Grimoires and Books of Shadows are one of the more mysterious and exciting elements of witchcraft, especially for beginners. We see these incredible handcrafted examples on Pinterest and Charmed and Practical Magick and think: I’m not an artist, or even a scrapbooker. How am I supposed to make a book that looks like that?
The more important, and often overlooked, question is: how am I supposed to use a book that looks like that?
Grimoires are supposed to be something that is used and honored, not just a pretty prop. The books we see in the Halliwell Manor and in the Aunts’ kitchen, although fictional, look the way they do because they are supposed to have been loved and added to over many generations. They have been used.
So the most important question to ask yourself when creating a grimoire, is: how am I going to use it?
I’m of the mind that there are three types of grimoires, all three of equal importance:
- The Practical Grimoire, or Grimoire of the Mind: A reference guide to those elements indispensable to your magickal practice.
- The Chronicle Grimoire, or Grimoire of the Body: A daily, weekly and monthly record of your magickal practice, written in a journalistic format.
- The Essence Grimoire, or Grimoire of the Spirit: A record of who you are as a witch.
I think it’s actually more helpful to have these three categories in separate books, than in one massive tome. For one thing, these three types of books are used in very different ways, so they may well have completely different structures.
I’m going to be discussing how to create these three types of grimoires over three blog posts and we’re going to start with The Practical Grimoire!
For me, the purpose of this type of book is mostly so that when I need an herb for a specific purpose or need to refresh my memory on the properties of a crystal I own, I can turn to my own notes and experiences instead of Google…
How to Create Your Practical Grimoire
- Find a blank journal that speaks to you. The cover is certainly important as it is the face your grimoire presents to the world. It’s important to consider the benefits of different types of pages too: lined, sketchbook, grid paper or even the trendy dot grid style.
- Bless your new grimoire. Record a favorite poem, the Wiccan Rede, a blessing or protection spell, or a blessing from your cultural heritage. You could also draw sigils, pentagrams or other symbols on your blessing page.
- Decide how your book will be structured. Will you have an index? Will you leave blank spaces for categories or just fill it up as you go?
- Choose your categories. What spiritual elements are important to your magickal practice? Do you use herbs, crystals, tarot, follow the lunar cycles or read palms? There should be a section in your Practical Grimoire for each of these practices.
- Research each element you plan to record. This book is designed to be a reference of all your most used knowledge, so try to do more than just jot down a few words to describe each herb or crystal. Delve deeper! My personal method for this is to jot down all the information I can find on a separate piece of paper and then organize it for my grimoire.
- Record your information carefully and thoughtfully. You will likely add to the pages as you learn and practice more!
The Witch of Lupine Hollow’s Practical Grimoire
If you’re looking to see a Practical Grimoire in action, have a glimpse at mine!
My Practical Grimoire is contained in a simple, elegant lined notebook with charcoal gray covers and brass corners.
I recorded one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems about the moon as a blessing and drew a crescent moon sigil on the first page.
I am carefully controlling the content in this grimoire, but choosing to accept that I can’t know exactly how many pages I will need for each section. Instead, I am indexing the categories at the beginning with the knowledge that those categories may need to repeat as I fill up the book.
One little extra thing I am doing to make it easier to find what I need in my grimoire, is utilizing book darts. These are little metal tabs that slide onto a page, which I’m using to mark each category.
My book is broken into a Materia Medica (herbal notebook), a Crystal Directory and information on the lunar cycle. These are the three spiritual elements I utilize most often. I may also add a yoga section at some point as I frequently incorporate moon salutations and other sequences into my rituals.
It’s important to have structure; I try to record the same information about each herb or crystal. The pages are fairly straightforward, filled with practical information, but I do include some hand-drawn banners and a sketch of each herb.
Do you keep a grimoire or grimoires? What kinds of information do you consider most important?
Next up, we’ll be talking about the Chronicle Grimoire so stay tuned!