Craft names remain a complex topic within the Pagan community. Its history varies according to many sources, but the explanation that makes the most sense to me is the tradition stems from secrecy within covens. A participant may want to stay anonymous in their spiritual dealings, therefore gives an alias. Some writers believe it is the first step to a long and healthy magical path. I do not agree because the only thing a person needs to begin a spiritual relationship with the Gods and Goddesses is the realization that this path is for them. Others use it to get into a spiritual mindset or to don a particular personality. My public name is not a persona, but rather a way to keep my spiritual life private.
Some Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches take multiple names. One is used for public gatherings and the Internet and the other for the private relationship with deity. I only have a public name because I do not feel the need for a private one, but it is a very personal decision. How one obtains a craft name can come from a variety sources. The most valid one in my opinion is presented to you from a deity. This comes from building a personal relationship with the Gods and Goddesses through prayer and meditation. They call you as they perceive you. Another good method comes from personal reflection. Sitting under the Full Moon a name comes into your head that feels intuitively yours. Therefore you adopt it as your own. The source of the name can be from anything. Gods, goddesses, spirits, animals, seasons, plants, etc.
A varied aspect of the craft name is the structure. Some people have a last name, others don’t. Some people even feel it is proper to title themselves, which has led to some great satire. For me this decision was practical. I have a last name because the email account I created to host this blog required one. It is a translation of my actual last name, which I feel is an appropriate nod to my ancestors.
I chose my witchy nom de plume from mythology. Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos. During Theseus’s quest to slay the Minotaur and subsequently free Athens from the sacrifice of fourteen youths every nine years, she fell in love with the hero. To help him Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of thread to help him navigate Minos’s maze. After slaying the beast, they eloped and she left Crete with Theseus. However she never made it to Athens. The story gets a little confusing from here, but Ariadne either died of sea sickness or Theseus left her on the island of Naxos (she later because wife to Dionysus). In her symbolism Ariadne represents labyrinths and tough situations. At the time I needed to devise my craft name, this story resonated with me and still does to this day. Life has a lot of twists and turns and sometimes you need something to guide you. For me, it is my personal code and my faith in the Goddess that sees me through the worst and best.
© Ariadne Woods