Wands optional: intentional thinking and magic

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My altar, on top of a dresser.
My altar, on top of a dresser, decked-out for Yule.

When I was a teenager, I played soccer for three different competitive teams. I was practicing or playing eight times a week for three years (before I was injured and decided that I didn’t want to try to be a pro soccer player after all — I wanted to be a rockstar). During this time, I developed a meticulous pre-game ritual of superstitions: the right shin guard always goes on before the left, then the right sock, then the right shoe, etc. This isn’t uncommon in sports, and in fact studies have shown that superstitions can help athletes perform better. Essentially what a pre-game superstition helped me do was focus my mind and centre myself before beginning something I was anxious or nervous about.

The things that get me anxious or nervous nowadays are, arguably, more important than winning soccer games. Lucky charms and superstitions don’t help me as much, but I’ve adapted my pre-game rituals into a method of intentional thinking and focus that I refer to as spellwork. And I’ve added pretty crystals.

For me, focus, intentional thinking, meditation, prayer, and mindfulness all translate to a clearer trajectory and more successful outcome for whatever task I’m grappling with. It’s helped my mental health, my goal-setting, and focus.


I find that going for a walk when something is weighing me down is helpful to get my mind clear before I do a spell. Along the way I usually pick something up and add it to my altar as a token of the intent I want to focus on. I find that it helps to have a physical object — plus they’re pretty!

Whether or not you’re interested in witchcraft or spells or magic — or any name you want to give this idea — you can totally use similar techniques that I use in spellwork in your everyday life. They can be super helpful in helping you focus and re-centre yourself.

If you’re interested in giving it a go, try this:

  • Start by clearing a space by physically tidying it up.
  • Envision it getting clear of bad energy, while focussing on your thoughts and clearing your mind. Light a candle (or a dozen…) and watch the smoke. It’ll help you focus and help you visualize the air clearing around you.
  • Spend some time thinking clearly about what you’re trying to work out. Meditate on what’s bothering you, or what you hope to accomplish.
  • Don’t worry about trying to work the problems out — just focus on them.
  • Visualize the outcome you’re hoping for — just like visualizing a victory.
  • I recommend focussing on positivity! Sending out vindictive vibes — though obviously fun — could come back to bite you.
  • Once you’ve narrowed down your thought/wish/prayer/intention, you could write it down as an act of committing it even more, or repeat it out loud like a mantra. You could hold a stone or charm or something while you meditate and envision imbuing it with your hope.
  • If you wrote it down, you could burn the paper or keep it somewhere safe and private, or on display to help you remember.
  • Have faith in your magic and remind yourself that you’ve got the universe on your side!

I keep all my magical stuff on a dresser in my room. I like having it out in the open to remind me to keep thinking positively and keep my eyes on the prize. You can keep your note of intention on your fridge so you see it every day, or even set a reminder on your phone to remind you to think of your spell. The more I reaffirm it, the more the universe wants to help me realize it.

The most important thing when it comes to witchcraft is intent. Whether you’re interested in witchcraft or meditation or intentional thinking or whatever, you should feel comfortable using these strategies to help you concentrate on what you need most.

What are your tips for intentional and positive thinking, or magical work?

Comments on Wands optional: intentional thinking and magic

  1. I really like to work at finding the right way to phrase my intention. Some people even go so far as to work it into a rhyme. I prefer a beautifully distilled sentence. Working to find the exact, right words helps me in a couple ways. First, I have to really, really, really think about what it is I envision. Second, the entire process of working through the words is a meditation in itself. By the time I’ve gotten there, remembering the words isn’t hard at all!

    • I really, really like this, Dootsie. (To be fair, I like most things you say!) Especially since recently I have found my brain to be too chaotic to be able to clearly express my thoughts at all, this kind of practice would really help me get back in the practice of clearly thinking about things and being able to verbalize them. If I actually allow myself to take the time to do this for important things, instead of just getting frustrated and moving on, I think I could indeed consider that a type of meditation. And a kind of meditation that requires focusing on something instead of just clearing my head (which never seems to work for me). Thanks!

  2. I used to do this sort of intentional thinking and meditation all the time. It has been far too long. I usually try to keep my altar set up according to the eight holidays, and while it is set up for Yule, I haven’t actually sat down with it to just breathe and think in probably a year. :/

  3. Thank you for this. I’ve fallen away from the pagan community in the last few years and I’ve found my practice and faith falling away too. This is a nice reminder that I can still have ritual and magic in my life without so much fuss and focus and belief.

    • I will definitely look into that. I decided the other day the term that I think closest fits my personal spiritual side is “non ritualistic pagan”
      I’ve never actually gotten into meditating though it’s something I’ve been wanting to look into for a long time.

  4. For those who don’t know about magick and spellwork, I’ve explained it as being “prayer with props.” I find it helps people understand it more, especially if they really have never heard of Wicca or neo-pagan beliefs.

  5. I liked reading this a lot. I don’t claim to be Wiccan, but have felt vaguely pagan for most of my life. I have friends who are witches, and I like everything I know about Wicca – the attachment to nature and balance of forces feel good to me. But I’ve just never felt Religion to be comfortable so I can’t totally buy in. I completely believe in the power of setting intention, and I absolutely think that if you have a clear idea in your head about what you want to accomplish that the universe will conspire to help you. Sitting with, or meditating on, or walking around thinkin’ about stuff is powerful! I like your relaxed idea of magic here. It’s nice to see other people feeling similarly to myself… Witchy and magic-y!

  6. thank you for the information. i’m curious if the creationers intent is stronger than the receivers intent. i’m making smudge sticks, and i’m wondering how important my focus is in making them compared to when the person burns it and sends out their own, different energy. as i’m making the sticks, should i try to meditate on something other than what i’m going to make for dinner or that it’s almost time to switch the laundry over, or does my thought process matter little. when the person fires up the stick, charging up their own thoughts & energies, does that over ride the thoughts, or lack of any, that i put into it while making it? thanks for any thoughts on the subject, or any resources.

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