A Witch's Book of Shadows

There is a bond that builds between scribe and scroll. A deep and abiding bond. As the scribe lays out inner most feelings, personal accomplishments and losses and all the gray areas in between, energy is passed from the scribe's hand or fingertips to the page or screen. Very much like any form of magic. Energy transferred in order that a particular task be accomplished.

Never is that link more prevalent than when a witch writes of her/his experiences. Seeing the words on paper causes a resurfacing of the energy that was originally gathered. Shadows are not diaries, nor are they journals. They are an extension of the power of the witch. They are a living source of energy. They "Become".

There is a process by which you should begin a Book Of Shadows. Each process is, to a degree, personalized. However, just as you consecrate or bless each of your altar items, or perform ablutions for your rites, or decorate your temple in a particular way specific to your path, you must also perform certain magical processes for your book. It is a show of respect for what the book will become. It is a sacrifice to the Lord and Lady for the opportunity to chronicle. And it is a wondrous reminder to yourself to enhance the beginning of your time with the book.

When you choose your Book of Shadows, do so with three things in mind. First, do you want it small enough to hold or place on the altar during ritual? There is nothing more annoying than having a lovely big book with no where to put it at a vital moment. Think about how the book will be handled and choose accordingly.

Second, make sure that you are entirely comfortable with the look and feel of the book. If there is something about it that bothers you, it won't go away. Wait and choose another time. Or shop elsewhere.

Third, consider the design you want the cover to take on. The more you put into the decoration or appearance of your book, the more of your Self resides deep within its pages. One's Book Of Shadows should reflect the tastes and path of its scribe. Always personalize the book. Find a way to alter its look and make it yours.

Once the book you chose has been made yours through personalization and design, you hold a consecration and Opening ceremony. This ritual "opens" the path between you and the book. Between your third eye and the energy which currently resides within the actual pulp of the tree within the pages of the book. Once this opening has taken place, your book has become MORE than the sum of its parts. The unseen in your book becomes a potent and tangible energy source. Melding with the scribe as the pages fill is a part of the blessed web of the Craft.

Your Opening ritual can consist of something as simple as a meditation of gratitude, a small token of thanks or a detailed celebration with friends and a feast. The choice is entirely yours. It is the intent of acknowledgement to this new addition in your magical life. Cleanse it with the four elements and offer it to the gods for blessing. The Book of Shadows is now fully and completely a part of you.

If a book of shadows is begun without an opening, it does not make the power of that book any less a source. But the access or tapping of the source may not be as strong or clear as it could be. The opening serves to embed deep within you a respect for the pages you will write. A clear and complete gratitude for the ability to chronicle.

Finally, there are three things that, by tradition, are written into your book first. In what order is again up to your personal taste. Your craft name, a symbol of the Lord and Lady (or single deity) as a token benediction to them, and a piece written by you. Short or longer, this work will charge your new Book of Shadows with what will become the guardian of your work. Word it as you would any protection spell that comes from pure intent. Inscribe it into your book and charge it to its task. It places a permanent "watcher" on the book.

Enjoy your Shadows and don't be afraid to write in it. It does not have to be catalogued, subdivided or any other organization forced on it. It can be what you want it to be. It will always be your record of successes and questions, knowledge and feelings. It is a part of you. It has no restrictions save those you put upon it. In essence, it is a “tabla rosa” or blank slate where your path marks its way through your life.


Copyright - J. Thompson


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