A Witch’s Guide to Organizing Your Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows

I wrote the first installment in this Witch’s Guide to Your Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows series around this time last year, and it has a lot of views, which I hope means that people are finding it helpful! After choosing a format your Grimoire or Book of Shadows (aka BoS), the next logical step is figure out how you’re going to organize your magickal journal.

For the purpose of simplicity I will talk about three basic types of magickal journals: digital, notebook, and ring bound. A digital BoS or Grimoire is one that is housed online in some form, be it in Pages, WordPress, Tumblr, Evernote, etc. A notebook BoS/Grimoire is one that has the pages bound in some way, so that they cannot be swapped around, such as a spiral notebook, composition book, or Moleskine notebook. Finally, a ring bound BoS/Grimoire is one that has rings and that can be re-organized easily, ie: discbound planners, ring bound planners, or three-ring binders.

Your magickal journal, regardless of the form it takes, will have a lot of sections in common with a ‘real’ book, and so many of the terms I’m going to use here are from book organization itself. A lot of these terms will apply to magickal journals that are exclusively online as well, though not all will. This installment focuses more on organization than content, though that will definitely be a future topic.

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A Witch’s Guide to Starting Your Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows

This little adventure started when I tried to find planner supplies for my Grimoire. There’s almost nothing out there that’s specifically designed for witches, and what is out there is too fussy for my taste. I don’t know about you all, but for me, compiling a good Book of Shadows is very important to the practice of my Craft. Additionally, it’s so personal, it has to be perfect. The New Year (Lunar, Solar, or the Vernal Equinox) is such a wonderful opportunity for things like this, I think, but you can start your Book of Shadows any time. I don’t know about you, but I love a project. As far as witchcraft is concerned, this is the project of all projects.

For me, figuring out the format for my Book of Shadows was a near-identity crisis. Counting some missteps and corrections it took a year and a half for me to figure out what I really wanted. Here’s some advice from my try/fail/do it the hard way experience that I hope you’ll find helpful.

Part two of this series is now available: A Witch’s Guide to Organizing Your Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows.

Monthly writing prompts for your Grimoire/Book of Shadows are being posted, so check out the “writing prompts” tag for more inspiration!

Grimoire or Book of Shadows?

I tend to use the two terms almost interchangeably, but they do have different meanings. In short, a Grimoire is impersonal and a Book of Shadows is personal. A Grimoire wouldn’t feature your personal dreams, tarot readings, crystal grids, etc., but a Book of Shadows would. Grimoires would be comparable to Commonplace Books which are/were collections of interesting facts, puzzles, and quotations that people used to maintain. It wasn’t a personal diary, but it was personal in an impersonal way. A Grimoire would be similar; it’s not a magickal diary, but it does contain magickal information. In short: You can put Grimoire information in a Book of Shadows, but you cannot put Book of Shadows (personal) information in a Grimoire and still have it considered a Grimoire. Some people suggest keeping two books (Flying the Hedge has a good article), and my partner suggested this very thing to me as well. The dashboards I made for my coven and myself (shown below) are designed for a Book of Shadows, because they’re about the here and now, containing specific a month, year, and dates. It’s not ‘evergreen’ material, which is what goes in a Grimoire. Eventually, I would like it maintain both a Book of Shadows and a Grimoire.

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