Lesson: Magickal Craft Names

Magickal Craft Names
Many Witches, Solitary or Coven Trad, consider a Magickal Craft Name to be very important. But is it necessary? Some people choose a name so they may remain anonymous due to their mundane jobs or other societal dealings. Others choose a name because they feel it enables them to be freer in their expression of their faith. And then there are those who are members of a coven and it is a requirement. There are also the rare few who legally change their name to their newly adopted one. These people are willing to accept the attention this “odd” name will bring, but as these Witches are usually public figures in the Pagan Community and usually working publicly within the mundane society, it is not an aspect that bothers them.
Having a Magickal Craft Name is also a mind trigger, when you introduce yourself online or in person to others with your MCN, you are triggering your mind, body, & spirit to switch gears, altering your conscious mundane mind and readying it for your subconscious spiritual mind. A simple way to connect to the Divine for even you most mundane of spiritual actions (such as online social groups, coven meetings, networking, etc.).

Names and the Soul
Ancient Britons, ancient Romans, and many other Pagan cultures, believed that a person's name and a person's soul were the same thing. This is why it was so important for the rulers of ancient Egypt to have their names carved in as many places as possible: if you were to destroy the ruler's name by removing it from all of the places where he or she had ordered it carved, you would destroy the ruler's soul.

Today, names on tombstones are a reminder of the belief in names and souls being the same thing. Whenever someone reads out the name on a tombstone, they breathe life into the soul of the deceased. Similarly, some cultures have taboos against speaking the names of the dead. The belief here is that by saying the name of the deceased, its soul will rise up and haunt the person who spoke its name.

The Origins of Magickal Craft Names
There are many ancient cultures that would publicly name their newborn child, but also have a private family name. One that was not used outside of the immediate family for fear of someone harming them through name magic.

There is also the belief that ancient magicians, witches, mages, and sorcerers also had secret names known only to coven members. It was also believed that if others from another secret circle found out a witch’s name, then they could have power over that person. While I don’t dispute the validity of knowing another’s name for the purpose of performing name magicks on them, I do dispute that a coven from one area would be in likely to even know members of a coven from another area.

Let me explain. For centuries, the average person did not travel except from their home/farm to town and back. It was too dangerous, as thugs & thieves wandered the roads & forests waiting for unsuspecting travelers. Women definitely did not travel without a male escort, for both safety and proprietary reasons. Also, townsfolk might only travel from their town to the closest surrounding towns around them. They were born, raised, married, and had children all in the same town. Moving was a rarity. This being said, the people in Town A would know everyone in the surrounding towns, Towns B, C, & D. Strangers were looked upon with suspicion.

It would be these same people, all knowing each other that would be in a local coven (a term I’m not so sure was even applied to themselves by this social group of people, but more likely by the Inquisition’s magistrates, etc. to instill fear of “secret groups“). The people of Towns A - D may have a social group who meet, say for merriment, a wedding, sewing, healing, special days that may include the Last Harvest Festival (i.e. Samhain), or Winter Fest (Yule), etc..

But to say that the towns people of Towns A - D would travel to and know the people of Towns M - P is absurd. So, with this in mind, how then could a “coven” of witches travel to visit another “coven“ of people they don‘t even know? And don’t forget the fear of strangers aspect!

To me, this just does not make sense. More likely is that each town and it’s surrounding neighbors who already knew each other may have gotten together at local events and begun sharing their knowledge, tips & tricks, and other bits of information regarding aspects of their lives that were important and they considered worth sharing. Did they have secret Sabbats? Maybe. Did they call it a Sabbat? Doubt it. That was a term first used in 1458 by Nicholas Jacquier during the Inquisition. It was used in place of the word “synagogue” to describe the “meeting places of witches and heretics”. Which explains right there exactly how derogatorily the term was meant to be used. Being Jewish was considered highly heretical, as was being a witch, but they had no term for where a “coven of witches” might meet (if the accused supposedly even did, which I highly doubt). So he made up a bastardized word between the Jewish Shabbat and the Christian Sabbath. Thus Sabbat. A play on words. Symantics used in a twisted manner to classify and demean a group of people for the purpose of destruction. Better known as genocide.

