Your Book of Shadows: Make Your Own Magical Habit Tracker, by Cerridwen Greenleaf
CICO Books, 1800652968, 144 pages, April 2024

Mastering your magic takes time, focus, and dedication. Especially when just starting a magical journey, navigating the vast and intricate world of spells, rituals, and energies can quickly feel like uncharted territory. Getting to know what works best for you is a practice of trial and error, a journey where each misstep is as crucial as every success. In Your Book of Shadows: Make Your Own Magical Habit Tracker, Cerridwen Greenleaf teaches readers all they need to know about tracking their own magical practice, refining it by figuring out what did and did not work well, in order to chronicle a repertoire of the wisdom gained from magical experimentation.

Right off the bat, I was drawn to this book for the bright colors and many images throughout the pages. Each section is short and sweet, covering the necessities while creating the space to engage with the book by performing the suggested spells and rituals along the way. The layout of the content makes it easy to engage with the text as you move through the book–there’s a lot of places for your eyes to roam, helping your mind to take in Greenleaf’s wisdom through the sensory appeal of color, font style, and text organization. The design of the book makes me feel inspired, playful, and crafty!

Greenleaf begins by covering the history of Books of Shadows and their importance to a coven or solo practitioner. She then moves into how to choose and design your Book of Shadows, consecrating and protecting your Book of Shadows (as well as creating a shrine), and creating organization through a Table of Contents. She offers advice on how to select a book, decorate it, and keep it magically protected.

As one moves through the process of creating their own Book of Shadows, Greenleaf provides easy-to-follow rituals and spells  to assist with the process: a ritual of thanks, inscription rite,  pendulum spell for choosing the right book, self-assurance charm for creativity when decorating, and safeguarding spell to clear away unwanted energy from your Book of Shadows. There’s also parts on color magic (one focusing on the associations of each color and the other a correspondence chart of each zodiac sign with colors), along with crafting tips for adding pages and creating a book lock.

“… making a Book of Shadows is a very personal endeavor–let go of that fear of making mistakes. Always remember that perfection can be boring–something that is real and unique is much more appealing and special. Keep an open heart and mind, and your Book of Shadows can become a stunningly beautiful work of art.”1

Greenleaf’s emphasis on personalization is particularly noteworthy, encouraging readers to see their Book of Shadows as a living document that evolves with their spiritual journey. This approach not only helps one to build confidence in one’s practice but also makes the process of creating and maintaining a Book of Shadows a deeply personal and fulfilling endeavor.

The following chapters cover cyclical energies of nature that can influence one’s magical practice. Greenleaf first writes about moon spells, specifically focusing on the phases of the moon. For each phase, she gives an overview of the best type of spellwork to do at that time, a table of magical correspondences for the energy of the phase (days, colors, herbs, incense, essential oils, crystals, and metals), and a spell, ritual, or magical craft one can do for that phase.

For instance, Greenleaf describes how new moons are best for new beginnings and offers an incantation for new ideas, while noting waning moons are a “time to conserve our power, to turn our attention towards home and inner peace and wisdom”2 and sharing a recipe for spiritual scrub to cleanse energies from one’s home or ritual space.

Next, Greenleaf covers The Wheel of the Year. Beginning with the Celtic New Year, the high holiday Samhain, she details the eight sabbats, sharing recipes, rituals, divination spells, prayers to the god and goddess, and more. The descriptions of each sabbat aren’t too long, just an introduction, but each one contains enough information for readers to familiarize themselves with the energy of The Wheel of the Year to then further their own practice.

Now that readers have an understanding of the quick-paced moon cycle and the overarching Wheel of the Year, Greenleaf delves deeper into astrological energies. She describes the twelve zodiac signs, along with the correspondence stone for each time period. Later in the chapter, she also provides herbal correspondence for every sign too.

There’s also a very helpful table of the magical planetary hours, which shows the ruling planet for every hour throughout the week. This table is extremely useful for those who are at the level of fine-tuning their spell work to correspond with specific planetary energies, such as doing a love spell during Venus hours or an abundance spell during Jupiter hours. Greenleaf also delves into the elemental power of signs, highlighting which each element is best suited to perform certain magic.

There’s an entire chapter to tracking your magic as a solo practitioner too. Greenleaf recognizes that it can be hard to find community at times or that one might want to keep some matters private, but she still assures readers they can grow their magical practice through their personal Book of Shadows. She advises “keeping a list of personal intentions”3 as these are the key to success in magic. She shares a visualization to create an inner temple, how to make your own DIY wand, meditations for centering yourself, and a candle ceremony to invoke a deity

Then the final chapter is a real gem because it is filled with different correspondences to help readers discover more about subtle energies. There’s a list of trees and what else one can assist with spiritually; flower, herb, essential oil, and color correspondences; correspondences and enhancement abilities for gems, stones, and crystals; totem animal correspondences; significance of numerology; planet correspondences and colors; metal magical correspondences; and a list of magical domains and deities one can work with.

Overall, Your Book of Shadows is a compelling guide for those embarking on or furthering their journey into the realm of witchcraft, Wicca, or other pagan paths. This book serves not just as an introduction to aspects of these spiritual paths, but as an interactive tool, encouraging readers to actively engage with their practice by creating their own Book of Shadows. Greenleaf skillfully demystifies the process of starting a Book of Shadows, presenting it in a way that is both inviting and profound, providing all the essential guidance and spellwork readers need to take this step of connecting with their magical practice on a deeper level.