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Book of Shadows: As the Wheel Turns

January, 2019

A
Look Inside a Monthly Working Book of Shadows

Many
newcomers to the Pagan Path, as well as new Witches, often mistakenly
believe that a Book of Shadows is an ancient concept that goes back
eons. There is the very real possibility that herbalists and wise
women in ancient times utilized recipe books, journals, or otherwise
kept written records containing their secrets or logging their
workings. However, the Book of Shadows is actually a neopagan concept
that has its beginnings with Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca,
sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Gardner is the founder of
the Wiccan religion along with several other famous pioneering
Wiccans who seemingly thrust the neo-pagan movement forward and
opened the broom closet for many witches as well. The age of the
conception of Books of Shadows should not cause anyone to question
keeping a Book of Shadows. As with any other reference material, a
Book of Shadows can be an invaluable tool in any practice, whether it
is your craft or your spiritual walk. My working Book of Shadows is a
vital part of my Pagan path and my practice as a Witch.

As a practicing Witch and a practicing eclectic Pagan with a Matron who guides both paths, I rely heavily on my working Book of Shadows and I carry it with me every day. For the most part, my working Book of Shadows contains all of the information that I need at my disposal such as Sabbats, Esbats, the New Moon, color correspondences, Tarot, Oracle, and Rune draws, as well as trackers for stones, herbs, spells, and Goddesses. I also incorporate my mundane schedule and life in this working Book of Shadows to keep me on track. As any one else in these modern times, I try to keep my spending in check, live a simple life, and incorporate my definition of “enough” into my walk. In true frugal fashion, I decided that in 2019 I would take a completely different tact than in any other year and I created my 2019 working Book of Shadows from MAMBI® Classic Happy Planner® extension packs. For clarity and convenience, I have added all of the resources and links for materials and supplies that I have used at the end of this article.

Throughout
this series, you will notice some “upcycling” of materials as I
find cards that I have received, artwork here and there that I notice
in magazines, and even the creativity of friends, who make beautiful
shaker cards that are great for lifting the energy when I am feeling
like energy is being dissipated. A little blingy shake and the smile
returns to my face. Also, when you network and discover that friends
have hidden talents, such as making quality covers with special
meaning that directs your focus to the work at hand, that energy of
love, friendship, and community lends itself to a healthy Book of
Shadows.

Again, as a frugal person, and someone who believes that the Pagan Community could benefit from helping each other, I created a Facebook group called “The Pagan Plannertarium.” I created this home for Pagan Planners who are interested in planning and who could benefit from free stickers and layouts for their own Books of Shadows. All of the stickers that are in my working Book of Shadows can be found in the Pagan Plannertarium along with an ever-growing catalogue of stickers, layouts, and inserts. They are all free for your personal use, if you would like to plan along with me each month, join the Facebook group by answering the questions for entry, and plan along with me. I will continue this series for the year 2019, showing you the evolution of my working Book of Shadows.

Since
there are no Sabbats in January, and it is the very beginning of my
“Seed Work” which will commence in February for planting on
Imbolc, I have chosen a winter theme for the monthly layout, and I
have also made complimentary weekly spreads for the entire month of
January. In keeping with the winter energies surrounding me, I chose
to focus on the correspondences for the month of January which
include fox, birch trees, and the colors bright white and blue.
January is a time for self-reflection and spell work involving inner
workings rather than casting for others, winter is a time to go
inward and to work on those things that require change for growth.
February’s seed must be planted in order to yield a bountiful
Harvest as the wheel turns and we experience each Sabbat in its turn.

The January month-at-a-glance spread is where I keep all of my appointments which are upcoming, the Esbat, the New Moon, and I keep a place for notes. In the two blank spaces before the 1st day of January and the last 2 blank spaces after the 31st, I use these spaces for my own personal “Power” words – these are words that I use for the month to keep me focused on my seed work. They relate directly to the seed that I will plant, so I choose the words that I need to focus on to narrow my focus. Times and circumstances change every month and this is a working Book of Shadows so these blank spaces are often in a state of metamorphosis and they change from month to month. January is the month when planning my seed comes to completion and the seed is readied for planting on Imbolc.

