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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.


  1. So glad our little round table discussion sparked such goodness - I enjoyed your post - and thanks for the mention -
    Susan from the Magical Earth Quadcast

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words! It means so much...thank you.


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