My friends in the occult have often told me they don’t have a magickal name, or they’re not really satisfied with the one they chose. I’ve helped many friends and acquaintances choose a magickal name and wanted to write a helpful guide for neophytes or even self-taught journeymen occultists who might not know how to do this.
It is easy to outgrow a name after achieving success in your pathworking, and it’s also natural. One should remember that once you have a name you never really lose its potential or magick. Holding on to a name after it has become boring, repugnant or corny to you without replacing it can signify stagnation. When you find a name that represents your will and your role of participation in the great work, you will feel a sense of confidence and ease with it, and you should feel powerful, calm or elated when you tell others your name. (feelings will differ depending on your focus in life.)
Why Choose a Magickal Name?
It lets you choose who you are. You don’t get to choose your name when you’re born. You can shape your whole future with a name. Try it and you’ll see people treat you differently. In the Kabbalistic numerology, Gematria, each letter has a value which can form correspondences to other words and a number. It’s believed to have an effect on ones day to day affairs in manners which are not insignificant – it can shape and alter destiny.
Name changes are especially common in Hollywood where a person’s name is synonymous with their wares – its the box they frame their image in. This does not normally qualify as a magickal name, since most Hollywood name changes are done on the basis of impressing other people with their uniqueness or affiliation with a certain culture, rather than as a conscious act of Will. A well crafted magickal name is also viable across time and space universally, rather than just being a soundbyte intended towards local popular culture.
Encryption with AIK BQR, the Gematria of the Nine Chambers, or other proven numerology counts which bear significance are best. For example, Aleister Crowley chose the name Perdurabo, Latin for “I will endure until the end” in keeping with the Golden Dawn tradition of choosing a motto as a name and its magickal number in AIQ BQR form of Gematria is 557. In some societies the name is shortened to its initials and preceded by Frater or Soror.
As an example, m1thr0s noticed his chosen magickal name is a loaded name – he started getting into all kinds of irrational conflicts with people after taking it. It’s a very masculine name. The idea of completion is kind of inferred in the name because Tau is the omega point – the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This sort of name is the name of a closer – which is what m1thr0s is – someone who ties up loose ends and destroys old paradigms.
So words are powerful. This is what Abrahadababra itself hints at, being a magickal word used in curing illness. A force lies behind every word you speak or every act you engage in. The energy is happening while you are beginning to create your name.
Conversion to some traditions requires a name change, for example, in Sanatana Dharma, a convert always takes a Sanskrit name to signify the rebirthing process. Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Sikhism all require or at least advise choosing a name before taking their first step into the process of conversion. and commitment
Anyone serious enough about choosing a magickal name that will do them any good has a lot of work ahead of them. It is neither simple nor easy to correctly choose a name for magickal purposes. It is for this reason that the Buddhists of Japan, tantricists, charge upwards of a million Yen for names for deceased family. These names are intended to prevent return by utilizing long complex names in archaic kanji mostly unpronounceable by laymen.
It is not uncommon for an individual, especially in certain shamanic/tantric cultures, to have more than a handful of names, given after certain milestone events, for purposes such as abating illness or curses, and for simply having the will to choose a name given a passing of a certain level of spiritual development.
How to Start
Explore different languages and cultures, and examine how they treat names, words and nicknames
As a Mutational Alchemist, I find syncreticism is perfectly acceptable as per the magician’s will, but bear in mind you might catch flak for taking an Egyptian name when you are Irish or Chinese by descent.
Be prepared to defend your choice if confronted. Not everyone accepts the idea that race is a scientific fallacy, (even though it is) and adopting a culture you are not related to by blood has to be done with style and finesse, or people will probably make fun of you.
Decide if you want to keep your magickal name private, to be shared only with other occultists, your own coven/house or yourself, or if it will be a more public name that you use daily on message boards or have legally changed. You can have more than one magickal name.
You should always check the Gematria value of a name via one or another traditionally reputable systems – Hebrew is fine. Explore different spellings to extract the most auspicious form of the name before you decide to take it.
Decide if you would like a well established name or one that is completely unique to you. There’s no hard rule on this. Aleister Crowley took the name Baphomet as his name in the O.T.O. He became Baphomet 729 towards the end of his reign as Outer Head of the Order.
“I had taken the name Baphomet as my motto in the O.T.O. For six years and more I had tried to discover the proper way to spell this name. I knew that it must have eight letters, and also that the numerical and literal correspondences must be such as to express the meaning of the name in such a ways as to confirm what scholarship had found out about it, and also to clear up those problems which archaeologists had so far failed to solve. “
The magickal name is not a screen name or a nickname that describes some quirk. The name should denote the place you want to get to in some point in the future. It should represent not who you are, but who and what you wish to become. It’s something that you work up to. It’s much better to shoot for the impossible than something you see as attainable.
Otherwise a magickal name can be anything you like. It may represent knowledge you want to attain, or they represent standards of morality that people want to achieve – dedication, loyalty or any number of things. It calls for an honest level of self analysis and self appraisal to try to ascertain your strengths and weaknesses and figure out where you can strengthen yourself to be a better person and of better service to the Work in general.
Finally, a magickal name is taken on for life. You should feel free to add to it but it is not something that is frivolously discarded. Even if you should do so, a strong and powerful magickal name will continue to haunt you until you acknowledge it or death takes you.
And after you’ve chosen a name, try out some cool graffiti tags with it!