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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in book of shadows

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

A worldly empire does not provide safety. There is only the Great Void. It is my safety. It is the Goddess’ nurturing and loving Self.


A possible problem when pursuing success, in business or your personal life, is a false sense that you’re building an empire in which you will find safety. There is no secure empire, there is only the Great Void. And it is the one secure Empire.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Script and the Story

Was I ever excited when my copy of Lady Sheba's Book of Shadows arrived by mail. I was going to learn the Secret Ceremonies of the Witches.

Gods, was I ever disappointed.

Not long after, I became an overseas member of the Pagan Movement in Britain and Ireland. An important part of the newsletters that they sent out eight times annually were accounts of the rituals that they'd done.

But these weren't the bare-bones outlines of the Book of Shadows, lists of words and actions. These were stories. They told not only what was done and said, but what it was like to be there.

I was in love.

There are two primary ways to write about ritual. If you stick around this blog long enough, you'll see examples of both. One is the Book of Shadows way: the outline, the script, the list of words spoken and actions done.

The other way is the Pagan Movement way: the story.

Both genres are important. Both, in fact, are necessary. But they're not the same thing, and they serve different purposes.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Book of Shadows: The Musical

A priest and priestess that I know had taken their newest student on an outing to Chicago's biggest occult bookstore.

At the center of one display was a beautiful leather-bound volume, hand-embossed in gold with a pentacle, and the portentious title: Book of Shadows.

The student's mouth fell open: the secrets of the Craft, about to be revealed.

He opened the book reverently, then looked puzzled. He riffled through the pages and shook his head.

“It's empty,” he said.

My priest friend opened the book, laid his finger at the top of one of the pages, and turned to his partner.

“What does that say?” he asked.

Drawing Down the Moon,” she read. “Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full....”

My friend turned to his mystified student.

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In Which the Minstrel Roastbeef Invokes the Devil

Around 1261, the troubadour Rutebeuf (“Roast Beef”) published an early French miracle play, Le Miracle de Théophile.

Little did he know that he was about to make Wiccan history.

Based on 11th century Christian legend, the play tells the story of Theophilus (“god-lover”) of Adana, who sells his soul to the Devil. The Devil is called up, by a sorcerer named Salatin, with a mysterious chant:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Vocabulary of Witchcraft

"English is the sacred language of the Witches." (Stephen Warlowe)

Every word's a story.

The vocabulary of modern Wicca, like the religion itself, is late and composite.

Wicca < Old English wicca, “magic-worker [male]” That the word retains its Anglo-Saxon form and has been both redefined and re-pronounced (OE pronunciation: witch-ah) shows that this is a modern, not a continuous, usage.

Athame < Med. French atamer, “to cut”

Skyclad < Loan-translation (19th c.) of Sanskrit digambara, "dressed in air"

Coven < Latin

Sabbat < Latin < Hebrew. Murray's frolicsome s'esbattre derivation is non-historical. The term is a wholesale and hostile borrowing from Jewish vocabulary; compare yet another Trial Era name for the witch-meeting, the “synagogue of Satan.”

These two last are both clearly "words from without." What, one wonders, would be our "words from within"?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Yes, sabbat and sabbath both stem from Hebrew shabbat. Sabbat reflects Latin sabbatum; Latin didn't have a way to spell sh. Of co
  • m
    m says #
    Sabbat Hebrew. Murray's frolicsome s'esbattre derivation is non-historical. The term is a wholesale and hostile borrowing from Je
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    And the most common word for lords, both heavenly and earthly is 'hlaford' which incorporates the word for loaf, thus the one who
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Old English sure did have a lot of words for "lord," as you imply; I can think of 4 just off the top, and I'm virtually certain th
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Actually 'wicce' the female form of the word is pronounced 'witch-uh' but the male form is pronounced 'wick-uh, because of the bac

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Drighten

In her 1974 autobiography Witch Blood: The Diary of a Witch High Priestess (39-40), Patricia Crowther cites as part of her initiation what she calls “the blessing prayer”:

In the name of Dryghtyn, the ancient providence,

which was from the beginning, and is for eternity,

male and female, the original source of all things;

all-knowing, all-pervading, all-powerful, changeless, eternal.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

What’s a Book of Shadows? How do I get one?

Amongst Wiccans and Witches, a book of shadows—often referred to as a BOS—is usually a collection of texts used in rituals, such as ritual scripts and stage directions, poetry and songs, spells, invocations, techniques and teachings, recipes, and sometimes ritual notes or journal entries. These items can be bound in an actual book, written into a blank book, stored in three-ring binders, or kept as Word or PDF files. We use the somewhat old-school “Great Green Three-Ringed Binder of the Arte” because it’s easy to rearrange pages and I don’t want to spill candle wax on a tablet. Everything in our circles seems to end up with wax on it. Some people even choose to write their books in calligraphy to infuse the book with their personal energy.

Types of Books of Shadows

There’s no one right way to keep a BOS, but they tend to fall into one of three categories.

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