Ritual and Intention

Image by Victoria Constantino

When we want to create a certain outcome, we begin by focusing on what we want. This is a way of setting intentions. Because we are powerful creators of our own reality, and our thoughts become things, intentions are a key aspect of manifesting change. The more deliberate we are about what we want and the more carefully we choose our thoughts, the more streamlined our focus will be, which allows our desires to materialize more rapidly. We may choose to supplement our intention with ritual because it is a part of our practice, or because it is a means of honoring our allies. Some choose to perform rituals because it is a way of working with intention in the physical world. Writing down what we desire, for example, on a sheet of paper and burning it releases our intentions to the universe.

Most of us participate in rituals in some form. Holiday traditions are often accompanied by rituals like specific songs or foods. Performing these rituals shifts our energy and the energy around us by helping us to focus in a certain way. When we express our gratitude during Thanksgiving, for example, we are honoring and appreciating certain things by giving them our attention, which draws more similar energies to us. Certain holiday dances are ways of expressing joy. Sports rituals can honor a certain team and can focus on a specific desired outcome for a game. Rituals can be elaborate or bare-bones simple; they can be timeless or created in a sudden burst of inspiration.

Accoutrements like tarot and oracle cards are simply tools we can use to tune into the universal energy that is all around us. In ritual, we often use objects like specific colors, crystals, and incense as ways of helping to shift the energy, concretize our intentions by making them physical (like writing down goals and desired outcomes), and to set a mood or create a sacred space. Because physical objects have certain energetic properties, they can support the energy behind our intentions as we work toward making them manifest in the physical world. Cinnamon and bay leaves are associated with wealth; rose quartz brings self-love; sandalwood supports us in protection and healing. Whether or not you choose to supplement the energy of your intention with physical objects and actions is a matter of personal preference. Ultimately, all we really need is intention and intuition.

Sympathetic Magic and Tarot

Pagan Otherworlds Tarot by Uusi
Image by Victoria Constantino

Sympathetic magic is based on the law of attraction, whose tenet is simple: like attracts like. This can serve our manifestations and sacred practice through the simple use of representational instruments, such as coins for prosperity and pomegranates for fertility, to name a few examples. The idea is that objects with energies related to what you are seeking to manifest help draw more of the same; placing these items in a sacred space or throughout your home (especially in the related feng shui guas) is common practice. Tarot cards are wonderfully various in their pictorial representations of many fundamental facets of life, such as happiness, abundance, family, strength, and so on, which makes them ideal for use in sympathetic magic.

As many of you know, I do a daily card draw through my social media accounts for the collective. Often, this is a single card, but sometimes the universe delivers more. Today’s card turned out to be the Nine of Cups, a card often associated with windfalls, inheritances, and lucky winnings. Being that it is in the suit of Cups, it is also linked to the emotional realm. And because nines are associated with completion, this card carries an aspect of emotional fulfillment, happiness, harmony, and generosity. The image of the wealthy tavern keeper is often associated with this card, especially in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. In the deck I use primarily for readings, the Pagan Otherworlds tarot by Uusi, the Nine of Cups features a frog sitting on a riverbank. Frogs can symbolize a leap into something new, as well as abundance, fertility, purification, rebirth, and renewal.

If I drew this card and wanted to set up a ritual or spell around it based on sympathetic magic, I might begin by placing it in an area of significance or sacred space, along with objects associated with what I am looking to draw in. I could light a candle to meditate on my intention and goals, visualizing the outcome I want to manifest in as much detail as possible. When visualizing, if you find yourself getting hung up on details, it’s best to keep it general and focus on the feeling of what you’re after, i.e., the feeling of abundance, fulfillment, happiness, and so on.

Sympathetic magic can be as simple or complex as you like; you can set up a single card or include numerous objects, herbs, crystals, and whatever else you like. As always, you should trust your instincts. It’s nice to have the energetic support of corresponding objects, but ultimately, all you really need is intention. The most important energetic component of all is always going to be what is in your vibration, as that is the ultimate determination of what you attract to you.