Ostara is a Favorite Time for us

Spring Setting

This is what ChatGPT says;

“At this moment, the Earth’s axis is inclined at an angle of about 23.5 degrees with respect to its orbit around the Sun, and the equinox occurs when the Sun is directly above the equator, with the tilt of the Earth’s axis causing the length of the day and night to be approximately equal everywhere on Earth. After the spring equinox, the days in the northern hemisphere start to become longer than the nights, and the opposite happens in the southern hemisphere.”

I like the thought that days and nights are equal in length all around the world. We can contemplate this as we celebrate whatever is going on in our own part of Earth, our own reality. Here in the northeast USA, there is much snow on the ground but warmer temperatures. The Sun is also doing a better job of melting the snow, and warming us up. It feels like a very hopeful time, especially when taking a moment with eyes closed and face turned upwards to the Sun.

Blessed Be.

+ Blue Candle

Creative Ways to Use a Blue Candle

So you bought a blue candle for spell or ritual work ages ago and it’s been sitting around since then. But what can you do with it now? Reusing your tools is a good way to keep your practice fresh, learn new things, and also keep your house from getting cluttered with all the witchy things. Here’s five ways to bring that candle back into rotation.

Use for elemental water magic and ritual.

Connecting to the elements is an important part of witchcraft and most nature-based forms of spirituality. Doing this can be difficult if you work full-time, have seasonal allergies, or live somewhere where the weather prevents you from going outside comfortably. You can ring nature in through your thought and intention, though. Your blue candle can represent the sweetness of your favorite lake, much needed rain, or the liquid nurturing all the plants around you. You can also use the candle to invoke the flowing energy of water and its ability to wear away any restriction that tries to confine it.

Connect with your intuition.

Burn your blue candle when you’re journalling, reading tarot or oracle cards, or drawing. Burning a candle is a great way to create sacred space for yourself and cue your brain into letting go of its chore lists and worries. The calming blue energy of the candle will help you relax and get into the mindspace of being in a state flow and creativity.

Work with Archangel Michael.

Even if you haven’t worked with angels before, this can be an interesting exercise. You don’t need to be Christian or believe in God to work with the archangels. Many people see them as representations of specific energies or guardian spirits. Work with Archangel Michael when you feel you need protection or healing or need to blast through an obstacle.

Do throat chakra work.

Many of us have times where we feel like we’re not being heard or are having difficulty expressing what needs to be said. We could also be dealing with shyness, or with childhood trauma around self-expression. Burning a blue candle with intention while meditating or journaling can help you address these issues. You can also do this without a specific issue in mind, just as a way to regularly pay attention to your chakras and keep them functioning optimally.

Brainstorm spells and rituals

Explore all the color associations of the color blue. They go beyond just intuition or throat chakra work. A short google search can give you many ideas for little rituals or spells you can do to accompany affirmations or to pepper your daily life with a little bit of magic. For example, you can work to increase trust in the universe, or energize your self go “go for the blue ribbon.”

How to Work With Crystals

You’ve probably  heard all about how working with crystals can help change your life, but  there’s so much information about how to work with them that it can be confusing when you’re just starting out—or even if you’ve been working with them for a while. Here are five important points for working with crystals.

1. Know how to work with the science of crystals

Crystals work by vibration due to their molecular structure and the way they grow—and you are also a vibrational being. What this means is that crystals aren’t like magical pills that are “for” something and will change your life in an instant — like you hear “rose quartz is for love.” Crystals will support you over time in creating and maintaining  a certain vibration, like optimism, patience, or loving-kindness—but are not like waving a magic wand over your life.

This is also why it helps to work with only a few crystals at a time. You might think that having all the crystals would just “do everything,” but this is like putting on twenty different songs at the same time; you can’t really tune into the one you need.

2. Work with crystals like they’re friends, not servants

Following up from above, you should view working with a crystal like having a friend, not a servant. Don’t get a green aventurine crystal thinking it will fetch you some wealth. Your efforts and intentions are important.

