I think just about anyone out there knows what a Book of Shadows is, even if they don’t identify as Pagan or Wiccan. A witch’s Book of Shadows or Grimiore has long been identified as a book where the witch collected all her knowledge of spells and the Craft. It was something that was kept hidden so no one could steal her secrets.
I loved watching the episodes of Charmed that featured the girl’s Book of Shadows because the artwork was always so detailed and I secretly wanted to have one of those gorgeous old books for my own.
Then there was the book from Practical Magic. Oh my goodness… the work that went into making this truly amazing prop! I love how dried plants and flowers, even feathers, were used to give texture to its pages. And don’t even get me started on that split spine! So beautiful!
So you might be asking yourself… okay, Helen, this is nice and nostalgic and all… but what does this have to do with a Book of Shadows Makeover? Well, let me explain. When I was a baby witch, I started a version of a BOS in a big 3-ring binder. I went crazy printing off all kinds of information and pretty pictures that I put in this 2 or 3 inch wide binder, most of it I didn’t even bother to read before I added it.
I quickly realized that I was getting out of control and like I often times do, I sat down and had a heart to heart with my best friend and coven sister, Cathy. I don’t remember what she had been doing up until that point, but what I do remember is that we decided what we wanted was more than a traditional Book of Shadows. We were studying together at that time and there was loads of information and drawings and tables that we’d come across that we both wanted to put in one place that we could easily reference.
We decided that we would call these books our Book of Light because for us, Light meant the knowledge we gained after coming out of the Darkness of unknowing. The next thing we had to determine was what kind of system we would use for out BOL. I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to notebooks and journals and I happened to have this really awesome book in my collection that I’d found at my local Borders Bookstore.
I thought it would be perfect for this purpose for many reasons, the first of which was because it was so compact. It measures 6-5/8 x 8-1/2 inches, so it was easy to put into a bag or purse to take with me. Secondly, it contains all these wonderful plastic pockets where I could slip pictures/charts/tables that I drew or photocopied out of various books that I wanted to reference quickly.
Another nice feature was that the notebook had sections of different paper types (lined, graph, blank) that were divided by the folders and plastic pockets. It was incredibly helpful when I set up my different topic areas. I also used adhesive tabs to mark the topic areas to easy reference.
NOTE: Just in case anyone is taking notes here on how I organized information, let me just interject here that I made sure to put the Author, book and page number where I found the information I was including in my BOL. That way if you wanted to look back for additional info or tell someone where you found it you could do so very easily.
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself… Helen, it sounds like your BOL is really working well for you, so again, why the makeover? For the most part this system has worked for me with the exception that the back cover has never stayed on well. Because it’s a double spiral, the way the wire is bent makes it so there isn’t a continuous spiral all the way down the spine of the notebook. It leaves a gap so that the back cover has actually come off multiple times. Also, the spirals are getting bent, making it difficult to turn pages. And because it’s a few years old, the elastic band that holds the book closed is getting stretched out.
Basically, it’s time for a makeover!
I’ve been researching some different systems to see what I want to go to. I really like the style of the Practical Magic BOS, but a book that size is bulky. I’ve seen many people go the 3-ring binder route, but again, too big for my purpose. I was also really interested in making a version of a Midori journal, but I have been having the hardest time finding notebook sizes that will work for me. I think I’ve found what I want to do, but I haven’t gotten what I’ve been looking at in my hands yet so I don’t want to jinx it. Stay tuned and I will share more when I have a better idea where I’m headed.
Meanwhile, do you keep a BOS? If so, how do you organize your information? I really want to hear what works or hasn’t worked for anyone out there. Leave a comment and as always, thanks for walking a while with me!