Strategies For Selecting Effective Magical Targets

Phrasing! (is everything)

Magic has a funny way of giving you what you asked for in a way that still manages to surprise you; sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. It is your stated intention that creates the framework within which the desired outcome can manifest. Specificity is important, to a point.

This is why experienced magicians devote a great deal of time to selecting effective magical targets, i.e. statements of intent. Taking the time to craft an effective intention before a working greatly increases your odds of success.

But what makes a good statement of intent? Clarity, most of all, for magic is dialogue with the divine -a negotiation for the outcome you desire. Communicating what you want, clearly, is essential for getting what you want –obviously. But there are other concerns as well; you can be too specific, too narrow-minded, too improbable, and too complex as well. A good intention statement is precise, yet flexible; bold, but realistic, and so on.

Early in my practice I experienced a lot of failures that I don’t experience now. I attribute this difference largely to strategic changes I made along the way in how I construct intention statements for my magical workings.

If, like I was, you’re struggling to produce consistent, positive results with your magical practice, I invite you to consider these nine strategies for selecting good magical targets:

  1. Make your intention statement oblique, as Gordon White of Rune Soup would say. Meaning, come at it from an angle that focuses on projecting the desired outcome rather than the perceived solution. The what and not the how.

    If you want a new job, don’t intend for an interview, intend for cashing your first check. “Speak” in the present tense.

    “My new employer is impressed with my work.”
  2. Don’t be shy. Intend for the best version of what you want but accept that it might not exactly manifest that way.

    “My new salary exceeds my expectations.”
  3. Think long term…don’t ask the gods (or the universe, or whatever you like) for this month’s rent. Ask for the means to create the life you want. Dream big, ask bigger -but be prepared to commit something of yourself in the deal.
  4. Don’t intend / petition for money. Instead, ask for the life you would spend that money on; if you’re successful, either the money will be available or the things you want will be free. Either way, you get what you want. Petition the gods for your passions, for your purpose -what you need to thrive rather than just what you need to survive.
  5. Leave room for the unexpected. The less specific your petition, the more opportunity for it to manifest; but you want to make sure not to leave too much room for interpretation. Strike the right balance by being very clear about what’s most important to you.

    In our example, assuming you want a particular job, or a job at a particular place, and perhaps a specific role or title, you should ask for it. But evaluate what’s most important because the more you leave open to chance the better your odds of success.
  6. Keep your statement of intent as simple as possible, with as few words as possible. The intention you’re projecting is more than the words you choose for the statement; they serve you by conjuring a clear mental image more than they convey your intention to the gods. Your mind must be focused on exactly what you want and too many words can be burdensome.
  7. Understand what’s physically required to fulfill your chosen destiny; you’ll be responsible for accomplishing some portion of it. Magic tends to open doors for us to walk through rather than dropping fully-formed miracles in your lap. If you can’t physically manage the outcome you’re requesting then it simply isn’t meant to be. Which means, don’t petition / intend for a job you can’t do.
  8. Divine on your targets once you think you have a contender for a good statement of intent, using Tarot, pendulums, I-Ching, etc. and questions like “What will the outcome be if my petition to [spirit] is X?”. Then ask the question in reverse to validate the answer, “What will the outcome be if I do not petition [spirit] for X?”, or even better, ask about alternative options, to provide a basis for comparison.
  9. Address complex goals with multiple, layered workings. There is little risk in stepping on your own toes, magically, if your intentions are generally compatible. Breaking a complex problem into a series of simpler steps is always a good approach to working through challenging problems, be they magical or mundane.

    Separate the finer points of your grand design by topic/category and order them into a timeline based on which parts are dependent on others coming to pass first. Then evaluate these constellations of desired outcomes for potential conflicts and generalize an oblique intention statement for each category.

    For example, if you not only want a new job, but a new career, and the opportunity for paid training as well, imagine what each scenario would be like in practice to find oblique approaches for each.

    Rather than a complex, run-on intention statement like “I love my new job and career because it pays for my education,” target each with a separate working. This also gives you the opportunity to work with the most appropriate spirit for each intention.

    ”I love my new job in [industry].”
    ”My new career has many opportunities for growth.”
    ”I receive training in X for free,” or simply, “My skills in X grow my career”

    And you can continue to layer more details with additional workings, so long as they’re all supportive of one another and don’t restrict potential avenues of manifestation too much.

The clarity of an intention is paramount to it coming to fruition. This means the phrasing of the statement of intent is very important. Investing time into the intention-setting phase of a working is more productive than perfecting ritual performance, selecting sympathetic materia, and nearly every other aspect of spell work.

Understanding how magic works with probability (rather than against it) and taking time to develop a coherent strategy will serve you better than taking another course or learning another grimoire. And all your magical efforts depend on having a very honest conversation with yourself about what you really want -and what you’re willing to do to make it come to pass.

Featured Image: The Alchemist by parablev

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