Solitary Contemplation First, Intention Second

We so often hear that we can manifest whatever we want, if we only can manage to visualize it first and form a clear intention and set clear goals. Well–first of all, you know that isn’t always totally true. What if our intentions and goals conflict with someone else’s intentions and goals? What if our intentions and goals conflict with the planet’s own process of bringing itself into balance? What if…? There are many ways in which thoughts and intentions can go awry.

It is true, though, that unless you start with intention, you are unlikely to reach your goal. Strong clear intentions increase your chances of achieving your purpose by…a lot. (I’m not a math person. Sorry!) 

Many of us, though, find it difficult to form clear intentions. We aren’t quite sure what it is that we want. 

Six of Swords--Yoga Tarot
Six of Swords, from Lo Scarabeo’s Yoga Tarot

The truth is that intentions don’t spring into existence out of the clear blue sky. They come from us. And if we don’t know our own intentions, that’s usually because we forgot the first step. Yep, intention, even though it’s represented in tarot by major arcana card number 1, the Magician (shown here on the right) is not the first step. Not really. The first step is well represented by the Six of Swords (shown here on the left), and also by the Hermit (though I didn’t pull the Hermit today). Or, you could argue that the Fool (a leap of faith, willingness to set forth on the journey) is the first step, but I think the leap of faith must be preceded by meditative contemplation — time spent alone, turning away from the world (and away from the swords/obsessive thoughts that preoccupy us), finding stillness and seeing what bubbles up. 

The Magician--Yoga Tarot
The Magician, from Lo Scarabeo’s Yoga Tarot

Meditation will bring us self-esteem (the Yoga Tarot’s keyword for the Six of Swords), a necessary precursor to forming intentions. It prepares us to become individuals (the Yoga Tarot’s keyword for The Magician), or Magicians (notice, by the way, the similarity in coloring between the yogi in the foreground of the Six of Swords card and the Magician).

Once we get there and have formed our intentions, we must declare them. First the declaration of intent (see the river of blue, the color of the throat chakra, flowing behind the Magician?) and then action and relationships based on that intention (yellow and orange — and do you see the community far in the background that the river flows into, or from?). We will need our tools, too, of course: our hearts (cups, represented by a lotus here), our brains (represented by swords, or a trident here), our passion (wands, represented by a vajra here), and our daily physical path and routines (pentacles, represented by a mandala here).

There’s also a magical truth here on the Magician’s card: in the Magician we see a connection between earth and sky. Consider for a moment how much healing energy comes from these two sources: earth and sky. Grounding and breath. As above, so below. 


  1. Hi Bonnie – great post! I too am a great believer in having to put in the work in order to realise the goal. I struggle with the declaration of intentions though! I need to work on that 😀

    Ali x


    1. Thanks Ali! Wow, that was fast–I literally just finished posting this one! I have to work on all of this, too.


    1. Thanks for the reblog! I can’t imagine why it took me so long to notice this, but thank you… 🙂


  2. Hi Bonnie,

    Love this. Very wise. Getting grounded within ourselves is surely the first step, which prepares us well for setting head&heart intentions, and following those with aligned actions.


    1. Thanks, Lindsey. Yes — getting grounded seems so simple, but I think often we forget. (I know I do! :-))


  3. Hi Bonnie,

    Thanks for the reminder of the importance of quiet contemplation in forming intentions. I often get caught up in busywork, forgetting that meditation creates space which allows new thoughts and ideas can bubble to the surface. Great Post!


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