Apr 8, 2014

Fairy folklore and magick



Mallow and Honeysuckle fairy, by Cecily Mary Barker,
found more on : http://www.flowerfairies.com/ 
The term fairy is generically used to refer together all sorts of spirits, including Celtic “sidhe”, or Slavic “Vila”.  Esscentialy, when we say “fairy” we refer to  enchanting,  volatile,  magickally gifted, powerful, and elusive nature spirits, particularly of a female gender.  So the same word is used for Banshee ( Baoban sidhe ) , or the Forest mother ( Mama Pudri ) or even Rusalka, even though they are all very different, and have their distant, respective characteristics .

What unites all the spirits reffered to as “fairies” is : “association with wild nature and interest in human life circles, especially birth” [1]  Most of the time, also, they all symbolize or embody concepts of virility, wildness, power,  and sometimes curiosity. 

Opposed to the popular belief, they are not just some tiny, insect-size spirits, that are either benevolent, or just tad bit  noxious and annoying. They can be rather nasty and vindictive, and some are plainly evil. Alternative spellings include faerie , fairy, faery  [2] and fae, which is used to both refer to singular and plural form of the noun, or the “race” of the fairies.  

The term “fairy” may come from “fata” , a Latin term for fate,  used simultaneously to refer to Fates, mythological creatures that spin, and cut the thread of life. In Italian, “fata” simply translates as “fairy”, like in Fata Morgana ( or the Fairy Morgana ) , and when spelt together fatamorgana ( lit. a mirage ), it represents optical illusion.   Archaic English term would be “fays” , meaning “enchanted” , “bewitched”. In Slavic countries,  fairies are called either “vila” ( sin. Lit. “a fairy” ), or some variation of it ( Bulgarian and Macedonian “samovila” for example ), and it comes from old,  Slavic term for “gone crazy” which,  is in consistency with  the Slavic belief that the fairies can make someone go crazy.

Fairyland and in-between places

Depending on culture, fairies live either in Fairlyland ( Widespread European ), or in  the Fairy city ( Eastern European ) , then again, the later is also situated in the Fairyland.

In Eastern European folklore, this Fairy ( or Fairy’s ) city, is a motif of old, pre-Christian  poem(s) about an fairy city made with bones of  sacrificed  humans, or even with humans, that were built in, alive, in its walls.  This “fairy city” is neither on Earth, nor in sky, it’s palaces and breathtakingly beautiful places and sceneries, lay either on the clouds, or bellow the ground. In Serbia, there is a town Nish , that the Celtics used to refer to as “Fairy city” , and near the Serbian town Bor, there is a cave, with  geologic forms that resemble petrified human, and is also sometimes reffered to as “Fairy’s city”[3]  

It’s inaccessible to humans, least to those chosen,  as it is a part of fairy land.  Fairy land is a special kingdom  where the fairies live, though it does  not seem to be  situated on the physical plane. The entrance to it however  is.  

It is believed to be possible for human beings to enter, and even spend some time in Fairyland,  and even return from there providing , that they have not eaten or drunk anything there.  Eating or drinking anything in kingdom of the Fae is said to place one under a specific fairy enchantment,  which prevents them from leaving. And those that did, manage to escape the fairy land, report how  the time goes by differently there, and how one hour in  fairy land many equate to years in humans world [4] In England, it’s believed that the entrance to the fairy kingdom lies where their three sacred “trees” ( one of them is  actually a shrub  ) grow, forming a triangle. These  are Hawthorn, Oak and Ash. It is also said that Primroses and Bluebells ( each in their own, specific way ) key’s to the Fairyland.

If a large stone appears, among these there,  fairy-sacred  plants, or if it’s found in field of bluebells, or on the fairy hill ( where fairies are believed  to live or appear ) it’s quite probably the entrance to the Fairyland.  Knocking on it with a right number of Primrose flowers  is  believed to cause  the stone to open, showing entrance to the Fairyland. The “wrong” number of flowers, however, is  believed to be someone’s ticket to doom.

In the end, Fairies might live in their own kingdom , but they visit the  physical plane so frequently that it appears as If they are living here. In fact some of them spend time between Beltaine and Samhaine , on the physical plane, in the secluded, isolated places, that are not  frequently visited by human beings, such as forests, and mountains.

In Eastern European folklore it is believe how, some of the fairies, are born on the physical plane, and will always remain close to  the place where they are born, for example, mountain fairies, forest fairies, field fairies and so  on. On Balkan peninsula, superstitions say how ( some ) fairies are born from the dew appearing on red flowers, and during the times when it both rains and shines, and the rainbows appear. [5] Sometimes, like in the case of different Nymphs and Dryads, which are also referred to as fairies , they live inside a tree or a rock, and come out when they need to protect it, or on rare occasions to interact with humans.

In Celtic countries, the Fairies were believed to inhabit the Otherworld, a place where the supernatural creatures and spirits of the dead live, but also some islands on the physical plane, which are mystical in/of themselves, and sometimes seen as transcendent, or coexisting in   multiple planes [6], such as the one in Lough Derg ( Red Lake ) in Connty Donegal in Ireland.  Fae are sometimes also seen ( in Celtic countries ) , at least some of them are, as descendants of Teutonic deities ( Tuatha de danan ).

