By the way I'd just like to say thank you for some of the nice comments I've had about my blog. I am glad to hear that people are finding these posts helpful.
Please note: I did not entitle this post 'A Book of Shadows' or 'The Book of Shadows' but 'Your Book of Shadows' and this is for a very good reason: it doesn't matter what anyone else writes in their books, this book is yours.
First of all: What is a Book of Shadows?
Basically it is an individual Witches notebook of spells, rituals, magical workings or anything to do with their magic. It is the Witches equivalent of the records of experiments an industrial chemist might keep.
So you would write in it your ritual for casting a circle, consecrating salt and water, your seasonal rituals and any spells you want to try.
One thing I would say: bear in mind that you may well be reading your Book of Shadows by candle light - so write clearly.
I have found that a loose leaf folder can make an excellent Book of Shadows as you can rearrange the pages to suit your needs. However another thing to think about is that if you are going to be using it to read from during a spell or ritual, you will have to put it down somewhere from time to time, so you will either need it to be not too huge, or you must invest in a book stand of some kind.
(The photo is of Books of Shadows or magical notebooks we currently have in stock)
A Book of Shadows is a magical tool in the same way as your Athame is and as such it should be treated with respect. It is also a personal and private magical diary and should only be opened and read by someone else if you give them permission to do so.
None of your magical tools should be left lieing about where anyone can pick them up and examine them. Only your magical vibrations should be on the tools of your magical trade. (With items for group or Coven use there is a bit more leeway, but even then only the group members authorised to do so, should be handling the group magical equipment.)
Magical tools do bite!
There are many stories and legends of what happens if someone finds a magician's wand or something belonging to a Witch and plays with it, without giving it the correct respect.
The story of the magician's apprentice who starts a spell off and then can't get it to stop is based on a true story.
The way we prepare any object, or set it apart for magical use, is through the art of consecration. So, as an example, here is a short ritual of consecration.
You are going to need your altar table, candles, salt and water, incense, pen and ink and your Book of Shadows.
First cast your circle ! I hope you wrote down the ritual I gave you in my Blog post of that name, as that working also includes the making of Consecrated Water, which you will need for this process.
Once you have cast your circle, go and sit at your altar table.
We shall consecrate your Book of Shadows first of all.
Dip your thumb and first finger in the Consecrated Water and nip the four corners of the book's front and back covers with your thumb and finger. When you have done all four corners say:
I consecrate this Book of Shadows to the study and Art of the Witch's CraftNow pass the book three times through the smoke of your incense. This means that your Book of Shadows has been consecrated by the four magical elements - Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
Next, hold the book between your hands, your palms flat against it and imagine blue Witchfire passing between your palms and through the book. Take your time with this, and know that this is bringing your book to magical life.
That is all you need to do to consecrate your Book of Shadows. However, if you want to, you can embellish your book by drawing a pentacle in a circle on the front cover, or more discretely on the inside front and back end papers. You can put your name in the centre of the pentacle, I prefer to use one of the magical alphabets to do this, Theban is my favourite, but if you are studying Norse magic then you could use Runic.
All of your magical tools can be consecrated in a similar way, but once you have done so, make sure you keep them safely away from anyone else. Have a special drawer or cupboard to keep your magical equipment in.
Incidentally the only things you should not consecrate are those which already have a magical energy you want to make use of such as a natural talisman such as a holy stone, herbs, incenses and oils. Since consecration wipes away all previous vibrations and puts your magic in its place.
You can find more in depth information on the Book of Shadows, another ritual, pentacles of protection for your book and a table of magical alphabets in our Fact Sheet 74 The Book of Shadows. Fact Sheet 16 Ritual Purity, covers ritual preparation and consecration too. Message me through facebook.com/ravenmagical if you would like a set of catalogues popping in the post.
Next time we are going to look at the last and first ritual of the Witches' Year - the Rite of Samhain.