The book of shadows is an important tool for a witch. In Wicca, the book of shadows can be a special magical diary or a personal book of magic. The book of shadows is quite often a combination of spell collections, personal diary, a cookbook and a chronicle. Different books of shadows are very different from each other, as they bear the stamp of its owner personality.
A book of shadows can be personal or collaborative.
A personal book of shadows is written exclusively by the practicing witch since the beginning of her magical practice. In her book, she describes her rituals, spells, observations, vision, insight, magic and astral travel. An experienced witch can write a book of shadows for her heirs. In this case she can add to her book teachings and messages to her offsprings. An old witch can even add a special section for children to communicate with her when she leaves this earth and goes into other forms of existence. This is how a patrimonial book of shadows appears. Along with recipes, spells, it will contain a chronicle and a family tree of a magical generation. When a book of shadows is passed down from generation to generation, its owners will be able to call themselves the rightful hereditary witches.
A collaborative book of shadows is written within the coven. Generally it is kept and written by the High Priestess, though any respected member of the magic community can add his part to the book. Usually, the content of the book of shadows is kept secret from everyone who is not a member of the coven. However, some versions of the book (usually reduced) may be published, especially if the coven is not entirely secret and has an open activity. There are several known published versions of the famous Alexandrian and Gardnerian Books of Shadows, which belong to the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca traditions. Excerpts of the published versions, such as “Wiccan Manual” and the “Testament of the Goddess” – became classic texts in Wicca.
Book of shadows somewhat resembles a medieval grimoire, especially if the author approaches very seriously to how to design the book. The book can be bound in leather with expensive sheets and calligraphic handwriting. The magic by itself doesn?t depend on the book style. But if the book is well framed and designed – in a future it will become an additional magical power, making the book a rare magical artifact, which by law must be a book of magic.