Perhaps keep the crystal in your pocket while you are at work to help you remember to put the extra effort into your projects or to imagine yourself as valuable and worthy of promotion. Touch the rose quartz you’re wearing when you hear the voice of your inner critic starting to be mean to you so you remember to tell it to shut up. You may find yourself picking up certain stones when you want a certain kind of company, the same way you’d invite one friend to a ball game and another to a rave. 

On this same topic, this means that your intention and desires are the most important factor. The crystal is there to support you, and won’t work if you’re doing nothing. You don’t need to know what you’re doing or how you’re going to do it, but you need to have an intention to develop in a certain area of your life.

3. Don’t oversimplify

You’ll often hear things like “Green stones are for wealth, pink stones are for love,” and things like that. While the color of a stone is often associated with its usage, things aren’t necessarily that simple. While you could carry around a generic “love” stone, you’ll get more mileage by drilling down and figuring out what it is you really need. Do you need to feel safe enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable? Perhaps you want a stone of protection, like black tourmaline, or a grounding stone like garnet. Does your anger always drive people away after you meet them? Work with a calming stone like lepidolite. Or maybe you’ve just been too timid to ask people out—maybe you could use a good throat chakra stone like lapis, which might also help you feel regal enough to put yourself out there. See how it works?

4. Trust yourself to know which crystals to work with

Most of the information you’ll find on the internet seems to be rehashed or copied from itself or from often uncredited original information. This can be a good start, but after a while it all starts sounding the same and can leave you totally confused. If you’re very much into crystals, it can’t hurt to get a book by a respected author, like Love is in the Earth, by Melody, or the work of Robert Simmons or Michael Geinger. Regardless of what you read, the most useful source of information is your own intuition. Don’t know what crystal you need? Go to a crystal store and see what you’re attracted to, and what wants to come home with you. Again this harkens back to the point that crystals are there to work with you, not for you, and your intuition will tell you what work you need to be doing and with whom.

5. Start out with one or two crystals

When you walk into a crystal store, it’s tempting to get one of everything to cover your bases—especially if you don’t know exactly what you want. But because crystals work via vibration, carrying around twenty crystals won’t give you 20 things — it’ll likely end up being white noise, and besides that, since your intention matters it’s easier to have a clear focus on that intention when you’re only working with one or a few stones at a time.

Also, if you’re on a budget, know that clear quartz can be “programmed” to do whatever you need it to, so all you need is a good piece of quartz. If you want to work on self-love this month, you can program it to do that. Then, if you want to work on being more intuitive the next month, you can de-program it and reprogram it with that intention. No need to have a separate crystal for everything. 

+ holiday ideas

Ten Great Gifts for Wiccans and Pagans

I know this is a little late, but here’s a recap of some of my favorite things that I think would make great gifts for Wiccan or Pagans this holiday season. Whether you want to buy something special for a friend or for yourself, here’s 10 ideas for you.

