Your Grimoire will record your personal journey through Witchcraft and your growth over time. Choosing the type of Grimoire, how to organize it, adding that personal touch, what to include, and care is as critical as your practice as a Witch
So, what is a Grimoire?
The Book of Shadows or Grimoire is not a finished universal text on sale in bookstores but a personal diary that records the journey and experiences of the Witch. It is a book in which spells, magic formulas, and filters, potions, recipes, remedies with herbs, crystals, incense and colors, correspondences, moon phases, invocations, holidays are noted and in which personal observations or impressions are reported.
One of the most frequently asked questions of those who start a magical journey is: how do you write and structure a Book of Shadows?
Since the beginning of my practice of Witchcraft, the Grimoire has always been one of the most essential and fascinating tools. If you add to this my obsession with all that is stationary material, diaries, and planners (I know you know what I’m talking about! That obsession with Lisa Frank diaries and Hello Kitty notebooks as a middle schooler?), you can imagine that my love of Grimoire runs deep and is quite a passion! Yet, despite this, it took me some time to figure out how to make my Grimoire just right, and I’d love to share that how to information with you.
Choosing the type of Grimoire you want to create
You’ll first want to start by determining if you want a physical or electronic Grimoire. From leatherbound moleskin, or a cardboard notebook, to an intricate one-of-a-kind journal you can purchase off of Etsy, there are so many choices for a physical Grimoire. If you aren’t the physical journaling type, you can put together an electronic Grimoire with Canva using graphics pages, the GoodNotes app, Pinterest boards, or even a simple Google Doc to hold all of your creative ideas. Go with what suits your personal practice the best to not overwhelm yourself at first. My advice is to choose what comes the most naturally to you and what you’ll be able to use the most.
Some witches have gorgeous Grimoires with cursive beautifully decorated pages, and other witches have a dump all Google Drive that they put everything in. Whether you are gifted at DIY projects and can craft each Grimoire page beautifully and decorate each, or if you want to simply write in all your witchy information as you would use a planner, both are a great choice. Follow your heart on this one, as it is your practice and no one else's. Don’t get caught up about how other Grimoires look, or if you’ll mess yours up if you don’t have great handwriting, or if it’s not a real Grimoire if it’s digital. This is your personal decision, and like I always say, you do what works best for you!
How to organize your Grimoire
You will next want to decide on the organization of your Grimoire. Do you want a chronological order of your growth and development as a Witch to go back and see what you’ve done over time? Or would you rather have an organization structure by section for your Grimoire?
If you like the idea of building your Grimoire organically, like you would a journal, based on when things occur, you will want to create a general index in the front of your book. Each time you add in something new, you can update the index so you can quickly find what you are looking for. If you’d rather have all spells, rituals, crystal information, and herbs in a neat little section, you can create a table of contents at the beginning of your book. If you’re super into this type of organization, you can add a smaller table of contents to each section of your Grimoire.
Adding your personal touch
With anything you create in your practice of Witchcraft, you want to add your personal touch to it. Allow yourself to decorate, make it unique, and add in whatever you want to make it feel like yours and yours alone.
What to include in your Grimoire
This is why you create your Grimoire in the first place, the guts! You want to include what’s important to you and your practice. This will evolve as you grow, and you’ll figure out what you must have in your Grimoire and what you can do without.
At the beginning of your journey, you may want to record anything and everything, but my advice is only to include information that is personal to you. It doesn’t make much sense and isn’t helpful if you include invocations to a Goddess you’ll never work with or information on crystals that you have no interest in ever using. Make it special and unique to your practice, and you’ll get more out of it.
So, what kind of information do you include? Here is a list to help get you started:
Statements of Power, including dedications, a Rede, your own personal ethics statement, principles, goals, beliefs, and so on.
Herbs, Essential Oils, and Crystals, including drawings or pictures, guides to help identify them, properties, correspondences, and uses.
Magical spells, rituals, and chants.
All divination tools that you may use and more information on them, including tarot, oracle, runes, scrying, etc.
Gods and Goddesses, blessing and prayers.
Recipes for your favorite tinctures, blessing oils, herb blends, and tinctures.
Sabbat guides, including essential dates and ritual rites.
Photographs of your seasonal altars, coven members, or animals.
Your favorite quotes from books, prayers, and guides.
Lunar Cycles and the rituals you’ve found the most helpful during each phase of the Moon.
Caring for your Grimoire
You will want to take special care of this magical tool, whether that’s by cleansing or consecrating it and then having a special place to keep it when not in use. Many witches will place their Grimoire on their Altar or bookshelf on display. You can also consecrate with incense, burning of a candle, or anoint with salt. This choice, again, should be made by what comes the most naturally to you and your practice.
Join the Coven
The Grey Witches Coven is an online community of modern mystics, empaths, and witches who come together to grow in their Craft. We have two live calls and many mini-lessons modules each month, all while learning and building friendships in an inclusive judgment-free Coven. We invite you to join our Coven here today!