What is Magickal Record Keeping?
First and Foremost you should know what each of these items are within your Tradition and how they are used....
I developed a more complex system than a singular Book of Shadows, within my own practices due to the simple fact that the longer you practice the more information you will collect and the harder it becomes to find what your looking for! Tthis practice has now been adopted as our Coven's Traditional practice in relation to Archiving our Magickal Records. What the system does is divide up your Magickal Records into particular section as follows.
The Grimoire: This is your own personal 'Magickal Encyclopedia', where you store all your collected knowledge for future reference. Information on Magick, on Herbalism, on Spell Casting etc. Any and all information in relation to the occult, metaphysics and Paganism is placed in here divided into relevant sections. (such as a section on Gods and Goddesses: Depending on what pantheon or tradition you follow, you may have a single God and Goddess, or a number of them. You may have collected information on Deities that are not your Patrons or the Pantheon you work with when doing Magick for another....This is a good place to keep legends and myths and even artwork concerning Deity for later reference).
The Laws and Ethics of your Coven and/or Tradition: It’s a really good idea to keep these at the front of your Grimiore as a reminder of what constitutes acceptable behavior and what doesn’t. If you’re part of an eclectic tradition that doesn’t have written rules, or if you’re a solitary witch, this is a good place to write down what YOU think are acceptable rules of Magick, Ritual and life as a Pagan.
A Dedication: This is a place to write a Dedication to your Path, most Pagans prior to Initiation will Dedicate themselves to the Goddess and God, you may also write a dedication for your Grimiore. If you’ve been initiated into a coven, you may also want to include a copy of your initiation ceremonies here.
Correspondence Tables: When it comes to spell casting, correspondence tables can be some of your most important tools. Phases of the moon, herbs, stones and crystals, colors – all have different meanings and purposes. Keeping charts of some sort in your Grimoire guarantees that this information will be at the ready when you really need it. If you have access to a good almanac, it’s not a bad idea to record a years’ worth of moon phases by date
Herbalism: Ask any experienced Pagan about a specific herb, and chances are good that they’ll expound on not only the Magickal uses of the plant but also the healing properties and history of use. Herbalism is often considered the core of spell casting, because plants are an ingredient that people have used for literally thousands of years. Put together a section in your Grimoire for herbs and their uses. (Remember, many herbs should not be ingested, so it’s important to research thoroughly before you take anything internally, and some can cause reactions when in contact with the skin - it is vitally important you only place accurate records in your Grimoire - don't just get your information from another Pagan - check and research it for yourself!).
Divination: If you’re learning about Tarot, scrying, astrology, or any other form of divination, keep information in here. (When you experiment with new methods of divination, keep a record of what you do and results you see in your Book of Shadows).
Sacred Texts: While there is much to be said for the continued development of Paganism, as you become more established in your Tradition you may wish to have information that’s a little more established. If there is a certain text that appeals to you, such as The Charge of the Goddess, an old prayer in an archaic language, or a particular chant that moves you, include it in your Grimoire.
Sabbats: Information on the Sabbats why they are celebrated, when and in what form all belongs here (Sabbat Rituals however would belong in your BOS).
Festival Rituals: The Wheel of the Year includes eight holidays for most Wiccans and Pagans, although some traditions do not celebrate all of them. Your Grimoire can include rituals for each of the Sabbats plus any other Festivals you choose to incorporate into your Path. (For example, Samhain you may wish to create a rite that honors your ancestors and celebrates the end of the harvest. Yule you may want to write down a celebration of the winter Solstice. Thanksgiving - you may want to write a Pagan Ceremony of Thanks for thanksgiving )
Other Rituals: If you’ll be celebrating each full moon, you’ll want to include an Esbat rite in your Grimoire. You can use the same one each month, or create several different ones tailored to the time of year. You may also wish to include sections on how to cast a circle and Drawing Down the Moon, a rite that celebrates the invoking of the Goddess at the time of the full moon. If you’ll be doing any rites for healing, prosperity, protection, or other purposes, be sure to include them here. Information on other Rituals would also be found in the Grimoire.
