Construct a Book of Shadows

Your Book of Shadows can be as simple as a spiral notebook or a manilla folder stuffed with notes, or as elaborate as an oversized leather-bound, jewel-encrusted tome.  OF course, some people go the electronic route:  a special folder on their pc desktop, all the way to a complex database system with cross references and collating capabilities.

 

I am a computer geek, so it's not too hard to admit that I do have the whole database thing (I prefer Filemaker Pro for Mac) set up for easy reference, but when it comes to my BOS,  nothing beats good ole pen and pear.  I love the tactile sensation of turning pages and feeling the books grow as the years fall away.  On a practical note - magical energy (aka electromagnetic energy) tends to disturb the operation of many electronics, so the last thing I want inside my magic circle is my iPad.

 

The more you love something, the more energy it accumulates, so make your Book of Shadows something that you will be proud to own.  A spiral notebook or a professionally bound book is nice - but most witches I know prefer the ability to move the pages around.  Consider these alternatives:

 

 - A Scrapbook album is a great starting point.  They come in many different sizes, textures, and designs.  Walk through any craft store and browse the scrapbook aisle and the possibilities for embellishment and decoration will make you dizzy!

 

 - Disc-bound notebooks offer the ability to reposition pages.

 

 - Nothing wrong with the plain old three ring binder.

 

Make Your Own Incense

There aren't many activities better than making a batch of incense to get my witchy vibe humming… Basic directions are to pulverize herbs and resins with the mortar and pestle, then mix them to make the perfect balance of scent. It's a great way to kick off the dark half of the year.

 

Here are some tips and tricks to get you started:

  •  The fresher the ingredient, the better quality the incense.
  •  If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a manual coffee grinder.  Electric coffee grinders are not recommended.  They produce too much heat, allowing for the loss of vital chemicals from our ingredients.  Also, most resins will break the blades of electric coffee grinders, and besides, it's cheating !  :)
  •  If you freeze your resins for about 15 minutes, they will be more solid and therefore much easier to pulverize.
  •  Woods are very difficult to powder with a mortar and pestle and really require the use of a hand crank coffee grinder of some sort or simply begin with powdered woods.
  • Start with the powdered woods, then crush the herbs thoroughly.  Save the resins until last, because they will make the most mess.  Once every thing has been powdered, all ingredients should be combined and crushed together to merge the scents into one unique fragrance.
  •  The new incense should be be stored in an airtight container (preferable dark glass), and "aged" in a cool dark place for a few weeks before using.

 

Once you have mastered the basics, try this:

 

Add some dried fruit or honey to the mixture.  This  will allow you to mold the incense into 'cakes' or 'pellets' that are even more versatile.

 

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