Meaning is Magic: The base medium for your Book of Shadows need not be elaborate to be meaningful, and in magic meaning is everything! Whenever practicable consider going DIY on your Book of Shadow’s personal touches. While it’s nice to have talented people make things for us, your spellbook should bear your energy signature from beginning to end. Even when you write down something shared from a friend, it’s YOU writing it, and therefore your vibrations go into the pages. Below you’ll find the instructions for making your own paper and magical inks.
How to Make a Book of Shadows with Homemade Paper
Making homemade paper is messy but fun. It’s also something anyone can learn to do.
What you need:
A bunch of scrap paper equal to about the volume of two newspapers.
a blender or food processor
2 tbs. white glue
2.5 cups of water
sink filled with 4″ of water
coat hanger (or framed screening)
These are put into the mixture after you’ve made the pulp for your paper should you wish:
- Food coloring
- Essential oil
- Dryer lint
- Confetti or feathers
- Sequins or glitter
- Threads or lace
- Cut up bits of ribbon or colored paper
- Finely ground or diced dried herbs, flower petals, fruit fibers, or vegetable pieces
- Tea leaves or coffee grounds
If possible, choose a time and date that will benefit the type of energy with which you’re saturating the paper. For example, wait until a full moon to make the paper for the personal insight section of the magical diary. Or, wait until a waning moon to make the paper that will be used for banishing spells.
- Step One: Take the coat hanger or another long piece of sturdy wire and bend it into a frame. Or you can use framed screening like that for a door. The size of the frame should be equal to the size you want your paper to be when completed. While a square or rectangle shape is customary, you can change the shape if you wish as long as you have a way to safeguard the paper afterward. Consider making several frames so you can create more than one piece of paper at a time without a waiting period in between.
- Step Two: Stretch the hose over the frame so it’s flat and secure.
- Step Three: Get the blender out (or a food processor). Put one-third of your scrap paper into the blender with a little bit of water. Use the high setting. Slowly add the rest of the paper and water until it’s completely incorporated. If you find you have too much paper for your blender, simply work in smaller batches.
- Step Four: Run the blender for two to three more minutes. If you want to add any of the optional ingredients that provide texture and/or darker colors, do so now and mix it by hand until the chosen substance is equally dispersed. For the spiritual dimension, make sure that the colors, herbs, or other additives match the theme presented by a particular part of your Book of Shadows. For example, add powdered or dried rose petals and other pinkish-red ingredients for the page that will contain love spells, or add ginger powder and finely ground orange peel to the batch of paper intended for prosperity rituals.
- Step Five: Put your frames in the bottom of the sink filled with water. If you want to add food coloring (which makes a faintly tinted paper) or scents, this is the time to do so. As before, match the colors and aromas to your magical purposes, like lavender oil and blue food coloring for pages dealing with peace and forgiveness. Sprinkle the food coloring (or plant juice) and essential oil into the water.
- Step Six: Pour your paper into the sink water, add the glue, and mix them together. For best results, pretend you’re kneading bread.
- Step Seven: Take the frame and slowly lift it through the water so it collects an even covering of paper fiber. Do this with each frame until all your paper pulp is used up. If you run out of frames and have leftover pulp, freeze it for future use.
- Step Eight: Let each frame has dry completely. You can set them in a warm window, hang them off the clothesline, or whatever. When dry, the paper will peel away easily, and you can reuse the frame for more sheets.
- Step Nine: Put the completed sheet on the ironing board with a cloth underneath it and iron using the high setting. This removes the last bits of water from the paper and smooths the surface. Let it dry again for at least forty-eight hours before using.
- Step Ten: Clean up time! Take your remnants to a garbage bin. Do not flush them as they can clog pipes. Likewise, gather up the sink water mixture using a large cup or ladle. Put it in a bucket and dispose of it outdoors. The mixture tends to clog drains badly.
How to Start a Book of Shadows with Scented Ink
If you’d like to make your own ink for your Book of Shadows out of natural materials, it’s not as hard as you might expect. The Native Americans often used the juice of pokeweed for ink, while Europeans decocted elderberries, hollyhock, and sloes. Or, for a really neat twist you can write secret or highly private parts of your spell book-diary in vinegar, lemon juice, or onion juice. These three mediums dry invisibly. The text can then only be read by holding the paper in front of a light source like a candle.
To scent inks, simply add about ten drops of essential oil to a small bottle of ink and label it. You have to find a pen that can accept the ink from a well to use this, but it’s worth it. The scent adds extra symbolism and even acts as subtle aromatherapy whenever you’re reading that section!
Pagan Book of Shadows Blessing
At some points throughout your spiritual sojourn, you’ll find your spellbook seems relatively complete with all your personal touches. At these junctures, it’s good to pause for a moment and bless this wonderful, magical tool.
Blessing augments the energy you’ve created thus far within the pages of your tome. It eliminates any stray negatives that might have entered in from simple human error. Blessing your Book of Shadows is like putting the icing on the cake—it makes everything a little nicer and a little more complete. A blessing binds all the elements of your Book of Shadows into a harmonious whole.
Exactly what form your blessing takes will vary according to the magical tradition you’ve chosen to follow. Most blessings, however, use the human hand as a focal point through which divine energy flows. One blessing adapts an old Gaelic prayer. You might like it too, so consider adding it into your spellbook under Prayers. It goes like this:
God and Goddess guide me; God and Goddess sustain me.
God and Goddess stand before me as an example.
God and Goddess watch behind me to protect.
God and Goddess live within me and the pages of this book;
let it inspire and direct my journey,
as I walk on your path, and you abide in my steps.
As it is written, so let it be done.
Adapted from “Your Book of Shadows,” by Patricia Telesco. All Rights Reserved.