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What Is A Book of Shadows? How To Use A Book of Shadows

Updated on November 15, 2015

Book of Shadows Examples

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Creative Commons shared Book of ShadowsWikipedia - Creative Commons - Gerald Gardner's Book of ShadowsCreative Commons shared Book of ShadowsCreative Commons shared Book of Shadows - Eleventh CenturyCreative Commons shared Book of Shadows
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows
Wikipedia - Creative Commons - Gerald Gardner's Book of Shadows
Wikipedia - Creative Commons - Gerald Gardner's Book of Shadows
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows - Eleventh Century
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows - Eleventh Century
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows
Creative Commons shared Book of Shadows

Book of Shadows

Do you own and record in a Book of Shadows?

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What Is A Book of Shadows and How To Use One

I have gotten a lot a bit of email of late inquiring what is a Book of Shadows (BOS)? I will define what it is and how to use one. Yes, they are real and in use!

A Book of Shadows is used by Pagans of many Paths, including Wicca. It is a journal to record various things for personal use as well as coven or group use.

Preservation is the key aspect of a Book of Shadows. You want to record information for future use by yourself and/or others.

Journals have been kept for hundreds of years by witches and pagans throughout the world. These journals were referenced as A Book of Shadows starting with the publication of Gerald Gardner's book, in 1954, "Witchcraft Today." Now such journals are frequently referred to by many Pagans as a Book of Shadows.

Of course others may have their own ideas about the definition of a Book of Shadows, but I am sharing mine. The same as I share magickal information along the lines of what I practice and our coven practices.

1. One main purpose for a Book of Shadows is to record details of spells and magick that you perform, or that your coven performs. Also, you can record other's work as well for reference and to build on. You can go into great detail as you record these events. Recording spells and magick performed also serve another purpose. Should anything every go "wrong" you will have the material readily available to take the spell or magick down. The way this is done by undoing actions taken, for example if you cast a spell using a pine cone you would break the spell by breaking the pine cone up and burying it on a moon cycle.

2. Research that you do also can be recorded in a Book of Shadows. This research can cover many areas including past lives, divination, as well as information gained from basic related works. This becomes a source of reference.

3. Again, I mention the preservation of records, which is what is very vital for the Book of Shadows. It is our responsibility to pass along information to others who follow us. A Book of Shadows can be added to when passed on to another "leader" or another generation. This way the recording continues on and on, leader after leader, and/or generation after generation.

4. You can add whatever you may feel led to add to your Book of Shadows! It could be songs, poems, pictures, sketches, etc. Things that are sacred to you.

When writing a spell or magick that you plan to use, make sure that it is clearly recorded so that you can read it in the sacred space that you are going to perform the spell or magick. You want it where you can see it in a not so bright atmosphere as most sacred circles and altar spaces are rather dim with only candlelight or dim lighting of other sources.

Modern day Book of Shadows may be kept on your computer hard disk, flash drive or CD. This is a great way to maintain one. However, whereas I would encourage using this method to record information, I would recommend that you actually copy the material to a handwritten Book of Shadows. By handwriting your spell or magick you are making a connection to it as well as it sticking in your memory. It is you interacting with the Gods and Goddesses through such actions. This is from my experience. There is always a Divine feeling when recording by hand in a Book of Shadows.

A Book of Shadows is a sacred tool, and should be treated as such. Keeping it on your altar is a great place as it will absorb altar energy as well as the altar and various altar tools will absorb the energies from the Book of Shadows.

Usually a Book of Shadows is personal, shared with none, or with a select group or coven. However, some have made their Book of Shadows open to all who would care to read it. The choice would be up to the individual practitioner based on what they feel within their own heart and spirituality.

Many people are familiar with the Book of Shadows from the TV series "Charmed." Also, it is a common tool among many who practice witchcraft.

If you have further questions, please feel free to ask in comment and/or contact me via the HubPages contact link.

Some useful insight into a Book of Shadows as well as a Book of Mirrors

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  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 2 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    You are most welcome. :)

  • MichalWrotter profile image

    Michal 2 years ago from Czech Republic

    What a great information. Even after 3 years still curent. I struggle with my Book of Shadow and this article simply gave me some ideas I would like to apply. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello, Tamron. That is a misconception that is presented by the mainstream media and such shows such as Charmed. Love Charmed, by the way.. :) But in fact... well, the "facts" are far different. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!

  • tamron profile image

    tamron 5 years ago

    When I think of the book of shadows I think of "Charmed" the series. Thanks for explaining what The Book of Shadows is because,I was under the impression the book it's self had powers. Great article!

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Seeker 7! Great to see you as always! I appreciate the wonderful comment and the sharing of what you have seen over the years! I agree, the more personalized, the better! Thanks for voting up!

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    Hello Dale - another excellent hub from you. It's great to see such a detailed and informative hub about a personal 'Book of Shadows'. It can be very confusing for students to understand just what they can put into it and what it's main aim is.

    The more personalised it is the better, and I've seen some very beautiful books being made over a number of years.

    Excellent and fascinating hub + voted up awesome!

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Lucy! Yes, that is correct. You empower your Book of Shadows pretty much by what you add to it and how you treat it. :) Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting as well as the kind words. :)

  • lucybell21 profile image

    Bonny OBrien 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

    Your hub had so much good info! I really enjoyed reading it.I guess a book of shadows is very personal, and it is what you make it and put into it.

  • Dale Hyde profile image
    Author

    Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

    Hello Alocsin! Always great to see you! Thanks for reading, commenting and voting up. :)

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

    This is quite esoteric to me but you've done a good job explaining it. Voting this Up and Interesting.