SageWoman #39 (reprint)
Naming Ourselves


SageWoman #39 - Naming Ourselves

Names, according to myth and legend, have great power to create, to empower, even to destroy. To know someone's "true" name is to understand her very essence. So how do we, as Goddess-inspired women, create our own identity in a way that will fulfill our dreams? This issue of SageWoman strives to explore the ways in which "naming ourselves" is an act of creation, of empowerment, and of will.

We begin with "She who walks in the footsteps of Susannah," in which Suzin Green lyrically weaves her own destiny as a Jewish and Polish survivor of the Holocaust into the tale of the names she has chosen to take — and the ones she has left behind. In contrast, Kym ni Dhoireann expresses the ways in which taking a new name has affirmed her choice to embrace the path of the female warrior and Lee Pelham Cotton explores the power — for good and ill — of the infamous “W” word in the Pagan community in "Hey, Witch!"

Three writers — Eleanor Anne Kokar-Ott, Michelle Santos, and Sandra Wilson — muse at the way that their identities are influenced by names that they did not pick for themselves in "Reflections on my given name", "My Grandfather's Name," and "My Many Names." Anyone who has ever struggled to find their own identity from a history of confusion or abuse will find their journeys instructive, even revelatory. A completely different sort of struggle with names is the subject of Singing Rose's exploration of what to call her Celtic-Wiccan-Catholic faith in "A Rose by any Other Name."

Seasonal lore for fall is the subject of Janeen Grohsmeye's "Children of the Goddess: Autumn" as well as Yvonne Owen's "The Witches Wheel of the Year: Autumn Harvest" while Diana Paxson leads us into an exploration of that quintessential Samhain goddess in "Hecate/Hekate: Guide of Souls."

Our regular columnists explore magical names (DeAnna Alba), a naming ritual (Lunaea Weatherstone), the power of nicknames (Ann Kreilkamp), the power of naming deity as female (Carol Christ), the eightfold seasonal holidays (Elizabeth Barrette), divination with bracelet charms (Joanna Powell Colbert), and, of course, there's rituals for naming, renaming, and even discarding a name that no longer fits. And, as usual, there's a rousing discussion in the Rattle, reviews, poetry and a wealth of beautiful Goddess artwork. Truly an issue to cherish for all women searching, finding, or sharing their Goddess-identity!

96 pages, edited and published by Anne Newkirk Niven in the autumn of 1997.

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