  1. The Spirit Cats Moon + Sun 2023 Calendar from Nicole Piar, available at her Etsy Shop is just the right size to fit by a desk or a coffeemaker and provide a whimsical note to keeping track of the days. It has astrological data and the moon phases and is the kind of second calendar that someone can always use.
  2. The Whole and Holy Goddess Devotional by Molly Remer, found along with many other wonderful items like little goddess statues in her Etsy shop Brigid’sGrove.
  3. Any of the gift sets at HanaqPacha on Etsy, like the Palo Santo Gift Box or the Organic Rose Water. Their sprays smell amazing, especially the Palo Santo Spray w/Rose and Wild Tobacco. This is some great stuff–but of course you’d have to get some for yourself so you can smell it.
  4. Many people love to journal, and would undoubtedly appreciate a leather journal cover from Chic Sparrow. They make them in a multitude of sizes and leathers, and your friends will thank you (or curse you) for getting them addicted to these.
  5. If you’re looking for a non-binary, queer tarot deck, the Fifth Spirit Tarot comes out on Amazon on December 20th. To quote the description, “The artwork lovingly features folks of different races, body shapes, abilities, ages, and gender expressions. Instead of renaming the cards for gender-neutrality, Fifth Spirit seeks to challenge the gender binary and expand notions of gender through the juxtaposition of traditional title and queered imagery.” You can probably get your hands on it at a local Barnes & Noble the same day.
  6. I came across wxy oudh incense at a little shop in Salem, and fell in love. It’s a little bit of a splurge, but it comes in a reusable concrete box with a brass plate for burning the incense. The whole setup looks so simple and gorgeous, and has really elevated my morning routine. And even better, the box is reusable and fits a small tarot deck. Squee! The cheapest I’ve found it is here at Terma Goods.
  7. Anything from WilderaArt on Etsy. I got a wonderful Moon Runes Divination Set, and her Wildera Lenormand is gorgeous. Everything is wood burned by hand, and the decks have a wonderful brown/sepia woodsy feel to them.
  8. If you know that someone is working with a specific intention or planet in mind for the new year, you can shop by color at JetPens and get them something in a color that matches that intention, like a bottle of Pilot Iroshizuku Ka-juku ink and a Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop fountain pen.
  9. The Gentle Tarot now comes in a mini edition in a tin. This tarot deck is so sweet, and yes — gentle, and would be a wonderful present for someone who’s into animals and ecology. You can find it here on Etsy, along with the larger version and a guidebook in the shop.
  10. And finally, there’s our own Wiccan Toolkit, available here in our Etsy shop. It’s a fun gift for someone who needs a little more ritual in their life.
+ Witch, Wiccan or Pagan>

What is the Difference between a Witch, a Wiccan, and a Pagan?

If you are searching for a spirituality that works for you, it can be difficult to figure out the difference between a witch, a wiccan, and a pagan, which seem like similar things. Even if you don’t feel the need to specifically identify yourself as anything, it can be difficult to figure out what to tell other people when they ask about what you are or what you do. Are these religions? Can you still call yourself one of them if you don’t like the idea of religion?

We hope to help you navigate this territory by explaining the history and context of these identifying names and discussing how they might be relevant to you in your life. 

What is a Wiccan?

Wicca itself seems to have a confusing history. Various Pagans in the Britain of the 60’s uses the term to cover the entirety of Pagan Witchcraft. Wicca was also a specific religion created in the 1950’s by Gerald Gardner after traveling in Asia, reading broadly, and allegedly being inspired by local British witches. He and his high priestess Doreen Valiente established covens and promoted what to this day is still called Gardnerian Wicca. 

Several other occultists ran with it and created their own brands of Wicca. You may come across the Dianic Wiccans, the Feri Tradition, the Reclaiming tradition, the Minoan Brotherhood, among others. It also appears that the word “Wicca” seems to have been adopted by a lot of the Pagan Witchcraft followers during the 60’s, after Gardner made known the old English Term “Wicce,” or “wise one” — the source of the word “witch.”

The term Wiccan has evolved into a general catch-all term used by people who want to identify with a nature-based religion that other people might have heard of and to be more specific than just “pagan.” Technically all Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccan. There is a lot of argument, especially from within the various traditions what a “Wiccan” is if one does not associate with a particular tradition. The most reasonable definition seams to be something along the line of “someone who follows an earth-based religion that derives from before Christianity and has certain rituals and practices.”

The term has become eclectic enough that it’s hard to tell who it applies to. There are Wiccans who would not call themselves witches, as well as those who use the term mainly because saying “earth based spirituality” is too complicated. Others who are witches call themselves Wiccans even though it does not have any added meaning to them, and there are also witches who do not call themselves Wiccan.

So what’s an earth-based-spiritual-person to do? 

What is a Pagan?

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of a pagan is:

old fashioned + often offensive : a person who is not religious or whose religion is not Judaism, Islam, or especially Christianity : HEATHEN

The word comes from the Latin word meaning “rural,” which lends it the slightly less insulting  version of meaning whatever religion was in a geographical area before Christianity obliterated it or forced it underground. 

