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Author Topic: How secret is your craft name?  (Read 15951 times)
Iago_Morgan
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« Reply #15: June 02, 2008, 03:25:47 am »

For the first time, I'm working with a circle of people to learn and to celebrate. As I've been solo for years, I find myself in a weird position when it comes to my craft name. I've NEVER shared it with anyone, believing that there is power in a name. Now, however, it is expected that I share my craft name during rituals and workings, which I suppose makes sense.

Now, I know that there are a dozen different names that a person can have - legal name, public craft name, private craft name, working name, etc. - but I have no idea which name is best used in which realms of my life. Obviously, my legal name is used in my regular, mundane life, but what about craft names? What is commonly used where? How does one protect one's craft name while still using it with others to do work?

Every one here knows me by my craft name. In fact, most of my online connections know me by my craft name.

My name came from an ancestor/ spirit guide, and as soon as I heard it out loud the first time, well it's stuck with me ever since.

To me, names do hold power, but there's no sense in hiding yours for fear of someone using it to hold power over you, if someone powerful enough wanted control over someone weak enough, not having their craft name weouldn't be much of a deterrent.
Having said that, I believe that the more people associate you with your craft name, the stronger a connection and greater personal power it holds for you.

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« Reply #16: June 02, 2008, 07:40:10 am »

To me, names do hold power, but there's no sense in hiding yours for fear of someone using it to hold power over you,

Disclaimer:  I am very tired right now and haven't given too much thought to what follows.  It may be nonsense.

The thought occurs to me, though, that in fact I think hiding a name is what gives it such power.  I don't think names hold half as much power if you're fairly free with their use.  When you make it special, when you tie it to those to whom you would voluntarily make yourself vulnerable and no one else, that's when it takes on such a significance that it could be used against you.  Kind of like...  a knife is just a knife until you make it sacred and give it a special importance that makes it an athame.  A name is just a word until you make it significant.

Did that just make any sense at all?
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Iago_Morgan
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« Reply #17: June 02, 2008, 10:24:11 am »

Disclaimer:  I am very tired right now and haven't given too much thought to what follows.  It may be nonsense.

The thought occurs to me, though, that in fact I think hiding a name is what gives it such power.  I don't think names hold half as much power if you're fairly free with their use.  When you make it special, when you tie it to those to whom you would voluntarily make yourself vulnerable and no one else, that's when it takes on such a significance that it could be used against you.  Kind of like...  a knife is just a knife until you make it sacred and give it a special importance that makes it an athame.  A name is just a word until you make it significant.

Did that just make any sense at all?

I see where you are coming from, but that's one side of the name= power belief. On the other hand, it's been my understanding from various sources that many pagan paths don't acknowledge "satan" or "the devil" simply because of the fact that ascribing a name or title to such an entity (whether it/ he/ she exists or not) would empower it.

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Circle in the night
In the dark I cloak myself in Light.
Surrounded by this Power, Magick's might
I see the ancient Fire burning bright.
Circle in the night.

-From 'Circle in the Night' by Iago Morgan
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« Reply #18: June 02, 2008, 11:03:09 am »

I see where you are coming from, but that's one side of the name= power belief. On the other hand, it's been my understanding from various sources that many pagan paths don't acknowledge "satan" or "the devil" simply because of the fact that ascribing a name or title to such an entity (whether it/ he/ she exists or not) would empower it.
I think you're both right in some way. When you just look at it psycho-sociologically a name gives you a social status. This means controll for you, but also for others over you. Others have controll over you because the name is part of your 'face', you can't just act irresponsible when I know your name. (You see this best when you work with kids.) But because of this 'face' I can't just treat you like scum, you have some controll of what I can do with you or not in a social accepted way. For example it's much easier to eat a random schnitzel from the supermarket than a piece of cow 'Maggie' because beings with a personal name have some social status (even if 'Maggie' will nevertheless be eaten, her owner might give her a final sympathetic pat in opposite to a mass produced cow with just a number).

What I'm getting at is that the having a known name gives you a different kind of power than being nameless to others. If you have a name your are someone, the name acquires some power even if you're just a kid or a cow. But if you don't share your name you have power too, people have a much harder way of adressing you, of getting to you. You can't hit someone in the face who doesn't have one.

I guess this relates somehow to magic too. A craft name makes you accesible in a different way than a legal name, but the craft name also gives you some sort of status in a community, doesn't it?
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« Reply #19: June 02, 2008, 01:27:32 pm »

It's not secret at all. 

Mine's the same idea as yours, Aisling. I haven't used the name my parents gave me since I was 18. And even then for legal stuff only.  Now whether that counts as a craft name since I've had it for far longer than I've been Pagan, I don't know. I don't think I care, either. It's mine and I'm keeping it.

