Have had a few things come up involving names. First it was this blog by Star Foster on Pantheon about names.
“… taking a religious name, a spiritual name, is a mark of commitment. It’s taking a stand. Saying “this I believe” or “these are my people.” It becomes a vital part of your identity and ties you to something larger than yourself.”
Since I became Pagan in 1995, I’ve had two public spiritual names (Feisty Kat and Melia Suez), one coven name (HA oath bound, so I’m not telling) and then the name Zeus gave me (never sure if I should share this one or not so I don’t). I’ve never taken a deities name though…to me it seems disrespectful, arrogant, etc. I’ve recently been involved in a discussion on Facebook about this. One person mentioned that the ancients took on the name of the gods quite often:
“People were named after Gods (Apollodoros, Apollonius, Dionysius, Aphrodisia, Artemisia, Artemidoros) and so were cities (Dion, Athina, Apollonia, Asklepios, Demetrias, etc”
I then pointed out to them that while those names honor the gods, they are NOT the god’s name. They took a portion of their name and added endings that were attributes to honor that deity. For example, Apollodoros and Apollonius are not the same as Apollo or Apollon. So no they didn’t take the deity’s name, they took a characteristic or a description that belongs to that deity. With this, I have no problem. I think it is a great way to honor your chosen deity. But let’s move on to my biggest naming pet peeve…
Naming pets after deities. I think it is the height of disrespect to name an animal for which you are responsible after a god. To me it seems like an attempt to put oneself above that deity, to control that deity. I can’t tell you how many people name their pets Zeus or Apollo or Artemis or Loki. Really people?! Even if you adore your pet as much as any other pet in your family, even if they are the best behaved pet ever, at some point you are going to have to discipline them. Saying, “No Zeus. Bad boy.” just doesn’t seem very appropriate way to honor the gods. Do the Gods understand the difference? Of course, but that isn’t the point. You wouldn’t name a pet the same name as your child or a relative, as a matter of respect and consideration. (Though yes, the same names do occur accidentally in pets and family members. We had a dog named Cody…my sister married a man whose son’s name was Cody.) So why would you name your cat Venus?! This just doesn’t make sense to me. Or Gods forbid, after Loki. Loki while a very fine god in his own right, is a god of chaos, of forced change. Why would you want a pet to imitate that?! Do you enjoy having your possessions destroyed?! Sheesh. Ok, end of rant.
This left me wondering about the meanings of my given name and my chosen names. Since I haven’t visited this in a while I spent some time researching it. Next post will cover these…got to go feed my boy-child.