BOS barriers

Hello bright and shining Coven,

One of my biggest challenges for as long as I’ve been wandering my pagan path been keeping anything like a cogent, helpful BOS. It also ends up as fragmented notes in both physical and digital formats and is generally all over the place. I am sure part of that is a result of my own jumping around as much as I have.

So, I would like advice on anything I can do to keep a BOS going consistently and productively. I have decided I want it to be a physical BOS, and I am starting to reconstruct it with my own rituals and what I’ve learned Spells8, but I feel very aware that if I don’t keep up with it will turn into a chaotic mess once again.

I appreciate your thoughts and wisdom on the subject.

Thank you and bessings!

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Hey there Ben! :wave:

I know what you mean :laughing: I’ve dealt with grimoire and Book of Shadows issues since I started down my path. I wish I still had all of my notes and information from back then. Sadly, it’s all gone – thrown in the trash or lost or whatever.

I currently keep my information digitally and all in my head. To be honest, I only have a few pages actually put together in my digital grimoire. I haven’t found the time or the motivation to go through them and keep the things I will actually need. I think if you want to keep your Book of Shadows as a physical book, one way to go would be a binder. Then you can organize your information, move things around when you need to, and even have little page protector sleeves for random bits and bobs of notes that you aren’t ready to finalize yet! :books:

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Hi Megan!

I feel like I can relate to your description so well. I think a binder is a good idea. I could have some items written in my own hand — or just printed because my handwriting is terrible — and other sources that I can add do it. It will be much easier than editing a hard bounce physical copy. Thank you for your idea, this is helpful! I’ve always pictured my BOS as having to be artistic as well as functional, and I think I’ve blocked myself in that way.

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Hi! I am going to agree with @MeganB that one way to go & start organizing is with a binder. If you want to change or add to it, you are able to do so. There are a ton of printable pages throughout the site, courses, & forum.

Everything from a title page, index, blank pages, spells, rituals, plants, a lot of printables. I used print them on parchment paper that I got from Amazon. Some things I have reprinted or used already printed pages & then print something on the back of the page too.

I have 5 binders that need to be cleaned out… I went through a print all the things! Now most of what I use is digital in pdf or pictures. That includes printables, card holder pages for cards that come with crystals, things I found elsewhere or printed from a post.

I actually just bought a physical book for things I regularly use or do to pass on. I still have to go through my files & condense because I would save them & sometimes not put them in the proper sub file.

I like writing & think my daughter would like to see what I used or did if ahe decides to follow a pagan path when she is older.

I also have a Book of Mirrors that also is a dream journal & daily journal, but the first few pages have specific journal prompts. Some for letting go, some for gratitude, some for finding the positive or order in the chaos.

It depends on what I add to them, but that’s why I leave the first few pages blank so I can add prompts as I find that I need them then use them as I have to for different situations.

It can get chaotic & confusing going between the binders & digital too :joy:

I wpuld start with a binder you like & add to it & every once in a while go through it for what you do & don’t use regularly. Some things may not be somwthing you make a part of your pra tice & then it can be moved or removed when you would like it to be.

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Hi Siofra! Thank you and your words have doubly sold me on the idea of a binder. I think you are right about the chaos of going back and forth between binders and digital assets. Regularly editing the binder sounds a like a good practice, too, as i can see it becoming very cluttered very swiftly. I like your Book of Mirrors idea, too.

Thank you very much!

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You are very welcome! :hugs: If you have any other questions or concerns, please reach out & someone will be able to get you pointed in the right direction or directions… I hope you have a great day/evening! :smiling_face:

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Thank you again and you, too!

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@ben1 @MeganB
I love the binder idea myself. I bought one along with dividers. Now, I just have to put more into it lol. Putting things into it regularly has been hard for me. I have lots of notes and ‘pins’ to print but have not done so. Although I also have not set up the printer yet to print anything :crazy_face:.

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Yes, agree completely with the binder idea. It took me about a week, a couple of printer cartridges, a $26 3” binder from Zazzle, a purchase of “antique” printer paper and dividers from Amazon, and a couple of hours deciding on what sections I wanted and printing the pages, and this is what I came up with (everyone has their own style of course, but this works for me and importantly, I use it regularly now):




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For those struggling to keep one. There are a few options you can use to assist yourself in this endeavor.

