What is in a Name or Title?
© By Ariana Clausen – Vélez
I haven’t written anything in some time and now find myself needing to speak on certain issues that have been a regular occurrence as of late with the Craft world. This is solely my own opinions from what I have experienced or noticed over the past year. So, my only question is where do I start?
At the beginning, when we are born to this earth we are born of one parent, all of us. We are given a name in which is the character of our nature, it can define us by the energies of the letters and the numbers they are associated to, this creates a special energy in which guides us in our life whether we know it or not. Yet, there are those of us who are born into a path and a destiny in which we are meant to do works, deeds and later in life to do the greater work, this path is not one in which everyone may walk. That is the path of a born Witch/witch. Is everyone born a witch? Or are there those who later in life begin to remember who they are and find their way home through dreams, visions, and experiences in life that seem to be déĵá vu? It is both. But not every person is a Witch/witch or an old soul. To be born with this memory or soul is a gift and one that should not be taken advantage.
As we begin to recall our memories and find our path in the Craft we encounter many journeys along the way, this is what is known as a true initiation, life experiences. We come to those persons who were part of our lives in previous existences, journeys, life lessons and more, our spirit finds it way home. Yet through this journey we all go through a rediscovery of our life, those lessons we need to learn and those we have learned we draw to certain energies and yes, those come from our name in which we are given at birth. Our names are not by accident they are given to us for a reason when we are born. Names have a hidden meaning and when we come to a certain age, the coming of age we begin to learn what the meaning of that name truly represents in our life and what we are expected to achieve in that life.
So why the need to change your name when you come to the Craft or any path within the traditions that follow the teachings of the Earth Religions? I am just as guilty of this as everyone in the beginning I went through so many names to find who I was and in the end I went back to the name I was given at birth. Do I have a Craft name? Yes, but it is secret and only known by the Gods who gave it to me. Do I use it openly? No. My first openly used Craft name I used with Dark Fortress, this being the Gaelic meaning of my birth name, so I was not far off in the use of it. My birth name literally means Dark and it makes sense to me as I am born under the Egyptian God Seth and have always been drawn to the dead and the realms that were of the Underworld. I was never afraid of the dark, I see easily in the dark and I have always been interested and easily open about communication with the dead and their messages. When I was little we lived across the street from a cemetery and my bedroom window faced the cemetery. Does this mean I have the right to use the name of the Underworld Goddess, Queen of the Underworld Hecate? No, the only one who is Hecate is Hecate; she is the Queen of the Underworld and of Witchcraft, no other, least a human. For this matter the names of the Gods and Goddesses are not meant to be taken for use by any human. Are you willing to take on the full nature of that God or Goddess? You can do just as much by working and serving the Gods and doing their work without taking their name for your own use. In my family tradition of the Craft, Strega and most paths of the Traditional Craft to take on the name or title in which is first and foremost that of a God or Goddess is forbidden.
In past years I have noticed that many persons in the Wiccan traditions take on names of not only the Gods and Goddesses, but that of demons and the spirits of the Lesser Key of Solomon. Women seem to without truly understanding what they represent takes on the name of Adam’s first wife, her name shall not be spoken herein, but it is L___h. Now, because modern day Wicca has taken this name and they think it represents those women who are rebellious to man and refuse to be under man. Well, this name has a far more demonic and evil nature behind it and if one were to study the history they would know that this force, demon is one who can only be controlled by her husband, an Assyrian and Babylonian demon Pazuzu, yet he is the protector of pregnant women and is the only one who has control over his wife. She being the one that all pregnant women need protection from as she goes after the unborn and causes them death. She is a succubus, pure evil. Yet many today take this name as an open craft name.
When one takes on a Craft name you are also taking on the energy and nature of that name, the number association to the name and all characteristics that come along with the name. A name carries much energy along with it; it carries the numerical vibrations of the numbers to each letter, a planetary association and nature of the planet and number of the planet, the individual meaning to each letter within the name the vibrations of the vowels, the heaven and colour/s. A name is not just a name; it is a life force that manifests within nature herself. Know that taking on a name you must so be prepared to manifest that nature in your life and your works.
You have a given name, why not use it? Know Thyself, Nothing in Excess (Maxim on the Temple of Delphi). Until you do, you will never be grounded and you will never be validated by the Gods. Your name is your name for a reason, find out that and who you are and accept what you have been given; it is a gift of life. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus’s Twin Brother wrote those things in which his Brother Jesus taught him and one thing he taught him was this; “When you know yourselves, then you will be known (you shall walk with the Gods and be amoung the divine), and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do NOT know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty. We are all of one parent. Also, spoken to me from my “True Mother”, in Egypt all the Temples carried an inscription on them addressed to all initiates “Know Thyself”, this maxim goes farther back than the Greeks, for to Know Thyself is to be divine.
