So this week for the Pagan Blog Project, I figured I’d talk about Craft Names. Of most of the little traditions you come across in Paganism, this is one that gets a lot of giggles, some snide remarks, not always a lot of understanding, and actually has some valid uses. It’s also a little outside the realms of my general stuff, and touches larger Pagans paths than just my own.
There seem to be two main ideas behind a “Craft Name.” The first is to release your “secret” magical name to help release one’s magical power for easier use by invoking that power through that name. The second is not really all that different, by using the Craft Name to protect your “secret” real name when you’re doing magical workings, or just writing online, much like a username or pen-name, and provide you with some anonymity to both the magical and mundane world. Sometimes people use their “Craft Name” for both reasons at the same time.
Both of these are related to the idea of a True Name. Names have power, both magically and mundanely. If you know a person’s name, you can generally find them, sometimes with just a phone book. In this day and age where saying the wrong thing can get you a lot of hate, a lawsuit, or in some cases, even killed, just on the mortal end of the spectrum, sometimes it’s better to not broadcast your real name. Magically, you have someone’s True Name, you have a direct line to using magic on them, just as you would with a physical piece of them. Hence why some have Craft Names, for that extra level of protection. It isn’t foolproof, but it is a line of defense.
There’s several sites out there that will help you build a craft name, but as a rule most people like to make them on their own, to provide a more personal element to it, that reflects where they are in their practice, where they want to go, what they hold dear, or what they identify with. My own current craft name, Lucius Svartwulf, was “handcrafted” when I started this blog as just a simple pen-name, but it’s becoming more than that. Svartwulf was the first part I made, and it means blue wolf, or black wulf (svart is the old Norse word for blue/black at the same time) and was formed much the way Beowulf (which means bee-wolf/predator of bees, or bear) is formed. So it ends up meaning something like “predator of the dark”. Lucius was chosen because I liked it, it was Roman (I tend to use “dog latin” in my spells, and I like the Romans a lot), and it means light. Sometimes I drag the things hiding in the dark into the light, or try to. I suppose one way to translate it is “Light, predator of the dark” which probably has more Death Note connotations than I originally thought about or cared for. The other way that I tend to go with is, “Light, the dark predator” but really it’s still an identity that is being formed and melded into my own, larger identity.
I actually came this close to calling myself Fiskwulf, trying to invoke sharks (fish wolf, predator of fish, shark), but decided that I wasn’t sure it worked, and frankly it sounded a bit…funny. And not the good kind, lol.
My name is probably one of the more mundane ones out there. You could see someone a thousand years ago walking around with that name. Other Craft Names, however, tend to be outlandish, and that’s where you get the giggles. Running into names like Pixie MoonWater, Scarlet FairySun, or some of the others like those who add the title like Lord, Lady, Queen, Duke, etc, is generally going to generate some eye rolls and snickers, both in the Pagan Community and certainly outside of it. The older members can get away with it some, because they were their longer or people are more tolerant of the elderly. If you’re a younger Pagan though, you’re gonna run into a lot of trouble being taken seriously. The fact that some get those names as their actual birth names at this point, however, hopefully will change this. Personally, I try to look past the names to the person. Can’t say I always succeed, but I try. Names can tell you a lot about a person, but not everything.
The Heathen community, as a rule, doesn’t have Craft Names to my knowledge. (I am an exception). However, they do have people that take up more historic names, often for similar reasons, to invoke their ancestral power, or to protect their identity, and such. These, at least in the Norse Heathen communities, tend to be Scandinavian names from the Pre-Christian eras. Though I am ot an expert in the other “Heathen” and Reconstruction paths, I imagine the same goes for the Roman, Greek, Celt, and Khemetic paths.
Most craft names tend to be drawn from elements, colors, animals, plants, stones, and the like, by mixing and matching. Others are drawn from the historical names of certain groups, or even specific people. If you do decide you want a crafting name, there’s a number of resources, though most 101 books will have suggestions.
Until next time,