This is an extended post from the one I posted over at Per Sebek about my ritual books, just focusing on the two books I use for this part of my practice. I wanted to do a post like this over here so I could talk about each of them in more detail, and go into why I’m keeping them, and what they’re used for.
I doubt this will be the 4k word epic that Per Sebek has, but this will probably still get long, so. Bear with me. At least there aren’t going to be as many photos etc.
I’ve never really been big on magical record keeping. For whatever reason, it was a practice that passed me by for a long time. The first few years of my practice are woefully under-recorded, save for a few scraps of information, and what I still remembered to keep.
I had a lever-arch file as my BoS, and I used it to collate information. I think I had two, in the end, but they were stuffed full of all the things you might expect a baby Wiccan to print off the Internet in the early 2000s. I used loose paper to write out rituals, and only one of these, an Esbat rite, has managed to survive. Why, I don’t know. But there you are.
I had a book of mirrors, to be fair. And it is from that period. But it’s prayers and petitions and letters, rather than anything deep and reflective, and doesn’t really give me much meta about my path and where I was in that time. I was finishing high school, and starting uni. The prayers I wrote are about what you’d expect someone at that point in their life to write about, tbh. That, and there are a lot of just general praise hymns and prayers, too.
But yeah. In 2004, I also had a larger, fat A4 sketchbook that I also used to write prayers in, and do some art, and calligraphy, but yeah. I never really got into the ‘journalling about your spiritual path’ type of stuff until maybe 2005/6? I’d done some of it in my livejourna, which I made at the end of 2004l, but oh gods. Do not go and look back at my LJ, if you have access to that, or to my Dreamwidth account. Even I am embarrassed by it. *facepalm* *this is why it is flocked* (Okay, I had another LJ that I made in 2001, but it was finally deleted and purged a while back and oh my gods thank fuck for that it was awful teenage angst like you don’t even want to know oh gods. D: D: D:)
Anyway. I have, in recent times, attempted to rectify this lack of record-keeping by making one retrospectively. I found this old A4 day-to-a-page diary that was a bit damaged, and a year old, and no one would want to buy it except me. So into this book, once I covered it in ~black crushed velvet~ because I am a terrible person, I went through and glued in all the remaining early stuff I still had. Between that, I am writing in everything I remember about my time as a baby pagan, partly so it’s there on paper, and partly so I don’t forget it. I’ll maybe have to show that off at some point, but that’s not the point of this post, so.
What I’m trying to say with this is that I have never really had the Big Spooky Witchy Book of Shadows type of books, because so much of what I kept was reference material, and even when I was Kemetic Orthodox, there wasn’t much of a need for that sort of thing. So I kept journals and notebooks and other things, but never something more formal than that.
So. Enter my two grimoires. One is for Sobek, and one is for Hekate. I suspect the bulk of the material that gets posted here will first be written in one of these books. Hekate’s book will probably remain more private than Sobek’s. There’s stuff I will share from Hekate’s, but you’ll probably never see a flipthrough, unless She changes Her mind one day. But Sobek doesn’t mind sharing, so you will probably see that one much more. He wants this one to be seen.
This is Hekate’s book. I didn’t initially buy it for Her, I bought it for Sobek and Hekate as my witchy book. But it’s quickly become Her book, and I can already sense all the stuff that’s going to go into it.
The symbol on the front is. Well. It’s sort of become My Hekate Symbol, for reasons I haven’t figured out yet. I just draw it all over everything that belongs to Her. It gets slightly tweaked every time I draw it, but the main components are that it is, essentially, an ornate key. The top is always the CoH symbol, with the moons added to make a crossroads. Hekate’s name in Greek is used to make the end of the key.
The meaning it holds is, of course, deeper than that paragraph suggests. A lot of the meaning I couldn’t articulate, anyway. But it is my symbol, and so I draw it on all Her things. I feel like I see a bit more of it every time I draw it, every time I look at it. Every time I make it, there’s always something about it. Sometimes, I add something, sometimes, I draw the letters differently. Sometimes, I don’t include the waves/fire on the crescent moons. But that’s always what it is, in the end.
The book is a softcover book, with 500 pages, and I reinforced it with cardboard and covered it with paper to make a pretty cover. I used clear tape to reinforce the edges and protect them. It’s US letter sized, rather than A4, but the page size is good, and the paper quality is good, too, it doesn’t feel too thin and flimsy. It’s plain white paper, but it takes my watercolour pencils as well as fairly regular 80-90gsm paper tends to take it. I mean, it’ll crinkle like it will when it gets wet, but it’s fairly resilient and it dries well. It opens as flat as a perfect-bound notebook will open flat, and it’s good to write in.