Finally, some fairies, which are interested in humans, live near human inhabitants, or even in human houses  such as brownies and pixies ( some say they are one and the same ).  And many brownies and pixies live in nice human gardens. Even the Bulgarian and Macedonian Samovili can be  found dancing in beautiful, opulent,  human-made gardens. In fact, many  magickal  practitioners who work with the Fae will build a garden for them, making sure it  has some of  the plants that the Fairies will enjoy, and paying attention to evade those that would repel them. 

Fairies will be drawn to and enticed to dwell in, gardens that contain : butterfly bush,carnations (particularly red ones), clover, coreopsis, cosmos,cowslips, daisies, foxglove, hollyhock, hyssop, lavender, lobelia,pansies, petunias, primroses (particularly blue and red ones),roses (all types), shamrock, thyme, vervain, yarrow, and zinnias, but they might get repel by gardens that  have: dill, morning glory, peonies, prickly gorse, or rosemary, according to Gerina Dunwich. [7]

It can be a section of a garden merely, and a part of it should be left with wild plants and weeds  growing, be it a tiny corner. Fountains, and crystals placed strategically in  such garden, shall also help to call the fairies.

In-between places, like seashore, river shore, doorways, fairy rings, dolmens and megaliths,  are places on which there   is always a good chance to spot a fae.

 
Birth and origins of the Fairies


We have already mentioned that some of the fairies, are born with/on plants, such as flower fairies and dryads.

One legend says that Fairies came to be from Adam’s and Eve’s  children, which they tried to conceal from G’d , when he asked   them  how many children do they have. Being that they hid some, and reported only  the remaining, G’d made their hidden children intangible from them onwards.

Some people believe that Fairies emanate from elemental energy,  therefore making them elemental spirits of a kind.

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, there are several main theories about the origin of the fairies.

 

1)    They might be the souls of deceased pagans, who, not being baptized, remain between Heavens and Earth

2)    They might be the guardians of the dead. Many fairies are indeed psychopomp spirits

3)    Fairies could be ancestral ghosts

4)    Fairies could be fallen angels, cast out from Heaven, alongside Luci*er, but condemned by G’d to remain in the elements of Earth

5)    Fairies are  nature spirits bound to specific places or elements, which indeed seem to be most likely theory

6)    Fairies are a “race” of small-statured human beings [8]

 

Threats or spirit allies

“Fairies also are traditionally propitiated with offerings

and rites at sacred wells, fountains, lakes and tree groves

so that humans may ward off illness and misfortune.”

Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits”

Fairies, being extremely skilled in magick, and very powerful, can be either  a guiding and protecting sprits to humans, or their doom.  It depends on two things mainly:

-          Fairy’s  mentality/nature

-          Human behaviour in regards to them

Some fairies are naturaly very malevolent, and should simply be avoided, or warded off, if one is to be found in the proximity.  Ruslake, for example, Slavic water fairies, are almost always evil, although, sometimes people petition them  for love issues, in regards to which they express sympathy, being that they came to be from girls who suicide by jumping into lakes of rivers, because of unfortunate love story.  Most time however they enjoy to either  beacon, or forcefully take humans, into the watery grave.

All kind of Sidhe, enjoy feeding on human’s blood and/or energy,  killing their victims eventually, least some  kind of  ( magickal ) countermeasure  is  undertaken.

The malevolent fairies, however show extremely strong aversion to several apotropaic items, such as iron, holey stones or feathers of certain birds.

Most of the fairies, however, are either ambivalent or benevolent towards human beings, and often quite curious about them.  In fact, in Balkan peninsula folklore, humans often make pacts with fairies, both the good and bad ones. Folk make pact with the bad fairies to spare their towns, Villages, areas of the fairies wrath, and thus often include a sacrifice of a kind, once it was a human being or  animal, but nowadays these are food, fruits, money and alike.  

Pact with the good, benevolent, kind fairies, often comes as an offer from the fairies
Painting "Milosh, Marko i Vila" by
 Paja Jovanovic, 1906th 
themselves. In Balkan peninsula folklore, fairies  like to make pacts with neat, strong, kind and helpful men, particularly with those that might have helped them in some way, be it merely making a shade for them, as they sleep, to  protect them from the too strong sun. In return fairies “brother” the man, and may bestow all sorts of gifts upon them, and will protect and guide their human protégés. [9]  In Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro, there is a popular folk-epic poem “Prince Marko and the Vila  about Prince Marko , and his “sister” ( sometimes “godmother” ) fairy that nursed him back to health after he’s been fatally injured.

Fairies also love children, and in Celtic folklore, they are known   to  sometimes kidnap human babies, and take them to the Fairyland, to  raise them  as their own , sometimes leaving  their own babies ( “changelings” ).  Little human children are believe to be naturally able to see  and interact with fairies, yet as humans grow  up, and lose  that child-like innocence, the vast majority stop seeing them. And quite frankly most people simply do not care about  the fae when they grow up. This is just one, of the many reasons why one should always keep and cherish the child within. 

