Naming Names

by Lilith Silverhair

Ted Andrews begins chapter seven of “The Magickal Name” with: “Our names are
direct links to our soul”, a statement that is very true. It is with our names,
especially those we can choose for ourselves, that we tell exactly who and what
we are.

In today’s society the naming of a child does not have the ritualistic
overtones that it once did. Parents pick a name they like, or name a child
after a grandparent and that’s about as far as it goes. But we are of the Pagan
Community, having found our way “home”, often feel the need to give ourselves a
new name, to signify the new person we feel we are, or the person that we have
never been able to show others.

Many people do not care for, or even hate, the name they are given at birth. So
it is especially delightful for Craft initiates to be able to choose a name
they feel comfortable with. Well, then, how does one go about choosing a name
that signifies all that we feel we have learned and the emotional joy of
becoming ourselves? There are many, many ways as we will see.

The simplest way of renaming oneself, of course, is to pick the name of a
deity, crystal, plant, animal, etc., that you identify with. The name Lilith
originally came from a Dungeons and Dragons character I played many years ago
(she was, of course, a magick user). But while doing research when trying to
pick a Craft name I found that Lilith’s legend of being Adam’s first wife and
not subjecting herself to him by refusing to lay under him during sex touched
something within me. I do like a woman who knows her own mind.

There is much more to Lilith’s story, eventually going back to the Goddess
Kali. The more I researched the more I attuned to the name. You must research
the name you are thinking about picking, not only will it tell you more about
the name but it will tell you more about yourself. You may really like the name
Holly, but are your energies too scattered at this time in your life to be able
to live up its’ potential? Salamander may sound really nifty in a name, but are
you comfortable with the element of fire to bring it into your life that
intimately? Much consideration must go into the choosing of a name that you may
reveal more about you than you know. There are also more complex ways of
picking a magickal name. One can learn the mystical and magickal meaning of the
vowels and consonants and gather them together in a name that resonates in a
way that compliments the direction you want your life to take.

You can also use divination tools to pick a name, such as Tarot cards, Runes,
and even a pendulum. With the Tarot cards and the Runes, first pick one card or
stone to determine the number of letters in the name, then pick that number of
cards or stones. Each Tarot card has a numerical value and you may use that to
correspond to a letter of the alphabet. The Runes each have a phonetic
correspondence to a letter of the alphabet and so there are the letters for
your name. With a pendulum, you can open a mythology book to the index of names
and dowse with the pendulum, paying close attention to how the pendulum acts
with certain names and picking your name from those it reacts strongly to.

Even if you have long known your magickal name and have used it for many years,
there may come a time in your life when you want top change it or add to it. In
the past year I began to get the feeling that there should be an addition to my
name. I knew that it had something to do with Silver, but there was even more
to it than that. I began listing names with silver in them; Silvermoon,
Silverraven, Silverwolf, Silversong…nothing felt right. Then I notice that
the silver I was searching for was not outside my body but on it, in my hair!
And it clicked. At thirty-four The Crone is by no means standing on my
threshold, but She is certainly closer than she was when I took the name
Lilith. So I have added Silverhair to prepare for that time when I hand the
title of Mother to my daughter and look the Crone in the eye with love and
trust.

You can add to your magickal name during transitional periods in your life, as
you spiral upward in levels of initiation, or simply if you feel the name you
carry now no longer describes who you are. It is recommended that you do not
change your magickal name too often to keep from scattering your energies too
thin. Year cycles of three, seven, or nine can be appropriate times, if you are
a solitary practitioner, to consider whether your name still fits you. You
should never force a name change on yourself, or choose a magickal name simply
“because.” Names, of course, carry power, and the energies of an inappropriate
name could draw that into your life which may not necessarily be beneficial to
you.

The naming of names, the naming of ourselves, is another way in which we as
pagans and witches assert our individuality and yet still align ourselves as a
community with that which makes us strong. So, whether we call ourselves Bill
or Sue, Willow or Raven, each time a name is spoken it reminds us and others of
our connection to each other and the Goddess, She who has many names and yet is
One.

Sources:

“The Magical Name” Ted Andrews, Llewellyn Publication 1993

“Rites of Passage, the Pagan Wheel of Life” Pauline Campanelli, Llewellyn
Publications, 1994

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