By Anna Von Reitz
You will notice that in the Bible Adam is given the job of naming the animals—- but not given the job of naming people.
Why is that?
It is one of the great mysteries of scripture.
The most likely reason is that when you name someone or something, you label it and subject it’s identity to your will—- and while that might be appropriate when dealing with animals, it violates freewill and equal respect among people who are intrinsically gifted with both.
Many early cultures were superstitious about names in the same way that many resist having their photos taken. It’s as if a name or a photo captures too much and takes on a life of its own. It’s spooky if you think about it.
I think about this every time I watch an old movie and realize that I am seeing the images and hearing the voices of actors long dead.
I also think about this when I chance to look at a box of Civil War Era photos I inherited. I don’t know that I am related to any of these men, but their long-dead faces look back at me from a moment in time in the summer of 1863 when they stopped at a photographer’s studio in St. Louis and had a photo taken. That moment is still here, still present.
Today, we take names and images of people for granted. We don’t think about these issues, but we should.
In earlier times, the silent prohibition against naming people resulted in using descriptions and titles and even animal totems instead of names—- for example, King Arthur means King Bear, and was not his actual name, which was kept private.
And Lancelot was a pet name that his Mother, Queen Elaine, the actual Lady of the Lake, called her Son. It means “little parcel of land” and refers to the island where Lancelot was born and where he spent his early years in his Mother’s native land, the Auvergne in France.
Anne of Green Gables, Robin of Locksley, the Green Knight, Sven of the Silver Skates, the Madman of Parma, the Venerable Bede, and many, many more bear witness to the long tradition of using descriptions as names, and you still see this substitution quite often with Performance Names and Pen Names.
Even when we choose a name for ourselves there is an eerie awareness that we are taking on a “persona” which may be quite different. Clark Kent is, after all, a different version of Superman.
A hundred and sixty years ago, during the Civil War, middle names were still rare. Hiram Grant had to create his alter ego, Ulysses S. Grant, and even he didn’t assign a name to the “S”. A great many Presidents including those in relatively recent history have had or used only two names, first and last. Calvin Coolidge. Theodore Roosevelt. Ronald Reagan.
To this day, the Proper Name in English is bicameral, not tricameral, and consists of a name like we wrote down in First Grade: Jane Nichols, Stuart Graham, Oliver Nash. Using a Middle Name or even an Initial like “Ulysses S. Grant” smacks of different languages and a Continental European tradition.
A monster behemoth like Anna Maria Wilhelmina Hanna Sophia Riezinger-von Reitzenstein von Lettow-Vorbeck isn’t a name; it’s a pedigree.
Each one of those names not only has a meaning it is a memorial to ancestors long dead.
We can learn a great deal about ourselves, our history, and our world by paying attention to the importance of words, and especially the importance of names.
Technically, thanks to our ancestral phobia against labeling people, most modern names continue to be descriptive, for example, “Anna” means both “Mother” and “Grace”.
The name William (including the French form, Guilleroi) which figures very prominently in my husband’s family throughout it’s known history means “Resolute Protector”— and so they were and so he is.
We’ve recently pointed out the connection between the Armorican people of Normandy (pronounced “Amorican” by the British North Umbrians) and the name of our country, America.
Similarly, we pointed out the chicken and egg history of Rome and the Romanians (not exactly Trojans, but related) who came to be called Romans.
We might also point out the lineage of Aragon, the model for J.R.R. Tolkien’s hero, Aragorn, who returns to the land of Middle Earth with an army of Undead Spirits and Fey Folk to save Mankind.
If names count for anything, our Rescuer in the present time will be a Spaniard from the Royal House of Aragon, descended from Enki, the right-wise King of the Land.
While we are chewing on that prophecy embedded in Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Aramaic we can also examine the meaning of Jacob, Israeli, and Jew—- because all these names have their part of the tale, too.
Jacob means “Supplanter” or “Usurper” — a descriptive name if ever their was one.
Israel means “Fighter of God” which could mean two very different things — either one who fights for God, or which is more likely, one who fights with God, as in contends with or struggles against.
And Jew comes from “Yehudi” — one who comes from the Kingdom of Judah, one of the last remnants of the Hebrews— those “who passed over”.
It remains to be determined “passed over” what? The Red Sea? The Wilderness? The Abyss of space? The Night of Passover? The land of Canaan? The Western Sea?
How far could they drift in forty days and forty nights?
Like the Romany, the Jews have been wanderers, but as Tolkien said, not all those who wander are lost.
Those who contend with God are still here among us, and so are those who passed over, and so too, are the many Sons of Jacob.
Somewhere rustling among the stars tonight are the Tuatha de Danaan, the people of the goddess Danu, the Celtic Goddess embodying the feminine trinity: maiden, mother, and crone.
Something cold and old as the mountains in winter speaks of the Romans poisoning sacred springs with rods of iron, of men who bled the Earth, and of fires that consumed them. It echoes in their lies and self-regard as they now speak of “the rods of God” and those who remember The Great Plasma War, remember.
We are come to remember what was forgotten.
We bear the name of the one who loved us— written on our DNA; the once and future king is now in the living present, and there he will remain.