As our spirit allies, the Fae are known to :

-          Heal us, even remove life threatening and terminal conditions

-          Bring love

-          Tend plants – dryads and flower fairies, the latter being as diverse as flowers. In fact,  the flower fairies resemble flowers they were born from, inhabit or care for. This is brilliantly depicted in the “Flower fairies” by Cicely Mary Baker

-          Teach women and men, herbal lore,  herbal medicine, and magick

-          Bestow gifts – like the so called “birth fairies” do. The classical example being the “ The Sleeping beauty” ,  which is more than just a silly fairytale. It’s based on actual, old European ritual, where  upon the arrival of the newborn, the feast was  appropriated for the fairies, and from 3-13 ( most often )  plates, with all the following cutlery were set, and all served with lavish meals and sweets. [10] Oftentimes, they will bestow spiritual gifts, such as premonition, or green fingers, to humans, like in the case of “True Thomas”  . And   “ The Sleeping beauty” in fact serves to remind that it’s always good to set one or two more plates, just in case ;)

-          Guide and protect, particularly in times of war, tribulation, when traveling alone at night, or when threatened by evil magick or spirits

-          Fulfill wishes and petitions, also help with household chores and difficult to achieve tasks

As You see, Fairies can be invaluable spirit allies, but they must be approached properly. It’s quite ill-advised to approach to fairies with arrogance  or desire to dominate them, and force them to do our biddings. Even when this is possible, the fae will seek vengeance, afterwards. Not only that this does not pay off , but it’s also  completely unnecessary. The fae hold great respect and esteem dearly  love towards nature, devotion, care, and sincerity. 

Fairies will highly appreciate gifts, in form of flowers, cakes, honey, poems written for them, caring of the plants  where they live, or nice fabrics and ornaments. So the proper way to “make a pact”, or rather,  petition the fae is to approach them  respectfully and humbly , offering some small token of gratitude  to them. I wrote about spells and rituals to work with Fae before, on here,  and there are some ideas and illustrative examples. 

In-between places and times, like for example coast ( where the land and water meet ) or midnight ( where the day and night meet )  provide best chances for seeing fairies   and items like holley stones, or loops made from Rowan twigs  can help greatly. On Beltane, they say it’s enough to place a “crown”  of elder twigs, or sleep bellow an Elder tree to  see the Fae.  Sleeping in the field with Thyme flowers placed on eyelids is another way that may enable one to catch a glimpse of these elusive spirits.

Remember, insulting the Fae, recklessly cutting down the trees in their forests, or  hunting down animals for fun, in fae-inhabited areas is never a good idea. Cakes and honey, songs and vine for them, now that is a good idea J

Following and few belifs,  practical tips and ideas,  about working fairy magick J

To become as strong as Samovila

To become as strong as Samovili, and thus able to pluck the whole tree out with the roots and all, one should drink from Samovila’s spring,  but  should leave some offerings  nearby. They say that the offspring of this person will be white-haired, winged elf children with flaming eyes. [11]

Heal eye conditions

Some night, when the Moon is full, go to some spring which is believed to be frequented or  blessed by fae. These can be found in secluded places, like European countryside, and often have “Fairy” somewhere in their name, for ex. “Fairy’s spring” . Leave cakes and honey near it, and petition the fae to heal  Yours/N.N’s eyes  .  Take some water with You home, place a clear fluorite and/or staurolite in it, and place it on the window, where it will be exposed to the moon beams for the night. Go to sleep.

In the morning, take the crystals out and   wash the eyes and face with this water. Do it couple of times per day , until You’ve spent all of the liquid. You may also take a sip of it.

Charm to draw fairies

In a green velvet bag, place Staurolite and White Rowan blossoms. Carry with You to attract the fae and sleep on it.
Gossamer wings oil
This wonderful oil is used to help contact air element fairies, such as sylphs, elves and alike
Combine: 1/4 part Violet, 1/4 part Lemon, 1/2 part Lavender , and Cajeput in a few drops. If You combine Carnations and Gardenia petals 1/2 each, in an oil You'll get a powerful formula for communication with elemental spirits and celestial spirits [12] 
 
 
NOTES: This article was written/composed by myself, therefore, If you wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel  free, but add credits  Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this  page.
CREDITS AND REFRENCES:
[1] Judika Illes, “The Encyclopedia of spirits”,  402nd page, first edition 2009th, Harper one
[2] Acc. to Encyclopedia Britanica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/200456/fairy
[3] Acc. to Gajic Nenad “Slovenska mitologija” ( lit. “Slavic mythology” ) pg. 145th , Laguna, Belgrade 2011th
[4] According  to “Fantasy encyclopedia” by Judy Allen, Richard Hook et all. , pg 16th  Kingfisher, 2005th
[5] As under [3] page 144th
[6] “Fairy faith in Celtic countries” W.Y. Evans-Wentz 1911th , available ( 2014th ) here http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/
[7]  List of proffered and disliked    garden plants for fairies  is taken from : “Herbal magic; a witches guide to Herbal folklore and enchantments” 2002nd , New Page Book s,  by Gerina Dunwich,  and is used here for educational and explanatory purposes without any ill will
[8] According to “Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits” , 3rdEition, pg.164th and 165th , by Rosemary Ellen Guilley
[9] Acc. to source listed under [3] , page 146th
[10] Acc. to same source as under [1] page 403rd
[11] Acc. to  the  source listed  under  [3] page 149th
[12] Retrieved  from: Llewellyn's Complete Formulary of Magical Oils: Over 1200 Recipes, Potions & Tinctures for Everyday Use, used here for educational purposes without any ill will
IMAGE CREDITS: The first two images are from "Flower fairies" by Cecily Mary  Barker,   these used here are  retrieved from:
used here for illustrative  purposes without any ill will.  The third image, is from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Milo%C5%A1,_Marko_i_vila.jpg 

Mar 26, 2014

Spring ( Vernal ) Equinox folklore, correspondences and magick



Rather than as purely Pagan holliday, I chose to observe and commemorate the Vernal ( Spring ) Equinox, as a universal holiday, not really bound to any religion, a priori.  In fact, as I have mentioned when I wrote about  Saturnalia and Sol Invictus, most, If not all of  the holidays  which are associated ( and seen on ) with the Wheel of the Year, actually predate any known Pagan religion.  Some anthropologists describe it as sort of prehistoric cult of worshiping the nature, or plainly superstitious attempts to  mark specific  periodic changes  in nature and affect them.  Hence unrelated to any Pagan deity or specific religion, rather the nature itself.

