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Author Topic: Are you a Namer too?  (Read 1067 times)

Altair

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Are you a Namer too?
« on: April 02, 2017, 08:03:00 pm »
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one who knows me from this forum that I'm a namer: I feel compelled to give things names, and not just any names, but what to me feel like the perfect names. My pagan name was chosen after careful deliberation; my two swords have names; my self-discovered gods all had to have just the right names (and symbols); the guardian spirit of my garden, the garden itself, my bike, my watches...I enjoy learning the scientific names of birds and other living things..... And I have an unshakeable belief that naming things matters. It's an inherent part of my paganism, so deeply rooted that I don't think its even conscious.

Perhaps most interestingly, I'm adamant about what should NOT be named: the perpetrators of monstrous crimes. I refuse to use the name of the guy who killed all those grade school kids in Connecticut; I try not to even remember the name of the white guy who visited a black church and randomly killed the churchgoers who had welcomed him; etc. Their names don't merit an iota of my brain space (I save that for their victims), they sought notoriety and will never get it from me, and I wish the news media would refrain from using their names and that, in fact, there was a law that would revoke their birth certificates and erase their Social Security numbers and eradicate their identities. Let them be forever nameless.

There are many myths and legends about the importance of names, beliefs about how knowing something's true names gives one power over that thing (perhaps most famously, the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin). So clearly names have long been associated with something important about the thing named. And it's fundamental to what makes our species different from our fellow animals--the ability to hang all sorts of ideas, concepts, and associations on a verbal/written abstraction: a word or, more specifically, a name.

Maybe my naming propensity is tied in to being a writer and editor. But does anyone else have the naming compulsion? How often and under what circumstances does it tend to happen? Do you consider it part of your paganism? Do you have any thoughts or insights about human and/or pagan tendency to name things?
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Dynes Hysbys

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Re: Are you a Namer too?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 04:22:05 am »
Quote from: Altair;204567
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one who knows me from this forum that I'm a namer: I feel compelled to give things names, and not just any names, but what to me feel like the perfect names. My pagan name was chosen after careful deliberation; my two swords have names; my self-discovered gods all had to have just the right names (and symbols); the guardian spirit of my garden, the garden itself, my bike, my watches...I enjoy learning the scientific names of birds and other living things..... And I have an unshakeable belief that naming things matters. It's an inherent part of my paganism, so deeply rooted that I don't think its even conscious.

There are many myths and legends about the importance of names, beliefs about how knowing something's true names gives one power over that thing (perhaps most famously, the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin). So clearly names have long been associated with something important about the thing named. And it's fundamental to what makes our species different from our fellow animals--the ability to hang all sorts of ideas, concepts, and associations on a verbal/written abstraction: a word or, more specifically, a name.

Maybe my naming propensity is tied in to being a writer and editor. But does anyone else have the naming compulsion? How often and under what circumstances does it tend to happen? Do you consider it part of your paganism? Do you have any thoughts or insights about human and/or pagan tendency to name things?


Interesting thought - I am an animist so I should I guess be a namer but I'm not. I use the names I am given by  the spirit in that (say) tree or rock. If they choose not to give me one then I don't feel that I have the right to impose one on them for my own convenience.

sevensons

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Re: Are you a Namer too?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 04:59:00 am »
Quote from: Altair;204567
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one who knows me from this forum that I'm a namer: I feel compelled to give things names, and not just any names, but what to me feel like the perfect names. My pagan name was chosen after careful deliberation; my two swords have names; my self-discovered gods all had to have just the right names (and symbols); the guardian spirit of my garden, the garden itself, my bike, my watches...I enjoy learning the scientific names of birds and other living things..... And I have an unshakeable belief that naming things matters. It's an inherent part of my paganism, so deeply rooted that I don't think its even conscious.

