Recently I chose to support a particular kickstarter project for “Tales of Hopeless, Maine” and I chose a level of support that included as a reward a Hopeless, Maine obituary by author Nimue Brown. When I first chose this I did so because I thought it would be unusual and fun (which it is) but not long before mine was written Nimue asked me what name I wanted to die under. That’s not a question I expected and it got me thinking about my various names. My birth name is Pauline and many people use that name for me including my husband. My parents call me Polly, my brother sometimes calls me Pic (short for pickle), my children usually call me mum. And among many Pagans, particularly Druids, I have been known as Potia. I have also had several surnames in my life, Pitchford is my fifth. So I had a lot of options to choose from for my “death”. After some thought I felt that it was time “Potia” died. Potia was a name I took up towards the beginning of my journey into druidry. I have changed a lot since then. It’s also a name linked to Epona via a particular inscription. My love for Epona hasn’t changed but I am not dedicated to Her alone.
I had no idea how I might die on Hopeless, Maine. It’s an unusual place where death is not always certain, where bodies are not always available to be identified and buried. Perhaps I would be stabbed by knitting needles or poisoned via a pot of tea. I never imagined the death I got or the headline: “Potia Pitchford defies explanation“. To be taken by surf horses was a beautifully significant way for Potia to die, to be taken into the depths by the very image of one of my most loved deities. And yet for my death to be uncertain too. No body to identify or bury, just gone. This death has a strong spiritual significance to me that I didn’t anticipate. It was also published on Friday 13th and Friday is the day I do my weekly devotions to the Herd Mothers, to Epona and Rhiannon. It was also a full moon and I now do devotions on full and dark moons for beings of ocean, seas and rivers.
The druid I was, Potia, has changed. What I am now has grown out of the druid that I was. I am a priest, a tender of a shrine, a servant of a group of deities and sworn to two deities in particular. I have written of some of this in a previous post “On being a priest“. I have felt since writing that post that I needed to take on a new name, one that to some extent reflects the changes in my life. Until this evening what that name would be escaped me. This evening as I sat communing with An Cailleach I received some guidance. I need to check my understanding and make sure I can write it correctly. I’ve also been led to believe I don’t need to stop using Potia, this new name will be more of a descriptive surname if I understand it correctly.
“You are mine” She said to me this evening. I acknowledge that claim with the understanding that I am also sworn to the Herd Mothers and that any tasks She and They would have of me need to be balanced against the needs of my children.
5 thoughts on “A death, a rebirth, a claiming”
Name is so important. I legally changed mine in 1977 – the whole thing. My mother never really forgave me though she changed hers to sing on the radio during WW2. I have a names that my animal companions call me and a tree name. It is not really confusing, but it makes real those connections. My guardian animals all have particular names and through them I contact the greater spirits of the animals. Many trees give me their particular names as often do road kill badgers and foxes if they are recent and with them I help their spirits to their ancestral feasting halls in the Summerlands.
I think taking time to understand the nature of you new name and what the means in relation to the Herd Mothers is important and will make it so much more powerful a connection. This is a fascinating post and you raised many things to think about – thank you.
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oh Gosh, I had no idea what I was doing! That’s amazing. What I wrote for you simply turned up, I knew very quickly it had to be horses, and the rest just followed. I’m having a bit of a moment over this. ❤
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I wondered how much was your excellent research and how much was amazing inspiration. Knowing it just flowed makes it even better and it was already pretty special!
What lovely coincidences. Death by surf horses is a wonderful way to go. Congratulations on your rebirth 🙂
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