~ A Guide to Craft Names (Humor) ~
Lady Pixie Moondrip's Guide to Craft Names
(NOTE: This page is not meant to be taken seriously! it's humor ya know? hehehe )
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 - mostly 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
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 tribespeople. Thirdly, since
most Craft groups use exactly these same words for the God and the Goddess,
this creates a (by no means inappropriate) confusion about just who it is
that we worship.
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 fifteen-year-old
boys get into a fistfight 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 Tolkie inside and out.
Try something more like "Lord Celeborn Pointears the Real Live Elf."
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 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 tusslin 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-Western peoples. Fake Indian craft names
are always chic, especially if the closest thing to contact with Native American
spirituality 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 buckskins 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 everybody else, you
may be looking for a name that expresses the uniqueness of your personality but
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
out herself, she has tested the principle behind it in a series of controlled double-blinded
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 not
particularly imaginative ways. The discovery of this rinciple 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.
Wolf Raven Silver Moon Star Water Snow Sea Tree
Wind Cloud Witch Thorn Leaf White Black Green Fire
Rowan Swan Night Red Mist Hawk Feather Eagle Song
Sky Storm Sun
Try it out: "Rowan Moonstar." "Raven Blackthorn." "Silver Ravenw.." - uh, never
mind. 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 ordinary American name, and add a
two-word name produced on the RCNG to the end: "Gwydion Silvertree." "Sybil Moonwitch."
"Squatting Buffalo Firewater." The possibilities are endless! (Note that this list
will change with shifts in fashion; Lady Pixie expects to bring out an upgrade
to RCNG 2.0 in a year or two.)
It may be objected 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 selfrighteous 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 magic and making it part of our lives. Finally, if
enough, those people who actually know enough to magic their way out of a wet paper
bag will roll their eyes and go somewhere else, and we can keep on 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
---Lady Pixie Moondrip
Wæs Þu Hæl (Waes Thu Hael)
Copyright 1997 Lady Pixie Moondrip. All rights reserved.