I’ve included some text from one of our lessons. The lesson today just happened to be on choosing your magickal name.
…As you surf the web and get aquatinted with Wicca and Paganism, you may have noticed some of the names by which many of us go by. These are called magickal names. Those who enter the Craft prefer to choose a new name—one that separates their mundane from their magickal selves.
Many Wiccans and pagans choose a secret name for themselves that it is used only during rituals. The use of a magickal name helps you to separate your mind from the everyday world and prepares you for the supernatural work.
Sometimes a magickal name can be everything to a pagan. It means the difference between coming out of the broom closet or remaining there. Some pagans choose to go by their given names. Yet these are few. They are lucky to be able to be open about their religion without worrying how it will affect their families, relations with other people, and jobs.
Many witches have two names; one for correspondence and writing, and another for their private rituals. If you are thinking of acquiring a magickal name, I suggest you start using one name first. You need time to get to know your “new” you. Once you feel comfortable with yourself as a pagan, then you might want another one. There may be a time when you may feel that you have “outgrown” your magickal name and it is time to change it.
Who Chooses Your Magickal Name
The answer to this question depends greatly upon the situation the witch or pagan is in. Solitary witches, like me, choose their own magickal names by themselves. By this, I mean that there is no other person involved in the process (except the Goddess if the witch does a ritual for a name. The solitary witch uses one or several methods to choose his/her magickal name. They might change their magickal names accordingly to their needs as they grow in the Craft.
In coven environment, it varies by coven and tradition. In many covens the initiate acquires a magickal name through a vision quest. Yet it will change as he/she raises within the ranks of the coven. There are covens in which your magickal name is given by your mentor/teacher; or sometimes your mentor/teacher adds another part to the magickal name you have already chosen. Some covens allow you to have two names; a ceremonial one used within the coven, and another known only to the Goddess/God, your mentor/teacher, and you.
How to Choose Your Magickal Name
Choosing your magickal name won’t be easy. You will want something individual and something special that is unique to only you; something by which only you will be known. This is a difficult task because so many people share the world with us. Some people claim more than one name as a way to safeguard their individuality. Variations of your name can make it special; a different pronunciation or different spelling can change the ordinary to the extraordinary.
You name will paint a picture of how you see yourself. Look through the eyes of Deity and take a long look at the real you. Let the beauty within yourself give you inspiration .Your name might already be chosen in the back of your mind. Just set it free.
Some Native Americans believe a vision quest is helpful when choosing a new name. In the vision quest you take yourself away from your natural habitat and wait for a sign. A person on a vision quest might suddenly see an animal or a bird, such as a crow, and decide to adopt the name “Crow” with a unique addition such as “Standing Crow” which describes the action of the bird when they noticed it. If one were to translate this name into another language than a unique name would be the result.
Many of us feel a connection to a single animal; some even feel connected to more than one. Do try meditating with a focus on one of the Spirits for guidance.
Here is a list of some basic ideas that I hope will help and guide you when choosing your name. How you choose your name is own decision (of course!), these are only ideas I’ve noticed have been helpful to some.
- Don’t choose a name that belongs to someone in your family, or the name of a friend. Remember individuality! You want something that belongs only to you, something you give yourself as a special gift. If you decide that you would like to incorporate a name of a dear relative or friend into your special name, perhaps you should consider putting a slightly different twist on whatever their title was. For example, if your Grandmother’s name was Violet , choosing a name like Viola might give you the individual edge you need while still keeping up with the old.
- Choose a name that you are comfortable with. If you are someone who enjoys correcting people’s pronunciation every time they call your name, then a name like “Gwyddion” might not work for you. If you prefer something simple, but not too traditional, Don or Deon could work quite well.
- Research the names you find interesting carefully. Examine cultural references to study their original meanings. Your name should holds significance with you. Make sure you’re happy with it, do not compromise! Another suggestion is finding names in different languages to express the same concept. For instance, you could name yourself after the foxglove. Foxglove is a flower but in Gaelic the name might look like this … Marian na mna sithe.. and translates as: “thimble of the faerie woman” So Miaran is thimble… Original yes?
- Make a list of all your possible names and their meanings, and as you narrow your choices, cross out each name that is not selected. Once you have about four or five names, ask a close friend for their opinion. Consider consulting your family for their opinion as well. Never forget that the name should represent you. You have the final say in whatever you choose.
- When you finally select your name, use it proudly. Whether you use it in ritual, as a private reference to yourself or even if you only use it on the internet, remember it always and cherish it as a special gift.
- Last but not least, do not add the title Lady or Lord to your name. This title is just that and is reserved for those who have achieved the level of second degree or higher. It is considered an affront to those who have worked hard to achieve the title to have it used by those who have not earned it.
Spell Your Magickal Name
Okay, you may have chosen a magickal name already. Now, you have noticed that many magickal names are spelled as one word. Examples: SilverHawk, CrystalWater, NightOwl, FreeEagle. But, is this really necessary? No, one word or two, as long as you are comfortable with the name that is all that counts.
Be careful about odd spellings. Others may not be able to understand how your name is spelled or sounds and your magical name will often be misspelled and or mispronounced….
In addition to the above methods for determining a magickal name you can use the Kabalistic reduction method (numerology). Pick a correspondence such as your birthdate, nickname, or given name or some magickal or mundane aspect which is important to or in some way defines yourself.
First, you assign numbers to letters as described in the below list.
Next, pick your correspondence. Let’s use my name and birthdate for instance:
11/23/1958 becomes 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 9 + 5 + 8 = 30.
Since for purposes of numerological reduction we generally (11, 21, and 33 are exceptions but can be treated like other multi-digit numerals for this exercise) can’t have multi-digit numbers, 30 becomes
3 + 0 = 3.
Now let’s look at the numbers associated with the letters in my name:
D U I R G W A L C H M A I
4+3+ 9+9 + 7+ 5+ 1+ 3+3+8+4+ 1+9 = 66 = 6 + 6 = 12 = 1 + 2 = 3
My chosen magickal name and birthdate are numerologically balanced.
I’ve attached a program which I wrote that handles the math and even suggests what to do should your chosen name not balance numerologically with your chosen correspondence. Let’s say you chose Autumn Wind as your magical name (the name of one of my students) and it doesn’t work with your birthdate or whatever correspondence you’ve chosen, you could always try an alternate spelling such as Autumn Wynd , Autumn Wynde, etc.