Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mastering Your Grimoire: Researching

Mastering Your Grimoire: Researching

I apologize for not keeping up with this series as I had originally intended. There has just been so much going on and the last thing on my mind has been my grimoire. But here I am, back at it, attempting to finish up the last two posts of the series! If there is another topic in relation to the grimoire that you would like me to cover, please contact me in the comments, on Facebook, or via email. I haven't added working on more pages together, because, well, let's be honest, your grimoire is personal. All witches tend to have a dedication and blessing within the first couple of pages of their grimoire. What they do after that is entirely up to the witch. However, I would be happy to cover any topics you need assistance with regarding your grimoire if you need it. Just let me know. So, let's begin!

Now that you've dedicated yourself to your book and blessed it, it is time to begin filling it with information, spells, and charms. If you thought picking your medium was difficult, we are only just beginning. Assembling your grimoire takes serious thought and planning, even if you are making a digital one. Your book is a spiritual reflection of yourself, so it isn't something you just slap together as quickly as possible and move on. This is an extension of your spiritual being and magical practice, so you should take your time.

Where you find your information is completely up to you. Books, podcasts, blogs, internet resources, other witches, and your own intuition and experiences are great places to start. However, it is imperative you use a critical eye when gathering research and resources. There are many sources out there that contain inaccurate information or people's opinions, but that doesn't mean there isn't valid information underneath. You just have to find it! Be sure to use multiple sources and never take anyone's word as the only true way. Marietta over at Witchy Words wrote a wonderful article on critical reading, so I am not going to cover critical reading in any detail, since she already has. I strongly encourage you to read what she has to say.

When gathering information, it is also important for you to cite your sources. There are several reasons why you will want to do this, even in your grimoire or book of shadows. If you want to go back to the source later for clarification or more information, you'll know exactly where to go. Sometimes things make sense the when we first read them and transfer them to our grimoire, but somehow later down the road they no longer make sense. You may also want to share the information with someone else, write a blog post (or article) on the topic, or integrate the information into a public ritual. We have strict copy right and trade mark laws here in the United States. You need to adhere to them, especially in a public ritual.

Once you begin research, I strongly suggest beginning by taking some notes on the topic you are researching. Write up a draft on some scratch paper. Take notes from multiple sources and pull together what you feel is most important or what works best for you. Writing a rough draft not only allows you to plan your pages if you are creating a bound grimoire like I am, but also allows you to mull over the information. The more times you write it, the more likely you are to remember it as well. When researching and taking notes, think about the following questions to help guide you:
  1. What parts of the information speak to you? Which contain the most insight or are inspiring? This information should make it into your grimoire.
  2. What parts of the information do not speak to you? What can you do without? This information should be tossed or you can put it aside in a separate place to return to later. Nothing wrong with keeping all your notes in a separate location.
  3. What parts of the information are timeless, meaning they are unlikely to change anytime soon? If it meets the criteria for question 1, you should add it to your grimoire.
  4. What parts of the information do you think are going to become outdated soon? If they speak to you, but you know they will be outdated quickly, keep them separate from your grimoire. Tuck them in with other notes or make a special binder for them.
  5. What parts of the information do you need to personalize? What parts do you need to shorten or lengthen? Remember, your grimoire is very personal. Personalize rituals and spells as often as possible. They will be more powerful that way. Drafting before hand will allow you to perfect spells, rituals, and information before adding it to your grimoire. Play around with the information you have gathered until it feels right, but remember to keep the original meaning intact.
  6. How do you want to present the information? Poetry? Prose? Do you want to write it in a certain color to increase the magic? Add a specific aroma? Do you want to mix media? (I'll talk more about this in the last post of the series).
  7. What is the best way to organize the material? We went over this in Organizing Your Grimoire, but I need to mention it again here. It is important for your grimoire to be organized, that way you can easily find the information you are looking for. Carefully consider which section your research should go in. If it needs to be repeated else where, cross-reference it by writing on the page where the information is to be duplicated where you can find more information. For example, authors commonly do this by writing (See page 23 Sabbats for more information). You can do the exact same thing in your grimoire instead of repeating yourself ten thousand times.
By answering these questions you may notice that you may end up with multiple grimoires. Don't be surprised if you do. Keeping a binder or notebook for research is a given. During teacher appreciation week, my administration gave all the teachers a Rocket Book. This is by far an incredible gift. You use a special ink to write in it, categorize your information, then take a snap shot of it and it uploads a PDF to your designated location. It will keep everything in order. When the notebook is full, simply place it in the microwave with a mug of water and the pages erase. I have already started using mine to write some of my first rituals in years and notes for my grimoire. Anyway, back on topic. One book, your main grimoire, acts as the core of your spiritual journey. This will include information unlikely to change that speaks to you and your beliefs. The other books house your research, rough drafts, information that will change quickly, or information that does not pertain to your spirituality but that you might use later for comparative study.

So why bother with 2+ books? First of all, you put a lot of work into your grimoire, from picking it, to decorating it, to dedicating yourself to it, to blessing it. You don't want to be tearing out or deleting pages you put so much work into. Secondly, while a lot of the information you find may be helpful, it isn't always practical. Your grimoire should consist of information you will use often, such as correspondences and methods.

As you work, number your pages. Keep a table of contents and index in rough draft form until your book is full, then add this information. I left a page at the front of my grimoire for my table of contents. It will contain the main titles of each section, while my index will be a more complete representation of the book itself. The index will likely be a separate book that I can add to as the book grows. This is an ongoing process that you will never completely finish. For as long as your practice magic, you will find new ideas, new approaches, and alternative techniques that will speak to you. That is probably one of the most amazing things about witchcraft.

Now get out there are start researching and rough drafting! The final post of the series will cover using colors, aromas, and different times to aid you in infusing your grimoire with even more magic. Again, if there is a grimoire topic you would like to see me add to the series, do not hesitate to contact me!

Good luck!

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