Friday, September 17, 2010

My Old Grimoires

I recently listened to this episode of the podcast New World Witchery.  It's all about grimoires or magical texts.  I've been toying with the idea of making one again and the show inspired me to share some of my previous magical books with you.  At left you'll see a photo of my first "Book of Shadows," (red), my second (black), and my third - which was really just a pink binder full of unorganized paper.  :P

The original was a birthday present from my first boyfriend.  I asked him for a nice journal I could use as a book of shadows.  This was when I was learning about Wicca.  The page with the goofy illustrations includes a recipe for "Mabon Apple Crisp."

Here's a couple more pages in the Red Book of Shadows.  I was examining some runes on one.  I like the illustration of a cat behind a candle I did on the other.  The Red Book of Shadows is really special to me.  It was given out of love and I tenderly filled it with everything I was learning.  I don't often fill notebooks, but this treasure is pretty full.  I look back on a lot of it now and laugh at my ignorance - but we all have to start somewhere.  :)

Here we have the Black Book of Shadows.  I was maturing into a more serious practitioner and was doing more regular magical work both alone and with others.  This is about spell I performed with a friend using a poppet, candle, and mirror.

                                                                              More of the Black Book.  I was reflecting on Lughnasadh and the cycles of the moon.  This book isn't as colorful but is more thoughtful in my opinion.  I also started to include snippets from magazines, ritual outlines, and chant sheets as you can tell from the photo.
Finally, a shot of the pink binder - the last time I would attempt to create a "book of shadows."  I'm now more drawn to the word "grimoire."  I don't look down my nose at anyone who uses "book of shadows," but for me personally, grimoire is more satisfying.  I understand what "book of shadows" implies, but grimoire seems like a more widely used and understood term in magical history.  Plus it just rolls off my tongue...

Anyway!  The Pink Mess of Shadow Papers was meant to be organized...  I just never got around to it.  It was a collection of printed material (original and "borrowed"), hand written and illustrated pages, newspaper and magazine clippings, liturgical outlines, chant sheets, and pressed herbs preserved in contact paper.  I kept collecting things and, eventually, I had too much!  The binder is bulging.  I was overwhelmed and growing away from Wicca and eclectic Paganism - which is mostly what this focused on. I lost interest.  All three books have been sitting on my shelves.  I don't really use them now, but I keep them with me as memories.  I've carried them with me to each new home as I consider them to be a part of my soul.

I've recently found myself wanting to make a Druidic Grimoire.  I want to document this part of my life and have something more mature and representative of my beliefs to pass onto a child or apprentice.  My problem with the first two magical texts was that I couldn't organize things according to purpose.  I tried to tape tabs onto the Black Book of Shadows but it was still obnoxious...  The binder was supposed to help with that, but instead I ended up with a mess!  I want to actually write and illustrate it with my hands, though, so I don't intend to type it out.  I have ideas, but more on that another day...

( For My LJ Friends: )


  1. wow, I'm impressed! It must be nice to have all your notes in one place. When I think of something to write down, it's usually a mix of journal/daydreaming/dream-recording and I'll scribble it down anywhere. Most of my stuff is scattered through all the school notebooks I've been using, so finding one particular thing can be difficult.
    What do you think of those fancy, expensive grimoires? Part of me has always wanted one, but if I did get one I'd be so afraid of messing something up inside it that I'd feel like it's not worth the money. Though if I'm going to have a grimoire, it might as well be a nice book and not just another school notebook full of doodles... you can see how I've never gotten around to a dedicated BoS or grimoire yet.
    Hopefully you'll find a book that really works for you! If you can't find one that you like made locally, I'd suggest using to find a handmade or recycled one to buy. It's loaded with all kinds of neat crafts too, so it's worth a look.

  2. I love Etsy! I'm thinking of opening a shop for my dolls on that site...

    The thing with grimoires and books of shadows is that I really want to organize the content according to purpose. I'd like all the healing spells together, all the fertility spells together, etc... Bound books started to frustrate me because they don't lend themselves to retrospective organization, hence the crappy binder. I have ideas for a more mutable grimoire based on the design of scrapbooks. I'm also not against trying for a binder again but I would be more discriminating about the contents.

    I do have a separate journal for describing dreams and trance experiences. Bound books are great for that so if you see a fancy book and need a place to record anything that isn't a liturgy or spell recipe, then I think it's worth it.

  3. ah, ok.
    That's another thing I'd be afraid of messing up in a fancy grimoire: having content not transition smoothly from topic to topic, or forgetting to write down something that seems obvious now but wouldn't be years down the road.

    I do have a folder on my computer that I reserve for pagan things, and I guess my blog also counts towards that. Maybe when I get really old I'll make a big memoir/grimoire of things that really work and how I view the worlds...

    Good luck in finding a scrapbook or something that works! I would totally bookmark your Etsy shop if you had one ;)