A Book of Shadows or Personal Grimoire is a place where you can find your magickal journal, personal rituals, materials for magick, spells, images, diagrams, symbols, and divination meanings. It is the place where you record all of your discoveries and creations. It will become a working tool of reference and recording, and will eventually become very personalized. It usually consists of several topics such as a general magickal journal, a dream journal, a materia magicka, spells, and a place for rituals you work with or have created, with the freedom to add or subtract here, what is most appropriate for you and your personal work. The magickal journal and dream journal are many times combined together for convenience, as well as to see the connections found in your dream work, ritual work, and meditations.
Magickal journaling is one of the most useful things you can do on the magickal path. If organized well enough it becomes an incredibly helpful tool. There are quite a few ways to do a magickal journal. The ones given below are only a few and are easily adapted to individual use. They are based on some of the lessons from the Fraternity of the Hidden Light, the Outer Temple of Witchcraft by Chris Penczak and Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig. For me, these have been the easiest and most useful versions to work with.
You may use any type of notebook, computer, tablet, your phone, whatever. Be sure it is a method that you feel comfortable with using consistently. I use Google Drive and it works great for me. This allows me to have a folder entitled “Book of Shadows” and have sub folders such as Rituals, Materia Magicka, Journal, Sabbats, and the Tarot Meanings, which I use almost daily in my magickal work (see screenshot below). So my Book of Shadows is digital and uploaded to the cloud. It saves me a lot of time and space, and in general it is much easier for me to find something, make an entry, and edit it if needed. Another feature that works out really well is if you are working in a lodge, coven, circle, ritual group or with a partner, a document or folder can be easily shared for their use and can be edited by the group. It worked really well at a lodge level and even better with a partner. In the end it is up to you and what medium you are most comfortable working with for a Book of Shadows. Again, the important part is that you are able to stay organized, easily use it, and use it consistently. It’s helpful to think of it as one of your magickal tools.
The Magickal Journal
Below is an example of a Magickal Journal. Please feel free to copy and paste, and edit to your own personal preferences and uses. In each section there are explanations of possible uses. You can start off by writing the date and day along with what Sign the Sun is in. Then add the Phase of the Moon, which can be looked up easily online, on a regular calendar, or an app for your phone. If you choose to use it, you would only need to record it as Full, Waning or Waxing, and then note the Astrological sign the moon is in. This webpage has a great calendar https://cafeastrology.com/monthlycalendar.html (scroll down the page for instructions on how to interpret the calendar if needed). For Weather just use what words best describe it to you, we each experience the weather in different ways. Emotions is pretty self-explanatory but be sure to keep it to a one or two word description. Health is your body and physical health, such as if you ate well, exercised, illness, etc.
The Dream Journal
A dream journal works great as part of the magickal journal, as seen below. The most important thing about keeping a dream journal is to take notes as soon as you can upon waking up from your dreams. Sometimes I take quick notes in my cell phone and go into more detail later when I can get to my computer. This way you can recall the dreams easier by having some bullet points to reference. Also be sure to write down how you feel, what emotions were brought up, impressions, and major highlights. It’s pretty amazing what you can recall after doing this for a while. You may not always have an exact picture of your dreams to describe, but almost always an emotion is associated with them. Why is that? By journaling you will find out.
All esoteric systems across the planet would agree that a number of processes or experiences may happen when we dream. Although the terminology is different for each, there is the commonality of dreams not always being just dreams. Journaling may help you to divine any deeper meanings from them. The 5 categories below are from Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick.
1. Astral Work– When doing astral work, you are learning lessons toward your spiritual development. This occurs on what is called the “astral plane.” Many times these will be dreams that you never forget and may be initiatory as well.
2. Psychological Messages- Many times your subconscious needs to tell your self-conscious something, but your self-conscious refuses to listen! In some dreams the subconscious sends a message, in symbols, to the self-conscious.
3. Play-The mind, at rest, may wander aimlessly and meaninglessly, sending any sort of beautiful or bizarre pictures to your subconscious.
4. Processing- Our brains and consciousness need to process the day and we may dream about the events of the day but find they are in a “dream like” state being replayed for us to process. Think of this as a replay of important events that we may want to take notice of.
