I have been a seeker all my life. I am widely read in the areas of Spirituality and World Religion. I studied Theater Arts in college and hold the rank of High Priestess in several Neo-Pagan traditions. I have been an active participant in the Twin Cities Pagan Community (Paganistan) for over 30 years. I’ve been a member of COG, served on the board of Earth Conclave and hosted tradition-wide events. I have given lectures and lead discussions on Spiritual practices at national Pagan Festivals, College Conferences and local public events. This weekly blog is on topics that arise on my own journey. Please subscribe and leave your comments.
On Becoming LisaSpiral
As usual I’m running my inner dialogue. Trying to analyze the experience as I have it. I have been told to take this time to prepare myself. I really am trying.
I take a deep breath and reach again for a quiet meditative state. The Zen of being in the moment, unattached and aware of everything around me. It’s not working. I need a name.
Naming has always been fascinating to me. There is power in a name. Naming something shapes it and limits it. I managed to name the cat and my son. Both of them got names I’d picked out years in advance. If I ever have a son I’ll name him Orion, and I did. If I ever have another cat I’ll name him Ezekiel (He became Easy for short).
Now it’s my turn to find a name for myself. I am preparing for Dedication into the study of a magical tradition and I know they will ask me, “Do you have a name?” I’ve had weeks to plan and prepare for this event. I’ve got everything else, but no name.
I’ve been looking for my magical name, my spirit name, my vision quest name for years. Lisa is just too common to suit me, and it doesn’t help that I’ve never met another Lisa that I’ve liked. My Dad named me. Mom had wanted Teryl and never quite forgave my Aunt for “stealing” it for her eldest. So apparently they debated until Dad held me the first time and pronounced that I was a Lisa and that was that.
I know if I tell them I don’t have a name my teachers will give me one. I don’t know how they will come to it any more than I know how my Dad did. But once it is pronounced, that will be that. It’s appealing to let them. After almost 20 years of looking I certainly haven’t found anything that suits me. I am no “Starwing Wolfsong.”
Stop and breathe again. How is this supposed to work? Thank the dialogue and dismiss it. Let it go, let your thoughts drift away. They have no meaning, no impact. Ok. “Thank you.” I take another breath.
I sit still and ask the Universe, “What is my name?” I’ve been getting the same response for weeks. There is a name that rattles around in my head. Spiral. I like that, except everyone will think that I stole it from Starhawk’s, “The Spiral Dance.” I expect people will say I’m being pretentious. Still, I’m no “Moonsong Raven’s Daughter.” I need something short, direct and simple. “Like Spiral,” chimes the voice in my head. Yes, something like that.
Forget the meditation. Maybe if I just acknowledge the now. Where am I? What’s going on around me? No analysis, just being in the space. I am simply an observer. Breathe.
I’m sitting in a campground at a festival watching a unicorn eat the bumper sticker off the back of the van. The goat with one horn is named Lancelot. He’s traveling across the country to prove unicorns did exist. I know I’m not “Guinevere”, am I a “Morgan Le Fay?” If I can’t come up with a name in a setting like this I’m lost.
I am camping with Morning Glory Zell and Tzipora. Little Ceridwen fetches incense for her father in the next campsite. Devynn and Dove are preparing the ritual space. I am surrounded by possibilities and the only thing that comes into my head is Spiral. Why is this so hard?
A voice interrupts my reverie. It is time for the rite. The incense billows clouds of Blue Rose. It has an easy scent. It fits the surroundings, adding a touch of elegance without cloying. Another advantage is that it helps keep away the mosquitos.
I am nervous. Not because of the step I am taking, but because I feel unprepared. I am entering the sacred space nameless and frustrated. The sweat dripping down my low back is not just from the heat.
The candles are lit and each dedicant is given one, carved with arcane symbols, to remember this day. One by one we are taken into the tent. I go first, to be challenged, charged and blessed.
The rite is nearly ended. Here it comes, as I expected. The Priestess asks, “Do you have a name?”
I can’t do it. I can’t come up with anything on the spot. There’s nothing left in my head but that darned Spiral and I won’t say that. “No, I don’t have a name.”
“Then you shall be given one.”
There is a pause. The Priest reaches for my hands and looks deeply into my eyes. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He says, “Spiral.” He opens his eyes and smiles, “Welcome Spiral.”
I’m flabbergast. Speechless. It’s really that simple, and that magical. All these years of searching. Is that how it’s done? In this instant I feel I finally understand naming.
So I am Spiral in circle, and often without. I have had many opportunities to change it along the way. But like the spiral, I keep coming back around to the same place from a new perspective. Spiral I am, in public, at festivals. Eventually I have to find Lisa again. I come to terms, and I become LisaSpiral. Now either Lisa or Spiral will do.