"If we focus more on the end result - the product - more than we do on the process, we teach ourselves and others how to consume instead of how to create." (Quote by me.)
I may have woken up with a tad bit of a ritual hangover this morning. But that didn't stop my brain from diving down a fascinating rabbit hole thanks to a facebook post from Byron about art and witchery.
We often look at art in terms of being an end result, without much thought to the process. I'm not only talking about visual art here, but all of the arts: dance, music, writing, theater, etc. The end result rarely speaks of all of the hours of work, training, editing, practicing, derailed personal lives, lack of sleep, cuts, bruises, sweat, blood, and a whole slew of other things that really aren't slick, sexy, or appealing in general. Yet the result is often something of beauty - profound, moving, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually compelling. Unless you're involved in that art yourself, it's hard to fathom or understand everything that went into it. Which is another reason why art is so often devalued in our society - that it's merely entertainment, dressing, something easy and amusing, full of pleasure and indulgence.
Yet, it's also not just some combination of elements that make it into art. Just because you have a canvas, some paint, a brush, and some time does not mean you will have a great painting at the end of it. You'll have a painting in the basic sense of the word, but that doesn't mean it's art. Nor does a beautiful work of art mean that lollypops, cupcakes, birds singing, and sunshine were the stuff that made that piece happen. Inversely, a dark and painful appearing work of art doesn't mean that blood, tears, and thorns were involved in the making of it. Really, unless you were there, you can't know or say, you only have your own personal experience with the end result to base your opinion upon. Which leads us to, when we add in the concept of "beauty is in the eye of beholder" and the lines between real and fantasy, experience and validity become very wispy indeed.
Regardless of the end result, a skilled artist calls upon their experience throughout the process of making, transforming and changing materials through focus and intent.
Similarly, a lot of folks look at spellcraft by the results without understanding the process. They see the results, and they see a list of ingredients, and assume that's all that is needed. But the experienced practitioner knows that it's the will that transforms and causes change in recognition of the elements and materials. It's the application of will and focus in the process. You can follow the motions (burning a candle, digging a root, inserting of thorns, etc), but without the understanding and focus, they're often just actions that fall flat.
Ask any artist where the magick happens, and they'll most likely tell you it's in the making of the art. The need and desire to create comes from the actual process. While the ego may be pleased by the end product of the process - and yes, it's definitely the thing that everyone else responds to - it's the art-making itself that satisfies the spirit.
Though I certainly hope that for my own work, the ordeal and experience of the process is something that the end viewer gets a glimpse of. Not so much a look at my personal process, but perhaps that it speaks to their own experiences and processes.
In the end, it's not the telling of the process nor displaying of the art or spellcrafting that makes the magick, but the actual doing of it.