“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Romeo and Juliet(II,ii, 1-2)
Despite my love of all things Shakespeare, I have to partially disagree with his heroine Juliet regarding her quote above. The spirit and personality of a person still exists regardless of what you call them…this is true. However, a name has POWER and can change the person it is given to as well as tap into pre-existant energy associated with the name. The Sabbat Imbolc is a traditional and appropriate time to select magickal names. Careful thought and consideration should go into choosing a magickal name for a name is a much more powerful tool than a wand or athame.
Imbolc/Candlemas (“In the womb”) is a Sabbat dedicated to the Fire Goddess Brigid and the sacredness of the time caught between Winter and Spring. It is a time to examine and nurture the fire (Spirit) within and engage in creative projects. Hope is en-kindled and burns within the Womb of the All-Mother. Thus, a perfect time to choose the magickal name the Goddess calls you by…the name you will be known by on the astral plane and by the powers/spirits you work with.
First, you already have one…most likely three and you can find these on your birth certificate. Your surname/last name connects you with your relations and ancestors. Most likely your first name or middle may as well. If you do not know them already, look up the meanings of your birth names (even if you don’t like them,) Numerology uses this name foremost. Some of us might be called by family members and friends by a middle or last name and ignore the first name…this is because the name everyone uses rings more true to your spirit and takes precedence. Even though you did not choose these names yourself, they are still part of your destiny.
This explains why taking (or getting rid of ) another person’s surname in marriage (or divorce) impacts people so emotionally. In sharing a name, partners are bound and become one in vibration to that name (maybe this is why so many people still hold on to their own last names…) Just the other day I heard of a couple getting married and they were BOTH changing their last name to one of their own choosing. People thought it odd and non-traditional. However, that couple understood on some level the energy of a name and how to use it as a binding/bonding factor. Many covens give their initiates the coven’s name as a surname to connect them with their spiritual family.
There are many schools of thought on the “who, when and how” of choosing magickal names so please realize that what I write is from personal experience from this lifetime (and a few others.) Traditional witches have the HPS or HP give the magickal names at initiation because they can “see” and understand the spiritual realm better than a “mere” initiate. There is a reason for the expression “pride goeth before the fall.” I have seen people saddled with a name in direct elemental opposition to supposedly “balance them out” and instead it created a bi-polarity of energy. I saw one poor girl saddled with the name “Meconia” and thus being named “a fetus’s first feces” because the HP (and he is famous and has published many books by the way) didn’t do the research or use common sense. As a HPS and a shaman, can I see things in your Spirit you may not yet? Sure…but you might have intuitive insight into my life as well. I have given magickal names in the past but I do not take it lightly. And it would be a suggestion/gift and not a life sentence.
Some people take the name of a Goddess/God to align themselves to that aspect of the Goddess/God they connect with and worship. I am not personally a fan of this because the name of an ancient Goddess/God holds incredible power and you may get more than you can handle. For example, I see several “Lady Hecate s” running around on the internet and I cringe. I love Hecate as a personal patron but would never take her name! She is a triple goddess and her name encompasses everything from the loving midwife who uses her blade to cut the birthing cord to the dark mother who castrates male initiates into the cauldron of female mysteries if they choose to serve her. The name I was given at my first initiation was a goddess name but it was spelled a little differently than the traditional version. This is an option if you have your heart set on a god/goddess name. Play with the spelling and numerology to narrow it down and make it YOUR own.
Native Americans often used spirit animals and/or natural objects associated with a child’s birth to create a name. This is a very real option for you as well. Your personal animal totem (or two) may make it obvious that they form the name of your Spirit. Herbs, stones, trees, animals, elements…your name may resonate with one or more of these and only YOU can know for sure. Your name may even relate to a “Form” such as beauty, love, hope, etc.
Titles are also names and they too hold power. There is a reason why I avoided the “HPS” title at first. I personally can’t tolerate when people use talent or religion to control other people (must be the Aquarius in me.) Titles had negative associations from what I had encountered in the past because I had seen individuals misuse them. For many, titles are a power play or ego boost. When individuals are referred to as “Lord” or “Lady” in circle/ritual it should be because they are an elder or teacher and it is a sign of respect and pulls that energy from them to be shared. Those initiated/aligned in our coven are referred to with those titles only in ritual or teaching times and not to boost our egos.
Why choose a magickal name and is it necessary? Well it is not necessary but can be very helpful. On the spiritual planes- spirits, elementals, devas, deities, orishnas, etc. recognize you by your personal energy signature…your TRUE spirit. Some of these names and titles even carry over from one lifetime to the next. And just like deities have different aspects…so do we. So magickal names can evolve..and yes you can accumulate more than one. You may “outgrow” a name or choose not to use it anymore, but it still represents a part of your Spirit even though it is one you have mastered and do not need anymore. Using your magickal name evokes and invokes that energy into your life from within and without. One should only want to change into her/his “true form” and not something she/he isn’t.
Hope this was helpful for anyone who is considering taking a magickal name at Imbolc or at any other time on their journey.
Lady E )O( (Imbolc 2014)