Of course these definitions completely disregard any of the other religions of the world that are not “major” and don’t take into account the significant history of animism in eastern religions or any of the native indigenous religions of the Americas. And, to be fair, there are many instances of cultures dismissing their own more rural ways of practicing and worshipping as “uncultured” or “unlearned.”

According to the Pagan Federation International, a pagan is “A follower of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion.” It takes a more holistic view and adds that “Paganism is the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity,” which recognizes and does not exclude current incarnations of this ancestral endeavor.

Pagans may follow a specific pantheon native to their area or culture, or worship many deities in a more animist method. Many view the many gods and goddesses as aspect of one God or Goddess, or of one non-dualistic Spirit. 

Regardless of the specificities of deity worship, most pagans view nature not as something subject to our will and domination but as a living manifestation of the divine principle. We are here to coexist with nature, not control it; more precisely, we are not separate from it at all. From this arises the many forms of divination and aspects of shamanism common to many cultures.

The difference between a Wiccan and a modern Pagan is fairly subtle yet distinct. Wiccans generally believe in Divinity in the form of the God and Goddess, largely derived from British & Celtic belief systems. Someone identifying as a Pagan more likely has a different Pantheon or cultural focus that is important to them. There are also many pagans who work with various pantheons; you’re more likely to hear the term “Eclectic Pagan” than you are “Eclectic Wiccan.” 

Most modern Wiccans and Pagans have some interest in magic and divination, though not necessarily a focus on creating spells, which is what would land them in the witch category. There are many pagans who are into the cultural aspects of their tradition and have no interest in the types of things attributed to modern witchcraft. 

What is a Witch?

A witch, traditionally, was a “wise person” — someone who knew how to heal people, birth babies, makI e predictions.” They weren’t always welcome, and were sometimes feared, even through they were always needed. While there were male witches, witches were often female. Being knowledgeable, female, and feared tended to be a really bad combination. 

Males into the occult often didn’t fare well either. Magic and science started out being close to the same thing, as the court astrologers were the ones who predicted the movements of the spheres and delved into the secret knowledge of humanity. This was a tricky mix, and it was easy to run afoul of the Church—or just make the wrong prediction and piss someone off.

Regardless, the witch has always lived on the fringes of society. Unlike the shaman, who in traditional societies had a valued role in the community, witches were often shunned or were forced to fly (pardon the pun) under the radar. Part of this was due to the fact that Western culture did not really value women and their knowledge, and viewed highly magical women’s work such as healing people with food and keeping them safe with knitted, woven, or stitched talismans as below notice. 

Coming back to the modern day — many people identify as a witch for several reasons. Some are hugely attracted to the idea of casting spells or doing magic. Others view it as a political act, or an homage to the generations of wise women and men who tended the fires of our hearths and our hearts throughout all of humanity. Many people, conversely, avoid the word witch because they don’t believe in spellwork or don’t want to engage with anything they feel is politically charged.

A more precise definition of a witch though could best be “someone who does magic,” meaning someone who through intent, knowledge, and action, aims to exert their will on the world. If you look at the self-help section of the past twenty years, it’s fairly indistinguishable from magic: identify what you want, create an intention, make a plan, act. The whole business around the Law of Attraction has brought this type of effort into the mainstream but has also created a lot of confusion and argument over the matter.

A modern witch more likely gets a little more esoteric than just “believing in magic.” Likely they delve into occult correspondences, divination techniques, and systematized knowledge of things like herbs and astrology. There are so many books and specialties out there that it’s easy to feel like you’re not a witch unless you know a lot of stuff and own a gazillion books.

Ultimately, your spirituality is your business, as it what you call yourself. Worst comes to worst, if you can’t find a convenient label, you can usually shut anyone up by launching into a joyously geeky rant about all of this stuff and make them never ask you again. Personally, that’s our advice.

+ what kind of a witch am i?

What Type of Witch Am I?

