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Finding your Craft Name

In the Olde Days, when our pagan ancestors were going through the persecutions we now
invoke to justify various kinds of current silliness, witches took craft names to conceal
their identities and avoid those annoying visits by the Inquisition. In the course of years,
it was noticed that these aliases could also be used as a foundation for building up a
magical personality, carrying out various kinds of transformative work on the self, and
the like. It's clear, though, that these were mere distractions from the real purpose lying
hidden within the craft name tradition. It took contact with other sources of ancient,
mystic lore -mostly the SCA, role-playing games, and assorted fantasy trilogies - to
awaken the Craft to the innermost secret of craft names: they make really cool fashion
statements. It's in this spirit that Lady Pixie Moondrip offers the following guidelines to
choosing your own craft name. Such a guide is long overdue; the point of fashion, after
all, is that it allows you to express your own utterly unique individuality by doing exactly
the same thing as everyone else. (Those who are particularly drawn to this element of the
craft name tradition will find the Random Craft Name Generator near the end of this
guide especially useful.) The approaches given here can be used separately, or combined
in a single name to produce any number of interesting effects. Given enough cleverness
(and lack of taste), the possibilities are endless!

Starting Off Right
Whatever else you do, you should certainly begin your craft name with "Lord" or "Lady."
First of all, it's pretentious, and that's always a good way to start. Secondly, it makes an
interesting statement about a religion that supposedly has its roots in the traditions of
peasants and rural tribes-people. Thirdly, since most Craft groups use exactly these same
words for the God and the Goddess, this creates a (by no means inappropriate) confusion
about just who it is that we worship. (Although in some traditions the title Lord and Lady
have to be earned.)

Divine Names
Along the same lines, you can always take the name of a god, a goddess, a mythological
being or a legendary hero as your craft name, thus putting yourself on the same level as
the powers you invoke. Having once watched two fifteen-year-old boys get into a
fistfight over which had the right to call himself "Lord Merlin," Lady Pixie has a high
opinion of the possibilities of this approach. She notes, however, that there seems to be an
unwritten law among those who have made use of this type of name already, and it's no
doubt wisest to follow suit: the more grandiose the name that you choose, the more of a
complete nebbish you should be. Nearly anyone can carry off, say, "Lady Niwalen," but it
takes a special kind of person to handle a name like "Lord Jehovah God Almighty."
Fortunately, there are those among us who are equal to the task.
A related approach involves taking a name that implies (or, better yet, states openly) that
you are an elf or some other kind of nonhuman, magical being. This works best if you are
willing to act the part obsessively, and to get really petulant when anyone fails to respond
accordingly. Subtlety should be avoided; nobody will catch something like "Lord
Elrandir" unless they know Tolkien inside and out. Try something more like "Lord
Celeborn Pointears the Real Live Elf."

Fantasy or Fiction
The burgeoning field of fantasy fiction offers another source for fashionable craft names,
and in many cases, for interesting complications as well. One popular approach is to
choose the name of your favorite character; as with nonhumans, this works best if you
play the part, and throw a tantrum unless everyone else plays along. Given luck and a
sense of the popular, you may be able to choose everyone else's favorite character, too,
and end up tussling over a name with a dozen other people.(Mercedes Lackey is a good
author to try if this is your goal.) Both this and the last category have the added advantage
of making it clear that, as far as you are concerned, the Craft is simply a setting for make-
believe games; this can help spare you the annoyance of actually having to learn
something about it.

Inventing a Name from Scratch
The best way to do this is to come up with something that sounds, say, vaguely Celtic,
perhaps by mangling a couple of existing names together, and then resolutely avoid
looking it up in a Welsh or Gaelic dictionary. Luck is an important factor here, but there
is always the chance that you'll manage something striking. It took one person of Lady
Pixie's acquaintance only a few minutes to blur together Gwydion son of Don and Girion,
Lord of Dale, into the craft name "Lord Gwyrionin," and several months to find out that
the name he had invented, and used throughout the local pagan scene, was also the Welsh
word for "idiot."

Following a Grand Tradition
Though the ink is barely dry on most of our modern pagan "traditions," there's at least
one ancient European tradition that many people in the Craft follow: the tradition of
stealing things from non-Western peoples. Fake Indian craft names are always chic,
especially if the closest thing to contact with Native American spirituality you've ever had
is watching Dances With Wolves at a beer party. Better still, mix whatever Craft
teachings you've absorbed with a few ideas you picked up from a Michael Harner book,
break out the buckskins and the medicine pouches, and proclaim yourself a shaman.
Mind you, there are people out there who have received real Native American medicine
teachings, and they may just turn you into hamburger if you piss them off; still, that's the
risk you run if you want to be really trendy.
The Random Craft Name Generator
On the other hand, if you are individualistic like everybody else, you may be looking for
a name that expresses the uniqueness of your personality but still sounds like all the other
craft names you've ever heard. Fortunately, this isn't too hard. Several years back, a
gentleman of Lady Pixie's acquaintance told her that the best way to get laid at a pagan
gathering was to have the PA system announce, "Will Morgan and Raven please come to
the information booth?" Since the resulting crowd would include at least a third of the
female attendees, he went on, it wouldn't be too hard to meet someone interesting.
While Lady Pixie has not tried this out herself, she has tested the principle behind it in a
series of controlled double-blinded experiments, and discovered a rule that she has
modestly named Moondrip's Law: 80% of all craft names are made up of the same thirty
words (Wolf, Raven, Silver, Moon, Star, Water, Snow, Sea, Tree, Wind, Cloud, Witch,
Thorn, Leaf, White, Black, Green, Fire, Rowan, Swan, Night, Red, Mist, Hawk, Feather,
Eagle, Song, Sky, Storm and Sun) combined in various not particularly imaginative ways.
The discovery of this principle has allowed her to make the once difficult task of creating
craft names easy, by means of the Random Craft Name Generator, release 1.0. To use the
RCNG, take either two or three of the following words (using any convenient
randomizing method, including personal preference). If you take two, simply run them
together; if you take three, (more often than not) one of the words becomes the first part
of the name, and the other two are combined to form the second.
Try it out: "Rowan Moonstar." "Raven Blackthorn." "Silver Ravenw..." -uh, never mind.
For the expanded version (RCNG 1.01), come up with a name by any of the methods
covered elsewhere in this guide, or take some ordinary American name, and add a two-
word name produced on the RCNG to the end: "Gwydion Silvertree." "Sybil
Moonwitch." "Squatting Buffalo Firewater." The possibilities are endless! (Note that this
list will change with shifts in fashion; Lady Pixie expects to bring out an upgrade to
RCNG 2.0 in a year or two.)

It may be objected by the narrow-minded (who are probably all covert Christians,
anyway) that members of the Craft have better things to do with their time than the above
guidelines would suggest. This shows a complete lack of insight. First of all, in an
increasingly blasé and tolerant culture, it's becoming hard for white middle-class
Americans to get that rush of self-righteous gratification that comes from pretending to
be members of a persecuted minority; we may not be able to get burned at the stake by
calling ourselves silly names, but at least we can get laughed at, and that's something.
Secondly, if we keep on treating craft names (and the Craft as a whole) as fashion
statements, that spares us the unpleasant drudgery of actually learning magic and making
it part of our lives. Finally, if we're pretentious enough, those people who actually know
enough to magic their way out of a wet paper bag will roll their eyes and go somewhere
else, and we can keep on fighting our witch wars, casting vast astral whammies and
invoking powers we don't have a clue how to control, all in the serene certainty that no
one is actually going to get hurt. On the other hand, we could take the Craft
seriously...but who wants to do that?

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