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Book of Shadows - One of the Ways Witches Kept Their Secrets

May 18, 2008
The Book of Shadows is the name given to the journals that many witches maintain. The name was officially coined by Gerald Gardner who popularized the Wicca religion and made it available to the masses. Previously, the followers of Witchcraft had to work in solemn privacy due to the danger of being annihilated by the Catholic frenzy to end all non-Catholic religions. Pagans or any culture that followed the existing faiths at that time were hunted down and destroyed (some even burned) for believing in another path. So witches had to write down their in-depth knowledge into books that were kept hidden from the public.

Sometimes the writing in these books was also encrypted so that the ignorant non-believers of Magickal religions wouldn't have a clue what was written in these books. That is one explanation for how these books came to be called the Book of Shadows.

One of the ways by which witches kept their secrets was by renaming many of the herbs and flowers to names such as Dragon's Blood, Fruit of the Underworld, Witch's herb, Bishopwort, Scotch Broom, Ladies seal, Beggar's buttons, Devil's milk, Five fingers, Tree of death, Devil's eye, Old lady, Bull's blood and so on. Seeing recipes using Five fingers and Dragon's blood, I am sure many people would have fled for their life!

Although it as customary for new witches to copy from the High Priestess's Book of Shadows, it is not necessary and in recent years, many witches have been encouraged to start their own journals. Due to the popularity of the internet, there are many sites where witches update their eBook of shadows or append to their Book of Shadows online blogs. This also allows witches to compare notes, discuss ideas and help each other grow more knowledgeable day by day.

At the end of the book guide for the Solitary Practitioner, author Scott Cunningham has generously added his Book of Shadows in its entirety. It is written in romantic, baroque fashion and is tremendously helpful for anyone who is new to Wicca. Various rituals described in this Book of Shadows include Song of the Goddess, Altar layouts, Simple Feast, Consecration of tools and supplies and Seasonal festivals of Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain. Included in these chapters are the lore behind these celebrations, the days of celebrations as well as the rituals and prayers accompanying these gatherings.
About the Author
Rose Ariadne has been practicing ancient forms of Witchcraft for over 25 years. Get more info about Book of Shadows here: http://www.askroseariadne.com/editorials/book-of-shadows2.html
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