Week 6 of the Pagan Blog Project
‘A rose by any other name …’
- William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet.
What is in a name?
Firstly, it’s how you identify yourself as an individual ‘me’.
Secondly, it can express your familial ties or group identity.
Why is a ‘Craft (magickal) name important?
Actually, for some people it’s not important in the least. But for those of us who decide to use a ‘Craft name, the importance can vary greatly – as can its privacy. It may reflect a practitioner’s spiritual path, animal spirit totem, their coven/clan ties, and/or their patron deity.
Some people may choose to legally change their name, to reflect their life’s path. Others may only use their ‘Craft name when conducting Magick. Still others – myself included – have two (or even more) ‘Craft names, one as a sort of nickname to be more widely known, and the other as a more private name to be used only between the practitioner & deity, or practitioner & close family/coven members.
Some people may take an animal as their ‘Craft name, or part of it. I personally know three people who use Wolf, one Raven, one Bear, two Corvids, and a Crow.
These people either worked with that animal as a permanent spirit ally/totem, or were just incredibly drawn to those animals for a significant amount of time.
Another common inclusion in ‘Craft names is the name of a deity; Odin, Morrighan, Cerridwen, etc etc ad nauseum. Personally, I would never use a deity’s name as my own because
1) it seems disrespectful to me,
2) it doesn’t fit for me, and
3) I may want to work with other deities down the track, and names (of deities especially) hold a power of their own.
That said, I have no problem with others choosing a name that includes that of a deity, and I will always address them by their preferred moniker – I just wouldn’t want to be calling a deity’s attention every time someone spoke to me.
A lot of ‘newbie’ books encourage the use of numerology in finding or creating a ‘Craft name. There is argument both for and against doing so, the main points of which I feel are:
+ the numerological energy aligns with the name you are given at birth (or the one you most often use)
– you may find a name that you like, that suits you and fits well, but the numbers don’t add up
Some people choose to prefix their ‘Craft name with a title, such as Priest/ess, Lord, Lady, etc. I think that if you want to use a title that’s up to you, but don’t expect everyone to believe you earned it.
In finding my own ‘Craft names, I went with my gut but as I was exploring the realm of numerology at the time, I also tried the calculations that go with numerological matching.
My first ‘Craft name (long since discarded as it doesn’t adequately reflect me or my path anymore) was a match to both my birth name AND birth date. My current ‘Craft names make more sense and fit better with me, my path, and my Magick. So I attempted the same calculations, to no avail. At the time I just went with the idea that hey maybe these (numerological) energies suit me better?
Then I came across a short text in the ‘Internet Book of Shadows‘ by Mike Nichols, who offered a different method of assigning today’s letters a numerical value using the Ogham as a base.
To my utter surprise at the synchronicity of the universe, my current ‘Craft names BOTH matched using Nichols’s system.
In short, your ‘Craft name is YOURS. Don’t be in a rush to find the ‘coolest’ name, you can take as long as you like to formulate a ‘Craft name for yourself. You may choose to include botanicals, crystals, animals, another language, deities, colours, times, anything you like – it’s up to you what to use, to find something that fits you yourself.
Just don’t be surprised if someone snickers at you introducing yourself as ‘Lady RainbowUnicorn the Magnificent.’
Numerical letter values as set out by Mike Nichols:
1 – A B H M
2 – D G L O X
3 – T U V W
4 – C E F J K S
5 – I N P Q R Y Z