Perhaps most interestingly, I'm adamant about what should NOT be named: the perpetrators of monstrous crimes. I refuse to use the name of the guy who killed all those grade school kids in Connecticut; I try not to even remember the name of the white guy who visited a black church and randomly killed the churchgoers who had welcomed him; etc. Their names don't merit an iota of my brain space (I save that for their victims), they sought notoriety and will never get it from me, and I wish the news media would refrain from using their names and that, in fact, there was a law that would revoke their birth certificates and erase their Social Security numbers and eradicate their identities. Let them be forever nameless.

There are many myths and legends about the importance of names, beliefs about how knowing something's true names gives one power over that thing (perhaps most famously, the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin). So clearly names have long been associated with something important about the thing named. And it's fundamental to what makes our species different from our fellow animals--the ability to hang all sorts of ideas, concepts, and associations on a verbal/written abstraction: a word or, more specifically, a name.

Maybe my naming propensity is tied in to being a writer and editor. But does anyone else have the naming compulsion? How often and under what circumstances does it tend to happen? Do you consider it part of your paganism? Do you have any thoughts or insights about human and/or pagan tendency to name things?

 
I am more into grouping of actual names to create a bit of magic to rid of illness for instance a squirrel witch is a member of the Sciuridae and a turtle who is of the order of Testudines.
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Jenett

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Re: Are you a Namer too?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 09:37:58 am »
Quote from: Altair;204567
But does anyone else have the naming compulsion? How often and under what circumstances does it tend to happen? Do you consider it part of your paganism? Do you have any thoughts or insights about human and/or pagan tendency to name things?

 
I reliably name my cars, my technology (phone, tablet, computer - I don't name my work computers, though, mostly because network naming conventions.) I don't generally name witchy tools.

Naming is also part of my tradition: we were expected to choose a name at dedication, a (different, generally) name at 1st degree, could choose to do so at 2nd (I didn't) and a name at 3rd. In practice, I use my dedication name for most stuff not related to work (it's Jenett), and my 3rd degree name when being formalish in ritual, and use my 1st degree name only in small circle situations where I know and trust everyone I'm working with. They're really effective tools for helping me switch mindset. Plus my legal name, which I mostly use only at work and other stuff that requires legal name these days.

(If you call me Jenett, it's a cue to my brain that I can talk about personal stuff. If you call my Althaea, I will be in priestess-hat mode. If you call me my first degree name, it immediately kicks me into close personal interaction headspace.)

For other things - rivers, say - sometimes I get a name, sometimes I don't. Names are complicated but they matter, y'know?
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Kylara

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Re: Are you a Namer too?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 11:56:54 am »
Quote from: Altair;204567

Maybe my naming propensity is tied in to being a writer and editor. But does anyone else have the naming compulsion? How often and under what circumstances does it tend to happen? Do you consider it part of your paganism? Do you have any thoughts or insights about human and/or pagan tendency to name things?


I have never thought about naming things being tied to being Pagan.  But I would definitely say I'm a namer!   Also a writer, and definitely while writing names are important.  I will spend more time agonizing over a name, because I want it to be right, I want it to fit, and often I want it to have hidden meaning....I love my thesaurus!  I can come up with physical descriptions and backstory in a snap, but names, names are tricky.

I also run RPG games, and same here.  I need the names to work.  I keep a list of good names, just in case I need to name someone on the fly (but I hate that, and I hate it even more when I get stumped and end up naming someone Jack or Smith or something generic...unless there is a reason for them to be super generic).

I also grew up naming things.  We had a joke around our house, that everything that came into the house was named George.  It was my dad who always said that, and when his mother passed, I found a little spider that was preserved in plastic...and it has the name George written in marker on a piece of tape on it!

But I don't name everything.  I have significant tools that have been named (mostly my blades) but my wands are not named.  I have named my cars, my computer, my tech (like tablet/phone).  


Quote from: Jenett;204585


(If you call me Jenett, it's a cue to my brain that I can talk about personal stuff. If you call my Althaea, I will be in priestess-hat mode. If you call me my first degree name, it immediately kicks me into close personal interaction headspace.)