So, the common argument written all over the place in (unresearched) books and on the internet (but with zero foundation in fact and lack of resources to prove their point, except to parrot umpteen hundred other books or online sources that say the same thing) regarding magickal craft names is basically bullshit. An oft quoted paragraph (or variation thereof) is: “The use of magical names in the craft is an old and important tradition. During the burning times it was much safer for the people involved in the craft not to know the real names of those they met with. If one person was arrested they could not possibly lead their captors to anyone else if they could not tell them who they were.” Seriously?! These people only dealt with and spoke with the people they knew! There is no way they would ever meet “in secret” with unknown others! The entire concept is extremely flawed and full of holes, and I don’t believe any of it for a second. Softheaded, non-critical thinking, non-historical researching idiots made up this crap.

Those today who use Magickal Craft Names do so in a more spiritual aspect by triggering the Witch to enter into a different mindset, focusing more on their Inner Self and their connection with the Divine in the process of working spells or rituals.
Yes, there are those who live in areas or have positions in the public in which keeping a sense of anonymity is vitally important. They have a MCN specifically for the purpose of not being known outside their spiritual networking community, be they Solitary or Coven Trad members. It is a personal safety issue to avoid harassment from neighbors and/or co-workers, it may also be to avoid possible job loss.

Many newbies to the Craft just think it’s “cool” and whip together some cutesy, whimsical groupings of words and call it good, with no real consideration to how it actually reflects on themselves - inwardly on the subconscious and outwardly to those in the Pagan Community that they meet. Those who are serious and begin to learn, will eventually find a true MCN, and over time, possibly change it more than once.

Should You Choose a Magical Name?
There is quite a bit of debate among Witches and Pagans about taking on a MCN. While many feel taking on a new name is an important aspect of their Craft, others feel that the separation between magickal and everyday life is a hindrance. For those who want to make magick a permanent and active part of their everyday lives, choosing a MCN makes little sense to them. Their belief is that their everyday and magical selves must intermingle until there is no distinction between the two. Which is understandable, but who says that when you’re standing in the kitchen making a meal that you have to suddenly tell yourself that you’re now “Your Magickal Craft Name” before instilling a spell of goodwill into the food? No, you’re still “you”, regardless. You’re a Witch with a “MCN” online, or in your coven (if you’re in one), but at home your MCN and your mundane name both coalesce as One. You can’t remove one from the other, they‘re just various aspects of “you”. You can’t “be” a Witch only with other Witches, unless you’re a fake, and a wannabe. A Witch is who you are not what you are!

As for the name thing, each person must make the decision for themselves whether or not to take a Magickal Craft Name. You decide, or you let the Divine decide for you.

Isis and Ra
An important ancient Egyptian myth highlights the importance and power of the true name.
Isis (or Aset) was very skilled at magick, the second most powerful of all the Egyptian neteru (gods and goddesses) in the magickal arts. Her grandfather R  was the most skilled at magick.
Isis was jealous of Ra's magick knowledge and figured out a plan to gain Ra's knowledge and power.

Because Ra had become old, he sometimes would nod off and drool. Isis secretly collected some of his spittle and mixed it with some earth that Ra walked upon. She used the clay to make a serpent, then used her magick to transform the serpent into an arrow. Isis said words of power and then hid the arrow at a crossroads.

At dawn, Ra set out on his regular walk, accompanied by other neteru, walking from horizon to horizon. When Ra reached the crossroads, the magick arrow sprang up and bit Ra in the leg.
Ra fell to the ground in a great deal of pain as the poison raced through his body. The neteru gathered around, confused about how the father of the gods, creator of all things, could be harmed by something of his own creation.

Ra beckoned all the neteru to his side, whispering to each (one at a time) to use their magick to heal him. But none of the neteru could heal Ra.

Isis whispered into Ra's ear that she could set him free from the magick if he would reveal his true name. Ra agreed to tell her his true name if she promised to tell only her son Horus (Heru Sa Aset) and that Horus keep it a secret until the end of time.