So when Wiccans celebrate the victory of their Solar god , god of Light, over his twin counterpart, god of darkness, or pregnancy of their Lunar goddess in any of the forms ( for example Biggid  ) I celebrate the reawakening of the Earth, vegetation, arrival of the spring and lengthening of the day, and try to harness the motivational, creative and inspiring energies of the day.
 

For me, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian,  both Annunciations, and the Easter do not occur before April ( Church uses Julian calendar for holidays and rites, and Gregorian is used as  mundane, plain-time calendar ), hence I do not necessarily associate the two.

The fact that the plethora of Earth cultures and religions, old and  new, commemorate this day in some form, is a reason more for me, to take its power and significance seriously.

So what is  Vernal equinx celebration
Spring equinox celebration, in any of it’s multitude of forms  (“Alban Elfed”, the Teutonic festival in honour of Eostre, Roman “Hilaria Matris Deûm”, Welsh Gwyl Canol Gwenwynol , “Disablot” of the Norse , Iranian “Nowruz” or “New Year” , “Sham El Nessim” ,the Ancient Egyptian holiday, Wiccan “Ostara” etc.  ) commemorates the astrological phenomenon, which occurs in March ( any day between the  19th -25th  of March ) on the Northern Hemisphere.

 Thus “is the equinox on the Earth when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading northward” [1], and consequently, the duration of the day and night are equated. Hence the associations of the holiday with harmony and balance as well.  

In essence, in Europe it’s a festival associated with the return of the Light, and the deities associated with it are often associated with Light, renewal, rebirth, growth, flourishing, all the things we associated with spring.

Hence, the old German pagan goddess Oastra, and her Teutonic  version ( Anglo- Saxon ) Eostre, are perceived the similar way, as Jackob Grimm, describes in his “Deustche mytholigie” :

 Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the christian's God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy ... Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing ... here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess “ [2]

Her sacred animal, alleged to had been her helper in spreading the influence of the Spring was rabbit, and  the colored   eggs were left at her sanctuaries and temples, on Vernal equinox, which seem to have influenced the Westerner’s trademark symbols of Easter.

It’s often speculated, how the Christian custom of decoration of the boiled eggs originates from these celberations, and indeed what many Christians do,  in modern times may indeed be modeling after these pagan customs, but the actual ritual of   dyin g   the egg red , on Easter, or rather Saturday before it  is a Christian proprietary ritual. It has to do with a miracle associated with Mary Magdalene, which had happened to her upon the resurrection of the Lord Christ.  

Correspondences

Concepts, ideas, notions and words associated with it are: light, youthfulness, vigor, power, virility, growth, strength, action, determination, increase etc.

The colors associated with the day are green and yellow [3]

Plants associated with  the day, include, among other:  Five finger’s grass, Primrose, Saffron, Sage, Nettles, Violets, Daffodils, Hyacinth, Narcissus and other

Stones include, Jasper, Bloodstone, Moss agate, Citrine, Sunstone  and others

Rituals and spells

The 12 Candles ritual

I designed this ritual, to be performed on the Spring Equinox day, in order to bless some aspect of Your  life, to entice success in some specific area(s) of life, and to make ( reasonable  ) wishes come true.

Set twelve candles, so that they form a circle. Any color can be used, though green or yellow would be in accordance to Equinox tradition.  In the centre of the candle circle, place a fireproof dish ( like a censer, or a fireproof  dish with coals ).  Light the candles, sunwise.

Next, crush and powder
·         Five fingers grass
·         Saffron
·         Sage leaves

On a piece of paper write down Your needs and wishes. Sprinkle it with just a small pinch of powder. Fold it thrice, towards oneself. Throw some crushed and powdered herb mixture into the censer with coals and the set the paper alight while chanting:

Darkness end and sorrow burn,
Raise with light, good luck return !
Set in motion, break the stillness,
Open the roads and bring success !”

Toss also the burning paper into censer, and add some more  of the powder.  You may want to chant few more times, more so If  You feel so inclined.  Bury the ashes remaining in Your own yard, or on sprinkle some place where  the   idea of abundance and growth is dominant, such as forest, or strong river that flows toward East etc.

 Alternatively, You could add ashes to the soil in some pot, and plant some herb there.

Blessed seed ritual

Seeds can be empowered and planted  to work Your magick in manifesting Your need for money income, health growth, abundance, fertility, success and alike, and this can be done throughout many auspicious times of year. Like  Nights of the Full Moon, Winter Solstice,  even Imboloc. But  by far most auspicious and prominent day  for it is Spring Equinox, more so If the Moon happens to be Crescent  ( in waxing phase )

All You need to do is empower some seeds, for example by means of chant, prayer, or even passing few times through incense smoke, then plant them, water with consecrated water ( it can be Lunar slime, water in which Holy water from the Church has been added, “living water”  ,  or crystal essences ), and as the plant grow so will Your health, wealth, success etc. 

