To me, a Witch’s Grimoire (also known as Book Of Magik, Book Of Shadows or Book of Light Shadows amongst many other names) is a timeless mystery, propagated by the ages, filled with deep occult secrets, personal spiritual revelation, technical ritual practices, honest confessions and the charting and building of personal spiritual knowledge. It is a mirror into the soul of the Witch and as such, profoundly hallowed grounds.
Needless to say, It will be a cold day in a Christian hell before I ever dare show my Book to another individual that was not a committed, practicing direct blood relative…. and even then…..
Yet, it seems that everywhere I look; someone somewhere is publicly promoting their book of shadows. Whether it be on You Tube, on Facebook, in person or elsewhere, it seems that no matter where I look there they are, out in the open, looking casually back at me, exposed and disempowered. Announcing to the world that that which was once immeasurably sacred is now the spiritual equivalent of an everyday scrapbook, complete with page flicking walk-through and detailed explanation.
Now you would think that the word “Shadow” would be enough to emphasise the importance of keeping secret whatever resides inside the pages of such a book …. But apparently not.
I think the most saddening thing at least for me is that, if we as pagans can’t take our most ancient traditions seriously then how can we expect others to? Furthermore I really don’t think you need to belong to any particular tradition to understand the importance of keeping what is essentially a personal diary/journal secret. Teenage girls all over the world go to great lengths to hide their personal diaries from prying eyes and yet here are some of today’s witches, openly showing off a book that for many years witches the world over were and are still oath bound not to display.
What has happened to the witches oath, what has happened to keeping things secret so that they are free from ego and as such able to retain that sense of sacred?
Yes, a witches book is a beautiful, bewitching and bewildering item to possess, I think we have all, at one point or another admired the many elaborate Grimores that have featured in Movies and TV shows pertaining to witchcraft and paganism and how could you not, they are at the end of the day art in the form of a prop. There are also some really creative “how to” videos that can teach you the many techniques involved in creating such a masterpieces, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s what comes after that is the issue. It’s the desire to show everyone what you have created that crosses that line and ultimately sacrifices the oath.
And yes, I can understand the excitement that many feel especially newcomers when they cross the threshold into paganism particularly to peruse such paths as Witchcraft and Wicca. They want to be able to share aspects of their new found spiritual path with others; it is after all such an exciting and beautiful time where everything suddenly makes more sense. But at the end of the day, the more you show off, the more power you hand over to others who will inevitably be judging, it is after all human nature to judge. And when that begins to happen you may find that your practice begins to be driven by a sense to please or impress others rather than to seek out your own spiritual truth.
I would also like to add, that I understand that many who discover or are discovering this path are doing so unguided and as such have no one to explain the concept of the oath to them. It’s a difficult subject to breach particularly to some. It takes very little these days to hurt someone’s feelings. But is does need to be said and if you as a more experienced practitioner of the craft are reading this and are comfortable in saying so, then I would encourage you to do so gently and respectfully.
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