I'd like to preface this posting by stating that the title above is a bit misleading, it should probably read How I Create a Magickal Journal, as I would never want to limit anyone's creativity. Therefore, I will be describing here how I go about preparing a bound notebook to act as my magickal journal.
What is a Magickal Journal?
To begin, a magickal journal is a book used to write entries in a chronological order to record information, report events, and store various information. Some people have also been known to draw in their journals. Like a diary, a magickal journal can be used to note one's goals, weather conditions, daily personal events, dreams, insights and musings about various topics, people, places, and things, including information about the self in the form of an inner exploration of one's spirit, thoughts, and ideas.
The words journal and diary have been used interchangeably, but others feel that there are specific differences which separate the two. For example, traditionalist state that a diary should be dated and written in daily, while a journal may be more sporadic and it's focus can be either inward or outward. In addition, the word 'journaling' has entered our collective vocabulary to describe the practice of writing as a hobby, similar to 'scrap booking.'
What Kind of Things Will I Find in a Magickal Journal?
When it comes to deciding what to keep in my magickal journal, I live by one rule, which is "if you don't want anyone to know it, don't write it down." With that said, you can put anything into your magickal journal that you wish. Most of the entries in my magickal journal can be categorized in the following manner:
- Magick, Spells, and Rituals
- Newspaper & Magazine Articles
- Workshops and Various Research
- Art and Photographs
- Quotes and Poetry
- Personal Insights and Musings
- Dreams and Divination
- Memorabilia (movie tickets, play bills, pamphlets)
- Magick & the Occult in Popular Culture
What's the Difference between a Magickal Journal & a Book of Shadows?
Essentially there is no difference between a magickal journal and a BOS, as both virtually contains the same information. For me, the difference between the two lies in the arrangement and presentation of the information. Being a Virgo, my BOS is highly organized, it contains an index, chapters marked by tabs dividing the information into various categories for easy reference, and a bibliography, among other features; whereas my magickal journal is more sporadic, with various information regarding one subject spread out among not only one but several books.
Although I have attempted to cross-reference related information, the more my collection of journals grow, the harder it becomes to do so. In addition, my BOS is completely typed using a word processor, which makes it easier to read and offers many more choices in the presentation of the information it contains; however, my magickal journal contains both hand written as well as typed entries (these are printed out from the computer and glued into the book itself.)
Why Should I Keep a Magickal Journal?
As stated earlier, journaling has become a hobby for many people. More than a past time, however, journaling acts as a focus for one's creativity, a means to listen to one's spirit, a form of meditation, and dealing with daily stress; in addition your journal will become a valuable resource in the recording of information that you will often refer back to in your studies of the Craft. Maintaining a magickal journal often gives the writer a strong sense of comfort in that he or she has an 'audience' for their thoughts, feelings, and emotions; even if no one else reads the journal. In addition psychology teaches that writing about our problems and issues helps us to deal with them.
On a personal note, when I begun my first magickal journal, I never thought I would be able to complete it; however, when I did I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment which motivated me to continue the practice. That being said, it is your own personal choice whether or not you should keep a magickal journal, however I would highly recommend the practice.
How do I start?
I usually purchase the bound mead composition notebooks that contain 100 sheets, or 200 pages, of lined paper. The first thing that I do is personalize the notebook by pasting a picture to the cover and laminating it to protect the picture from any damage. The picture is usually something protective in nature, such as a symbol; but not always, sometimes it is just an interesting picture that I can relate to in some way, or which speaks to me on a deep, spiritual level.
The next thing I do is cut and glue a piece of colored construction paper to the inside of both the front and back covers. On the inside front cover of the notebook I usually put a calendar of the moon phases for the current year, under which I write the date I started the journal; on the back inside cover I put a chart showing the transit of the Moon through the zodiac, writing the date of the last entry under this chart. Finally, I number each of the pages.
A personal practice of mine at the end of the day is to think of one event or thing that occurred that day and write about it in a magickal way. For example, since I work in customer service and often find myself in the position of having to deal with difficult customers, it sparked me to write a protection spell for that specific situation. In addition, I also collected psychological research that would augment my spell and further assist me in handling these situations. In other instances, I will inadvertently come across information which sparks my interests and motivates me to do further research, which will be logged into the magickal journal.
As of this writing I have seven in a series of journals (the other three are dedicated to specific subjects) and currently have 1153 pages of information. It is from these journals that I compiled and organized my Book of Shadows; and which I often refer to when writing articles and entries for my blogs. In addition, I advise you to store your magickal journals and your Book of Shadows in separate places, that way, if either are ever lost, stolen, or destroyed, you still have the information, in whole or in part, in the other.
As we have seen the practice of maintaining a magickal journal is a process which takes some effort, but which is highly rewarding and beneficial in aiding the growth of the individual in his spiritual evolution. Although it is not a prerequisite for being or becoming a Witch/Wiccan/Pagan, I highly recommend the practice in that it is an excellent tool for the novice as well as the seasoned witch.