Burning the Corn doll

The doll made of Corn or Wheat collected during Lamas or Even Samhain, ashes are reserved and sprinkled in fields, gardens and plant pots to ensure fertility,  good yields and abundance. This is a traditional European folk custom. [4]

Linen charm for spiritual development

If Your desire is to increase Your spiritual powers, aptness and  proficiency in spiritual work,  You can create this charm to  assure You achieve this goal. On the 22nd of March,  get some new, linen fabric, preferably purple If You can get it.  Go where the Willow  tree grows, and cut the bark, or perforate minutely, and collect the dripping sap on Your linen fabric. Carry it on Your behalf onward from that point as often as able, and place it bellow pillow when sleeping. [5]
Hope You found the post informative and inspirational ,

Many Blessings, from Shadow J
 
 
NOTES: This article was  written and composed by myself, should You wish to use any part of   it elsewhere online,  You may, but You  have to provide credits  ; Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post
CREDITS AND REFRENCES:
[2] Retrieved from :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostara
[3]  According to  Cass Eason’s  “Encyclopedia of magick and ancient wisdom” 
[4] According to  Cass Eason’s  “Encyclopedia of magick and ancient wisdom” 
[5] According to “Kalendar za srecne dane” ( trans. “Calendar of the lucky days ” ) by Jasna Jojic Pavlovski, Gorgon publishing house, Belgrade,  similar ritual, modified  for use here by myself is an European custom  which   was/is believed to  entice spiritual growth . Used without any ill will , for  educational  purposes on here . More on the author and book, can be found on here:  http://jasnajojic.com/magija-biljaka-i-lek-i-amajlija/
IMAGE CREDITS: Image was taken and edited by  myself
 

Mar 20, 2014

Grimoires and Books of Shadows, The magickal book


We can  call it  The Book of Shaodows,  The  Grimoire, or plainly Magick Book, Recipe book, Magickal diary, but it’s still plain, personal book of Magick, written and owned by given practitioner.  Being a very personal thing, it’s imbued with practitioner’s energy, as well as magickal energy in general, and is a powerful tool used in magick, and also a pragmatic one.  Differences and variations come as a result of different spiritual system and paths, and do not affect the core idea and symbolism of a magickal book.
Paperblanks notebooks, or diaries, examples, suitable  to be used
as Your own Book of Shadows, or Grimoire. I personally, own the
first one on the left. Find out more about them at:
http://www.paperblanks.com/lv/en/ 

Holy, and Magickal, Books

Certain religious books predate all the Grimoires in the world, and according to  religious teachings and beliefs, hold more power than all of the Grimoires combined.   Originally religious books, offering theology, myths, dogma as well as instructions and advices on/for performing rituals, these books have throughout the time found their  place and use in magick , thus also spell casting as well. In fact, they influenced the Grimoires, which “borrow” a lot of material from Three Holy Books. If You chose to observe the “Book of Shadows” like a pagan-proprietary idea, and/or  term ( like Silly New-Age authors purport it to be ), the same can not apply for them.

The Books  I was referring here are Torah,  The Bible, and Quran. We can, additionally mention  Zabur ( in Islamic traditions )  book, which is though,  held to be no other than the Book of Psalms of the Bible, and Bhagavad-Gita, the principal Hindu holy book.

Egyptian myths speak of the certain mystical scroll of Toth, that once dissolved in water, and the water drunk , would enable the drinker, to  attain all the knowledge contained within it . The latter, plethora of , so called “Books of Thoth” , are merely called that way, and may be modeling after the given legend. [1] In fact, being that Thoth was a considered a deity that taught humans magick by Egyptians, it’s not hard  to imagine, modern day, neo-pagans sticking the label “Book of Thoth” on everything and anything.

Some books, that appeared later, heavily influenced by the Holy books, and are described  as books of Mysticism, have been  the precursors  of the  later-to-come, classical Grimoires.  The books I speak of are Speher Yetzirah  ( “Book of Creation” )and the legendary Sepher Raziel, in a way,  manuals on Hebrew mysticism.  Sepher Raziel was according to legend, orally or actually ( in form of an actual book ) given to Adam, and later also to Abraham, by the Angel called Raziel, hence the name.
The oldest surviving manuscript of Speher Raziel dates back to XIII age, and is attributed to rabbi Eleazar of Germiza.  [2] Latter versions, one of which in Latin, appear around 15th century.


Another manuscript worth of mentioning here, is the so called "Devil's Bible" , or "Codex Gigas" ( lat.corupt. gigas - enormous , giant, extremely large ) is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world [3] It's indeed an enormous manuscript, dating back to 13th century and originating from Benedictine monastery of Podlažice ( Bohemia, Czech republic ) . It contains Vulgate Bible ( old Latin ) as well as some pre-vulgate segments, medical texts of and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus,  also several lengthy sections on science, and  abundance of magickal formulae for all sort of purposes, originating from both higher magicka and European ( in large part Slavic ) folklore. It's a cryptic, mysterious book, that has survived  wars, fires and all sort of things, and has even  injured quite a few people. Some pages were lost when it was saved from fire in Sweeden, where it's now kept in museum for public display. Many legends are associated with it, and it's generally feared by superstitious , but also by other,  who  insist that the books strikes them as  malignant, and/or cursed.
According to Legend, Codex Gigas, was written  by Dev*l himself, in exchange for a soul of a monk who vowed to write a book  that will  glorify the monastery, while also contain all human knowledge, in a single night. The digital version of Codex Gigas is ( currently at least ) available online.


