How to Make and Use a Grimoire
Posted by Cassandra Shea on
Tips for Creating a Grimoire
One of the key tools to a magical practice is a grimoire. Sometimes called Book of Shadows, grimoires are journals for magical record keeping and study. Whether your goal is to use it as a collection of your formal rituals and spells, or just reflections on your current magical and spiritual readings, grimoires are important tools to keep for your practice.
So how do you begin one?
Decide on Format
First thing to consider when starting a grimoire is whether you would like a physical book for a grimoire or a digital one. There are definite pros and cons to either version.
A physical grimoire would be any paper and pen method. This can be a simple blank journal that you write directly in or it could be a binder that allows you to add and remove pages easily. You could get fancy and make your own or buy a super ornate handmade blank grimoire from an etsy shop. These are the styles of grimoires that allow you to handwrite your spells, rituals, correspondences, and other magical journaling.
- Your personal energy goes into it more with your handwriting and artwork additions
- Can’t be accidentally deleted
- Can be written in anywhere you take it, even without wifi service
- Multiple formats can be used, like bound blank or lined journals, bullet journal style, traveler notebook format, ringed binder style (allowing you easier editing)
- If you hate your handwriting, it can be tough to want to look back at any of your work
- If you don’t feel artistic, you might have a tough time wanting to complete it
- Takes a bit longer to complete
- More difficult to make edits and changes unless written in pencil which smears
Photo by Muhammad Haikal Sjukri on Unsplash
Digital grimoires can consist of folders on your computer or Google Drive with separate documents for each spell or ritual. Or it could be one large document. Some might just use bookmarks in their browser for spells, recipes, and rituals they have found online. You can even use a social media site like Tumblr to save and tag spells you find shared throughout the site.
- If typed, you can print out and have easy to read rituals and spells
- Can be easily shared to others
- Depending on how you save things, can be easily searched and accessed
- Edits and changes are simple and easy
- Easier to hide if in the witch closet
- Not as personal usually
- Can be accidentally deleted or even hacked
- Depending on how you save things, can be difficult to find
- If you save everything and too much of it, can be overwhelming to look back through
From here, we’ll focus primarily on physical grimoires, but just know that you do have digital options out there as well. And, you can always combine physical and digital grimoire keeping elements into your practice as well.
Pick Out a Journal
Once you have decided your format (focusing here on physical grimoires), you will want to pick out your journal for it. There are many styles and journals out there to choose from.
Here are some examples:
- Composition notebook
- A5 notebooks in lined, blank, or dot grid styles
- Regular lined or blank journals
- Travelers notebook system (usually a cover with elastic bands to put multiple thin, staple-bound or stitch-bound journal inserts in)
- 3-ring binders, with or without clear plastic sleeves
- Leather bound journals
- Hand-made and hand-bound journals from Etsy
- And old book that you glue together pages and gesso over to create your own art pages
- Any sort of journal you feel drawn to using
Take time and figure out what draws to you, but also don’t let the fear of messing it up stop you from getting started. Know you will probably end up with half a dozen if not more journals over the next year or two of working your practice. You may start one and use it for a while and then find one that works better for you later. That is okay. Just find one that works for your current needs and start using it.
Shop Here for blank journals.
Consecrate Your Grimoire
Once you have decided the format and picked out your journal, you will want to consecrate it for your purposes. Again, your grimoire will be one of the most important tools you will use in your practice. It is sacred, personal, and magical.
To consecrate your journal you can do one or all of the following:
- Write a blessing in the first page of the book
- Perform a ritual to consecrate it
- Sleep with it or set it on your altar during a full moon
- Cast a protection spell on it
The idea is that when you decide to use a journal for your magical record keeping, you will want to spend time making it just a bit more sacred. The practice of using it will also make it sacred, but writing a blessing in the first pages or spending time in ritual to bless and consecrate it will give it just a little more magical umph.
My grimoires all have some form of blessing and dedication at the beginning of them. It usually evokes the energy of the elements I work with to consecrate it. My formal grimoires have been blessed in short rituals that bring those elements into contact with the book as well and I usually just read aloud the blessing I have written and then formally sign it. Less formal grimoires that I use get the written blessing but no accompanying ritual.
Begin Using It
Once consecrated or blessed, spend time writing in your journal weekly if not daily. As you see spells or rituals you like, write them in the pages and once performed, write down your experiences.
If you are struggling to get started remember these things:
- There is no right or wrong way to use your grimoire
- You don’t have to share it with anyone else
- You can get ideas from others, but try not to judge your own because its not like theirs
- It doesn’t need to be perfect
If you need ideas of pages to include think about these:
- Your birth chart
- Moon signs
- Moon phases
- Circle casting ritual
- Pages for the elements
- Pages for Wheel of the Year if you celebrate
- Crystals you work with
- Deities you work with
- Rules from your tradition
- Herbs you work with
The list is endless. If it is information you need and use, include it. If it's information you find interesting, include it. If it's something you don’t believe or will have use for, don’t include it.
The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire
Written by Skye Alexander, the author of The Modern Guide to Witchcraft, this book of creating your own grimoire or book of shadows is a great guide for making your own grimoire.
The book starts out with delving into the history of grimoires for a short bit. Then it dives into how to create a grimoire or book of shadows. From there, Part II of the book focuses on how to use your grimoire by providing spells, rituals, and correspondences that may be helpful to copy and include into your own book.
- Great information on how to make your own book
- Plenty of spells and correspondence ideas to include
- If Wiccan, it is focused more on Wicca principles
- If not Wiccan, it is focused a bit on Wiccan principles
- Part I of crafting a Grimoire is relatively short compared to Part II that includes spells, rituals, and correspondences
Whether getting started for the first time with creating a grimoire or you already have several, this book makes a nice guide for new spells and correspondences to add to your own grimoire.
If you are on the hunt for some inspiration for your grimoire, check out a few of these videos and sites:
ROCK Your Grimoire Video
HearthWitch's Tips for Starting a Book of Shadows Video
A Witch's Guide to Starting Your Grimoire and/or Book of Shadows
The Creative Cottage's Magical Scriptorium; Grimoires, Journals, and Book of Shadows
Grimoires are deeply personal and very magical tools for any witch or magical practitioner. Your grimoire is yours and can be as fancy or as simple as you want it to be. There is no right or wrong way to do it other than just not starting. So get started, add pages as often as you wish. Take notes on all your magical workings. And look back whenever you see fit.
Feel free to share with us on Instagram or Facebook your grimoires. We’d love love to see them.