituals, recipes, crafts, decorations, incenses, potions, spells, etc.).
Holy Days If you celebrate any holy days other than the Esbats and Sabbats, you will probably want to keep records of those. And you may want to save information on holy days you learn about in case you ever want to celebrate them in the future.
Other Special Days Keep records of any other special days, including your own birthday, and the birthdays of friends and families, anniversaries, and any other days that are special to you.
Magickal Calendar If the sections on Esbats, Sabbats, Holy Days, lunar cycles and other special days becomes large enough, you may want to consider keeping a seperate Magickal Calendar book.
Poems These can be your own poems, poems you find inspiring, or any combination.
Songs These can be your own songs, songs you find inspiring, or any combination.
Dances These can be your own dances, dances you find inspiring, or any combination.
Chants These can be your own chants, chants you find inspiring, or any combination.
Prayers These can be your own prayers, prayers you find inspiring, or any combination.
Invocations These can be your own invocations, invocations you find inspiring, or any combination.
Wisdom You may include wisdom you receive from visions, from power animals, from spirit guides, from dreams, from friends, from rituals, from books, even from school or your parents.
Astrology Keep the astrological charts of yourself, your lovers, your friends, your family, and anyone else important to you. You can use Western astrology, Chinese astrology, Hindu astrology, or any other kind of astrology, or any combination that you prefer. See the article on astrology.
Tools Keep records on your magick tools, their purposes, connections to the elements, markings, etc.
Magickal Information This section is all of your magickal information. This includes spells, of course, but can also include tables of correspondences, potions, oils, brews, incense, ointments, inks, tinctures, herb baths, bath salts, ritual soaps, sachets, powders, gems, crystals, candles, talismans, sigils, charms, magickal alphabets, runes, elements, knots, divination, etc.
Recipes Some Witches keep their recipes in their magickal information section. Others have a separate section for recipes. Its really a matter of personal preference.
Magickal Diary Some Witches keep their magickal diary at the back of their Book of Shadows. Some Witches keep their Magickal Diary in a seperate book. It is a matter of personal preference. Some Witches even keep a sepearte detailed Magickal Diary, but include duplicates or summaries of the most important notes in the appropriate pages of their Book of Shaodws. Your Magickal Diary records all the divination you do (astrology, Tarot, I Ching, Drawing Down the Moon, etc.), all the spells you perform (with the results), all of the rituals you perform, and anything else you do in your magickal life. You will also want to record dreams and visions. And you will want to keep notes on how you feel, how your life is going, what your plans and hopes and dreams are, and anything else that you feel is important about your life or your magick.
Mandrake (Mayapple): exorcism, fertility, love, fidelity. Place in the home for a powerful protective charm. The roots are used in image magic, as the American version (Mayapple) and the European version, resemble the limbs of humans. Grind and sprinkle in cupboards & Book of shadows to keep away prying eyes. Protection, Love, Money, Fertility, Health
information courtesy of