taking a new name

In the Craft, we are often taught that names have power.  We choose names to become or to represent who we are. And sometimes there is a big enough life change that names change too. In my case, I’ve had two names during my 30-ish years as a Witch.

The first name I crafted was FireWoman, and I chose it because I connected deeply at  the time with my astrological identity, which includes a decent amount of the fire element. I also loved the visual – woman-shaped flame, dancing, changing, transforming. And that name fit for a time while I worked through my Dedicant studies with Boudicca, but when I was initiated, I felt it was time to take a new name. At that time (and we’re looking at the late 90’s here), I chose RavenFire, and it has been my name since.

RavenFire was an invocation to the Mór-ríoghain and Brighid, both goddesses I’ve worked with since early on in my journey. I wanted change and I wanted inspiration – I wanted to BE change and inspiration. And RavenFire attended several Reclaiming camps and Diana’s Grove  Mystery School. She was initiated into one of the deepest realms of motherhood – losing a  child after a hard-fought battle. She also fought hard for her awakened sexuality and all the fall-out that came after. But it’s become clear in the past two years of practice that RavenFire doesn’t really fit where I am now, and I’d like to honor the name in memory of all the work I did while wielding it. The time has come for change, and it’s been fomenting for some time. This past week, the name became clear.

fearn

Fearn is pronounced FAIRn. I took the name from the ogham represented by the alder tree. I’d been looking for something to represent the perpetual state of “in-between” I find myself in while cruising through the beginnings of middle age. I have felt like a liminal being all my life, but especially in these past five years. The alder grows prolifically here in this liminal space I inhabit, this doorway where the mighty Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean.

Aside from its relation to liminality, I also chose Fearn for the ogham meaning, which is related to good advice – to counseling. My given name is associated with “advisor” in Latin, so it feels appropriate that this new name (perhaps the last) would have a tie to that as well, particularly given my vocation. Paul Rhys Mountfort says that Fearn “directs you to the sources of guidance and inspiration you have to draw upon” (Ogam, 69). That seems like exactly the right energy to be inviting in right now.

Another reason I’ve chosen Fearn is for its association with another of my patron deities, Manannán mac Lir. Manannán has been a part of my life since I moved to Astoria nearly four years ago. He has sent me many gifts from the sea, but moreover, has shared gifts via his stories as trickster and psychopomp. He connects me to my father but also to my grandfather. Manannán is the first male deity I’ve connected to in years, our work has been good, and it seemed right to include consideration of him as I selected my name.

So. Fearn it is.

If you’ve known me as RavenFire for a time, especially if you’ve primarily known me as RavenFire, please honor my wish to be known as Fearn. The time to let go of the RavenFire period has passed, and I’m ready to move into a new phase of life.

Hi. My name is Fearn. How do you do?

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