How To Set A Clear, Powerful Intention & Why It's Important
Discovering witchcraft was a huge turning point in my life. Suddenly I had access to tons of magical tools and spells to get to my goals faster. It was great! I tried every spell I could, following the instructions exactly as written, thinking finally I would get my dream car, dream job, dream relationship, dream… whatever!
And the spells worked!
Well, sometimes they did. I saw positive change happen in my life. New options opened up for me. I felt more connected to my intuition and higher power, which made me more confident to take bigger risks and larger leaps towards my goals. In my heart, I knew my progress was due to the new witchcraft practice I’d brought into my life. As a newbie witch, I was pretty excited to realize that magic was actually real.
But sometimes my spell did… nothing.
Maybe you can relate. It can be a bummer when you put lots of time and energy into a spell only to get zero results. That didn’t stop me from trying my hand at magic, again and again. Over time, I learned that in addition to following the instructions for the particular spell, there are a few other factors that go into making an effective spell.
One of the best ways to power your spell is to set a strong, clear intention before you begin. From my past experiences, it tends to be that a witch’s intention is a make-or-break factor to any kind of spellwork.
Why Set An Intention?
An intention is basically deciding what you want out of the spell—the desired outcome of your magic—and communicating it as clearly and specifically as possible.
One reason to set an intention is so your desire is clearly communicated. You must tell the universe (or your intuition, deities, higher power, or whatever/whoever you are co-creating your magic with) what you want.
Another reason to set an intention is so you don’t accidentally manifest something you don’t want. A personal example of this is when I was performing money spells. I wanted money so I could quit my job and transition into entrepreneurship. The intention I set was, “I desire money. I always have more than enough for all my desires.” On the surface, that seems like an okay intention, but I soon realized that it wasn’t actually money that I wanted.
I learned this when, shortly after performing my spell, I won a $300 raffle and got some random utility refund checks in the mail. Later that month, my boss offered me a raise. Though I was happy to receive money, I couldn’t keep winning raffles to pay my bills. And I certainly didn’t want to stay at my job longer than I had to.
I needed to change my intention. I decided to go with: “I work for myself doing what I love and it brings me financial abundance month after month.”
Now that was what I actually wanted. Had I taken the time to really get down to what my actual intention should have been in the first place, I could’ve saved myself some time.
The third reason is that your intention is where most of the spell’s power will come from. Once you have that intention in your mind, you can harness that power by making sure all your thoughts and feelings support that intention. That’s what will make your intention as strong as possible.
How To Set Your Intention
Give Words To Your Intention
Writing out your intention is a great way to get clear on what you want.
Here’s a good formula to use:
Your desire (as specific as you feel comfortable with) + the time frame you desire to manifest it (if it makes sense for you) = your intention
It also helps if you desire is written in present tense, using the pronoun “I”.
For example: “I drive a tan Jeep Wrangler to my family reunion this summer.” feels more powerful than “Send me a new car.”
Testing Your Intention
Once you feel like you have a clear, accurate intention written, you can “test” it out with the following ritual and exercises. The challenge isn’t usually creating an intention—it’s creating the right intention (whatever that means for you). You can experiment with all of these rituals until you find one that works for you. The bottom line is to figure out what you really want.
Intention-Setting Journaling Ritual
Do this ritual in a quiet place where you know you won’t be disturbed for at least fifteen minutes. Make your space feel comfortable and serene with candles, a warm beverage and/or pillows and blankets.
Begin writing in your journal about what your life looks like right now. Get as detailed as you want with this. If you’re doing a love spell, write about what your current love situation is. Are you single? In a new relationship? Married? How do you spend your time? What does it feel like?
Now journal about what your life will look like after you’ve manifested your desire. How is your life different after you meet your soul mate? What is the quality of love between you and your partner? What does your morning look like with this person? How does it feel to cook dinner together, or go out to the movies? Once you feel like you’ve colored in a lot of the details, you can write down your intention.
Look at your “before” and “after” journal entries. Write your intention to bridge the gap between those two. Now that you’ve taken the time to journal, you know your intention isn’t simply to get married or to get into a relationship. You’re looking for the RIGHT person to get into a relationship with.
A powerful intention for calling in love could be something like, “This season, I meet my soul mate, someone who I connect with spiritually, emotionally and physically. We love each other openly and fearlessly and we’re both so excited about our upcoming wedding.”
Spiritual Connection Meditation
Close your eyes and sit quietly. Decide who or what you’re communicating with for this meditation. This can be your intuition, your subconscious, your deities, your spirit guides, your higher power or the universe. Ask this power aloud or in your head, “What do I want?”
Then listen. Pay attention to the thoughts that float through your mind as you sit there. Also, notice if you experience any sounds, smells or tastes during this meditation. Those could be your power communicating with you.
If you’re not getting anything, or you’re only getting part of an answer, don’t worry about it. Just ask the question again. You can ask this question as many times as you need to until you feel complete.
Visualizing Your Intention
Close your eyes, set a timer, and visualize in your mind’s eye what your life will look like once you have what you desire. Hone in on a single scene—a moment that you feel really represents what life will feel like after your spell.
