Its been a while since I did a blog post - I've been concentrating more on my podcasts but today I saw something and I felt it was needed asap.
Let's talk BOS or grimoires if you prefer. The truths and the dangerous untruths. With so much false information out there a new witch or Wiccan can be misled and thats not so great lets be honest.
• W H A T • I S • A • B O O K • O F • S H A D O W S ? •
A valid question so lets get down to it. A book of shadows or grimoire is a tool, but not just any tool a sacred tool that a witch, Wiccan or coven utilise in their practise. This is a book that holds all your spells, information, educational studies, recipes, deity work basically anything that you have done, learnt or use in your practise.
If you want to get into specifics, and lets be frank were here to get into specifics a Book Of Shadows is more of a journal. An insight into the journey of a witch, Wiccan or coven. You can almost read their story and progression in the craft as you read along. A grimoire is more of an educational book. Your magical correspondences, moon phases, deities info etc.
A lot of people, groups will combine these into one book which is absolutely fine, you do you and whatever works for you and your practise.
• H I S T O R Y • O F • A • B O O K • O F • S H A D O W S ? •
So as many things witchy the history of the book of shadows isn't exactly black and white and a lot of different groups of people will tell you different things.
Many people have credited Gerald Gardner for creating ideology of the book of shadows when Wicca was initially introduced to the world, for creating the first notable book of shadows. Personally I find this hard to believe, we know that witches had existed and practised for centuries prior to this in functioning and (rightly) secretive covens. This for me proves the thought process around Gerald Gardner as the founder absurd.
We do know however that initially it was proper for a coven to only posses one BOS or grimoire, kept by the high priestess and accessed by the coven. This is not the case anymore. Its vastly accepted that coven members can practise both within a coven and develop their own practise and ideologies. To do this they must have their own BOS/Grimoire so most magical practitioners and Wiccans have their individual books.
• D O ' S • A N D • D O N T 'S •
I really don't want to get preachy thats not my style but there are certain behaviours that aren't looked upon very nicely in this community but seem to happen often. Some people say its progression but some will counter this argument by saying that we need to honour the history and tradition of the craft as this is our foundation and our ancestors were persecuted and murdered for it. Anyway here's some do's and don'ts.
• Don't flaunt your book. It is sacred and meant for your eyes only. Sharing it, publishing it, showing others it is a big no no.
• Don't demand to see other's BOS/Grimoire. Its massively offensive and will be taken as such.
• Do take inspiration from templates. Note I said templates not actual books belonging to others.
• Do embrace your evolution. Its okay to have multiple books. As you evolve, so will your writings, notes and designs. Its okay to feel your book no longer represents you and want to start another.
• Do try to keep it as neat as possible.
I hope this helps.