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).
- What is the purpose of this name? – The World
- 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.