Setting Intentions


I make time between Samhain and Gregorian New Year for cleaning, organizing, and contemplating.

I appreciate the time to prepare.

Some consider Samhain to be the end of the old and the start of the new year – and I used to be one of those. These days, however, I am appreciative of the longer tides. Maybe it is a hallmark of middle age. Years rush by and I want to deepen and savor the gifts and the lessons.

In recent years, I’ve come to understand that Samhain marks the threshold of many things, including the winding down of the old year. This enables space to open for deeper tides of magic, and helps me percolate on my new intention for the coming year. I appreciate the subtle changes that occur within my practice and my work by this shifting of attention. The tide carries me through Solstice and on. I don’t feel slammed into a new year, breathless, filled with resolutions I’ve scrambled to make.

In allowing space for winding down, cleaning up – and pondering my heart, soul, work, and relationships – I find that when the time to set my intention arrives, that intention can arise from a clear, less hurried space. 

Gregorian New Year’s Eve, I gather with a small group of friends to eat and drink and laugh, to  talk about our last year, and our hopes for the year to come.

Around 11pm, we pause. Take a breath. Drop within. From that place, whether we’ve thought long and hard, approached from different angles, or just opened our hearts to listen, we will set an intention for the coming year. These are not resolutions – not self-improvement lists. These are intentions that weave themselves in and out of all our activities, setting the tone as we move through time. We then pull runes, one each, to gain more insight. Then we toast each other, and toast the coming time.

The lessons of last year’s intention have been varied, surprising, sometimes amazingly challenging, and also filled with loveliness and joy. It is one that will likely stay with me.

What do I want for the coming year? More Love. More Justice. More Kindness. More Creativity.
What will my new intention be? I’m not yet sure.

I’ve been listening, opening, and pondering. I have some ideas, but the intention itself may not gel until that magic moment, somewhere before midnight, when my heart and mind open, and the words fly free.

I wish you a contemplative dark moon. I wish you a joyous new moon. I wish you a joyous year to come. 

May the ancestors and descendants bless your path in equal measure to your honoring of them.

And as always, I offer you my favorite spell, written in a time of huge transition a decade ago. It has served me well. The more you pass it on, the stronger the weave of magic.

Raise a glass of whatever you like. Repeat after me: 
Love! Health! Prosperity! Knowledge! And Great Sex! 

May these properties helps us to grow joyous and generous lives, well supported by family and friends. May these properties help us grow a society that offers justice and kindness to all.

So mote it be. 

19 Responses to “Setting Intentions”

  1. Tobeimean Peter

    Thank you Thorn ! That’s a very beautiful way to herald in the New Year. I’ll pause and think of you in the seconds before the clock strikes twelve, then a new toast back at you – “Love! Health! Prosperity! Knowledge! And Great Sex! “

  2. Cathie Rayes

    I put a lot of thought into this one; I really appreciate the chance to do this again. I shared it on facebook yesterday and a couple of my friends have made it their own as well.

    My intention is to walk into 2014 free and unencumbered, to live the rest of my life in peace and plenty. May we prosper in all things, especially financially, so mote it be!

    And to you, Thorn, Love! Health! Prosperity! Knowledge! And Great Sex!

  3. Ealasaid

    I’ve taken the route of choosing a word for 2014: Recognition. It’s my intention to focus the year on seeing things as they are and acting appropriately — which means remembering that I have plenty of helpful tools, knowledge, and experience. If I take a breath and ground-and-center, I can recognize the situation for what it is and recognize which of my many tools is best (or recognize which of my many friends and teachers is the right one to ask for advice!). I want to recognize when self-care is what I need and act on that knowledge.

    I’m also aiming for “recognition” as in “other people recognizing me” — I want both to be seen accurately, and to have my skills at bookbinding be recognized. This is the year I register The Book Roadie as a business, the year I start selling at craft fairs on a regular schedule and saving up to get more and better equipment.

    Love! Health! Knowledge! Prosperity! And Great Sex! 😀

    • Cathie Rayes

      Ealasaid, that sounds wonderful. May you find the recognition you seek, every time.

    • Thorn

      Ealasaid, I like this idea a lot. It reminds me of invoking a Quality to work with.

      I see you!

      • Tobeimean Peter

        I’m not sure I clearly comprehend the quality of which you speak. Do you mean recognition like being recognized by others, or do you mean to develop your own sense of recognition about situations you are in ?

        • ealasaid

          Thanks, Thorn!

          @Tobeimean – not sure if your question was directed at me, but I’m going for multiple meanings of the same word/idea (recognition directed outwards AND directed inwards, so both being recognized by others and recognizing situations myself). One of the fun things about English is that words can have so many meanings and resonances! 🙂 I think Thorn is referring to the practice some folks use of invoking a Quality like one of the elements, or something like “trust” or “compassion.”

  4. Thaniel

    Thank you for this! It fits nicely with thoughts I wasn’t even aware of having. But I too work w/Samhain as a threshold, & find the mainstream NY an excellent point to sort of “wrap up” that preparation; as you say, this help avoid the rushed feeling & ensures a smooth transition to the winter’s deep regeneration. A happy & fertile new year to you, & blessed be!

    • Thorn

      I just realized this year that Gregorian NYE is the only mainstream holiday I celebrate, and it is because of this Samhain thru Yule to NYE practice, I suspect.


  5. Camlin

    I whispered the blessing you offered to my beloved at midnight. And I set my intention a few days ago – using these dark, quiet days to contemplate my own growth and my deep desires. After I put my intention in writing here: the universe began to test my resolve. I am challenged on every level to embody the peace I so deeply desire, and I am rising to the challenge, with a few missteps and corrections along the way. Blessings on this new moon new year day!

    • Thorn

      These intentions are often challenging, but oh so instructive. May the blessings unfold.

    • Cathie Rayes

      Camlin, your post was wonderful! Thank you for sharing the link with us!

  6. Andi

    This gives me goosebumps! Intuitively I did something very similar but in reverse…It so happened that I decided on October 31 to make some changes and begin to integrate and ponder new thoughts and ways of being into my life that some might otherwise consider doing as ‘resolutions’ at the beginning of the year. Honestly, I didn’t like the pressure that the ‘end of the year’ and resolutions bring, so I did what worked for me and I have loved it!


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