I know I’ve just spent a lot of post time discussing handwriting your witchy materials and keeping a physical Book of Shadows, but I’d like to pause that for a moment and offer this radical thought: Not every single witchy thing can or should go into your physical Book of Shadows. In fact, I’m quickly adopting the rule of “If I don’t immediately need it in circle, it goes online.”
See, with computerized sources, I can create, archive, and find more written work than I ever could if I tried to keep it all in a series of journals, binders, or even a filing cabinet. Let’s take reference material, for example. I would never actually need this in a ritual or in a very religious context, so why add pounds of paper to my Book of Shadows with write ups of what nettles can do or how rose quartz can influence energy?
Even with a basic blog platform, like what this site is on, I can write up a really detailed essay on rose quartz, pull together what others have written on it, and add lots of images of the stone to help with identification. Even without putting that post into a specific category, I could find it in two seconds using the blog’s search tool. That alone has the potential to save tons of time when it comes to spellcrafting.
Better still, I never have to restrict myself to a physical space limitation. This means I’ll never have to sift through dozens of journal books to find that rose quartz entry only to find I’d mislaid the crucial tome years ago. The blog platform self-archives…and that truly is a glorious thing.
So reference materials make for great “Disc of Shadows” fodder, but so do all journaling endeavors, be they a general practice journal like this one is, a specialized divination journal, a ‘lab notebook’ for something specialized like soap or candlecraft, or even a reading journal. That last one is brilliant for archival purposes, by the way. It’s a cinch to save something you’ve read as a .pdf, attach it to a blog post, and then write a bit about what you thought of the writing and how it pertains to your world view in the post. Right there you’ve just saved yourself the purchase of a filing cabinet. Of course, you can always create journals that focus on ritual food you prepare or the practice traditions you and your family or group create, too. In fact, just about the only ‘journaling’ project I can think of that would NOT be suited for the digital world would be dream journals, and that’s only because the glow of computer light can mess with one’s sleep rhythms.
There is SO MUCH writing that happens in Pagan practice that you really do run the risk of drowning in paper if you keep it all in hardcopy. Worse, you might stop recording altogether because you just can’t manage it. So, really, keeping everything you don’t need in a circle application in a digital formal is really a smart way to go.