What’s in a name? Why do some people use a different name and others don’t? Does it make you a fraud? Are you just trying to be something you are not? Or should you be able to be known by any name you wish?
Some believe it is pretentious to use a “Magical” name, some believe it is deceitful or that you must be “a Fake” to use a different name. I have to admit when I come across some of the names I have seen, I do have a little involuntary eye roll. Especially when they also claim to be the great grandchild of the most powerful witch ever and are in fact themselves a High Priestess of the first order of the Witches of Everything or something equally fantastical. But who am I to say what is right or wrong… it’s just a name and title! And after all, I use a different name myself!
“Mystic Mary” or “Jane Black, Psychic and Tarot Reader”, these are names and titles that tell you who these people are and what they do. My name is Angela, (which is not a secret if you follow me on Facebook) but let’s be honest, if you saw a webpage or blog entitled “Angela” would you even give it a second glance? Probably not! If I used the name Angela Davis I would likely get mistaken for the American political activist. However, the name Sapphire Moon might resonate with you as someone that you could possibly have a shared interest with.
Sometimes an alias can enable people to join in on social media, to learn about their craft and feel free to comment and contribute where they can. You may be well and truly out of the broom cupboard but not everyone is. Being openly a Witch, Pagan or Wiccan is wonderful and very freeing. However, when you are free to practice your beliefs it can be hard to either remember or imagine what it is like not to be able to do this. Not everyone has the luxury of being truly open and for them a different name can be very liberating.
Others maybe very shy. Having been an extremely shy child I know how debilitating that can be in social situations, when trying to join in. Using an alternate name, something that feels spiritual and something you can connect with, can help you engage more and give you the confidence to join in where you ordinarily wouldn’t have dared. It’s almost like having a shield. Just a little protection against the (mostly) imagined harshness of trying to fit in and learn your craft with others on social media.
Lots of different names are used widely in everyday life. Let’s say you were born as Sarah Jones, that name becomes your identity. However, close family call you Ruby because of your red hair, except your Dad who has always called you Lucy (as that was his preferred name before you were born). Your baby sister calls you Ra-ra as that is all she could say when she was learning to talk, the name sticks! You get married and proudly become Mrs Smith. You have children and they call you Mum or Mom or Mam, depending on where you are from. Your family accept all of these names without even thinking about it and people in general accept Mrs Smith or Mum readily. Actors often change their names completely. We accept this as normal too. I have seen a comic fan use the name “Captain Marvel” and no-one bats an eye lid.
However, if Sarah started using the name Ra-ra Smith on social media, Woah! Others feel the need to criticise, mock or attack. Why? What harm is she doing to anyone? It’s how she identifies herself to her family! It’s the same with a Spiritual or Witch name, it is an identity. It’s how you connect with your fellow Pagans/Witches/Wiccans.
When I started my profile on social media, I used the name Sapphire Moon. I enjoyed posting and making new friends and having followers. Then after a few years, I was told to use my real name or lose my profile. So I changed my profile name and became Angela to the world of social media. As far as I was concerned it was still me, I still posted the same things but my following seemed to dwindle and I even had one lady tell me how much she missed Sapphire Moon! I was still there! People do subconsciously identify with a name (something advertisers have known for years).
How I got the name Sapphire:- I’ve always used it in one form or another since I was a teenager. I had been given a beautiful Sapphire flower ring as a present. It wasn’t hugely expensive but was my first piece of “proper” jewellery. I was in awe of those beautiful midnight blue stones.
Around the same time, CB radio became all the craze in the UK, all the boys had them, all the girls joined in and you had to have a “handle” to identify yourself. No hesitation for me, my handle was “Sapphire”. It wasn’t long before I automatically answered to the name “Angie Sapphire” or just “Sapphire”. Long after the CB craze had died down, some still identified me with the name and I guess always will.
As I left my teenage years behind and set out on my spiritual path, the name became less prominent but was always there in the background. I went through some dark times and Sapphires are said to help neutralise depression and negativity, encourage self acceptance and attract prosperity. I needed a little help with all these things at the time and was devastated when my ring was stolen.
A few years later, now in my mid twenties I had met and fallen in love with my future husband. He soon proposed with a beautiful Sapphire flower ring that he had chosen for me (no he didn’t know anything about my original ring).
I slowly started to use the name again in my personal life, so when it came to choosing a name to use on social media, it just had to be Sapphire, it was who I am after all. If I could have just kept my name of Sapphire on it’s own I would have been happy but social media wants a last name too. I do love anything connected to the moon but truthfully it was a hippie name from a British comedy program that lead me to Sapphire Moon. Well, I am a bit of a hippie too, so it seemed apt!
So, does using a Spiritual, Magical or Witch Name make you a fraud? Of course not. It’s just a name. Some people who use a different name might not always be honest but let’s face it that happens in all walks of life. It has nothing to do with what you call yourself. Some people may just use it as their only way to communicate their beliefs with the outside world. Don’t be too quick to judge those who use a different name.
If you want to use your own name or be known by one that has more significance for you, that is entirely up to you. After all, the first rule of Pagan Witchcraft is that there are no rules!
Previous blog: De-stressing a stressful Witch!
Next blog: Don’t mess with Witches