Further reading

"Isaac Bonewits." Controverscial.com. Available online. URL: http://www.controverscial.com/Isaac%20Bonewits.htm. Downloaded October 1, 2007. "Isaac Bonewits' Cyberhenge." Available online. URL: http:// www.neopagan.net/. Downloaded October 1, 2007.

book of shadows In contemporary witchcraft and WICCA, a book of beliefs, rituals, Witchcraft laws and ethics, herbal and HEALING lore, incantations, chants, dances, spells, divination methods, rituals and miscellaneous topics that serves as a guide for Witches in practicing their Craft and religion. There is no definitive book of shadows for Witchcraft in general; each tradition may have a standard book of shadows, which may be added to or adapted by separate covens (see coven). In addition, individual Witches add their own personal material. The book is to be kept secret, but some Witches have gone public with their books of shadows over the years (see Lady SHEBA).

Traditionally, only one copy existed for an entire coven, kept by the high priestess or high priest. That rule has proved unfeasible, and it is commonplace for all Witches to have their own copies. In the early days of Wicca, a newly initiated Witch copied the coven's master copy, held by the high priestess or high priest, in her or his own handwriting, and added original material as inspired. Today, many books of shadows are kept on computers.

Material is given according to the Witch's position in the hierarchy. As a Witch advances in skill and in the hierarchy—the most common system is one of three degrees—more material is provided. The book of shadows cannot be kept by a Witch if he or she leaves the coven.

Gerald B. Gardner, considered the father of contemporary Witchcraft, claimed that when he was initiated into his coven in 1939, he inherited a fragmentary book of shadows representing the coven's alleged historical tradition. Gardner, who believed MARGARET ALICE Murray's ideas about an unbroken lineage of witchcraft as a religion since ancient times, claimed his coven was part of this heritage. Murray's theories were later proved to be without merit,

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