Another year gone. So much broke last year. My last-ditch effort to save my business proved futile. Communication with a friend broke so badly that I hired a mediator. My community nearly broke in half. Broken friendships, broken trust. To top it off, my housemate and I totaled the car when a stoned driver smashed into us.
So much brokenness and now a new year is upon us. Things will mend, our community is already healing and growing, I love my job, the bruises are gone, and we’ll get a new car. But I often wonder what it would be like to draw a clean line between the past and the present by taking on a new name. A magical name.
What’s a magical name? How do I get one? And why are so many Wiccans named Raven?
A magical name—or craft name, as they are sometimes called—is a name you take on when you become a Wiccan, and it’s the name other Wiccans in the community will know you by and that you will use in Wiccan rituals. Some people take on a name when they first become interested in Wicca. Others wait until they dedicate themselves to the path through a self-dedication ceremony or when they are initiated into a particular Wiccan group. Some Wiccan traditions (traditions are kind of like denominations in Christianity) have special rules for when someone takes a name and what kind of name it can be, and others don’t. And in some cases your name might be bestowed on you by a teacher, but this practice is not very common anymore.
Most Wiccans who have magical names only use them in the Wiccan community, and use their legal names elsewhere. Having a second name can help protect your privacy in case there are people you don’t want to know about your Wiccan practice. However some Wiccans use their magical names all the time, even outside of the Wiccan community, and some only use theirs when they are in ritual space.
Title: Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names: For Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, Druids, Heathens, Mages, Shamans and Independent Thinkers of All Sorts Who Are Curious About Names from Every Place and Every Time
As you may have noticed, I've been a bit scarce around here since last autumn. Many changes have occurred in my life which I won't bore you with just now. However, one good thing that came out of the past several months is a better idea of how I want to use this blog. See, each of my blogs has a personality, and this one was taking a little longer to coalesce. I liked having a place to write about some more 101-focused information, since there are still plenty of folks who are just learning, but I was having trouble coming up with ideas--until now. While I have spent many years helping other pagan folk along their paths, you may consider this my first official advice column.
You're welcome to ask me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be anonymous, though your question will be posted as quoted. The more questions I get, the more I can post!
The Name holds the story and mystery of who it represents. The Name is the energetic sigil that connects and refines all parts of that individual. The Name holds the power and promise of greatness as its sound moves through space and time affirming our manifest existence. Mundanely, we may be named for a favorite relative, as predictor of the qualities that are hoped we will possess or we may be given a name selected for the rhythm and resonance with other family member’s names. We may be named for a favorite character in a play or movie or to honor someone of achievement and greatness. Regardless of where that name originated, it is our symbol etched in the written word or the oral tome. We hear our name called by family and friends and as we grow and mature that name acts as identifier for all of our choices, interactions, achievements, failures and everything in between. Our signature of name opens doors, seals the deal and holds us accountable for how we move through life and our affairs. As we form lasting relationships we hold on dearly to our given names, take that of another or blend and weave the energies of our loved one’s name and our own in creation of a new energetic pattern.
Magickally, we select a name that will embody our perception of the intent we have for our spiritual work and the path we have chosen. Often names of Deity will be incorporated into or used as the magickal name. Names taken from the natural world, the celestial realms or goal of evolved attributes may be selected. This name becomes the magnetic attractor of what we wish to become and the working tool that declares who we are in sacred space; aligned and moving in accord with our Divine nature. We invoke our magickal name and in so doing declare and call our magickal/spiritual persona into action. This name is our signature on the astral and becomes the representation of the deeper level of our Being in communication with our guides, patrons and Deity. In Ancient Egyptian belief, the Ren (name) was considered one of the five parts of the Soul. The name given at birth was guarded and protected as having power over the individual to whom it was given. The name was only shared with those who meant no harm to the individual as great magick could be worked upon the individual through the knowing of his/her name. The calling of an individual’s name affirmed the life essence within that individual and if used often and well, ensured their survival long after death in the form of legacy left by that name and the way in which the individual lived their life within its power.