Names are but labels, not the thing itself. However, we feel more comfortable in the presence of an object when we have named it. This is also true of people and certainly of Gods. The name should be capable of carrying more than one idea and more than one aspect of personality. It should carry with it its legend and express the persona of the God. It can be considered as being a shorthand form of all the qualities that the God possesses. It is not the God.
As with all matters of great moment simplicity should be sought. The complex explains little but its own obscurity. We must go carefully and prefer the childlike and simple, for to young children there is little difficulty in names; Mum and Dad would be good enough. Sometimes also children invent secret names for the persons or things they prize. A secret name is a word of power, and it may be that behind our adoption of an obvious and simple name there can also be a secret one shared only with the group and helping to give its members a sense of comradeship and cohesion.
However, the most usual and obvious place to seek for names would be in our national or local mythology and heritage, which seems more than ever to be re-rooting itself in popular consciousness, and embodies in it characters that are widely considered to be the ‘genus loci’ of this land.
Two of the great legends of this land concern King Arthur and Robin Hood. Both of these names are most suitable for our Gods. Robin is all that is light, quick and nimble. Arthur is more mature, more regal, and in legend he and his followers are immured underground where they wait to come forth and deliver the land from great dangers. Both these figures have strong seasonal connections, Robin with the Waxing Year, he being considered the Lord of Life, and Arthur with the Waning Year, he taking the role of the Lord of the Dead. They have their own trees, the Holly and the Oak; and their own totem birds, the Robin and the Goldcrest Wren, all of which figure in ritual and folklore. Though historically various individuals have used these names and legends, their mythology is still widespread and their attributes are not in doubt. Both exemplify the pagan virtues; honesty, bravery, loyalty, compassion, a hatred of oppression and a love of freedom, respect for others of goodwill, and the fostering of a sense of unity between man and nature. Above all both are dedicated to their ladies, and were exponents of true chivalry and courtesy. Both also had twelve followers. Twelve or thirteen, as we know, forms a psychic cell, unit or team. It is the ideal number for a group to have which is dedicated to co-operation in a common purpose. Groups larger than fifteen tend to fall into factions, and therefore should split to become the nucleus of two groups, and so on.
What then of the Goddess? As the saying has it, ‘She is all things and all names are Her Names.’ As we have considered the God in two aspects, we can consider the Goddess as three, or like the Gods as even more. Generally, however, we concern ourselves with Her three main aspects. In considering names we may be helped by the choice of names given here for the Gods. All we need to remember is that She is worshipped as Maid, Mother, and Crone.
It will be noticed that I have made no suggestions as to the central name of either the Goddess or the God. I feel that this is where personal and group considerations should weigh the choice. It is as well to remember also that such a name or names can be considered as a secret name used only by that group as a powerful focus point for their profounder meditations.
© The Estate of Ronald M. White
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