There seem to be a number of questions regarding the craft or magickal name among newcomers to the craft so I thought I would attempt to explain a bit about them. One story goes that in olden times when it was a crime to be a witch, people took craft names to protect their true identity. It was quite common when a witch was arrested and tortured to attempt to get names of fellow witches so that they could be arrested as well. Common sense dictates that anyone under torture might eventually give in and name names. In order to protect against that eventuality, it is said that witches used only their craft names with one another and therefore had no useful information to give up. I do not know this to be the case, it is simply a story that circulates in magical circles, and is likely apocryphal. Far more likely, in my estimation, is the notion that craft names are a relatively recent innovation and are symbolic of the initiates rebirth into the craft. The craft name is chosen by the prospective initiate after much thought and meditation, and conferred upon them at their self dedication or initiation. It’s purpose is not to conceal their true identity, but to reveal it.
As for choosing a magickal name, this is where most of the difficulty occurs. There is no one right way to arrive at your craft name. It may be taken from the names of deities, crystals, herbs, animals, trees, virtues, mythic heroes, common names in other languages, magical goals…. The possibilities are virtually without limit. The name may be anything that you feel is representative of your inner spirit, your magical goals, your deepest dreams. It should be something that you feel attuned with. Generally, when the correct name is found you will feel an instant attraction to it and simply know that it is right. It is possible as well that this name may be correct at this time, but that at some future point in your development you will find that a different name calls to you. Unlike given names, magickal names can evolve and change with the person they belong to. So the name you choose today may or may not be your name for life, it will depend upon where your path leads you.
It is also possible to never choose or use a magickal name. It depends upon your tradition how much emphasis is placed upon having one. If you are solitary and do not feel the need for one, then don’t force yourself into it. If at some future point your feelings change you can always select a name at that time. If you are a member of a coven, discuss the difficulty you are having choosing one with your High Priestess or sponsor, they should be able to advise you on the necessity of having one or make some suggestions to help you do so if need be. There are a number of online resources for baby names, foreign language names and the like, check these for inspiration. Do you have a favorite crystal, or an animal spirit guide, or are you particularly drawn to one deity or another?
These can be sources of name inspiration. Even other’s craft names can inspire you in your choice, perhaps part of someone else’s name strikes you as particularly ‘you’. This can be a jumping off point for arriving at a name of your own. Books can also be good sources. Works of
fiction, collections of myths, and other writing may contain just what you are looking for. It generally works best to simply keep an open mind rather than searching strenuously. The name will come when the time is right, you can’t force it. One thing to remember, you don’t want to choose Lady something for your craft name, the term Lady is given based upon rank, not taken for oneself. You will annoy people if you name yourself Lady so and so and you’ve been practicing a month and a half. Just a warning.
Authors Details: Magickal Names – Unknown Source