Friday, May 21, 2010

Grimoire, Book of Shadows or a Haphazard Mess?

When the decade ended, one of my resolutions for this year was to organize my beliefs, knowledge, spells, charms, mythologies, etc. into a cohesive grimoire instead of having them scribbled down in various books, slips of paper and witches day planners (Yes, I have those, as geeky as that may sound).

I lamented over the book I should use for quite a while but then a book literally jumped off the shelf at me while I was browsing the journal section of the book store and despite it's significant lack of subtlety (there will be no keeping people from touching this if they spot it) I knew it was perfect for me.

While warm oranges and reds very rarely find themselves in my favor, they worked so well with the swirling birds that I fell in love the moment it hit my arm.

However, I have two issues with the book. The first is that it's bound. I can't add to it over time and as such will be sort of limiting what it can contain due to space constraints. It has 96 double sides pages so I can fit a good deal of information in it. My second issue is that the pages are a hair too thin to hold up well to paint of any sort. If it were just a wee bit more sturdy I could watercolor it until I ran out of paint, but as it is when I paint in it the color bleeds to the other side, rendering my pages 1 sided.

All that being said, my work on this book has sort of stagnated at 2 pages over the past 5 months. I drew my Earth Mother in the book and began a page in my deity section, so it wouldn't be terribly difficult for me to start again in another book and repurpose this one into a sketch book or tarot diary.

The dilemma comes in again; what sort of book should I use? Also, what sections do I want to include? Every time I peek at a book done by someone else, I tend to pick up a new idea or two and if this continues, my book will need 400+ pages!

The things that I know I will include, without a doubt are:

* Book Blessing - preferably written by myself, but as I prefer poetic spellwork and blessings and am not much of a poet myself, I may bend on that.
* My personal creed
* My vow to the Earth Mother
* Wheel of the Year Myth and sabbat information
* Deities
* Moon Phases - correspondences and rituals
* The Elements - Correspondences ad information
* My Altar tools and setup - Misc. information on the tools I use and why. Not paraphrased from a book.
* Casting of the circle - Again, my method and quarter calls. I can't use most incense, so I need to improvise.
* Spellworkings - I'm not sure how I'll categorize this yet. Perhaps by method and intention? Such as Oils, Incense, Sachets, Rituals and then subcategories for intent under each heading.
* Divination - by pendulum, runes, scrying, tea leaves
* Correspondences - Colors, Gemstones, Days of the Week, Bric-a-Brac
* Runes and Symbology

Things I would like to add, but think may require their own books:
* Herbal correspondences and workings
* Tarot

So, now that I've shared, I'd like to hear from you. Do you have a BoS or Grimoire? Do you have a haphazard mess of notes and scribbles? If you do, what sort of book do you have? What sections did you include and why?

Is there anything I'm missing that you think I should include? Why?


  1. I have a 3 ring ring binder - but my blog I think will end up being my BOS.
    I like the blog as I can change or add things as it comes.

    Bright Blessings Annie

  2. Our family one is a work in progress. I have a rather large 3 ring binder that I have set aside to use for ours. It allows me to add pages, take out pages and rearrange as I see fit. I'm like you, I need to have a thicker piece of paper for doodles and paintings. Right now it's all notes on notebook paper just stuck in the binder to keep it all in one area lol. I have some large sheets of thick paper that I plan on cutting down and punching holes in for the pages (I'm sure the kid won't mind some missing paper that he paints on). I also use page protectors to protect the pages from smudges, dust, and keeps all the extra bits that might have been glued on and long since fell off with the page.

    I love all the little sections that you want to add. They are very similar to the ones that I have included in ours.

    Hmm, maybe I should pull ours back out and start working on it again lol.

  3. Oh my must be my love child I left at the Jersey shore, or maybe karma did a hiccup and you got my strange obsessive bent to perfection. Girl, breathe.
    The whole allure to be who I am as a pagan is that the world's pace has nada to do with me. Or it could be because I am from the land of manana, whateva. I love, love, love the book that chose you. If I were you, and it's quite poosible I used to be at your age....yep, I would gut the book, put handles or straps on it. Then you can use the covers with some fabric attached at the ends to be the holder of all things precious and pagan together. You could then have several books or binders to serve your purposes, BOS, sacred renderings, spell box with illustrations etc. It coud be your sacred holder. It obviously was put in your path to cause you to contemplate....and I must say you are doing an excellent job.
    No teasing are a wonderful, driven, convicted, caring and pointed human who is so talented and gifted and need to give yourself some wiggle room to let the universe help you find what you need, desire, have to have.
    Me? I use the catch as catch can filing system and then once a month I collect, redistribute, and meditate over what I have accumulated during the month and edit. Otherwise my sense of gotta have it, gotta keep it, gotta be able to see it would take over the moments of joy I have if I just breathe.......Olde Broads method of collection.
    XXOO and a whole lot of admiration, The Olde Bagg, Linda

