The Power of Names

I am a horse-crazy girl. Always have been, always will be. In an early 90’s anthology called Horse Fantastic, there is a story called “The Most Magical Thing About Rachel.” The main character has cerebral palsy, but has the gift of giving to horses their True Name. The story really is pure magic of the very best (horsey) kind, but aside from that, the concept of a True Name strikes a chord for me.

Part of it is just the power of words. Words make ideas real, make them manageable, contained, easier to work with. This same thing is a drawback of course. Most real ideas are mysteries, and refuse to be contained. As long as you respect that, though, words make communicating a hell of a lot easier!

In many indigenous cultures, names were more fluid than they are in current Western society. Very often a name was given at birth, and then an adult name was given upon completion of that culture’s rite of passage. In other cases a person was free to change their name as often as they liked. It makes perfect sense to me; we change so much over the course of our lives, acknowledging it with a new moniker is only logical.

In our highly structured society here in the West, changing your name legally is a giant pain in the ass. Ask any married person who chose to do so when they tied the knot. (I chose not to change my name when I got married, for a variety of reasons.) Don’t get me wrong, I have really grown to like my birth name, but it doesn’t carry as much meaning as I’d like. This writing project has let me try on a name of my choosing.

  • Rosamunde – A German name, which is my heritage. It’s often translated to mean “horse protector,” but I also think it could mean “protected by Horse.” This touches on my spirituality and my passions.
  • Hayes – Meaning “of the hedge.” The hedge was a boundary between the wild and the tame, and represents the liminal places. I often feel like I don’t quite fit in either place, but have a foot in both.
  • Woodward – Meaning “forest guardian.” Like the Lorax, I feel called to speak for the trees. Fully stepping into my role as a steward of the earth drives many of my current goals.

You can call me Roz. 🙂

I’ll dig into the name of the blog in my next post!


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