If you’re just discovering Witchcraft or Wicca, it’s hard to not get overwhelmed by all the books and “types” of practice there are out there. You know you’re a witch, but what type of Witch are you? It’s important to know that you don’t need to pick one to the exclusion of the others when you’re starting out. It may take you a while to really feel out what works for you and what you love best. It’s also possible that you may not want to choose to identify only with one, or might want to focus on one or the other depending on the season. 

Why Choose a Type?

Many schools of witchcraft focus on initiation and working for a period of time beforehand. This can be attractive to you if you like delving deep or if you like discipline or the focus. There’s also a certain amount of accountability that comes with focusing on a tradition or a path, especially if you are pursing something designed as an actual course of study.

If you have a family or ancestral tradition you may be intrigued by that, even if it’s a distant connection. This can be tricky, as often these traditions are buried or were abandoned in the preference for assimilation or lost during generational or interpersonal difficulties. Or, perhaps you are adopted and yet feel connected to the traditions of your adoptive family. There are all sorts of issues and challenges with spiritual vs. genetic allegiance, some of which we’ll discuss below.

You may also just desire to feel an identification with something, and feel like “witch” is too generic. Whatever you do, we recommend you avoid the diminutive term “baby witch.” Being a witch is all about honoring and recognizing our own power. Just because you’re starting out doesn’t mean you’re at all a child or “less than” anyone else.

Cultural Appropriation. 

There’s always a consideration of sensitivity to other people’s culture. Cultural appropriation is when you adopt someone else’s culture to use for your personal benefit, particularly  without doing so with respect or taking any responsibility for doing any work on behalf of that culture. What you do in the privacy of your own home is up to you, but if you are taking pictures or sharing your practice on the internet it’s an important consideration.

It is, however, difficult to not feel like you’re appropriating a culture if you are out of touch with your own ancestry  or if your  ancestry has been squashed or scattered. It can also be the case that in a previous live you did belong to a culture and that’s why you’re attracted to it. And there are people who believe that wisdom belongs to all humanity, not specific people.

It’s up to you to figure out where you stand on things. Generally, if you are sensitive to the topic and behave with any amount of respect you’re probably ok. If you’re interested in a particular culture’s practices and concerned about feeling like your practice is authentic, you can study with a living teacher and join a specific lineage.

Types of Witchcraft

The word “witch” came from the word “wicce,” or wise one—and in the old days it was likely that the town witch knew all sorts of things that no one bothered categorizing. In an era of the internet and millions of books with not enough time, people feel the need to define themselves. There are possibly infinite types of witches that we are not listing here, but here are some of the more popular ones you might come across when you begin your studies. 

Hedge Witch

A hedge witch is akin to a green witch in terms of a focus on herbalism and the natural world, but has a special interest in the liminal spaces of the world and the boundaries between one place and another. Their work can include shamanic journeying, work with plants found at the edges of places, or work conducted at the edge of culture or society. Hedge witchery may be for you if you’re attracted to the fringes of things.

Patti Wiggington has a good description of the hedge witch on her web site here. Joanna van den Hoeven just released a wonderful new beginner-friendly book called The Path of the Hedge Witch: Simple Natural Magic and the Art of Hedge Riding.

Kitchen Witch

The Kitchen Witch has been around since the first hearth and fire. Yet, it’s also a bit of a new invention that came along with the fondness for instagram-ready recipes, a plethora of cookbooks, and a desire to come back to the center of the home. The kitchen witch focuses on, predictably, kitchen magic — which includes cooking, the blessing of appliances, and the magical tending of what is often the heart of the home. Kitchen witchery may be for you if you don’t like nature or if you’re a homebody.

There are vast numbers of grimoires and cookbooks available for the kitchen witch these days, but a few of our favorites are The Book of Kitchen Witchery: Spells, recipes, and rituals for magical means, an enchanted garden, and a happy home by Cerridwen Greenleaf, and Kitchen Witchery by Laurel Woodward. 

