A Books of Shadows is a "religious text and instructions for magic rituals found in Wicca." Since it's inception, somewhere around 1949... the definition of a Book of Shadows has changed in the public context.
With a myriad of published Books of Shadows starting in the sixties, ("The first attempt at a mass produced BoS appeared in pamphlet form in 1964.") to the scary, (albeit fabulous) movies of the seventies (one of my favorites is "The Curse of the Crimson Altar"), to shows like "Charmed"... a Book of Shadows today extends far beyond that of Gardner's Wicca. Any type of witch can have one, and usually do, if not several. There are online versions, download and print versions, beautiful handwritten versions, post-it note versions (hahaha) and so many more.
And then there are the Grimoires. There's even a more modern book called "A Grimoire of Shadows" by Ed Fitch. Hell, yeah!... just mash those two together. (It's a pretty good book, btw.)
The distinction is sometimes made that a grimoire just lists magic, spells, herbs, rituals and ALL the things you keep in your book of Shadows.... BUT.... your Book of Shadows also contains personal reflections, and notes, and thoughts, and feelings, and results of your magic.
I don't make the distinction. I will say "grimoire" if I'm feeling story-teller-y and history-ish, and I will type the heck out of BOS all day long. Technically, every magic book I have, even the printed ones I've purchased, would be considered a BOS since I have notes in almost every margin.
I've already written in my Book of Shadows without doing this... can I do it now?
You can consecrate anything you have at any time... just start with a cleansing first. After the first one, you can opt for gentler cleansers (like sage). I love consecrating (blessing) my magical tools. I do it often. The more you do, the more you use them, the more you handle them, the more you spiritually connect with your magical items, the stronger the bond you develop.
I don't have a blank page at the very beginning to add a pentagram.
Here's where my motto kicks in.... Improvise: Use the tiny little open space on your very first page to draw a small pentagram or use the cover itself or make a permanent cover. Adapt: Tape, sew, glue in a front page. Overcome: If you really want to do this, pick one of the previous suggestions or start anew.
My High Priestess use to make the most beautiful books of shadows. She included protection herbs within it's cover. Consider incorporating protection herbs in your books; either in your handmade cover or in a bookmark.
Here are a couple of links for other Book of Shadows related consecrations and blessings because seriously... mine is straight out of "Mastering Witchcraft."
Purification & Blessing of your Grimoire
Book of Shadows Blessing
Mastering Your Grimoire: My Grimoire's Book Blessing
If you are anything like me, you have a hundred blank books, and some of them have been dedicated to be your personal grimoires or Books of Shadows. I have a spell grimoire, a divination grimoire, a collected ritual Book of Shadows, a note-taking one for randomness, and even one filled with post-its I designated as "Interim" - The In-Between Time.
In the coven I belong to, I am an elder and a teacher. My planner became as much of a grimoire as all the ones I had sitting on my book shelf. I started to transfer all the notes I had taken through the years, but as you well know, that doesn't always get done. So recently, after happening upon a group called the "Bullet Journal Community", I've decided not to stress over it anymore.
I had already been doing some of what I have seen in the BuJo community (BuJo - Bu-llet + Jo-urnal). Below is pictured my redecoration of January 2018's calendar. Below that is a lecture spread I made for a presentation I did on the Sun God in the Wiccan Mythos.
The first thing to catch my eye and drew me in was something called a collection. The idea that in your personal, everyday carry planner / journal (or PLOURNAL, if you will - my new favorite made-up word) you keep a collection. The collection is relegated to a section of your everyday carry book, instead of being scattered in the book all willy-nilly. It was so simple and yet AMAZING. Why didn't I think of that?!
My Wicca is an ever-evolving one and that includes how I learn and teach it, and this journey into this new, creative community has fully captured my imagination and heart. I will still have my ritual Book of Shadows, and my spell and Divination grimoires... but I'm going to expect them to be artistically amazing now and so, so, so much more organized.