Grimoires and Books of Shadows

In  Your personal “Book of Shadows” You write down magickal information that You find valuable, practical ones, ones that You’ve used, all sort of recipes, and odds and ends of information related
Notebook, for keeping notes on magick, ready for consecration
to magick. In a Grimoire, strictly technically speaking, You write entries about Higher, or Ceremonial magick, namely various spirits You’ve worked with or  that You  plan to work  with,  information, seals , invocation and releasing formulas  etc. There is a preferred/suggested set of guidelines about writing in Grimoires, which suggests what should be written on the very first page, next one and how should You organize Your other entries, those about spirits, and for example it’s suggested that each spirit has one page related to information about it, and the other, the very next one, should contain drawing of the spirits and it’s seals. [4] But essentially this is the main difference between a personal Grimoire and a Book of Shadows. The Grimoires  , of the antiquity , mainly Middleages and Renaissance,  or those of a  popular kind, which we consult in our workings of Higher magick ( such as “Greater Key of Solomon”, “Goetia” , “Grimoire Armadel”  , “Magus”, “De occulta phillosphia”, and alike ) are not strictly manuals on invoking and controlling spirits only, even though that for the most part they are. They make contain a sort of “introductory”  section(s) speaking of tools, preparatory rituals and giving general description of invoking and releasing ceremonies. In short, the list what You need for the work with invoking the spirits and how You should obtain, make, consecrate, bless and use it. Finally some may contain sort of “appendix” giving various magickal operations, “experiments” ( like in “Grimoirum Verrum” ) and recipes.

Most Grimoires ,  and  even  more these  “Books of Shadows”, despite  their, alleged epic antiquity and age,  are relatively new. The really “old” ones, which are a few, date back to the Late Medieval and  the Renaissance, so in the best case, 15-16 centuries. Again, these are not many, and we can safely count them on fingers on both hands.  Many magickal books simply falsely purport to be of such ( or even older ) age, or are plainly misconnected to be.  As for the Book of Shadows, most were destroyed during the burning times, in fact most “witches” instruct someone to burn their own “Book of Shadows” when they die. Hence the oldest of the “Book of Shadows” are, in best case 200-300ages old. People may tell You that I lie, and that their family of witches had been passing  down “The book” and powers since King Arthur,  but use Your common sense to see that 99% of such people are trolling, role-playing, in denial, delusional…or plainly lie. As Dr. House says:  “People lie” !  They do indeed, and more so online. You may have a good idea of how intensely and how often, If You’ve ever seen an episode of that TV show “Catfish” lol . Hence, we can conclude that another difference between book of Shadows and  Grimoires is their age, Book of Shadows are in most  part much Younger, some Grimoires are being written even nowadays. Recent examples may be works of Golden Dawn, or Cultus Sabbati etc. 

But in essence, minus the technicalities, the two are very similar, they both contain information regarding magick, sometimes also specific religions, they both are personal items/tools of a practitioner ( at least initially, during their life ), and they both require some form of consecration, or blessing.

Additionally, in most cases, both are kept secret, and both are constantly evolving, which means that the information is constantly added to them. Due to the later,  they are traditionally hand-bind, so we can add more and more pages, or are really large, and come in  varying number of tomes.

Due to this technicalities, I prefer to emblematically, use  the term Grimoire, or plainly call my book/s “Magickal book”.

Making, consecrating, and using magickal books

The actual manufacturing of the physical Grimoire, is a rather  loosely covered topic in classical magickal texts, like “The great key of King Solomon” ( Clavicula Solomonis )  , “Magus” , “De occulta philosophia” and similar.

In fact, Clavicula Solomonis, provides us rather,  with instructions for making a book to be used in Theurgic ( Conjuring and petitioning Angels ) work, and  instructs  the reader to make entries about Angels, their seals, invocations ect, than speaking about an actual, versatile grimoire ( let alone what we would call “Book of Shadows” ) [5] An illustrative example of such book, might very well be “Book of Supplications” by the famous Dr ( John ) Dee, an English Elizabethan  astrologer and enochian magician. His book contains page length “prayers” for invocation of the angels, as well as some charts and  tables.

Clavicula Solomonis also describes so called “Book of Spirits” ( Liber Spiritus ) , which is as Sir Aaron Leitch notices, not unlike the Angelic book, except in fact that it does not include angels, but rather various spirits, mostly evil spirits and demons; “ We can see little difference here, in fact, between spirit and angelic books . Their general  construction, consecration and care seem to be about the same” [6]

It does give instructions of how it should be consecrated, which is a somewhat elaborate 7 days ( consecutive ) ceremony. 

The “Magus” text, suggest binding pages of Vellum,  some other texts suggest parchment instead, leather bounding, or even human skin, at least the covers,  the last being used for Necromancy book though [7]

You can buy a plain blank notebook, but try not to be cheap and get a good quality, hardcover one. I personally, suggest Paperblanks, or  akin notebooks, which have pages without lines, of good quality parchment-like  yellowish paper, and beautiful, decorative hardcover, often embellished with spiritual motifs, Celtic knots, Hindu motives or Crosses.  In fact, any fine, decent quality journal will do, but the point is not to be cheap and not to just go and purchase the cheapest. You can wait, until You have enough money to get Yourself the one You want.

