The 'Book of Shadows' as Scripture within Wicca/Neopagan Witchcraft
Keywords:witchcraft, paganism, Wicca, Book of Shadows
This article describes the idea of the Book of Shadows (BoS) within both historical and contemporary Wicca/Neopagan Witchcraft, focusing specifically on how the BoS may be understood as “scripture.” The concept of “scripture” within this work is defined as a tripartite matrix of textuality, performance, and iconicity. Through a descriptive investigation of the history of the religion and the BoS, its use as ritual text and as ritual object, its physical meaning and iconicity, and its invested authority, this article shows that the BoS can be understood as a form of scripture, in a functional and analogous sense. In addition, the article briefly discusses the effect of popular “howto” books on scriptural or canonical authority and how these, along with the concept of the BoS, are serving to routinize and standardize a tradition that largely prides itself on being creative and spontaneous.
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