Your Sacred Books:
Making the Most of Your Grimoire

Since the invention of papyrus, there has been a need to record spiritual knowledge. Indeed, sacred books were the first books to be mass produced once the printing press was invented. Scrolls, stone tablets, and handwritten books have been uses for millennia to not just record the wisdom of the sages and crones, but also to pass along their hard earned knowledge to those who come after them. To this day, we can still take a look into the past to see the spiritual practices and teachings of our ancestors preserved in time, and incorporate their gnosis into our own paths.

When witchcraft laws of England were repealed in 1951, books about Wicca entered the world. Among many terms that are familiar to many modern Pagans, few are as widely recognized as the "Book of Shadows". In the early days of Wicca, when witchcraft was still illegal and reputations could easily be damaged, it was important to keep records of your spiritual practices hidden from sight (hence the name). For this reason there were many rules surrounding the care and keeping of one's sacred book. This includes never allowing anyone to see your book and hand copying text from the group book of your coven (if you were part of one).

Things have changed a lot since the fifties! You wont get arrested if your sacred books are discovered, and you probably wont even raise any eyebrows if someone finds our that you're a witch. For this reason, many witches are comfortable allowing others to view their grimoires, while others still prefer to keep it hidden and seen by only themselves. `

Grimoire:

 

A grimoire is a textbook of magic, typically including instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination, and how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, deities and demons.

Book of Shadows:

A Book of Shadows is a book containing religious text and instructions for magical rituals found within the Neopagan religion of Wicca. Since its conception in the 1970s, it has made its way into many pagan practices and paths.

Book of Mirrors:

A Book of Mirrors is much like a journal; it is a place to record personal reflections and internal workings. Rather than recipes, spells, and studies, writings in a Book of Mirrors are often kept personal and private

While grimoires, books of shadows, and other sacred texts have a

history of being very serious projects, yours does not have to be!

When you think of holy books or grimoires, you may imagine beautiful, hand written, leather bound works of art. If this is what you imagine a "proper grimoire" to look like, you may feel the pressure create a perfect, flawless work of art. This "all or nothing" view of what your book should look like creates anxiety for many people, preventing them from ever creating their book! To be honest, I suffered from the same struggle for years, and I will share a few ideas that you can experiment with to make your book making experience less stressful.

Molly Roberts has amazing videos about banishing the book anxiety
and different techniques and topics you can try in your own books!

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Blank journals and sketchbooks can be found in all shapes, sizes, and styles. However, the best option that I have found for someone who is anxious about creating a grimoire is to invest in a nice three ring binder or photo album. My first Book of Shadows (when I started my path as a teen) was three ring photo album with a leather cover.

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Along with allowing you to move chapters and add pages where ever you like, three ringed binders also make it possible to add plastic page protectors. Aside from the obvious benefit of protecting your pages from wax and wine, it also makes it easy to pull out pages that you need for rituals if you dont want a book taking up valuable altar space. If you use stiff pages such as card stock or scrapbook paper, you can also prop pages up on your altar. I have often used this for deity work using pages with an image of a God or Goddess on one side and information about that deity on the back.

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If you like the practical aspects of a three ring book, but want the old-timey aesthetic, you do have a few fun options. You can find letter sized parchment paper that you can print your rituals or spells onto. If you want to get creative, you can add some tasteful staining by soaking the pages in tea or coffee. You can even practice with a quill and ink set to give it that special touch (or infuse the inks with crystals and herbs!). The best part is that you can go as wild as you want, and not worry about ruining a page in your book. You can add the page if you like the way it turns out and scrap it if you arent happy with it.

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If you prefer the look of a bound book, but still struggle with committing to working in it, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. You can always tear or cut pages out if you don't love how they turned out, so be bold!

2. You can glue or tape in pages that you found online or art that you've created. It doesn't have to be hand drawn.

3. It doesn't have to be a collection of spiritual notes and recipes. You can use it as a sacred scrap book to add any writings or images that inspire you.

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Your book is a reflection of you and your path. Just like you, it won't be perfect, and thats a good thing. The little imperfections, doodles, and coffee spills add your own unique energy to your book. Don't be afraid to get weird with it. Write a love letter to yourself, tape a lock of hair to a page, spit in your watercolors!

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If you enjoy gluing printed information and rituals into your grimoire, you will pleased to know that that I intentionally leave the backs of our group ritual printables blank or with event updates so that the back page can be covered in glue and stuck into your own grimoire (see the Spring Equinox Printout pictured here). You can click this link to see what free PDFs we have available

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Ideas for Your Grimoire

Grimoire Prompts

  • Intro page about you

  • God & Goddess info

  • Useful spells

  • Holiday traditions & recipes

  • Tarot spreads

  • pendulum board charts

  • astral maps

  • Lunar rituals

  • Illustrated herbs

  • Shadow Self Portrait

  • poetry

  • sacred art

  • meditation tools

  • magical memories from childhood

  • ancestor pages

  • family tree

  • birth chart

  • info about zodiac signs

  • photos of your altar

  • photos of you

  • pressed herbs

  • sketches of sacred places you've visited

  • anything that makes your spirit happy

Artistic Inspiration

  • tea or coffee stain the pages

  • water color with sea salt

  • make your own recycled paper (you can even add herbs, hair, saliva, tears, etc)

  • sew the edges of the pages

  • add envelopes for small sacred tidbits

  • burn the edges of papers

  • create stamps with leaves

  • make your own rubber stamps

  • make your own inks

  • make a manifestation collage

  • laminate pressed flowers for bookmarks

Thank you so much for visiting us! I hope this information makes your book making process more fun and relaxing.

If you want to help support the coven and our community projects, you can donate to our paypal at the link below.