Journaling is an exercise practiced by many magic-users for a variety of purposes and in many different methods. Journaling can be an exercise in focus, it can help us broaden our view of things, helps us make connections and helps us keep track of our growth or lack thereof.
The Book of Shadows is probably the most well-known journal that a witch keeps. It is generally a book outlining a witch’s magical experiments, reference notes, and observations, though many witches keep a scrap journal for day to day notetaking and only record the highlights in the Book of Shadows to keep things organized. Thus, some witches Books of Shadows are more journal-like than others, or perhaps more like a formal scientific journal, than a personal journal. A witch may have many Books of Shadows in her lifetime, starting new ones as she enters a new stage in her practice, or as she runs out of room to write in the old one.
Another journal that many magic-users keep is the dream journal. This may be part of a personal journal, the Book of Shadows, or it may be its own thing. Keeping a dream journal helps us to remember our dreams and to stay in touch with our unconscious minds. One of the most important things witches must learn is to know themselves and a dream journal helps with this. For those of us that engage in dreamwork, it becomes even more important and more like a Book of Shadows, recording our experiments and insights as well.
A divination journal keeps track of messages received via divination. Some magic-users draw a single runestone or tarot card daily while others may give themselves a complete reading. Writing down the results of these exercises helps us better apply whatever wisdom is imparted and helps us remember what was learned on any given day and relate it to our activities. Keeping a divination journal also helps to strengthen our divination skills.
Many magic-users also keep a personal journal. In this journal, we can free write, brainstorm, make lists and charts of pros and cons in order to clarify our intent and elaborate on our magical practice. It also helps us to “unpack” our feelings about things, so we can stop thinking about them for a while and focus on what’s important, or at least within our control.
Depending on the personal interests of a magic-user, a number of journals may be kept. I keep a plant journal, and a kitchen journal in addition to a personal journal, a Book of Shadows and a dream journal. Others may keep an Astrology journal, a meditation journal, a journal related to any of the physical or mental exercises they practice as part of their Craft.