Lesson Six: Your Magickal Names

Headmaster Oberon Zell and Provost Nicholas Kingsley

Mar 6, 2023

Lesson Six: The Magickal Name"

By Headmaster Oberon Zell
Video Lesson by Provost Nicholas Kingsley"

Lesson Six: Your Magickal Names

By Headmaster Oberon Zell
Video Lesson By Provost Nicholas Kingsley


As a Wizard, you will acquire several names at different phases of your life. Your first name is the one your parents gave you when you were born. If you were born into a magickal family, it may even have been given to you in a special naming ceremony, or seining (baby-blessing). This is your birth-name and the one by which your parents and close family will always know you.

In all tribal societies, and in the Magickal community, a second name is given at the first Rite of Passage, from childhood into adolescence (traditionally on or between your 11th and 13th birthdays). There are many variations of such Rites, but they commonly include an ordeal or challenge. Here is a brief account of such:

“On the day the boy was thirteen years old, the Wizard Ogion returned to the village, and the ceremony of Passage was held. The Witch took from the boy the name his mother had given him as a baby. Nameless and naked he walked into the cold springs of the river Ar where it rises among rocks under the high cliffs. He crossed to the far bank, shuddering with cold but walking slow and erect as he should through that icy, living water. As he came to the bank Ogion, waiting, reached out his hand and clasping the boy’s arm whispered to him his true name.

“Thus was he given his name by one very wise in the uses of power.” —A Wizard of Earthsea (pp. 14-15)

The name you receive upon this Rite of Passage is your first magickal name, or, as it is sometimes called, your circle name. It is the name by which you will be known among other magickal folks, but not among Mundanes. If it is given to you ritually by a mage, it may also be your soul-name or true name. “No one knows a man’s true name but himself and his namer. He may choose at length to tell it to his brother, or his wife, or his friend, yet even those few will never use it where any third person may hear it.” —A Wizard of Earthsea (p. 69)

Usually, around the same time, you will also acquire a use-name or nickname by which you will be known to your friends. “In front of other people, they will, like other people, call him by his use-name, his nickname—such a name as Sparrowhawk, and Vetch, and Ogion which means ‘fir-cone.’” —A Wizard of Earthsea (p. 69)

Later, as you go forward through life on a magickal path, you will acquire other names among other circles of people. If you receive Initiation into various magickal Orders, Circles, and Traditions, you may be given a new circle name each time, to be used only among those people. In many ways, a magickal name is pretty much the same as a superhero name, like those of the X-Men. Since most people in the magickal community also move in the mundane world (going to school, having jobs, etc.), many have a common magickal use-name that serves them in both communities—such as Star, Dragon or Wolf.



The magical name chosen by members of the original Order of the Golden Dawn, a hundred years ago, was often just their family motto. Today, however, most magickal people pick a name which is deeply meaningful to them personally, and to their spiritual direction. The search to find such a name can be time-consuming, involving, and powerful to those who do it.

Until you actually undergo a Rite of Passage or magickal Initiation, you cannot receive a true magickal name from me or anyone else. Later in your studies, you will certainly want to undertake a Quest to find a True Name for yourself. This will be a deep journey of discovery into your own essential identity and destiny and may take a while to fulfill. But right now, at this beginning of your Apprenticeship, I recommend that you consider taking a magickal Use-Name with which you will personally identify, and be known by among your closest friends. The possibilities, of course, are endless.

Many people in the magickal community choose names based upon things in Nature. Especially popular are Totems—that is, those animals with which they feel the closest kinship. For many years (1979-‘94) my name was Otter. If you feel a greater kinship with plants than with animals, you might wish to take a green name, such as a tree, herb or flower. There are also minerals, places, stories, etc. you can draw from. Here are a few examples out of countless possibilities:

Animals: Badger Bear Buffalo Cougar Crow Dragon Eagle Fox Gryphon Hawk Horse Moose Otter Phoenix Raven Robin Spider Wolf

Plants: Ash Aspen Branch Bud Cypress Fir

Forest Herb Leaf Oak Root Rowan Seed Thorn

Minerals: Amber Crystal Jade Jasper Rock Stone

Other things:

Dark

Fire Flame Heart Light Lore Moon Ocean Rain River Sea Snow Sky Star Storm Sun Tempest Way

Attributes: Binder Bringer Cutter Dancer

Finder Flyer Healer Lover Jumper Mender Runner Singer Walker Weaver Wise

Colors: You can also add color to any name—like “Greywolf,” “Silverflame” or “Whiteoak.”

Combining: Any of these names (or others you may come up with) can be combined into one name, like author Starhawk, or used as two or even three, like the late actor River Phoenix; or author Silver Ravenwolf. You can get names like “Snowcat,” “Seawolf,” “Stardancer” or “Skywise” (from Elfquest). Use your imagination!

Numerology: Another consideration is your Magickal Number. This is taken by adding up all the numbers in your birthdate (including all four digits in the year), and then adding them again, until you get a final single-digit number. This is your Birth Number. Many magickal folks believe that your name should have the same number.

Naming Ceremony: When you have finally chosen a magickal name for yourself, you should write it into the following spell (and in your Magickal Journal). Then stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say:

“I name myself ----. I have said it now once.

---- shall I be. I have now said it twice.

I am ---- . I have said it now thrice,

And what I say three times is true! By all the powers of land and sea, As I do will, so mote it be!”

Video Lesson: Click here

Assignment #6: After watching the Video lesson and reading the above write an essay sharing your experiences regarding Magickal names. How did you find or choose your own magickal name? Do you have other “special” names like nicknames that describe important parts of yourself? Do you have lots of names or only a few? How well do they fit you? Have you ever outgrown a name?

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