One of the most important tools that a witch owns is a personal journal. Depending on the tradition, practice or path a witch follows, they may be more comfortable calling the book a journal, a grimoire, or a book of shadows. This is typically a witch’s official record of the steps they have taken on their magickal path. Here, they include any personal observations, the collected information and knowledge, which will help them continue on their path with success.
The journal may include a blessing page, consecration page, or even a favorite quote as a dedication depending upon the will of the witch and their path. It will hold personal data the witch feels is important to their practice of the craft. This may include personal notes and observations on spells and rituals they have performed, data gathered or created, as well as a log denoting any successes and/or failures, properly documenting any good, bad or unusual occurrences during the processes, and other items particular to the practice of their craft. Some witches choose to write spells in different inks according to the spell or ritual being transcribed, such as Dragon’s Blood ink for power spells, Dove’s Blood ink for healing spells, Bat’s Blood ink for spells to bind or hex, and Lampblack ink for common knowledge or correspondences, etc.
The grimoire helps a witch to recognize any fluctuations in the spells. I. e. if one deity works in tandem with the witch better than another, if the witch has more success during a particular phase of the moon with a certain type of spell, or when using a particular herb over another. Even among multiple herbs that are known to have the same magickal property, say for healing, some herbs may work better for one witch than for another. It is common for witches that I know to have a specific group of “go to” herbs on hand as the herbs properties and the way the herbs respond to that particular witch are familiar to their practice. Many keep a list of herbs to mix and match for specific recipes and specific intents.
The personal journal is a handy place to store correspondence charts for candle colors, as well, relating to stones, days and times, seasons, zodiac, woods, metals, as well as any particular recipes the witch has created, discovered or been gifted with.
It is the place where a witch retains their favorite or personal magickal symbols, glyphs, runes, , or sigils. Some wiccans even keep their personal poems and songs relating to their craft or in honor of their deities in their journal, called a book of shadows, for safekeeping.
As a witch, you wish, you may include not only the spells, but also, drawings of any tools, diagrams, personalized spell oils or incenses used; even samples of any individual herbs may be attached to the page for ease of reference. Specific charts showing what all tools were required for the spell or ritual makes it easy to recreate the spell if/when it is needed, again.
Descriptions of private and public practices installed in the journal, as well as practical spell work or ritual ideas for future use are handy. However, when logging ideas for future use, be certain to leave sufficient room to document what occurs when you put the ideas into practice.
As with so many other areas of witchcraft, each witch must decide for himself or herself, what to include. A good rule of thumb is to include anything you think you might want to know or remember later. It is easier to remove the information than try to rediscover or recreate it after the fact.
If you prefer, instead of going the route of a hand written journal as has been the way of so many witches in past centuries, modern witches, or geek witches, like myself, may choose to use a digital version. Storing a private grimoire on your computer to track and document your work and only transferring the data to a formal, hand written journal or grimoire, once you are certain the spells, rituals, recipes or other information is something you want to be able to pass down to another witch in the future.