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So I’ve talked about magic/craft names before in a post I did for the Pagan Blog Project. Back then I was exploring the idea behind the function of a Craft name and came up with that it followed two set patterns:

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.

This was written over a year ago and I figure it’s still pretty dead on. But recent events have caused me to look at what a Name, Craft or otherwise really means. Or at least, what it can mean. See, a friend of mine recently got me into Dr. Who, a BBC series that has been around since before Star Trek, or just about. One of the first scifi tv series out there, about a being known as a Time Lord called the Doctor.

Matt Smith is my favorite of the so far 11 incarnations of the Doctor. And here’s the interesting thing about the Doctor. That isn’t his name, hence the oldest question: Doctor Who? See, Time Lords choose their names, much the same way that we in the Craft choose our names. But Time Lords chose their names in such a way that their name is a Promise. The Doctor called himself that, Named himself that, because he was going to be a healer, a righter of ills. That’s his Promise.

And it got me thinking about the way Craft Names can work. Our craft names can be as I thought before, a way to reveal who we truly are, or a way to hide ourselves from those that would do us harm. When I took the name Lucius Svartwulf, it was to do both, to reveal what I was, but to protect myself.

But then I dedicated to Hel and took a third name. Helsen. The Son of Hel/Helheim. This name didn’t reveal who I was. It didn’t hide who I was. It might have been a title, but it is limited as a title and I have other titles to go with that position. Then, a little while ago it hit me just what Helsen was as a Name.

Helsen is my Promise. The promise to be the son of my people. The promise to follow the duties of Hel and her Realm. The promise of mercy and retribution, of care and judgment. The promise to serve my Goddess loyally to the end, no matter how terrible or glorious my deeds. My promise to help people who ask for the aid of my Goddess, and to hunt down the enemies of that realm. It is my promise to do all that and more. My name…is a Promise, to Hel, to myself, to everyone.

We say Names have power, and what is more powerful than a Name that is a Promise.

So when you chose your name, remember to ask yourself: am I hiding, am I showing…or am I making a Promise?