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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Book of Shadows

DEFINITIONS

Book of Shadows: In modern Wicca, the standard title for a book of Wiccan rituals and teachings. Traditionally each Witch was required to copy out his or her own Book of Shadows by hand from the copy owned by his or her initiator. This is still commonly done in the more traditional covens, although many modern Wiccans and other Pagans use published books for the bulk of their ritual and instructional work…

The term “Book of Shadows” does not occur in Western occult lore or the literature of Witchcraft before Gardner introduced it sometime around 1950. The title may have been borrowed from a 1949 article in the Occult Observer, “The Book of Shadows” by Mir Bahir, about a supposed system of Hindu divination by the measurement of the querent’s shadow.
source: The New Encyclopedia of Occult, by John Michael Greer


ARTICLES

The History of the Golden Dawn
The story of the Golden Dawn, like that of any human organization, is replete with high points and low points—with human achievements and human failings. There is no need for us to try to whitewash or sugarcoat the faults of some of the individuals ...
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Signs of the Zodiac
The signs of the zodiac are the most widely known part of the astrological system. As mentioned earlier, almost everyone knows your Sun sign. The daily horoscopes in the newspaper are based on the position of the Sun in the zodiac. The zodiac is ...
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Review of the Wiccan Cards
Summary: The Wiccan Cards invite the user’s intuition and imagination into each quiet image. Each card is a doorway leading to worlds waiting to be explored. By going through these charming and deceptively simple portals, seekers can find answers ...
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Review of Legend: The Arthurian Tarot
Summary: If you are a collector, either of fine artwork or of Tarot decks, this is an excellent addition. If you are fascinated by the Arthurian myths but don’t know too much about them, this deck, combined with the book included in the set, ...
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Review of The Llewellyn Tarot
Summary: Close enough to the RWS deck to be usable by beginners and yet filled with the beauty of the Welsh legends, something that will fascinate anyone intrigued by that myths of the Mabinogion or who spiritually lives with that pantheon. A must ...
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Review of the Shapeshifter Tarot
Summary: A stunning and transformative artistic deck that is good as an additional deck with a focus on major life changes and magickal work including meditation, shapeshifting, and spellwork. However there are some flaws and the differences between ...
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Review of the Wicca Oracle Cards
Summary: The Wicca Oracle Cards invite the user's intuition and imagination into each quiet image. Each card is a doorway leading to worlds waiting to be explored. By going through these charming and deceptively simple portals, seekers can find ...
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Review of The Book of Shadows Tarot, volume 1: As Above
Summary The Book of Shadows Tarot is the first deck in a two deck set. Each deck is designed to work on its own as well as in tandem with its partner deck. This volume, As Above, is a unique deck using the structure of Tarot to explore the beliefs ...
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Group vs. Solitary Ritual and the Source of Magickal Power
Many if not most rituals in books were written for group performance, yet, most "seekers" today do not belong to a group and modern Americans more often prefer to be Solitaries. Before offering suggestions on how to convert a group ritual to the ...
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Review of the Celtic Dragon Tarot
Summary: A deck that will appeal to lovers of dragons, especially in a Celtic context. As this deck follows the RWS "standard," it will be usable by beginners and pros looking for an additional deck to add to their collection. A must for lovers of ...
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In Irish tradition, there is a wonderful story of bile, the ancient tree. It grows by the side of a sacred well, and acorns, nuts, and apples spring from its branches. How wonderful it would be to live in the world of folk-tradition: a magical place where the world is joined-up, the sacred is apparent in the everyday world, and every living thing... read this article
Gold and Alchemical Healing
Why the Waite-Smith Tarot Was the Almost Perfect Tarot
Demons, Fairies, and Saints in a Renaissance Manuscript of Magic
5 Reasons to Combine Crystals, Oils, and Essences to Facilitate a Life Well Lived
May Bush and Wishing Tree Magick for Beltane

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