Book of Shadows or Grimoire? 📚

I have been a practicing witch for more than ten years and I am finally starting to create my own Book of Shadows. Thinking back on it, the reason I have never had one has a lot to do with my mental health. I was recently inspired, though, by a friend of mine, Laura (find their Instagram here), to create my own. I have a beautiful leatherbound book that my parents gave me for Christmas last year. I haven’t been able to write in it, though, because there is no way to organize or rearrange pages.

Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay

Instead, I am creating my own out of recycled cardboard, cardstock, and cotton yarn! Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. I’ll write another post when I finish making my Book of Shadows. I actually wanted to talk about my belief in the differences between a Grimoire and a Book of Shadows. First, let’s define the two terms based on the common Googleable definitions.

By Ethan Doyle White - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

What is a Grimoire?

The definition of grimoire is as follows…

a manual of magic or witchcraft used by witches and sorcerers -

What is a Book of Shadows?

The definition of a Book of Shadows is as follows…

a book containing religious text and instructions for magical rituals found within the Neopagan religion of Wicca, and in many pagan practices - Wikipedia

:open_book: Based on these two definitions, one book is a book of magic and the other is a book of faith specific to Wicca. This is how I see the two books as well. So to put things in context, a grimoire is a book of spells and information that a witch may need. It contains spells, potions, instructions, and ingredients that are common in their practice.

:bookmark: A Book of Shadows is a bit more in-depth. The Book of Shadows can contain spells and ingredients. It can also contain ritual frameworks, personal correspondences, and educational material that is important for a specific coven, tradition, or witch.

Another common difference between a Grimoire and a Book of Shadows is the number of copies available. Now, this is going to vary depending on the witch and tradition. Typically a Grimoire is for one witch or witch’s family. This would be a book passed down from generation to generation that contained only the important information. You can treat a Book of Shadows in the same manner, but historically, there was only one copy of the Book of Shadows for an entire coven. Each High Priest and Priestess in the coven would then pass the Book of Shadows on to their successors when the time came.

Image by Zdeněk Tobiáš from Pixabay

Depending on the way you view the books, they can be considered one and the same. In my practice, I combine the idea of a Grimoire and a Book of Shadows into one book. My Book of Shadows will contain my spells, potions, and recipes. It will also contain personal correspondences, Sabbat information, and information about my Gods and Goddesses. This is important information for me to have written down to pass down to my daughter if she chooses this path as well.

I feel a little silly having been a practicing witch for so long without a Book of Shadows. But…it is what it is. I do know that it will more than likely be a private matter. I know many people online share their Book of Shadows with anyone who asks. For me, I just don’t see myself doing that. That might be a topic for another day.

Do you have a Book of Shadows? Do you view a Book of Shadows and a Grimoire as separate books? Or do you view them as books to be combined? Let me know! And, if you so choose, feel free to share images of your own magickal books!


I always viewed them as one in the same…so this was a great article. I suppose mine would be considered a Grimoire as I have a mixture of things in it…I have some Wicca things, some green witchy things, a lot of my spells, lists of herbs and their magical properties as well as crystals/gems. I also jot down things I have meditated upon…so it’s definitely a mixture of musings.

Mine is leather bound, and no way of organizing it…so…I’ve written in it as I do spells and as they come…so there is zero rhythm or reason to my book. …and to be honest I thought I would freak out by this as I have a touch of OCD…HOWEVER, I complained about wanting to write in my book, but how I was afraid too…my husband actually gave me great advice, and it really resonated with me. He said, “Write what you think is important and as it comes to you…add dates…then you can look back and see how you have grown through your journey”

I loved that! So…with a big gulp I started writing and I love how it’s turning out…it’s a mixture of some of the print offs I got from this site and my own writings. I look through it and it’s an amazing book filled with lessons, spells and growth.

:smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :green_heart:


This is really good advice and actually reminds me of another type of magickal book called Book of Mirrors. Maybe I’ll write about that, too!

