Briefly, a Book of Shadows (or BOS for short) is the spiritual book in Wicca. When I first started reading/learning/studying about Wicca, most of the books mentioned starting a Book of Shadows as a personal journal to record experiences practicing the Craft. Throughout my life I have kept various journals to record thoughts/feelings/experiences, so it seemed natural to start a notebook to record experiences along my spiritual path. I still have several notebooks for writing about different aspects of my life, including reactions to rituals and recording tarot readings. However, several years ago I decided I wanted to create a special Book of Shadows.
I started by compiling handouts I had gathered from various workshops and information I had printed from online sources. When I started more seriously studying Wicca I decided I wanted to write more of my own rituals, and truly craft my own Book of Shadows. I ended up buying a scrapbook, so I could add my own pages as I go.
As I have worked on my book, it has evolved into a place to record my personal correspondences. I have pages for each of the elements: air, fire, water, and earth plus spirit. This is the title page for the elemental section:
I have also created pages for each of the full moon esbats. This one is for the month of January:
and I'm working on pages for each of the sabbats (holidays), like this one for Samhain (Halloween):
As you can see, I have used a combination of scrapbooking paper, stickers, found images and rubber stamping to decorate the pages. I have included written information about the theme of each esbat or sabbat, and ideas about colors, fragrances, and foods that I associate with each celebration. I compiled information from books I have read and wrote down the associations that resonated the most for me.
I have also been handwriting all of the information as opposed to typing and printing it. I'm not against typing ritual information, and it is easier to read typewritten pages (especially by candle light!), but I believe handwriting the information adds more of my energy to the book. It also helps me memorize the chants and poems I include in the book (most of which I have been writing myself).
In addition, I have a separate binder where I keep notes from coven rituals. I like having a scrapbook of our past rituals and a source of ideas for future rituals. Part of what I enjoy about Wicca and Paganism is the opportunity to create rituals that are meaningful for me. I'm not just learning from someone else's experiences or reading a spiritual book someone else wrote, I'm truly crafting my own.