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Wednesday, January 20

Magical Names

So, recently I was listening to an episode of The Magical Earth Podcast (or quadcast...thanks for the inspiration ya'll - have to show my southern side) and they were speaking about how important it is to know why you have a magical name if you have one at all and why you use it. It occurred to me that I have not gone into detail on that subject here so I will now. I believe that it is my responsibility to be open with those of you who care to read about my beliefs and I assure you if there is ever anything you want to know about me just ask...I mean this to be an open forum.

So, you have probably noticed that I write here under a magical name. My name is Franchesca Aurora Moonshadow. No, this is not my given name, and will never be my legal name in any facility. In my own mind, I have been known as Franchesca since early High School, but in reality there has only been one person that has ever called me that outside of the pagan community online that knows me by this name. I feel confident however that if my friends were to hear me called by this name it wouldn't come as much of a surprise and those that know I use it in this capacity completely agree with the name I have chosen. Before I go into the origins of my name itself, I will explain why I use a name that is not my mundane name because I know this can be a source of tension.

I am going to be referencing a lot of podcasts in this post by the way...

MeadowMoon from the A Pagan in the Threshold podcast says it all in the name of her podcast and I love the way she presents the idea of a middle ground for being 'out of the closet' or not. I am a Pagan in the threshold of the proverbial broom closet. My good friends know of my choice, and the Pagan community I interact with know of my religion. There are a few people at my school that know I am Pagan, but most of them have no concept of what that means. I am a religion major after all so they shrug it off as something to do with my choice in field. To the majority of people though, it is not well known. I have no problem with most people knowing and will openly wear a pentacle when I feel like wearing jewelry. In my daily life, I don't try to hide what I am. However, there is the issue of family that must be attended to. My family is all very Christian and beyond closed minded. While I find that I want more than anything to be open with them, I know I cannot. The slightest deviation from the norm frightens them. It is enough of a problem to them that I walk around wearing Converse...but because of my chosen field for my job, I constantly hear them in not so obvious threats asking if I have been tainted by my studies. One time I came home with a statue of Ganesha that my best friend gave me for Christmas and my parents almost flipped, despite the fact I have carried Ganesha on my keychain for years (which was also a present from the same friend). Every time they see that symbol even, they flip out screaming about how it is anti-Christian. It's a good thing they didn't see the Siva statue that was in the same bag I received for Christmas. In short, my family would basically disown me if they knew the truth and as much as it pains me, there is no way for me to tell them without loosing what little relationship I have with my rather insane family. I would have no problem using my magical name in daily life as I think it accuratly portrays who I am, but the fact that the truth could get to my family by association with others makes me keep a bit of a lid on my social circles and will lead me to use my magical name in all Pagan situations. I have no problem with people face-to-face knowing my real name, but in cyber-space, it is best to go by the name that in many ways I feel a much deeper connection to anyway.

Now how I got my name. When I was debating the creation my name, I hear name podcasts most notibly from Brook the iPod Witch and Drake over at Get Out Of the Broomcloset. They both went over the numerological approach to a magical name. It was very informative and I used it on part of the formation of my name, but it was in no way my main decision maker. My name is in three part, mainly because I see this as the aspects of my persona. Both of my main names came from characters that I wrote about in High School. Franchesca was a pirate character that lived a life I only wished I could (fantasy life...I still consider myself a pirate however odd that may sound...don't worry my associations get odder.) It wasn't long before I started using that name for everything and anything. Characters are representations of their authors after all so her name became mine. A few years later I worked on a rather complicated story about a vampire named Aurora. Yes, I consider myself a vampire as well. A psychic vampire mind you, and probably not in any traditional sense of that term, but my boyfriend helped me discover fully that part of me and I am very grateful to him for being open to my more eclectic side. In any course, my vampire changed names and I stole her name as well because that is another side of me that is not in the realm of ordinary life. I took my more eclectic parts of my personality, described them with these names, and decided that there was still a part of me not defined. It didn't show the side of me that is very connected with my religion and would be completely lost without the passion that comes from it. I have always connected to the moon. I spoke to her all the time when I was little, long before I had any concept of what she was. I knew the moon was a part of many names, but before that I was known as Franchesca Raven (the full name of my pirate) and after realizing how wide spread that name was (again, was chosen long before I knew anything of Paganism) I decided that the name Raven no longer went with my life. At first, I was having a dilemma of whether I wanted to be a Moonshadow or a Moonfire. I have always believed I connected most with fire. That was proved wrong later and I will talk more about my association with the elements at some other time, but in any case it is a good thing I decided Moonfire was not for me. When I went to my best friend asking which fit me better, he definitively said I should choose Moonshadow and I have not looked back.

