I'm not sure that every coven unrelated to a specific tradition needs a "Book of Shadows." I probably wanted one for my coven because I have strange control issues. After finding a ritual structure that worked for our circle I wanted to get it all down on paper, and share it with everyone in our little group. For our group a BoS made perfect sense because we work the same way ritual to ritual.
A BoS is not necessarily a rigid, never-changing book of instructions, but it often contains ideas that consistently work. If the quarter calls I'm using "work" why would I want to change them every month or so? I also think there's real power in repeating a ritual structure over and over again. It takes the guess work out of ritual and creates an atmosphere that lets the mind and spirit quickly ease into ritual mode. When my coven's opening chant starts I'm in "work mode" and instantly push outside concerns away.
The other day a member of my coven offered to lead an upcoming ritual. I was extremely pleased by this development. Though my wife and I often function as the "High Priestess" and "High Priest" of our group we didn't start this endeavor with the idea that we would run every ritual. It's nice to just sit back sometimes and participate instead of having to stand forward and "lead."
I know that our group is kind of set up in a such a way that it often looks like I'm in charge. My wife and I started our coven, we selected our initial circle-mates, and I organized our week to week gatherings. As time went on we adopted a formal ritual structure, which I wrote.
Nine years ago we bought my grandmother's house. This place has been very important to me, it has always been a security blanket of sorts, even in my dreams. My cousin had purchased the house after my grandmother passed in 1988 and lived therefor 17 years. Then in 2005, he sold it to my husband and I. At that time, we lived outside of Baltimore, Maryland. We wanted this space so when we would drive the six hours northwest to my hometown, we can take our three beautiful kids someplace other than my mom's crowded house or hotel. This place would be perfect, not too large, enough room for us to spread out and the affordability to have the necessary creature comforts. Plus there is this beautiful large yard surrounded by woods - the very woods my father and I would explore for a few hours nearly every Sunday - where the kids can walk outside and run and explore without us having to drive to larger spaces or worry about who might be lurking around.
That first summer we cleaned and rearranged and started to renovate. It didn't seem as though the place had been touched since she passed.