Category Archives: magickal alchemy

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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Making the transition

egyptianscribes1It is no secret that I tend to be a bit of a control freak. I do work well with others. I am just a little more reticent about working for them. I’ve been in the corporate sphere and could name-drop if I wanted to. I have also done my share of work with small businesses as well. It has been a mixture of good and bad. I have had wonderful bosses, and worked for executives who were the most unreasonable demons from the deepest pits of Hell. I have had great, co-workers and teammates that instill what that whole sort of culture should be about – and I have had the displeasure of having to work with the clueless and the incurably lazy who were more than happy to let me (or anyone else) do their jobs while they got paid just the same. In spite of all of this, I feel that each experience taught me a great deal.

I feel particularly blessed that right now, I am relying on a job outside of my own employment less and less. It was a hard road and a long time in coming. I believe my ability to do it now, rather than having been able to do it before is because of my having gone back to school. I learned some very good practical skills in media-related areas to be sure. However, more than that, I learned a great deal more and was exposed to some extraordinary teachers who are nothing less than a goldmine of knowledge, experience, and for some, the establishment of what I feel are real and lasting friendships. Through them I learned about good habits and not-so-great ones as well. This is especially true with my writing.

Between the blogs that I write and edit for commercial clients, the freelance camera work and the writing that I do via eBook publishing, it is looking like self sufficiency is not such a far off dream.

So, on my birthday I had to go to work at the job outside of the home. I don’t mind that so much. Today, however, the day after, I am spending time unfucking my habitat and unfucking the Sekhmet book. I think the former is going to be a little bit easier than the latter simply because right now, the book is a nearly 300 page long info-dump of everything I have compiled about Sekhmet and everything surrounding her for the last decade and a half. I confess, part of it makes me rather afraid, because I am putting myself out there to be shredded in the very same way that I shredded the late Dr. Robert Masters over my personal points of contention over his work. I am in his debt, of course, but he and I did not always see eye to eye and there are those who may find my work a complete departure. That sort of fills me with a bit of trepidation. Sekhmet, on the other hand, just keeps pushing that it needs to be put out there. So does my spouse and my son.

I just have to remember that the task in front of me is never as great as the Power (sekhem)_within myself. If I keep telling myself this, maybe I will actually not only start to believe it but live it, too.

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Free eBook for Download (9/21/12) Knowledge from the Sacred Tree

Through today, Ma’at Publishing, my small publishing company, will be offering exclusively through Amazon, the new, revised edition of “Knowledge from the Sacred Tree: Runes Images and Shapes of Energy” by Tina Houk for FREE.

If you don’t have a Kindle device, that is not to worry. Amazon offers several “reader” programs for PC, Mac, and many different smart phones so that you can read your Amazon eBooks, also for free.

Knowledge from the Sacred Tree

Confession time: I sat on this book and putting it out there for well over six months because of the abject terror I felt about formatting issues. The first thing people trash small indie publishers about are the formatting issues. I still have a couple of little things I realize that I could have done better, however, putting an eBook out there was an unnecessarily gut-wrenching proposition To hear some within the cacophony of voices on the subject, you would think it was akin to giving birth and having a root canal simultaneously! Thankfully through the advice of those who have been through it before and the Kindle Direct Community boards, I got through it unscathed. Now that I know how, I will be releasing “Sekhmet: The Beauty and the Terror” within the next few weeks. Watch this space as I will also be offering that one via Amazon as well.

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New Moon, New Beginnings

Friday, August, 17th at approximately 11:54 AM, marked the New Moon for this month. I have been on an absolutely breathless whirl of activity since that time. In between working on two eBooks to get out and onto Kindle Direct, I have been working on the pitch reel for an upcoming Indiegogo book and film project, “Sekhmet: The Beauty and the Terror”. It has not officially launched yet, so if you search for it, you aren’t going to find it. We should be done by the end of the week, if all goes well.

My work with Sekhmet has been going on since the early 90’s, even before we moved out here to the Enchanted Forest that overlooks the Wapsipinicon River Valley. Even after the horrifically hot summer and the terrible drought, the forest has a certain sense of magic to it. On the hill near where I live, on State property, you can see an enormous Faery ring. It is a HUGE circle, about 12 feet in diameter, growing out in the middle of the grass of large puff ball mushrooms! I want to take a picture, hopefully tomorrow or at least before someone gets wise and harvests them. I hear the puff ball mushrooms are very good eating. That they are on State property provides a bit of a deterrent, but out where we are, it probably won’t be one for long, especially since you can see the ring from the road.

The rest of my weekend has been spent either working and getting ready to start back at school tomorrow and cleaning like a mad woman. Our basement here at the log cabin in the Enchanted Forest has had floor to ceiling shelves lined with jars of herbs, tinctures and formulas that I make as an herbalist. I was pretty disorganized for a fair space of time. Finally, everything has been aired out, old herbs recycled to compost wotj new once to replace them, while tinctures and such decanted are ready for use. We’ve added more shelves, installed a deep two basin fiberglas sink, and more work space. The floors and limestone chimney have been scrubbed, the rugs have been beaten, vacuumed and shampooed. And all tools and materials are being arranged for ease of use. On my wish list is a counter-height stainless steel table to work on, but barring this, I may just opt for re-purposing another work table, having Tina mosaic the top and use that instead. I prefer the latter method to spending more money. I get a thrill out of taking something that we no longer use and then giving it new life through another use. Once I am finished getting the space cleared and organized, I promise pictures shall follow.

I have no idea where all this energy came from, but it feels lke a several year long bit of fog has been lifted. Maybe it is realizing that part of this art-thing that I have been doing for the last twenty-odd years is getting out there and actually putting my work in front of people. After sitting on the side wondering if my work is good enough, it’s good to finally just let go and let it out there. Even if someone hates what I do, I will have taken the leap at last.

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Changes

I have a confession to make. I have been an idiot. I have many resources all around me and within me and I have not used them at all well. I have squandered time and talent and I’ve let the best go by unharvested., uncrafted and unfinished. I am regretting it now because I realised that I should be claiming my place as a wise woman. Even at 50, you would think I had a clue by now. I’ve had my business license for over 10 years, I have been a practising herbalist for about that long and have either been working for others or going back to school after having been laid off. I cannot say that the school was at all a waste of time. It certainly wasn’t and I got some valuable experience in writing, media and many other things. I can do more now than ever and the knowledge and hands-on experience has begun to pay off in a big way.

So now it is time to make notes, organise and assemble all the tools that are in my employ. I can do this every bit as well as anyone else has done. It just takes making a plan and executing it. Today, I am in the basement / herb room space and putting it together. For too long I have let it go. No longer. I do need to go about finding jars and labels in the midst of getting all the other things assembled. Watch this space for handcrafted incenses, oils and other healing and magickal blends as well as some protective amulets, jewelry as well as the writing and media projects that are underway. I have a shop on Etsy that I am finally getting set up.

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