How To Set Intentions For Manifestation
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The Power Of Intention: How To Manifest Your Dream Life

How to map out your intentions, dedicate time and space for creative and spiritual channeling, and visualize what you're seeking to bring into your life.

So, you’re ready to manifest big changes in your life. Now that you’ve affirmed and honored your team of spirit guides, it’s time to situate yourself, set intentions, and let them go. But when it comes to turning over your destiny to a higher authority, what exactly are the logistics?

Thanks to the wellness industrial complex, we all have an idea of what manifesting is, and what it’s supposed to unlock for us as the snap of a finger. But what does it look like for you? As a verb, manifesting can cover the act of praying, dreaming, envisioning, or setting intentions. However, if we understand manifesting to be an act of alignment with your highest potential, purpose, and possibility, then you can think about it as connecting. Who or what you’re tapping into, be they spirit guides, ancestors, inner parts, future selves, or beyond, may change with the circumstances. But the act itself involves plugging in, and then sending out your own transmission — a request, intent, declaration, or invocation of the you to come.

The moment itself may last a minute, or could feel like a high you’re cruising for hours. What do you need to get there, and to feel clear and expansive when you arrive? Where, exactly, should you manifest? It’s certain that your process of prayer, intention-setting, and activation will be entirely your own, but here’s some insight on how to get started.


Manifestation is all about embodying what you want to become. Though that more powerful, peaceful, integrated self may feel eons away from life as you currently know it, there are likely times when you feel an opening. That buzz — or spark — of potential is enough to build on. Ideally, you want to be in a state of momentum, which you can use as an engine for future selfhood. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be broke, desperate, or depressed to call something forth, or that you need to buy a slew of products to reach some perfect state of inner harmony from which to set intentions. Ebullient or despondent, your guides are always available to you.

Perhaps then, a good policy is: pray when low, manifest when high. When you’re down and need relief and hope, ask for help. When you’re feeling particularly buoyant, inspired, or clear-headed, that may be a better time to generate, to radiate up and around, to those you love and to yourself in the future.

Is there a time of day or activity that makes you feel like you’re riding a current, and not stuck in your head? Perhaps you feel most open when you’re stretching in the morning, or hitting your skincare routine before bed. Maybe, rapt on the couch watching Dirty Dancing, your heart feels wide open and ready to declare its desires. Or, it’s when you’re tits out on the dancefloor, sweaty and glowing, that the channel is clearest. Whenever that quantum prism of possibility occurs for you, it’s on you to honor it. If doing the dishes feels like a time of sacred silence, then invest in it. Ideally, when entering these realms, you don’t want to be multitasking or feeling scattered. That way, when the gate opens, as it were, you’ll feel free and focused.

Of course, by timing your intentions to the planets, days, and seasons, you can frame and structure what you’re putting through. Naturally, astrology lays out when to hit all sorts of targets, from love to money, down to the hour. Say you’re manifesting health and vitality. Why not start on Sunday, the sun’s day, as the nexus of your ritual work? You can look to new moons as launch points for new creative potential, and full moons as times for release. For more detailed instruction on timing your practice, consult Alex Kazemi’s Pop Magick and Christopher Warnock’s Secrets of Planetary Magick.


You can manifest anywhere, so long as you feel safe and free. Of course, by creating designated altar spaces, you can really take a creative role in connecting. Much ancient magic involves the use of talismans and prayer objects which honor guides, gods, ancestors, planets, and other higher forces. These objects can include toys, flowers, totems, jewelry, minerals, collages, photographs, sculptures, or anything which feels imbued. Books like The High Magic of Talismans & Amulets help you create sacred objects, while coven hubs like Catland offer regular online courses on altar building. Regardless of whether you set up a full ritual space in your home, take time investing in your garden, or support the local bar, club, community space, or temple that makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger, it’s about pouring your will into a place so that it can feed you in return.

It’s worth noting that you could scale the holy Swayambhunath stairs in Nepal in one breath, or make it all the way to the Kaaba of Mecca, but if the company’s not right, you won’t get far towards enlightenment. If you’re willing to seek occasions and places that connect you to your highest good, make sure you’re sharing them with those who can be as open-minded, adventurous, and game as you are.


Manifesting operates on the assumption that you are a vessel of divine experience, and that you’re eager and willing to work in harmony with your highest potential. When you declare your intentions, dreams, or ambitions, you’re agreeing to co-pilot your destiny with whomever your team may be. As the priest and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.” This is a two-way deal: You’re turning over your future to your guides, while welcoming them to experience your own brilliant life with you. They’re no longer working for you, but through you.

Your intention isn’t set from the perspective of a child writing their wish list for Santa. You’re not asking for things to be given to you, but declaring yourself a willing and capable co-pilot, announcing where you’d like to take this ride. You don’t need to know how to get where you’re going, or the details — it’s best for everyone involved if you turn that over to the higher-ups. That’s not to say you can’t be specific, or that you can’t dream big: It’s about affirming what you want, while leaving plenty of room for surprises and evolutions that expand your idea of what’s possible. For instance, trying to manifest your way into the pants of your crush may not exactly lead you to your greatest destiny. But declaring that you’re ready to move towards a stimulating, challenging, fulfilling relationship, on the other hand, gives your guides plenty to work with.

Think about what you’re manifesting not as something that will happen to you, but something you are actively stepping into. What do you want to evolve towards? Which doors are you ready to cross through? Where do you need to be led to face them? At once, you’re surrendering your destiny, and indicating that you’re ready to show up for it.


So, you’ve gone big, and put all your chips in: You’re ready to make your dreams come true, meet your soulmate, step into your power, or whatever else calls you to the horizon. Now what? Just wait for your perfect life to emerge, and throw a tantrum when it doesn’t show up on your doorstep tomorrow? If you’re really turning this over to your team, you better assume that they’ve registered your request. What comes next, then, should be seen as next steps to take you where you’re going. Perhaps you’re manifesting your fantasy job. But what if you’re not ready for it, just yet? It’s likely your guides will send you the opportunities, interactions, and lessons required to get you there. You may think that the next date you go on is the perfect lover you’ve been willing into your life. If they aren’t, they may still have something to teach you about your own fears or desires when it comes to love. Before you can arrive at what you’ve manifested, you might need a hand in clearing out any shmutz that’s obstructing your way. Let them throw some softballs at you until you’re ready for the big leagues.

And speaking of big, just because you get what you’ve always wanted, that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Look to your icons and consider which of them has come to greatness without scraping through mud and barbed wire. Think of the great divas who have cut off embezzling family members or the artists who have crafted masterpieces out of heartbreak. It’s not that you are required to suffer in exchange for fulfillment. But, if you want it all, you must be down to face it all: independence brings lessons in self-sufficiency; power sets off fears of not being liked; love forces compromise. If you’re in it to win it, you’re signing up for any and all experiences which bring you to your destiny. Time to drop the delusion.


As the Muad’Dib Timotheé Chalamet once said: “You can be the master of your fate, or the captain of your soul, but you have to realize that life is coming from you and not at you, and that takes time.” Manifesting sets you up as a nexus point in a vast cosmic orbit. Forget your ego or identity. Your body is at the center of everything, a gate through which emerges the future. What is vital, perhaps to the fate of the universe, is that you do whatever you can to take care of yourself. Do whatever makes you feel as well-rested, safe, loved, and stable as possible, even if it’s still not enough. As you come to feel more nourished, you’ll find those moments of openness, grace and possibility emerge that much easier. If you can’t afford a stick of incense, much less a whole altar, you won’t be considered lacking by your higher powers. But if you can’t respect yourself as a divine vessel, why should they bother?