What is a Book of Shadows?

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You may have heard the term ‘book of shadows’ whispered through the air in pagan communities, and if you are new to the scene, you may be wondering what on earth one is! Well, the answer is simple, essentially it refers to the spell book and magic journal of a magical practitioner. A witch will use their book of shadows to document their spiritual journey, their daily rituals, how well they worked, what their intentions are and spells that they master, as well as the effectiveness of the spells. Almost like a science diary you may have used to document the experiments you did in school – but way more spiritual.

Modern witches, especially those of wiccan faith, use their book of shadows to document the following:

  • Their spells; and whether or not their spells were successful or needed amendments.
  • Information about specific witchcraft tools and ingredients such as herbs, crystals, oils or scents.
  • Rituals for specific times during the wheel of the year.
  • Personal reflection for their practice and their progression.

Fun facts about the book of shadows:

  • In ancient cultures, before a book of shadows was called a book of shadows, a witch’s book of spells would be destroyed upon their death, mainly to hide any evidence of their practice, should they have lived through a time that viewed witchcraft as the work of the devil, and a scapegoat for condemnation from Christian religions.
  • The oldest book of shadows on record was owned by Gerald Gardener, who is known widely as the ‘Grandfather of Wicca’. He published copies of his book for other practitioners to use. He said that people were free to copy or discard his practices as they saw fit.
  • In earlier settlements of witchy communities or covens, there would only be one book of shadows and it would document the magical practices of the entire coven. The grand high priest or priestess would be in charge of the book, keeping it safe and inputting information of it on behalf of other coven members.
  • In more modern-day practices, even if you do still practice your faith as part of a coven, it is more common for each witch to have their own personal book of shadows, allowing for them to record their daily practice and progression within witchcraft whether they are part of a coven or not.

We advise that when you are choosing your book of shadows, that you go for a design and size that you find the most aesthetically pleasing, and that you will access the most easily. This is because in the pagan faith, each individual person’s journey and practice is so specific to them that everyone needs to be able wake up every day and interact with their pagan tools in a way that is accessible and enjoyable for them. Take a moment to feel out which book you feel most drawn to.

Here at magic spirit, we stock a wide range of beautiful books that would be perfect for a new book of shadows! If you are new here and you looking to start your own book of shadows, look no further, we have you covered. From leather bound, to embroidered, to plain and simple styles; we have the perfect book for you.