Name changes?

This is, I am sure, only a big deal to me. But, I’d like to share my wonderful brain’s twisted thought processes, because . . . well, it’s exhausting, and its a very clever brain, and maybe the sharing can help other people not feel alone or not feel weird or not feel . . . whatever. Something.

Way, way, way back in 2006 – possibly as early as 2005 – I adopted the name Naiadis. I’d wanted it to be my spiritual name, and I was trying to use it as an initiation-point sort of thing. My relationship with Poseidon was in a rough patch, and choosing the name Naiadis was an attempt on my part to convince myself that despite everything, I was serious about this path, about my life decisions, etc. I’d been with Poseidon since I was 16 (though in the beginning it was not the steady, constant thing it has since become) but there were some major upheavals in my life in 2004. The result of both dedicating myself to Poseidon and to Odin, of embracing this calling within me, was that my long term relationship with my now ex dissolved. Instead of returning to the state I grew up in, I moved in with Beth. We joined our households. We decided that the life we wanted to live was the life dedicated to our gods. We couldn’t exactly go and join a cloister, but that’s sort of what we wanted, and that’s really been our aim since. We live a semi-secluded life with our focus on bringing our gods into our world, on bridging that distance. Maybe people can do this without living in a semi-secluded fashion; we can’t. More, we don’t want to. These changes were not easy; they were rocky, and not just between Poseidon and myself. So, the name Naiadis – which is a combination of ‘naiad’ and ‘dis’, thus honoring both my connection with Poseidon and my connection with Odin – was, in a sense, like a dedication name. And, I really like the name.

But I don’t use it, have never really used it, beyond my blog address. I tried at first, to have it be my new middle name, but it just . . . meh.

Poseidon has, now and again, brought up the option of having a form of His name in my name. In my experiences with Him He is – or can be – a touch old-fashion, so having a name derived from His in my name has a satisfactory-to-Him possessory effect. While I’m weirded out a bit by people taking a god’s known name (naming your child Odin, for example), having theonymous names don’t bother me as much. (And I freely admit this is my issue; I’m not passing judgment on anyone. It weirds me out, but it’s also not my flipping business and I don’t pretend that it is). So, Thor gives me pause. Thorben, not so much.

I’ve begged off, time and again, because hey, look, I’ve already got Naiadis; what more do I really need to have?

It hasn’t been something we’ve spent a lot of time or attention on, either. But, I’ve noticed that, with what I’m calling the Great Misdirection Trick of 2014, Poseidon has been using the opportunity to slip a lot (a LOT) of things through my otherwise stubborn defenses. I am apparently feeling especially compliant. Change is something I don’t tolerate well. It’s hard on me – even good change, even positive change. Stress is stress is stress is stress. But – heh – big scary totally overhauling of everything stress is huge, and compared to that, doing something that is maybe not as huge can be stressful but a more appealing sort of stress. “Oh, no, I don’t want to really have to look into this totally foreign-to-me-area very closely at all, that’s massive and terrifying! What is that? You’d like for me to write a fictional tale of part of Your experiences even though I rarely make gods my central characters and this challenges my whole ‘it doesn’t matter how the characters are real to me and how gods are real to me and how nutters that may make me seem to others’ conviction? Yeah, let’s do that!”

There are many things that Poseidon does not push me on at all, until they become critical. My god? My god is an awesome god. He is wonderful. He is patient, He is kind, He is compassionate and sometimes the most important thing is, He is emotional. Sometimes I think, He is Emotion. He understands the terror that can hold one immobile, and He seems to know exactly when pushing that limit would be disastrous . . . and when allowing that limit to remain would be as disastrous.