The front cover has a protection seal for Hekate on it, and some wormwood glued on the other side. The back cover has a protection seal for Sobek, and some more wormwood glued on the other side. There’s also more wormwood and rose petals glued in at various points within the book. Apparently the way I will do herb pages in this book is to press and dry some of the most common herbs I use (rosemary is next) and then glue them in to make pretty pages scattered throughout, rather than make a single section just for herbs.
The first thing I wrote in here is the text for my self-dedication rite. It’s the full text of the rite, not the edited one I posted here, and it includes the name I took. Which is another reason this book stays private. I will have to do a post on magical names at some point, but that’s for later.
I have a section each for Sobek and Hekate, covering basic info, how I met them, and offerings, epithets, festival days, etc. The title page art for these two sections is all you’re going to see of what’s inside this book.
The bleed-through is what you get for not using a waterproof ink fml. I still think it looks cool, though, even if it feels like one of those ~anime style~ character drawings I used to do in high school. But then I am not good at drawing people, so. Apparently this is the only way I can draw a human face that doesn’t look weird and out of proportion. You will have to forgive me.
I’m actually pretty proud of this one. I think it came out really well. It has Sobek as King, bebe!Heru, Aset-Renenutet, and Djed!Wesir inside the throne. This is, arguably, a lot of headcanon, but I like it. Which makes me ponder Sobek v Set until Heru is old enough to kick Set’s arse for Himself. Hmm. I sense some fiction in the works.
Anyway. It is a nice book, and I like working on it. The next thing to write will be something long and rambly about Isis-Mary-Renenutet-Hekate because that is a headfuck I haven’t figured out yet. Woo! I might also have to do some separate work on those goddesses and try to understand why I have had the experiences I’ve had. I may share some of that here, but we’ll see.
But yeah. It’s very much a work in progress, and I’m enjoying having a book that’s not just a draft notebook, or something to just use for a while and let go when it’s done. I can spend time doing proper calligraphy titles with my markers, and writing more slowly and carefully. There will probably be other rituals in there, too, but the exact order, if there ever will be one, isn’t clear to me yet. But how much of its contents She’ll let me share, well, I don’t know that, either. It may be that this is under wraps until it’s done, but it may also never be shared, just because its my thing. I’ll leave that decision to Her.
Sobek’s Book of Shadows
I originally wasn’t sure what to call this, except Sobek’s Book, but He seems to like ‘Book of Shadows’, so I’ll stick with that for now.
I actually made this one. The pages are A4, the covers a centimetre or so larger, and it’s coptic stitch. It has 400 pages, organised into ten signatures. I was also my first attempt at aging the pages, though I ‘cheated’ and used my Derwent Inktense pencils, rather than tea or coffee stain them, and it seems to have done a good job on the edges where I used them. I didn’t want to age the whole sheet, because the potential drying time didn’t seem worth it, and I didn’t want to have to deal with overly wrinkly sheets of paper.
The cover design was given to me in meditation. I feel like it’s related to the Lord of the Sacred Waters epithet that He seems to be claiming for my monastic stuff, so. But I’m not certain of that, it just seems like the right association. That, and I am all for Sobek-as-Night-Boat, so.
I have done a lot less work in this book, mostly because I haven’t had it as long. He does seem to be a bit less lax in terms of an overall structure to it, though, but all I know is that the front needs to have ALL the current hymns I have, and then it can start into the rest of the work. I’m assuming the Shedety daybook will go in here once it’s done, too, but I’ll concentrate on the hymns first and worry about the rest once I get to that point.
I feel like just throwing it all in there in whatever order it goes in is probably closer to the ancient ritual books that survive, since they just seem to be in an incomprehensible order. But there may be a vague order to it once I get further into it, and I have a clearer idea of what, exactly, is going into this book.
Sobek also doesn’t mind sharing this one. He seems to want everyone to see this book, so I’ll probably share this one and its progress much more regularly than Hekate’s. It’s a bit plain at the moment, given I’ve only really spent one afternoon on it, but there’ll be more colour and art and decoration as I go with it.
But for now, have a flip-through of what I have so far:
So, those are the two main books I am using for this work. I do have a couple of others, notebooks, ritual books, workbooks, etc, but see the full post over at Per Sebek for the details of those. They aren’t really in this sort of category, of formal, proper, grimoires and Books of Shadows, that are as much a work of art as a record of my path and practices.
I do also have a third BoS-type book, titled Navigating the Marshes, but it’s not really a witchy thing, so I won’t bother adding it over here.
Anyway. I hope this is interesting enough for you, and I’ll be back to post more things soon.