What’s in a Name?

Religious and occult literature is replete with learned disquisitions about the sacred power of the Name. We see that, in Genesis, the Bible itself starts with the words “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the New Testament, this theme is continued. Jesus Christ renamed some people who had “come over to him”, such as Peter. Others, later, renamed themselves, to mark their “ideological” or spiritual transformation, as when Saul became Paul after his experience on the road to Damascus.

In Rome, Octavius becomes the Emperor Augustus or Caesar Augustus eventually (the style Augustus Princeps was bestowed upon him by the Senate of Rome in 27 B.C., when he was 35).

In early mediaeval Spain, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar is given the name El Cid (from the Arabic for “lord”, sidi) to crown his mission. Likewise, in the Christian monastic tradition, the postulant chooses or is given a new name, often one referencing a deceased saint. The same is true of religious leaders such as bishops, metropolitans, popes etc. Gandhi is called Mahatma Gandhi, same surname but elevated by the new forename.

In literature, we see that the hero who fights perceived evil, particularly if doing so covertly, takes a new name, a nom de guerre: the Scarlet Pimpernel was an early example, followed by many another, right up to the “superheroes” of the 20th and 21st centuries: Superman, Batman, Spiderman etc.

In the field of espionage too, we see that sometimes a secret agent who becomes a known character is given or takes a name: the White Rabbit, the Welshman etc. Mata Hari…

Politically, the same applies: the anarchist Bruno Traven (itself a pseudonym) was known in early 1920s Germany as der Ziegelbrenner (“the Brickburner”). Better known were the noms de guerre of the Bolshevik leadership: Lenin (V.I Ulyanov), from the river Lena; Stalin (I.V. –or JV– Djugashvili), from “steel”, Trotsky (L.D. Bronstein), a Russification or Polonization of the original Jewish (Yiddish/German-style) name. In fact, most Bolshevik leaders took on longlasting pseudonyms, in a macabre aping of those old religious orders: Scriabin became Molotov (from molot, “hammer”), though he was a rare Russian. Most of the Bolsheviks who changed name did so partly to disguise their otherwise all-too-obvious Jewish identity. Having said that, the new names of the leaders also often spelled out the new strong self-image: “Steel”, “Hammer” etc.

Though German National Socialists were not generally given to changing name and in fact disapproved in principle, some did so temporarily, while on the run or on special missions. Hitler himself used the nom de guerre “Wolf”, Herr Wolf”, “Herr Doktor Wolf” while evading State agents in Munich after the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler himself did often say that it was fortuitous that his name was Hitler and not, as it perhaps might have been, Schicklgruber


“Heil Sch…!” you get my meaning. Names are important. Many a showbusiness personality has achieved fame and fortune only after changing name. Beyond even that, the use of “transformational vocabulary” can change, with the name, the sense, the sense of mission or purpose. Thus, the U.S. combined operation “Desert Shield” of 1990 became “Desert Storm” of 1991, as defence turned to attack.

The use of a particular name for a political party or group can energize it and make it stand out: En Marche!, le Front National, the Angry Brigade, Leave and so on.

An allied aspect is that of the Invocation, a word or form of words designed to link the material with the spiritual, to send up prayer or supplication, and to bring down power to the Earth. “Heil!” is an obvious example. “Heil Hitler!” which eventually (in just a few years) replaced the likes of “Good day” and “goodbye” in, at least official, Germany. Hitler’s speeches are often very well-written, erudite, informed, but the power of Hitler’s oratory was not founded on its content, but on something above and beyond content. Yet that still required words as a basis.

When we consider how to pull the UK and Europe out of the mess into which it is sliding, we must consider the sacred power of the Word and use it.



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