He made me venture forth to a temple to attend a class on walking meditation, waaaaaaaay back when showing any outward sign of anything spiritual was terrifying to me. He made me interact with people and speak with the instructor. (He also provided a nice corner for me to mostly hide in, complete with a giant bell that was set on the floor while being repaired). He’s made me practice yoga out of doors where people could see. He’s decreed I veil myself when out of the house, and you best believe that draws attention. He demanded I wear nothing but skirts until I got out of my “I have to wear jeans and tee shirts so I draw no attention and can blend into the scenery and no one sees me!” conviction. He does not demand that I am outgoing, that I become social, that I change myself into an extrovert; He does demand that I not be ruled by fear of being seen or noticed or heard. And every time that fear comes up, He pushes, and there is no wiggle room, there is no getting out of it, and there in no denying Him.

But – He is kind. He is compassionate. He is generous, and the name thing is something He hasn’t pushed. This past week the topic has come up again, and this time? This time Poseidon came down heavy and hard about it. It may the timing of the year. It may be the recent push to acknowledge His Kingship (“Look! Look, he’s writing about My being a king. Do you know why? Look, she gave Me a crown in that image. Oh, hey, are they referring to me as the Lord of the sea gods on that website? You call Odin King; do you think I’m any less a king than your Father?”) It may just be that the time is now.

I changed my posting name from Naiadis to Jolene for branding reasons, and because Jolene is the name that I associate with my writing. Those of you who’ve been reading for any length of time know that I have compartmental issues, so while the idea of having a ‘secular’ writing name and a ‘religious’ writing name does appeal to me, in practice I don’t know that I’d like it. I’ve never really had religious or spiritual names, because I very much connect to my given-name, and a few of its derivative names. I answer to Jolene and Jo (and to a very few, to Jojo). (I also still answer to Blue, but it’s been ages since I’ve used that name as more than login names). I will respond to Naiadis also, though it’s not something I use widely, and it’s only been in my taking that down and switching over to Jolene on the blog that I’ve come to miss it.

Poseidon said it was time to get His name into my name somewhere. We argued about it. Well, He pressed and I panicked and cried and pleaded and tried to bargain. It assumes too much. It is too attention-seeking. It is too audacious. This – this! – would push that line which, as soon as I crossed it, He would take note and strike me down for my hubris, surely. It is too big. I cannot, cannot.

Apparently I could, and I would, and that was that. He gave me wiggle room (re: kind, compassionate, generous). I could use whichever form I wanted. That was enough wiggle room to distract me for days. Would I chose a historical form of the name? What suffix would I use, and how would I rationalize it? When I wiggled myself into knots over that, I had to admit that part of the reason I did not want to take His name? It’s a fine name for Him, Poseidon, but aesthetically I find the name displeasing. Yes, you read that right. Especially altered and set next to my name. Poseidonia? Poseidone? Meh. Coupled with Jolene – well. Those are two names from two different parts of the world that just don’t mesh well. (We’ll ignore that my middle name is French and only looks normal next to Jolene for me because it’s been there my whole life.) Maybe Poseidonaina?

When I threatened to get far too bogged down in the historical crap, He put His foot down again, and while He was still leaving the form up to me, He was also demanding that I pick what the form I wanted simply because it appealed to me the most; not because it was linguistically authentic.

Which is why we’ve ended up with Poseidonae. I’m not pronouncing it much different than ‘Poseidone’ but I enjoy the ‘ae’ combo quite a bit (not the least because, if I really wanted to, I could make it be its own letter, and yes, there’s a connection with the ‘ash’ letter that I’m pleased to have present in the name).

Once it was up, I wanted so very much to toss Naiadis back up there. Naiadis Poseidonae looks so much better than Jolene Poseidonae. But, no. He’s not budging on this. If I’m going to be publishing under Jolene, that is the name ‘Poseidonae’ will follow.

Secretly? Secretly, I am pleased – secretly I adore having His name as part of mine. I adore that this mattered so much to Him, and I don’t hate when He gets bossy, when He pulls rank, when something I do or do not do matters so much to Him that He has an opinion about it. I am humbled by it, by Him. He is still kind and compassionate, even when He’s putting His foot down . . . but we are not equals, He and I, not even in our relationship, not even when sometimes He manages to make me forget that.

