Those who have been studying magick for any length of time will probably have come across the concept of a “true name”. You will hear dire warnings about giving your true name out to someone you don’t know, because they can do all kinds of damage once they know your “true name”.
The problem with this bit of advice is that no one ever stops to explain it. Most teachers are blank when asked why by their students, because they are repeating a statement given to them by their teachers. So, in this essay, I will try to explain the use of a true name, what it is, and why names are important.
A name is an identity. It is a label to identify something.
Think about all the names you have had thorough out your life. I’ll give you the example of my life.
I have had these names:
- Daddy, dad, pop, poppa, “FATHER” and every variant you can think of.
- Colin McDaniel
- Multiple names for RPG characters
- James Eric Landrum
- Brother Landrum
Each of these names has a certain meaning to me. Each of them are different.
Since Eric is my given name, and James or Jim is my father, I generally don’t use that name to identify myself, Eric is the name that gets used most often. Just about everyone who doesn’t know of my online life calls me Eric. It is the name that is the most “me”.
Daven is the name most everyone knows me as online, and those in the metaphysical community know me as. It is my magickal name, taken from several sources. Many think that this means that I identify as a “David” but that’s not the case. “Daven” comes from a previous lifetime in 850 CE Scotland where I first fell in love with the spirit that is my wife now. I was Daven MacDavid, and she and I were happy for a few years, and I lost her under some tragic circumstances.
Honey should be self explanatory. Variants of that term of endearment occur, “myhoney” “dearheart” “my life, love and heart” “darling” and so on.
“Ace” will take some explanation. Once upon a time I was Mormon and a Boy Scout. During that time period, I took a little hike with a group who were going out to go up the Appalachian Trail, 50 miles worth. It was to be a hard trek, with a 70 pound backpack. One kid took a dislike to me for some reason, and started calling me “Ace” as a means of derision. The nickname stuck among the 20 members of our group, and became a title of honor and accomplishment, instead of a way to destroy. Because it backfired, he tried again to deride me, but that failed, and IF I have to have a nickname, I use “Ace”. [Mary’s Aside – The name “Ace” has very negative connotations for me. My very best friend in the whole wide world was in a 9 year abusive relationship with a real horror named Ace. Had Eric been called that when I met him we would have NEVER EVER gotten together. I not only would have run screaming I would have done my very best, which is amazingly excellent btw, to force him away from my daughter and granddaughter. That is how strong the connotations are for me.]
Daddy etc., should be obvious as well, since it brings up tenderness and protection of those weaker than myself. I hear that name and I find that I am greater than myself, able to do anything and go to any length to protect my daughter and teach her whatever she needs to succeed, to become greater than I am.
Each of those above names have associations like that, both good and bad. “Bucktooth” was a cruel nickname I was given for a summer to make fun of the severe overbite I had when I was 7 and 8.
But because these names have specific connotations in my mind, and they call up specific associations, there are also massive blind-spots inherent in those names.
When someone calls me Daddy, no danger is too great for me to brave to keep my children safe. Therefore, I will be throwing myself into situations that many people would avoid like the plague to keep my “children” safe. By the same token, being called “son” makes me dependant on my parent, and makes me less than the adult in my life.
Someone who knows these associations, who can research, who has access to GOOD information, can use those names as weapons against me. IF I don’t know about those vulnerabilities and take steps to protect myself from it.
If I were in a combat situation, which has actually happened once or twice in my lifetime, and my enemy had done some homework on the Astral Plane and in the Akashic Record, they would have information about my vulnerabilities and my fears. By calling me the name that those fears and vulnerabilities are tied to, it could create holes in my armor that I may have corrected in other times. Eric may have gotten rid of the need for approval, but Son probably hasn’t.
Thus, names have power. Names have those associations attached to them, and those vulnerabilities as well. Many people have these vulnerabilities, and by their very nature they don’t realize they exist. I allow very few people online to call me anything but Daven because of the blind spots I have inherent with other names.
Which brings up the question, if I am like this with some names, and the totality of myself is NOT defined by any of those names, is there an identity that I have that does cover Daven, Eric, Honey, Daddy and all the others? Is there one name that incorporates all of me in one?
There is, and it’s called a “Truename”. Most people have not gone to the length to find their truename out, and even if they did, the holes and vulnerabilities would be covered by the strengths as well.
As well as personal names, there are titles to identify yourself that have the same flaws and strengths. As I explained in one e-mail, being called Wiccan has certain connotations associated with it that the general public may understand, but which may or may not be true for you.
This is one reason why traditional Wiccans (Gardnerian and Alexandrian for example) get so upset when they see some eclectic fluff bunny calling themselves “Wiccan” when what they practice is nothing like the original Wicca, as defined by the founders of their religion.
If some person who liked the Norse Gods, had read the Deities & Demigods (TM) from AD&D and thought they knew what Thor was like, Frey was like, Loki was like, who had studied some Wiccan information, and a lot of New Age mysticism. Our hypothetical someone has not studied the Eddas, any Norse history, no rituals that flesh out the spirituality, but they call themselves Asatru. This has nothing to do with the actual religion of Asatru, they have not learned any of the rites nor rituals that make up the religion, but they are calling themselves Asatru.
Can you understand how that would upset a practitioner of the real spirituality? It’s nothing but a word, just a few letters strung together, but that word has a meaning, a life of it’s own that makes it different from all the other Norse spiritual paths out there.
This should explain why Witches get so upset and why Wiccans get so upset too. It can be seen as a defiling of a sacred thing, just like using the Shroud of Turin as toilet paper. It doesn’t matter that it is only a word, and that word can be redefined, or another one could be created, it’s the principal of the word has a life of its own.
So if names are this important, what can the average person do? When a life changing event happens, like an initiation, one should take on a new name to denote that there is a difference between the old and the new person.
Ultimately names can act as pictures do for magickal purposes. Sigils of names, the name itself, a drawing, photograph, all of these can be a vulnerability in whatever protection you may have, and a route for an attack to come through IF you let it.
For instance, if someone were to attack me knowing only my name of Daven, he may have a very hard time getting through my defenses, but if he were to use the name “bucktooth”, it would probably get through on some levels simply because it attacks on a level that is not easily defended against.
The solution is to watch how you call yourself, and what names are given out and who knows who you are. Make sure that you trust the people you identify yourself to and how you do so. It’s simple prudence, nothing more.
Originally posted 2015-08-18 21:23:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter