This is something I have asked myself multiple times through out the past few months. I am sure I am not alone in this process. After all, who among us does not have a few shelves lines with a multitude of books regarding witchcraft, paganism, druidry, spell, stones, herbs… So with all that information out there, why bothering writing your own book? Why not just flip back through the pages and use the ones others have written? Isn’t that easier and less time consuming?
Well yes it is. And for that fact there is nothing wrong at all with just using what is already out there. I’ve done it. A lot of us do it. And for many traditions there is most certainly right way and a wrong way to do things. So I can’t argue that it is likely easier and not necessarily any more or less sufficient to the craft than any other methodology applied.
So why bother writing your own grimoire?
Well I can’t speak for others. But I can tell you why I have begun work on mine.
I have been keeping this journal for a little over two years now. My posts are sporadic, but then again I don’t do witchery every single day so I don’t always have anything significant to post! I have spent most of my time doing everything from studying, to trying to get a group together, to growling in frustration and wanting to throw all this hocus pocus stuff out the window. And something I have come to realize is that I am less of a pagan and more of a witch than I first considered. I still use the term pagan to refer to myself with those who don’t really know, mostly because the term pagan is for many innocuous enough that they need to have it explained to them rather than draw their own misinformed conclusions. But during that time I have toyed with the idea of writing my own grimoire. Not for publication really, gods knows there is enough of those on the market.
So, why am I writing a grimoire?
1) None of the books out there singularly serves my needs.
When it comes down to it I am very much a D.I.Y, use what works sort of person. Everyone has to start somewhere, so I won’t say a word against the Silver Ravenwolfs’ and Raymond Bucklands’ of the community. But you do sooner or later reach a point where you feel you’ve gone beyond the basics and that you need to stretch your wings and fly. The best way to do this is to draw from what you have been working with and build on it. I often feel that rituals feel a bit too much like a children’s play recital. You stand there, repeating the words on the page because this is what you were told to do and personal inflection doesn’t enter into it. I did this for a few years with a druidic grove and frankly it bored me to the point of exhaustion. Creativity is a part of what we do. So embrace the creative impulse and build your own rituals.
2) Too many reference books means more time researching and less time doing!
This statement is almost going to counter my last one. If you have dozens upon dozens of reference books regarding witchcraft, then in all likelihood you are going to use them. Unfortunately, ometimes one book contradicts the other, and you end up spending a lot of time worrying about the “correct” uses of lavender & amber in a spell satchel as oppose to using what you know has worked for you before. In a grimoire, you are as much recording your own experience as you are the knowledge you have comprised over time. If you have it recorded that your results from a ritual were “such & such”, then you will probably feel more confident in repeating the process than if you take it from Guildercravens Book of Spells for Everything.
3) Writing helps with memorization.
I don’t care how long you have been studying, nobody friggin knows every crystal, stone, rock tree, bush, flower herb, god, goddess pantheon, etc in existence. Things slip from your mind now and again and especially things you have not made a habit of using. We don’t always need wormwood for a ritual, so sometimes you forget what it’s used for. Sometimes you just can’t remember if it’s better to use sandalwood oil or patchouli for your red candle if you are trying to work a spell. But if you wrote it, or typed it in my case, chances are you will retain the knowledge for just a bit longer. Not to mention it will be easier to locate.
4) Sometimes it’s better to talk to yourself.
We all have strong opinions when it comes to our practices. And the strange thing about our craft is that none of us are really wrong about any of it. Our methodology may differ, our thought process is not always a direct one, but if you look at it logically
Does this mean that 3+1 does not or can not =4?
Or that 5-1 does not =4?
How about 2×2?
Sometimes you need to question your own perceptions and have conversations with yourself about your practices. While it can be beneficial to have these conversations with a fellow, sometimes it’s too personal or it’s just something you need to work through for yourself. And that’s okay too.
5) I think of a grimoire differently than most people seem to.
For the most, the grimoires’ that are on the market today are all along the same vein. They are mini instruction booklets akin to how to program your VCR…or more accurately how to assemble IKEA furniture. While this is not really a problem, I see a grimoire as a combination journal, study guide, documentation, instruction, reference encyclopedia compendium. It isn’t meant to just sit there and be read! It’s meant to be expanded upon! That which does not grow, dies. And as such, while writing mine, I intend to leave plenty of room for notes at the end of each section so that I can continue to add things as the years pass.
6) I don’t practice the way a lot of people do.
Really this is true for everyone. But for the most part I have my own views as to how the universe works and the nature of…well…nature. I’d prefer to have my own pathway lit by a lantern in my hand than to have someone who isn’t from the area guiding me. Yes this can make things harder, but ultimately more rewarding.
7) You tend to appreciate something more when it’s your effort that’s gone into it.
You don’t pop out a grimoire in a bloody week or two, not unless you are just copying everything over from somewhere else. It takes time, effort and a lot of consideration. So hopefully you will see the finished product as an achievement and recognize the value of what you have to contribute to the craft at large. I know a lot of us (myself included)still feel like we don’t know what we’re doing, even though we’ve been involved for years. Well you’d be surprised to find out how much you know, how much you don’t know, and how much fun it is to discover both when you bring all that knowledge together.
Now what I would like to know is, from my followers, would you like for me to give you progress updates on how the grimoire is coming along? Would you like to see what I’m including in there or does it not particularly interest you?