The Importance of Names

"Cartouches for Sekhmet Meritamen", created by Marc Line for Pan HIstoria.comWhat’s in a name?   Plenty.  A name is the essence of who we are.  It can be the name that we are given at birth, or a nickname which signifies who we are within communities, or it can be an Initiatory name.  Sometimes a name is a persona we choose for ourselves in order to keep us safe from the prying eyes of employers,  or those who wish us harm such as ex-spouses, abusive family members or stalkers who want to impinge on our personal lives and our personal freedom.    Names that do not appear on our birth certificate, Social Security card or driver’s license are no less valid than the initiatory names and pseudonyms that we use.  Some may use a ‘fake name’ to bilk, defraud or deceive others online.  Facebook, Google and many other places have in place so-called real-name policies that are designed to help, but sometimes end up hurting.

This past week, this policy ended up happening to me.   My “real name” is not Fanny Fae. It is the nickname of an ancestor of mine, Frances or Françoise McKay and used the name of this blog, Fanny Fae. My reasons for doing this on Facebook and elsewhere, primarily were to 1) protect myself from my ammo-sucking, gun-toting, “Take ‘MERICA back for Jesus”,  and “Convert to Christ or DIE”,  and “Left Behind”  series-believin’ family members who object to my being a polytheist & lesbian woman legally married to her partner after 22 years, and 2) This name is a brand that I own and intend to keep on owning it.  She started as a fictional character on Livejournal and PanHistoria more than a decade ago and I have fiction and other things that are mine written under that name – and they will stay being MINE.  Those that know me knew of my motivations.  There were never any attempts by me to deceive, defraud anyone. Just a nice safe, almost-anonymous ID to be able to live and to work unencumbered by my religious extremist family and to protect what I perceive to be my intellectual and DNA property.  Most everyone in the writing, Pagan and polytheist communities knows me by that name and I have made quite a few friends with it.

From my understanding, Christian Day, an occult  shop owner with stores located both in Salem, MA and New Orleans, a radio host, author and “warlock” who rose up to take on the Evil Charlie Sheen a year or so ago, decided to out  or ‘dox’ me and anyone else that he knew who had a “fake name”.  He took it upon himself and enlisted the help of his friends, groupies and flying monkeys to follow him in this endeavor.  That is what I was told. I have no idea because I was not online at the time. It really isn’t important at this point how or why it happened or who did it.   I refuse to participate in feeding negative energy to a person who claims he “swiffs” it for his own purposes. The end result was Facebook logging me out of my account and telling me that I must use my real name, but could add Fanny Fae as a nickname in parenthesis.  I did so.

I admit, at first I was angry. This sensation lasted all of about five or ten minutes. Then I realized that with the Sekhmet book, hopefully in production to come out soon, it was probably a good thing to stave off potential objections by those who do not equate this ID with my real name.  When I explain to them the circumstances and my reaction to it, most have been very accepting and understanding.  Some, still safely behind their initiatory names or ones that they have contrived to also stave off inquiries from employers, abusive ex-spouses, etc. have been more than understanding.  I daresay that Mr. Day will not be able to swiff their energy from them either.

The biggest inconvenience to me, so far, has not been my weirdo, religious wing-nut family pounding on my virtual door -( though I do expect this to happen eventually), but so many people in the groups that I either admin or those who I am friends with now asking, “WHO the F*** is Christina Paul?!”   I have to explain to them what happened in a Cliff’s Notes version and it always ends up being o.k..   Most did what I did and just shrugged and moved on.

What companies like Facebook, Google and all of the other social venues and corporate conglomerates don’t understand is that most of our lives are online these days. All it takes is someone with a bit of tenacity, some basic computer skills and a credit card and they can get whatever information on any of us that they want to. The entire backlash by consumers about issues of privacy, should also include the ability of persons such as myself and others to give good reasons why they want to hide behind another name.  Ninety-five per cent of the time, those who do, are not trying to do anything illegal.  They are just trying to live their lives quietly and unemcumbered .  Not everyone who chooses to use a pseudonym has gone through abuse, or has to put up with hands-in-the-crazy relatives,  or employers that want to know what their employees do on their off-time as much as they do for the time that they have those employees on the clock.  Being able to mask at least some part of our lives that we feel is private and not open for public scrutiny should be as natural as closing the shades at night when we get undressed.  We are all pretty much  at least virtually undressed when all of our lives are out there for everyone to see.

