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Magic Names

By Barbara Ardinger

Many modern pagans adopt magical names. I think I’ve found one for myself. It’s a good motto, and even saying it aloud reminds me of the daily blessings of the Goddess to her children. The Latin name I’d choose is Beata elle. “Blessed is she.”

When I attended a pagan studies conference recently to read from Secret Lives (and sign and sell a few copies), I listened very carefully to another presenter who spoke about magical names. When we go through an initiation, he said, we receive a new name. It’s a custom that is familiar to people through the ages and around the world. The presenter spoke about why people adopted magical names during the 19th-century European occult revival and why pagans still take magical names. And he set me to thinking. When you earn your Ph.D., you don’t get a new name. The Ph.D. is indeed an initiatory experience. Ask anyone who’s done it. You go through multitudinous ordeals both physical and intellectual. You face judges, speak what you’ve learned, and finally attain gnosis. But all you get for all your work and suffering are those nifty letters to put after your name. But I digress.

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