Well, now you see how I chose my name and why I use it. Today I got in a ring that I had my name engraved in. That's part of what sparked this whole discussion. For years now I have been wearing a class ring that has my given name in it and soon will be receiving my college ring that will also contain my given name. While that is who I am, I have never felt a connection with that name. Because I have a name that I chose myself to accurately represent who I am, I felt it was important that I had a piece that to me would be of equal importance to those other rings because even though it didn't cost as much, it more accurately shows who I am. Not the scholar or poor college student, but as a growing person with a very deep connection to my life.

Monday, January 11

Random Post in Which I Finally Live Up to the Warning!

So, I don't feel like actually doing a formal post so I am emailing this one lol so forgive me if the formatting is a little off. Today was my first day back to school for the semester and I feel a rant coming on so bear with me but until then I have some words to say about the God.

Today I noticed that it gets very cold all of a sudden when I happen to be inside for more than a few moments, whether the sun is out in all his glory or not. All my life I always put this up to weird weather. Well, today my mind decided to integrate the mythology of the Sun God and it all made since. The God is supposedly dead this time of year (that's why he appears less often than the moon - longer nights). Now, if I am getting my mythology wrong here I would love for someone to tell me since I have only learned this stuff be reading about it, but I can only conclude that it makes since that the temperature fluctuates in the winter because the God is not around to bring us his warmth. On the same key, I have to bring in the story of Persephone. The land becomes winter when she is taken away from her mother to join her husband, Hades. Persephone in this case is not around to bring the warmth to the land and it has nothing to do with the sun God which in this case would be Apollo. Now as if this wasn't enough of the circular thinking for one post, there is also the fact that I have heard floating around that the powers of the universe are not necessarily feminine and masculine it just happens to be how the world relates to it (thanks to Drake from the Get Out of the Broom Closet podcast for giving me something to think about). So if this is true, could that same symbolism of  the Sun God not be applied to Persephone who also dwells in the land of the dead until spring? Seems like much the same story to me...except of course with the Sun God he is reunited with his love when he is born.

Well....this leads me to another question. If the land is in mourning without Persephone, then it would seem that Persephone herself is in mourning. This part doesn't make sense to me. She is with her husband during this time. I know he kidnapped her, but wouldn't she eventually come to love him as a husband rather than just spending her time alone with her mother as being the only joy she has? I can't help but see the romantic side of this and maybe its cause I am a writer, I don't know, but in any case, let me know what you think. I would love to see some discussion on this.

And now for my rant. This has nothing to do in any way with Paganism and is part of why I have a disclaimer on this page. If you don't care about reading about the more personal parts or don't wanna hear me bitch, then stop reading now.

So, last semester I set out to do a project in my Educational Psychology class about Giftedness or Gifted and Talented as being a type of disability. My teacher said that the idea had it's implications but couldn't help me in any way other than that. Well this semester I am taking a course in education called Survey of Exceptionalities and on the syllabus it plainly states that Gifted and Talented is part of a Special Education curriculum. It is a program dedicated on meeting the needs of a specific group of students that even has a pullout program. Now, my problem with all of this is not the fact that GT is considered a disability because in many ways I have considered it as such for a while now, but the fact that schools cover this up. There is no one that is going to tell you that GT is a bad thing, but if a student is not in it that should be, it is very possible that they will not learn on the level that they should and thus loose out on quite a bit of education that they could have had. On the same token, if someone is labeled as in Special Education, it is for some reason labeled as a bad thing. Point being: aren't they doing the exact same thing? We are taking students and giving them what they need to learn. SpEd kids have special needs. Guess what, so do GT kids. The only difference is the kind of service given. So why is it that people like my Ed.Pysch. professor just wave off the fact that GT is just another kind of disability? It gets even more recognition than any of the others in schooling and yet it is denied that it is a problem. Who the hell has the authority to say kids with one kind of learning problem are better than anyone else with a learning problem. I know in my school growing up, it was an honor to be in GT, while the kids that were in Sp.Ed. were quite often treated like shit, most prominatly by the students in GT who had their own issues. Why the hell can't everyone be seen as equally 'special' in their own way and get rid of these damn labels?! Yes, I grew up GT. Yes, I realize that what I am saying means I am not any better than anyone else just because I am smart. Well you know, knowledge isn't always the most important thing and all of my life I have been singled out for being a geek, even among my peers in GT. Not everyone was part of the pullout. I was. Does this mean I was a little more GT then some. Yes. That also means my disability was worse than that of my classmates that made up the popular click (which btw, the females in the popular crowd were almost always GT. Males weren't. Most certainly wasn't the pullout GT kids though that were supposed to be something special.) Long story short, I understand the differences in the needs of learning and no one way of treating a problem is better than any other. People are people. Teach our kids and respect them. Quit trying to tell me that 'genius' isn't a problem. You may not see it, but when's the last time you saw the smart kids not singled out by their peers? Smart is a social problem in a society where we are supposed to be intelligent....figure that one out....let me know if you can find a reasonable explanation cause I certainly can't.

Right. Rant over. I know this will probably be my longest post but I don't care it needed to be said. Happy New Year all and may it be blessed.

Blessed be. To all.