Ra tried to tell her some of his titles, such as "creator of the heavens above and the earth below", "the one who made the waters flow and caused the air to move", "lord of the horizons of dawn and dusk", and "the origin of time". Ra said that he was "Khepri" in the morning, "Ra" at noon, and "Atum" in the evening.

Isis told Ra that he was only delaying his own healing. Finally Ra hid himself and Isis from all the other neteru and caused his true name to secretly move from his heart to Isis's heart. Isis said a magick formula and the poison seeped away from Ra's body. He was fully healed, but Isis was now the most powerful of the neteru, greatest at magick, and she had knowledge of all things.

Choosing a Magical Name
One of the most exotic attractions of Paganism must be the ability to dub yourself something mystical or fantastic. "Lady AmberRose." "Lord Merlin RavensKin." "Poppy WaterHawk." "Thorsson BrightHammer."

It is indeed empowering to rename yourself. Choosing a name, however, entails more than stringing together impressive syllables. How do you go about finding a Craft name? Perhaps more importantly, why should you choose one - or why should you not?

In magical traditions, this caution also exists. If you are working within a tradition, they will probably ask you at some point to choose a name to be used within circles, a secret name used only by your group. This stems from a need to use pseudonyms, so that if you do let someone's name slip to a non-initiate, no one will be able to identify them.

Names are also used to evoke certain traits or correspondences. In this case, a name is chosen to attract certain energies into your life and spiritual path. Names can reflect the deeper parts of our souls, the precious inner selves that we open up to the Divine.

Now that you have some idea what names are used for, let's take a look at how to find one.
The most important rule to remember is that you must feel confident speaking the name aloud. A name might look quite impressive on paper, but when the time comes to use it aloud while invoking a quarter, for example, you might feel a little foolish... especially if you are practicing with others. Make sure the name is easily spoken, and sounds true to the ear.

Where do you find this name? Perhaps there is a name that has had a special draw for you all your life. Perhaps you have always wished you'd been named Amber, or Rose, or Jordan. If so, why not take it on in a ritual fashion? Borrow a baby name book from the library or go online to baby name sites, find ones that go into the cultural origins and meanings of the names, and look through them. A name often means something in a different language: Margaret means "Pearl"; David means "Beloved", for example.

Perhaps you feel inspired to take your name from Nature. Look at flower names and their meanings. Do some research on herbs, plants and trees, and look up their medicinal or magical correspondences. "Oak" stands for strength in many cultures. "Ash" is the wood of the World Tree which forms the axis mundi in Celtic and Norse culture. What about weather? "Sunshine" is a happy, warm name; "Snow" suggests a cooler, quieter light.

The animal kingdom offers a wide range of possibilities as well. Check out books which list various cultural associations with animals. Do you have a favorite animal? Do you constantly encounter representations of a certain beast or bird?

Or, you can do it backwards. Is there a certain kind of trait you wish to evoke or emphasise in your personality? Do you wish to be wiser, more aware, more playful? Look up what plants or animals are associated with these traits. Make a list. Feel free to cross them all off if none appeal to you.
Many Pagans honor a deity by taking on a variation of the name of a god or goddess. Some people think this practice arrogant, but others consider it a way to identify as closely as possible with a chosen deity. Make sure you research the deity as completely as possible before you formally take on the name

If you feel perfectly comfortable with your given name, why change it? Use it as long as you are comfortable doing so. However, another reason for taking on a Craft name is to differentiate your magical persona from your mundane persona. Like a different set of clothes used for ritual, or the dimming of electric lights and the use of candles, using a different name in ritual situations further reinforces that it is a time and place and action set apart from the everyday. Some people choose to use their Craft names in everyday life, some going so far as to legally change their names. If your province or state allows this, do not rush into it. As we grow and evolve in our search for truth, we outgrow old names and acquire new ones. If after several years you know deep inside that this new name is your true name, and you feel comfortable using it in daily life, then consider doing so. However, be warned that family and friends who have known you for your whole life as Mary might not take well to being told that you are now Ivy or Thorne. Use your discretion.

