Book of Shadows or BoS. Every Wiccan and Witch knows about these books. What is a Book of Shadows? How do you go about creating one? Should I buy a pre-made BoS or make my own? Should I write it all by hand or type it and print it out? These are some of the main questions asked by those starting to begin Wicca who want to start their BoS. In this article Ill talk about how to create your own personal BoS and how the result of a book you created yourself will impact not only your spiritual path but in future generations. But first Im going to talk about what exactly is a Book of Shadows.
What exactly is a BoS?
For those new to the craft they may be asking what is a BoS? Is it like the BoS in Charmed? (Cmon now weve all seen Charmed and their big Book of Shadows up in their attic.) Where can I get a BoS? Is it a book of spells? Curses? Hexes? Can it really banish demons? Hold it! Ok now those last several questions is non-sense and is just me having a little humor in my writing (funny? haha .ha ok lets go on). To answer those silly, but serious questions I will answer each in a list.
1.) Is it like the BoS in Charmed?
No and yes. Mostly no. The concept is there in the show with having information a Witch needs or gathers like spells, herbs, ritual work. However the difference between the Hollywood version and an actual BoS is that the Hollywood one mainly just has spells and ways to vanquish demons. In an actual BoS its not just about spells and rituals and there arent any ways to vanquish demons, its more of a personal knowledge/diary of the Witch. Sure there are spells and rituals but theres also a lot more to it such as info on the Sabbats, the Tenets, and beliefs, Gods and Goddesses, Correspondences, etc. A BoS is a personal book to put down everything that you know and study in your craft and your own personal diary. How is it a diary you ask? Well its where you write down results of your spells, rituals, what you did and what happened during Sabbats and Esbats, anything in your life thats related to your path such as festivals you attended, new Pagans who youve met, when you harvest, plant, and grow your herbs, flowers, vegetables, fruits, etc., something magickal happening such as seeing faerie rings in your garden, an animal you rarely see and you see it, anything you feel that is connected with your Pagan way of life.
2.) Where can I get a BoS?
You dont get it. Its not a Holy book like the Bible, the Torah, or the Quran. Its not a universal book either, it is like I mentioned above a personal book holding all the knowledge you researched and learned as well as your personal experiences. You can buy books designed to write down everything youre going to put in your BoS. There are blank BoS books made for that purpose, some is just a simple black hardbound notebook, others are beautifully and intricately made that look like it came from the Medieval Era. You can buy those blank books but as the word says its blank. Theres no information already written (unless the company the book is from already provides some pages of already made information like spells, tenets, etc.) you will have to do that on your own.
Getting started on Creating Your BoS
Now the most common question is, how do you go about creating your own BoS? Each person has their own style and preferences. Some are visual people, others look into detailed written content. Some are artistic while others are not. Some peoplelike simplicity and others prefer extravagance. We all have our own likes and dislikes that make up the person we are.
To begin creating your BoS think about your personality and what you like. To start here are questions for you to think on that will help you get started.
1.) Do you want it to be simple or extravagant?
2.) Do you want to write everything down by hand or type it up on the computer?
3.) How big do you want your BoS to be? Do you want it a large sized, medium, or small?
4.) Are you the creative type? What would you want to put in it?
5.) Can you draw and color images into the pages or do you just want to find pictures online and print and glue them in?
6.) What type of book are you going to buy? A 3-ringed binder? A journal? Notebook? A pre-made Book of Shadows? Or are you going to make it yourself?
7.) Are you going to make only one book or make several volumes?
8.) Is this book going to be your own personal one or a family Book of Shadows?
9.) If its a family one do you want put in a family tree and info about members of your family? How are you going to put in your familys values into the book?
10.) Think about your traditions and what pantheons you work with. How can you incorporate them into your Book of Shadows?
11.) Do you want to have a physical Book of Shadows or do you want the files stored on your computer? Do you want to do both?
12.) Do you want to copy and paste the information from references you find online or in books, or do you want to take what you learned and write it down in your own words?
13.) Do you want to make 2 separate books, one for information on your path and practices, and the other book filled with only information on herbs, oils, incense, and crafts?
14.) Do you want to put family pictures, pictures of landscapes youve taken, animals, and other mementos in your Book of Shadows?15.) Do you want to make separate books based on the topics? Ex: A book only for herbs, crystals, divination, spells & rituals, recipes, crafts, etc.?
