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A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
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On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
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Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
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Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
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On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
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Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
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Article ID: 15825
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,451
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Author: Shion Flame
Posted: March 1st. 2015
Times Viewed: 6,093
I started keeping a spiritual notebook when I was about fourteen years old. Mostly it recorded my dreams, thoughts and sketches from nature. The book itself was just an old record book I found in a drawer. It had three hundred pages and took over a year for me to fill it up. I didnít really think of the book as magickal but I did keep it close, private and imagined that maybe a future child would find it and learn something.
Reasons To Write
I was most inspired to write when I was with my mother going through old photographs of family that had all passed long before I was born. On the back of one photo I saw the handwriting of my great grandmother. Holding it in my own hands, I knew that at one time she had held it in hers, turned it over and penned the names of the people in the picture on the back.
I often hear from students who I mentor that keeping a shadow book is just too much work. It is difficult for them to find the purpose for writing things down or keeping records. I was fortunate in many ways to never have to question. Picking up the old photograph gave me all the drive I needed to record as much as I could. I ended up with a box of binders and too many notebooks to bother counting.
My passion is knowledge but amassing the experience and wisdom that comes from it finds even deeper importance when it is passed on. The future isnít the only reason, of course, to keep journals. If you decide to try a new spell and record it in detail, this spell will of course work in a similar way the next time you cast it. I forget quickly so I like to try to plan things out and then go back to write in what I was able to recall. Some things come spontaneously and I could be found running for an ink pen to jot the idea on the back of an envelope until I had time to write it in my book later. Late at night with my glasses sliding down my nose, intensely focused while recording my work made me feel like a scientist sifting through details to find what worked and what did not. Recording the particular ways of any Witch, shaman, etc. are the seeds to new traditions. Books kept over time show the personal journey of the person who has written it. In my opinion, that is reason enough to keep a book.
What Kind of Book
The old smell of leather and hand-made pages, books with special engravings, locks, key and tiesÖ the aesthetics immediately bring the feeling that whatever is inside a book that looks that way must be pure magick. I began with a record book I found in a drawer followed by notebooks with a removed wire bound by string. The first leather book with a buckle that found its way into my hands sat on my bookshelf for over a year. Fear. I really didnít want to screw up those pages because after all something amazing (a finished project perhaps) should be inside. I did a lot of editing. Scratched out words didnít seem to fit in a book like that. It took a while, but I finally got over whatever perfectionist tendencies possessed me. A book is a journey, mistakes and all. In avoiding that leather book on my shelf I concluded that I was meant to consider the importance of what I wrote and I took it off the shelf to start a new kind of tradition.
I found an old binder and picked up plastic paper covers and a few dividers. I started by going through my notebooks and compiling information about specific topics and putting them into the three ring binder. Over a two months later, I had a binder of topics that I labeled: spell crafting, meditation and other disciplines, attuning to the moon, symbols and sigils, dream working, divination, spirits, and contributors (research on those who came before me) . It was finally time to pick up that empty book. I opened up the first pages and put in the date: December 31, 2009.
Every year, I keep a journal. At the end of that year, I take out spells, recipes, notes and more to be placed in the collective binder, which has now become a set of three separate 3-inch binders. They heavily slide onto the bottom of the bookshelf when I have finished. I write a book closing for the smaller journal and place it neatly inside a wooden trunk carved with the skull of a stag and lock it. Once again, I walk over to my bookshelf and slide off a book full of empty pages and start all over again. A witch grows and so too do the books he/she writes in.
The Internet has done amazing things. Information is constantly at the tips of our fingers but many of us remember a time when that was not the case. It feels eerie to me how easy it is to take it all for granted. In Missouri, 2009, a wicked iced storm that left my family without electricity for three weeks blew in healthy experiences about the importance of remembering how things were before the wonderful convenience that we enjoy on a daily basis.
It took my thoughts in several directions, but after thirty games of phase 10 before the sun went down and striking a candle for light to write in my own shadow book, it started to sink in pretty deep. A friend who was staying with my family made the jest that we were sitting in the living room during the Victorian ages again and that we should put on some tea. Luckily there was a gas stove and water to boil, but we got the joke. I kept thinking about my writing as I sat down each evening. It was difficult not to look at the dead laptop or cell phone and think about the what-if scenarios.
When things returned to normal I didnít shirk on keeping up with my digital shadow book but I made sure to keep up the handwritten and printed one even more often. I looked again through pages sitting on my bookshelf or kept in a trunk and found more appreciation for paper and printed words.
What is most important is that you choose to write for your own reasons. These reasons should remind you of how you feel about what you are writing and why. Write in a book that is comfortable to you no matter how neat -- or not so neat -- you execute the writing. Take into yourself the realization that whether you choose to write on a computer, in a beautifully bound leather book or a simple notebook, you are continuing the tradition of keeping and passing sacred wisdom.
Book of shadows, writing, recording, writing spells, reasons to write a shadow book
Location: Kennett, Missouri
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