If you truly feel the need to rename yourself, and nothing is suggesting itself to you, don't despair and grab the nearest name. Take your time. Seek your name in meditation. Perhaps it will come in your dreams. Perhaps someone will "accidentally" call you by a different name on the street or in a restaurant. Perhaps you will trip across it in a book. Be open to the possibilities. It might take months, a year, or more. Be patient.

Some people change their Craft names like socks. Be aware that the commitment to a name is a serious one. A name carries with it a certain resonance and energy, and by constantly changing it you keep that energy unbalanced. A name is a key to identity; if you constantly change it, you will feel lost and adrift in ritual and in your spiritual search.

Be wary of the trap that many fall into: creating a long, impressive name as soon as you begin your study of life. Doing so is often revealed to be self-defeating as the individual grows and evolves in a direction very different from the ambitious name originally selected. Instead, choose a simple name that can be modified or added to as you achieve different goals and pass various tests in life. Also, know that the titles "Lady" and "Lord" are used to honor those who have achieved a certain degree within initiatory traditions or level of experience if not in a Trad, and by using them you make exaggerated claims that might reflect poorly.

Finally, beware of choosing a name that is too popular. There are heaps of Morgans, Merlins, Taliesins, Ambers, and Ravens out there. Yes, one of those might contain exactly the idea that you're striving for, but why consign yourself to an overused name when you can use it as a basis for creating a completely unique variation? Sit down with a pen and paper and doodle, using the name as a starting point. Play with the spelling, the phonics, the pronunciation. Make it yours. Meld two names together - for example, Amber and Raven might become Ambven.

How do you take on your name? Most people will perform an official ritual to announce to the gods that they will henceforth be known by this name. It's only polite to introduce yourself, after all! Writing your own ritual is a very special way to use your new name for the very first time. Why not buy yourself a gift to celebrate? Consecrate it in the ritual, and then decide whether to wear it in ritual exclusively or all the time, to remind you of your commitment and the path that you tread.
Source unknown

How do you find your magical name?
There are many approaches. Some Witches adopt the name of a Goddess or God, in honor of Them. Others look into their family's cultural history and choose a name from the associated folklore: a person with British ancestry may opt for a name culled from British folklore. Many contemporary American Witches incorporate an animal in their name, such as "Howling Wolf" or "Eagle White Wolf". Flower and plant names (such as Rose, Oak Keeper, Grove, Fir, or Ash) are other possibilities.

You may also simply make up a name. Many Pagan names consist of two words that have been put together. Such names are usually quite descriptive.

Some famous Pagan names have been published. Gerald Gardner (one of the people who formed Wicca into the religion as we know it today) publicly used the name Scire. At least one of Doreen Valiente's magickal names was Ameth. A well-known High Priest adopted the public Craft name of Phoenix.

Still other popular names include: Morgan, Morgana, Morgaine, Morgraine, Lugh and Arthur (all associated with Celtic mythology); Ariadne, Diana, Hermes, Poseidon, Cassandra and Triton (Greek and Roman mythology): Selket, Ma'at, Osiris and other Egyptian names. Among the most commonly used names are Amber, Phoenix and Merlin. Calling out one of these names at a Pagan gathering will usually cause many heads to turn).

So there are plenty of possibilities from which to choose. If you decide to use a Pagan name in ritual, always use it. Use it in prayer. Use it in rituals. Write it, in runes or in English, on your tools. You may even wish to perform some sort of name-adoption ritual. This could consist of casting a circle and invoking the Goddess and God to be present and asking Them to recognize you by your new name.

Use of a Craft name may not give you any additional power, but it's a traditional practice, and many enjoy it.
The Random Craft Name Generator
80% of all Craft names are made up of the same thirty words. Combined in various ways this principle allows you to make the once difficult task of creating craft names easy. To use the generator take either 2 or 3 of the following words (using any convenient randomizing method, including personal preference). If you take 2, simply run them together; if you take 3, one of the words becomes the first part of the name, and the other 2 are combined to form the second. 

