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The biggest dilemma with any Book of Shadows is how to keep it organized. Some people choose instead to use a simple bound notebook, and just add to the back of it as they discover new items. If you find a rite, spell or piece of information somewhere else, be sure to note down the source. It will help you keep things straight in the future, and you'll start to recognize patterns in authors' works.
This way, when you get a chance to share information with others, you'll remember what you've read. Keep in mind that as our technology is constantly changing, the way we use it does too. There are plenty of people who keep their BOS completely digitally on a flash drive, their laptop, or even stored virtually to be accessed by their favorite mobile device.
A BOS pulled up on a smartphone is no less valid than one copied by hand in ink onto parchment. You may want to use one notebook for information copied from books or downloaded off the Internet, and another for original creations. Regardless, find the method that works best for you, and take good care of your Book of Shadows.
What to Include in Your Book of Shadows When it comes to the contents of your personal BOS, there are a few sections that are nearly universally included. Laws of Your Coven or Tradition: Believe it or not, magic has rules. This may include a variation on the Wiccan Rede , or some similar concept. However, many Wiccans dedicate themselves to a God or Goddess long before they become part of a coven. This is a good place to write out who you are dedicating yourself to, and why.
Your BOS is a good place to keep legends and myths and even artwork concerning your Deity. Phases of the moon , herbs , stones and crystals , colors — all have different meanings and purposes. Keeping a chart of some sort in your BOS guarantees that this information will be at the ready when you really need it.
Your BOS can include rituals for each of the Sabbats. For example, for Samhain , you may wish to create a rite that honors your ancestors and celebrates the end of the harvest, while for Yule you may want to write down a celebration of the Winter Solstice. A Sabbat celebration can be as simple or complex as you wish. You can use the same one each month, or create several different ones tailored to the time of year. You may also wish to include sections on how to cast a circle and Drawing Down the Moon , a rite that celebrates the invoking of the Goddess at the time of the full moon.
Portal Dolm en Pevt-fade '1. X Gaol Circle of Stones. Dark; New Moon. Immortality 'X. I Bane; Deadly, Poisonous. Editorial note: In this early work of Scott Cunningham's, the symbols for waxing and waning moo11S in his hand-drawn version were reversed.
The printed illu stration above shows the correct positions of the moons.
Book of Shadows C I 're Ie Candle tJ eddIe. J Salt. X Bane; Deadly,. Wine "': Dover, After all these The Key of Solomon the King. York Bea inclined. New York: Grosset and Dun chives. Bill was persistent in his requests, but it seemed like this -: It was all waiting inches away from where I: Pocket Books, I lifted up the glass door and slid it back, and I reached at random for a ed edition of this popular tightly-packed manila envelope.
On it, in the hand that I knew so well, was "The American Traditionalist Book of Shadows," adorned with a pen tagram and the comment that this was the manuscript to be used for copying to send to his students. It was the core of Scott's correspondence course, which he had offered to students before his books were pub lished- arguably the book of magic of a young wizard, drawn from his earliest experiences-the sort of thing you might expect a just-maturing Harry Potter to have created for his extracurricular classes in advanced magic for his peers.
He was ardent in his belief that Wicca needed an American expression. He felt that the largely British-dominated magical scene was due for a shaking-up, one that embraced the seemingly more American qualities of equality, independence, and a less restrictive hierar chy-a Book of Shadows that emphasized a greener, more natural magic that could be practiced in a simple and sacred way by virtuaUy anyone.
As I looked at the manuscript, I sawall of this as if through water, my vision blurred by tears catching in my eyelashes. The other works in APP various stages of completion that I had thought Bill might want to con sider were very different from this, a complete, basic magical system When Llewellyn asked wt: And, outside of a few friends and but eventually one memo!
Some of it he had used as a jumping-off point for sections ofWicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practi tioner, but by then he was refining his work for a much larger intended As Scott and I spri nted aCY l5S audience and taking into consideration the multiple demands of editors my shoulder, just in time lO en- - and various publishing needs.
This document is pure from the source, earth, shooting bolts of red. Scott had chosen ro come wit. May you use it wisely and well, with love for the divine, for the physical interests quire close i':.
As Scott would say at the end of his let ground whenever possible. S-e ters, bright blessings. Scott and I were eagt': Arriving home, we rook a W. Next we slowly poure saturate each and every Emu.
T" on fire. Suddenly, th e eOfl. The goal of Snap Dr! Some of it he had used In the flickering fire's light. Scott had chosen to come with me. At that time Scott kept his meta: Nevertheless, he often accompanied me on various personal appearances, and it was always a comfort to know that -deTraci Regula he was somewhere in the crowd lending his support.
Aprilzoo9 However, today was our Hallows celebration, and Scott and I were on a quest. We were attempting to find an open liquor store to download sev erallarge bottles of high-proof alcohol. I had decided to present the game of "Snap Dragon" at our event, and that required special supplies.
This fire tradition was extremely popular many years ago, and was a yearly custom until it sadly started to die out, and was now almost for gotten. Scott and I were eager to revive the old practice, and bring it back to life.
Arriving home, we took a large plate and carefully covered it with raisins. Next we slowly poured the alcohol over the top, being careful to saturate each and every fruit. Then with a long match we lit the platter on fire.
Suddenly, the entire room was cast in a warm glow from the flaming light; we had begun the spirited game of Snap Dragon. Abruptly, we realized that this was not a challenge for the faint hearted. The goal of Snap Dragon is to "snap" the fiery raisins out of the. We squared our shoulders, took a This is j uSt on e oi: Th rating, cavorting, and hopping around the table caused us both to dis bra nee with you. It was only after Snap Dragon had finally died down that, still grinning, we were able to regain our composure.
