Grimoire vs. Book of Shadows

grimoire or book of shadows

You’ve seen the shows where the group of witches takes out the ancient book of spells to thumb though what could be centuries worth of family secrets to make their desires come true. I saw enough snippets of Charmed in waiting rooms back in the day to know they gathered around that book trying to bring something positive into existence to battle something evil. 

But what the hell is that book? Some call it a grimoire (pronounced grim-war), and some call it a Book of Shadows. And some even use the word interchangeably. But is there a difference? 

Actually, yes. 

What is a Book of Shadows?

A Book of Shadows, also known as a BoS for short, is a book every witch should have. It can be a small dot journal, a binder, or a beautiful leather-bound book; the choice is yours. 

I use a dot journal and then also a binder. The dot journal makes it easy to take notes in, and I can carry it with me easily outdoors, on walks, from room to room, have on my table during spellwork, etc.

But I move things to my binder BoS when I’m done taking notes or when I am doing something more permanent like making Craft notes. By Craft notes, I mean correspondences. These days of the week are tied to these magickal properties. And these planets are related to these magickal properties, and the colors are known to correspond to such and such properties, you get the point. 

So when I have notes such as those, or maybe on tarot, herbs, runes, etc., that are more permanent than my hen scratch, then I place them in my binder. 

I use a binder so that I can freely move papers around and keep my Book of Shadows organized. This is especially important when it comes to inputting my spells and spell notes (which I use a spreadsheet for spell notes). Maybe it is the Capricorn in me, but I don’t want to spend 20 minutes thumbing through my book every time I want to pull together a spell for myself or a client.  

That would take forever! I want it easily accessible and organized.

So for me, the binder works fabulously. You have to decide what is best for you.

Ok, but what all goes into your Book of Shadows? Pretty much everything. It is your witchy journal. Your tarot readings for yourself, your spells and spell notes, your Craft notes, your materia medica (notes on herbs), anything and everything you want to put in there that has anything remotely to do with witchiness. 

Another good reason to have a massive binder. It will be A LOT of information that you accumulate over the years.

What is a Grimoire?

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A grimoire is that big beautiful book of spells you pass down to your daughter or coven members that contains your tried and true spells. 

Once you have created your spell in your Book of Shadows and through your spell notes worked it out to perfection, meaning you tweaked it until it worked more often than not, you move it over to your Grimoire. This is the spell you want to go into your permanent record. The one worthy of passing down. 

Let’s face it; not every spell is worth passing down. Just like my failed chicken and rice casserole had to be tossed in the garbage, not every spell is a winner and deserves to be saved for posterity. Your Grimoire contains the best of the best. Like if your spells were given ribbons, they would all be the first place. Grimoires aren’t for participation ribbon recipients. That’s a bunch of hooey. 

So for your Grimoire, you probably want the book to be something extraordinary. Taking your time to hunt down the perfect leather-bound (or faux leather) journal with a brass clasp maybe. One with tea-stained pages to give it that time-worn feel. Perhaps searching until one speaks to you. 

If you have more than one child following in your footsteps, make sure you get a book for each of them and copy it over and don’t let them fight over who is going to get it. 

Sometimes in a coven, there will be a book, and you will be allowed to copy from that book when you are initiated. 

How do I get started?

If you sign up for my newsletter, you can get a few of my correspondence pages from my Book of Shadows. When I put things in my binder, I use the Shoreline Script and print it on resume paper to make it look nice and handwritten. If you sign up, I will share my pages with you, and you can download them for your personal use. 

But you also may enjoy doing it yourself. If you are artistic, creating something on your own in a bullet journal is fun. Suppose you are like me and are missing that creative bone, then Canva is your friend. You can create amazing graphics to print out and put in your BoS. If you don’t have a color printer, then put it on a flash drive and go to Office Depot. Just make sure it’s a keeper before you shell out the money. 

If you have any questions, contact me. I personally respond to each and every email I receive-unless it is some creepy or spam email, and then it goes in the trash, lol.

Sign up for our newsletter and get craft notes for your BoS

book of shadow or grimoire

5 thoughts on “Grimoire vs. Book of Shadows”

  1. I always thought that Book of Shadows is merely a PC term for grimoire, because grimoire still has negative connotations, at least among nonwitches, of black magick spellwork from back when witchcraft was seen as evil.

    1. I didn’t delete your post. Because you are a first-time commenter it had to be approved and I am just now seeing there was a comment that needed approval. I’ve never heard it explained that way but I learned my craft before “PC” was a thing. Where is that idea coming from? Is that what people are teaching these days? I think grimoire is what is often seen in movies and found in books and that is where the negative connotation comes from maybe?

  2. I always thought that book of shadows was just a PC term for grimoire because the latter term had negative connotations of black magick from when witchcraft was seen as evil.

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