Setting Intentions for Psychedelic Journeys

Learn the importance of setting intentions for psychedelic journeys and how it can shape your experience. Explore tips for a mindful journey.
Setting Intentions for psychedelic journeys. An abstract landscape background with a female presenting person sitting and meditating almost as if floating. They are wearing gray, have dark skin, and short hair.
Author: Guy Borgford
By Guy Borgford
September 12, 2023(Updated: March 6, 2024)

This article is part of our article collection, “Unlocking the Magic: A Comprehensive Guide to Safe and Responsible Psilocybin Exploration.” Find the full collection here.

Living life with intention is one of those things we need to continuously work on. There are so many distractions designed to entertain our monkey minds. We’re consciously aware of how we spend our time in this human experience and respond to the world around us. This requires that we live our lives and create with intent.

As is frequently the case, psychedelic experiences are a reflection—and often amplification—of our experience in this consensus reality. Setting intentions for your psychedelic journey creates the foundation from which your experience unfolds. 

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When setting intentions for your psychedelic journey, start by reflecting on your purpose. Think about why you’re considering taking this journey in the first place. Are you seeking personal growth, healing, spiritual connection, creative inspiration, solutions to problems, or insight? Reflect on your intentions before the journey—this can make your intentions more concrete. For some, it can be helpful to write intentions down on paper. Consider keeping your intentions nearby to refer to as a reference for before, during, and after your psychedelic medicine journey.

When formulating your intentions, remember to frame your intentions positively rather than negatively. Articulate your desired future state in positive language such as “To have and express love and compassion for me” versus “To stop being so self-critical and judgemental.” Intention setting is part of building the container for your upcoming non-ordinary state of consciousness. For this reason, using language that reflects positivity, love, and compassion sets the right tone for your entire journey. This tone then extends well beyond the medicine experience and throughout integration

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Setting Intentions. Some stones in careful balance. The stones are different shades, and one has an orange hue. The background is an amber sacred geometry pattern.

Feeling Outcomes

Taking your intentions one step further involves visualizing the desired outcomes of your journey. Imagine yourself experiencing the growth, insights, or healing you seek. Then, dive into what that experience and positive outcome is going to feel like. By bringing our feelings into our intentions and preparation, we make them all the more part of our conscious Being. This further paves the road for the change we seek. Popular meditation advocate Dr. Joe Dispenza is a big proponent of feeling into intention through deep meditation. This non-ordinary state of consciousness is not far from the realm of the psychedelic experience.

Some advocate for keeping our intentions top of mind throughout the psychedelic experience. Others, however, recommend letting go of our intentions right before we consume the medicine. As is always the case with psychedelics, our main job is to surrender to the medicine. Going into these non-ordinary states of consciousness without any preconceptions or expectations is your best bet. So, it’s to your advantage to leave the intentions at the maloca door before the medicine ever touches your lips.

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What if you feel yourself trying to direct your psychedelic experience? A good approach to surrender those feelings of control is to briefly reflect on your intentions while journeying and then let go and just observe—just like watching a movie. The medicine always shows you what you need to see for that specific journey, so kick back and let it do its job. Trust the process, trust the medicine, and trust yourself. 

The Intention of Surrender

One intention that I use and often recommend to others is the intention of asking the medicine, “What’s next?” This intention covers a lot of bases. Throwing your intention into the hands of the medicine is a good start to your journey in a state of surrender. How so? You’re throwing it out there that you don’t know what you need to work on specifically. You’re also surrendering that you have no idea how to prioritize what you do need to work on. Let the medicine take the wheel and show you what to focus on in order to discover, heal, and grow.

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It’s important to note that setting intentions is a very personal process. Your specific intentions will vary based on your life experiences, beliefs, goals, and an endless number of other things that make us who you are. Ensure you’re approaching these psychedelic experiences with respect and caution. If you’re new to psychedelics or have concerns, it’s advisable to have a knowledgeable and experienced guide to hold space for you. 

For some, a therapist who has experience working with psychedelic medicines can be a valuable source of guidance and support. You can find one in your area in the Psychedelic Support Directory of Licensed Practitioners. Remember to always prioritize safety and well-being. Be sure you’re creating the right container for your psychedelic experience with the right attention to set and setting. At the same time, set intentions that help you move forward in this human experience and do so with self-love. 

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The content provided is for educational and informational purposes only and should be a substitute for medical or other professional advice. Articles are based on personal opinions, research, and experiences of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Psychedelic Support.

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Author: Guy Borgford
Guy Borgford
Starting with a meditation practice a few years ago, Guy quickly began intentional work with plant and fungi medicine shortly thereafter, resulting in both profound healing and personal and spiritual development. Along with a variety of consulting positions at various organizations in the psychedelic space, Guy is also an artist and avid student of learning about our natural world with a keen interest in regenerative systems design. He runs a meditation retreat from his home in the North Cascade Mountains and counts the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy and working with the legendary and beloved Dennis McKenna among his volunteer experiences. Learn more and connect with Guy on his Linkedin Profile.

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