“I’m not my name. My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn. I outgrow it, I change it.”
– Jerry Spinelli
Finding Your Magical Name
After taking the step to commit yourself to the path of Magick, a ritual you may wish to consider is that of choosing and declaring a Magickal name. Let’s start by figuring out how one goes about finding just the right spiritual name. Some people are lucky. A name comes to them in a dream or meditation and they just know it’s the one they want to use in sacred space. If that happens to you—fantastic! Run with it! If it doesn’t happen this way for you, don’t worry. There are other perfectly valid ways to find a good Magickal name.
5 Tips for Discovering your Witch Name
Here are just a few ideas:
- Look up the meanings of names in baby books. Make a list of those that best represent your spiritual goals and choose from among them. Bear in mind that no one but you need to know this name (in fact, many practitioners have more than one name—one they use in circle, and another they use in private ritual and prayer).
- Consider the names of flowers, trees, animals, or crystals that you find particularly inspiring. Review the Magickal energies of these natural things to be sure that the name you take brings positive vibrations into your life each time you say it.
- Look up the names of people from the culture where your personal God or Goddess figures originate (for example, if you follow Athena it might be neat to find a Greek name).
- Look up names of people from the culture in which your Tradition originates (for example, if you practice a Shamanic-flavored Wicca, you might review Native American names).
- Think back to when you were younger—was there ever a name you gave yourself and never told anyone else about, or a name you wished you’d been given? That may be your Magickal name!
The Importance of Spiritual Names
Names are very important to us, and if you don’t think so just watch how sensitive someone becomes when you repeatedly mispronounce their first or last name! Names identify us to other people and have certain energies associated with them. So, don’t rush the process of finding a Magickal name.
Think of it this way: Your spiritual name is like your favorite food or snack. When you figuratively “eat” that name it should taste good all the way down to your toes. When you say it out loud, it needs to make you hum inside. When you close your eyes and sing it or think it, it makes you truly happy.
I do advise avoiding cutesy sounding names like Moonbeam Rain Bunny. Trust me when I say you’ll grow out of that phase really quickly. Magic is power—it’s not “cute” power, it’s real and vibrant. You want a name that speaks with that kind of authority in your spells and rituals.
Personal Preparation and the Sacred Space for Magical Naming
Once you’ve found your name, the next step is declaring it to the Powers and Spirit in ritual. This is an important step because it makes the name yours (kind of like reclaiming lost property—this name has always been a part of you, you’re just taking it back and accepting its power).
To prepare for this ritual, bring items into the sacred space that represent the best of your chosen name’s meaning and characteristics. Refer back to the name books to determine meanings, as well as any books that include metaphysical correspondences. For example, if you’ve chosen a name that means happiness, surround yourself with things that vibrate with that energy, like lavender flowers, marjoram herb, and amethyst crystals. In addition to this, pick out one candle to represent the “mundane” self, and another to represent your spiritual self (with the new name). Carve that new name into the second candle and put both on your altar.
Invocation for Your Naming Ritual
Start with the mundane self-candle lit. This invocation starts in the east because it marks a new beginning for you. (By the way, other rituals sometimes begin in a different Quarter because the energies present in that Quarter accent the working more strongly).
To the East: It’s the dawn of a new day.
The winds of morning reach across the horizon,
To join me and witness my naming,
To the South: The sun shines on this moment
Its rays beam down with warmth and joy,
To join me and bless my naming,
To the West: The water sprinkles gently around the sacred space
Cleansing and healing,
To join me and prepare my spirit for a new name,
To the North: The seed of Magick planted in my heart opens
The earth blossoms excitedly,
To join me and give foundations to my new name,
Meditation & Visualization for Claiming your Magical Name
Get comfortable and begin to breathe deeply and evenly until as one breath ends, the next starts effortlessly. There is no time here … no rushing … no expectations. Simply be. See yourself in your mind’s eye even as you are in your sacred space at this moment. Above your head, the letters of your new name have been carved into the darkness with white, sparkling light. Look at the beauty of it. Know what it represents to you. Reach up and take one letter at a time down and place it into your heart. When the whole name is there, whisper it to yourself nine times in sets of three. Do this slowly, feeling every letter and every vibration it puts into your mind, spirit, and body.
Declaring Your Name
Now it’s time to share your name with the Four Quarters and Spirit. Stand and face each direction and say something like:
To the East: Air, hear my words. I have chosen a name to honor my path and my choice to practice Magick. Starting today, I claim the breath of the winds in the name ________ for use in the sacred space.
To the South: Fire, hear my words. I have chosen a name to honor my path and my choice to practice Magick. Starting today, I claim the power of light in the name _______ for use in the sacred space.
To the West: Waves, hear my words. I have chosen a name to honor my path and my choice to practice Magick. Starting today, I claim the healing of water in the name _______ for use in the sacred space.
To the North: Earth, hear my words. I have chosen a name to honor my path and my choice to practice Magick. Starting today, I claim the grounding of earth in the name _______ or use in the sacred space.
To the Center: Spirit, hear my words and witness this rite. I have chosen a name to honor my path and my choice to practice Magick. Starting today, I claim the spiritual power in the name ________ for use in the sacred space.
Now, light the candle representing your new name from the self-candle. Leave them both to burn (as the person you are doesn’t disappear just because you’ve taken a new name, rather, that person will grow and change to reflect that new name).
When you are done with your ritual, it’s a good opportunity for offering a personal prayer that:
- Thanks the Powers for their presence.
- Releases the Guardians.
- Shares all the good attributes you have found in your new name.
- Expresses your hopes to Spirit that these characteristics be activated daily in your life.
When you’re finished, blow out the candles and celebrate! It’s your naming day (akin to a birthday) so do something special. And if you wish, observe this day annually in a personally pleasing way.
Renewing Your Magical Name
There are times in our lives when situations transform us dramatically. At these junctures, you may find your current magical name just doesn’t fit anymore (kind of like shoes that are too small). There is nothing wrong with going back to the spiritual drawing board and starting anew. Seek out a name that represents the best of who you have become, then claim it as your own.
Adapted from “Teen Book of Shadows,” by Patricia Telesco. All Rights Reserved.