Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book of Shadows

You may have noticed, I have chosen to call this my virtual Book of Shadows. I have been informed that a BoS is a purely Wiccan term, created in the 1940's by Gerald Gardner... the whole concept, in fact, and not just the term itself. I respectfully disagree. I can not attest for the first appearance of the term itself... I'm not a historian by any means (though I do have one I plan on asking next time I see him).

I do however know enough about my history to know that Grimoires of one sort or another have been around since the 4th-5th century, when they were clay tablets in Mesopotamia. I will take the time to compile a more complete history at another time, but for now I will just skip ahead to now, and me, and why this is the term I use.

A grimoire is a book sorcery and magick according to it can be anything from a list of spells, how to invoke angels and demons, how to make amulets and talismans, to use of herbs for curing illness (Kitchen witch may be a newer term, but hardly a new practice!) So what is a Book of Shadows? Looking up my friends claims about Mr. Gardner... well it is a bunch of conflicting information I am more inclined to ignore. A more popular idea (and the one I subscribe too) is that it is a Witch (or Wizard or other Magick persons) personal book of their own research and discovery of their path. It holds everything they know and believe... and may include an account of anything they have attempted that did not work out. There are any number of other names for this, but... I like this one. There are as many reasons for the name as there are witches who use it (remember, ask ten witches one question, and you will get eleven answers). My reason no doubt bares little resemblance to what it was originally, but things mean more when we take them and make them our own, right?
My words, what I write... they are a shadow of myself. Often more great and striking than the original- but always resembling truth. My Shadows (okay, I do prefer to shorten it, "Book of" just makes it sound stuffy) are a memory, a recording of what I have done, and of the things I have thought.

So these are my shadows. They won't always make sense, but I will try to make the informational ones... well, informational. Personal blurbs... I recommend finding a red string and holding on tight. Thank you for sharing in this with me.

Be well.

Samhain 2010- Of endings and beginnings

Most anyone who knows anything about anything Pagan-related is familiar with Samhain, or Halloween as others call it. (Okay, I usually call it Halloween too, old habits y'know?)
As the Pagan new year, this seemed a good time for me to begin this... my virtual Book of Shadows, if you will. My personal life is undergoing a lot of... evolution right now. It seems to fit.
Samhain is the third and final harvest, time for autumn crops such as pumpkins and apples and the like.  After this, the earth goes to sleep through the winter, it dies and is reborn again as the Maiden, fresh young and new. (You have no idea how difficult it was for me not to make a reborn-zombie joke here, it being Halloween. Oh, guess I blew it anyways.) Traditionally anything not yet harvested is left as an offering to the spirits of the land. This is the time for endings as the Wheel of the Year completes its circles and begins again; everything cycles. It's the time to put to rest anything you do not want to bring in to the new year- end bad habits, let go of things you have been holding on to.
It is also time for final goodbyes. Especially if you have had anyone you love pass on this year, you should honor their memories. Traditionally a turnip would be carved and lit with a candle to guide your loved ones and ancestors home, which has evolved into our modern Jack-O-Lantern. This is the night when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest- some even say it is lifted completely. Spirits- both benevolent and malign- are able to slip back into this world. If you honor your loved ones, perhaps set an altar with their favorite foods and something they gifted to you, there is a good chance they will come and visit you. If you are going out and about though, make sure to dress in something scary! This was done to frighten away the spirits and demons NOT wanted in your home! (Some say it is so they think you are already one of them, that way they will not take you back to the spirit realms with them!)
In time, by next year at least, I will put more details on each separate aspect of the stories and traditions, but I did not feel I should put an entire books worth of information on my first post!
Everyone be well and stay safe, go enjoy the magick sparkling in the air tonight, and by all means make some sparks yourself!