What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet, has his female lead declare: ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’

The idea being that the name does not matter, it is the person who counts. You are still you, no matter what anyone calls you.

And yet, in many traditions and cultures, people are given a new or different name at particular points in their life, to represent a transition or achievement.

Training as a yoga teacher, one of my mentors offered me a ‘yogic’ name. I didn’t take the offer, as I didn’t respect the person that much, and I have always been very happy with my own name.

Yet, earlier this week I read a post by Lisa Eddy on receiving a spirit name, and the notion called to me.

A Spirit Name

I wasn’t even sure why the idea appealed now, when in the past I have disdained it. Perhaps partly it was because the suggestion was to ask for the name direct from spirit, rather than through a human intermediary. Or perhaps the time was just right for me: I’ve been going through some big changes this year.

Whatever the case, I did a longer meditation that night. I went into a magical garden, met with my unicorn guide, and said I was open to receiving a spirit name. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to ask for one, I just expressed my openness. And I received a name.

Coming out of the trance, I was rather surprised, and still unsure.

What do I even do with a spirit name? Why do I need one? What’s the point? Is this just me making up something silly in my own head? Yeah, plenty of Swords-y doubt and questioning going on there!

The next morning, I researched the name I’d been given.

The more I read about it, the more I liked it. Still, what do I even need a spirit name for?

A Tarot Reading

Divination is literally conversing with the divine.

When I have questions, the cards are a great way to receive answers. I decided to draw two cards from the Cosmic Mother Tarot (Alice Grist, 2017).

  1. What is the purpose of this name? – The World
  2. How can I best honour this name? – The Emperor

I have received this name in recognition of having reached a point of completion, of transition to a new stage of life. I am blooming, and I have a depth of wisdom and a variety of skills that I use in service of spirit. This name recognises that.

As for honouring this name, I need to take charge of various aspects of my life. I need to own my leadership and my connection to spirit. Some structure and organisation in support of those I am responsible for is appropriate. I am my own authority, which doesn’t mean being a dictator. It means taking advice as needed, but then being willing to make decisions.

One thing I didn’t think to ask is HOW to use this name.

I don’t feel comfortable changing my name in general circles, and for the moment I’m not even comfortable sharing it here. I hope this will come clear in time. Or maybe I’ll have to draw on the cards again…

How do you feel about your name? Do you have any other names – nicknames, a spirit name? What do these mean to you? Would you ever change your name, or take a spirit name? I’m fascinated to know how other people feel about these questions, as I explore my own responses.




  1. Lisa / Kallista on June 1, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Thanks for sharing, Chloe. I am dying to know what name you were given now but I understand if you don’t feel comfortable sharing. The cards do say a lot about the meaning of the name and why you are given it now, at this stage of your life. It’s a name indicating sovereignty and fully using your skills in the world. I use my spirit name in communication with my tutelary deity and made it official with a new Twitter account to serve as a daily reminder of the mission I have been assigned as part of the deal. I like the name I was given at birth too and feel that it is still useful. Having two names works really well when you are Gemini Rising haha!

    • Chloe on June 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      Ha ha, yes, I guess as a doule Gemini, I should have embraced a second name sooner 😀 I have taken your suggestion to do some things as daily reminders of my spirit name. And I have been using it in my meditations, too 🙂

  2. Janine on June 24, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    It’s an interesting one, isn’t it? I came across mine in a leaflet we picked up while visiting the Isle of Seil in W Coast of Sotland some years ago. I have a strong spiritual connection with the area around Oban, Kilmartin, etc. The leaflet contained a story in ancient times and the Heroine was Thana/Thanna, and Thanna immediately stood out for me as a spiritual/ magical name, which I have used ever since.. It just felt right…… and the numerology, when I worked it out felt right too, I use it when I choose to – or not, as the case may be. I’d probably even use it when publishing my prayer poems – as it seems kind of appropriate, but not for other writings/drawings. It’s an interesting topic…what do others think?

    • Chloe on July 11, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Hi Janine, sorry for the delay in answering you, this accidentally went into the blog spam *palm/head*
      So fascinating to read the story of how you came across your spirit name – I love it! Serendipity, confirmed by other means 🙂 And yes, I can definitely see it being right for publishing your prayer poems <3

Leave a Comment

Join Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.