Why a Magical Name?
Ah, the magical name. So many people find Paganism or Wicca and decide right off the bat that they’re going to name themselves Lady Such-and-Such or Lord Whatsis. Go to a Pagan event and you’ll meet more fifteen-year-old Lady Morganas than you can shake a stick at. And it’s virtually guaranteed that within about three months, at least one of those Lady Morganas will decide her magical name, sometimes called a craft name, is really supposed to be Starfluffle or Moongypsy, and she’ll change it.
In fact, she’ll probably change it two to three times a year.
The Name-of-the-Month Club:
This odd phenomenon, known as the Name-of-the-Month Syndrome, happens most often because the person in question hasn’t taken the time to research and learn, which is crucial to finding the right magical name.
A magical name is unique to the practitioner, and there are several ways to find yours. When you find the right name, you’ll keep it for a long time. In some traditions, it‘s customary to wait until you‘ve studied a year and a day before claiming your magical name. In others, it is selected at the time of initiation, but still after significant thought has been put into it. Some Pagans have two magical names -- one which they use in public and one which is known only to the gods and members of the person’s coven.
One method by which people sometimes find their magical name is to simply choose something they like. A problem with this method is that what we like on one day, we may find silly a year down the road. If you’re going to choose a name based on whether it sounds cool or not, stop and think about it. What is it about the name that appeals to you? Ten years from now, are still going to feel comfortable saying, “Hi, I‘m Fairypuddle,” when you meet a new person?
Names with Meaning:
Choose a name not only for its sound, but its attributes as well. For example, someone wishing to convey strength in their name might include “oak“ or “iron“ as part of their moniker. A person who is highly creative might select a name that reflects their art or craft. You may want to choose a name based rooted in folklore or mythology. Many people include the name of an animal that resonates with them. A cautionary note here: in the Pagan community, certain animals pop up all the time. You’ll meet two dozen Ravens and just as many Cats, but it’s unlikely you’ll encounter anyone calling himself Wombat or Penguin.
Names to Avoid:
Another bit of advice -- generally, the titles Lord and Lady are reserved for people who are elders or have a significant amount of leadership experience under their belt. To name oneself Lady So-and-So without any credentials is considered presumptuous by many Pagans. Likewise, in many traditions it’s seen as hubris to give oneself the name of a deity. You may want to choose a name that indicates your dedication to a god or goddess, but don’t co-opt their names. It’s just rude. If you're a dedicant to Apollo, don't call yourself Master Apollo, call yourself something like Apollonius instead.
Using Your Birth Number:
Another popular method of finding a magical name is to choose one that corresponds with your birth number. To find your birth number, begin by adding the digits of your birth date.
If your birthday was September 1, 1966, you would start with the numbers 911966 = 9 + 1 + 1 + 9 + 6 + 6 = 32.
Now take those two numbers (3 and 2), and bring it down to a single digit: 3 + 2 = 5. That number -- in this case, 5 -- is your birth number.
Use the grid below to find a name that corresponds to the number 5, by calculating the sum of the corresponding letters.
1 = A, J, S
2 = B, K, T
3 = C, L, U
4 = D, M, V
5 = E, N, W
6 = F, O, X
7 = G, P, Y
8 = H, Q, Z
9 = I, R
Let’s say you’ve decide you like the name Willow. Using the letters in “Willow” you would take the numbers 5 + 9 + 3 + 3 + 6 + 5 = 32. From there, 3 + 2 = 5. If the name you like doesn’t match your birth numbers, try some creative or alternate spellings to see what happens.
A Gift from the Gods:
In some cases, you may be fortunate enough to have your new name bestowed upon you by a god or goddess. In these instances, you may encounter someone in a dream or a vision who tells you, “Your name is Such-and-such.” While you may choose to add to it or come up with a variation on it later, if this happens to you, accept the name as the gift that it is.
Whatever method you end up using, think carefully before you finalize your new name. While it’s okay to change your name later on as you evolve spiritually, changing your name every few weeks or every time you see a new episode of “Charmed” is probably not the best course of action. Find the name that is right for you -- and when it IS the right one, you will know.