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Thread: Pagan Names

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    Pagan Names

    I am not sure if this is the right/best section for this so if not can someone move it for me please?

    Tonight I am planning to perform a dedication to my coven, and part of the process is to choose a new name. I actually found this process a lot harder than I thought I would, and part of that is because I am struggling to see the point. I'm planning to discuss the specific reasons within this coven with them but it did get me wondering how others view taking a new name as part of their spiritual path. I've seen lots of different reasons cited whilst browsing about the internet but I'd love to hear reasons from 'real' people.

    So there you have it, in a nutshell. Do you have a pagan/magical name? If so why? How did you choose it and what does it mean to you? (please feel free to skip this last question if it is too personal)

    Edited to add- When I say 'real' people, I mean people I know on some level rather than unknown names that pop up on a google search.

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    Re: Pagan Names

    If I can say so, I wouldn't be able or willing to do that. My name was changed twice as a kid, and again when I got married, and then will be again when I divorce (long story, actually), and then will be again if I remarry my current boyfriend... It should be a personal choice. I appreciate that it's symbolic and all that, but if I truly feel turned off by the concept, then I don't feel it should be pushed on me. If traditions can't be flexible to the needs of the individual, they're less traditions and more strict, extremist codes. If you really want to because it's expected of you, then perhaps find one that that has meaning to you less from a spiritual perspective, and more from a 'that would be fun' perspective. Like I think it'd be fun to have been named Rhiannon. But I won't go rename myself to it. I probably would forget to answer to it, anyway. I dunno. If it feels all wrong, then perhaps you might want to either put it off, or just state that you're not willing to do that part of the dedication at this time because it feels very wrong to you. My apologies if that was especially unhelpful, just putting in my .02.

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    Re: Pagan Names

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow1982 View Post
    I am not sure if this is the right/best section for this so if not can someone move it for me please?

    Tonight I am planning to perform a dedication to my coven, and part of the process is to choose a new name. I actually found this process a lot harder than I thought I would, and part of that is because I am struggling to see the point. I'm planning to discuss the specific reasons within this coven with them but it did get me wondering how others view taking a new name as part of their spiritual path. I've seen lots of different reasons cited whilst browsing about the internet but I'd love to hear reasons from 'real' people.

    So there you have it, in a nutshell. Do you have a pagan/magical name? If so why? How did you choose it and what does it mean to you? (please feel free to skip this last question if it is too personal)

    Edited to add- When I say 'real' people, I mean people I know on some level rather than unknown names that pop up on a google search.
    I don't have a Pagan name. I don't really see a point to it for myself or my practice. I can see why some people would want to have one--everything from making it easier to stay in the closet to signifying a change or oath or whatever in one's role in a group or with the gods. But personally, for me, it is sort of pointless. I use my online name from here to write under, just because its handy--while its pretty easy to find out who I am IRL, I like the fact that someone has to go through the extra step to do so. Other than that, I chose Thalassa because its pretty, its the Greek work for the sea, and its the name of one of the primordial Greek deities of the sea, and I mainly work with ocean and aquatic deities.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

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    Re: Pagan Names

    Quote Originally Posted by SPhoenix View Post
    If I can say so, I wouldn't be able or willing to do that. My name was changed twice as a kid, and again when I got married, and then will be again when I divorce (long story, actually), and then will be again if I remarry my current boyfriend... It should be a personal choice. I appreciate that it's symbolic and all that, but if I truly feel turned off by the concept, then I don't feel it should be pushed on me. If traditions can't be flexible to the needs of the individual, they're less traditions and more strict, extremist codes. If you really want to because it's expected of you, then perhaps find one that that has meaning to you less from a spiritual perspective, and more from a 'that would be fun' perspective. Like I think it'd be fun to have been named Rhiannon. But I won't go rename myself to it. I probably would forget to answer to it, anyway. I dunno. If it feels all wrong, then perhaps you might want to either put it off, or just state that you're not willing to do that part of the dedication at this time because it feels very wrong to you. My apologies if that was especially unhelpful, just putting in my .02.
    I'm not sure if you have misunderstood the point of my post, or if I am misunderstanding yours. I am not being made to do anything and I am not uncomfortable with picking a name specifically for use within the coven. I have found one (it's actually my own name in a different language ) I just struggled with what to pick because it was something I had never seen the point in. From reading different things around the internet I am beginning to see the point, and the value, in taking another name as part of the dedication and am simply interested in other peoples reasons for having one.

    Not wanting to derail my own topic too much but I also disagree that traditions should be flexible to the needs of an individual. A tradition is such because it follows certain.. well traditions. This particular coven is newly formed and we are still finding ours but, if I was truly uncomfortable with the way they did things then the only right I have is to choose not be part of that group. They are not required to change the way they practise to suit my individual requirements, and I do not have the right to demand that they do. If picking a name for dedication purposes was a long-standing tradition of theirs, and I really felt strongly that I didn't want to do it, I would not dedicate and would find another group or continue to work alone.