The Random Craft Name Generator

The ceremonial bestowing of such a name upon the initiate is a part of many initiation ceremonies. Afterwards, the new Tradition member is usually exclusively called by this name within the circle.

Magickal names are quite popular among Trad Pagans, so popular in fact, that many Trad Pagans have 2 or even 3 such names.

1. A public Craft name (used at Pagan Trad gatherings, when writing articles and so on).
2. A secret name (the one bestowed during initiation)
3. Perhaps a third name which is only used when addressing the Goddess and God, and is only known to Them and the Witch.

Pagans who are members of more than one tradition may have different names for each group.

For many Trad Pagans, taking a new name is an outward symbol of their devotion to their Tradition. It's seen as a part of the process of rebirth into the religion.

Throughout history, names have been given considerable magickal importance. A spirit's name had to be known before it could be exorcised from a sick person in ancient Sumer, Babylon and Assyria. In Hawaii, babies were given revolting names in infancy to guard them from molestation from evil during their early, vulnerable years. A more fitting name was given to the child when they reached a certain age and was less susceptible to the wiles of evil spirits. In some cultures, mothers will bestow a secret name on their children. This 'real' name, unknown to anybody but the mother, protects the child. The common name by which he or she is called has no power over them.

In our own country, numerology is used to discover the power of our names and many people change their names to advance in their careers.
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Magickal Names
Lady Astara RoseHawk

Silver Ravenwolf writes an excellent chapter in To Ride a Silver Broomstick called “What's in a Name“. If you haven't read it, you really should. It's an important step to decide what your magickal name will be. To me, there is nothing wrong with keeping your own name, if that's what you choose, when you enter the Craft. And for some of us, our names evolve as we do.

When I entered the Craft, I went by "The White Rose." It had so much meaning to me. A white rose, used often in weddings, means joy and happiness. And in my magickal world and on the internet, I still go by the name "Rose."

As I progressed in the Craft, I chose the name Astara to go along with the Rose. For me, the name Astara means alpha, to the stars, and back to alpha. No omegas for me as those are taken care of by the time I return to alpha. And the endings are tied up quite nicely by beginning again with the last "a" or alpha in the name Astara. So I became Astara Rose.

Recently, while going through a personal and family crisis, my cousin was telling me something that I found so profound and truthful, I was in awe. It was probably information I had heard a thousand times. Probably heard it on Dr. Phil, come to think of it. But until my cousin said the words, they never really sunk in. As he said his words of wisdom to me, a hawk flew directly over my head, almost within touching distance, and again, I was in awe. I quickly ran to my magickal books (I happened to have a few in my nearby car) and looked up what "hawk" means. Hawk means awareness and truth. Hawks were traditionally used as messengers of the Gods, and they teach us to be observant and clear-sighted in order to see the larger picture as it emerges, and to react with swiftness, strength and courage. Hawks also represent solar energy and the warrior spirit. And at that very moment, I took out a pen and wrote down the name "Lady Astara RoseHawk" and it fit like a glove. That was the name I had been working towards during my entire time in the Craft.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a thing for dolphins. I wear a dolphin necklace, a dolphin ring, and received my first Beanie Baby - a dolphin - from a friend. I'm able to call dolphins when I am in Miami. And I visit dolphins often. Every night I send a message to my granddaughter to meet me by the dolphin pool at the Miami Seaquarium. But I knew that the dolphin was not part of my name. It is part of who I am, but it's not my name, and I knew that all along.

I have also had the wolf come to me during times of trouble and I needed courage or protection. And for the last year, bees have played an important part in my life. But again, they were not meant to be part of my name. Nope. Astara RoseHawk is who I was meant to be.

What is your name? It's never too late to change it or modify it. Or perhaps you are happy with the name you have chosen or content with your own given name and that's ok. I like to think names choose us, so if your name isn't quite what you think it should be, I think you need to ask yourself if you chose the name, or did the name choose you. After all, there are some really cool names out there. They just might not be yours though.

