I always receive questions regarding how to go about choosing your magickal name. Originally, the taking on of a magickal name symbolized the rebirth or the attainment of a new level of initiation or revelation in the magickal world. The special name was taken for use within a lodge, coven or other magickal order.
Pagans, in initiatory covens, meaning pagans who are intiated by an initiated pagan, only have one magickal name, generally. Some pagans think they need two magickal names--one that everyone knows and one just between them and the Goddess. I do not think there is any need in that because the more you use your magickal name, the strong it becomes and the more it becomes you. If you are in a coven, your magickal name is used and everyone in the coven knows your magickal name. There is no secret to your magickal name, as you are considered a special family. You come into that coven with perfect love and perfect trust. The majority of initiatory covens use their magickal names outside of the coven and in places of New Age stores, open rituals, etc., as they feel that they are of that energy of that name that they have chosen all of the time. They feel that magick is life itself and walk it each and every day whether they are in a coven or in the grocery store shopping. They do not see that the Craft and magick are separate and apart. The more your magickal name is used, the more empowering to you it becomes.
In some covens, the HPS gives you a magickal name, as she is supposed to "know who you really are." I find that absolutely nonsense and would not allow anyone to "give" me a magickal name. It is between you and the Goddess and no one else.
Most Witches believe that the Goddess chooses it for you, and you have to quite the mind and listen to what She is saying. However, you magickal name does not fall in your lap. In trying to find your magickal name, and most particularly if you wish to name yourself after a Goddess, you start out by reading books on different aspects of the Goddess and the names they go by.
Several books come to mind which should help you, and they are: The Farrar's book "The Witche's Goddess;" Barbara G. Walker's book "The Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets;", Patricia Monaghan's The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines;" and D.J. Conway's book "The Ancient and Shining Ones." It is good to read as many books as you can on one particular Goddess, as each book will have something in it that another does not. If you find an attribute that concerns you in a negative way, then Her name is not the one. The name has to resonate with you and sit well within your soul. Some Witches feel that if you are a fiery type of person, then selecting someone like Brigid might help to light that fire in you even more so. Some feel it is always best to find a Goddess that is in opposite of your nature. However, on the other end of that thought, if you are more an earth Goddess, then Demeter might be a choice. If you are young, then a maiden Goddess might be to your liking like Persephone, Artemis, etc. Look deeply within your soul and find the real you, and who you feel you really are, what you want to aspire to in life and what attributes of the Goddess fit you the most and most importantly, can you live with Her negative aspects, as each Goddess has a negative side or rather dark side.
Choosing a Goddess name is something to take very seriously. You do not change Goddess names like the clothing you wear each day. They do not take lightly of being discarded so easily. Also, whatever name you select should match your experiences in life. Age is also an important factor when considering a name. You would not call yourself Aradia if you are young, just starting out in the Craft, or both. Also something to take into consideration is if you can live up to Her name?
Another thing to really take into consideration is not to dishonor Her name in any way. You can dishonor her name by unfair actions that you take. You dishonor Her name if you select a Crone, who represents wisdom and knows when to talk and not to talk, and your never seem to know when to talk and when not to. You can dishonor Her name in the negative actions you take in your mundane life, because being a pagan and Witch you walk the magickal life whether you are in the mundane world or not.
In choosing a Goddess name and her attributes you slowly become like Her. You start picking up Her attributes. However, if you are not walking a balanced life, unfortunately, you will tend to pick up on Her darker side, as each Goddess has a light and dark side to Her. So be ware of that.
In your search for a Goddess name, you will find that you will keep going back to a particular Goddess, and after a while, you will decide She is the one you wish to follow and be like. But you really have to do some serious researching, as it is nothing to rush through. Then after you decide on the Goddess name, you dedicate yourself to Her which basically is like a dedication to the Craft and should be done in a ceremonial type setting such as casting circle, calling Quarters, etc. In ritual, as you name yourself, feel the power of Her energies seep slowly into your being. If you chose Artemis, then each day thereafter, say three times a day "I am Artemis." You should have a Books of Shadows filled with information about the Goddess you have chosen for you to read at any given time. It helps awaken those Goddess type energies when the mundane world tries to prevent you from walking the path of a Witch and wearing Her name. When it is all said and done with, you should wear Her name proudly.
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