Book of Shadows

For many of those who are called to witchcraft, one of the most essential elements is the traditional Book of Shadows, a bound book full of rituals, spells, incantations and rites. For some these are tradition specific, for others family generated, but everyone seems to have one of some kind or another. They differ in some ways but for the most part the one’s I have seen remain largely ubiquitous in their rituals and process. Enough so that if we collected a hundred of them, one could do a fair analysis on their meanings and come to a general conclusion about witchcraft, wicca and paganism in general.

Is this a strength or a failing? I honestly don’t know. But the thought occurred to me that my process for my own personal book of shadows is somewhat different. (Maybe not different from everyone’s but different from what I have seen thus far).

I am not a very ritual heavy person. I like a great deal of spontaneity and creative drive in my craft and I usually pick stanzas or verses from my favorite poetry or come up with my own wording during my rites. I do not feel the obsessive need to rhyme everything though it does occasionally work out that way. I am a practical being and to me, adding more crap to a ritual just means you spend more time being ‘right’ as opposed to simply being.

I also use my BoS more like a scientists journal than anything else. I tend to record more observations and outcomes as oppose to simply copying what I’ve read from another book. This is in part because I feel that every spell has a thousand different interpretations and no two spells work the same way for any person. If you try a spell and record what you see, hear, feel and experience, as well as any long term outcomes, it’s easier to go back and see what may have gone wrong and where it may need to be tweaked a pinch.

Bare in mine please that I am not saying other methods are flawed in any way. I’m just articulating what I personally do for myself.

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