I think part of my confusion comes from the ambiguous way most books describe the final stage of spellcasting.
most of the books advise you to raise the energy to its peak, then “release” it. i always took that to mean sending the energy “out there” into the far off cosmos. a bit like launching a rocket into space. but the more i ready, and pay really close attention to exactly what the author is saying, the more im coming to feel that you don’t aim the spell to some undefined “out there.” as much as having a specific place you want it to go. sometimes this is a person, other times a place, and more often then not, a thing.
the few times you do release a spell into the cosmos at large, you tend to send it into a physical vessel, then launch that vessel into the element that rules the spells intent.
so far as too why, i dunno. the general consensus is that magic infused into a physical vessel tends to work better then spells that dont. asto why this is, im not sure.
or i could have that wrong.
do you send the energy into the vessel, then from the vessel launch it into the cosmos? all via visualization.