When we think of a witch’s tools, we usually think of cauldrons, brooms, and jars filled with herbs. But for modern witches, one of the most powerful tools available is a blank journal. The journal can be an altar, a workspace, a diary, and a grimoire all in one.
Creating a Magical Journaling Practice
One of the benefits of this type of magic is that it doesn’t require a lot of tools and materials. However, there are a few things you may choose to include:
- A journal, notebook, or binder. Having a physical journal for your magical practice can help to ground your magic into the physical world. Find a journal or notebook that speaks to you — this could be a composition book from the dollar store, or an elaborate leather bound journal. I highly recommend using a physical book, but if you are unable to keep a physical journal dedicated to your witchcraft, you can absolutely keep one in a Google Doc, a Microsoft Word document, or the Notes app on your phone.
- Colored pens, pencils, or markers. These are a great way to include the magic of color in your journal. (See this post for info on magical color correspondences.) Writing your spells in a color that matches your intention can add an extra layer of power.
- Stickers, photos, and drawings. This adds a visual component to your written spells. Just like you add things to a physical ritual based on their magical correspondences, you can use images of those things to add energy to journal spells.
A Daily Intention-Setting Ritual
This method of magical journaling is based on an exercise from Lisa Marie Basile’s book, The Magical Writing Grimoire.
In the morning, before you start your day, write your intention for the day ahead. This should be written in the present tense, and phrased in the positive — it’s about what you are doing, not what you’re stopping or trying to quit. Your intention can be anything, mental, emotional, or physical. (For example: “I am opening myself to love in all its many forms.”)
In the evening, before you go to bed, write down what you worked on that day. This can be anything you did that you feel nourished you, and it may or may not be related to your intention from the morning. (For example: “I used mindfulness meditation to become aware of my own vastness.”)
Living with intention makes you more aware of your actions and can be a form of magic in itself. You daily intentions can become positive affirmations that you can repeat throughout your day, drawing strength from the words.
Using a Journal to Cast Spells
You can cast spells on the page of your journal, with nothing more than a pen and paper.
There are four basic parts to every spell: your will, your intention, focused energy, and a ritual action. All of these components can be brought into a journaling session. Your will is your personal magical and spiritual authority — you use your will simply by being aware of it. Your intention is a clear statement of what you want to get out of your spell — in journal magic, this is typically written on the page. By directing your attention to what you are writing, you are focusing your energy. And finally, a ritual action is any act performed in a ritualistic manner — in this case, that act is writing.
When casting a journal spell, it’s best to do your work in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. You might choose to light a candle or burn incense to help set a spiritual/magical mood, or you might not. I recommend meditating on your intention for a few moments before you begin, in order to help focus your energy.
What you actually write is up to you. It could be a simple, straightforward statement of intention, a detailed description of what you want, or even a poem. Feel free to experiment with different methods to see what feels right for you.
Journaling with Sigils and Runes
You can incorporate sigils, runes, and other sacred symbols into your journal, or use them as spells by themselves.
I’ve talked a little bit about runes in a previous post, but here’s a quick refresher: “runes” typically refer to the symbols used in Germanic alphabets before they were replaced by the Latin alphabet. The oldest Germanic rune system, and the one most widely used in magic, is the Elder Futhark. Other Germanic runic alphabets include the Younger Futhark and the Anglo-Saxon runes, which are both descended from the Elder Futhark. There are other alphabets that are used for similar purposes in magic, like the Irish Ogham. The use of these symbols in magic comes from the ancient idea that writing is inherently magical. Both the Germanic runes and the Ogham alphabet were believed to be sacred by the people who originally used them. Because of this, the runes aren’t merely letters — each symbol has a set of spiritual meanings associated with it as well.
The nice thing about runes is that, for the most part, we have a good idea of what they meant — so learning the runes can be as simple as purchasing a book and memorizing meanings. They’re also tied to ancient belief systems, which makes them a potent source of magical power.
You can use the runes in your magical journal in a couple of different ways. You can draw the appropriate runes in the borders around your spell, or write them over your spell in a different colored ink to add their power to your words. You can also use the runes alone as a form of magic. For this, speak or chant the name of the rune as you write it, and then spend a few moment focusing on it, visualizing your goal, and charging the rune with your intent.
Sigils are a little bit different. Unlike runes, sigils are created on the spot, so the meaning of a sigil is usually only known to the person who designed it. This means that, rather than learning established meanings, you’re creating a new magical symbol with a unique meaning every time you draw a new sigil. Because of this, sigils are directly linked to your will, which makes them powerful conductors of magic.
Here’s a common method for designing a sigil: Write a word or phrase that represents your goal or desire. Cross out all the vowels and/or all repeating letters. Now, use the remaining letters (the ones that haven’t been marked out) to create a design, adding artistic flourishes as you see fit. It’s okay to get creative with this, and it’s okay if the shape of the letters isn’t obvious in the final sigil. For example: if I wanted to create a sigil to manifest wealth, I might start with the phrase “I have more money than I know what to do with.” I then cross out all vowels and repeating letters, leaving me with, “v r y k w d.” Using the shape of these letters as a starting point, I create an artistic design that carries the intention of the original statement.
Sigils are usually used on their own to conduct magic. Draw the sigil in a color that matches your intention (for my wealth sigil, I would use green). As you draw, focus on your intent and feel your energy moving through the pen, charging the sigil. You can leave the finished sigil in your journal, tear the page out and place it on your altar, or display it somewhere you’ll see it often.
Sigils are especially useful for witches who need to keep their practice a secret, because they can be disguised as simple doodles.
- The Magical Writing Grimoire by Lisa Marie Basile
- The Way of Fire and Ice by Ryan Smith
- Runes by Kylie Holmes
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