Thursday, February 10, 2011

pagan scrapbooking

My sketch
I've been contemplating where I wanted to begin my witchy scrapbooked book of shadows and how I wanted to create this book. In other words, I've been chewing on what I should record, what I shouldn't, and how I'm going to go about the process.

Nowadays scrapbooking is about memory keeping.

But in the past it wasn't just about memory keeping, people scrapbooked all kinds of things. News events, recipes, photos, etc. And I think that I had to think outside of the photo centered box in order to fully wrap my head around what I wanted to do with this project.

The sketch & pages that inspired my page from 52 weeks
You see, I don't want to blog about my spells. I'm really not comfortable with doing this online (though I love that others do... it's just not what I want to explore in this space). So I needed to find a voice for the online format for this venture. Ironically, being the lit geek that I am, my inspiration for how I want to do this project comes from a book, Joanne Harris' Five Quarters of the Orange (not the amazon link you expect, rather a summary of the story). In this book, the mother records all of her recipes in a scrapbook of sorts, complete with comments about life at the time, notes about the recipes, and memorabilia. This book then becomes the main character's connection to her past (in some very complex, revealing ways) and a document of her mother's life and secrets. And when I think about what I want to record in this witchy scrapbook, this is part of what I want to include. There's something about the representation of this cooking scrapbook that inspires my own. Joanne Harris wrote this as the description of the priceless recipe scrapbook that is central to the unfolding narrative of the past:

When my mother died she left the farm to my brother, Cassis, the fortune in the wine cellar to my sister, Reine-Claude, and to me, the youngest, her album [...] And as Cassis always said, I was the favourite. [...] Perhaps that was why she gave me the album, valueless, then, except for the thoughts and insights jotted in the margins alongside recipes and newspaper cuttings and herbal cures. Not a diary, precisely; there are no dates in the album, no precise order. Pages were inserted into it at random, loose leaves later bound together with small, obsessive stitches, some pages thin as onion skin, others cut from pieces of card trimmed to fit inside the battered leather cover. My mother marked the events of her life with recipes, dishes of her own invention or interpretations of old favourites. Food was her nostalgia, her celebration, its nurture and preparation the sole outlet for her creativity. The first page is given to my father's death - the ribbon of his L├ęgion d'Honneur pasted thickly to the paper beneath a blurry photograph and a neat recipe for black-wheat pancakes - and carries a kind of gruesome humour. Under the picture my mother has pencilled, 'Remember - dig up Jerusalem artichokes. Ha! Ha! Ha!' in red.
In other places she is more garrulous, but with many abbreviations and cryptic references. I recognize some of the incidents to which she refers. Others are twisted to suit the moment's needs. Others seem to be complete inventions, lies, impossibilities. In many places there are blocks of tiny script in a language I cannot understand - 'Ini tnawini inoti plainexini. Ini canini inton inraebi inti ynani eromni.' Sometimes a single word, scrawled across the top or side of the page, seemingly at random. On one page, 'seesaw' in blue ink, on another, 'wintergreen, rapscallion, ornament' in orange crayon. On another, what might be a poem, though I never saw her open any book other than one of recipes.

The beauty behind this book is that in the end, it is the most valuable of the things her mother leaves behind. It is her connection to the past, it is was heals her, and it is what helps her find her fortune (financial, emotional, etc).

Ironically, sometimes in the beauty of modern scrapbooking (because everything is so pretty and perfect), I think we lose some of that history and significance. My goal for a pagan scrapbook *book of shadows* or otherwise, is to collect images of altars, recipes for incense, and various things I've learned along the way. If I manage to recreate, on some small level, what JH gives voice to in her novel, I will call it a mission accomplished!

On a side note about my colour schemes lately. I'm not quite sure what it is, but these days I'm really drawn to oranges, which is out of character for me. I'm usually more of a blue, green, purple girl but I just can't seem to get enough of orange (even more of a tangent... is it weird that I was totally singing Depeche Mode in my head when I wrote "I just can't get enough)? Sometimes I think I'm the only person who is constantly mentally breaking out in song when I hear or think of words that are song lyrics (only in my head... be thankful... I can't carry a tune so well)!

Ah well, we're (yes, the royal we) just a little bit crazy over here at Aradia's Cauldron!


  1. I have been really inspired by your pagan Scrapbook, Journal, BOS idea. I have been wanting to start one for myself for a long time, but haven't known where to begin or what approach to take. I think you have just hit the nail on the head and I shall be using a similar format to the one you have just described as I think it is one which will suit me most. So a big thank you for the inspiration. Bright Blessings.x Oh and by the way, I often break out in tune at particular phrases too,lol.x

  2. Yay, I'm glad. I know there are other pagan scrapbookers out there but it seems like when you look for ideas on the web, no really has much in the way of info, other than to say that this is something they want or are looking for.

    I'm following you, so if you post your pages, I'll be sure to oogle what you create!!! I'm such a snoop and I love seeing what others create.

    self confessed artistic voyeur over here!

  3. You are not the only one, I break into song all the time. It bothers my son, but I love it. I've been working on making my pages more meaningful and putting more of my beliefs in my pages. And orange has been one of my colors lately, too. I'm a new follower and am doing the 52 weeks of pagan art journaling. thank you for the inspiration!

  4. I too decided to do my bos differently scrapbook/art journal i have bits of info scattered around the place and need a place to home them.... i have done a couple of scrapbook projects (both around the wheel of the year) it was great fun but i found it too neat and tidy for my bos so have now opted for the art journal approach. Its started but is a long slow project so much time spent on every page but worth the effort. Im using a normal A4 ring binder (covered) with loose pages in clear sleeves a bit like the 12x12 albums easy to insert pages as you go. :) good luck would love to see where you go with your bos (i too love to nose at others fantastic work) x

  5. What an absolutely awesome idea; I have been scrapbooking for years and I have several BOSs. I think this might be a great idea for my coven for Samhain

  6. @anon: If you do it, I'd love to hear about how it goes with the group!


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