With all of the recent bouts of identity theft – whether financial, or someone such as a celebrity having someone impersonate them – of course, knowing who you are dealing with is a very good idea.  On the other hand, there needs to be dialogue about having a choice for those who have very good reasons for wanting to stay hidden.  Companies such as Facebook and Google should not assume that the only reason why people choose “fake names’ or are reluctant to not use real names on their services is for potentially illegal reasons. It isn’t.   Having a safe space to be able to interact with others is of paramount importance.  Facebook and Google, et al, have unfortunately become the village square du jour.    You can always opt not to use those services, but to do so leaves you potentially cut off from what most people use as a support network.   Someday we may  have other choices that offer more privacy -or we can hope that these companies get a clue and realize that they have become part of the problem that allows the rise of social ills such as online bullying and stalking. Companies such as Lifelock and other identity theft and credit monitoring services are doing a booming business these days.   I am left wondering if Facebook and Google don’t get some sort of kickback because they are by their own policies very probably helping to create the problem in the first place.

I know you….I know all of your names.

That is a bit of ancient Kemetic or Egyptian heka or authoritative utterance that is said when you gain knowledge of all of the names of someone and you are set to either magically protect or curse them.  We Kemetics take things like the words we use, and especially names very seriously.  There is the legend about how Aset (Isis is Her Greek Name)  wanted to get the secret name of Ra and by manipulation was able to obtain that secret Name or Ren.   Ra knew that with it, Aset could destroy Him.   But He also knew that without paying the ransom to Aset by giving it to Her, that He would die.  Like that story, our names and how we are identified and move through this world are double edged swords.  They can hold great power and they can be used to destroy us utterly.  As I always have said,  “My name is my integrity”.   Nothing is more potentially dangerous as when something does something in your name that you don’t approve of.   Like your word, your name serves as a bond.  Naming is branding. Some of us like to have absolute control over our names and our branding in order to set us apart from everyone else.  Celebrities, recording artists, authors, etc. know this reality all too well.    The more we are out there and participate in social media, the greater for the potential for companies such as Facebook and Google to be used by those who DO want to do illegal things and bilk others to gain more and more power.   It is a fine balance to walk, and having one-size-fits-all policies serves no one in the end.   These venues have already been used for such purposes.  The real name policy in most of these incidents did nothing to safeguard it from happening.

This is an issue that I think deserves more discussion.   My outing came from someone else wanting to be vindictive and to cause me and others harm.  They failed in that endeavor with me other than it has created a few minor inconveniences.  These have already been overcome, so the major explosion that he likely expected ended up being more like a dud firecracker.   Still, privacy is an issue that will not go away and it will take thoughtful consideration rather than wholesale policies in order to make things more safe for everyone. 

‘Sekhmet Meritamen, Physician of Qenbet’ – by Wbnrnpt, for the website, Ancient Sites, now known as Ancient Worlds

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15 Comments

Filed under akhu / ancestors, business, dreamwidth, fiction, kemetic, livejournal, magickal alchemy, mystic woo-woo, pagan, politics, sekhmet, update, writing

15 responses to “The Importance of Names

  1. Demai

    I’m lucky. It’s a whole lot easier to change your name here than what I have heard about it from Hemet. I changed my surname when someone broke the privacy act due to my very unusual surname and connecting me to my mother. My mother and I had a strained relationship at the time. We’re now estranged.

    That radio host is scum.

    • I am sorry you had to go through such a thing. There is, IMO, no excuse for it. One site that I am part owner of, Panhistoria.com, we have the policy of NEVER outing anyone, or trying to use means by which to get the person to out themselves. Violating that policy results in removal from the site. Privacy is still important because of reasons such as the one you cite.

      Stay safe.

  2. It’s a small start, and one that may not matter over-much in the larger picture, but I’ve already written to companies and organisations that support this man to inform them of why I am not buying books from them or visiting tourist destinations in my up-coming travelling year. His actions and words are unconscionable and something that should not ever be forgiven by the community at large.

    I’ve also begun de-friending people in social media that have begun defending him and making him the victim in this.

