One of the questions in the final assignment asks - “What does your spell book need to develop into?”
The reality is, I personally feel a draw towards keeping a Book of Spells, but I don’t know if that will work for everyone, nor do I think that every person that opts to keep a Book of Spells will create it in the same way.
The reason I opted to incorporate a Book of Spells with each Magical Apprentice’s Welcome Package is because I wanted to entice them with the possibility of such a book existing. The reason I end with the question “What does YOUR spell book need to develop into” is because I want them to realize their magic is required in the upkeep and entrails of just such a text.
What makes or breaks a Book of Spells lies in what you believe it to be.
Let me give you a little bit of back story. In 2011 (or so) I met up with the woman responsible for the Right Brain Planner. On this particular meeting she had a hardback, nonfiction book and she flipped through it showing me these incredible altered pages she'd created, some of which had elaborate fold-out portions with what I thought of as hidden secrets.
Having come from working in the scrapbooking world, I recognized this pretty quickly as something we called an art journal. I had tried on multiple occasions to keep one of my own, but never got into a groove with it. It always felt like I was copying someone else’s work. This art journal before me was far more free than most of the others I had made or seen. This felt so unique to her, that I knew it couldn’t be copied or replicated or taught. All I knew was, I wanted my own version.
I created several art journals over the next few years. I think about 8. (I would have to pull them out from my attic to be sure.) These art journals did feel like me, very, very much so. Which was a step forwards for me. They were filled with a lot of spiritual thrashing as well as artistic exploration. These journals saw me through a spiritual crisis. Page after page of Could I? Perhaps? Do you think maybe? What if? They were me tip-toeing into and out of hiding over and over again.
The most poignant moment for me was when I was at church one day, dropping off my kids at childcare and one of their teachers pointed to my art journal which was tucked under my arm and bulging at the seams. She asked, “Is that your Bible?”
“No. It’s my art journal.”
Later when I was relaying the conversation to a friend she said, “You should have told her yes!”
Oh how I wanted to, but I wasn't ready yet.
There is a secret message I created once that said, “Forget a guidebook. Read your soul.” When I created it I was thinking about that woman who asked if my art journal was my Bible. I was playing with the idea of being able to create my own guidebook based on the desires of my soul rather than feeling obligated to uphold someone else’s guidebook.
A few years later I heard a phrase from my friend Janae. Using a play on words, she said “Make belief” instead of “Make believe.” To be a believer, in my background, meant adhering to a certain religious code. When I heard this phrase “make belief” I was reconnected again (like my art journal/Bible) to the idea that I could create my own beliefs based on what I needed. Tying my beliefs into the idea of playing make believe gave it this innocent and childlike spirit that I resonated with strongly.
A year or so ago, when I created The Magic School I was merging my love for fictional story, self-reliance, childlike pleasure and imagination as tools to help apprentices learn to stay in reality and create the world they want to inhabit. To tap into your own magic you need to understand yourself and understand what works for you.
Now if you follow along with the history I’ve shared with you here, you will see why part of the magic I need is to have a book that acts as a personal guide for my life, but, and here’s the key, the book can only be created by me because 1.) I know me better than anyone else and 2.) I desire this creative outlet.
Going along with the MAGIC theme of The Magic School, it only makes sense that the guidebook I am looking for would be called a Book of Spells.
In course 101 we watch the film Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. In the film the toy store has something called The Big Book and they consult it whenever they need to inquire about something in the toy store. The Big Book makes needed toys materialize. To me my Book of Spells makes what I need materialize. It is a collection of tried and true spells I return to again and again. In the film, Molly Mahoney thinks the book itself is magic. What she comes to find out though is that things are magic only if a person believes they are.
Is my Book of Spells really magic? I believe it is.
It differs from my season of thrashing art journals in that these are not supposes or hopes or whispers or what ifs. My Book of Spells isn’t a place for figuring something out (currently I use my Following the White Rabbit bullet journal for that.)
My Book of Spells is a place of certainty and clarity and concentrated magic. It integrates what I have found valuable in order to make my life meaningful and pleasurable and forward moving. These are confident, tried and true spells that get me unstuck. Spells that I’ve lived my way into. These consist of repeat symbols or characters or settings or themes or quotes that I have collected in my living to help me get up and over, forward and through. These are also visual things that move me like colours or patterns or images or memorabilia or treasures from friends. If they made a significant impact on me, I know I want them in the book and I don’t question why. It's a hodge-podge of art that matters to me. I have waited my whole life for a book like this, and I look forward to seeing how my personal volumes will increase and morph as time unfolds.
I know I can’t possibly give a precise how-to for creating a Book of Spells because it is so unique to each Apprentice of Magic. That being said I do have an eBook in The Magic School on this topic of a Book of Spells. It is called Following the White Rabbit - Book of Spells. It isn't about learning new art techniques. It's about honoring imagination and intuition and seeing what magic shows up on the page.
If keeping a Book of Spells interests you, I think you can come at it from a couple different angles:
FOR THE ARTIST: If you are someone that craves creative expression in the form of art, this would be similar to how I felt the first time I saw Teresa’s art journal with the unique fold-out pages, then start (or keep) creating your art journal with the theme of magic in mind. (If you have NO IDEA where to start, there are plenty of people who teach art journaling now. I'm impressed with Daisy Yellow and Orange Spiral Arts.) Maybe, with time, you’ll create your way into an understanding of what art journals are to you, meanwhile you can enjoy the process. Maybe, in hindsight, you’ll come up with your own artistic name for them (like me and my Thrashing Period.) I believe Teresa currently calls them her creative planning pages. The one I am working on now I call my Book of Spells. What do you need your art journals to be called?
<Ssshh, I am whispering now: If you want to be an artist, but are still scared to say that out loud, check out this resource.>
FOR THE MAGICIAN: If the magic aspect is really what speaks to you, consider why you desire a Book of Spells and what you would love yours to include. Journaled words? Morning pages? Recipes? Collages? Lists? Photographs? Quotes? Brainstorms? Mindmaps? Permission slips? Incantations?
What magic do you wish existed? What powers did you wish you possessed? How can you go about creating them or implementing them? Work backwards from these questions to discover and write your own spells. How can you "make belief" your way into a Book of Spells that gets you unstuck in your very real life?
Additionally, if you want to explore your magic and understand what that means, I offer this free resource on reading a book The Magic School way and have an introductory 5-day eCourse called The Primer.
Any questions I didn't answer about my Book of Spells, I'd be happy to do so in the comments.