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
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 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.
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