Anyone who’s poked around Ayslyn’s Corner might have picked up on the fact that Ayslyn isn’t my real name. Like many Wiccans and witches I use a magickal name, though thinking about it I realized that it’s kind of an unwritten “if you want to” thing. Though it’s definitely something I’ve observed a large number of the witchy community doing, and it’s also a part of the magic most of us experience when we discover Wicca and witchcraft; this ability to take on a role, a life, that is so very different from the lives we had previously led can be a heady experience.
So let’s talk about magickal names. At its most basic choosing a magickal name is simply one of the ways in which a practitioner either breaks away from the things in their life they no longer want, or takes on their new self. Renaming yourself brings the ability to hone new skills and develop new interests. Some witches will choose a magickal name at the beginning of their journey and keep it for the duration, while some feel the need to periodically shed a previously chosen name in order to continue growing and learning.
Is a magickal name a must for a practicing witch? Not at all. As with anything in Wicca you are the only one who can determine what works best for you. It’s really a matter of your personal philosophy – do you want to build upon the identity you have spent your life being, or do you wish to mentally start fresh? Neither is right or wrong.
What does a magickal name do? Though this again is dependent upon what you want it to do, a magickal name can be used to declare your devotion to the Goddess, to compartmentalize your life, or to empower your workings. The same way some sects of Christianity will baptize people who are coming into their religion, taking on a new, magickal name can be seen as a rebirth in the eyes of the Goddess. Understanding too that everything we do has magic connotations, empowering your very self can be useful.
How do you choose a magickal name? There are tons of ways to choose your magickal name, the easiest of which is to go with a name that jumps out at you. Regardless of which method you employ though, you should feel when you have the right name. Besides just choosing at random, your magickal name could come from an ancestor, a spirit guide, a favorite book or it can always be a name you create yourself. If you’re a numbers person, you might appreciate choosing your magickal name with numerology. Here’s a good explanation of how.
As for myself, I chose to take a magickal name for a couple of different reasons. First, I liked the idea of being able to become something more than I was, and I knew fairly early on that I wanted to be a more vocal witch. Because I wasn’t telling anyone of my transformation, and knew my family would be openly hostile, choosing another name to write under offered a measure of protection.
As corny as it is, the name Ayslyn came to me from a movie, Dragonheart . The antagonist’s mother’s name is Ayslyn, and it’s established in the beginning that she is a daughter of the Celts and has been a life-long friend to dragons, despite the fact that her husband has led a crusade against them. There are very few things that signify magic more so than dragons, and I just loved her name. In keeping with the idea that a magickal name has power, if/when we have another daughter we’re going to name her Ayslynn, so that she has additional protection against harm and also has part of her sister’s name, Evelynn.
Tell us about your magickal name! Did you choose it or did it find you? How important is it in your practice?