A name is everything and when of the Craft all that much more. The Gods watch all of us, those who are seeking, those who are Priestesses and Priests and those who learning and remembering. The truth behind ones’ craft name is the Gods, they name you when they see you are worthy of their works and service and this comes in time, not days, not weeks, but many, many years of service. When this day comes it is a name that is solely between you and the Gods. It is a secret never to be shared with another. This is one’s first lesson of the Oath of Silence. To break this Oath is unforgivable by the Gods and shows them you are not one to be trusted.
Now I come to the topic of titles within the Craft. There are many it seems and more each day.
What is in a title? Who has the right to use rank? Is there any other, other than Diana, Isis, Ishtar, Hecate that can be called the Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Underworld, Queen of Witchcraft?
A title is something that is earned through hard work and is given upon either an initiation and in which case is only validated by the Gods and/or when one is Ordained and still one must prove they are worthy of such a title. However, when one is given this gift, and it is a gift one should be wise not to abuse such a gift. What the Gods have given they too can take away.
In my earlier years of finding my way home I had to learn some hard lessons from that of others and how they carried themselves. I have always had respect for other people and treat them as I would like them to treat me, no this is not a Christian maxim it is a human maxim.
When I began remembering it was as a young child, however, I did not have the mother or teachers to guide me to understand what I was seeing in my dreams and visions. As I got older and started to understand more I began my journey of remembering who I was in life. I had no teacher in the beginning, I had only what many today have the books that are for sale today and the internet, yet in reading and searching out information much of it did not make sense and it seemed as if there was a lot of the same information being sold in different books, this did not help. I came upon many web sites at the time MSN groups was the place for information and yet there were few out of hundreds that had any information that was solid, it seemed everyone was an expert, everyone was a High Priestess or High Priest, everyone was on a council. There were more chiefs than Indians.
Then I came upon this online school, Witchschool. I thought here is a place where I can learn and find what I am seeking. I was with them for a couple of years and went through a self-initiation after a year and a half of studies, and then continued but soon into my second degree studies discovered that they too were only presenting what was already out there and whenever I had questions outside of my First Degree Mentor nobody was ever available, either by phone or email. I soon ended my relationship with them and had resigned.
Continuing my journey I ended up with a High Priestess Poobah out of Canada, who had laid claims to being part of a large organisation out of Toronto and later that year she had elected to do my second degree/High Priestess initiation on line. I had sought out advice from another regarding this matter, and I will not mention her by name out of respect for her privacy, she advised against it; well suffice to say I got hit yet again hard. When I asked about the filing of the papers and when I was to receive my official letter she kept putting it off finally I contacted the organisation directly this being the First Wiccan Church of Canada. When I got through I found out that not only did this person not belong with them, but that she had stolen their watermark logo for the certificate she provided me. I was told at this point to cease and desist calling myself a Priestess.
I was again in a place of questioning, not of the Gods of validation, but of how can man abuse so easily those true seekers and the Oaths of the Gods. What does it truly mean and was I valid? I was overwhelmed with many feelings of betrayal.
At this point I ended up with a local coven in my resident location and began with them only after they sought me out. At the time I did not understand this to be a red flag. However, I went to weekly study groups, camping trips and all rituals. One time when we had gone on a camping trip for Lupercalia or Imbolc, I at this point was far more advanced than even the so called High Priest or High grand poobah of the coven at the time. I found that he was at this time 13 years my junior. I found myself challenging many things he did as I had been taught otherwise and I was told not to challenge and I did not know what I was talking about. Then at a full moon gathering in which we had in my home I had prepared the altar cleansed the space and made preparations for the esbat, upon the grand poobah’s arrival he took a statue from my altar and placed it on the floor. Now, if anyone knows anything about a Witch’s altar that is Never touch it, it destroys the magic and you never know what energies that other person may have or their intentions. This night I was told I needed to tone my energy down and that I needed to not be so zealous for the Goddess. Now at this point what was to be an esbat gathering ended up being a meeting of telling me what I could and could not do, well I put together my resignation at this time and handed it the following Monday.
You seek out and sometimes others seek you out, but in truth when you seek the Gods and seek to serve them they will guide you on your path, always. At this point I had already made plans to join this coven for Samhain in Salem, MA this year and had prior to resigning them found a local Church and had contacted who is now my True Mother and Elder, Lori Bruno. I knew that I was truly home and knew I was where I belonged, I found my Mother. I remember the first time I had dinner with my Ma and in the lobby of the hotel following dinner my True Mother cast a circle with those members of the Church and myself to honour the Full Moon that night and the night of Samhain in sending our messages to the dead. When she opened the circle she took my hand and said something that has stayed with me to this day, being initiated or having a title is only something that the Gods validate, man has NO authority over man, the Gods created us, and bestow powers and gifts to us and it is up to us to use them wisely and earn the respect and honour from the Gods and you may initiate yourself simply by looking to the heavens and asking of the Gods, it is up to them to validate the initiation by showing a sign following. You learn many things through your experiences and the one thing I learned is that man does NOT have the authority to tell you whether you are worthy or not to the Gods, only the Gods can speak to your worth or validation, not man.
