A grimoire is a book that contains spells, rituals, herbal and healing lore, incarnations, chants, divinatory methods, and miscellaneous topics that serve to guide Witches in their Craft and religion.
There is no one general or definitive grimoire for Witchcraft; each tradition may have its own standard grimoire, which can be added to or adapted by each coven. In addition to this, individual Witches may add their own personal material. Until recent times the grimoire was kept in secrecy, however, some Witches have gone public with theirs over the years.
Many terms are used to describe a grimoire:
- Book of shadows
- Magickal Journal
- Book of Lights and Shadows
- Book of Magick
- Witches’ Grimoire
- Magickal Grimoire
The first thing you will need to think about is:
Do you want your Book of Shadows to be kept on your computer, in a spiral notebook, in a binder or on a leather journal? (Many people use binders because it is easier to add new items and can be rearranged if needed. If it’s your first Book of Shadows, I would suggest you to use this method.)
What ever you decided to use, label the book and set it’s purpose and energy from the start. After the title, date the book. Some witches create a new book at the beginning of each magickal year during Samhain. While others use the same book over a period of time until it’s full and then they start a new volume. It’s up to you which way to date your book, but you should enter a date and if possible a volume reference. This will help keep your books organized over the years.
The title page should includes your name. Make it fancy or simple, depending on your preference, but remember that the grimoire is a magical object and should be treated accordingly. Many witches simply write, “The Grimoire of (your name)” on the front page.
Third thing you need to consider is, what kind of paper and format should you use?
Most witches use plain white paper or notebook paper. For an old feel, you can use fancy white or yellow parchment paper from a local office supply store. Make sure that the pages are not water-marked before you buy them.
If you are able to draw well, you can illustrate your grimoire. If you were not gifted with this talent, however, never fear. You can copy and print lots of different types of art from online. Many websites also offer fanciful borders that you can print out to decorate the edges of your pages. If you have a good color printer, you can use colored designs.
Computers are also useful for typing up and printing out text if you have poor handwriting, make lots of mistakes, or if you do not like writing by hand. Experiment with the different types of fonts to see which you like best.
Keep it mind that you can have a “unique” grimoire, or you can maintain a couple of different books, separating your daily thoughts into one, research and magickal information into an other, with spells and incantations into a third. It’s entirely up to you. The important thing, you want your book to be well organized. You want to be able to quickly turn to a particular section and page to find some particular information when needed.
There are few sections that are universally included in a grimoire:
- A Dedication
- Laws of your coven or tradition (If you are a solitary witch, simply write down what your magickal ethics are)
- A general index to help you organize your book
- Information about your favourite deities
- Correspondences tables: Correspondence tables are some of your most important tools. Phases of the moon, herbs, stones and crystals, colors, symbols, incenses, etc. – all have different meanings and purposes.
- Rituals and ceremonies – include what you’ve learned, what has worked well (or the opposite), what you would like to change for the next time, etc
- Sacred Texts such as the Wiccan Rede, for example
- Sabbat rituals
- Magickal recipes
- Magick spells
You will find many resources to help you create and maintain your magickal grimoire, in books and articles especially. Most important though is your individuality. You decide what you need to enter into your grimoire, and you need pay no attention to others in this respect.