  1. Start a digital version that you can ass pdf files to in a program like office, publisher etc. use this as your book till you feel it is ready to be printed and bound.
  2. keep a thumb drive with any digital files you use and print when you can afford it slowly. use a binder til you are ready to upgrade it.
  3. make it part of your routine. I struggled for a long time due to having horrid handwriting. I take some time every morning to work on mine getting it ready for printing.
    4 esty has some great starter bos for people at a decent price for the downloads.
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So, yes, I have a system! I write some of my own spells and construct my own correspondence charts, but when I find a spell online or on Spells8, I either pin on Pinterest or I print it out and I put it in a big cardboard box to go in my book later, when I get to it. Every so often, I go through my massive Pinterest board and print my favorite ones. These go in order In a physical book. Now a binder would be more cost-effective and practical, and also easier. But me, I usually choose difficulties :slight_smile: So I have a scrapbook from Michael’s. It’s just beautiful. it’s navy blue with silver moons and stars on it. Unfortunately, that design isn’t available anymore. The scrapbooks come with connectors but I bought a set of extra long ones ($2.99). It is filled with top loading plastic scrapbook pages, size 8-1/2 by 11. It started life with ten pages. It is now about 284 pages so far (142 pages, front and back). I have title pages to divide the sections. I don’t really need tabs because flipping through it (and reconstructing it every so often) is part of what I like about it. The flippiness of the bound pages is just the best and I’m sorry to not have a better word for that quality for you. On the downside, it’s really pricey and once you get to to 100 pages or more it gets really slippy slidey as it outgrown the spine paper. It stays together but it doesn’t feel as solid as it did with the spine intact. If you decide to go this route, they now sell bulk sets of the pages for much less than the 10-sheet sets in store. There is also a third option, which would be a happy medium between a binder and the assemble-it-yourself scrapbook. You can buy a 60 page portfolio (it displays 120 8-1/2" x 11" pages) from Amazon for $17. This has the flip-able advantage of a bound scrapbook with the affordability of a binder, and it comes in several colors. If I were starting over, I think this is the route I would take. The only other tip I would share is that it is your spell book. No one else’s. So it does not have to look like everyone else’s or have all the spells. You can just include the ones you like best and are the most meaningful to you. For example, I don’t have any summoning spells in mine (if you have ever lived in a haunted house, you know why) but I do have a whole section of birthday spells. Color is important to me so there are lots of bright colors (and stickers) in my book – no “parchment,” antique looks for me. Everybody has their own style. Also: maybe chaotic messes have their own place in life. My place (and book) always looks the most chaotically messy before it looks wonderful again. And then it descends back into chaos…I think that is science or something :slight_smile: LOL
bos

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Although I would love to have my BOS written by hand, I have a digital version that I can edit (I use to translate all the pages and information that I found interesting to Spanish, so it’s easier for me when I need to find something!) in 6 HUGE binders, and a few notebooks with tips and other witchy things that I don’t know where belongs!

By the way, I use to translate all the printables I find here to Spanish. Only for my personal use, of course. I hope it’s OK…

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I’m like you. I’ve always wanted a BoS. I had a fancy book I got a few years ago, but I found that the stress of making it beautiful kept me from writing in it. So I jotted things in my regular composition notebook or digitally on my phone.

I’m going to be printing things here along with other stuff I love on parchment paper and keep it in a binder, both from Amazon… there are some cool old tome looking binders out there. Lots of people have mentioned the binder idea already!

I also love classic black composition books. I tend fo jot notes in them. I’m terrible at getting them started out of perfectionism, but I grew to love them when using the Bullet Journal method.

I don’t get super fancy. I just write stuff as I find it, and I used to number the pages and keep pages at the front empty for writing a table of contents for all of the stuff I was writing down. I don’t really do that anymore. I’ve been doing digital notes. But I enjoy handwritten. I also just use a simple ballpoint pen. Keeps me motivated to write things down, keeping it that plain. Perfection paralysis is annoying!

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@ben1 – Honestly, it’s really easy to get in our heads about what we think things should look like – but honestly, as long as it works for you then that’s what matters! I go through phases where my handwriting looks great but then also my hands tend to hurt – it’s a battle I win sometimes and a battle I lose sometimes.

@maudot7 – I’ve got a binder, too (but it’s empty!) :rofl:

@Satu_TheGreenWitch – It looks great, Satu! :heart:

@LadyDennaRahl – Those are all great tips :clap: Thanks for sharing!

@mary25 – I’ve definitely thought about using a scrapbook for my Book of Shadows. :thinking: I just can’t decide between a scrapbook and a binder, I guess!