    • I had a chat this morning with another Big Name Pagan (BNP) who also said that CD is truly sorry for what he has done. Of course, I do doubt this. I don’t think that CD will ever be sorry until his ill-considered words render all that he has built to dust and ash.

      This kind of behaviour is pure isfet – which we Kemetics define as willful wrongdoing. It is the opposite of Ma’at. Ma’at, both goddess and concept deals out Her justice dispassionately. I believe that what happens next will not be vengeance or tit for tat, but in fact an absolute demonstration of how Ma’at works – and how it allows you to do whatever you want to in your life. you must, however, be willing to stand beside your thoughts, your words and actions, There is no shirking that responsibility.

      I will have more on this in my next blog post, my sister-friend. Good on you for doing what you must. This is far from over, and CD has only now begun to feel the weight of the consequences of his own words and actions.

      • Thank you. This is just one of those issues that I can’t let go by without doing something. Deliberately putting people in harm’s way and then bragging about it is vile — and I want others to know that this man in no way speaks for me or my beliefs.

      • Gaia Karma

        He’s only sorry he got caught… and he knows how to work those BNPs who would otherwise smother his flame (and his bank account) over bad behavior. His track record of offenses is way too long for this to be something unusual or out of the ordinary. He has threatened and harassed people for years. YEARS. He does the bulk of this on Facebook and then he deletes it after a time, once he’s gotten his ego-stroke from his devoted followers. He’s wished cancer on people. He’s outed them. He’s divulged their legal woes. He’s fully named people publicly and called them all manner of derogatory names. He’s threatened small business owners that he’d use his influence to shut them down. He used the “spirit world” to threaten a realtor in a letter. He rages on his podcasts… and on and on. Now he tells a woman whose pseudonym he outed that if her stalker rapes her, to call out his name during the act of it? That’s horrific and disgusting. Why is this all given a pass by those who have influence? I don’t understand. Ask your BNP for me, would you?

        Thank you for writing this article. It matters.

      • Thank you for your detailed comments. They are most appreciated.

        In all honesty, Gaia, from what I have seen in the last 48 – 72 hours, he is most definitely not being given a pass this time. That Jason-Pitzl wrote a personal editorial to this issue this morning on The Wild Hunt Blog speaks volumes.

        No, CD was not named outright in the editorial. However, it takes very little tenacity and a search engine to get the general gist of who is being discussed.

        The reason why TWH did not name him, I suspect, is because they are being responsible publishers and not putting out anything that could land them in legal trouble, especially given CD’s well-documented bad behaviours. I cannot say that I would not do the same thing in their place. Jason is the polar opposite of that other “warlock” in question in that he is generous, humble and kind and he has demonstrated true care and stewardship for the community.

        I have been told by someone close to me who spoke to CD directly that he claims he did not out me. Even if technically true, I know for a fact he has sock accounts or others who will unquestioningly do his bidding and so I hold him personally responsible for what happened to me. What he did to my friend with the rape commentary is irrefutable. The evidence is in abundance and it is widespread and well known in less than a week.

        I have been told that CD wants to “publicly apologize.” I have no illusions that there is any sincerity behind this alleged act of true remorse and wanting to do things right. It is my personal perception that he wants to make the gesture because the ramifications of his words and his actions has already cut deeply into his brand. He is being regarded largely as an even worse pariah in our communities than ever before. People have called for an all-out boycott of his stores in Salem, MA and in New Orleans, LA. Other BNP authors and speakers are bowing out of his events – and are also distancing him because of his ill-considered remarks and actions. He has a very great deal to lose and we the community will gain more unity, I believe, holding such irresponsible behaviours as the clearest example yet of how not to be when in a position of power and influence. I think it was a real shock to him just how badly he screwed up this time.

  3. Tenko

    I read this article, and then dug around your blog. I must say I am delighted to have found it even under the current circumstances. I wish you and the others luck and can’t say I am surprised that the individual in question finally did something this heinous.

