What is a Receipt-Book? When most people think of a receipt book, they think of those little books that landlords or small businesses may use to write receipts and technically they would be correct. However, in terms of Hoodoo and various other magical practices a receipt-book is a book of “things received” such as recipes, spells, formulas, techniques, stories, etc… In this respect it is akin to the magician’s grimoire or a Wiccan Book of Shadows. Like a diary or personal journal, a receipt-book can be used to note one's goals, weather conditions, daily personal events, dreams, insights and musings about various topics, people, places, and things, including family traditions, local lore, and information about the self in the form of an inner exploration of one's spirit, thoughts, and ideas. What Goes in a Receipt Book? When it comes to deciding what to keep in my receipt-book, I live by one rule, which is "if you don't want anyone to know it, don't write it down." With that said, you can put anything into your receipt-book that you wish. Most of the entries in my receipt-book can be categorized in the following manner: Magic, Spells, and Rituals Recipes & Formulas Signatures Family Traditions Newspaper & Magazine Articles Workshops and Various Research Local Legends and Lore Art and Photographs Quotes and Poetry Personal Insights and Musings Dreams and Divination Memorabilia (movie tickets, play bills, pamphlets) Magick & the Occult in Popular Culture Why Should I Keep A Receipt Book? In the days before the internet when life was slower and we didn’t have so many things vying for our attention the practice of writing daily in a diary or journal was commonplace. Today, the art of journaling has become something of a hobby for many people. More than a past time, however, journaling acts as a focus for one's creativity, a means to listen to one's spirit, a form of meditation, and dealing with daily stress; in addition your receipt-book will become a valuable resource in the recording of information that you will often refer back to in your studies. Maintaining a receipt-book often gives the writer a strong sense of comfort in that he or she has an 'audience' for their thoughts, feelings, and emotions; even if no one else reads the book. In addition psychology teaches that writing about our problems and issues helps us to put them into perspective deal with them in a healthy manner. On a personal note, when I begun my first receipt-book, I never thought I would be able to complete it; however, when I did I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment which motivated me to continue the practice. That being said, it is your own personal choice whether or not you should keep a receipt-book, however I would highly recommend the practice. Getting Started As I mentioned earlier, when I started my first receipt-book I never thought I’d ever actually fill it up and so I attempted to get everything I wanted into one book. That one book turned into a series of eight books. At that point, I decided to begin making one book dedicated to a specific subject. For example, I have one journal dedicated to the tarot, one to astrology, and one in which I record my dreams (see photo above). To create my receipt-book I usually purchase the bound mead composition notebooks that contain 100 sheets, or 200 pages, of lined paper. Some folks might prefer to utilize a three-ring binder but I prefer to use a bound book. The first thing that I do is personalize the notebook by creating a special cover for it which denotes the subject matter it is to contain. When I am done I often laminate the front and rear covers to protect it from any damage. A personal practice of mine involves thinking of one event or thing that occurred to me and write about it in a magical way at the end of the day. For example, at one point in my life I worked in a customer-service position that required me to sell lottery tickets to the public. By befriending the little ladies with their dream books I was able to learn their methods of catching lucky lottery numbers, dream-lore, and rituals for good luck, which I logged into my receipt-book. In other instances, I will inadvertently come across information which sparks my interests on a certain subject which motivates me to do further research, which will be logged into the receipt-book. I have to admit that after I had regular access to the internet, I stopped writing in my receipt-book on a regular basis in favor of blogging. In fact, many of the early entries in my blog began as rough drafts in my personal receipt-book. It is from my receipt-books that I compiled and organized my website; and which I often refer to when writing articles and entries for my blog or magazine print articles. Conclusion As we have seen the practice of maintaining a receipt-book is a process which takes some effort, but which is highly rewarding and beneficial in aiding the growth of the individual in his spiritual evolution. Although it is not a prerequisite for practicing Hoodoo, I highly recommend the practice in that it is an excellent tool for organizing your thoughts, recording your successes, techniques, formulas, etc…and will become a treasured and trusted friend to you and one day to your heirs.
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