Book of Shadows
What Is a Book of Shadows?
Your BOS (Book of Shadows) is a collection of information that you will need to keep in your magickal journey.
Your BOS is a sacred tool and an item of power and should be treated as such. Once you purchase or make your BOS it's a good idea to cleanse and consecrate your BOS just like you would any other tool of the craft. Most people will then dedicate their BOS to their coven, tradition, Gods and Goddesses, or simply to the Divine before using.
Does My BOS Need To Be Handwritten?
This seems to be an area of great debate.
Many believe that your BOS needs to be handwritten. They feel that as you write in your BOS that you are not only adding your own energy into your BOS, but it will also aid your ability to remember the contents. While I think that they are both valid points, I don't believe that this works for everyone, especially the sloppy writer who is unable to read their own writing!
Others believe that it's just as magickal if they type the information up and then print it out. Although many wind up copy and pasting the information this way, I really wouldn't recommend it. I don't believe that you are putting any energy into it this way. Not only that, but by simply cutting and pasting, I don't really feel that you are reading the information and getting the most out of it and making it your own. This is a great method for people who have trouble reading their own writing, or would like it to be in a decorative or old-fashioned font.
There is a third option that is emerging in this digital age of ours, and that is the digital BOS. This is when a person keeps their BOS strictly in digital form and there is no hard copy. By doing this people can carry their BOS anywhere with them, and thus have their information always available. This works great for people who tend to do a lot of their rituals outside or away from home.
There are obviously advantages and disadvantages to each method. Which option you pick is up to you, although people who are in a coven or following a certain tradition, may be required to do the handwritten BOS. If you are solitary or eclectic, however, the choice is yours.
When I started out, I got a huge 3-ring binder and I wrote everything out by hand. As I have progressed through the year, however, I'm seeing the advantage of having a digital version. So I am actually in the process of turning my handwritten BOS into a digital BOS. It is MY personal belief that I am putting just as much energy into my digital BOS as I did handwriting it. It's just easier to correct my mistakes as I type it up and I don't have the bulkiness of the hard copy. I can put my BOS on my phone and always have it handy, which is great when I want to buy things for a Sabbat, Esbat, or spell. I also feel that it's better to have the digital version because I'm not using all of the paper (to write or type everything out on) or using all of that plastic (as page protectors). This is simply my personal belief and I know that not everyone is going to have the same opinion or belief. That's fine, I don't want everyone to. That would be boring!
What Can I Put Into My BOS?
There is an almost limitless amount of information that can go into your BOS. Now some people will have a separate journal for their spells and spell work and yet another for their dream journal, some people find it easier to keep it all together. I think that whatever works or is easier for you is what you should do. Here are some of the more common things that people put into their BOS.
Dedication and/or Initiation
- Dedication/Initiation to your Coven or Tradition
- Dedication to your Pantheon
- Dedication to certain God and Goddess
- Dedication to the Divine
- Of your Coven or Tradition
- If a Solitary, Your View of the Acceptable Rules of Magick
- Witches Pyramid
- Theban Alphabet
Tools of the Craft
- What Each Tool Is Used For
- Meanings and Symbolism
Gods and Goddesses
- List of Gods and Goddesses in Your Pantheon
- Myths and Legends of Gods and Goddesses in Your Pantheon
- Pictures or Artwork of Gods and Goddesses in Your Pantheon
- Phases of the Moon
- Days of the Week
- Time of Day (Hourly)
Sabbat History, Lore, Myths, Associations, and Rituals
- Monthly Lunar Names and Meanings
- Monthly Lunar Associations
- Monthly History, Myth, and Lore
- Monthly Rituals
- How To
- Charts (Free Printable)
- Crystal Ball Gazing
Tea Leaf Reading
- Palm Reading
- Charge of the God
- Charge of the Goddess
- Special Chants
- Herbs and Herbal Blends
- Food and Magickal Correspondences
- Recipes for Sabbats and Esbats
- Consecration of Tools
- Casting and Closing a Circle
- Candle Magick Spells
- Protection Spells
- Prosperity, Money, or Employment Spells
- Drawing Down the Moon Spell
- Moon Magick
Books That You Have Read
- Thoughts and Feelings
Remember, this is just a sampling of things that can go into your BOS. Ultimately, it's information that you will find useful and that you will probably want to reference again in the future. You may have all these and more in your BOS, or you may find that you don't need to have certain things in your BOS because you will never use them.
Where Can I Buy My BOS?
You can, of course, check your local metaphysical store for a Book of Shadows. You can also buy one online. I've included several of the online places that sell a variety of Books of Shadows. Happy shopping!
- 13 Moons
There are more places that sell Books of Shadows, these are simply the more popular choices. I definitely recommend that you spend some time shopping for your BOS, so that you have the opportunity to find the one that calls out to you.
Can I Make My Own BOS?
Absolutely! There are many methods of making your own BOS.
Some people will buy a 3-ring binder, lined paper (or typed up pages), page protectors, and dividers. This is probably the easiest method because all of your information can easily be sorted to your methods. It's also very easy to add additional information. It can, however, be quite bulky and difficult to move around easily.
Some people simply buy regular notebooks and keep a separate notebook for each category. For example, they will keep one notebook for spells, one for herbs, one for associations and correspondences, one for divination, etc... This method is easy to find information and to add new information, but can take up quite a bit of room and is difficult to move around.
With any of these methods, you can decorate the covers with artwork, pictures, fabrics, paints, glue, glitter, etc... in order to add your own personal touch and to have fun with.
If you decide to do the digital version of a Book of Shadows, there is simply putting all of your information together into a single folder (such as My Book Of Shadows) and then dividing it into subsequent folders (such as Sabbats, Esbats, Divination, Correspondences, Poems, Spells, etc...). This is an easy way to keep your Book of Shadows easily available and can take it anywhere. This can be stored online (such as Google Docs), on a CD, on a stick drive, on a Kindle or Nook, or on a smartphone or iPad.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
There are obviously a few things to consider when deciding what kind of Book of Shadows that you want. If you want a digital BOS or a hard copy, whether you want it handwritten or typed up, if you want to buy it or make it, etc...
Take some time and think about it. There is no rush to make a decision right away. Think about what method would be best for you and suits your needs. Don't think of this as a chore either. Make it fun and consider it a wonderful learning experience!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 vsnapdragyn
Rebecca Joy on July 14, 2019:
I loveee your Index layout, Perfect order for things
nicolelyn on June 03, 2016:
how do you do the digital bos
Patriciaenola on January 07, 2016:
Very Interesting site - may I link you to my pages / Boards on Pinterest
Luna2Moon@outlook.com on September 10, 2015:
Thank you for sharing your teaching ON,
KonaGirl from New York on May 28, 2015:
I do agree that when things are handwritten (for me at least) it will easily be recalled when needed.
On the other hand, as you said, in this digital age it is so much more convenient to have accessibility wherever you are, if kept in digital form.
I love the personal feel and the look of a BOS or a Grimoire with handwritten notes, sketches and pieces of natures magic added to the pages. All work together as reminders of events which have passed to be used for events in the present.
I also have digital recipes and spells typed by my hand and kept on file for immediate access. I do not carry my BOS around with me but i do carry digital devices.
Great article! Love reading your view on things.