Book of Spells
General Information



Enchanted Forest

Current Location

Heart Vault

Physical Description

Spell book


Grayish silver with gold clasps

Usage Information
Possessed by
Used by
  • Cora †
  • Evil Queen/Regina Mills
Used for

Learning and gaining magic

Show Information
First appearance

We Are Both

Latest appearance

Breaking Glass

Latest mention

Family Business


The Book of Spells is a magical item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the second episode of the second season.


Before First CurseEdit

Unhappily engaged to King Leopold due to her mother Cora's insistence, Regina complains openly to her father, Henry, about it. She feels angry all the time and fears turning out like Cora. Regina asks how her mother became so controlling, and Henry mentions something about a book a man gave her in the past that started it all. That night, Regina sneaks into her mother's sleeping chambers to steal the book. On the balcony, she accidentally recites a summoning spell by saying the name "Rumplestiltskin", and he appears to offer her help in getting rid of her mother. Unwilling to use magic to harm someone, Regina refuses until Rumplestiltskin shows her a looking glass. He instructs her to simply give Cora a little push into it and then her mother will be gone forever. On the day of the wedding, Cora catches onto Regina's plan, but her daughter surprisingly utilizes magic to push her into the looking glass. Free at last, Regina attempts to leave on horseback. Along the way, she meets Rumplestiltskin again and returns the spell book to him. However, he's only interested in knowing what it felt like for her to use magic. At first, Regina defends her actions, stating she loves Cora very much, until admitting using magic felt so good. She has reasonable fears of becoming as controlling as her mother, but Rumplestiltskin promises that is entirely up to her. From then on, he takes her in as a magic protege. ("We Are Both")

After First CurseEdit

In present day Storybrooke after the curse is broken, Regina's magic does not return to its full power. After Henry is taken away by David, she realizes only magic can help her regain her son. Heading into the pawnshop, Regina fumbles around for her mother's old spell book when Mr. Gold coolly stops her. However, when she threatens to expose him to the townspeople as the creator of the Dark Curse, he hands the book to her. As Regina leaves, he remarks that she is starting to bear a strong resemblance to Cora. Opening the book, she inhales a vapor from the pages, which restores all her magic. Regina proceeds to terrorize the residents at town hall until Henry agrees to go home with her. Though her son tries to sneak out of the house, she uses magic to force him to stay. Henry is still angry at her for making everyone, while during the curse, think he was crazy with his fairytale theories. She promises to make it up by teaching him magic, but Henry refuses since he doesn't want to turn out like her. Shocked, Regina recalls his words once mirrored her own when she had fears of becoming like Cora. When David shows up to rescue Henry, she doesn't put up a fight. Regina realizes she cannot make her son stay by force and promises to work towards being worthy of his love. After they are gone, she prepares to burn the book, but later sets it on a shelf instead. ("We Are Both")

In a race against time, Emma and Mary Margaret are stuck in the Enchanted Forest and must find squid ink that will help them to defeat Cora, who is also scheming for a way to reach Storybrooke. One of their companions, Aurora, finds a parchment with Emma's name written all over it. They become trapped when Cora manipulates Aurora via her heart to do so. While contemplating their inability to get out, Mary Margaret recalls, in her younger days, watching Cora use magic from her book, and realizes the parchment can be used in the same way. She blows at the parchment as the dry ink on it turns into a powdery dust that crumbles the jail cell bars. ("Queen of Hearts")

Regina finds out about David and Mary Margaret growing magic beans to take everyone, except her, back to the Enchanted Forest. She steals one and destroys the rest. Then, Regina visits Henry to show him the means she has to take both herself and him away from Storybrooke to start a new life in the Enchanted Forest. He is keen on the plan until hearing further detail about the "fail-safe" Regina has, which will erase Storybrooke and all the people inhabiting the town once they leave. Regina reasons they can never live as a family unless everyone else who is standing in their way is gone for good, and also because Henry can see the good in her, and once loved her. Henry attests he can never love someone who kills other people and promises to warn them about her. However, Regina takes out her mother's spell book to cast a memory impairment spell on Henry. Coming out of the spell's effects, as if seeing her for the first time today, he asks what she is doing here. Regina says she missed him, and directs Henry to show her the bird feeders he is working on. ("The Evil Queen")

During Second CurseEdit

To face up against a formidable nemesis, Zelena, Emma accepts magic training under Regina's direction. They meet up in the vault where Regina begins the lesson by showing Emma a page from her mother Cora's old spell book. Emma is dismayed to see the page's words are in another language and suggests Regina simply use any techniques Rumplestiltskin once taught her. This leads Regina to put Emma on a collapsing bridge and force her to channel magic to save herself. ("The Jolly Roger")

After Second CurseEdit

When her lover Robin Hood's wife Marian falls under a freezing curse cast by the Snow Queen, Regina repeatedly reads the book trying to figure out how to save the woman. {{S|("The Apprentice", "Breaking Glass", "Family Business")

Types of SpellsEdit

  • Immobilization spell
  • Barrier spell
  • Shielding spell
  • Summoning spell
  • Memory spell - Erases and wipes out a designated period of time in a person's memory. The person affected by the spell will have no recollection nor any sense of having forgotten the memories. ("The Evil Queen")


