As we continue through our Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path you will want to begin a Book of Shadow and Light. This is essentially a journal or guide that holds special Quarter Calls, rituals, information and results of herbs used, incense recipes, spell work ,etc.. It is your own personal record of your magickal workings. It is called a Book of Shadow and Light to correspond to the polarity of all magickal workings. That which is overt and that which is hidden from plain sight. This journal should be dedicated to holding your magickal process and not used for mundane or other purposes.
A Book of Shadows may also contain journal entries that relate to the work done and the after effects. I prefer to keep these entries in a separate journal, since I often will go back and review them and it is more portable to carry a smaller journal. You will also want to bring your Book of Shadows into sacred space with you; especially if there is a specific call, invocation or order of ritual that you wish to repeat precisely as done previously.
Generally, your BOS is not something to share with others, hence the mystery that often surrounds such a record. It is your own personal journey and committing that journey to writing gives power and intent to the works that you do. It is also a history of your beginning steps on the Path of the Wise and can be used as a treasured and valuable resource as the years progress, your skills and knowledge increase and truly living a magickal life has become a 24/7 experience.
What Should It Look Like?
There is no preferred style or set and fast rules about what form or how your BOS should look. Some prefer an actual journal type book; others prefer to use electronic files and keep everything on the computer. One is not more effective or better than the other. The important thing is to make it your own.
Personalize it in your own unique style. If it is an actual book handle it frequently. You are then also imprinting your energy into it in a physical and manifest way. If it is electronic, BACK UP your files regularly. Open them regularly and as you are typing establish a flow of energy that moves with intent from your hands and fingers into the keys as you type. Remember, as with all magickal working and practice, INTENT is the basis of movement forward on your desired path. With that thought in mind, your BOS can be as simple as a spiral bound notebook from the dollar store or as elaborate as a finely decorated handcrafted journal. Journals make wonderful magickal gifts and since they are used up readily, having several on hand, when just the right spell, insight or ritual presents itself is invaluable.
Journaling Your Entries
As we learned in our Lesson about the creation of Sacred Space; using such a space is perfect for making the entries in your BOS. Information is freshest just after completing a ritual. So, if you are working a solo ritual, remain for whatever time is needed to record your experiences and make note of what worked and what didn’t etc. You can even incorporate this into part of the working so this act becomes part of the ritual itself. If attending a public ritual, there is usually time and space after to jot down a few notes before leaving. I have often sat in my car after a potent ritual and committed everything to my BOS before I started my journey home. And then completed more the next day as other insights revealed themselves.
Regular and daily entries can be done in a space you have selected to be your writing area at home. It does not need to be permanent. A cleared table top, folding wooden table or corner of a desk can easily be transformed for a designated amount of time and then returned to its usual state thereafter.
Here are some files to get you started and feel free to print out anything posted in our lessons that you feel would be useful to have readily at your fingertips.