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Laughing Crow 9

    Lady Pixie Moondrip's Guide to Craft Names
     Thanks, Lady Pixie Moondrip!
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    Intro
    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 Lady
    Pixie 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.
    Divine Names
    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.
    Nonhumans
    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 Tolkien inside and out. Try
    something more like "Lord Celeborn Pointears the Real Live Elf."
    Fantasy Fiction
    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 tussling 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 still 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 principle 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.)
    Outro
    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 self-righteous 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 we're pretentious 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 that?


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