Another thing the BuJo community introduced (re-introduced? re-defined?) to me was the INDEX. Yes, the simple, everyday, in the front of every book, INDEX. Who knew? So now, every personal book gets one and because my Wicca is integrated into my every day AND my everyday carry book, I think I will incorporate a MASTER INDEX (another excuse for another blank book.)
I belong to a few BuJo facebook groups and the members of Bullet Journaling Witches asked for a full picture of the Wheel of the Year I had teased them with.
"This is my record of our covens Wheel of the Year. I edited out the dates of the remaining sabbats (blue). The red up in the top right of each is the astronomical date and time. The small black writing is the wish candle we do for each (Yule and Samhain should be reversed.) The solar sabbats are marked with gold embellishments while the agricultural are marked with silver. The triangle blank space is to record who performed what parts and the exterior white space is used for extra notes about each."
Follow this link to the video by Ryder Carroll
who organized the Bullet Journal system in the first place
or visit the website here
A young witchling asked in a private forum:
[I was] using a pendulum to do a reading for myself. I asked the pendulum to show me yes and then to show me no. During the reading I asked a question. I did not get a yes, I did not get a no. The pendulum made an action that was different from both yes and no and it started to hit me. I assumed I had the pendulum to close and moved it further away from my body and asked the question again and I got the same response again; neither the yes or the no, but the pendulum hit me. So I moved it away from me again and once again the same response and the pendulum hit me. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I've never had the pendulum do this. Please advise.
Pendulums can take a while for you and it to sync so you understand one another intimately. You can't pick up a new pendulum every six months and have it react the way it's supposed to. As with any tool, you have to make the time to get to know it, allow it to get to know you.
When a pendulum reacts in a way contrary to what is expected, I have found that it is usually the questions that are the culprit. It is either:
1.) Worded incorrectly. Try different variations of the question or work up to the 'big' question with smaller questions.
2.) Not the question(s) you should be asking at the moment. Or in other words, "Why are you asking about that when you should be asking me about something else?"
When you are a first year student of the Inner Circle Sanctuary, it is required that you take on three types of divination. There are several reasons for this requirement but the two main reasons are that:
1. To learn to trust your intuition. Everyone has intuition but your signals can get lost in the day to day noise that surrounds us, especially if you are an urban witch. Divination tools serve as focus points and require you to take the time to focus solely on that point. Practice a divination with a tool long enough, and soon you'll find yourself just knowing things without the tools. (I want to emphasize that 'long enough' usually means years, btw.)
2. We believe that before any witchcraft is done, you need to ensure you're doing the right spell. Divination can help you make that determination. Imagine doing a love spell to find a mate when what you really needed was a self-confidence spell so that you're actually okay with being alone for a while.
The pendulum is usually always chosen by first year students. It's simple, inexpensive, and easy, easy, easy to learn. Questions are (usually) limited to 'yes' and 'no' and it can even help you 'dowse' to find lost objects.
The range of materials that go into making pendulums is as diverse as our planet itself. I've read that wood is the best and most accurate and that copper, bronze, or silver attune to the bearer of the tool faster and easier. Almost every book and website I read claims that crystal pendulums need to be cleansed right before and right after use because their 'programming' can easily be swayed.
Just pick one that reaches out to you. That calls to you.
There's not a lot I can tell you about the pendulum that won't contradict with something you read out there. Every book and website will be slightly different, as well as everyone's tradition.
I will tell you however that in my Wiccan tradition, I teach that we, as humans, are every bit a part of the Universe as the owl and the snake; as the tree and the oceans; as the planets and the galaxies. We are a part of the ALL; the Universal Cosmos and everything it knows and with that, we have the capability to tap into that Everything.
When you use your pendulum, be sure YOU are holding it, you piece of the Megacosm. Allow all of creation to speak through every sinew and nerve and pore and cell that is a part of ALL NATURE.
You can sit or stand, you can support your elbow or not... try it both ways (and keep notes). Listen to that inner voice. That inner voice that is not your guardian angel, but you can call it that if you like. It is not the gods, but you can call it them, too. It is the primal source of all things; ALL THINGS, including you. Call home.