Green Witch

The Green witch is focused on herbs and plants and the cycles of nature. You don’t need a degree in herbalism to be a green witch, but you might enjoy dedicating yourself to a methodical course of study.

You can also garden and grow your own plants for magical use. Even if you don’t have outside space, you can grow things in pots on your windowsill. Having a strong relationship with a few plants is just as useful as being in touch with a garden-load. We recommend Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s Green Witch and Page Vanderbeck’s Green Witchraft as good entry-level books.

It is worth mentioning that any foray into ingesting herbs should be done with caution — plants are medicinal compounds and can have varied effects on different people. Also, many teas or tinctures are not meant to take long-term. It’s important to have a trustworthy book and/or a herbalist to consult.

House Witch

A house witch focuses on the magic of the home, which is’t restricted to the kitchen like the kitchen witch. If you’re a homebody or interior design enthusiast but hate to cook, this might be fore you. House witchery can involve crystals, feng shui, color magic, and possibly altars on every uninhabited horizontal space. 

Arin Murphy-Hiscock has a wonderful book called The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home. You can also find many ideas on Pinterest that can help you manifest your intentions for the different rooms of your house. House witchery can be exciting because you can mix it with interior decorating and feng shui and all sorts of ways of feathering your nest.

It can be difficult being a house witch if you have housemates or live with people who either don’t share or are hostile to your spirituality, but there are always ways around this. No one needs to know that the hand-made garland hanging above your door is for protection or that the pretty rose quartz sphere on the table is for radiating love.

Solitary Witch

Perhaps your biggest choice as a witch is whether you want to work on your own or with others. Both have their merits, and your choice will depend on your personality and inclinations and whether you can find other people locally who share your focus. 

You are more likely to find a coven or a group if you want to dedicate yourself to a specific tradition. If you’re eclectic (meaning you want to piece together aspects of your practice from various traditions), you may end up having to do your workings on your own.

Even if you do most of your practice by yourself, it’s still possible to get together with others to celebrate Sabbats or Lunar Cycles. You may have to initiate such things yourself if you want to find people who aren’t already celebrating with other organizations.

Oddly (or not) there are fewer current books specifically dedicated to the solitary witch, and even Silver Ravenwolf’s tome Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation was published in 2003. The COVID years forced a lot of people into becoming “solitary” witches, and many have adapted their rituals and celebrations to an online format. Online groups are a great way to be solitary, yet social.

Ceremonial Witch

Most witches who belong to a coven are some form of ceremonial witch, meaning that not only do they follow a specific tradition but have specifically designed rituals in which everyone plays a different part. This can be a huge convenience if you’re new to witchcraft and ritual. Sometimes the logistics of ritual order and materials can seem overwhelming, and having someone else run things can really improve your enjoyment of the whole process as well as help you learn as you go. 

It is also true that elements of ritual and ceremony make it easier to enter an energetic space different than the one you occupy when you’re working, making dinner, or navigating ordinary life. Sinking into a good ritual can feel wonderful, especially if you’re not solely responsible for all the details.

You can also be a ceremonial witch on your own if you enjoy ritual, and your rituals don’t necessarily need to be complex. The difference between a ceremonial witch and a not-ceremonial one is largely a matter of regularity, discipline, and interest in staying consistent with various magical correspondences. If you prefer to do things off the cuff as they come to you or don’t like feeling confined to specific procedures, this might not be for you (look for another future article on Chaos Witchery.)

Which Witch are You?

Remember that unless you dedicate yourself to a specific coven or tradition for any specific amount of time, you’re allowed to experiment and see what works for you. Even if you do join a coven, you’re allowed to change your mind. Just because you’ve invested time in something that ends up not being a good match doesn’t mean it’s wasted time.

You may also find that your spirituality can’t be confined to one “type.” If you have a closet full of clothes and want to be able to wear what you feel like on any given day, why would you limit your spirituality to only one “look?” The main issue to consider is whether you’re continuing to “play the field” instead of committing to a serious study. It’s easy to read book after book and try different things, but at some point this takes away from the quality of any actual practice you might have. 