You will realize the importance of this, when You read the following beliefs and characteristics of a Magickal book according to High magic  tradition :

·         Magickal book is considered a living entity in a way. While not actually alive or able to operate on itself, without practitioner using it ( like often portrayed in TV shows and movies ) it has various higher intelligences tightly connected and often bound to it, through power of consecration, blessing and sprit seals and descriptions

·         Magickal book is a personal (!!! ) tool, imbued greatly with the power and personal energy of the practitioner. Ideally, it should be used only by practitioner who made it, for “ irreverent ” use  may devoid it greatly of power. This being said, I think we can assume that they can be,  moderately shared  and  used with fellow practitioners we trust, when good reason arises*

·         Power of the Book increases with : Invocation, written information and seals, Consecration and Dedication

·         When made according to instructions of Higher magick, as given in “Magus” or “Clavicula Solomonis”  Your magickal book will be touched, and blessed by Angels, Spirits or  other entities You enlist in it and invoke. This can probably occur as a result of non standardized, devoted work with spirits through use of Your book

·         Consecrated book is said to “fix” the  errors, or rather compensate for them in energy, this is why the blessing or consecrations is an imperative. Hence, if some of the symbols, seals or sigils is not perfect, and has errors, or parts are lost in transliteration over the  course of time, consecration and/or blessing of the book,  ensure, that in a way, everything written in the book becomes the truth.  Hence  a personal Grimoire, consecrated by specific practitioner, even if it’s a transcript/copy of a popular grimoire in terms of content, would be a working version, as opposed to photocopied or printed, non-consecrated version for example. [8]

So You see that it should be a book that’s invested in, even magickaly. Sprits are going to touch and consecrate it after all, and it’s going to be a sacred, energy radiating tool in Your magick.

From above stated we also see that the consecration / blessing is perhaps the most crucial and important thing about the book. I’ve mentioned before, that the Clavisula Solomonis gives a rather elaborate ritual, done for seven days, most of the grimoires simply follow in exactly the same or extremely similar fashion.  The issue that I have with this method here is that one is supposed to invoke all the spirits, angels or demons, listed in the book during these seven days so they would touch the book as a form of “signing the deal” and agreeing to work with You.

If You however, wish to have a book that is not merely a personal grimoire which is a manual for invocation of spirits, be it  Liber Spiritus, or Liber Angelos, but also contains all sort of other information, the given method might need some personalization. I personally believe that it does not affect the power of the book though.  Here is an outline or a ritual, as I’d do it, for creation and consecration of magickal book, following the tradition of 7 days consecration,  yet not in the same way the  Greater Key  of King Solomon suggest. It’s adopted for a more “eclectic” personal Magickal book, rather than a Grimoire. It’s in a way, a cross between a Grimoire and  Book of Shadows

The consecration ritual

Start the ritual during the waxing phase of the Moon, preferably on the day and hour of Mercury. If possible, during the seven days You’ll be performing the ritual, fast  and certainly abstain from using drugs, alcohol or having intercourse.

Prior to each consecration, You make take a cleansing bath. A Hyssop and salt bath, poured over Yourself, while reading the  Psalm 51st will do.

Before You write anything in the book, cleanse it by Fumigating it with incense which is made by combining Frankincense, Angelica and either Alum or Sage. The plain Frankincense alone, or Frankincense with Myrrh will work brilliantly too.  Sprinkle the book with Holy water  ( very lightly, obviously ) and smudge with incense  as You say:

I exorcize thee Book +, from any harmful influence from evil spirits, that You may be clean and useful to me, and that You may serve me well, and be imbued with great power. And may all that it’s written in You be free from evil influence and hindrance of evil spirits +, may it be effective + , true and blessed +. May it be so by the Name which is above all other names, in The Name of Eternal and Almighty G’d +, who created the Heavens and the Erath, and everything there is, through His Will and Word +, which was in the beginning.  I exorcize You of all evil +, so that You may never fall prey  to it, and that You may serve the highest purpose effectively and aid me in my spiritual works+. So mote it be, in the Name of Father +, Son  + and Holy Spirit +. Amen!

Now, having done that, on the very first day, with a consecrated pen, on the first page draw a symbol meaningful to You, a symbol of protection or power. Pentacle of Solomon makes a very good choice, or the AGLA Cross, both which should be encircled with 22 letters of Hebrew alphabet.  On the very next page inscribe the following prayer:

ADONAI, ELOHIM, EL, EHEIEH ASHER EHEIEH, Prince of Princes, Existence of Existences, have mercy upon me, and cast Thine eyes upon Thy Servant (N.), who invokes Thee most devoutedly, and supplicates Thee by Thy Holy and tremendous Name Tetragrammaton to be propitious, and to order Thine Angels and Spirits to come and take up their abode in this place; O ye Angels and Spirits of the Stars, O all ye Angels and Elementary Spirits, O all ye Spirits present before the Face of God, I the Minister and faithful Servant of the Most High conjure ye, let God Himself, the Existence of Existences, conjure ye to come and be present at this Operation, I, the Servant of God, most humbly entreat ye. Amen.” [9]

Bellow the prayer, You may, or may not write down the sigils or names of Spirits You’ve worked with or plant to work with. In traditional Grimoire, which would be like a manual of invoking the spirits, the names and the information and seals would go later in the book, each having it’s own page or two. Here, You just need help of this spirits to bless the book. You may or may not add entries about them later on. In fact You can , with Your own, heartfelt petition asking  them to help You in Your working with this book, and ask them to bless, empower and protect it.  For example, seven archangels seals can be listed and You can invoke them asking for the help.  