  4. OOOOOOOOOOOOOh dont you just love having a book to write in lol hubby laughs at the amount of blank books i buy one for poetry one for painting one for info one for garden .........blah blah..... like you i have been searching for my perfect bos but think i will opt for the ring binder so i can add but i have seen some beautiful ones on ebay with wooden covers and pages can be added and paper is handmade so good enough for watercolours too :)

  5. I am the eternal champion of the Moleskine Sketchbook. It's my personal notebook of choice for years. The paper stock is thick and holds up well to watercolor and I've done several watercolor bits in mine with full use of both page sides. I also worried about not having enough space for all my recipes and spells but the best thing for that is creating the outline of what you want to include and you've done that wonderfully. Write small and guestimate how many pages you'll actually fill up for each subject. I could just never use something that wasn't a bound book for my grimoire because for me it feels too sterile to use something else. Ultimately if in several years you grow within your path and change you can always start another book. My book includes:

    Correspondences and Associations: Biological curios, daily and astrological correspondences, moon phases. Substitutions for certain hard to find items (such as brains!) and additional correspondences for curios and herbs not found in frequently referenced literature.

    Deities: Self explanatory. Pages devoted to my favorite deities and denizens, things they like, symbols, recipes, spells, offerings, sacrifices, or incantations associated with them.

    Then comes the recipes and spells. I sorted them by uses: Purification and Protection, Love and Sexuality, Luck and Prosperity, Healing, Hexing and Banishing, Spirit Work, and Medicinal(Balms, tinctures, etc). To have separate sections for oils and incenses and brews and what-have-yous just overwhelmed me.

    In addition to many watercolor enhancements I've also included some classic works of art that inspire me. Works by ancient artists or more modern ones such as John William Waterhouse or Mucha.

    Hm. That was pretty long winded. Either way use the opportunity to pump as much creativity into it as you can, I know you will.

  6. It does n't matter if the pages are thin, the cover torn etc. If this book called out to you, then this is the one.
    Although, i do believe in keeping an electronic journal, i do not believe your bos can be one. You have to be able to touch it, feel it, cry over it(no, i am not depressed, i am just weird!).
    As for the things to write about, you can add things as you go.
    Brightest blessings,

  7. I have 2 medium sized 3 ring binders that I covered in fabric. My personal one is covered in a cool fabric I found in the clearance bin, and the family one is covered in the left over material from my wedding gown.
    I like the binder bit because you can change out what is there and constantly add to it.

  8. The only thing I would add would be a dream section, where you could write down bout them - that is, if this is something that calls your attention.

    I have a black binder as a book of shadows exactly because I can add pages at different points, replace those I damaged for use (it happened), etc. I use thicker paper (for lack of a better word in English!) so I can make collage, color, make drawings... It's a work in constant progress!

    Kisses and love from us.

  9. What a conundrum these beloved BOS can be... Mine is half on my laptop ( I suppose I could always have a thumbdrive of shadows, but it lacks the tactility of a book...), and part in a three ring binder (along with various journals, slips of paper, napkins, etc...) I chose the three ring binder, as it's easy to add to, I can decorate the outside however I please, and it's durable. I can add whatever kind of pages I want, of any thickness or type of paper & it's not an issue. They make HUGE three ring binders, so should it ever out grow the current binder, I can move it into a bigger, better binder & redecorate the cover. Best of wishes in your search for your perfect book! ^-^

  10. Other's have said it but I also use a 3 ring binder. I have had it since I was 19 or so and I have collaged and re collaged the cover as my life has changed. The current cover has lasted the longest and I still love it...even if it is a bit alt-y. It needs to be re organized but the list of what to include that you have is very good. My BOS has been through many incarnations, but I love the binder for it's versatility. Just my opinion.

    That being said the journal you chose is absolutely gorgeous.

  11. It's beautiful! Definitely not a haphazard mess. :)

  12. I'm scared I don't have a proper one so far :S
    I have a little booklet where I started writting rune reading but that's it...
    I need to make a proper one.
    Thanks for reminding me to put that on my to-do list!

  13. I love the book myself... and like many have already stated... it came your way for a reason... I understand the haphazard view yet knowing you it is probably much more together than you give credit. I think a BOS is a personal thing and has ones self all over it... so do what drives you and dont feel you need to stick to a guide... I have seen your work... I am sure it will be grand...

  14. Hello! I just stumbled across your blog. I actually use a Box of Shadows. I got the idea from this guy on youtube
    and I have a portable index carrier to have certain spells and info with me on the go. So far its working out wonderfully for me.
    Rituals that I write go in a separate pocket folder and I have a presentation folder to put one in when I am using that ritual.


  15. First timer here...It is nice to read others thoughts. I recently started my journey of 366 and have felt it a very private matter. I have been reading and researching and have purchased a few things. I purchased a book but have yet to write anything in it because I guess I'm just learning and don't want it to be wrong. I do love the thought of drawing and painting in my BOS. Thank You for sharing...

  16. Love it. I use a 3 ring binder one so I can move stuff around when I want to. I have a few videos on youtube of making your BOS in scrapbook style if you are interested.


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