Silver's advice is to watch for the signs around you and I couldn't say it better. What signs or symbols are showing up around you? And although what you may observe certainly applies to your life magickally, it may not necessarily resonate as your magickal name. You should be watching for the signs around you anyway, as they have something to tell you. It could be something as simple as looking out the window, seeing that it's raining, and you know you need an umbrella. Or it could be more complex, as it was with my year of the bees.The bees taught me so much with their hard work and their organizational skills. We recently had a group of renegade bees who left their own home for some reason, and built a small hive on my favorite bench on the front porch. I kept their hive, and marveled at the perfection of the comb or hive they had built. Again, it had nothing to do with my Magickal Name and everything to do with what I needed to know at that time.

You could be like me and start out small. The White Rose has so much love and purity in it for me. And since I live in a small city called York, it is also known as the White Rose City, named after York, England, the original White Rose City. Everywhere I look in my town, there's a "White Rose ……" something or other. For me, it's a constant reminder of who I am, how far I've come and my commitment to my Craft.

We can't all be known as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we can come up with our own name and our own identity. I'm asking you to really think about it and tell yourself who you would be if you truly chose your own name.

Your name should fit who YOU are. As you can see, my name has evolved over about a seven year period.The answers may not come immediately, but the answers and the name will come, sometimes when you least expect it.

There are three basic kinds of magick names: Craft name, coven name, and true name. Some Witchcraft traditions have special names and some don't.

Craft Name
A Craft name is one that you use when performing magick and/or ritual. You can share your Craft name with other witches that you are working with. You do not have to share your Craft name with other witches, even ones you are working with. It is your choice.

Some Witches are open with their Craft name, placing it on their web sites and using it all the time. Other Witches are more private, being careful who they share their Craft name with.

A Craft name is known by other Witches who work with you on spells or ritual. In some traditions a Craft name is given to you by a high priest or high priestess. In some traditions it comes to you in a vision or a dream or as the result of a spell or ritual. In some traditions you pick your own Craft name (and can change it over time as you grow and change).

Coven Name
A coven name is the name you use with your coven. It can be the same as your Craft name, or it can be different. This is the name that you use while working ritual and/or magick with your coven and the name that the other members of your coven use for you while you are working together.
In some traditions the coven name is assigned by the high priestess or high priest. In some covens, the members work together to help each other pick a coven name, something that everyone in the coven can agree on and that helps blend everyone's magickal energy together. Helping each other come up with coven names can bring a coven closer together.

True Name
You never reveal your true name to anyone else (unless you trust them with your life), because a Witch who knows your true name can use it for powerful naming magick. You can discover your true name through a vision, dream, spell, or ritual.

Normally you find out what your true name is through a vision or dream. Sometimes you find out your true name through a special ritual.

Some Witches believe that you can't know your own true name until after you've been a Witch for at least a year and a day.

In modern times, many religions believe in the three-fold human, made up of mind, body, and spirit. The ancient Egyptian religion believed in the seven-fold human. The true name, or ren, held the other six parts together.

There seems to be a trend lately, where people new to the craft think that they must have a MCN, so they choose the name of an animal or tree that they like and adopt that as their MCN. While I suppose this could be a valid way to choose, I believe that many Witches have forgotten, or never learned the true meaning and reasons for taking a name. It is not as simple as choosing a name for an online message board or chat room.

First, let me dispel the myth that you must be called by a MCN in order to practice the Craft. Many people never choose a MCN. They feel confident in using their given name and that is fine. Some people have a name that is never revealed to other people and is only used in their spiritual practice. Whether or not you take a MCN is a very personal decision and should be seriously considered.

