A Lady’s Magic Grimoire Page 1: Merry Meet!
Bide the witches’ rede ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the rede, thou must fulfill: “An it harm none, do what thou will”. What ye send forth returns to thee, so ever mind the rule of three. Follow this with mind and heart and merry ye meet and merry part. – The Witches’ rede.
The witches’ rede is the philosophy of Magic. It is a simple yet profound ideology that has been passed down through the ages and is the heart of all earth based occultism. ‘Harm none’ and ‘what you give is what you get’ are tenets preserved in countless texts along with wisdom and lore, passed from hand to hand, often in the form of a spellbook known as a Grimoire.
A Grimoire is a textbook of Magical knowledge, brimming with insight on matters ranging from wort cunning (that’s herbalism) to simple charms, invoking spirits to astrological wisdom and matters of alchemy…Practical Magic of all persuasions. The books themselves were believed to be imbued with a Magic of their own the more they were used. Our pagan ancestors used these books both as a compendium of time tested formulas for the wise and a spark of inspiration to entice new generations, continuing a legacy of folklore.
Grimoires have been around in some form or another for as long as humans have sought a spiritual connection to the world. Throughout the ages, all around the world, there are records of spiritual secrets being passed on through generations. The ancient Mesopotamians of the 5th century BC recorded Magical incantations on clay cuneiform tablets; The Egyptians and Romans favoured preserving theirs on hieroglyphs and amulets. Later, even the Christians, specifically in the Dead Sea Scrolls, kept records of astrology and angels. (Such records were perfectly acceptable as long as their content was of the natural, or God’s world and it wasn’t until the Romans were fully Christianized that Magical texts became fuel for the fire as they were now associated with paganism.)
Despite the best efforts of religious fanatics, pagan folklore managed to survive, most likely thanks in part to hand written (and later printed) texts that were carefully passed on. A book of shadows was an offshoot of this: A personal journal, often containing information learned from a Grimoire, mixed with personal experiences and interests. In the darker days of witchcraft, a book of shadows would be burned by a loved one after the author’s death, to hide the fact they had practiced the old traditions. If the deceased had a Grimoire in their possession, it would be carefully passed on to a like-minded soul.
Throughout the middle ages and especially around the late 1800’s, Grimoires of many persuasions began to make mainstream appearances as esoteric interest, book binding and literacy all became increasingly popular. Hand written Grimoires still summoned the most reverent interest, as these were believed to contain the most potent Magic. Despite the foreboding stories of early Christians and much later, Horror movie screen writers, a folk Grimoire is not an evil guide to demonic summoning, but a tapestry of knowledge, inspiration and spiritual wisdom.
I am going to create a modern Grimoire here for you, filled with traditional and contemporary lore, with a special focus on herbs, aromatherapy, moon and planetary Magic (and more of course). You might consider using some of this information in the making of your own book of shadows to help conjure and cultivate your Lady Magic. If that appeals to you, I recommend getting yourself a beautiful journal, a few good pens and start adorning the pages in any way that stirs your cauldron. Start writing, drawing or copying things that light you up. There is powerful Magic in making a tangible creation of your own, one to honour your uniqueness, express yourself for your eyes only and help you to step into your power. I hope you turn the pages with me as we explore the secrets that have been kept for many, many moons, patiently waiting for the spark of Magic that is you.
– Merry part!
Illustrations by Cate Currie