4 Exercises For Setting BETTER Magical Intentions (Must Read Before The Next New Moon!)

How To Set Better Magical Intentions

Nothing sets you up for failure, disillusionment, & self-loathing like setting an unrealistic intention.  Unrealistic intentions are phrased grandly & impersonally. I will become successful; I will become inviolately healthy; I will become awesome. 

But what does successful, healthy, & awesome even mean? What do they feel like? 

Magic is primeval. Your magical intentions must be resolute & resonant. Thinking about or saying aloud your magical intention should make you vibrate at a subatomic level. Magical intention-setting is really about digging deep to find the primeval energy that fuels willpower--the place where instinct comes an autonomous psychic force fueling your intention. 

@@The secret to smarter, better intention-setting? Backing your intentions up with raw, instinctual desire.@@ I’m talking about the primal urging that compels you to feed & fuck.

I have a few exercises to help you cut through the BS to really feel & understand why you want what you want & how to get it. I think these exercises are totally requisite to writing better intentions—from new moon rituals to mission statements. 

To get started, you should already have a magical intention in mind. These exercises will help you gauge how resolute or resonant the intention actually is. If the intention turns out to fall flat in some way, you'll have a way of figuring out why.



How To Set Better Magical Intentions

What actively prevents you from making shit happen? This is the sort of Q you should spend an afternoon thinking about. Grab your diary, a couple pens & highlighters, then hole up in your favorite cafe with a bevvie & a set of headphones. In the heading of a fresh page, write: What Do I Want?

Set a timer if you want (15 minutes is good) & riff. What answers immediately come to mind? Write it all down, no matter how absurd, abstract, or even trivial. Aim for 25 items, but don't stop if there's more.

Next, open up to a new page & write in the heading, Why Don’t I Already Have What I Want? 

Reset the timer. Jot down your most self-limiting qualities. Quickly recount stories where you realized you were limiting yourself (or allowing somebody else to limit you). If you're struggling to come up with personal qualities preventing you magical self-realization, answer the Q: How does “the world” work against you in getting what you want?

Here's an astrology hack. If you've written everything you can think of, but still aren't having any a-ha moments, try researching your moon sign.

Your moon sign pretty accurately characterizes the "shadow" energy you're trying to tap with magic. Your moon sign speaks to your instinctual temperament: the part of you that comes out when you're alone, with your family, or distracted by hunger / some other primal need. Reading about your moon sign will actually point out subconscious qualities you may be totally oblivious to, but may now consider.

Need to find out your moon sign? Sign up for your free birth chart from the AstroTwins. You’ll need the date, time, & location of your birth. (FYI: I break down what an amazing magical tool your moon sign can be in this post.)

By the end of this exercise, you should have a multi-dimensional understanding of how you're interfering with your own follow-through.

That doesn’t mean your magical intention needs to focus on & somehow resolve those limitations. It just means the process of realizing your vision should address the tangible way that self-limitation can bump you off your grind.

In other words, your magical intention should invoke your primal urge for self-satisfaction. 



There’s no “magic syntax” for phrasing intentions, except for what feels logically coherent for you. You have to suss out the language & symbols aligning with the deep core feelings. 

It’s not about the words, but what the words evoke. A solid, realistic magical intention conjures up your vision—you want to be able to feel & taste it. The action you admit must be taken should address your true vulnerabilities & limitations. 

This is the way I articulate my intentions:

I want… I must… So, I will… 

At a minimum, your magical intention should answer:

What do I want?

What do I have to do to get it?

How will I proceed?

Experiment with phrasing your intention. Distill it into a 3-word mantra. Synch it with the melody & chorus of your favorite song. Write it in pictographs, so that when you visualize the intention, you feel it first.



As mystically witchy cosmic babes, we activate our intentions by the new moon.

But how compatible is your intention with the celestial vibe you’re energizing it in?

In the beginning of practicing magic, I never considered the zodiac season I was creating rituals in. I crafted magical intentions based on pressing concerns du jour

But the astrological climate is hella influential. Activating intentions for self-love, beauty, or relationships, for instance, won't really take off during the cycle following the Capricorn new moon. The new moons in Leo or Cancer or Libra vibe much better. 

And don't worry--you don’t have to become an astrologer to set better magic intentions. If you're signed up on an astrologically-themed blog like the AstroTwins or The Numinous, you'll get weekly updates about the astro climate, which also bears plenty of insight for aligning with the celestial vibe. 

For sure, don't give up on your magical intention because of the astrological forecast. This exercise helps you probe that je ne sais qoui at the root of your magical intention. What is the result your really trying to achieve? If this simply isn't the most optimal time of year, focus on something related to your larger intention that you can focus on during this moon cycle, while it's here.



How To Set Better Magical Intentions

Try this. It circles back on the first exercise, but you’ll more than likely close the loop on you any shadow in your magical intentions. 

Write your magical intention at the top of a sheet of scratch paper. Divide the paper into columns: Pro & Con

In the Pro column, write every positive outcome that realizing your magical intention would instigate. Imagine how your life would look & feel a year from realizing the intention, if that helps.

Sometimes it’s easier starting with the Con column, which is where you list every drawback that could arise from realizing the intention. This is where you can confront some of those shadowy beliefs & feelings sabotaging your manifestation process.

Setting a timer for filling out both columns also helps, because you’ll answer more instinctually. Time yourself for 15 minutes, then race against the clock to fill out the columns without stopping to review or edit your answers.

When you feel like you’ve gotten everything down, draw lines connecting Pros & Cons. Which cancel each other out? For instance, are there any Pros that automatically eliminate the existence (or any suffering caused by) the Cons?

If there remains any big Cons, take time to deconstruct the belief(s) & feeling(s) behind them. This might mean revisiting the experience that instilled that belief in you. To counter, you should find positive examples disproving it. Who out there in the world had to overcome the same experience, the same teaching of the belief, & now embodies some realization of your vision? 

If any powerful Con involves other people (it shouldn’t—this is your reality we’re talking about), it might reveal you’ve given up your power on the matter to someone else. You’ll have to find a way of reclaiming that power. 



When you’ve crafted your magical intention, write it on a piece of paper. Write it everywhere. Mediate on it while holding a piece of quartz or another crystal that vibes with your intention. Transfer the intrinsic feels of your magical intention into the stone. Set a square of paper where you’ve written your magical intention on the windowsill, under the moonshine, anchored by the quartz. 

Hold the stone while conducting your new moon ritual, while writing your morning pages, or during your nightly Tarot readings—whenever you’re checking in with yourself or your intentions are top of mind. When conducting your new moon ritual, dissolve the square of paper in the chalice.

I talk about creating new moon rituals in this post. Follow the link & you'll also find out how to score the new moon ritual roadmap: my personal step-by-step ritual process for energizing intentions with the new moon. (Free by enrolling in my email club, Magic•Mondays.)

Also, remember that every month, a few days prior to the new moon, I update my Goddess Moon Magic column with tips & insights for crafting a totally mystically-melty ritual experience aligning with the spirit of the cycle. 

Remember: even if you've struggled to manifest or set intentions in the past, you deserve to realize the vision at the other end of it. Intention-setting is totally sacred, because you have to do the deep soul-digging around it.

Nothing is ever only about making a decision or simple will-power.

Dig deeper.

Stay tuned for next week, when I'll be posting about the Taurus new moon!

Makin' it happen,

Top photo available for sale at Bohemian Diesel. Check out Hannah Adamaszek's portfolio here!