5. A combination of all of the above.
The point here is not for you to analyze your dreams at first, just to observe and record them. The five possibilities above are there to give you a guidepost of what may be going on in your dreams. You are recording your dreams to create a map of your own personal subconscious and how you may perceive the astral plane. For example I have an empathy for wolves and black crows and both have a very personal meaning to me. If I were to look in one of those “interpret your dreams” books I am in a place near death, or evil. This, for me, couldn’t be further from the truth. I see them more as protecting and messenger beings. I would advise to stay away from those books and map your subconscious out for yourself.
Magickal-Dream Journal Template
1/11/19 Fri. ☉ in ♑ 🌒 in ♓ – mild-cold and grayed out foggy at home.
Dreams-lavender flower essence before bed– These will be the dreams from the night before or morning of the day above. It is best to enter the dreams here first so you will not have to worry about space for the rest of your entry in your journal for the areas listed below. Also a good idea is to note any supplements, herbs or stones you used for dream work or sleep in general. Here you see lavender flower essence noted.
Stones- Fluorite, obsidian, hematite
Plants- Rosemary, sage, lavender
Alchemy- Any current or ongoing alchemical work can go here and expanded to your desire.
Rituals– Listing what rituals you do here and honestly rating yourself on them helps to build up consistency and lets you go back and see where your strengths and weaknesses are. It also is a good place to put any energetic work, such as chakra activation, the middle pillar or whatever you do in this regard.
Meditation- Writing down what you may learn during a meditation helps to ground it into your own physical awareness. Or if you just feel very at peace and quiet, or if you see a lot of “stuff” in your mind’s eye, writing it down can help you make sense of it all.
Divination- Some people do a daily divination and writing your results here helps to see how your day is linked to your results as well as helping to become more comfortable and familiar with the results you get.
Night Rituals- If you do a different set of rituals or meditations at night placing another category here is also helpful.
Notes- Findings from any research you may be doing, what magickal texts you may be reading or something you read online or elsewhere.
Health- Any exercise you did, how you ate, any supplements you took and a general sense of your physical status.
Daily- Note here any significant events that happened during the day. Also be sure to add if there wasn’t anything significant such as “mellow day”, “same as usual” etc. Just think of this as quick notes of what your daily life was like. This is a great place to write down any emotions that seem to be taking center stage in your consciousness as well.
Below are two examples from my own Materia Magicka with the template based on Chris Penczack’s Outer Temple of Witchcraft. The first one is from the Mineral kingdom (include metals here as well), while the second one is from the Plant Kingdom. Do some research from books you may already have, online, and most importantly through communicating with the stones and plants as actual beings for each entry through meditation. Many times people just look at stones and plants as an ingredient rather than the beings that they are. By communicating with them as beings we form a partnership with them to work magick. The magickal, personal and healing categories below should become very unique to your own practice.
Signs: Gemini, Libra
Lore: Having a hard time finding anything.
Magickal Uses: Attuning with higher self, the upperworld and true self and guidance. Bring angelic energy into your space and fill your being with love and support.
Personal Experiences: Found to work in conjunction with obsidian. Helps form a bridge and line of communication from the higher self to the shadow self and aids in fusing the higher self, lower self and middle selves in everyday consciousness.
Healing Uses: Brings high vibrations of light that are known to soothe feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry. This powerful but gentle healing crystal is a must-have for your gem collection because it helps to calm an anxious mind in times of stress. Absorbs negative thought patterns. Great when it comes to sorting out problems in a more productive way. Physically, it can regulate bodily functions and improve memory. Can also aid in treating allergies and asthma.
Warnings: Flakes when heated
Latin Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Planet: Sun, Pluto
Lore: Latin for dew of the sea (ros marinas), also the Virgin Mary was said to place her indigo cloak on the plant and turned the flowers this color. Used in parts of the world for remembrance.
Magickal Uses: Main plant spirit ally, excellent for spagyrics in regards to the sun and the heart center. Healing in general. Asperges. Excellent for cleansing/purifying incense.
Personal Experiences: A very loving, friendly and harmonious spirit to work with. Have used it for medicinal healing topically and internally with excellent results. Carry it in ally pouch. Has an uplifting scent.
Medicinal Uses: Boost memory, improve mood, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, protect the immune system, stimulate circulation, detoxify the body, protect the body from bacterial infections, prevent premature aging, and heal skin conditions.
Warnings: Flowers are delicate, be mindful when working with them.