A Book of Shadows is a religious text used by adherents of the neopagan Wiccan religion. Since Wiccans have no central authority in their belief system, each practitioner can maintain his own Book of Shadows, and few are completely alike in content. The book contains rituals, spells, sacred rules, stories about gods and goddesses, and other information important to the believer or coven.Continue Reading
The first Book of Shadows was created by Gerald Gardner, who was instrumental in the development of Wicca in the mid-20th century. As a result, many Books of Shadows are patterned on his original work, but Wiccans are encouraged and expected to personalize their texts and diverge from the official formula. While these works can be maintained in electronic form, many Wiccans choose to create elaborate physical copies of the book, and they may consecrate the physical text according to their own ritual system.
The Book of Shadows may also be paired with another volume, the Book of Mirrors. The Book of Mirrors is used to record personal observances, thoughts and details, while the Book of Shadows is used more as a reference work. However, some Wiccans combine the two, essentially turning the Book of Shadows into a combination religious text, ritual manual and personal journal.Learn more about Religion