Lady Pixie Moondrip's
Guide to Craft Names
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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 Wood
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
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
-- Lady Pixie Moondrip