  • As Regina looks through the book to restore her magical powers, there are alchemical symbols printed on the pages[1]—Fusion, Flowing Melting, Composition 2, Fixation, Filtration 1, part of Lutation Sealing 2, Extraction of Dryness, Filtration 2, Lutation Sealing 1, Fire of Circulation 2, Grades of Fire, Fire of Circulation 1, Dry, and Distillation 2.[2] ("We Are Both")
  • When young Regina summons Rumplestiltskin, the Sigillum Dei, a late Middle Ages magical diagram, is pictured on the page with Rumplestiltskin's name on it.[3] The Sigillum Dei ("seal of God") was an amulet which allowed the initiated magician to have power over all creatures except Archangels. However, it was usually only reserved for those who can achieve the blessed vision of God and angels; rather ironic for a spell book belonging to the Dark One. ("We Are Both")

Via lata gradior more iuventutis
implico me vitiis immemor virtutis

voluptatis avidus magis quam salutis

mortuus in anima curam gero cutis[4]
Presul discretissime
veniam te precor

Morte bona morior
dulci nece necor
Meum pectus sauciat
puellarum decor
Et quas tactu nequeo

saltem corde moechor[5]
Which translates as:
"I walk down a broad way, as is the habit of youth, I get involved in vices, oblivious of virtue. Avid of pleasure more than of salvation, Dead in soul, I take care of the skin (body)."[4]
"Oh, most discreet prelate, I am asking you for pardon; I am dying a good death, perishing a sweet perish; My breast is wounded by the beauty of girls, And with those whom I cannot touch I commit adultery at least in my heart."[5]
  • One page[6] shows a Transmutation Circle,[7] which is believed to help an alchemist focus their energy to change one item into another (such as lead into gold).[8] ("Going Home")
    • The opposite page[6] contains the last stanzas (XWII - XIX) from the "Confession" (note that this rendering of the poem has a few misspellings, and some words are repeated; also, the words written in red are not actually part of the poem, and appear to be gibberish):
Iam virtutes diligo
viciis irascor

Renovatus animo,
spiritu renascor,
Quasi modo genitus
novo lacte pascor,
Ne sit meum amplius

vanitatis vas cor.[9]
Electe Coloniae,
parce poenitenti,

Fac misericordiam
veniam petenti
Et da poenitentiam
culpam confitenti!
Feram quicquid iusseris

animo libenti.[10]
Parcit enim subditis
leo rex ferarum

Et est erga subditos
immemor irarum,
et vos idem facite,
principes terrarum!
Quod caret dulcedine

nimis est amarum.[10]
Which translates as:
"Already I value virtues, I am angry at vices, Renewed in soul I am born again in spirit, Like a new-born, on fresh milk I feed, So that my heart should no longer be a vessel of vanity."[9]
"Oh, Elect of Cologne, spare the repentant, Show mercy, to one seeking pardon; And give penance to one confessing guilt! I will do whatever you order with willing soul."[10]
"Lo, the lion, king of beasts spares his subjects; And is toward the subjects oblivious of anger, And do the same ye, the rulers of lands, What lacks sweetness (softness) is too bitter."[10]
  • A page with roots of incantations[11] shows the Tree of Life from Kabbalah. This symbol represents, as a series of divine emanations, God's creation, the nature of revealed divinity, the human soul, and the spiritual path of ascent by man. ("Going Home", "The Jolly Roger")
    • Even though Regina says that the characters on this page are Elvish, they are actually symbols for alchemical processes – Abstraction, Putrefication, Digestion 1, Purification 1, Pulverise 1, Purification 2, Pulverise 2, Reverberation 2, Coagulation 1 and Reverberation 1.[2]
    • The opposite page contains the astrological symbols for Aries (♈),[11] Taurus (♉)[11] and Gemini (♊)[12]—the first three astrological signs in the Zodiac. A couple of alchemical symbols (Fire of Circulation 3 and Fire of Rotation)[2] can also be glimpsed.[11] ("Going Home", "The Jolly Roger")
      • This page[11] also contains stanza I and stanza III from the "Confession" (note that the book's rendering of stanza I has a few alternate spellings, and the first two words of stanza III have been omitted all together):
Estuans intrinsecus
ira vehementi

In amaritudine
loquor mee menti:
Factus de materia
levis elementi
Folio sum similis

de quo ludunt venti.[13]
Feror ego veluti
sine nauta navis,

Ut per vias aeris
vaga fertur avis,
Non me tenent vincula,
non me tenet clavis,
Quero mei similes

et adiungor pravis.[14]
Which translates as:
"Burning (boiling) inwardly with vehement indignation in bitterness will I say to my soul: Made of the stuff of a light element, I am similar to a leaf with which winds play."[13]
"I am carried like a ship without a sailor, As over aerial ways, a wandering bird is carried, Fetters do not hold me, the lock does not hold me, I look for the likes of me and join the depraved."[14]
  • Several pages[1][6][11]contain symbols from the reconstruction[15] of the mysterious Emerald Tablet, which is one of the pillars of Western alchemy. It has been translated by many people over the centuries, and is said to be inscribed with the secrets of the universe. One interpretation suggests that the text describes seven stages of alchemical transformation—calcination, dissolution, separation, conjunction, fermentation, distillation and coagulation.[16] ("We Are Both", "Going Home", "The Jolly Roger")


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.