When posing these questions I had to first speak of my experiences to help those of you who read this article better understand why I pose such questions to a larger audience.
In being under a True Mother I have learned a great many lessons, and shall learn a great many more, however, the most important one I have learned is this that man does not bow to man and looks to the heavens and to the Gods in the heavens. Only the Gods can validate you as a Priestess or Priest by your works, deeds and service to the Great Work, helping those who are of greater need than yourself and doing it with an open heart. Only in this are you a true Priestess or Priest.
When it comes to titles, yes, they are bestowed but only after many, many years of study and training and then when it is bestowed it is not to be taken lightly or used to abuse others, it is now something you have to prove you are worthy of holding, this by what you do and how you live life and aid others. A title is a gift from the Gods it is not rank over another and it is not to be used to make oneself higher than another, we are all equal in the eyes of the Gods. One who abuses such a title we like to call them a Grand PooBah and these are the ones who come to the Wiccan traditions only to obtain title and rank for the sole purpose to abuse those who they think are under them.
In much of my early studies I was to watch many videos of the traditions and one always stands out to me, it was one of Janet Farrar when she was a young woman and a High Priestess, she was preparing for a Sabbat Ritual and called upon her coven mates to prepare her for ritual. They came and they were directed to remove her upper clothing and to brush her hair and then place her head piece upon her head, prior to that they had to bow before there entrance to her room. There are many High Priestesses and High Priests out there that simply abuse this power this is not what is means to be a High Priestess or a High Priest, let alone a Reverend of the Old Religion.
We are held to a higher standard, a higher code of ethics and respect for all religions, humanity and all living creatures that live on this Earth. We are NOT above the Gods we are mere ants to them and they can wash us out, just as Jupiter did in his flood after mankind started eating one another, he got so angry he called upon the seas and brought a flood that washed away all of humanity. We need to understand that without the Gods we would not exist, we all come from the same parent and we need to step back and listen more carefully to what they are saying and the signs they are showing us today.
The Craft and magic is not a game and today so many come to the Old Craft, Wicca, and all the other traditions and names for one reason only, instant validation, and a speed course to become a High Priestess or High Priest. My answer to them is do not contact me, I will not call you by a name in which is rightfully that of the God or Goddess, it is not your name to take, I will not call you a Queen the only Queen is Diana the only Lord or Father is Apollo. I will not bow to you; I look to the heavens to my Gods and honour them every day of my life by giving to those who are in need and being there for those who seek my advice or guidance.
Lastly, I come to something in which I have noticed a great deal of as of late, a mass number of people wanting to learn Strega or who claim to be Strega without the proof of lineage. Some time back a couple of years ago I saw throughout the internet sites many people suddenly wanting to become Strega thinking that Strega is like any other path or tradition. In this I sought out permission to speak as to what Strega is, without breaking any Oaths of Silence and was so granted, so I wrote a small article on Strega Who are We. The path of a Strega is not an easy path, it is a path of Justice to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves, a path of the Warrior to fight and battle between the realms in times of spiritual warfare as above, so below, to speak truth when others cower and high behind their ignorance and hatred. It is a path of Secrets and Oaths and one that is not for just anyone. The Strega is a hereditary lineage of a blood line that one is born into, however, there are few who are either invited in or adopted into the family and this is rear but when one is invited in or adopted it is because they are of the Great Work and the Heart.
You want to walk the path of a Witch, then first learn to Know Thyself, Nothing in Excess. Always remember your name it is who you are and to hold a title is a privilege and a gift and if abused it can be taken away as easily as it is given. The path of a High Priestess or High Priest is not an easy path, it is full of responsibilities to others and you sometimes have to be the one who makes the hard decisions whether you like it or not, you as a High Priestess or High Priest are responsible for those who are under you and within your Church, Temple, Coven, Grove, etc…, and to say No when necessary. You are a High Priestess and High Priest, it is not a title of glorification or privilege and you must get your own hands dirty and you may only ask of those who are with you to do what you, yourself are first willing to do, the Priesthood is a path of working with and serving the Gods daily and teaching those under you the lessons they will one day pass on to another.
All these lessons I have learned from my True Mother, my Mother and Grandmother and my own personal journeys in my life, and I will continue to learn more.
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As also seen on Witchvox this week as a featured article, http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=uspr&c=words&id=14947.