@SpanishWitchy – That sounds like a lot of work, Lucia! :heart: Bravo to you for doing it, though. I’m sure it’s totally fine :blush:


Here are some videos that you might find helpful, too!

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Thank you, everyone, for your helpful and creative insights.

@maudot7 - That sounds much like my filing system at the moment and for me, that means scattered ideas all over the place!

@Satu_TheGreenWitch - Your BOS is beautiful and so well organized. I find your photos to be very inspirational.

@LadyDennaRahl - Excellent ideas and I especially like your point of making it into part of my routine.

@mary25 - I am so impressed with your system and that’s helpful as I tend to also think systematically. I agree color is important.

@SpanishWitchy - Six huge binders - that’s amazing and I think being able to edit makes a lot of sense.

@melissaj - I’ve had the same problem getting started out because of perfectionism that is a hindrance more times than not. I’ve often pictured using a black composition book, too. I now think it has to be a binder.

@meganb - Thank you for the videos. I’ve started watching and yes very helpful. Thank you for reinforcing both here and in your video that it’s my book so how I decide to do is all that matters.

Thank you again, all! Your creativity and spirit are immensely helpful, and I’ve now started binder shopping with a much more open view of what I want to do.

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I am going to jump on the binder bandwagon! I have a binder that I use as my BoS. I am also in the process of creating a handwritten version as a “legacy” BoS. I am more discerning of what goes into that book than my binder. :joy: :joy:

My setup is almost precisely like @Satu_TheGreenWitch’s setup. I have a title page followed by an index page in a sheet protector. I then used dividers to create my structure. I also have a folder on my Google Drive that is strictly for pagan/witchy things. I have the subfolders set up the same way as my binder to keep things simple. I have much more on my drive than I do in my binder.

I then have a couple of other notebooks.

  • Writual Planner: daily 3-card tarot journal. Next year they are introducing a 1-card journal as well. I will jot down anything I feel is related to my path that doesn’t fit in other journals here as well.
  • Book of Mirrors: an almost daily reflection journal. I write a daily affirmation and do a daily Oracle pull. I also do all my shadow work in this journal.
  • Meditation/Dream Journal: I have a separate journal for reflections/interpretations of my dreams and meditations.
  • Deity Journals: I have a journal dedicated to each of the deities that I work with. I add their lore, any prayers or devotionals that I write for them, and any signs/messages they send me.
  • Casting Journal: I use a small traveler’s notebook to write my casting divinations down. I am still learning to cast and am not very good at remembering to do it daily. I write down where each charm landed and what they mean. I then add an interpretation of the reading.
  • Trial Spells/Rituals: I have a composition notebook that I use to write out my trial spells, teas, herbal remedies, and rituals. This allows me to make changes to it as needed. Once I finalize it, I type it up and add it to my BoS.

I think that is all I have. :thinking: :thinking:

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My first BoS was a beautiful bound book with a custom-designed cover. It’s amazingly beautiful but my anxiety prevents me from writing in it for fear of “messing it up”.


I have used binders to organize other things before and that’s worked well but I didn’t want to have a bulky book to carry around. For me, out of sight means out of mind, so if I am going to keep up writing in or adding to it, it has to be something I can carry around with me.

In fairness, it’s more of a commonplace book as I keep tarot reading, Lenormand notes, challenge entries, and pretty much everything else related to my magick practice in it but it’s discrete, easy to carry around, and works for me.



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@SpanishWitchy
Hi hon, there’s very little you can do on Spells8 that is frowned upon, well, you cannot cus, bully, or be mean or spiteful. I’m not saying there aren’t no-nos.
A good rule of thumb? No name-calling, espally to, or about the newbies. Be kind and helpful when you can, always be nice. Treat members like you would like to be treated. OR you can watch Sesame Street because one and all, sometimes we need a refresher course in “Manners”.
Be blessed
Garnet

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I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble with a BOS! My best friend bought me an old fashioned journal with the image of a dragon on the front for last Yule/Christmas and it’s not very organized. To be honest, it’s both my BOS and my Book of Mirrors. :laughing:
My other BOS is in a folder in Notes app on my iPhone. It’s not very organized either, but then again, I can just type what I’m looking for in the search bar and find it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I am inspired by how well organized you are, @Amaris_Bane. I like the idea of having trial spells and viewing them as such. They really are experiments sometimes. I will definitely have a deity section in my book.

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