Most Pagan traditions have a personal book with things you have learned written into that book. Some paths have strict guidelines as to what goes into the book, who can read the entries, yadda yadda.
This is what I think.
It does not have to be called a Book of Shadows. However, it may be easier to relate what the item is to someone else if you use the same terminology. Call it “My Magical Book of Sparkling Unicorns”. Call it “The Fonz”. It doesn’t matter!
I don’t feel that every single thing you’ve learned/read/heard should be put in your personal book. Things you feel are important that you may forget should certainly be put into your book. You don’t need a big 4 chapters to explain (essentially to yourself) what your path is and what you believe.
I feel that a 3 ring binder with printed pages is just fine. Its easy to replace pages – and it is sometimes easier to read than your own handwriting! Some people are not very artistically gifted and would therefore prefer to print out pretty pages to make their personal book feel more elegant. Should they feel bad for this? No!
My first book was a leather-bound journal. The 200 or so pages in it could not be replaced. I could not add to the book. I decided that I wanted to decorate some pages – but was then unhappy with the outcome. Then came the gut wrenching activity of tearing pages out. That was so painful! I had probably 5 of these journals in a book shelf and thought “Wow what a waste.” All that time I could have combined everything into one big binder and have been able to add or subtract as time went on.
When actually doing spells I feel those should be hand written. But your book? I don’t feel that is necessary. Mostly because it is only meant to be used for reference and possibly teaching someone else. However – if they only learned from a book what would they need you for?
Where should you begin?
Begin by having an idea what you want your book to look like. Craft stores have come a long way – so get creative! And if in a couple years’ time you don’t like how it looks don’t worry! You can get a new binder and start all over! That is the great thing about using a binder as your personal book rather than a bound journal. As people we grow all the time. Our tastes in all thins change. My first book looked more like a weird interpretation of a Necronomicon than anything else! Why? Because I was about 15 and I thought that was how it should look.
Here is a video done by a British Lady with quite a posh accent. She shows her Book of Shadows done in a binder form. Maybe it will give you ideas.
Many of you know that Imbolc (pronounced EM-bulk) is just around the corner!
What is Imbolc? Well, it is one of the 8 Sabbats. Its also sometimes called Candlemas. Think of it as the Spring starting to kick within the womb of Earth. It is a time to celebrate the lengthening of the days.
There are many traditional stories about Imbolc/Candlemas. Groundhog Day is a spin on an ancient Celtic tradition where they thought if the weather was nasty – the hag stayed inside and gathered no more wood for the winter (meaning Spring will come sooner). If the weather is lovely – then the hag is out gathering wood and Winter will last a bit longer. This is of course the Laymen’s Terms. I tend to just give the basic idea so as not to drone on and on (I do that sometimes.)
This is the time of year (first couple weeks of February) that the ewes give birth en masse. In England they called it “Lambing Season”.
Here is a list of things associated with Imbolc/Candlemas
Activities Usually done at Imbolc/Candlemas
- Light a candle in every window (never leave candles unattended! Just light one in the room you’re in)
- Hiking and searching for signs of Spring
- Making Priapic Wands (wand made out of an acorn, ribbons, a stick, and a bell. Its meant to be phallic to represent fertility. Instructions to make one is below*)
- Bon Fires
(some) Deities associated with Imbolc:
- All Virgins/Maiden Goddesses
- Gods of Love and Fertility (such as Eros)
Symbols of Imbolc/Candlemas:
- ‘Out with the old – In with the new’
Herbs associated with Imbolc