So, if you’ve been going down the rabbit hole of starting your path toward witchcraft, it’s likely you’ve heard both the term “Grimoire” and “Book of Shadows” mentioned at least a time or two, and, at times, it seems that they are being used interchangeably.
However, there are thought to be differences between the two.
A Grimoire is typically a compilation of information gathered. This is where you record your research, and they’re not usually viewed as sacred as your Book of Shadows. This is because your book of shadows is personal to your journey. This is where you would record your own spellwork, their results, and things that are completely personal to you and your practice.
A Grimoire is more typically shared amongst your coven or people close to you, whereas your Book of Shadows would be kept private. That said, this isn’t written in stone. You may choose to keep both your research and your personal workings in one book. The choice is entirely up to you, and it can evolve as you grow.
There is also another school of thought that “Book of Shadows” is a purely Wiccan term. Therefore, in this respect, there isn’t any difference between the two books. In this instance, someone who is not Wiccan or no longer Wiccan may choose to refer to their magickal book as strictly a Grimoire.
The choice is yours.
What Should I Use?
This, like much of this journey, is completely individual.
While my personal recommendation would be to choose something you’re most drawn to. What speaks to you? Is there a journal that you find absolutely stunning like it’s calling to you, personally? That’s the book for you.
There are some things to keep in mind, though, particularly if disorganization causes you extreme discomfort. If this is the case, you’d likely do best to find a book where the pages can be reorganized, such as a binder. Thrive on chaos, or are particularly good at planning ahead? Any book that calls to you will get the job done.
Also, we live in a digital age. While I have my personal workings recorded by hand in my Book of Shadows, I also keep a digital copy on Google Docs, so I have my recordings with me at a moment’s notice. This isn’t as personal or as aesthetically pleasing as my physical copy, but hey, modern witchcraft, right?
What To Include in Your Book of Shadows?
Now, while this does depend on whether or not you plan to keep a separate Book of Shadows and Grimoire, this will be a general idea of things you can include in both, or if you decide to forgo a grimoire entirely, you can include it all in your Book of Shadows.
First and foremost, as the main emphasis is Book of Shadows, you would include your personal spellwork. Be detailed here! Include what you used, be it herbs, crystals, candles, and the like, and how you performed your work. Also, you could include the lunar phase as well as what signs were influencing your magic as well as the day and time.
Be sure to leave yourself space to write down your results so you can look back to find out what is and isn’t working for you.
Also, since this is personal to you, you can also create a section for your tarot card pulls, or the results of any other divination tool you may be using. Write down the answers you received as well as your interpretations and their relations to your life. This is your space to really reflect and process the information being given to you.
Another idea would be to record your dreams. Much like recording your divination work, really dive into your dream and its relation to you. Do you see the parallels between your dream world and your reality? What is your subconscious mind showing you that your conscious mind has not yet seen?
Also, since I mentioned that your Book of Shadows and Grimoire could be one and the same, feel free to include plants and herbs and their magickal properties. You could do the same for candle colors and their correspondence as well as crystals.
Learning divination? It doesn’t matter if it’s tarot, runes, pendulums, scrying, or any other method that is calling to you. Write down all the information you’ve gathered on the subject so that you can both use it as a reference quickly in the future when it’s needed and reinforce that it sticks in your mind.
The power of writing things down is mighty!
Things To Include In Your Book of Shadows
𖤐 Personal Spells + Their Outcomes
𖤐 Your Personal Rituals
𖤐 Your Personal Tools
𖤐 Your Dreams + Interpretations
𖤐 Your Natal Chart
𖤐 Your Meditations
𖤐 Personal Tarot Card Readings
𖤐 Personal Pendulum Readings
𖤐 Other Personal Divination Readings
𖤐 Tarot Card Meanings
𖤐 Rune Meaning
𖤐 Herb Correspondences
𖤐 Essential Oil Correspondences
𖤐 Candle Color Meanings
𖤐 Type of Crystals and Their Meanings
𖤐 Lunar Phases
𖤐 How to Consecrate Items
𖤐 How to Ground Energy
𖤐 How to Cast a Circle
𖤐 How to Smoke Cleanse