I’m actually slowly working on creating my own Book of Shadows completely from scratch so it can be exactly the way I want it. So far, I’ve got the cover painted white so I can decorate and embellish it the way I want. I actually used an old FedEx box I had laying around and might make a video on my channel about the process when I’m done. But, who knows when that will be lol


I’ve never heard of a Book of Mirrors!?

I just ordered another book…(Hi, I’m Laurie and I think I may have a witch stuff buying problem…lol) I think I will save this one for SPELLS only.

I saw it on Facebook and HAD to have it…I have never had something “call to me” so strongly before…and it’s ONE of a kind!


It is beautiful! I love that it has the triquetra there in the middle of the tree with the moon in the background!


Greetings all.
As some of you may already know,I am a baby hiding in the broom closet as my other half will lose his mind if he knew what i was doing. Today i was finally able to start my book of shadow. Nothing fancy at the moment but its a start. (and thrifty)


Hey Kat! Your video is private so it won’t play :slightly_frowning_face: You need to change it to “Unlisted” instead of “Private” that way we can still watch it but it won’t show up on your profile on YouTube :heart:

1 Like

Oh darn ok. I’ll try to figure it out later. Ty


that should work…first you tube video ever


It looks like a great start @Katt! I love how you stained the pages with coffee to give it that antique look. Great job!


It came out beautiful, @Katt!!! :heart_eyes: :open_book: The binder was a great idea- now it will be easy to move things around, add, and re-arrange as you keep adding to your Book! :sparkles:

1 Like

Ty. I look forward to continuing it. I did not mention it but in the sleeves of the herb pages i sprinkled the herb/spice on each corresponding page, little added touch.


That is so creative! :star_struck: And I bet your Book smells amazing with a sprinkle of spices and herbs inside :herb::two_hearts:

1 Like

Love it!! Great awesome start and ideas. I too put some of the spices and herbs on each corresponding page, makes them smell soooooo good!


I have ALWAYS been intimidated by blank books… I can’t spell, and I want it to be right so while I am overthinking how to make it all look pretty the inspiration goes up in smoke. The greatest gift to me was a computer. It is the perfect conduit for my dyslexic brain. I can type as fast as my brain creates and then go back and fix it.
I was a bit of a disaster on Samhain…working outside with pages being held down with twigs and rocks so I wouldn’t lose them. I decided I needed a workable book.
Therefore… I have followed @Francisco 's lead and started using a three ring binder to print my pages out and ORGANIZE them. Something I am actually pretty good at, I just need a lot of space and time to do it.
I am pleased to say that I think I am well on my way to having a really satisfying Book of Shadows. I am slowly printing out the files on my computer and getting them slipped into place.

This has been a great project… it is cleaning up my life in many ways. I was always frustrated and amazed at the beautiful ‘pages’ offered for download on etsy and other sites, but thanks to Spells8 I now know exactly what kind of information is useful and which pages I can toss.

Just another reason this site has been such a blessing in my life.


It looks great! There is a lot of tension looking at a book thinking “where the hell do I start?!” And this definitely turned out beautiful. Technology sucks sometimes, but then when you think about all the beautiful things it brings us, it evens out.


Yes, it is a tug of war between getting sucked into VIRTUAL OBLIVION and REAL CONNECTIONS. I am amazed to be connecting to people all over the world who feel like friends I actually want to spend time with, share my day, have a cup of tea, conversations. How on earth would that have ever happened otherwise?


That’s good information specifying between a Book of Shadows and a Grimoire and definitely gives me some things to think about. I have a Book of Shadows that I started awhile back. It’s just a small black book and I actually picked it up in EB Games. It has served me well but I have many more pages to fill out. I should make a note of writing in it more often.


@berta Thank you so much for the appreciation!! :grin:

I too have found myself struggling to keep a neat and tidy Book of Shadows! Ring binders are perfect because they offer so much more control of the contents inside.