Book of Shadows

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Forums -> Wicca -> Book of Shadows

Book of Shadows
Post # 1
A Book of Shadows is a secret jouranl that a Wiccan would use to record spells, rituals, etc... for personal usage to keep or to pass down a generation of witches in your family. Normally, a Wiccan would show NO ONE their Book of Shadows, but sometimes a High Priest or High Priestess would show their coven members some spells or rituals dealing with covencraft.
Hopes this helps!

Blessed Be!
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Re: Book of Shadows
By: / Knowledgeable
Post # 2
If Wiccan is based off of old Witchcraft and most witches were constantly hiding their ways, wouldn't you think that having a book of spells would be instant prosecution? In actuality, Book of Shadows or Grimoires are not very old.

Even by 1750, less than 50% of women could even sign their own names, much less write in lengthy books and men were only a little above that statistically. Very few had a decent education and even fewer of those with a decent education were practicing witchcraft.

And as Brysing has pointed out many times, witchcraft was illegal in England until the middle of the 20th century. Someone else recently pointed out that in many places around the world, it is still very illegal. So writing anything down was very risky unless you were weathy or higher class, in which case it was generally overlooked due to your higher importance in society, unless you stepped on the wrong people's toes in the process. Even the famous occult writers went through hell due to their literature.

I think its wonderful to write things down and I do it all the time. But I think that it is important to understand that such books for personal use, seen as a staple in the craft, is a misconception of modern society.

So all these little rules like "show no one" was probably the fear of prosecution to those lucky to be literate enough to make one.
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Re: Book of Shadows
Post # 3
A book for spells and rituals is called a grimore. A book of shadows is a book for everything. E.g Crystals, sabbats, herbs, tools and some people do keep there spells and rituals in the book of shadows.

Just to clarify my point, a grimore is a book for spells and rituals, and a book of shadows is for, well Everything :D
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Re: Book of Shadows
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 4
The concept of a Book of Shadows dates back to Gerald Gardner in the 1930's but apparently no further. Of course grimoires have a longer history, having been used by ceremonial magicians such as Dr. John Dee during the Middle Ages.

A Book of Shadows can be either a personal one which is created by each Wiccan as a sort of personal magical diary. Or it can be a coven Book of Shadows to which everyone in the coven has access and out of which they are taught.

Traditionally a Wiccan Book of Shadows was either destroyed upon the death of the individual or it was returned to the coven to which that person belonged. This was largely because coven information was considered oath-bound and not to be shared with those not initiated into the coven. Now that many Wiccans practice as solitaries each Wiccan can decide for himself or herself what they would wish to have done with their BOS upon their death.
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