What to put?
Anything that fits your beliefs and preferences. Theres no right or wrong way of creating your BoS and everyone has their own beliefs, traditions that make up their spirituality.
Since Im not Wiccan anymore and dont really use my BoS except for a couple of things, instead starting another book that reflects my spiritual path now, Ill give you the list of all the topics/sections I have in it and as well as explaining the way I set it up. Some you will see dont have topics under a section mainly because I didnt get a chance to work on the section or its pretty much self-explanatory.
Table of Contents:
Tenets, Basics, Ethics
- Wiccan Rede
- The Law of Three (for those who follow it)
- ABCs of a Wiccan Life
- The Pagan Alphabet
- Before Time Was
- Reincarnation & Life After Death (Summerland, your beliefs in reincarnation, etc.)
- Nine Noble Virtues
- Branches in Wicca
- 13 Goals of a Witch
- Charge of the Goddess
- Charge of the God
- Wheel of the Year
- The Witches Pyramid
- Theban Alphabet
- Totems & Spirit Guides
- Birth Totems
- The Zodiac
- The Chinese Zodiac
- My Natal Chart (You can do this at astro.com)
- The Planets
- The Elements & Crosses
- The Houses
- The Planets
- Stars & Constellations
Auras and Chakras
Celtic (You could put in other Pantheons like Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Roman, etc. depending on your traditions.)
- Celtic Numerology
- Celtic Zodiac
- Birth Stones
- Candle Colors
- Crystals & Stones
- Planetary Hours (Day & Night)
- The Goddess
- The Horned God
- (List of deities you work with)
- (List of deities from different Pantheons)
- Oracle Cards
- Tea Leaves
- The Moon Phases
- 13 Full Moons
Parenting (for those who have kids or plan to have them)
Rituals and Spells
Articles & Essays
Quotes, Stories, & Pagan Humor
Notable People in the Craft
Now you must be wondering wheres my sections for incense, oils, & herbal magick? Well all that and a few others are in another book. Its another big fat 3-ringed binder book that I continue to use with my practices.
Incense & Oils
-List of Herbs in Alphabetical Order
-How to Plant, Grow, Harvest, Dry, & Store Herbs
Write down what you want to put in your Book of Shadows. Put charms, ribbons for bookmarks, put feathers, flowers, leaves, herbs, twigs, whatever you find interesting to decorate your book and pages. For those people who constantly change and add things to their Book of Shadows use a 3-Ringed Binder and decorate the cover with velvet, leather, or any other material.If you are an artist try drawing images on your pages, borders, things like that. If you are good at sewing sew in a pentacle in the front, or your name, the title Book of Shadows, leaves, whatever image you think you can sew on. If you want to have a lock so no one can open it take an unused leather strap, it can be from a purse or belt and sew it in onto the outside of the book in the middle. Make sure there is enough from both ends to touch in the side of the book where you open the book and put a lock in. If you want you can also put a buckle from a belt instead of an actual lock for those who dont really want to lock it but close the book securely as well as for decoration. Be creative and have fun with it. Make it something you will be proud of and can hand down in the future.
February 8, 2012 at 9:32pm · Public
Julia White and 100 others like this.
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Soror Linda Kou, exactly, unfortunatly I am at the level that I can only make a magickal substance, once every Full moon.
Feb 9, 2012
I make homemade bos. And sell them to friends and family. And I love this note please say you guys are gunna do more notes like this on random topics
Feb 9, 2012
This gives me a lot more information to research. Thank you.
Feb 10, 2012
I'm old fasshioned. I like the BOS hand written. It really helps to have it all in a loose leaf notebook so that you can add to it when necessary (It will be necessary). That way it will grow as does your faith in the Gods. Sometimes you will have many different notebooks that you will accumulate over time. Worship (Sabbats and Esbats), spells, recipes (food [for rituals or seasonal] , or even for different incenses). The possibilities are endless, and all up to you!
1 · Feb 10, 2012
about 30 years ago I did write everything by hand but not know. Its typing or nothing.
Feb 10, 2012
Witchcraft, Paganism & Wiccan
Danielle: Thank you and yes I'm going to be posting more notes on here on various topics. If you go to my intro note introducing myself and see the comments on there I mention how I'm going to be doing a series on different topics as well as just posting topics on here that aren't a part of a series. smile emoticon