I don’t know how this is going to work, writing-wise. I’m toying with the idea of having the name be on my religious writing and not my fiction writing, but really it’s still in the thinking about it stage. It’s been so long that my writing name has simply been my name, adding to it is . . . weird. So, we’ll see how it plays out. For now, I’m keeping the name on here and trying to not freak out every time I see it. So far? So far, I’ve gotten passed seeing it and shaking horribly. Progress, aye?

23 thoughts on “Name changes?

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Seriously, I’m a bit ?surprised? at the support garnered from this post. Not that I thought people would be all “this is stoopid!” because my readers are cool and not jerks ;o) but rather I’m trying, I guess, to still be indifferent about the whole thing. I’m not indifferent, I’m excited and terrified all at the same time, and curiously poking at how I am about names in general, but I’m not indifferent.

  1. Reblogged this on Loki's Bruid and commented:
    I understand Jo’s naming quandary – there’s power in choosing a name for yourself. Heather is my real first name, but when I dropped my Bridget pseud, I realized that I had no desire to give out my real name on the Internet. I kicked around different things – Gerdasdottir, for example, because I adore Gerda and so few use a matronymic name; it would have paralleled Himself’s use of His matronymic. Ultimately though, in mulling this over, Freyr pointed out to me that I am a bit lax in honoring my male ancestors in comparison to my Disir, and Freysdottir stuck as a balance. It’s also a reminder that Freyr and Freyja have been around a lot longer than I originally thought, and that They are my roots in the whirlwind that is Loki. ❤

    So hail to the power of naming, and may Jo's new name give her both roots and wings.

    1. Heh. You just want to join the Team Gang Up On Jo! Which, you know, works, I guess. You’ve got awesome team mates, at the least.

  2. I feel compelled to add, too: once it was decided that I was going to do this thing, and that He wasn’t going to cave on the subject,and that the wiggle room I was given was very limited (and only allowed so long as I didn’t abuse it), the next brain-wriggling that I attempted was: I couldn’t just announce it with no reason for the change. I should wait until o/Our anniversary, or at least until the 8th of Poseideon, or maybe on St. Nicholas’s day since that’s sooner and that’s a thing for us, or . . . . There had to be some big, ceremonial reason for taking the name and for announcing taking of the name. just changing it randomly with no obvious-to-lookers-on was not an option.

    Which is why it happened that way precisely. It was desired of me; is that not reason enough? Er, I guess it was. . . .

        1. Exactly. And, your mindset is so familiar I must find it amusing, or I’d just be a liar acting like I don’t understand it. 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Exploring Devotional Practice in Polytheism and commented:
    Taking up the grateful weight of a new name is a glorious and terrifying thing. It is also a cause for celebration and a reminder that rebirth occurs continually.

    (I thought perhaps to share my own naming story but it turns out I’m still quite upset about the whole thing. Though a story of failure on this path is worth telling I don’t want it to be part of this reblog. I am happy for my friend and that’s what this is about.)

  4. Reblogged this on Wytch of the North and commented:
    I’ve gotten to witness, close-hand, how much of a struggle this has been for Jo, and I’m immensely proud of her for fighting down the attendant anguish and self-doubt and going ahead with it anyway, just because it was what her Husband wanted from her.

    And she has inspired me. As some of you know, Wodandis is the first name Odin gave me when I married Him (in 2002) and I asked Him to name me. I felt awkward and presumptuous using it as a pagan fist name, though, so I relegated it to just my email address and online handle. Still, it remains with me all these years later, when several other names I took up for a while have come and gone. (One of those names remains extremely significant to me spiritually, but I have opted to not use it as a public “community” name for a number of reasons.)

    I am also at the point where my legal middle name has become important to me, not because it’s what Odin Himself addresses me as (it isn’t) but because its meaning in Hebrew is “house,” and Odin refers to me as His home. So I have begun tacking Wodandis onto Beth as a pagan middle name, but I really want it to be my surname, and to stop using Lynch (nothing against my father, but I want my Husband’s name). So this is what I think I am going to do, where I am able to do it online and also in my future pagan writing. And yes, there is now the goal of changing my legal last name to Wodandis where I am able.

