Of names and naming

Recently in a couple of the forums I am a member of the subject of god names has been raised. The discussions have got me thinking about the way we choose names for ourselves and others.

The name my parents chose for me is Pauline and one of the reasons they chose that name was after my maternal grandmother – apparently I looked like her at birth. For those not in the know Pauline is the feminine form of Paul and means small. While I’m not exactly tall, I’m not exactly small either – I’m short for my weight in fact 🙂

In a meditation a few years ago I gained the name Potia which I use in Pagan circles for a number of reasons. Recently I have found out it means Powerful Lady or Mistress. I don’t think I would have chosen to use that name as widely as I have if I had known sooner what it means but it’s part of me now. I find myself wondering if I live up to it in any way or even if I want to live up to it. In one sense I am my own mistress but I also choose to do what I can to serve my community. I have more power in my life choices than many of my female ancestors would have had and yet my life is still restricted. Many of those restrictions are ones I have chosen freely though and wouldn’t change such as those that come with being a parent.

And that leads me to another of my names and the one I like best – mummy. This one is one I share with many other women and is a much more descriptive name which leads me back to the discussions I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Names in our ancient past were not picked out of a hat but were descriptive in some way of the individual. Gods names were, and still are, descriptive of the being in some way and this is something many forget – including me sometimes. I seek to deepen my relationships with my gods, I seek to learn more of them and sometimes I forget that the names we know them by will tell me much about them. More than my names will tell anyone of me.

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