Remember, the basic foundation of witchcraft is personal power. You want to tend to yourself and not dissipate your energy. But just as it’s difficult to grow a garden and keep your kitchen clean, witchery itself is a path that takes work and dedication but also humor and humility. If anything, be yourself.


How to Make a Book of Shadows

If you’ve read anything about beginning a witchcraft or wiccan practice, you’ve probably heard about making a Book of Shadows—every witch needs one right, but what is it? 

What is a Book of Shadows?

A book of shadows is a personal compendium of everything you try and discover on your magical journey. many people’s books have recipes, spells, information about crystals, and information about the moon phases and other cycles of the earth. Because it’s so personalized, it’s difficult to just go out and find one that’s already made and that will work for you. But it’s important to have a place to document your spiritual growth, collect the bits you might find off of the internet, and also keep track of what your spells were and if they worked. 

What You Need to Know About Books of Shadows 

It’s important to find something that will work for you, not just something that looks amazing or that other people use. In addition, There are a  few other considerations. Also, if you’re just starting out, you might not know what you will ultimately need or want, so it’s not necessarily worth spending a lot of money on something you’ll outgrow or decide you don’t like. Finally, it’s easy to be attracted to something like a gorgeous, large leather journal with exquisite handmade paper…and then be too intimidated to use it. Don’t make things hard for yourself!  

We have a starter workbook for new wiccans called “The Workbook of Shadows” that you can find here in our Etsy shop.

Types of Books of Shadows.

There are many options for books that you may or may not have considered in addition to the usual ones. Here’s a run through. 

The Old School Leather Tome

If you want to go big right out of the gate, you can get one of these and divide it into sections by using tabs or stickers, or gluing in your own paper dividers. There are many of these easily found at metaphysical shops, and you can also find beautiful customized ones on Etsy. Some of them even come with templates and pages of information included.

You want to be careful what pens you use on these, because hand-made paper can cause difficulties with fountain pens or really wet ink. Another downside to these is that they can often seem so beautifully pristine that you end up afraid to use them.

It’s also a consideration that you will not be able to change things around once you’ve written in it. Something you might want to consider is to buy one of these as an heirloom grimoire that you use once you know what you’re doing and what your interests are. Then you can copy things into it from whatever book you’ve been working in as you go.

You can find a range of inexpensive leather journals relatively cheaply if you want to go this route from the get-go, such as this celtic three-moon one.


Sketchbooks are a cheaper alternative to an expensive journal, and easy to find. Many of them come in black hardcover that can be easily doctored up to look magical. The papers are often high-quality and give you the flexibility of drawing or collaging in your book. You can find a standard black hardcover 8 1/2 x 11 sketchbook at your local Michaels’ store.

Another advantage of the sketchbook is that a lot of them are spiral-bound, so they will lie flat while you’re consulting them for the order of steps in a spell or ritual. In addition, a lot of them are made to withstand multimedia, so you can draw and paint in them too (though these tend to have fewer pages).

The 3-Ring-Binder

A totally different kind of old school! A three-ring-binder allows you to organize your book however you want and change it around if you either decide to do things differently or put in printouts directly from the internet. You also don’t need to worry if one section ends up growing bigger than the others. The best part of this option is that you can keep upgrading it with new information without worrying about the order, and you can always uses this as a “working” book while you copy things from it into a more archival journal if you wish.

A three-ring binder allows you to take advantage of many of the template pages and information that you can find on Etsy and also allows you to pull pages out for easier use, for example if you’re making a recipe or performing a spell for ritual.

There are a whole range of binders available, but we love the Jumping Fox ones you can find here at Amazon.

Traveler-style journals

Traveler journals come in leather, faux leather or other materials and have elastic bindings in them into which you can put small, standard-sized journals such as Moleskines. This works really well if you want to work seasonally, because you can swap them out every few months and have a workable, seasonal Book of Shadows that isn’t too heavy and unwieldy. This  also gives you options for personalizing it in a way that you can change up so that you keep yourself interested and engaged with it throughout the whole year. 