For example: If I’m hoping to manifest a new romantic relationship, I could visualize a scene with my beloved where we’re cuddling on the couch, watching my favorite movie, and enjoying a cheese plate with a glass of wine.
You’ll find out pretty quickly whether your intention is the right intention for you because you’ll be able to “see” your desired result playing in your mind’s eye like a movie. If something doesn’t feel quite right with your intention, tweak the scene in your visualization and try again. Make all the adjustments you need until you’re left with exactly what you want.
Talk Out Your Intention
Head to your favorite coffee shop with your trusted friend or mentor and have a good old-fashioned conversation about what you want. Face-to-face chats are best, but phone calls or video chats work, too!
Often times, it’s easier for us to see the strengths and weaknesses in someone else’s plan than it is to see it ourselves. Your friend or mentor might have a better vantage point than you regarding what you want. Ask for this person’s feedback when you’re talking out your intention. Make changes to your intention if you agree with the feedback.
If not, no worries. You’re a witch, and you can do what you want! Though friends and mentors are great for additional guidance, you should listen to your intuition above all.
How To Get Rid Of Blocks Around Your Intention
Blocks are negative thoughts, feelings, or hidden fears that get in the way of you manifesting your desire.
These are very common when performing spells. Blocks can be sneaky because they usually come from your subconscious mind. This means that many times, you might not even know you have a block.
There are several ways to see if you have any blocks that need to be addressed before you perform your spell.
One way is to simply state your intention aloud, and notice any nagging feelings that float through your mind as you say your intention. Did you worry about having to pay higher taxes because you’d be making more money? Are you concerned about friends or family asking you for money if you were to start manifesting financial abundance?
Another way to uncover blocks is to think about your current situation and note all the things that are good about that situation.
For example, if your intention is to call a soulmate into your life, ask yourself what benefits are there to staying single? Think hard for this one. There’s always something good about your current situation, even if it’s just something small. If you’re single, you love having a night out on the town with your other single friends. Examine that belief. Is it a block? Possibly. Only you know for sure.
Notice your feelings. Do you feel sad or worried that your relationship with your single friends will change? If so, ask yourself how you can look at this another way.
Maybe you tell yourself that relationships always change and that change facilitates growth. You could also tell yourself that your friends are awesome, and they’ll love you anyway, no matter your relationship status.
You might find that you have a major block around your intention. If you find yourself thinking something like, “One benefit of being single is I don’t have to worry about ending up like my parents.”, that might be worth digging into.
You can use a similar technique for working through bigger blocks. Start by asking yourself a series of questions around this block. For example:
What are the things my parents have shown me that I don’t want for myself?
What was something beautiful about my parent’s relationship?
Can I accept that each relationship between two people is completely unique, and my relationship could never be exactly like my parent’s relationship?
Is there a way I can see through the eyes of I parents and find a way to have compassion for them?
Do I need to forgive my parents for something?
Do I need to forgive myself for something?
Look at the answers to your questions and see if you can reshape your thinking around your block. You know you’ve healed a block when you can think about it without feeling any kind of negative emotion attached to it.
Be gentle with yourself. Some blocks have been with you for years, and it might take you some time to work through them. This level of self-analysis is advanced, and it takes a lot of courage to even begin looking at your blocks. You might consider talking to family or friends, or seeing a mental health professional for support as you explore your blocks.
Or not! Because guess what? Your magic is still powerful whether or not you’ve released all your blocks. This process is on-going, and no one is ever totally “block-free”. We’re human. We can be flawed AND magical at the same time.
What If You Really Don’t Know What You Want?
Sometimes, you have absolutely no clue what you want. Try one of these two all-purpose intentions: “Today, I receive an unexpected gift from the universe.” or “Today, I gain the mental clarity I need to figure out what I want.”
Give these methods a try on your own. Keep track of the results from spells. Notice if any patterns show up. Do some intentions work better than others? Intention-setting is a highly personal process, and you’ll discover a method that suits you the more you practice. Over time, I believe you’ll see more consistent results from the spells you power with your intentions.
Do you know how to enhance your magic, improve your intent, and get kick ass results from your spells all at once?
If you don’t, then you need to be utilizing the amazing energy structure inherent to the human magical system. Tapping into this energy system allows you to understand the magic you’re using on a far deeper level and achieve results that will blow your mind.
In The Witch’s Energy System, I’ll break down the entire system into easy to use pieces so that you can learn to see, feel, and make use of this energy in a way that will completely change how you view your own magic.
by Julie Hopkins
Julie Hopkins is a writer, yoga teacher, and founder of Power Within, a whimsical online space created to help others improve their lives with magic. She’s from Chicago, but spends most of her time traveling to cool places.
Julie discovered the world of magic after she got tired of reading personal development books and hearing the same ideas over and over. Looking for a new way to grow, Julie started experimenting with tarot cards and felt an immediate connection to her intuition in a way she’d never experienced before. After that, she began studying magic in all its forms, never looking back. When she’s not writing about witchy things, you can find Julie making candles, daydreaming, and playing with other people’s dogs and babies.