Magic is all about transformation. Whether we're talking about turning a base metal into gold, climbing through a wardrobe into an alternate reality, or pulling a rabbit out of a hat, magic is about changing the nature of reality.
Artists are always tinkering with reality. Representational painting is about working a two dimensional surface to appear as three dimensions. Music does not actually exist in three dimensions. Composers translate something they "hear" into symbols on a page that are then interpreted by musicians who interpret those musical ideas into vibrations of sound. Novelists and screenwriters make up worlds left and right, crammed with characters in places who have relationships and histories. Architects imagine structures and spaces then pull together materials and build. Voila! Where there was a meadow now stands a building.
All of this is work is transformational. All of this is a form of magic. And all of it demands some level of a shift in consciousness.
The comics writer, Alan Moore beautifully draws up the idea of the Artist as Magician. Here's an excerpt.
"Magic, in its earliest form, is often referred to as "The Art." I believe that this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and art, whether that be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form, is literally magic.
"Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language of magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A Grymoire for example, a book of spells, is just a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change peoples consciousness, and I believe this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a shaman.
"I believe that all culture must have arisen from cults. Originally, all the facets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the shaman. The fact that, in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation is, I think, a tragedy.
"At the moment, the people who are using shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than trying to wake people up, their shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Through their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everybody in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts, all at exactly the same moment."
Exploring this very consideration is what I'm after with my Creative Wayfinding course. If you are an artist or creative (whatever you call yourself) and this resonates with you, click here and let me hear from you.