Taking a Pagan Name
Some Pagans choose to take a new name during their initiation, or sometime around that period. Those who use a Pagan name—sometimes called a magical name or a craft name—usually use it when dealing with other Pagans, but don't have their legal or given name changed.
Think carefully when choosing a name. It should have a personal meaning for you and be in some way connected to your personal path. When choosing a name, you can draw on several tools, including numerology and association.
Adopting a Pagan name is similar to the practice of adopting a new name at Catholic confirmation. The name is a method of affirming your faith, declaring a new path in life, and in some ways becoming a new person. Some Pagans use their name only with the gods and never reveal it to anyone else.
There are pros and cons to taking a Pagan name. On the pro side, it hides your legal identity in case you feel the need to remain closeted. On the con side, some people may know you by your legal name while others know you by your Pagan name, and keeping track of who knows which name may become difficult.
You can use numerology to help you choose your pagan name. In numerology, each letter is associated with a number. By taking the numbers that correspond to letters in the name you usually use, you can discover your name number, and then create a new name with the same number. You can use just your first name, your first and last name, or your entire birth name. You can also total the numbers in your birth date and match that number to your new name.
For example, let's say your name is JOE PAGAN: first, add the numerical equivalents of each letter together: 1 + 6 + 5 + 7 + 1 + 7 + 1 + 5 = 33. Next, add the two digits together, and keep adding until you end up with a one-digit number: 3 + 3 = 6. This means a good Pagan name for you would also have the numerological value of 6. If you were born on 6/5/1970, you would add 6 + 5 + 1 + 9 + 7 + 0 = 28, then add 2 + 8 = 10, and add 1 + 0 = 1. So if you choose to have your new name correspond to your date of birth, this name should have the numerical value of 1.
Some people add numbers from the top down and then across to get their birth numbers. For example, to get the value for 6/5/1970, you'd add up 6 + 5 + 1970 = 1981, then add up all the digits: 1 + 9 + 8 + 1 = 19, 1 + 9 = 10, 1 + 0 = 1. This method is as valid as the “add across” method, but note that you won't always get the same result.
As you are thinking about possible names, think about your favorite things and the images they conjure up for you. For example, if your favorite month is December, do you think of winter storms, pinecones, whistling trees, and silver wind? Perhaps your new name will contain an element of that, like IceMoon.
Animals are commonly found in Pagan names. You could take your name from a power animal, your familiar, or just an animal you happen to like. For example, if you feel the need to bring wisdom into your life, you could name yourself after the owl.
Names of gods and heroes are also popular choices (heroes are especially popular among Asatruar). If you feel called by a certain goddess, what does her name mean? For example, if you are dedicated to Arianrhod, your name could be Ariane. If you haven't been called, what do you enjoy doing or what are your skills? Are you a skilled craftsman? Perhaps you should choose a legendary hero who was also a craftsman and take that as your name.
When taking your name from a deity, choose wisely. Loki or Kali might not be good choices, unless you want to draw the forces of chaos and destruction into your life. Luckily, if you later discover you chose poorly or your name no longer applies, you can change it.
Names connected with crystals, minerals, plants, stones, colors, and trees are other possible choices. Names like Amber, Rose, and Willow are commonly found among Wiccans. Druids often take the name of the tree they feel most connected to.