    Tenko

  4. Thank you for your kind words, Tenko. That is very nice of you! 🙂

    We will be stronger, I believe, and unlike the more cynical members of the community, I don’t personally believe this will all be forgotten in a week. It went viral very quickly, and I suspect the pressure will be kept on after such clear sentiments of misogyny on his part

    • Your detractor sounds like a real chump. I’ve never heard of him before, but he reminds me of a real dick I once knew who said and did much the same thing many years ago. Personally, I’ll never understand why some Pagans make such a big deal about this. Seems to me these particular persons are rather privileged folk who have no idea what it’s like to actually live and/or work among people who are openly hostile to Pagans (and especially Pagan women). In my experience, many of the people who say these things are flamboyant drama queens who seem to live in super-liberal areas like Salem or San Francisco and who have followers who give them money. I think these people should all try raising a family while working for minimum wage at a Hobby Lobby down in the Bible Belt and announce to all their co-workers that they’re Pagan. I’ll bet what would most likely happen after that would give them a little perspective. (Then again, some people never learn.)

  5. I have been a fangirl of yours for many years as an on and off again contributor at PanHistoria. I am not sorry to have discovered your blog in my digging around for information on this event. I am sorry that the circumstances are what they are though. Thank you for your candid thoughts and experiences. It is important for us all to see how someone’s actions can have such an impact on people. I think sometimes people disregard the fact that we are all people on the other side of these computer screens. It can make a person find it easy to do things they wouldn’t do if they had to look the person they are affecting in the eye.

    I really look forward to reading your blog further.

    Kind regards to you.

    • Thank you so very much for your kind comments! I do sincerely apologize for the lateness of this reply. Sometimes I forget whether or not I reply! 😉

      People treat their computer screens like they are shields to hide behind. They forget that the person on the other side is more like them than not, and hurtful commentary is launched because the internet is just so instant and often off the cuff. The damage that is done by that approach, however, we are just beginning to see. I was very lucky in that I am strong enough to withstand such an attack and eventually got my name back from FB thanks to the efforts of the LGBTQ community and some very tenacious drag queens who took Facebook head-on!

      I think the party in question needs to re-read the book, “Don’t be a Dick!”

      Thank you again for reading and I hope to hear more from you in future. I promise I won’t wait so long to respond next time!

  6. gary

    Hello, I saw your blog listed on another site- and this post was the first I read here… I think the way you wrote it, and the concerns, point out some important issues (beyond the incident that occurred- so easy it could have just “appeared” as a rant-post, yet I didn’t read it that way)..

    the link to the Ren, makes me think of the practices in a few of the old tales/myths where learning a person’s (or neteru or Aes etc.) name by HearSay is completely different than the person that “owns” (is) that name giving it to you… to be told by them, this is my name- you can call me ___.
    So often I’ve heard/read (in person or online) a comment about I know this person’s “real-name” so therefore I know all about them….(or I don’t know their real-name, so how can I trust them) – in other words, part of our culture seems to have the idea- walk up and ask a person their name.. now you know (but you don’t “Know” them)…

    even more so have someone pt at people and tell you their names, you’ve never met them, never encountered them, and yet since you can call them by name there is this feel — I rambled a bit above, but the idea I picked up (somewhere) is that upon meeting (whether introduced by one that each of you know, or encounter by you being “in the vicinity of” and thus doing something in common… do both parties approach) and Then Speak a bit Before finding out a person’s name… in short- (not written short 🙂 it makes sense to me that after two have connected enough to have more than a first-impression and even determine IF common-interest, decide Contact.. or back away Prior to exchanging names… And yet that seems to be exactly the opposite (may seem a tangent from above, but I wonder how much that v-meme might have driven, or at least ‘justified/excused’, this Other’s “outting” you. Donno, but just recall how oft I’ve seen that as the shot of random Internet comments where one says “This is my real-name I’m not hiding behind anything… so therefore listen to me, and not others..” … but seems a strange basis to imply familiarity- yet I believe that is one of the unspoken socio-structural….

    Thus to tie back to not only the sub-cultural, but also the largely socio-matrix issues. [this name thing[ how the Naming of something to be ‘influenced’ (either thought communication with it, or about it, or ‘sorcerous’ – how this topic and the subconscious almost automated aspect, might reveal insite. -cheers

  7. Pingback: Losing Your Facebook Name & Getting It Back: It Isn’t Really About You | Fanny Fae

  8. Pingback: The Importance of Names | Axis Sanctuary and Chapels Bulletin / Newsletter online

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