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Magical names are a popular topic of debate and conversation in the witch and pagan communities. Some see them as unnecessary or even silly, but I see many benefits to them.
Magical names are popular because many of our favorite pagan authors use them as pen names. That makes magical names seem more common than they really are, and can convince baby occultists that they are obligated to have one too.
But it’s important to remember that words and names have power. Knowing the true name of something or someone gives you magical power over them. For that reason, I see magical names as something important to protect ourselves from other witches and the entities that we work with.
What Are Magical Or Witch Names?
Magical names are commonly chosen when one is initiated into the craft, when one joins a coven, or after studying witchcraft for a year and a day. They can be chosen by yourself or by someone else (or even by a deity!).
Traditionally, magical names weren’t meant to be revealed outside of the coven and were mostly used during rituals. Some occultists have chosen to have both a private and a public magical name.
Not all pagans, Wiccans, or witches choose to have magical names, though. While I find that to be dangerous for those that work with the Fae or demons, magical names are not a requirement.
Choosing a magical name is a personal decision and most traditions don’t require one. Don’t let the presence of magical names make you feel obligated to choose one.
Why Should You Choose A Magical Name?
Your real name holds power. When working with some entities and beings, like the Fae or demons, you would be wise not to give them your full real name. Doing so may give them power over you, and you could find yourself being used for their purposes instead of the other way around.
Magical names also act as spells to manifest things. If you want to become a stronger person, a magical name that uses elements that evoke imagery of strength like oaks and steel can help you to do that.
In the same line of thinking, magical names help a witch to claim their own power. While Christina may have a hard time harnessing their inner power, Selena Graymists may find it exceptionally easy to tap into the power of the moon.
When one goes through a spiritual rebirth, they sometimes find that they name they were given at birth no longer suits them. A magical name may help with that transition.
Using a magical name can be an act of devotion as well, though I would caution against just using the name of a deity. Translate an epithet for a deity or go with a variation instead.
If you have a birth name that you feel doesn’t suit your path as a witch, a magical name may help you to get past that awkwardness. Someone named Christian may have a hard time working with demons!
Another thing is to consider security and privacy. When you go to a pagan meetup with people you have never met before, you may find that the people attending make you nervous. Using a magical name can help to create a buffer between you and them, keeping your mundane identity hidden and yourself safe from stalkers and harassers.
Similarly, if you are in the broom closet but you want to publish books or blog posts, a magical name can help you to do that without outing yourself as a witch.
There are many reasons someone might choose a magical name. But how do you go about finding the right magical name for you?
How To Choose A Magical Name
The most important thing when choosing a magical name is to choose one that resonates with you spiritually. This is how you’ll find a name that you can stick with long term.
The problem is that many choose their magical names when they’re young. As we grow mentally and spiritually, our goals and our vision of ourselves changes. So if you are younger than 25 or so, just know that it is okay to change your name when you’re older!
Some may see changing your magical name as immature, but it really is the act of maturing that causes us to want to change it. Don’t let anyone make you feel silly for doing that.
Whenever you are choosing your magical name, take the time to research each element that goes into it. We often choose to include multiple words in our names, so these words should work together and create an overall image that makes sense to you.
When you find the right name, you’ll keep it for a long time because it will reveal a small part of your truest self.
Some traditions recommend choosing a magical name only after studying for a year and a day. This can make sense, because it gives you time to develop as a witch or pagan and learn what virtues you have or want to enhance.
Don’t make the mistake of just choosing a name because it’s pretty or because you like it. Take the time to find something that really resonates with you.
Some tips for choosing the right magical name:
- Consider how the name sounds and looks. The beauty of your name increases its magical power. Does it roll off the tongue? Does it make you feel happy when you say it?
- Don’t choose something embarrassing. Workshop the name with some close friends. If you feel silly telling your name to them, try a different one.
- Use other languages that you are culturally tied to. For me, I pull from French, German, and Finnish most often.
- Research the etymology of each element of your name. You may find that the original meaning of a word doesn’t sit well with you, or has a nasty past.
- Research the meaning of the words you are choosing to use.
- Choose parts of your name that represent part of who you are. Are you brave, kind, powerful?
- Or choose words that reflect what you want to become. Do you wish to be more like a specific god? Are you looking to invoke inner strength? Your magical name is a spell that you can use to manifest things.
- Look into historical witches. Their names may be more “normal”, but their stories can be thrilling and they may have characteristics you are looking to embody.
- The names of plants, animals, birds, planets, constellations, and even ideas are all good places to draw your magical name from.
- You can also choose to honor an ancestor that you find inspirational with your magical name.
- Consulting your tarot deck can help you to find archetypes, themes, astrological terms, or characteristics that you should include when choosing elements for your magical name.
- Consider numerology and try to pick a name that matches your destiny number.
- When in doubt, ask the gods. Meditate and pray regularly, asking them to reveal the right name for you.
Emma is a mom, a wife, an eclectic witch, and dead but dreaming.