Casting is a funny term, and we here at ye olde Gardnerians blogge find that there are quite an unfortunate number of persons on the interwebz who are using it as though it has only one meaning. So, in an effort toward better communication, let’s take a walk down dictionary lane…
Technically, casting is a noun which refers to an object made by pouring molten metal or other material into a mold. Many of your pagan statuettes may be castings of original designs. We know that some of ours are, and we love them.
But let’s take a moment to discuss the verb “cast.”
Cast: /kast/ v. 1. Throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction.
Lemmings cast themselves off the cliff.
2. Cause (light or shadow)) to appear on a surface.
The moon cast a pale light over the cottages.
So, to cast means to throw (even light or shade, depending on your mood). Great. What does the single word cast not imply? That what you are throwing is a spell.
Magic incorporates many different practices and experiences that vary in size, scope, and effect in almost every facet. Magic can be an internal process, an external process, a sudden occurrence or seeming coincidence, or it can be the knock-your-socks-off kind of mystical experience that grants union with the divine, the innate knowledge of the workings of the universe, or even an inexplicable fondness for Canadian bacon. Really, there is no limit to what could be magic to someone, even if it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE AND IS REALLY JUST HAM WITH A VERBAL VENEER OF GODLINESS.
Casting spells is one little sub-division of magic. Despite what you may come across in public witchcraft forums, it’s not the end-all, be-all of witchcraft or Wicca specifically. Wiccans and all witches, really, cast many things. Some of them work in entertainment and they cast actors in movie and TV roles. Some go fishing and they cast lures. While any of this can be done in a magical way, not all of them are. Many witches are proficient at divination, and cast lots, or runes, or those Ogham stick things we bought when we were 16 and never actually used but still have in a box somewhere. Witches also cast spells, but of the many things we’ve listed here, spells are only one type.
So when someone in a witchcraft forum online says, “What are you casting for?” they somehow forget that witches are people deeply involved in the world, and that witches cast many things for many reasons and not all of them are spells. People who use the solo term ‘casting’ to explicitly refer to casting a spell are displaying a type of ignorance not befitting a witch who is worth her words, and in doing so must remain ever aware that a frequent response will be others more adept at communication raising an eyebrow and casting aspersions on them and their faculties, and no one wants that. So be a hero and pair your verb with a noun, you know, for the sake of sounding at all erudite.