 
This I very much identify with.  I have many names I go by, and which one people call me absolutely tells me how (and how well) they know me.  On forums I rarely go by my birth name.  I play multiplayer computer games, and same.  So I not only have a couple Pagan names (from different eras in my life), but gamer names.  A rare few of my online gamer friends have graduated to knowing my given name.

I started this trend back in grade school, with early playground games of make believe.  I had a couple very close friends, and we all had alternative identities (we were Elfquest fans, so we all had our 'elf selves').  In high school, I had a teacher who let us pick our own nickname, and since there were three other girls in my class with my name (which I didn't like much as a child anyways), I went by George that year..which sort of stuck with me.

I know that I react differently in different groups.  Not so much putting on a different mask so much as letting different parts of my self take the reins.  So hearing a name that I go by sort of calls up that part of me.

I also try to call people by the names they are known in any particular group.  So if I know someone's given name, but we are in a game together, I'll use their game name.  If I met someone online and they gave one name, but I later find out their name is something else, I'll use the one they gave me unless told otherwise.  I always try to call people by the name they prefer to be called, even if that changes over time or in different circumstances.  Especially online, I have some friends that are in multiple groups and use different names in each one.
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Mountain Cat

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Re: Are you a Namer too?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 09:06:01 pm »
Quote from: Altair;204567
But does anyone else have the naming compulsion? How often and under what circumstances does it tend to happen? Do you consider it part of your paganism? Do you have any thoughts or insights about human and/or pagan tendency to name things?


I've got a bit of a naming thing going on. It's always been very important for me to pick just the right name for things. It took me six weeks once to get just the exactly perfect name for my cat.

This post is also really timely, as I'm auditioning ritual names for myself. It's actually harder than I thought it would be, because It's not something I ever expected to do.

My own name has been something that has bothered me all my life. I hate it. And, if possible, will avoid using it. I've just recently realized I could actually go by one of my name's various diminutives. So I'm considering that, too.

So when you ask if it's part of my paganism: yes. And now that I have the idea, I think I will consider names for ritual objects. Awesome. Thanks. :)

Altair

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Re: Are you a Namer too?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2017, 09:54:45 pm »
Quote from: Mountain Cat;204600
I've got a bit of a naming thing going on. It's always been very important for me to pick just the right name for things. It took me six weeks once to get just the exactly perfect name for my cat.

This post is also really timely, as I'm auditioning ritual names for myself. It's actually harder than I thought it would be, because It's not something I ever expected to do.

My own name has been something that has bothered me all my life. I hate it. And, if possible, will avoid using it. I've just recently realized I could actually go by one of my name's various diminutives. So I'm considering that, too.



I can relate to "name dysphoria," if I may use that term. I took a pagan name (which I use as my handle for The Cauldron) because I wanted one, but also because doing pagan work with my given name, Christian, was, well, something of a contradiction in terms.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Sefiru

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Re: Are you a Namer too?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 06:32:32 pm »
Quote from: Kylara;204591
Also a writer, and definitely while writing names are important.  I will spend more time agonizing over a name, because I want it to be right, I want it to fit, and often I want it to have hidden meaning....I love my thesaurus!  I can come up with physical descriptions and backstory in a snap, but names, names are tricky.

 
Most of my thinking about names has to do with my writing. Of course, when all you have to work with are words, those words have to carry more of the weight of communicating to the reader.

Growing up, my family weren't much into naming things. We did name our pets, but not with any great deliberation; we never named any inanimate objects, though I think we discussed naming our boats. (We didn't; they are "the canoe" and "the kayak".)

The other place I consider names important is in my artwork. I'm not one of those people who calls their pieces "Untitled #23". Mind you, a lot of my titles are plain descriptions ("Mouse"), but some are less straightforward. Either way, I rarely have to think about what I'm going to name a piece; by the time it's done, I know what its name is.

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