Updated: Dec 24, 2022
There’s a lot of confusion sometimes over magickal record keeping. Many different types of record keeping end up lumped into one thing. It’s so twisted up that everyone uses different language for things. First step for me is to define what I mean by the different terms. I know I’m using different language than some folks, but that would be true no matter the language I chose. Let’s go with this: Magickal Journal – this is mostly what this will be about. There’s no need to panic over this one, it’s just a normal journal or notebook, mostly focused on keeping a solid record of things you’re doing. Book of Shadows – this is kind of a condensed version of your notebook. This is about things you’ve learned, and contains mostly condensed techniques and practice, intended either just for you, or for a select initiated group. Grimoire – this is almost more a collection of spells, rituals or spirits. This is a reference book for you to have the specialized knowledge to do a specific class of ritual.
These are somewhat arbitrary, but it’s kind of how I use the terms for myself. With that in mind, what do we need in a magical journal? It’s a record of what you’ve done, including as best we can all the important information. Things like your mood, how you feel something went, and even things like astrological influences. Fortunately with the last one, all you need to do is record date and time, as you can look up what you need later. Some folks will keep a separate dream journal. I don’t find that necessary, although recording your dreams, or even the fact that you didn’t have any, is important as well. I just usually start each day with that. I do a daily card draw and offering that’s a communication moment with a spirit. This is a great example of what to put in there. This is how you can check notes for each spirit, or look back at predictions. If you don’t write it down, it can have some short term benifits, but with the record, you can start watching patterns. I’m a believer in a daily set of rituals and the like, which of course you’d track here. The point isn’t to firm up what you’re doing, do whatever you do, but again, the patterns become important. Omen things that I’ve noted throughout the day end up in here at the end of the day as well. Once you have a good chunk of journal, you can worry about what you’ll extract and think about more long term for your other types of books. To me, a journal should be just for you, and in many ways, is allowed to be super messy if you need it to.