Each
week there is a side dashboard that is sectioned off for my Goddess
of the week, Crystals, Notes, and two (2) weekly trackers. My goal
is to draw a Goddess card from a deck that I utilize each week, write
the Goddess’ name on the dashboard, and key words throughout the
week that may arise as I ask for Her protection and energies to guide
my week. The Crystal section is for the pouch that I carry on my
person each day, some days call for different energies and I may
change the contents of the pouch that I use during the week and, if I
do so, I like to have a place to log any changes that may occur in my
carrying pouch. The Notes section on the side dashboard is to make
note of any significant changes that I make, events that I need to
make a special note of, or any other information that may change from
time to time during that week. Finally, the two trackers that I have
are for reminders to check in daily on any spell work that I may be
undertaking. Other uses for the trackers include making Crystal
Water, Moon Water or other recipes for ritual use. You can use
mundane trackers even in a magical practice and, on occasion, when I
have no other use for them, that is how I utilize these trackers.
The best part of this whole process is that stickers can be lifted,
marks can be erased, and things are meant to change and grow as we
change and grow. It is my hope that by sharing my Book of Shadows
with you, before the pen, you will be able to glean some creativity,
some energy, or ideas for your own Books of Shadows and join me in
sharing for the greater good.

You may have noticed that the end of December, 2018, is contained in the first weekly spread. I included it because the energies are prime for spell casting, writing new beginnings, contemplating seed work, and writing down ideas for spells or, if I feel the energy in a specific way, I will use this night for spell writing. At the end of the week, there is a New Moon and I always use the energy from the New Moon to begin cleansing my house for the cycle of the waxing moon, to bring the energies into my home and life that I would like to manifest throughout my practice. I start by taking a ritual bath, meditate, and smudge my home from the center to the front and out the door and beginning from the center again and to the back and out the door. For the other days in this week, I will enter those things that I do to prepare for the upcoming New Moon, such as journaling, blending herbs for incense, smudging, writing spells, and working on the February installment of this series

Each weekly layout has a coordinating Tarot card insert. I utilize this insert to pull a Tarot Card each week and reflect on this card throughout the week. The first side of the insert reflects my first impressions and my expectations. The second side of the insert is a retrospective examination of the drawn card and how that has influenced me during the week. This insert is an invaluable tool for me. Not only do I receive guidance from the Tarot cards, but I come to a deeper, more committed understanding of the meaning of each draw and how that may relate in future readings not only for myself but for others

Each
weekly theme for the month of January embodies not only the
correspondences appropriate for this month, but some of them also
contain themes of strong Divine Feminine figures such as Athena and
Hekate. I decided that this month would also contain the energies of
the Divine Masculine and The Horned God made a special appearance
this month as well. As I called to the Divine Spirits of the East,
requesting the energies of communication, divination, and creativity,
these layouts pretty much made themselves.

Looking
forward to providing monthly installments of my Book of Shadows as
the wheel turns.

RESOURCES:

MAMBI®
CHP Extension Packs:

https://www.meandmybigideas.com

CHP
Custom Cover & Foiled Pentacle Stickers by Claire McNamee:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BubsLovesBubba

Custom
Shaker Cards by Suzy Mesa:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/gichiscraftcorner

January
Monthly and Weekly Stickers by Shirley Lenhard are free at the Pagan
Plannertarium:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/217392179039705/

January
Cover Page – Shoot for the Stars – Recollections®
“Constellations” paper pad & Miscellaneous Washi tapes:

Available
at Michael’s and other craft retailers

***

About
the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

January, 2016

Holiday sales

ornamentsw

 

 Merry meet.

Just as you may have stocked up on witch hats and black napkins after Halloween to save for next Samhain, look among the post-Christmas sale items for things that will be at home next Yule, as well as for other sabbats and rituals.

I have a black bear that sat on my altar for half a year while I did a ritual using bear medicine; it returns there from time to time. Theres a polar bear, too, that walks across my altar especially around my birthday both as the representation of one of my animal guides and of a yearling polar bear, shot by a native on Baffin Island the month I was born and sold to an Airman who gave it to his sister my mother that now resides with me.

Both these bears began their life as Christmas tree ornaments.

Theres also a spider in a web and a cornhusk woman gotten long before I was on a pagan path both also Christmas tree ornaments; both also used in ritual.

After the holidays, when ornaments are typically half price or less, consider looking for ones that can serve other purposes in your Craft. Moons, stars and suns. Cats. Fairies. Angels. A star can serve as a pentacle. Birds can call East.

I picked up clear glass bulbs in several sizes, on sale after Christmas one year, and filled them to represent the elements: milkweed seeds and feathers for air, red chili peppers for fire, shells for water and tiny pinecones for earth. They hang on my tree, but theres no reason they cant also hang from the light fixture in the dining room when witches gather around the table below it. Those same clear balls can also be used to hold the ingredients of a spell.

And next year, consider decorating your Yule tree with objects that began their life as something else: shells, small grapevine wreaths, ribbon, cookie cutters, keys, toys, dolls, animals, pinecones, crystals, jewelry, buttons, frames holding portraits of family or deities, popcorn and cranberries, or dried fruits and flowers.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.