    Odin might have brought me around to this eventually anyway, but it’s happening now because of Jo and her struggle–so, hail Poseidon the Catalyst!

  5. Congratulations! There is power in names, as I know you know, and taking a new name is a powerful act of magick. May this strengthen your bond with Poseidon. ❤

  6. Lovely name. Even more loving that you share it; though I know that I am not crazy in the way others may think me, it comforts me so much to read your stuff and know that not only am I not crazy, but I have company being not crazy much like me. 🙂

    1. I’m grateful, often, that in the moments when I’m tempted to truly believe I’m off my rocker, I can reach out and know that really, I’m not, and even if I was, others are, too, and it’s not a bad way to be. 🙂

  7. That is really so awesome! My godmother in Greece originally wanted to name me Apollonia but I was too weird at that since I know people with that religious name AND have ancestress with that name. So I declined. So I understand why picking such a name is such an important thing…and it is important that it suites you. Personally I love your choice! Are you planning on making that legally your middle name?
    I rather inserted my religious name publically as kind of middle name (or rather just a following to my legal first name) so I really think that is really an awesome way to go, so I may be a little biased there lol.
    So so so so happy for you new transitions and new things going on! Yay!

    1. Thank you. 🙂 I think Apollonia is a beautiful name though I can completely understand your reasons for not wanting to take it. I realize that in other religious circles, spiritual names are often repeated, but I’m not sure I’d want to take a name of someone I know — especially having grown up and lived with hardly ever running into people with the same name as me, anyway. Having a more uncommon first and last name has kept me from having the experience of sharing my name with peers. I’ve run into more and more Jolenes since leaving New England, especially since coming to Oregon, but even then there still aren’t any in “my circle” so to speak. (And I adore the question I get from people at my job. “Oh, Jolene is such a pretty name! What part of the south are you from?” ” . . . . Massachusetts?”) Which is still so much better than being serenaded . . .

      For now the idea is to treat this as a middle name, but if I do reach the point of changing it legally, it’s going to become my surname.

  8. Reblogged this on Raibeart Gaoth and commented:
    Hail Jo and her time of further discovering herself.

    This entry came at a very apt time for me as I have been pondering the power of names and naming, which leads to the doorway of identity’s essence. Of course, much of my situation is quite different from what Jo shares here with this post but it put a smile on my face anyway and got me thinking nonetheless.

    I took my ex-wife’s last name when I married her because it was her stepfather’s last name and they had gone through hell and back for him to adopt her when she was younger. At the time I didn’t quite mind using her surname as my own, though it caused hurt feelings for many members of my own family despite knowing full well in my heart who I am and where I come from.

    And yet using my ex-wife’s last name always felt strange to me, a sense of wrongness that clung to me and refused to fade away no matter how hard I tried to get used to it being attached to me.

    Now that we’re going through our divorce, despite still being on really good terms with each other as friends, I am glad to reclaim my own last name or at least the one I remember always having. The best way I can describe the feeling of getting used to it again is like finding an old portion of myself that was standing to the side, waiting to be re-absorbed back into the whole where it properly belong. If I ever get married again I plan on keeping my last name, holding on tight with it for dear life.

    From a spiritual perspective, however, my name came to me quite easily once I tossed everything that didn’t matter to the side. Raibeart Gaoth is the best way I can describe myself down to the very essence of my being. Raibeart is the modern Scottish Gaelic version of Robert, and besides being my own first name, happens to be the first name of many of my male ancestors going back as far as my family research will allow me. Gaoth, on the other hand, is a little more personal. It is used today as a word meaning wind or breeze but its roots points to a much stormier meaning. Gaoth is part of a name that I possessed in a past life, a past life connected strongly with many spiritual things that have passed back onto me in this life.

    So when I use Raibeart Gaoth in various spiritual circles, I am honoring myself but I am also honoring my ancestors who still watch over me, guide and protect me during my life journey.

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