Friday, 18 October 2013

Starting your own Pagan Book of Shadows

Starting your own Book of Shadows

Keeping a Book of Shadows is a wonderful way of recording your Pagan journey. 

The book of shadows or grimoire is an ancient practice. Some say these journals originated during the Middle Ages, written only in Runic alphabets in order to hide their magikal meanings. Other scholars claim that many people during the middle ages were illiterate and the books did not come into practice until the 14th or 15th centuries. The "Book of Light and Shadows" is a term that found popular use during the mid-to-late 1800s in Europe.

Your Book of shadows or grimoire represents your personal path in the Pagan traditions. You can treat it like a diary, writing in it daily or whenever you feel the need. You can include information, spells, exercise, blessings, in fact anything that you learn along your Pagan journey.

The Pagan's path give you a list of the possible sections you may have in your Book of Shadows. 

  • Book Title and Date
  • Book Blessing
  • General Index (make a few sections to help organize your book)
  • The Sections:
    • Magikal Rules and Principles
      Write down your personal principles, beliefs, and/or magikal rules that you chose to follow and believe in. These are your values of life and spiritual path. They should be created from scratch each time you begin a new book. This way you'll be able to review past volumes and see how much you've grown.
    • Goals and Aspirations
      Write down what your short term goals are. Include a date to achieve the goal and outline a few steps you plan to take in order to reach it. Then write down your long term spiritual aspirations, what you feel you need to work on and how you plan on succeeding. What you would like to achieve and by when.
    • Dream and Divination Records
      This section is for messages you receive through dreams, or some type of divination. Either a reading you've given to yourself, or received from someone else. This is the section where you want to record your personal introspection and interpretations.
    • Research
      Here you can record all the research and particular information you receive along your path. You might consider organizing this into sub-sections in alphabetical order. Astrology, candles, crystals, Gods/Goddess, tarot and timeliness research could be some examples.
    • Classes & Experiences
      Every witch should take a few classes or workshops on topics or subjects that you feel most interested in. Within all classes and workshops, you should receive some type of exercise or "how to" instruction. Record your experiences with these. What you liked, what didn't work and what you'd like to do differently next time.
    • Spells, Incantations & Prayers
      Record the spells, incantations and prayers you find along your spiritual path. Those you like and even those you really dislike. There is a message hidden within words you feel very strongly against, write them down and note that you "dislike this one". Later when you have time, re-read the words and try to find the message hidden within for you.
    • Rituals & Ceremonies
      Plan out your rituals and ceremonies. Record your experiences during or after conducting the event. Include your thoughts about what you liked, what worked well and what you'd like to change next time.
    • Herbal Remedies and Potions
      These are your personal recopies. They can cover various herbology information and recopies to specific potions which are to be used in conjunction with a spell or incantation.
    • Closing Thoughts
      At the end of the year, or once the book is filled, save a few pages for a review and reflection of your book of shadows. Note the goals and aspirations you achieved, the reflections of what you learned during the research and practices you made. End this section with a blessing of thanks and gratitude to all those forces, seen and unseen that helped you along this journey and with the lessons contained within this volume.
    • http://www.paganspath.com/magik/shadows.htm

It is a lovely idea to create a cover for your Book of Shadows. The design can incorporate your hopes and dreams and what you would like to achieve from taking the course. You can design and paint or draw this yourself or use pictures from magazines or the internet. Children will love this activity and may come up with some fabulous ideas for the family’s wheel of the year book. In the wheel of the year course that I will be starting soon I enclose template that you might want to use. Use this as a basis and let your creative ideas flow!

Once you have finished the front cover you may want to write a personal blessing on the first page. Think about your intentions and hopes and then weave these into your words.

Examples to get you started are:
I bless this book and look forward to my magickal journey.
As my walking the wheel journal unfolds so will my inner wheel be nourished and satisfied.
I bless my inner self and look forward to the fabulous information I will be learning.

Examples of where you can buy tailor made books of shadows are:

Another idea is to add a charm or bookmark to your Book of Shadows. If you obtain a spiral bound note book you can easily attach a charm to it.  Alternatively you may like to keep the charm on top of your book to bless and protective. You might also wish to wrap your book of shadows in cloth when it is not being used. Any material will suffice for this or you may like to use this lovely item with pentacles for decoration.Below are examples of Pentacle charms which you could simply clip to the spiral binding of your Walking the wheel book or to the inside if you are using a ring binder.




For purchasing charms to adorn and bless your book of shadows, vist the Astarte-Moon website. We can make up charms that are personal to you. Simply email us with what you would like on the charm and we will make it to your specifications.

Pentacle cloths of a lovely design may be found here:



  1. Wonderful and helpful information...thank you, Alison~~~

  2. I agree! You've provided more ideas than I'd even thought about, which is great! I just recently picked up a 3 ring binder and some dividers to begin my book. Thank you so much! Hope you have a great day and enjoy the moon tonight!

    1. Hi hannah, sorry for the late reply, well done you hope your book goes well, the moon was beautiful wasn't she? xx

  3. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas! I have many special writings around, but I have not put anything together. Hugs o)

  4. Thank you so much for this information, I've been trying to figure out how to start my Book of Shadows and this has been very helpful! Love and Light!

    1. Thank-you Megan, really hope it goes well for you. Megan is by daughter's name too- its beautiful. blessings, alison xx

  5. Replies
    1. thanks Margie, blessings to you, alison xx

  6. Oh, do not tell the priest our plight,
    Or he would call it sin;
    But - we have been in the woods all night,
    A-conjuring summer in !

    Great blog post Alison... deep peace of the gentle light on you ☼

    1. beautiful words Eliseo, blessings, alison x