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The Modern Merlin’s Corner: What’s in a name? The Power and Magick Behind Names

Names are some of the fundamental words we learn when we’re being taught how to speak any language. Every thing has a name. Every place has a name. Every one has a name. Place names, surnames and first names, middle names, magickal names are just some examples we see everyday, Pagan or not. In magick, both ancient and modern, it’s a pretty well accepted fact that having a spirit (or person’s) name, gives power over them. Examples of this are abundant in the Medieval Grimoire tradition, especially in works like The Goetia and other well-known grimoires. Knowing a deity’s name doesn’t give you power over them, but it does help you connect to their current of energy, and can also leave clues as to their essence, their presence and characteristics. I don’t think enough attention is given to what power and magick a name holds, especially in the magickal and pagan community. Maybe I’m mistaken, as I tend to be more of a Hermit and homebody, preferring the company of my cats and the various spirits of my home; I am a member of multiple Pagan and Magickally oriented groups on social media, with others popping up with content suggested for me. I have yet to see something discussing this topic, so I decided I’d share my own personal thesis on this subject. I hope the following submission to my blog will enrich your spiritual journey, and perhaps give you inspiration to find your own power and magick behind any of your names-first, middle, surname, magickal name, and the like. The power of the names of places dear to you. This is as much ancestral work-working with one’s bloodline-as it is spiritual-working with the spirits of the land around you, and of places you like spending time. Uncovering hidden meanings and abilities within yourself and with the land around you. Finding magick hidden in generations of shame and suppression. The magick of names is all around us; we just have to be open to it.

Simple, but not so simple

Names are simple; names are complex; names are powerful; names are secret. I have different names for different purposes. Obviously, there’s my legal name; then there’s my pseudonym/alter ego, The Modern Merlin, the name I use to write to you all here. I also have a few different magickal names that are secret, no one knowing them, except various deities, spirits and myself; those names are secret for good reason, to help conceal my magick from others who could potentially wreak havoc with it. Whether or not you choose to reveal any magickal name(s) to others is your choice entirely, something each individual should decide for themselves.

There’s so many ways to come up with a magickal name; numerology, animal totems, and so many more, it can boggle the mind. How did I deduce all of my magickal names? Trance states are my preferred route of gaining that sort of knowledge, as I prefer to allow divinity and the spirits working with me to give me the best guidance to finding one’s magickal name. I leave this piece of advice for anyone looking to find their magickal name: do what fits you best. My means of performing the magick and divination I do, aren’t for everyone, nor should yours be a one-size-fits-all. Your magickal name(s) have an imprint of you, and your energy and magick. The same goes for place names, such as your hometown, the name of the place you live in, for example you could live in a valley that’s part of a larger city.

Dig deep into the history of you family name, your first name, and even your middle name(s). You’ll be surprised with the magick you find in them. That’s the easier part, but finding the names of place-your city, area, etc., before they were colonized (assuming you live in the US as I do), is a bit harder. The city I live in is named after the Native American name for the river it was founded on, carrying on that legacy, and leaving an open connection for those like myself to connect to it, and also help heal any wounds left from hundreds of years of unpleasant human desecration that took place. It might not be so easy for the area you live in; go to your local library, as I’m sure they’ll have information you’re looking for. The local library is also an excellent place to find potential ancestors and do research for your bloodline, assuming you’re local.

Meditation stock photo from

Trance States for Magickal Names

Inducing a trance state is one of my favorite methods for communing with deities, spirits and the Fae. It’s not as hard as one would be led to believe, either. At least for me. I’ve decided to give you a guide to safely inducing a trance state, and how to connect with the appropriate spirits to help you decipher your magickal name, should you choose to use my method (and have an interest or need in finding a magickal name). You don’t have to not have or know a magickal name, as many people have multiple. If this is you, then rest assured, you will likely find another. Working with a new pantheon or set of spirits? Just moved to a new area, and want to find names of spirits of place and land? This will work for that, too. All you have to do is make a few slight alterations to the guided trance state to achieve the effects needed, and take you where you need to go. I’m sure you’re tired of reading me go on and on, and just want to get started, so without further ado, here we go:

First, if you have medical or psychiatric health problems, please be careful, as trance states are intense on the mind and body. It may not be best to induce a trance state if that’s the case for you, and I’ll defer you to a healthcare professional. That said, you’ll need a quiet, preferably dark place to perform this, where you won’t be disturbed for at least 30 minutes, if not longer, depending on your tolerance and concentration levels. I’ve had trance states that have lasted 2 hours before!

Next, put on some music that has a rhythmic, repeating sound to it. An excellent idea is tribal drumming, but I’ve had good luck with other music, such as dark or nocturnal ambient sounds and music. You’ll need to keep this sound/music on repeat, so make sure it’s something you like. Nature sounds also work, if that is your preference. Begin focusing on your breathing, and begin matching it with the rhythm of the music. Build your breathing up slowly, with deep breaths that become shorter, while holding them for a shorter duration, slowing them down once more. Repeat this as long as is needed to reach a state of relaxation, spiritual energy, and you feel you’ve crossed the thin threshold separating the worlds. Once you’ve calmed yourself to be able to actually listen to the spirits/deities present for you, call out with your mind’s voice:

“I call upon my guardian gods and goddesses, my spirit guides, totem animals, and any other spirits who are beneficial and willing and able to help me decipher and gain knowledge of my hidden, magickal name.”

You might hear something, or sense a presence other than yourself. That’s perfectly normal. Those who are gifted with clairvoyance may even see these spirits or deities. I can’t say for certain what your experience will be, or how these spirits and deities will interact with you. You may hear, see and smell them. Others may only see them and get an impression of the message from them. Everyone is gifted in their own way psychically. What separates true gnosis from delusion is a fine line; knowing how to trust yourself and your intuition to discern gnosis from delusion requires knowing yourself. I wish I could say for certain what your personal experience with this method will be, but that’s the beauty of our path; everyone’s experiences are different, but all seem to pull to a similar source: the Gods, Goddesses and spirits. They play an integral role in my practice, and that’s why I choose to use this method, contacting them directly. I hope this exercise is helpful for you, and works. I hope you gain the information you need to continue developing your spiritual path, and I hope that I have at least inspired others to find exactly what’s in a name.

Solstice and Full Moon Blessings,

The Modern Merlin


About the Author:

Hello there! I’m the Modern Merlin, and I’ve been a Polytheist Pagan, Witch, Sorcerer, Wizard, Druid, Mystic, Ceremonial Magician and Soothsayer for 15 years, worshipping and casting magick with deities and spirits from many cultures, including Ancient Greece, Rome, Norse & Germanic, Celtic, Egyptian, Sumerian, as well as many Faeries, Nymphs, Dryads and other nature and land spirits. I study and practice Astrology as well as Tarot and other forms of divination. I give readings and spiritual services on my Facebook Page, The Modern Merlin, as well other free informational posts for everyone to see!