Monthly Columns

Peeking in the Shadows; Crafting a Book of Shadows and Light

Welcome to Peeking in the Shadows. This monthly column will give you everything you need to create or to add to an existing Book of Shadows and Light – aka. BOS. This month is a quick-look at what a BOS is and what it may contain. We’ll go through in more depth these and other components in future months. But for now….

A Book is Not (Always) Just Another Book

As you continue on the pagan path you will want to create a Book of Shadow and Light. This is essentially a journal or guide that holds special Quarter Calls, rituals, information and results of herbs used, incense recipes, spell work, etc.. It is your own personal record of your magickal workings. It is called a Book of Shadows and Light to correspond to the polarity of all magickal workings; that which is overt and that which is hidden from plain sight. This journal should be dedicated to holding your magickal process and not used for mundane or other purposes.

A Book of Shadows may also contain journal entries that relate to the work done and the after effects. I prefer to keep these entries in a separate journal, since I often will go back and review them and it is more portable to carry a smaller journal. You will also want to bring your Book of Shadows into sacred space with you; especially if there is a specific call, invocation or order of ritual that you wish to repeat precisely as done previously.

Generally, your BOS is not something to share with others, hence the mystery that often surrounds such a record. It is your own personal journey and committing that journey to writing gives power and intent to the works that you do. It is also a history of your beginning steps on the Path of the Wise and can be used as a treasured and valuable resource as the years progress, your skills and knowledge increase and truly living a magickal life has become a 24/7 experience.

What Should It Look Like?

There is no preferred style or set and fast rules about what form or how your BOS should look. Some prefer an actual journal type book; others prefer to use electronic files and keep everything on the computer. One is not more effective or better than the other. The important thing is to make it your own.

Personalize it in your own unique style. If it is an actual book handle it frequently. You are then also imprinting your energy into it in a physical and manifest way. If it is electronic, BACK UP your files regularly. Open them regularly and as you are typing establish a flow of energy that moves with intent from your hands and fingers into the keys as you type. Remember, as with all magickal working and practice, INTENT is the basis of movement forward on your desired path. With that thought in mind, your BOS can be as simple as a spiral bound notebook from the dollar store or as elaborate as a finely decorated handcrafted journal. Journals make wonderful magickal gifts and since they are used up readily, having several on hand, when just the right spell, insight or ritual presents itself is invaluable.

Journaling Your Entries

Regular and daily entries can be done in a space you have selected to be your writing area at home. It does not need to be permanent. A cleared table top, folding wooden table or corner of a desk can easily be transformed for a designated amount of time and then returned to its usual state thereafter.

And, of course using sacred space after a ritual is perfect for making the entries in your BOS. Information is freshest just after completing a ritual. So, if you are working a solo ritual, remain for whatever time is needed to record your experiences and make note of what worked and what didn’t etc. You can even incorporate this into part of the working so this act becomes part of the ritual itself. If attending a public ritual, there is usually time and space after to jot down a few notes before leaving. I have often sat in my car after a potent ritual and committed everything to my BOS before I started my journey home. And then completed more the next day as other insights revealed themselves.

Next Month:

Selecting the Perfect “Book” .…

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Third Degree Initiate within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path, the 12th Coven within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path.  

Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and the Western Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice.  A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers.

Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degrees within the Assembly Tradition and has served as High Priestess of Oak and Willow since Samhain of 2001.

As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she has used Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work.

Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally.  She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented.  She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival this Summer. Her most recent project is hosting an online blogging community entitled The Pagan Experience.

Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings.  She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 40+- year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education.

Robin’s Books

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 It’s Written in the Stars-Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 2 Poetry of the Spheres-Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 3 Awakening the Paths-Qabalah

The Light of SELF: Consciousness, Spiritual Practice and Learning to Breathe

Magickal Verse: A Collection of Poetry and Prose

A Year of Gaia: The Eternal Cord

The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of SELF

Temple of the Sun and Moon: Luminous Devotions

Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection: Musings for the Year

The Magickal Pen: A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Enchanted Gate: Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

For more info: http://www.robinfennelly.com/books.html

Robin’s Website: www.robinfennelly.com

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW: www.covenofthemysticpath.org