A Guest Post from Stone Witch Bhen Rudha
I am Bhen Rudha (Ven ROO-ah) and I have been asked to talk a little bit about Garnets for you all. Why me? Well, I got my first piece of Quartz when I was 9, and have been collecting, studying and using semi-precious gemstones in magic since. Some like to call me the resident Stonewitch.
I like to make jewelry with intention. Stones put together with magical purpose…
(Like this “Kindred” piece, made of Garnets, Rose Quartz and Crystal Quartz)
So here’s a little information about Garnets, as collected by my Priestess, Ardriana Cahill. (She gave me this awesome book of information she found over the years. It’s my stone bible really.)
Garnet is actually a group of minerals. Almandine has the most colors. Pyrope is usually red. Spessartine, orange red or browns, combined they are Malaya. Phodolite is purplish red or pink. The rare Uvarovite is dark green. These are just a few. Garnet got its name from granatum, the pomegranate.
Folklore: Albertus Magnus related this stone to blood magic. In the matriarchal age, it was sacred to the Goddess Isis, and was believed to be solidified drops of her blood. Garnet was associated with the Goddess Persephone and thus, the afterlife.
Magic: Witches give garnets to friends and family as the Karma Stone. Given to kindred, it insures safe passage to the Summerland and makes sure that loved ones will meet in the next life. Carry garnets to protect travelers against accidents and after dark. Garnet is the stone of passionate love and desire. Enhances bodily strength, endurance, and heightens sexual awareness.
Ancient Warning: a stolen garnet brings catastrophe on the thief until it is returned.
Garnets hold a special place in my family’s tradition. You give them to those you want to see again (whether it be in the afterlife, or the next life, or however you feel it shakes out). Basically what you are saying is, “One life isn’t enough to love you,” (thank Mom). Most of my family has a network of garnet giving, ensuring that we'll all meet up next time too (we're Irish...any excuse for a party!).
(This is a Desire design I created for my older sister. There’s layers of attraction and passion in the Red Tiger’s Eye and Jasper, but the Garnet’s are there to help make the relationship deeper, more, a meeting of hearts and not just bodies.)
When I was younger, and just started going to The New Pioneer in West Yellowstone, MT, to buy stones, I would play in the little stone box looking for chips of garnet and peridot. These pieces are tiny, and sometimes I would struggle to tell the garnets from the amethysts, because of how purple they are (I'm pretty good at telling them apart now, hehe). I still have those chips, and count myself lucky to have them even though the large tumbled faceted pieces (like in the first pic above) have gotten more common.
I don't have many pieces of garnet, but those that I do have are special to me for one reason or another. My best friends have them from me… when we claim someone, we don't tend to let them go.
And for you geeks out there… my favorite character in Steven Universe is Garnet, who is so perfectly named. She is a stable fusion of two gems who very much love each other. She’s also strong, and passionate, and protective. How cool is that?
I hope you enjoyed this little bit of stone wisdom. May it serve you well,
Photo: An opened pomegranate by Anton Croos https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:An_opened_pomegranate.JPG
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en
The Magic of Garnet
Powers: love, desire, sexuality, protection, strength, endurance, grounding, purification, manifestation, prosperity
Associations: Isis, Sekhmet, Persephone, planet Mars, Fire element, Imbolg
One of the very first pieces archaeologists discovered were in a necklace of beads worn by a young man dating back to 3000 B.C. One of the largest garnets is said to have belonged to the King of Saxony, measuring over 460 carats. A portrait of Plato was engraved onto a garnet stone. The garnet once represented the Sun in Spanish astrology. Noah was said to have illuminated his ark with a finely cut and glowing garnet. Garnets engraved with a lion were said to be an effective talisman for protection, strength, courage, and healing.
