What’s in a name?
I really did have to take some time and consider this when I decided to recreate my blog. My blog was previously called Barefoot&Happy, and while that was perfect when I first started, a fairly drastic change in my life and my point of view on magic, spirituality, and deity (more on that in my next post) caused me to reevaluate its relevance to my craft.
In life we realize the importance of ‘name branding’, but in magic we recognize the power of words and names. A word, when spoken, can stir emotions or invoke an image, it can vibrate a wish into existence, it can change the world! In some traditions words are more than just what they seem to be; they are the names of things, and to understand the true name of a thing gives power over it. Learning the true name, understanding the true name and nature of fire, means that it can be called and channeled at any moment.
The importance of naming is not limited to nature, the elements, and things; people, too, are followed by their names their whole lives! Your family name carries a sense of pride, or a terrible baggage depending on who you are. Your first name is literally the first thing people associate with you after your face. A classic, infantile, or bizarre name changes how people see you, how you see yourself, and in the end how you resonate in the universe. There is a folk-tradition that I learned about from a friend where, much like the cats in T. S. Eliot’s poems, every person had 3 names. The first, the public name, was the name that they went by in their everyday lives; “Bob”, “Susan”, and even “Mercutio”. The second name was one, almost like a pet name, that only family members and dearest friends ever called the person. But the most important name was the third; this name was whispered into the baby’s ear by their mother the day they were born so that no one else could ever hear it. It was the secret name; the true name. This name was kept entirely secret, because in this way no one could ever have complete power over the child as they never knew his truest, most private name.
In Witchcraft, you find this tradition repeated with mundane names, Craft or Coven names, and the one true name that any of us share only with Deity.
This is why I decided to change the name of my blog. Because names are important.
“A Changing Altar” reflects this moment in my life; I have begun to change more as a human being, and my view of the Craft has begun to transform and evolve into something a bit less airy-fairy, and more…more…I’m not sure what it is becoming more of at the moment, but I know that it is becoming something different and exciting. Maybe a bit less barefoot & happy, and more barefoot & dirty? My altar at one time was little more than whatever magical items I could manage to hide out in the open in my bedroom; potted plants, candles, a couple of stones. It eventually evolved into a magical tea party with snacks, stuffed animals, and mismatched cups and saucers. In the past few years it has become something of a mix of both; potted plants and stones, a teapot holding my offerings, and a key and a skull or two. My altars change with me in my life and reflect me as a person (as they should for everyone), and so why not just accept myself as a changing person with a changing altar and a changing or evolving spirituality?
What importance does your name carry? Are you a “III” (Franklin the 3rd), or named after a fictional character? Are you the first and only? And what about your blog; what inspired the name, and since you started it how many times have you wanted to change it? Why?
I feel like this place; this blog, my little corner of the internet, right now is a reflection of something I want to become rather than who I am or who I was. And the name was important.
The altar pictured is a stunning piece by Sarah Lawless, the Witch of Forest Grove. Go check out her blog, as she inspires me greatly.