Hocus Pocus is one of my very favorite films, and it made me fall in love with the idea of a grimoire. The Sanderson sisters’ grimoire was a giant, sentient tome that featured a creepy, blinking eye (#goals). And while mine is much simpler than that one was, it’s very important to me and I deeply cherish it. So, what is a grimoire? To put it simply, they are reference texts created by witches to organize everything they’ve learned. They can be full of spells, information on the various branches of witchcraft (tarot, crystals, astrology, palmistry, spellwork, etc.), and witchy tips and tricks.
I’m a witch and I practice secular witchcraft, meaning that my beliefs aren’t deity- or religion-based. I simply use witchcraft as self-care. I practice divination (palmistry, tarot, astrology, and, sometimes, reading tea leaves) as a self-exploration tool rather than to try to influence the future — and my spell work doesn’t consist of things like love potions and hexes. Instead, it’s just meant to be personally empowering. Some of my favorite spells are designed to give me clarity when I’m feeling confused, banish sadness and bad vibes, or to help stimulate creativity if I’m stuck in a rut.
I’ve learned witchcraft from a lot of different sources over the many years I’ve been practicing it. I’ve poured over what feels like a million sites and read dozens of books on the subject, accepting the parts of them that ring true to me, and ignoring the bits that I don’t jive with. The information and tools that I accept into my practices get put down in ink for future reference in my grimoire. Whenever I forget the meaning of a tarot card (What does the Page of Pentacles represent again?!) or need a spell to conjure up some courage, I pop open my grimoire and get to work. Here’s how you can make your own!
How are you going to use your grimoire?
When making a grimoire, the first thing to do is decide what sort of format you want to go with, as they can be kept in so many different ways. I have witchy friends whose grimoires are giant, ancient-looking tomes à la Hocus Pocus, and modern-minded witches sometimes type them up and simply keep them in Google Docs. Some people buy special journals to keep as grimoires, and others use binders with scrapbook formats. Personally, I remember things better when I write them down, so I’ve hand-written my current grimoire in a simple, nondescript, spiral-bound sketchbook with lovely, thick pages that are oddly satisfying to write on. (Does anyone else absolutely love writing with really smooth ink on thick, fluffy pages, or is it just me?) I’m considering it a rough draft. When I have it filled with information, I intend to transfer it all into the grand tome of my dreams. I didn’t want to start with the final journal, because the one I want is hundreds of dollars, and I want to practice and settle on a writing style and format that works for me before investing in it.
Organization is key!
Thinking about how you’re going to organize your grimoire is super important. If it’s sloppy, how will you find the information you need when you need it? If you’re not a terribly organized person, though, never fear! Keeping a scrapbook-style binder grimoire would probably be a great option for you, so you can rearrange and add pages as you need to. I keep information grouped by categories in my sketchbook grimoire.
My first category is on tarot, where I outline the breakdown of a standard tarot deck and keep track of my favorite tarot spreads. I also list the meanings of some of the cards, and I keep a little page on tarot numerology. I reference this section pretty often, because each of the cards can have several meanings that change depending on their orientation, so it's a lot to memorize.
Next, my grimoire features an astrology section, where I list details and dates of the zodiac signs, and information on the 12 astrological houses (which I can never keep straight on my own). I keep a copy of my natal chart there, too.
Palmistry is the next section, where I have information on the two branches of palmistry (chiromancy, which is the study of the lines of the palm, and chirognomy, which studies the size, shape, color, and other aspects of the hand). There, I keep details about what different markings, lines, and hand shapes mean in palmistry. I also made detailed maps of my own palms in that section.
Information on elemental magic follows next, where I list the elements I recognize in my witchcraft (earth, wind, water, fire, and spirit). Here, I've also written my own incantations to invoke and release the spirits associated with each element. I'm just starting to delve into elemental magic, so I reference this section often.
Next, there are a few pages on the divinitive art of reading tea leaves. In it, I outline the process I use to read them and list many common symbols found in the tea leaves, and what they represent. I totally don't have all the main symbols and their meanings memorized, so I have to flip over to this section whenever I do tea readings.
Finally, I have my list of spells. This is my largest section. I have spells for manifesting motivation, spells to help me focus, and spells to banish bad vibes. There are spells to get rid of nightmares, spells to ward off negative energy, and spells to purify and spiritually charge my home with positive vibes. Again, I don't use hexes or love potions in my witchcraft. Rather, I stick to light magic that's focused on helping me manifest the energies I need to thrive.
It’s all outlined by an index in the beginning of the book. I make sure to leave a lot of blank pages between categories so that I don’t run out of room as I add information to the categories. I'm going to add a section on different herbs and roots next, detailing their different applications in witchcraft.
Bling It Out
There are so many ways to decorate a grimoire. Get crafty! Press flowers and herbs between its pages, add stamps, stickers or other stick-on embellishments, like rhinestones and pearls, use border scissors to cut the edges of the pages into fun shapes, bust out the glitter, or attach photographs.
A lot of people decorate the covers of their grimoires in ways that represent their craft. For instance, witches that work primarily with crystals might draw or even attach crystals to their grimoires. Witches who focus on astrology might cover their grimoires in constellations or zodiac symbols. Some witches use protective symbols and sigils, such as pentagrams or Evil Eyes, to ward off bad vibes. Other witches work with essential oils, and anoint or bless their grimoires with them. My practical, sensible, no-nonsense Capricorn Mercury totally shows in the way I've decorated mine. I just use highlighters to brighten it up and make its formatting easier to understand. I keep a few crystals on it (usually selenite, raw tekite, and rose quartz) when it’s not in use to make sure it’s always charged with strong, positive vibes.
Grimoires are a witch's right-hand tool, and making one can seem a little daunting at first. Don't feel overwhelmed. Have fun with it! Take the time to really make it yours. No matter what sort of witchcraft you practice, yours will be your best friend. Fill it with spells you like, or witchy information on different herbs, roots and other flora.
Astrology-minded witches can use their grimoires to remember all minute complexities of astrology, and those who work with crystals can use theirs as a quick reference guide to crystals, fossils and stones, and all their witchy applications. Just remember: there is no right or wrong way to make a grimoire. Do you. Happy crafting, babes!