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Lady Pixie Moondrip's Guide to Craft Names


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I came across this thing while I was cleaning out a very, very old email account from a time when I was surrounded by fluff. As I'm sure everyone knows a few people who might have used this "Guide", I hope it can bring a smile to some faces...


Lady Pixie Moondrip's Guide to Craft Names

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--such as 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-peoples. Thirdly, since most Craft groups use exactly these same words for the God and Goddess, this creates a (by no means inappropriate) confusion about just who it is we worship.


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 15-year-old boys get into a fist-fight 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 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 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-European peoples. Fake Native American craft names are always chic, especially if the closest thing to contact with Native American sprituality 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 buckskings 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 everyone 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 herself, she has tested the principle behind it in a series of controlled double-blind 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, combined in various (but 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, 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. (Note that this list will change with shifts in fashion; Lady Pixie expects to bring out an upgrade, RCNG 2.0, in a year or two.)


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 Native American, Gaelic, or just an ordinary name, and add a two-word name produced by the RCNG to the end: "Gwydion Silvertree", "Sybil Moonwitch", "Squatting Buffalo Firewater". The possibilities are endless!



It may be said 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 blase 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 magick and making it a part of our lives. Finally, if we're pretentious enough, those people who actually know enough to magick themselves out of a wet paper bag will roll their eyes and go somewhere else, and we can keep 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?


--Lady Pixie Moondrip

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I personally did not care for it... I know neo-paganism can at times be an embarrassment - But to me it just doesn't seem right to continually make fun of another's beliefs and to the extent of the author to think up and type such a long winded jab at someone or something that has nothing to do with them. It just seems to me like something cruel children did at recess... it's not even that funny, it's just a puffing up of the author's own feathers and to an extent is as equally grandiose as taking on some of the very names it is laughing at. I just don't understand the need or the desire to spend so much time and effort making fun of something or someone that has completely no relevance to this Path. Humor often pokes fun at truths, but to me this continual need of trad witches to make fun of neo=pagans is equally as embarrassing. It isn't something I would want others to feel is a part of my personal path or of the type of values my personal path represents and I really don't feel a need to put that out to the world.




Edited to add that by author I am referring to the anonomous (sp) person who bothered to think up the original writing.

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I would actually have to agree with you, Michele. I did have reservations about posting this, however, my decision making capabilities were limited by my increduality of speaking with a "Mother Phoenix Wolf" at the time I posted it (and a few too many glasses of merlot). Another part of it was me poking fun at myself, because at the time I received this original document (some 15 years ago) I was going by the name Serenity RavenMoon...

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I did laugh while skimming, but I can see Michele's point too. I've known Wiccans that take what they do seriously. But all the others, I stay away from, or shake my head at with an awkward smile, but I dont go out of my way to try to pick on them. All the bashing of Wiccans is no different than the bashing of real witchcraft by other religions/faiths.

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I thought this was funny because I had known people that fit in every group mentioned. "Yep, they must know so and so lol." I do see your point Michelle and while I see nothing wrong with a good laugh now and again, the bashing that happens all over the internet between neo pagan vs serious crafters or wiccan vs non wiccan just to prove who is a "real" or "better witch" is getting old.

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