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Why the Term 'Wiccaning' Doesn't Work, and What to Replace It With

I always cringe when I hear the term “wiccaning.”

Moral of the story: Let the borrower beware.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Wiccaning makes me think of weaving a wicker basket. Naming sounds right.
On Not Mentioning the Malefactor's Name

Announcing the perpetrator of the most recent mass shooting, the police chief of Virginia Beach said pointedly: “I'm only going to mention his name once.” It's been gratifying to note other news commentators following his lead.

This restraint fulfills an ancient and ancestral urge: why reward ill-wreakers with fame?

Case in point: the Troll-in-Chief. We've got a geis in place against mentioning his name at our coven meetings, and I note that, even at other times, we do the same. I've noticed the same practice among other Lefties.

To speak the name gives life, said the people of ancient Egypt. To this end, they spoke of You-Know-Who—the heretic pharaoh—not by name, but as the Criminal of Akhetaten.

Why give life to the undeserving?

The ancestors were driven to deeds of heroism to make their names live after them. As for those who do the opposite, let their names die with them.

"The dead are pleased when their names are remembered," say the Kalasha, the only remaining Indo-European-speaking people who have practiced their traditional religion without interruption since antiquity. The bale-workers, let us deservedly forget.

On the day that Alexander the Great was born, the most beautiful temple in the world—the temple of Artemis at Ephesos—was destroyed by a massive fire. When they caught the arsonist, they asked, unbelieving, “Why did you do it?”

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. Posch, Hear, hear!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Does Your Coven Have a Secret Name?

Even after 40-some years inside, the Craft can still surprise me.

A friend was telling me about her group.

“What are you guys called again?” I asked.

She looked a little embarrassed.

“Well, the real name's secret” she said, “but we go by N.”

Like most good ideas, the notion that a coven should have a secret name seems perfectly obvious—once someone else has thought of it. People have secret names, cities have secret names. (Rome's, for instance, is Flora.) It makes perfect sense for a coven to have one too.

Now, when it comes to covens, I feel like I've won the jackpot in the Paganistani lottery. I'm part of the oldest continuously-operating coven here in Witch City; this year, we'll be celebrating our 38th Harvest Home together.

But in that moment I'll admit to having felt some envy.

“I wish we had a secret name,” I whined to myself.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
When Names Bore Meaning

Once our names bore meaning.

We worshiped in the Old Way then.

Ælf-win, “elf-friend.”

Os-gar, “god-spear.”

Æthel-ræd, “noble counsel.”

New Ways came, but still we held to our old and meaningful names.

Then came Billy the Bastard with his Franks, and soon our names were outland names, empty names with stories, but meaning nothing at all.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why don't I have a magical name?

Another year gone. So much broke last year. My last-ditch effort to save my business proved futile. Communication with a friend broke so badly that I hired a mediator. My community nearly broke in half. Broken friendships, broken trust. To top it off, my housemate and I totaled the car when a stoned driver smashed into us.

So much brokenness and now a new year is upon us. Things will mend, our community is already healing and growing, I love my job, the bruises are gone, and we’ll get a new car. But I often wonder what it would be like to draw a clean line between the past and the present by taking on a new name. A magical name.

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  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    Where is it written that the name you are given at birth cannot also be your magical name? Yes, the name above is not my birth na
  • Meredith Lull
    Meredith Lull says #
    I have the same situation with my own name. When I was a child I had not grown into Meredith Ann, in fact I hated it. My family c
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    I don't have a magical name either, but magic isn't really part of my tradition. But I underwent a similar experience/challenge af
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you for sharing your story, Linette. I also married young, when I was 20, and while I did take my maiden name back, I unders
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Like you, Ann is a name I'm partial to, and I've stuck with variants of it for decades. (I've never had a magickal name, either.)

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

What’s a magical name? How do I get one? And why are so many Wiccans named Raven?

A magical name—or craft name, as they are sometimes called—is a name you take on when you become a Wiccan, and it’s the name other Wiccans in the community will know you by and that you will use in Wiccan rituals. Some people take on a name when they first become interested in Wicca. Others wait until they dedicate themselves to the path through a self-dedication ceremony or when they are initiated into a particular Wiccan group. Some Wiccan traditions (traditions are kind of like denominations in Christianity) have special rules for when someone takes a name and what kind of name it can be, and others don’t. And in some cases your name might be bestowed on you by a teacher, but this practice is not very common anymore.

Most Wiccans who have magical names only use them in the Wiccan community, and use their legal names elsewhere. Having a second name can help protect your privacy in case there are people you don’t want to know about your Wiccan practice. However some Wiccans use their magical names all the time, even outside of the Wiccan community, and some only use theirs when they are in ritual space.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_llewellyn.jpg

Title: Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names: For Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, Druids, Heathens, Mages, Shamans and Independent Thinkers of All Sorts Who Are Curious About Names from Every Place and Every Time

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