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Names

August 25, 2011
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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.

 

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. MorningGlory permalink
    August 25, 2011 9:49 AM

    I have been practicing for about 34 years and I agree with you on each point, especially the pet thing!

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  2. August 25, 2011 9:53 AM

    I agree, of course I received the name Lykeia when I was in Hellas but it was derived from Apollon Lykeios, and I found later it was also an epithet of Artemis. I think I am more familiar with epithets being more directly used.. Phoebus and Phoebe are a couple of great examples that are not uncommon. But I don’t think I would be comfortable with anything directly using the gods name as a name for myself, much less for my pet. I completely agree with the points you have presented here.

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    • August 25, 2011 11:38 AM

      I don’t have a problem with using epithets either…well for the most part. I might have an issue with someone using Anax (High King). 😀

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  3. Stephen Glaser permalink
    August 25, 2011 11:38 AM

    I remember being at the vets with my cat, and seeing this dog whose owner named him Zeus. It took a lot of restraint not to ask him how would I like it if I got a dog and named him Jesus. Of course I wouldn’t actually do this…

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    • August 25, 2011 11:43 AM

      ohhhh that is a lovely point…but it also points to the problem that many people don’t know that there ARE people that worship the Greek gods and of those most of them wouldn’t care. Heck there are even PAGANS who don’t realize this (though I’m not sure HOW!). I was at a workshop last year and the Pagan presenter made a comment about no one honoring the Greek gods now. I promptly raised my hand and said very politely how completely wrong he was…

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  4. August 25, 2011 6:32 PM

    I agree with you on the pet naming it is disrespectful I think.I use the Name ArtemisiaApollo as a sign of my devotion to Artemis and Apollo because they are the first male female deity’s to make themselves known to me and the fact that I’m very proud of being there servant if they told me to no longer use it then I would but as of yet they haven’t so I keep on using it .I have a problem with people who use a deity name and then 6 months later change it cos they don’t connect anymore with that deity that really annoys me.

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  5. August 25, 2011 7:27 PM

    Those in the name of the year club, I find very irritating. Hence why I thought long and hard before changing mine.

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