How does one go about getting a Magickal Craft Name? This again is a personal thing and may be different for everyone. Some people may be given a name by a priestess or coven, but most choose their own. When you are ready to begin the search for the right name for you there are several things that you can do.
Meditate: Meditation is a wonderful way to open yourself up to messages about what your name should be. Spend some time quietly contemplating where you are at on your path. Sometimes walking meditation is an even better way to connect. As you walk be mindful of your steps, maybe counting along, see what images pop into your head. If you are walking outside be mindful of the things around you as well. Often nature will leave us clues along the way.
Automatic Writing: Sit with your journal either quietly or with some quiet music in the background. Write the question "what is my Magickal Craft Name?" several times on the page. Eventually your brain will begin a sort of free association and you will start writing out words, phrases, questions and ideas. It is important to do this without thinking about what you are writing. Just write. When you are done look for recurring themes or words for ideas.
Dream: Keep a dream journal. Often magical names are alluded to or given in dreams. Pay attention to the meanings of symbols in dreams. Check out a dream interpretation book online. Are there recurring symbols in your dreams? Take note of them.
Pay Attention!: This one is by far the most important. Pay attention to the world around you. This is another place where journaling comes in handy. Maybe you woke up with a song in your head and then it was the first song you heard when you started the car. Maybe even the same line. Often the Universe will leave us messages in the most mundane ways. Look for things that seem to come up in threes, or are obviously out of the ordinary.

No matter how you do it, choosing a MCN is an important part of your spiritual path. It should be done with patience and thought. It should be meaningful to you, and often, they are meaningful on many levels. A MCN should reflect your spiritual self. It should be chosen with some measure of reverence and be a name that you connect with on a deep spiritual level. Best of luck to those who are looking for their name, and to those who have already discovered theirs. I invite you to take some time to reflect again on the reasons you chose it and what it means to you.
Source unknown - additions & modifications made by Lady Muirgahn

Magickal Names
by Lilith Silverhair

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 abouy 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 Craft 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 MCN and have used it for many years, there may come a time in your life when you want to 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 MCN 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 MCN 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.

Meditation to Find A Name
Before you do this, I find it is a good idea to get a notebook and write down all things you want your name to stand for such as strength, determination, wisdom etc. Make a list of all the qualities.

Start by calming yourself and invoking the Goddess and the God. They will be playing a big part in this so if you don't, they wont come.....

Sit and relax until you drift off into a trance. Appear in your special astral place and call to your familiar (if you have one. If you don't you will just get an animal companion come and greet you but make sure to talk to them because they could be your familiar!) Talk to them and tell them about your day and give them any offerings that you have bought with you. Tell them what it is that you have gone there for, tell them that you feel ready to find your private name/public name (can be different). Your familiar should then leave you. Don't be afraid, just wait and be patient. Look around and take in the sights, notice all the details that you can.

Within a few minutes you will hear a noise. Look towards it and you will see two large stags, one of white, one of brown. The white one bears the Goddess and the brown bears the God. Everyone sees Them differently so I can't tell you what you will see. When I see Them, I see them as elves, just like the high ones from Lord of the Rings. The Goddess to me is a tall fair haired elf in a white robe with a silver belt and blue eyes, the God is much the same but He has a gold belt and green eyes. They both wear circlets, the Goddess with a triple moon symbol on Hers and the God with a horned symbol on His, but that is just me.

When they have both dismounted, approach them and listen if they speak. When they give you leave, tell them what you are looking for. They will hold out Their hands to you, take them and feel energy rush in from both sides. In the middle of the triangle that you have created you will see a small speck of light spinning. Will energy into it and it will get bigger and bigger and you will find that you can't look away as it is so beautiful. It doesn't matter as this is what you want to look at! The ball will come closer to you and get bigger and bigger until it envelopes you in a sphere of bright light, the color is different every time. After a few seconds, the light will go out and you will think that you have gone blind as it is pitch black, you notice that you have also fallen down.

All of a sudden, a word or an image will float past you. It might even just be a feeling or you might hear a voice. These are all the possibilities for your name. Some might stick out to you. They will stop, look at them and consider. Take as long as you need at this, don't hurry it as this will be the name you will be known by for a long time. Eventually your name will become clear to you and it will be obvious, maybe so much so that you feel silly!

Once you know your name for certain, call it out in your mind as loud as you can. The darkness will go, just as if someone had just turned a light on. The Goddess and God have gone and you are sitting on your own on the floor of wherever you are.

Come out of the meditation and thank the Deities. Ask them to recognize you as (your new name) from now on. Well done and congratulations, you have your true name.