● the most ancient of talismans
● believed to be a favorite stone of Dragons
● represents primordial fire, the creation of the world out of chaos
● Indian mythology calls garnet the ‘Kundalini fire’ (fire of eternal metamorphosis)
● Hinduism and Buddhism sees garnet as a holy stone that enlightens the soul and gives wisdom
● known for its utilization of creative energy
● dreams of garnet signify the solution of a mystery
● excellent for manifestation
● promises spoken over a garnet are said to never to be broken
● helps one realize and enjoy the pleasures of earthly incarnation
● said to be a victory stone, a stone of success
● a stone for building up your self confidence
● protection from evil and harm during travel
● believed to protect against vampires
● sends negative energies back to where they came from
● soldiers and warriors wore to protect them against death and injury
● placing garnet under your pillow can help prevent bad dreams
● help brighten dark souls
● brings hope to people who need it
● helps a business to be successful
● helps the wearer to become popular and helps with friendships
Reversing Gossip & Slander Spell
3 small Garnet stones
small Red candle, cleaned
small Black candle, cleaned
Small heavy cloth bag
Bhen Rudha is one of my very favorite people. She is a local witch and Priestess here in the Las Vegas pagan community. She shares in the vision of a friendly, loving, accepting, pagan community, as a whole, and strives to bridge the boundaries that always seem to crop up. I am extremely proud to call her a friend and kindred spirit and I know I am a better witch and person for knowing her. If she is willing, expect more guest posts from her.
Improvise! Adapt! Overcome!
The blade itself should be of steel, iron, copper, bronze, or other metallic alloy. Most utilized is steel because of its durability and availability. Iron is said to scare/harm/repel fairies and most others are too soft to endure the pummeling by fire it takes in some consecration rituals and other powerful magic. I would love to own a bronze athame, if just to be in complement with "Atheona" and my love for ancient Greek myth and culture, but to do so first I must learn to forge myself, hire a smith, or get lucky and find one sitting on a shelf somewhere. As for the consecration, there is more than one way to skin a cat. As for athames made of crystal or wood, in my opinion, it is a wand shaped like a knife. The only exception I have for this is one chipped of flint, obsidian, bone, or stone which I think lends to a further connection with our ancestors. Again, defer to your own tradition.
“a religion that uses it's own set of symbols, its own mythology, and it's own personal disciplines to develop the individual mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, and to put the follower in harmony with Divinity and it's manifestations, and that is followed willingly and not forced upon anyone.”
Where can I find a group of people to study with?
It's very easy to answer, yet I still get asked often enough that I thought it might behoove me to answer it here in a post. Besides the obvious: Google, Witchvox, Facebook, and even Twitter... the resources on the web are endless. During the year between August and November is Pagan Pride Festival Day around the world. If you're serious about finding like-minded people to get together with you may want to arrange the day off so you can attend. Most Pagan Pride festivals offer community booths for area groups to engage with the public.
This is your starting point. Define your basic philosophy about divinity. Develop your beliefs about life and death and the wheel of the year. The majority of pagan religions recognize the wheel of the year/ the cycle of life in some way. Most pagan religions are also very in tune with the nature around them or the idea of nature itself, some even putting it as high as god / goddess. Make sure you're comfortable with these types of ideologies. It's okay if after reading everything you have gotten your hands on to be still on the fence about some ideas and beliefs. There are so many different beliefs out there that just many overlap and are so congruous with others that you can still be unsure.
Photo: Wiccan Syzygy by Camocon
Find A Teacher Spell
-optional: small, orange or yellow, natural fiber cloth with red, white, yellow, or orange string
-optional herbs: orange peel, dried and/or orris root and/or vetivert
"The Goddess of Love, Aphrodite was furious with Helios (the Sun) for exposing her love affair with Ares to her husband Hephaestus. To avenge herself, she made Helios fall in love with the sea nymph, Leucothoë. Helios disguised himself as Leucothoë's mother to gain entrance to her chamber. He then united with her.
Leucothoë's sister, Klytie, had fallen deeply in love with Helios. The jealous girl revealed the affair to her father, who then buried Leucothoë alive. By the time Helios discovered the punishment of her father, she had died.
Unable to awaken his beloved with light, Helios swore to revive the girl and make her rise to the sky. He covered her in the nectar of the Gods. The body of Leucothoë melted away and filled the soil with its fragrance, and out of the earth arose the frankincense tree, for this land of Persia burns with the sun, and therefore frankincense is associated with the Sun. When Helios refused to forgive sister Klytie, she died of sorrow so her father changed her into the heliotrope, a flower which follows the sun." http://www.hellenicgods.org/frankincense
Some believe Frankincense is the most powerful and useful incense for “fumigating sacred space in preparation of any ritual” as it purifies and raises the energy of the ritual space.
