Different schools of thought on intent
This is a fairly challenging topic to blog about because it is heavily nuanced. There might even be a paradox, but whether or not I manage to draw that out in this post remains to be seen.
down to the last detail
In this age of increasing spiritual awareness, or awareness of the subtle and unseen forces that inform and impact our lives, most people know about ideas like “law of attraction” and have at least heard of techniques such as visualization. In these and similar contemporary ideologies, and in many magical paradigms throughout history, we are told to see in clear and minute detail everything we intend to achieve, create, etc. through our magical or mystical working.
Know precisely and completely what you expect in terms of outcome before you begin any processes. Don’t go after “more money”, should determine the amount you need and cast for it. Don’t sell yourself short by performing ritual for the “right mate”, work instead for a person with the exact attributes you desire. This is one school of thought, and it’s not hard to understand why one would espouse it.
How can you get what you want without knowing unwaveringly, exactly what that is?
let fate fill the blanks
The wisdom of being attached to such specificity has been question by spellcasters and teachers of a different philosophical persuasion. How, they ask, can one demand such an exact outcome when turning most of the work over to subtle forces and unseen realms, without any ability to monitor, much less control, these energies once they take effect.?
Indeed. Put another way, who are we to command the higher forces of destiny and fate/fortune?
From this perspective, we might know what we want but it may be unwise to demand or expect our exact specifications to manifest. A more general approach is called for within this school of thought, i.e. “more money”, the “right mate” etc. wherein we allow the powers that be deliver either what is best for us, what we truly want, or what is actually possible.
which of these approaches is best?
I don’t know. I’m definitely not qualified to say with authority, but I can tell you how I approach the matter in my own practice.
I will envision and even call for by incantation, binding of spirits, or whatever as clear a picture of what I desire as I can manage. I have no qualms, and to such questions as “who are we to command destiny blah blah” I answer: We are magicians, the potential masters of such wayward dogs as destiny!
Clearly, this attitude emerges from the exactitude camp, or “Down to the Last Detail” from above.
HOWEVER, I don’t feel I’m above a less than perfect result, including complete failure. I believe magic, like any other effort we put forward to any task, is an agent of influence or a process of potential change, and that I am largely responsible for my own results.
My capability, including personal power and skills at hand for specific operations, are among the factors I bring to the equation. Astrological timing, intelligent correspondences, and attention to intuition are a few more examples. My actions and activities have a great deal to say about my results, but I said I’m largely responsible, not totally in control.
There certainly are forces, powers, minds, phenomena, et al greater than I. Some magicians, mystics, and others will debate this, saying the individual is infinitely capable. I say incredibly capable, as in beyond what we can believe. Truly shocking for most of us would a true gauging of our power prove, but neither our potency nor our reach are truly infinite (Or, at least reality as we know it behaves as if the latter were true.
Our own unconscious minds, perhaps our greatest source of personal power, can nonetheless work against us if we are unaware of how we have programmed ourselves or allowed others to program us. So I might say and be sure I want x, when my unconscious in fact wants y, or believes y is the only possible outcome.
For these reasons I keep one foot also in the leave-room-for encampment, or “Fate Fills in the Blanks” from above. In the event that my unconscious has other (ideally better) plans than I think I have or in case of course-correcting causal forces I am unable to deny, I will take an “or something better” approach.
You’ve probably heard of the “wait and see approach”, the normies (muggles) use it a lot. It means don’t fully commit until you see how things start turning out.
The “or something better approach” is similar, but more committed and definitely more dignified. I still want what I want, but am willing to be open to upsells, upgrades, or even substitutions.
In practice this is implemented by, after releasing my crystal clear and scripted visualization, saying “Or something even better!” Or I may imagine multiple scenes of victory and open my heart to any of these, or one I haven’t thought of.
Calling on spirit guides, deity, zodiac angels, or other higher beings to guide the magic to its highest and beneficial end can be another way of being assertive but then leaving room for, and I’m sorry surely you knew this was coming…. the magic!
I may also choose to just alternate between the two approaches featured in this post. If there is a takeaway here – actually I hope there are several but if you could have only one – it should be that you are free to move between beliefs as freely as you alternate methods. Just as you select either candle magic or sigil magic, or some combination thereof, you might also determine in advance what paradigmatic approach (belief) to employ for this or that operation.
Know what you want and be selective if that doesn’t work to your satisfaction then at another time use another method.