Is there a right way to set intentions for a spell?

I read this article and the author was clear that intentions for spells should be stated a certain way, which honestly, I never considered before. I especially liked the recommendation that I visualize the outcome FIRST before setting the intention. It all sounds good…but I wanted to bounce it off the forum first, before I make a change in my practice. Do you set your intentions this way? Is there any way you set intentions that you think is especially useful?

  • Formed after meditation and visualization
  • “I” statement
  • Stated as if you already have it.
  • Present-tense
  • Time mentioned
  • Simple and reasonable

Her example: “I make enough money to stay debt-free and afford a comfortable home, year after year.”

Thanks, as always! :slight_smile:

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Okay, so the first thing I’m going to say is this: always question someone who tells you something has to be done a certain way with nothing to back up their claims.

My own thoughts are that intention is only half the battle when it comes to spellwork. In my experience, those who work magic in this way, setting intentions with statements like this, are putting their work in the hands of the universe or some other energy. There’s nothing wrong with this! This is just a different way of working that is inspired by New Age beliefs.

I’d like to go through the article and pick out some quotes and explain my thoughts, because though witchcraft can be inspired by New Age belief, the two are very different. I’m only going to pick out the quotes that I disagree with or want to comment on, but that doesn’t mean I don’t agree with other parts of the article.

As always, everything written here is based on my own experiences, beliefs, and way of working magic :pray:t3:


Intention is the process of clearly and specifically communicating what you want to the universe (or your preferred deities, spirits, etc.).

Magic works without the need of other Spirits involved. To get this down to the bare bones of what intention is, intention is just what you want the spell to do. It’s the energy you’re putting into the working for a specific outcome.

Stay away from statements like “I want”, “I need”, and “I hope” because when you tell the universe you want something, all you’ll get back is wanting . Always state your intention like you already have what you’re searching for .

Rather than being witchcraft, this is actually based on the Law of Attraction. I don’t believe for a second that if I reach out into The Universe with a want or need that The Universe is just going to say okay, here. Have more wanting and needing.

I do agree with the idea that if you’re writing out your intention or putting it into a statement, it’s best to state it as if you already have it. However, this isn’t to avoid The Universe giving you more wants and needs. It’s to help you focus your intention and visualize what you want or need. When you speak as if something has already happened, you’re giving your brain the tools it needs to focus in further on your intentions. Focusing in further allows you to work better, more efficient magic.

Write from the perspective of you living your dream life. Include little drawings or pictures from magazines that remind you of what you want.

This sounds a lot like scripting, a New Age practice in which you essentially script your life. I did a video experiment on scripting if you want to watch :woman_shrugging:t3: You can find it by clicking here.

If you just can’t picture it for some reason, or you can’t see the outcome clearly, you may need to rethink the details of your intention and reflect on what you really want.

While I agree that visualization is important, I disagree that if you can’t picture it then it’s not what you really want. There are those that struggle with aphantasia, those who have mental and cognitive disorders that make that kind of focus difficult, and those that wouldn’t even know how to visualize what they want or need because they’ve never seen it before. For example, if someone is setting an intention to have a healthy romantic relationship yet all they’ve ever known is abuse, how are they supposed to visualize something they’ve never known?


Anyway, I know that was a lot :sweat_smile: but I hope that gives you a peak into how I view witchcraft and working magic. I’d say if the way you’re doing it now is working for you, there’s no reason to switch things up unless you want to try something new.

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I am so glad I asked. I have a tendency to just believe stuff without questioning it sometimes which is why this forum is so rockin’ awesome because there of the wealth of experience here!. Those were really good points about the distinctions between the law of attraction (which I only know a little about) and witchcraft and also about the limits of visualization. Also your point about the wording of intentions is well-taken! I have been in places in my life when I was so distraught and lost, all I could get out was “please” but I can’t imagine that I wasn’t heard or responded to…by somebody out there! So I will take the article with a pinch of salt. But I am looking at my resolutions and rewriting them in the present and I am finding it does force me to be more clear in my mind about what I really want, specifically. Like, last year, I wrote “priortize sleep schedule.” Did I do that, I did not. I probably should have set a bedtime! LOL my resolutions will look a bit different this year!

