For too long we have been without a name, and though names are not everything, as many a faerie story tells us, they are also not nothing.
The right name is magical. It can open doors, reveal treasure and say what is true.
Within our tribe and for all our differences, there are many things we hold in common.
We have an unwillingness to settle for what is “normal”, sanctioned, and approved of by governments, multi-national corporations, popular media, and religious zealots.
We have a desire to see and speak of what is true, what lies beneath the ground and above in the aerial branches and cold mountaintops.
We want to champion the healthful and vibrant aspects of our lineage while learning the lessons from past, taking heed of Ancestor’s errors, returning–as best we can–to old, older, oldest ways of knowing, seeing, and being in the world to a place of honor.
And at the same time, we create fresh spaces for what is newly born and yet to be known.
Others have given us names, oh yes, they have.
A catalogue is both helpful and hilarious:
New Age – irony of ironies because for so many of us what we know and do is grounded in practices that are quite old.
Heretics -because our sense of the sacred does not sit comfortably in the sanctuary of orthodox religion.
Occultists – coming from the word occult which means hidden, because we have hidden, and we have been hidden in response to persecution and fear.
We are sometimes called Light Workers because too many of us continue to buy into the wrong belief that fear, and threat only comes in the form of darkness and because we have forgotten the nourishing power of Night.
Pagan – springing from the Latin paganus, meaning among other things a country dweller, because many of us ourselves come from rural stock and given our colorful variety of devotion and styles of reverence, what else might we be called?
Other names include Psychic – it is usually said in a pejorative manner, but we may claim it in good faith since our work does deal directly with the health and quality of the Soul or Psyche.
Sorceress – because power, especially liminal power wielded by women, is still seen as dangerously unpredictable.
Weird -because we do not conform to solely rationalistic norms or live our lives the way the dominant, modern, secular, culture says we should (also interestingly tied to the other wyrd which of course means fate and destiny – concepts we are versed in).
Bitch – because we do not see NO as a bad word (and maybe because many of us love dogs and other four-leggeds).
Whore – sometimes yes, we are still called whores, or ho, or harlot, because we affirm that our sensuality is sacred and acts of love and pleasure can be, should be, acts of touching the Divine.
Tree Hugger is often applied to us because in fact, you may find us hugging trees.
We are called Witch – intended to be the deadliest insult of all, one that not so long ago promised a date with pyre or gallows, one that many of us now embrace with enthusiasm because in its root and origin it points to what we care for and pursue above all else…wisdom.
The wisdom of living a good life, cultivating right relationship, and honoring all that is whole, healthy, and holy.
A name is not everything, but a name is not nothing either.
The right name, a true name, provides a point of reference: this is who I am, and this is where I stand.
It reveals a little red door that opens upon the majesty of each of our unique and blessed inmost natures.
A name, the right name or the wrong one, determines a way of seeing and a way of being seen.
I say we have worn the names that others have thrust upon us for too long and enough is enough.
These names are tired and cramped like a pair of too worn and too small shoes.
If, like so many of us, you too have wondered in the wilderness of No Name looking, looking, looking for the right words in every shadow, canyon crevice, and under every rock then I offer this to you:
Be a Sacred Artist – a creator and delight taker in all that is whole, holy, and sacred.
A name is not everything, but it is not nothing.
The right name allows us to be seen as we truly are and one thing more–to decide how, where, and by what means we will make our presence known and do our work in the world.
Claiming your name is the first step in doing your work – the work – you were placed here to do.
I began using the term Sacred Artist a couple of years ago and I have been delighted to watch more and more people claim the title for themselves. I wrote some preliminary thoughts on the history of the Sacred Arts, and I was inspired with the term by my husband – a fine artist, who told me that yes, crafting ceremony is an art form.