My Magical Books

Sunday September 6, 2020

As a lifelong stationery and notebook addict, and someone who best processes and connects with information by writing it out by hand, physical notebooks are an important part of recording my practice. As an autistic information-hoarder who can be quite obsessive about how that information is organised, digital systems also have an important place. I don’t think either option is inherently better or worse than another - it’s important to experiment with different things to see what works best for you and your purposes!

Currently, these are the books that I’m using to record my magical practice:

Coloring Book of Shadows Planner

A coloured page from my Coloring Book of Shadows Planner

This is the second year I’ve bought the Coloring Book of Shadows Planner (they do versions for the northern AND southern hemisphere!), but the first year I’ve really used it. They do sell it as a hardcover, paperback, and spiral-bound notebook, but I buy the digital/PDF version. This allows me to rearrange the pages, only print the pages I want, and to print it whichever size I like (I print it A5 and put it in a binder)! It contains the dates/times of the moon phases and transits, and traditional and astrological dates for sabbats on the weekly planning pages (pictured above), plus a bunch of extra pages, info, and activities.

I don’t use it as a planner often (I bounce between using my phone calendar or an A6 bullet journal, as A5 too big for me to carry around), but I find the colouring to be meditative, the artwork keeps me connected with the seasonal changes (and gives me a point of reference to compare my biosphere and it’s seasons to. I currently use it to journal my days (just in bullet points), and record any daily practices, like whether I meditated that day and how long for.

Book of Shadows

An external view of my Book of Shadows, and the cover page stating 'Nyx's Book of Shadows' in curly writing

My magical tome! It’s an 800 page notebook with custom cover page that I managed to purchase in the short period Evil Supply Co offered them! This is the book of mine that’s fallen by the wayside currently, as I had a few particular topics that I wanted to start it with, and a lot of these required research and drafting first, which I moved digitally for. It’s currently used mostly for my garden planning and for journalling, plus it has a whole bunch of botanicals pressing within its pages. Given I have moved to digital for my main Grimoire (which I had intended to be a part of this), I’m in need of re-assessing is place in my practice, but it is still the main home for recording the more personal parts of my practice.

Research Scrapbook: OneNote

A screenshot of my research organisation in OneNote

As mentioned above, when I went to start writing information in my Book of Shadows, I realised I needed a place to collate information and research, which was easiest for me to do digitally. As I already have a copy of Office, OneNote felt like the best move for me. I can have separate pages for each topic, which can be grouped within multiple categories (which I can even colour-code!), plus I can copy+paste information from any digital resources. I can also access and edit this information from the mobile app!

This has meant that I can take notes on several subjects, from several books and resources, and keep them all organised, so when I am working on writing out information for my own grimoire/BoS, I don’t need to be switching between 15 books and 12 websites. It’s allowed me to note down links and information as I find it, whether I’m currently working on that topic or not, and not have to worry about how I’ll find things when I need them.

Plus I can work on things over time, eg: for tarot I’ve copied over the descriptions of each card from a number of books resources; when I draw a card, I go through all of this information and increase the font size of the parts which feel relevant to the meaning I’m drawing from it - once I’ve drawn cards a few times, I have an easy visual representation of exactly which of this information is most relevant to my relationship with the cards. I also use symbols in the pages names to keep track of where I’m at in the research and drafting process for each topic, which makes it easy to visually get an overview.


A screenshot of the Bottlebrush page on my Grimoire

That’s this website!

I realised fairly early in things that a digital grimoire was going to be a feature. So much information interlinks, and I wanted to organise that information in a way that would interlink just as easily. I only needed to be able to edit it from my computer, but I definitely wanted to be able to access it from my phone. I spent hours and hours looking at and trialling different programs, apps, web platforms, wiki platforms, and other CMSs (Content Management Systems), but I couldn’t find any that would do exactly what I wanted them to.

I had done some very basic html coding as a teenager (back when that was a standard part of customising most social media profiles), and a little more in uni, so I knew I could use that to get things the way I wanted. It’s a lot more work than using something that already exists, but in the end, my stubbornness decided that was worth the effort. While I hadn’t built a website before, luckily my partner is a web developer and was able to help with some of the basic setup (to make things a little easier than my history using notepad).

This has been the main thing I’ve been working on lately, and while it’s still very much a work in progress, I feel like it’s going alright!

Book of Mirrors

I use this book mainly to journal and reflect on my divination practice. It was originally being used to keep notes on the meanings of each individual card as I drew them, but I’ve switched to doing this digitally (in my Research Scrapbook). It’s literally an exercise book I bought for 50c, and covered in some contact I also got on sale for 50c. It’s messy, and chaotic, and largely notes on the meanings I’ve drawn from my readings and how those relate to my current context. Sometimes it’s one sentence, sometimes it’s a whole page. The aim is for me to be able to go back over it to reflect on what the cards mean to me when I’m ready to properly assemble my own resource on tarot meanings. If I’m planning to use my tarot draw as a prompt for more in-depth journaling, that will get a little note here, and then be explored further in my Book of Shadows.

My Book of Mirrors, a holographic exercise book, and Book of Trees, a raspberry Leuchtturm

Book of Trees

My very last and most recent book! I recently commenced study as a candidate with the Ancient Order of Druids, so this is my journal to chart that process. I have their general First Degree curriculum listed in it, as well the list of books I’ve chosen to read as part of my study, the list of changes I’ve committed to making to help the environment, a meditation, tarot, and nature tracker, and a space for journaling my time spent in nature and associated observations. It will also contain planning and records of rituals, as well as any notes relevant to this path.

While this is almost certainly an excessive number of books, it is mostly working out quite well for me at the moment! This definitely turned out quite long, but I appreciate anyone who’s stuck around to the end - Perhaps there might be some aspects in here that might help some others figure out how they might best record their practice!