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Exactly! Sometimes we forget that while intentions “properly formed” are important, emotion can also play a large role in our magical practice. Sometimes it even plays a bigger role than the stated intention!

I’m glad that rewriting your resolutions in present-tense is forcing you to be more clear about what you want. Using your example of “prioritize sleep schedule”, you can break that down into different things.

:white_check_mark: Why do you need to prioritize your sleep schedule? Are you getting too much sleep? Not enough?

:white_check_mark: What sort of things are getting in the way of your sleep?

:white_check_mark: What outside matters do you not have control of regarding sleep?

When you break all this down, you may get different answers. Maybe you’ve been worrying about something that keeps you awake. Maybe you lose track of time and can’t focus on your tasks during the day. Maybe you have family that won’t let you sleep. Maybe you put everyone else’s needs above your own basic requirements!

All of these are reasons that a sleep schedule might be ignored, and all of these reasons have different approaches you could take. Getting very specific with what you want is definitely good practice even if you’re never going to form an intention!

It sort of reminds me of an exercise I had to do in first grade. We were told to write down the instructions of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The catch, though, was that we had to explain to to someone as if they had no idea what a sandwich was nor how to make it! Every single step had to be included. It was harder than it looked because we take for granted that we have to unscrew the lid of the peanut butter, take the bread out of the package, or put the two pieces of bread together with the peanut butter and jelly touching each other.

Anyway, that’s a tangent :laughing: but I’m glad that my breakdown of the article got you thinking!

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Really great question @Mary25 and I think @MeganB did a fantastic job with her answer- there’s not much more I have to say about this that she didn’t already explain beautifully!

It sounds like the author has a template here that resembles the famous WOOP mental strategy (I first learned about it in a university psychology class- it’s a self-help route people can use to fulfill wishes, based on psychology).

I think her structure here is a good one, and I also like the WOOP strategy, but that doesn’t mean that either of these are the only correct way to manifest wishes/set intentions.

Megan worded it perfectly and I can’t agree enough- anytime anyone says that their way is the only right way to do something it should raise a red flag :triangular_flag_on_post:

Whether its psychology, New Age beliefs, witchcraft, spirituality, etc- there are so many ways (and so many ways to combine them!) and I think there’s a lot of benefit in people trying different things to find what works best for them and their unique practice :blush:

When I set my intentions, I usually mix together a few strategies- I don’t run down a checklist or do things in a specific order so much as follow my intuition to do what feels right in the moment.

That being said, I do usually start with grounding and/or meditating- trying to put daily worries and concerns aside so I can focus all of my energy and attention on the spell. When I feel I’m in a good place mentally, I state the goal of the spell in words (either out loud or mentally).

I wrote a bit about how I like to state the goal/intention itself and it turned into a book (oops!), so I actually moved that into a different discussion to avoid veering this discussion off-topic :laughing: But basically, I state the goal/intention/direction of the spell to some level of specificity (either out loud or mentally). I also try to repeat it several times through the spell (mostly to help keep me focused and present- my mind likes to wander off :sweat_smile:)

And then I let the magic take over- letting my visualized/stated wish be carried out and allowing the properties of the ingredients in the spell spark to life as I call upon them.

Again, just a rough idea of how I usually approach spells- while there are similarities to the checklist above, it does differ and it leaves a lot of room for adjusting to the current spell/moment/situation! That’s how I like to do things in my practice, but I always love to hear about other strategies and observe how others set their intentions :blush:

Thanks so much for opening this discussion, Mary- it’s a really insightful one! :heart:

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Mary,
When you read my spells, I often if not always, word it as a prayer or
plea. I don’t feel that in my insignificance (for am I not but an atom in the fabric of the cosmos?) I have the right to demand anything. I have been given so much, and I am so thankful.
But who am I to demand anything?
(I feel the same way about judging anyone)
And so I ask, or plea for a certain outcome.
Kind of a ‘Thy will be done.’ mentality holdover.
My point is, as Megan said, Don’t let ANYBODY tell you that something is written in stone. Ain’t no such animal.
What’s right, is what feels best to you. Own it.
Stay safe, be blessed and know we’re here for you.
Garnet

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There is a right way - the way that works. If it works for you, it is the right way. Magick may be magick, but magick practitioners are incredibly varied and each must follow their own path.

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