Personally for myself I actually prefer to hand write my BOS which is the traditional way but that is how I feel you may feel differently. It is very easy to make your own Book of Shadows and you can make it as elaborate or simple as you wish.
Before you begin to make yours always remember that your BOS is a sacred tool it is an item of power and it should be consecrated the same as all your other tools. When writing in your book you will be transferring energy and it will also help you memorise whatever you write into your book.
How to make your own Book of Shadows
You first need to think how big you want your book to be this could be a small note pad or you can go raving mad and buy a huge folder! Personally I use a three ring binder that way I can add as many pages as I wish and of course you can arrangement and move the pages around easily. You may like to place your pages in to plastic covers that way when your working and if you accidentally spill anything on to your page it will be protected and easily wiped clean ~ especially candle wax on paper it is virtually impossible for it not to stain having a plastic cover on your work it is easily wiped clean and protects all your hard work.
In my BOS I have my name on the first page along with the date I started my book (which was quite a few years ago now!) and underneath I wrote ‘My Book of Shadows’ I then sectioned off using coloured card which is easily brought from stationeries and they have little lips on the side where you can write the different sections of your BOS so making it easier to find the section you need at any given time.
Some witches like to write there book in fancy writing which I admit looks very effective but unless you are good at writing and it comes easy to you, you may well find after a while it is hard to jot things down quickly and you end up writing normal free hand, now I am not a fancy type writer so to be honest I write inside my book in my normal hand writing but again the choice is yours.
On my next page I wrote down what I believe there is no point in writing things in your BOS if they don’t mean anything to you! It is all very well seeing something on the net or even reading here and thinking because I have done something or you have seen someone else do something and it looks good or your stuck not knowing what to write that you end up copying because you think that person ‘must have it right’ no that is not so you must write down how you feel and what you believe. For example I have the Wiccan Reade on the next page following my name and date etc but you have to have use what you believe there are many different versions of the Reade so don’t do what someone else believes in do what is right for you this is after all your BOS. For me I believe if it harms no ones then do what you will I also believe in the three fold law ~ but you may not. For me the three fold law means what you do comes back and will bite you on the butt so always be sure what you do won’t affect your karma then you can’t go far wrong it is all down to you and your personal responsibility.
How you section your BOS is again down to personal choice but to give you some ideas generally speaking this is what is inside many BOS.
Rules of your coven or your personal beliefsThis is what you believe in and how you follow your tradition and what you think are acceptable rules of magic. You need to set yourself some guide lines and writing them down in your book is a good reminder for you when working.
Gods and Goddesses
Again this depends on your tradition and what you believe whhoever are your chosen Deities are you can add pictures and information about them in this section. For me I follow the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses so I have information in this section of my BOS along with pictures and what they mean for me.
Correspondance tablesIn this section you can include the moon phases for current year, crystals and tumblestones, herbs, oils along with their meanings and uses.
The SabbatsIn this section you can record the different Sabbats and your rituals for each of the eight holidays we celebrate throughout the year, what you like to do and how you celebrate. Also write down what the different Sabbats mean along with colours and flowers, ritual oil and candles it is always good to have this information to hand in one section ~ saves flicking through your book trying to find whih candle colour you should be using on your altar for any given Sabbat!
Other Rituals you may be celebratingThis could be the Esbats or moon phases for example you may follow the full moon so it is a good idea to write down when the full moon will be. Also how to cast a circle, invoking the Goddess etc.
HerbsWrite down your favourite herbs and spices, if there is a particular herb you like to use for a certain Sabbat then write down why you use that herb and how you use them. This way you will remember for next year or next time you want to use it. There is a section on this blog that will help you with many different herbs and what they are used for.
DivinationThis section is for all your divinations like the Tarot cards, rune meanings, using a crystal ball or scrying etc, make little notes what they mean to you or how you use them, this is especially good for beginners who are just starting out with learning the Tarot cards or runes. Keeping the information in your BOS helps you to learn as your writing down and much easier to find if you get stuck on something.
RecipesIn this section write down any incense recipes you have tried and liked ~ there is nothing more annoying then mixing a lovely fragrance only to forget how much of this or that you added to get that fragrance! Been there and done that so now I always write down on a scrap piece of paper how many pinches or spoons I have added to a mix that way once I have the fragrance I like I can add that recipe to my BOS so I can repeat it once I have run out. Recipes are not only for incense they can be for herbs, oils and even food recipes for certain Sabbats you may have made a pumpkin pie for Samhain and if you love it you will want to make it again for the following year so this section is writing down any recipes you have made or would like to try.
SpellsSome witches like to keep their spells in a different book which is called a grimoire but again I use my BOS for this task. Spells can be for protection, love, money, healing etc so wrtie down which spells you like in this section when you did the spell, what you used and what the outcome was for this spell.
Making a coverYou may cover your BOS now I have to admitt it is far easier to cover a three ringed binder then it is to cover a note book! For my cover I used a soft leather I was lucky as a friend was having her three piece suit recovered which happend to be black leather and the guys left some spare leather behind which she gave to me so that is what I used the leather was super soft and felt wonderful to me and of course it has protected my BOS for many years as it is hard wearing but you don't have to use leather you can use whatever you prefer. I also made some purple tassels as well I have some lovely purple silk thread so I spend an hour or son threading them together and placing them on a single braid of leather and I place those on my BOS and use it as a bookmark. Be imaginative and design your cover how you want it to be after all your BOS should last you a life time and then some! It is tradtional to pass down your BOS to a family member for example your son or daughter, grandson or grandaughter so your BOS needs to last ~ unless of course you want the hassle of having to rewrite it all out again! So take your time it doesn't need to be rushed. You can decorate the cover in many different ways ~ crescent moon, stars, pentacle, dreamcatchers, crystals etc so be imaginative.