These also lend themselves really nicely, because of size, to cozy journaling on the couch or sticking in a bag to bring traveling. You can also have one for different types of work, such as tarot, ancestor work, or shellwork. There’s really no need to keep everything in one big book. Our favorites are Chic Sparrow.


There are all sorts of digital templates available on the internet, as well as planning systems in which you can create a structure of your own. This kind of journal can be with you everywhere, can be modified as you grow in your practice, and can save you the trouble of printing things out or copying information.

One of the biggest advantages of this system is that you can search it for dates or topics and not have to rely on your own memory. You can also have it on hand on all your devices if you store it correctly, which means you never have to chastise yourself for forgetting what you needed for that spell when you go to the herb store.

In addition to just having your information online, modern technology means you can take advantage of relational database software in order to super-power your magic. You can use pre-crafted Notion templates such as “My Witchypedia” Template – Super Charge YOUR Book of Shadows!”(https://mywitchy.com) to help you keep track of correspondences without having to page through indices or take complicated notes.

I haven’t explored these yet, but all the offerings at Toadfoottales Etsy shop look amazing. She’s got a Witch’s Year Planner as well as supplements for tarot, runes, ogham, numerology, and pretty much any study you could think of. The pages are designed for digital journaling but appear to print nicely also.

Which Book is Right for Me”?

It’s entirely likely that you won’t know which of these systems will work for you until you start trying to put a book together, which is both ironic and frustrating. This is why it’s a good idea to NOT purchase something expensive right out of the gate unless it’s something highly customizable or that you can use for something else if you find it doesn’t work for you.

Ultimately, the most important consideration for a Book of Shadows isn’t how “magical” it looks, but how well it works for you. The best book is one that you will, and do, use. Your magical practice will advance in proportion to how well you document what you do and what your results are and whether you ever look again at any of the information you collect. You can always upgrade or change your book as you go, so don’t let worries over choosing the right one stop you from using whatever you have.


I had never heard of tigrina before we found these in Tucson, and it’s been interesting trying to figure out what it really is. Some sources say that tigrina is a combination of tiger’s eye and pietersite, but pietersite itself is a combination of gold tiger’s eye and blue quartz in matrix, and it’s also known as brecciate tiger’s eye. Brecciated basically means that something is composed of angular fragments filled with a matrix of smaller particles and a mineral cement that binds the rock together. What gives pietersite its swirly nature is the formation of crocidolite inclusions within that matrix. In what we usually see as tiger’s eye, the same inclusions are arranged in lines and lend that stripy look. 

We have a bunch of these and they’re all different–but they’re all amazing and really gemmy. A few show the “tininess” of tiger’s eye, some have more matrix, and one or two are mostly blue. They’re all $20 and will be popping up in our Etsy shop.

Tigrina Skull

I had never heard of tigrina before we found these in Tucson, and it’s been interesting trying to figure out what it really is. Some sources say that tigrina is a combination of tiger’s eye and pietersite, but pietersite itself is a combination of gold tiger’s eye and blue quartz in matrix, and it’s also known as brecciate tiger’s eye. Brecciated basically means that something is composed of angular fragments filled with a matrix of smaller particles and a mineral cement that binds the rock together. What gives pietersite its swirly nature is the formation of crocidolite inclusions within that matrix. In what we usually see as tiger’s eye, the same inclusions are arranged in lines and lend that stripy look. 

We have a bunch of these and they’re all different–but they’re all amazing and really gemmy. A few show the “tininess” of tiger’s eye, some have more matrix, and one or two are mostly blue. They’re all $20 and will be popping up in our Etsy shop.


Covellite Skull

This covellite baby is mine, but we do have another one. Covellite is a deep, indigo stone used for release and transformation; I was called to use it for ancestor work. It’s a copper sulfide and often occurs with other copper minerals–I think this one has little patches of chalcopyrite. I’ve seen covellite palm stones and tumbles before, but never skulls. He’s so sweet!