It is common practice among Witches, Wiccans, Pagans and other magickal folk to choose another name that more closely reflects who they are on the inside. Sometimes one’s given birth name does not accurately represent the magickal self, and therefore choosing one that does is perfectly acceptable. Many of us identify more strongly with our magickal names than we do with our given birth name. There really are no rules about what name to choose, but it is something that should not be done hastily. I use the word “choose” lightly, because I think our magickal name is chosen for us, it just takes us awhile sometimes to realize what it is. Some people only use their magickal name when in the company of other magickal folk, and their birth name with everyone else. For others, their magickal name is private, known only to them and their deities. The choice is up to you. Not everyone chooses a magickal name, and that’s fine.
There are some who say you should not choose the name of an actual deity, such as Isis or Zeus, unless you add a surname (ex: Zeus Thornwood), so as not to insult the deity who carries that name. I’m not sure I agree with this in every case, since I’ve known people whose actual birth name happened to be the name of a deity. I think the difference is in the intention. (If you call yourself ‘Zeus’ and walk around presenting yourself as The God Zeus, then that’s definitely a problem!).
Your magickal name should be chosen to reflect your magickal identity and have personal meaning for you, rather than a name chosen to boost an inflated ego. There are many methods of choosing a magickal name. Some people use Numerology (see my article Simple Numerology), so that the letters in the name reduce to a specific number. Some receive their name after a period of meditation or introspective work. Still others are given their magickal name by a High Priest/ess during an initiation ritual, though this is not the case in every tradition. Your magickal name may change as you go through changes in your own life. My magickal name happens to be Rik Potter , and it always will be. As far as I’m concerned it is my real name even though it is not the name I was born with. There are many reasons why I chose this name, but that’s another article. I have no connections to my birth name at all, and frankly, I only use my birth name at my day job.
Some have criticized this practice of choosing another name, particularly those outside the magickal community, saying that people choose another name out of some psychological need to have a different identity because they don’t like who they are, and that by doing this they “hide behind a mask“. While this may be true for a few troubled individuals, (and there is such a thing as Dissociative Identity Disorder, although I have some doubts about it’s validity-everything seems to be a “disorder” these days), it is typically not the case with witches and other magickal practitioners and it is unfair for people to make this kind of judgment.
Here are a few of my personal recommendations for choosing a magickal name:
*If you’re unsure about a certain name, it’s probably not the one. It will come to you as a sudden realization, and you’ll just know that’s it.
*Your name should be something that fully expresses who you are on a magickal level. It will make total sense to you that it is your name, and nothing else will be acceptable.
*Sometimes you’ll find as I did, that your magickal name has been in front of you all along.
*Don’t worry what other people might think of you for choosing this name. They will just have to get used to it, and if they don’t, who cares? It’s your name, use it.
*Don’t worry about your magickal name being too common. If you feel it’s your name, then it is. There’s a reason why you feel this. Everybody and their grandmother is called Rowan or Raven nowadays, but if you feel you’re a Rowan/Raven too, then go for it. Personally I would love to meet other Potters!
*You might also want to get a book on magickal names to get some ideas, but don’t just pick a name randomly. As I said, your magickal name should have deep personal meaning for you, and it should reflect your magickal self.
So, tell me, what is your magickal name, and why did you choose it?