If you can't find a suitable name, no problem, just come out of the meditation, thank the Deities and tell them that you will try again soon. It is best to wait until the next moon cycle until you try. Don't be disappointed as you just might not have been ready yet. Go outside if possible and leave an offering of bread and fruit juice/water/wine.

Lady Muirgahn Ravnshade’s Story
I'm on my fourth "incarnation", so to speak. It was years before I ever decided to find a Craft name. I wasn't comfortable with the concept for a very long time (it felt pretentious). This I think stemmed from a not knowing of myself and who I was or wanted to work to become. I preferred to feel solid in my Path before working on finding a name. I'd seen so many choose names willy-nilly or because all those cool words sound cool together with no real concept of how to evaluate themselves and their beliefs or who or what they themselves are or want to be or learn or teach. Finding a Craft name is not as easy as it sounds!

The first I found from one of my favorite moon phases and a physical aspect of myself ~ Talon Moon. I had it for years & loved it. But then I cut off and quit growing my nails (they were 2" long), and many other things changed, so the name just didn't fit any more.

The second was a derivation of one given to me by a Priestess friend when she saw me the first time, just before we met she saw a "queen" approaching (~ ha! yeah, right! "Queen Viktorija"! I don't think so. Talk about pretentious!), so I just reduced it to LadyV. I kept that one over 10 yrs.

The third name only lasted a couple of years, but it's special to me because it was given to my by the Dragon & Fae that reside here on the property. I knew even then that it was temporary, they kind of told me. The vision I was given was my favorite color and my 9 ct ruby wedding ring and my totem, the Raven ~ thus, Lady RubyRavn (the Norse spelling as my ancestry is Norwegian/Ukrainian/Irish).

This last/current one will stay for a long time, I can feel it. It may even be my final one. It's interesting in that it is the name I gave myself as a mundane name ~ Morgan (with the English rather than Irish spelling) over 25 years ago because I didn't want to use my personal name for the job I‘d taken (ok, yes, I was working as a waitress in a titty-bar). This one incorporates my totem as well (when I use the entire name) ~ Lady Muirgahn Ravnshade. The name was also given to me by my patron Goddess, The Morrigan (also spelled Muirgahn) in her Crone aspect. (Who, by the way, is NOT Morgan La Fay, they're different Beings completely, but many writers get them mixed up or incorrectly combine them.)

What's funny is the way I "found" it (never discount where or how it comes to you). I was trying out a children's online game to share w/ my grandson and I needed a character's name. It had a great name generator, giving the player a 3-name choice. It had "Morgan", "Raven", and "Shade" in the generator so I picked each one and wrote them down. When I wrote it out it hit me like a ton of bricks, all I had to do was personalize it to be more "me" - the Irish & Norse spellings. Voila! Stupid/funny way to find it, but I love it and it fits. Never poo-poo how the Gods speak to you! :D

Another benefit of this name is that I can also use it (the first name) in "mundane" situations if I want. :)

December 2011
What About Two Magickal Names?!
Yes. Why not?!

It is also possible to have multiple pseudonyms. Each for a different persona. We can be many different people with different personalities. So why do we have to only have one Craft name? We don't.

My two names are Lady Muirgahn and Granny Tackett. Lady Muirgahn is very much a practitioner of a more ritualist style of magick. She casts Circles, spends time researching eveything for the rite. But Granny Tackett is a Granny Witch, and she works in a more natural manner. There is no timing, if it needs to be done, it's done right then and there. No circle casting. She is 'the old woman in the woods'. Each has their “place” and particular set of clients.

After many years of this duality though, I can see that they are beginning to merge. It will be interesting to see where it leads!

November 2015
There are lots of name generators online. They're fun, and they can get the mind flowing in the right direction giving lots of choices and ideas from which to work. One or a combination of a couple of them may hit home and give you your new name.

Seventh Sanctum ( http://www.seventhsanctum.com/index-name.php )- links to LOTS of name generators by category. (general, elf, species, theme, etc.)

So, have fun!

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