What's In A Name?

Rose The Dark Lady バラ ザ・ダークレディ
Rose The Dark Lady バラ ザ・ダークレディ (Photo credit: T.Kiya)

I’m pretty much chronically late to the party – between full time work, full time school, and trying to pretend I have hobbies, I don’t get to do a lot of reading outside of the blogs I’m already subscribed to. That is my excuse for not checking out Aine Llewellyn before now. I was browsing his posts about the Otherfaith and the deities he works with, and thinking how interestingly they were clear incarnations of Powers and yet were quite distinct from other, similar deities.

I thought about my essentially-nameless Dark Lady. I thought about the tentative work I’m doing with Chenek. And I began to wonder if maybe I wasn’t doing the others a disservice by reaching for named Gods as ways to those Powers instead of learning names or going without.

Did I take the easy way out?

Is this another layer of peeling back the onion and finding what I’m meant to be doing is still further in?

This is going to require some divination and some serious Sitting Time to figure out.

It’s hard because I’ve certainly worked with Odin and Loki, with Mara-whom-I-love, with the pop culture deities and the obscure ones. But maybe, just as I eventually understood that I wouldn’t find my Dark Lady amongst the gods known in this world, I need to learn that about the others as well. I reached out to all the Firebirds I could find in my attempt to understand myself as Firebird, after all, and that process made the understanding I came to that much stronger.

It doesn’t mean I’d stop working with Dear Mara or anyone else – I still work with Kuan Yin and some of the other ladies of the darkness. But if there’s more I should be doing, I need to acknowledge that and figure it out.

I suspect what it comes down to is: my work with Firebird and Dragon, and with the Dark Lady, is by far the most useful, sweeping work I’ve done. That’s what touches me and what changes me.

I don’t suppose anybody reading this has been in a similar place? Suggestions and advice for figuring this out would be appreciated.

0 thoughts on “What's In A Name?

  1. I’ve been actually thinking of writing one of my catch-up posts for the Pagan Blog Project on my character Kostya because he’s my own weird take on Koschei and I am mostly familiar with that figure through my character. So this sorta makes me feel like I can write about him for one of my posts without being looked at too oddly because hey people would be interested in reading that.

    Maybe also a post talking about the land-spirit who appears in the story as well because he very much likes attention and the pop culture pagan debate has intrigued him apparently. XD

  2. One of the deities I work with the most is currently unnamed (Birch Lady). I do not know if it will permanently stay that way, or if we will somehow find a preexisting name for her, or create one, but for the past two years she has lacked a name. I also used to work with an angel whose name I could not find in any books for years, until I managed to stumble upon it as a footnote in a somewhat obscure text, with little actually being said about it.

    There is also another goddess I have run into a few times who does not currently have a name. And half a dozen others that probably have names, but I have not found them yet. It can be hard for me since I like to cling to names and try to find others working with similar deities.

    So you are not the only one with that going on.

    1. I am also, to be honest, a little worried how people would react to it? But I see that kind of thing getting a little more airplay now than it used to, so that helps.

  3. I work with a lot of spirits that either don’t have names, or have names lost to me through language and cultural barriers. There’s some to which I give what you might consider a nickname just for simplicity’s sake, but it’s my personal name for them, not what I would expect anyone else to call them.

    I’ve had the experience of some entities taking on the appearance and name of ‘named’ deities or spirits either to capitalize on that persona, or to convey something about themselves more easily.

    I always try to put a name on people for my Cloudwalker Stories (sometimes), but my alibi for those is that they’re fictionalized, so that helps explain that. 😉

    As I think about it, I would rather work with a spirit having no name for them than to mistakenly attribute the wrong name to them. But then, I grew up with the idea that names were important both to understanding the present state of an individual, as well as an important guidepost to the individual about what their path was. Names changed sometimes, and everyone had easily half a dozen of them.

    I really like your Dark Lady, from what you’ve said about her. I honestly kind of wonder if her being nameless is something significant in the way it encourages you to interact with her. It forces you to reach out to her with thought and need, over summoning her by name. And it frees her to come and go as she sees fit, having one less tie to you in that you don’t share the knowledge of her name. That bit of mystery can give someone a certain power of authority to them, withholding their name. And yet, a humility to, as she’s clearly not trying to impress you with her name. You seem like the kind of person that would appreciate a deity’s essence, as revealed with minimal trappings, which she seems to have done for you.

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