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    Re: Pagan Names

    I did misunderstand. I saw this part as "what is the point?", which I took to be "I'm not all that comfortable with this".
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow1982 View Post
    Tonight I am planning to perform a dedication to my coven, and part of the process is to choose a new name. I actually found this process a lot harder than I thought I would, and part of that is because I am struggling to see the point. I'm planning to discuss the specific reasons within this coven with them but it did get me wondering how others view taking a new name as part of their spiritual path.
    I think that traditions should remain intact over-all, but that individuals should have a right to abstain from parts of totals of them. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that. Which is one of the great magical things in life, we can each feel as we feel and be right because they're feelings, not immutable laws.

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    Re: Pagan Names

    I don't use one. I kept one briefly but lacked a compelling reason to maintain it. These days if I feel the need to signify a relationship with the divine then titles work just as well and I can conceal anything I need to without a separate name. Taking up a new name would involve the decision to distinguish the mystical and the mundane in my life or feeling a need to either modify my identity or create a new one. I don't see a need to modify or replace my identity and I tend to think that if the mystical isn't integrated into the mundane then you're doing it wrong.
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    Re: Pagan Names

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow1982 View Post
    So there you have it, in a nutshell. Do you have a pagan/magical name? If so why? How did you choose it and what does it mean to you?
    I had a few spiritual names when I was an Egyptian reconstructionist. The basic idea was that names had power, that names were a part of you, that they could shape you. (That was true of all words in Egyptian thought, they had immense power.) There's a myth that shows this, where Isis comes up with a clever plan to trick Ra into telling her his true name, which gave her power over him, and made her as powerful as he was. Names sometimes also reflected significant events (good and bad). Defacing names, removing them from monuments, etc. was also a big deal. It was a form of magic to hurt a person's power, and if the person was dead removing whatever trace of them you could from this world would also wipe them away from the afterlife.

    I chose my first name when I devoted to Horus. Basically I thought a bit about what I wanted the name to signify, what I wanted to build in myself. I then looked through existing Egyptian names to see how I could cobble together something that meant what I was trying to get across. While doing that a particular name jumped out at me, and while it wasn't quite what I was going for, it felt right... so, I went with it. (The whole having it in Egyptian bit was also to show my move away from Wicca into reconstruction.)

    Eventually I joined a particular recon tradition, Kemetic orthodoxy, where a name is given when you take particular vows. It's to show that you're a part of the community, formally dedicating to the tradition, but it also reflects your dedication to your 'parent' God(s). You don't choose this name, it's divined for you, supposed to be a gift from your parent deity. So rather than thinking about what you want to take on, the name becomes sort of a 'mystery' of that tradition, where you figure out why it was given to you.

    Name work, in general, was sort of big among some in that tradition. Figuring out your "true" name (which no one else is supposed to know), adopting additional names (often temporary) as a sort of sympathetic spell-work, that sort of thing. At the time I found it pretty interesting and did a lot of work around that. After leaving reconstruction I sort of lost interest in it, though. I guess these days it's like... well, I'm off doing my own thing, no one really seems to care what I call myself, so it doesn't really fit in anymore, you know? I mean, I was solitary for a good chunk of my recon days, but I feel that the Egyptian deities were more responsive to the whole name thing than anyone I'm working with now. So basically these days I just have my pagan 'pen name' sort of things, and that's it. (Still have to put some thought into those though, I guess... even just online, people do tend to judge you a bit by the names you choose for yourself.)

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Pagan Names

    I don't have one 'cause I don't need one, but, as Gardenia said about Egyptian traditions, the name represents the self, and so magically, it becomes the self - in some belief sets. To remove a person's name from a monument was like erasing them from existence - a very bad thing when the person was counting on a long and happy afterlife.

    Also, in some belief sets (Catholic, for instance), taking a new name means that one is beginning a new life - one separated and divided from the life one had before. It indicates a change, just as being born (when most people get their first name) was a change.

    There is also a common belief that to know a thing's true name is to have power over that thing - again, in this case, it's a matter of the name, which represents the self magically becoming the self - if you are in possession of some one or some thing's name, you can exert control over it or him/her. There is a lot of folk magic around this idea, and I suspect it is also why Jewish people are not allowed to speak or write the actual name of their god - doing so would be an attempt to "control" that god, which would be especially rude...
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    Re: Pagan Names

    I have two. One is my public magick name, and the other is private.

    As to why I have them... It's all about power-handling. To give something or someone a name, is to say that you have power over it. (For example, this is why the Christian God names himself, rather than having the humans give him a name. It signifies that nobody has power over him) This is much the same to me. With a magickal, private name that nobody else knows, I am saying that nobody have domination over me. I am a unique individual who is not owned. Secondly, no harm can come to me should anyone happen to be a bad 'witch' and cast a spell on me My energy signature is disguised. The point of the second magickal name is just for my paranoia; so others do not know my real identifiable name. It is also used during public ritual.

    My public magickal name is Manami Yukiko, which is Japanese for "Divine Child of the Snow". I was born in the dead of winter in Canada, so it makes sense. I love the snow. And of course, I am divine because a bit of the Divine's energy is within me.

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    Re: Pagan Names

    I don't bother. I've never felt comfortable with one, and as a member of medieval reenactment, it's really made me aware that I will only EVER answer to my one true name (my birth name). I just can't do other names.

    I agree with what others have said about names giving you power, though.
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