We quickly realized that if this rite was to be accomplished safely and '-: The auth or Z G',! S effectively with so many people, we needed not only to adhere to our pre the proper safe ty preCaLflO. This would reduce the pos sibility of burns, and would also give us a "Dragon" count for the final "Flame-Off," which was scheduled for the end of the evening.
That night, as the lights were dimmed and the dish was lit, flicker ing blue sparks danced as they swept across the plain of raisins and alco hol, their colorful waves of light casting shadows on the walls around us.
I gazed at the shining illuminated faces so eager with anticipation, our brave and courageous champions, their fingers poised, ready to begin, and it reminded me of our ancient and primeval fires of old. Needless to say, Snap Dragon was a huge success with a minimum of aloe required, by the way and played with great enthusiasm for many years to come. Much later, after covering prone bodies and placing pillows under already-sleeping heads, Scott and I tiptoed out together to sit on the back porch.
We had been up long before the "first light" of our sacred holiday, and in grateful appreciation, I poured each of us a glass of sherry we had been taught by our teacher that this was the Witch's drink.
Thank you for allowing me to share this remem. The author advises not attempting Snap Dragon without ' ecl or only to adhere to our pre the proper safety precautions, supervision, and instruction. Thi would reduce the pos Scott was also the creative one.
The sensitive one. The only one who kept up with the piano lessons, the only one to sing in the church choir with Mom. One of my strongest, earliest memories of Scott was when he recreated parts of Pirates of the Caribbean in our back yard, wi th a pi rate's chest of gold and a mound of jewels, inspired by our first trip to Disneyland. I must have been four at the time, and thought he was mag ical. Scott also collected rocks and seashells. My dad built a cabinet for him with a dozen or so flat drawers, to keep the shells in.
He loved the ocean and the forests with equal fervor. My parents owned a cabin in the Laguna Mountains, and summers would find us there, where we would grow dusty and brown in the sun. The three of us kids would hunt for frogs and tiny fishes in the marshes, unaware of how far we'd rambled.
Scott always knew the way back, and he always picked flowers for Mom. We reveled in summer thunderstorms, hanging out on our army cots on the sleeping porch, the screened windows open to the elements. Summer nights were filled with so many stars the sky looked crowded. Tall Jeffrey pine trees stood silhouetted against the night sky, perfum ing the air with vanilla. Going to the mountains was our family es cape-we all took on other personas there. Scott spent hours studying the rocks and flowers, the trees, searching for arrowheads and other signs of Native Americans, immersing himself in the place.
All of us sank into our own private worlds, seemingly so much closer up there in the mountains than down at home. And yet, we remained a family unit-playing card games and board games, doing puzzles at one of the many kitchen tables in the rustic, octagonal main structure of the cabin, building a fire and sipping cocoa.
Scott must have been fourteen or fifteen when he started putting together Christmas stockings for my parents. It surprised me-parents. One of had been. Th e bab'; was b his gifts was seeing into people, divining what they would appreciate.
He was an excellent gift giver. Once he realized the Anthurium was my mother's favorite flower, that's part of what he'd give her for Mother's Day and her birthday. Christmas, too. In hindsight, his thoughtfulness and protectiveness of my mother was very sweet. He drove us up and we so enjoyed bouncing around Hollywood seedier in the seventies than it is up most of the tiny space. He even took me to Capezio's, so I could get a couple pairs of died in March of And the show?
The ride home was afternoon. I was once again three iriOili. Scott and I moved out of the family home the month I graduated son.
I missed the pagan g We shared an apartment on Orange didn't tell me about it. Tier-e Avenue for eight or nine months. Newly in love, I was rarely there and one that the family had pt,m when I was, Scott wasn't. We drifted apart as only roommates on sepa ashes up in the hill s behir. When I married and moved to Los Angeles, Scott remained a part of ashes as well.
Phone calls, letters the old-fashioned way, and visits. For him, My private grief and re", success. Book sales came, and then the book tours. In between times service, to this day. When I had a good job, I'd drop him a check in the mail-surely his writing couldn't be paying the bills-and he'd always call with a thank you.
I might catch the double entendre Scott I missed, was the brotbe: Then March of hit, and news of Scott's illness passed along Finally, though , I standi ; from his tour of the East Coast.
We found out just as I celebrated being books until after he died. He three months' pregnant with my first son. My pregnancy became a joy suppose. The terrifying turned into the mundane.
Scott grew stronger again mountains as kids. We talked and laughed and grew closer than we had grown to be fu nnier. Book of hadows! The baby was born and Scott kept a respectful distance, not ' -"" wha r rh ey would appreciate. He grew weaker, and angry at not - w' aT he ' give her for Mother's having the time to finish everything he'd wanted to do.
Before he fi -. Scott bought the two of knew would want or need them, sharing that last bit of himself that he could. He moved into my childhood room , his big iron bedstead taking 5ec2ic: And when he -: Absolutely mother held his hand, was there at his side when he finally passed that v,;r.
I was once again three months' pregnant, this time with my second - Dme th e month I graduated son. There wasn't another memorial ceremony, not.. In between times service, to this day, still hits me hard. It didn't seem right or fair, but I. When I had a good wasn't in charge. I spent several afternoons, over the next few months,!
Sometimes weeping, wnh a thank you. Visits home sometimes angry, but always in dialog with Scott. I'd hear his laughter uld rrade quips and jokes that in the wind and the waves, and the Scott I was communing with, the - j: He never really expected me to be interested, I.
And in reading those books, I saw and grew to know the man -'-: Sco tt grew stronger again mountains as kids. The same, only-more. My creative, sensitive brother -' "'"!.
Jghed and grew closer than we had grown to be funnier.