3 parts Frankincense
3 parts Copal
2 parts Myrrh
1 part Sandalwood
Burn this incense to clear your home of negative vibrations, especially when household members are arguing or when the house seems heavy and thick with anger, jealousy, depression, fear and other negative emotions. Leave the windows open while burning this mixture. from blessedbe.sugarbane.com
Winter Solstice incense
4 parts frankincense
1 part juniper
1 part cedar
enough frankincense oil to bind
from A Wiccan Formulary and Herbal By A. J. Drew
1 part carnation petals
1 part rosemary
1/2 part frankincense
enough carnation or frankincense or sandalwood oil to bind
Who Can Choose A Magical Name?
There are some in the very old tradition of the Craft that do not get to choose their own name. In some covens, a young student is observed for a year or more, given studies and tasks to perform for a period of time and then are finally given their Craft name by their High Priest or High Priestess upon initiation.
What's In A Magical Name?
The choice of a name can come from a variety of sources. Many choose names from fiction or mythology like Gandalf or Grendel. Others come from totem animals that the person may have an association with like Redhawk or Timberwolf. Mystical animals are utilized with names like Dragonfire or Basilisk.
Now a word about God and Goddess names. My name is Atheona, a derivative of the Greek goddess of war, wisdom, and handicrafts, Athena. I akin Atheona to 'daughter of Athena'. Of all the myths I read and was read in my youth, she was the one I had the greatest fondness for. The story of how she was born from the head of Zeus full grown, replete with battle regalia and helm (and a freakin' spear) that won me completely over. (How great is that a way of being born?) That and the fact that she was the maiden who breathed the breath of life into Prometheus' human constructions. So when I discovered the religion of Wicca and chose it to be the path I would follow, Buckland's book explained the magical name and how to configure it and the first place I went to was to Athena.
When Should I Choose My Magical Name?
In Raymond Buckland's must-have book, "Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft" the magical name is covered in Lesson Three, only after the history and philosophy of witchcraft and beliefs. Choosing a name before the onset of true study is the call here. You could wait a year and a day after studying before you choose to make sure this is the right religion for you. Every young witchling should perform a self-dedication ceremony and in Buckland's version, the taking on of a new magical name is needed for it to be complete. And of course, as I will say later, unless you are joining our classes or another group that requires you to have a magical name, you may never have need of one.
Reversing spells are simple. The objective is in the title. Utilize reversing spells to reverse the impediments stopping you from getting what you need. Buy or make a reversing candle. Anoint with a reversing oil as you empower the candle with your desire. Anoint it widdershins instead of deosil. Light it and let it burn.
Reversing oils & herbs:
Lemon, lilac, pine, rosemary, rue, peppermint
mix and match as you like.
I like to add dried rosemary leaf and rue to the candle, too.
To bring love to your doorstep, tie three sprigs of rosemary together with red thread and place the sprigs under your doormat. To bring or keep love in the bedroom, place the bound sprigs between the mattress and boxspring.
If you haven't chosen a mate yet and have several to think about, name a pot for each one and plant rosemary in each pot. The one that grows the fastest and strongest is your best choice. (http://www.witchipedia.com/herb:rosemary)
Gather Rosemary, needles, and pins.
Fill a small jar saying these words as you work.
Pins, needles, rosemary, wine,
In this witches bottle of mine,
Guard against harm and enmity,
This is my will, so mote it be.
Fill the jar with red wine
apply cork or lid and drip wax from a black or red candle around to seal.
Bury the jar in the farthest corner of your property or place in an inconspicuous spot in the house.
It destroys negativity and evil. The pins and needles will impale evil, the wine drowns it, and the rosemary sends it far away.
(The Magical Household by Scott Cunningham, page 107)
Book Of Shadows
Inner Circle Sanctuary