Place the book on Your altar, between three white candles set so to form a triangle. These candles may be dressed with “Holy anointing oil” , or “All purpose oil”, “Altar oil” , “Master key oil” , “Blessing oil” or plain  Olive oil, preferably one that’s been prayed over. Light the candles.

Read the prayer written and once again, cense the book with the incense. In the higher magick tradition, for each of the seven days, starting from Saturday, a corresponding planetary incense formula is used (  that is Saturn’s incense for Saturday, Sun’s incense for Sunday, Moon’s incense for Monday and so on ). Here You can use the same incense used to exorcize the book. Plain Frankincense can be used too.  

Allow the candles to burn for a while more, than snuff them, do not blow them out.

Repeat the same for six more days, seven altogether. On the seventh day,  when You have finished the standard steps, take some “Master key” oil  and dress Your dominant palm very lightly all over. Place some plastic wrap bellow the first page, one with the symbol, and press Your  ( oiled ) palm against it, so that You leave an oily hand-print.

If You can do it while keeping the palm on the page read the following:

“I conjure thee, O Book, to be useful and profitable unto all who shall have recourse to thee for the success of their affairs. I conjure thee anew, by the virtue of the Blood of Jesus Christ, contained daily in the chalice, to be serviceable unto all those who shall read thee. I exorcise thee, in the Name

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of the Most Holy Trinity, in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity!

What follows must be said before the sealing of the Book

I conjure and command you, O Spirits, all and so many as ye aye, to accept this Book with good grace, so that whensoever we may read it, the same being approved and recognised as in proper form and valid, you shall be constrained to appear in comely human form when you are called, accordingly as the reader shall judge. In no circumstances shall you make any attempt upon the body, soul or spirit of the reader, nor inflict any harm on those who may accompany him, either by mutterings, tempests, noise, scandals, nor yet by lesion or by hindrance in the execution of the commands of this Book. I conjure you to appear immediately when the conjuration is made, to execute without dallying all that is written and enumerated in its proper place in the said book. You shall obey, serve, instruct, impart and Perform all in your power for the benefit of those who command you, and the whole without illusion. If perchance some of the invoked spirits be unable to come or appear when required, they shall be bound over to send others vested with their power, who also shall swear solemnly to execute all that the reader may demand, and ye are all hereby enjoined by the Most Holy Names of the Omnipotent Living God, ELOYM, JAH, EL, ELOY, TETRAGRAMMATON, to fulfil everything as it is set forth above. If ye obey me not, I will force you to abide in torments for a thousand years, as also if any one of you receive not this Book with entire resignation to the will of the reader.” [10]

Cense the book once again. Sprinkle with Holy water, very lightly. Leave it on the altar, until the candles burn all the way down.

If possible, go to Church when the  mass is held and carry the book with You. Ideally, it would be placed on altar during the Mass, but I’m not sure  what would the Clergy have to say on that J If You can get a Priest to bless it, and leave it over the night ( for 24 hours ) on the Altar or Book stand in the Church, all You need to do is to inscribe the first page with the symbol, the second one with the prayer, and then give it to the Priest. When You get it back home, also make the hand-print, and read the “Conjuration of the Book”, cense it with Frankincense, sprinkle with some Holy water and You’re done!

When consecrated wrap it in some fabric, to better preserve it, preferably new silk, and keep the book in the hidden place. Add entries only using Your consecrated pen!

Now if You wish to secure the book from preying eyes and hand, which is entirely optional ( it's enough to place it in a safe place, obviously  lol ) You can try the following spell I composed for this  purpose

Book protection spell

If You wish, You may protect Your book, by  dipping a Rosemary sprig in Holy water, and tracing a symbol of ( banishing ) Pentacle, Hexagram  (  David’s/Solomon’s  shield ) , or Cross  on the book covers ,  while chanting words given bellow

Or You can simply place the book in some nice fabric, sprinkle with some Caraway seeds, Red Cayenne Pepper flakes, and crushed dry Sage leaves,  and then wrap,  make a Cross sign over it three times, while saying these worlds:

"In Hoc quod signo quod pono
Hicce librum protecto
De oculorum et manuum
Et omens qui oporet tangunt
(in)  timore et dolore occupabit!

Homines et Spiritus ! Istum librum

Noli tangere, Fuguite!"
 
The chant is essentially a “protective curse” , designed to repel those who should not touch the book, make their fingers itchy, or with burning sensation, and cloud their mind and confuse them, should they try to profane Your  book.
 
NOTES: This article was  written and composed by myself, hence If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits  :   Shadow of Shadows magick place,  Shadow-333@hotmail.com  , or a direct link to this post

CREDITS AND REFRENCES:
[3] according to : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Gigas
[4] Like suggested in “Magus”,  Francis Barrett
[5] According to “Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, the classic texts of magick  deciphered” by Aaron Leitch, Llewellyn publications, page 261st
[6] Quotation retrieved from – as under [5], page 417th
[7] “Forbidden rituals” Richard Kieckhefer
[8] According to “Book of Consecration”, as found in Munich’s handbook of Necromancy, also from the source as under [6]
IMAGE CREDITS: First image  is made combining g the snapshots from http://www.paperblanks.com/lv/en/  by me, used here for illustrative purposes. Second image is taken and edited by myself