I also gave my sons standard Irish-Catholic names to match their Irish-Catholic roots. They both know those are temporary until they came up with something better, something that speaks to them more.
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« Reply #20: June 02, 2008, 03:39:46 pm »

I see where you are coming from

I see where you're both coming from, which is probably why I'm another one in this forum with 3 names:

The first, my birth name (Christian), I like a lot, but it's wildly inappropriate for pagan endeavors, for obvious reasons.

The second is my pagan name, self-chosen, which I use here and in all my spiritual work. I find it resonates with me ever more deeply the more I use it. I never use it outside of a pagan context, however.

The third is my secret name, known only to myself. I never even speak it aloud or fully write it down. It's to that name that I tend to attach my highest aspirations, all the things I consider best and true about myself.

What's interesting is that I don't believe in magic. And yet, in reading these posts and my own response, it's clear I find a great deal of power in names (and words in general). But I guess that's not surprising for a writer/editor, and accepting that there's power in names/words doesn't necessarily imply anything supernatural about that power.

On a side note, lately I've been making a concerted effort to learn the scientific names of living things, particularly the birds I so love. It's strangely rewarding, like having some secret knowledge about a creature (and, in most cases, those scientific names do indeed tell you quite a bit about the creature in question).
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« Reply #21: June 02, 2008, 03:58:34 pm »

I've NEVER shared it with anyone, believing that there is power in a name.

I've shared bits of my 'true name' with people.  A 25-yr syllable here, a 10-yr one there, a 46-yr syllable with maybe four people on earth.  My entire true name can't be known yet, however, for the simple reason that I haven't finished saying it.

I know this isn't exactly what is being talked about here, but it is the way I see true names.  It doesn't mean that it would take somebody else 67 years to say my mother's, or 80 years to say my fathers.  Things do collapse and telescope, and repeated syllables can be said as one.  Somebody who wanted to use either of those names for power (or my own, such as it is so far) would have to be very very good, very exact, and very concise to actually be able to do anything useful with it.

That's one of the reasons why, in my little universe, it's so hard to call back the dead - you have to know their whole name.

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« Reply #22: June 02, 2008, 04:13:44 pm »

On a side note, lately I've been making a concerted effort to learn the scientific names of living things, particularly the birds I so love. It's strangely rewarding, like having some secret knowledge about a creature (and, in most cases, those scientific names do indeed tell you quite a bit about the creature in question).

Neat!  That reminds of part of my work with place - learning names of streets and buildings and areas I love.
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« Reply #23: June 02, 2008, 04:16:49 pm »

I know this isn't exactly what is being talked about here, but it is the way I see true names. 

*picks jaw up off desk*

That is neat as heck. Excuse me while I let my brain stew on that for a while.
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« Reply #24: June 02, 2008, 04:27:32 pm »

I've shared bits of my 'true name' with people. 

Part of your true name wouldn't happen to be Treebeard, would it?

::runs very fast::
 Cheesy

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« Reply #25: June 02, 2008, 04:41:54 pm »

Obviously, my legal name is used in my regular, mundane life, but what about craft names? What is commonly used where? How does one protect one's craft name while still using it with others to do work?

Kind of joining things late here...

Since most of my friends and family are unaware of my beliefs (or uninterested), my "craft name" is more of a ritual name, a "true name," and it's the same name I use here online, Finn. Everyone in RL knows me by my first and legal name.

I used to use Finn only in a personal ritual context, and then in a pagan or religious context online, but now the name on my LJ profile is Finn and I'm sure I have "Finn" floating around somewhere else because "Finn", as a "true name" is such a huge part of my soul.

Because (and this is getting a little personal) I feel like "Finn" is just one of my many... erm... well... "souls"--Finn is who I am when I approach my deities, when I journey in the Otherworlds. I am other names at other, unrelated times. Finn is my "craft name" and my "true name" in the sense is the name of who I am, but it is not my whole name because there are so many of them. If that makes sense.

I also strongly suspect that "Finn", in terms of a ritual name, is only temporary, and I'll probably at some unspecified point take on another name which will signify my growth or what. But I have no real ideas about that--just a vague feeling.
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« Reply #26: June 02, 2008, 04:45:05 pm »


I have an online craft name that I use for ADF and may in the future share it with others in the real pagan world.  I will probably take up a private craft name if the situation arises.

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« Reply #27: June 02, 2008, 04:48:10 pm »

*picks jaw up off desk*

That is neat as heck. Excuse me while I let my brain stew on that for a while.

Ditto. It takes the concept of names to a whole new level. I'm not sure it would work for me (heck, I'm not sure I quite understand it yet!), but it's a very cool concept to mentally play with.
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« Reply #28: June 02, 2008, 05:07:35 pm »


Wow. Now THAT is something I never thought of!!!!
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« Reply #29: June 02, 2008, 05:09:59 pm »

Part of your true name wouldn't happen to be Treebeard, would it?

::runs very fast::
 Cheesy



:is completely mystified:

I don't run very fast, but I'm a hell of marksman.  I just don't know whether I should be throwing cookies or bricks here. Cheesy

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