Magical Recipes: There’s a lot to be said for “kitchen witchery,” because for many people, the kitchen is the center of hearth and home. As you collect recipes for oils, incense, or herb blends, keep them in your Grimoire. You may even want to include a section of food recipes for Sabbat celebrations.
Spell Instructions: It’s easier to keep spells organized if you divide them up by purpose: prosperity, protection, healing, etc. (this information may end up doubled up in your BOS as you perform them -however in your BOS with each spell you include, make sure you also leave room to include information on when the working was performed and what the outcome was).
The Book of Shadows (BOS): used to similar to a Diary and is divided up into several sections
Path Diary: to record your day to day Path, this section is like your regular diary - you can include poetry, drawings, accounts of your day etc.
Magickal Diary: to store information you'll need in your Magickal Practices, Rites and Rituals. The BOS should Traditionally be handwritten, Remember that a BOS is a sacred tool (not just a reference item such as your Grimoire), which means it is an item of power and should be consecrated with all of your other Magickal tools. By handwriting your information into your BOS by hand,it not only transfers energy to the writer, but it also helps you to memorise the contents. Just make sure you write legibly enough that you’ll be able to read your notes during a ritual!
A Sample of Your BOS "Diary Page" may look something like this:
Book of Shards (bos): Often these days, both hardcopy and electronic versions are kept. It is used to store random information that has not yet been worked into either your Grimoire or BOS. It may be a spell you want to adapt, or a herbal recipie you haven't tried, an article you want to transcribe from...You may want to use one notebook for information copied from books or downloaded off the Internet, and another for original creations. Regardless, find the method that works best for you, and take good care of your Book of Shards, it is the future of your practice.
You will need to decide the purpose of your first Magickal Record in order to decide how you wish to go about creating it. There are as many way to create a Magickal Record Book as there are Pagans, but to give you some ideas...
1. You might choose to purchase a ready made "Book of Shadows"- there are some gorgeous leather bound books available online which I think are great for you to use as a Magickal Diary, but personally I found to be a bit difficult in practice to use as a Grimoire or Book of Shadows, you are unable to rearrange pages later and it becomes difficult to find information you are seeking. ...plus you will want to be able to source several, as you will find you fill the pages rather quicker than you would expect. Having said that they do indeed make gorgeous Diaries, either Magickal, Dream or Sun/Moon, as these do not need rearranged pages and you require the information to be in dated order...
2. But you can always create a Magickal Record Book yourself from a large hardcover journal, diary, or plain notebook, simply by covering and decorating.
3. Another popular method is to use a three-ring binder so items can be added and rearranged as needed. If you use this style of BOS, you can use sheet protectors as well, which is great for preventing candle wax and other ritual drips from getting on the pages!
This is what I chose for both my Grimoire and Book of Shadows, and to date I have 12x 2 ring binders which contain the material for my Grimoire and Book of Shadows (which in my case have become various books within that Grimoire I have my Herbalism file, my Altered States file, etc...)
4. If you are a full-on cyber wytche and are fully conversant with backup copies, and electronic storage then for sure go ahead and store all your magickal information electronically, just be sure to make sure you do back it up!
I have seen so many different forms of Magickal records and some are such beautiful works of art, the covers embroidered, or decorated with feathers, pictures, photos, pieces of fabric, the insides handwritten in calligraphy or magickal scripts. I have also seen simple files filled with computer printed pages, handled with the same reverance. Your Magickal records are a reflection of the practitioner...
My magickal records are as I stated 2 ring binders, I have glued pictures and photos, feather, glitter over my files and covered them with contact, others have hand drawn pictures, or stitched covers, ...as I have 12 folders I have had lots of fun making each one!
Whatever you select, however you create it - remember that your Grimoire and other Magickal Records in whatever form they takes, are a magical object and should be treated accordingly.
Add a section that includes books you've read, as well as what you thought of them. This way, when you get a chance to share information with others, you'll remember what you've read.
Notes: If you find a rite, spell or piece of information somewhere that you will be putting in your records, be sure to note down the source. It will help you keep organized, and you'll start to recognize patterns in authors' works. It will also aid you in seeking further information down the track as you develop further in your practice.
Hand Made Paper