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Craft Name and Choosing One

by Raven and Crone

It is the custom in witchcraft to adopt a new name upon initiation. This reflects one's new identity as a witch. You may choose to only disclose your craft name to certain people. Usually your craft name should not be disclosed to outsiders.
The main reason for secrecy around craft names is is because of the power of names. It is believed that knowing the craft name of a witch gives a magical power over that person. Many spells involve writing a persons name upon a piece of paper or object. Craft names tend to be individualistic in nature and may reflect heritage or aspirations.
You select a craft name through meditation, study or divination. Some are given craft names by the high priestess. Witches may also change their craft name as they advance in the levels.

Exercise to Help You Find Your Magickal Name
Okay, so you are ready to choose your first magickal name... now what? You already saw the list of methods used to choose a magickal name. Yet you still feel not too sure how to go about it. Choosing your own magickal name does not have to be a tedious and confusing activity. Actually the whole process can be quite fun as well as very insightful.
I suggest you the following little exercise to help you with the process of finding your first magickal name. Take some sheets of paper or index cards. If you prefer, you can do this on a notebook too. It is up to you. Now, write on the top of each page the following headings: favorite animals (you can subdivide this into birds, fish, mammals, etc.), favorite colors, favorite elements, favorite seasons, favorite stones-gems, favorite plants (again, subdivide it into flowers, trees, herbs, etc.), and favorite deities. This is just an example of some of the possible headings you can have. I am sure you might come up with other headings (like favorite tarot cards, etc.). You can modify this part of the exercise to fit your needs. Now proceed to make a list for each one. Take your time! Do not rush your answers. Think carefully what you are answering. Remember, your answers will reveal a part of yourself.
Once you are finished, look at all your lists. Some of the lists might be short. Others might be overwhelmingly long. (I know mine was!) Don't worry about that. Take one of the lists and put the others aside where you cannot see them. Look at it carefully. Take your time to examine your answers. Do you feel drawn to certain words in each of those lists? Then highlight them. Repeat this process with each list.
By now you will have narrow your options in each list. Spread all your lists before you and look at them. It is true that your magickal can consist of just one word, such as Willow, Selene, or Agate. However, you will be surprise how many pagans are named Raven or Eagle. Calling Merlin or Rhiannon in a festival can cause a lot of heads to turn. Of course that some duplication can occur. So it is best if you add a second name (or last name if you prefer to call it so). Try to combine the words you have written and see what happens. Maybe one of them will "click." Be as original as possible!

How to Choose a Magickal Name
There is no right or wrong method on how to choose your magickal name. The only thing you should keep in mind is that your magickal name should represent your higher self and your personal values and ideas. Below there is a list of methods used to choose a magickal name with a few examples.

Pick your magickal name from a favorite legend. - Beowulf, , Merlin
Look to the Earth for names (flowers, trees, seasons, natural incidents, etc.). - Willow, Storm, Autumn
Study the celestial universe and seek a name. - Star Vision
Name yourself after animals. - Eagle, SheWolf
Name yourself after elements. - FireMoon
Name yourself after gems or herbs . - Ruby, Rowan, Amaranth
Seek your magickal name through dreams and vision quests. - Azura Morganne
Look on a pantheon of Gods/Goddesses for your name. Some pagans are named after their patron(ess). - Rhiannon, Druantia
Find your name among mythological beasts. - Dragon, Phoenix, Unicorn
Combine the essence of two animals. - RavenWolf, JaguarWoman
Combine Earth things with animals. - StormCat
Combine elements and animals. - ShadowHawk

Combine colors and animals or elements or things from Earth. - RedStang, GoldenFire, Silver Springs
Use divination tools (tarot, runes, etc.) to find your name. I know there are those who shuffle the cards and pick the first card. - Magician, Birca
Use numerology to determine the letter or letters of your magickal name. There are a few, very simple books in the market that might help you with this.
Scry for the name. Use a black mirror, a crystal ball, the flame of a candle, or a cauldron with black-tainted water to scry for your name.

When looking for a magickal name, watch around for signs and learn to "see" with your heart and energies for what feels right. Maybe while you are camping, you have seen deers around you peering at you for unusual long periods of time. You will be surprised how some pagans got their magickal names! I got mine, Raven Dance, when I saw it as a title of a movie while changing channels. I read it aloud, and as I did so I knew that was the one. It felt right! After thinking carefully about it, I realized that the raven symbolizes the goddess Morrigu, to whom I had taken as my patroness not so long ago. No wonder it felt good to be called Raven Dance! A friend of mine, Silver Springs, got hers from a Fleetwood Mac song. When I asked her about it, she told me at first that it aroused within her certain emotions she could not explain at the moment. Eventually she discovered her strong "pull" toward the element of Water. By the way, she is great doing cauldron magick! There are two good books you can read on this topic:The Sacred Power in Your Name by Ted Andrews and The Complete Book of Magickal Names by Phoenix McFarland.

Magickal Names
As you surf the web and get acquantainted 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 for themselves. One that has no connection with their old selves. In this way they are separating their magickal selves from the mundane ones.
Many wiccan 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 in 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 . The solitary witch uses one or several methods to choose his/her magickal name. (See How to Choose a 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.
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? Personally I do not think there is a rule in any book that states magickal names must be written as one word. I have always written Raven Dance (my magickal name on the web) as two separate words. Come to think of it,
I spell all my magickal names as two words. So I leave this up to you to write your magickal name as one or two words.


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This article was published on Tuesday 17 March, 2009.
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