Elemental Ritual of Name Change

Elemental Ritual of Name Change
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A ritual is a way of marking sacred the reality of our lives, and acknowledging spirit moving in spaces which can sometimes seem mundane. This ritual is designed for people who are not “religious” per se, but want to gather loved ones to mark a deep change in their life: in their name. ...For transition into full self, for legal name change because of marriage or divorce, for coming of age past a nickname. Feel free to adapt and use as divine is calling you to do so!

Elemental Ritual of Naming and Re-Naming

(written with love.)

They for whom the ritual is written (written here as ***) is a participant observer, holding space and breathing in the intention of the group for most of the ritual, until an assertion of recognition of self in a new name. This is meant to be led by the beloveds of one who is naming self or reclaiming a name.

The name which is no longer representative of the person centered may be used, or not, as the person desires. Lines which pertain to this use are (parenthetical).

Materials on the Altar

Light- Candle & something to light it.

Air- Feather

Water- Clear bowl half full of Water

Earth- Something growing, planted. A small succulent, a house plant, or a fistful of dirt and dandelions. What it is that is meaningful to you.

Nothingness- An empty container. A mug, a vase, a bowl, something representative of the nothing. (Optional: something breakable.)

They for whom this ritual is written (written here as ***), brings:

Spirit- Something sacred unto you. A crystal, a cross, a necklace of your grandmother’s… you choose. Hold onto this until the opening of the ceremony.

<p>water, light, earth, air, spirit, nothingness</p>

water, light, earth, air, spirit, nothingness

chris davies

Leader: Names are sacred. The calling of one’s name invites connection; a turning towards, and energy given. A name is an invitation into relationship, a marker of importance in conversation, and a meaning that grows alongside the spirit it accompanies. A name is worn: some fit easily upon the shoulders of the bearer, some uncomfortable and restrictive. For some, there comes a moment when the name that has been worn for some time no longer fits: it no longer invites the wholeness of the human that wears it.

We gather here at this time with deep intention to mark a growing and becoming of a human ready to enter the world marked with a name that suits them better. The person who wears a name of the past is no longer the person before us, and we, together, open a space for the naming of this beautiful divine human into their wholeness-- into the newness of a name: tested and tried and tenderly embraced.

Participant 1: We call upon the sacred of the centuries, the named and unnamed who have come before us, to come into this space and bless those here.

Participant 2: We acknowledge those who have named us in various complicated ways all throughout our life: those who have chosen the name each of us wears, those who have nicknamed and even name-called, and those who have whispered tender endearing names within embrace.

Participant 3: We call upon the divine, the sacred, the spirit; forming us into being and naming us as Their own love: perfect in our imperfection, worthy in Their sight, and holy in our journey.

Leader: With all who have come before, and all who will be blessed in knowing our names, we light a candle of intention. Light a candle on the altar. We name this space as sacred. We claim our own divinity and power. We name this human as beloved to us in their journey.

Participant 1: Pick up the feather and slowly fan the lit candle-- to flicker and move in the air. The light is fed by the air which surrounds us all and fills us with life. May the air which has moved through the centuries move through our own lungs, on this night.

Participant 2: Lift the bowl of water and hold it while saying:… The flow of water in our veins and bodies, in our meals and sustenance, in the streams and rivers, in the earth and clouds, is represented in this space, here. Place the bowl back down.

Participant 3: Caress the leaves of the growing thing, or put your hands into the dirt. And the earth which upholds us and carries us, which supports our moving and growing; She who mothers and sustains us even through our own disregard for her lends her strength to this naming…

***: And I bring into this space the sacred of my own acknowledgement: If desired, tell us what it is, and what it means to you; why it represents the sacred. Place it upon the altar.

Leader: This space is sacred. Prepared. Named as ready. And alongside all the elements of creation, we name it Good.

All: It is named Good.

Leader: To step into a new name, we have to acknowledge and let go of the name that has served this human for a time. (They were once known as XXXXXX. )

(If there is someone present who knows the story of that naming, Leader will invite them forward to tell of why that name, what it meant, at the time.)

Leader: This is an appropriate time to honor the name, thank it for its service--however uncomfortable--and release it into the nothingness.

Lift the cup and show those gathered the empty space.

Leader: First, into this space, we release the name of the past, ( XXXXX.) Imagining it sinking into the nothingness, while the power of its nature is held, for a time, by this circle of trust and love.

***: I release my name into the nothing, letting the power it once had sink into this space of love and care, and holding myself open for what is becoming.

All but ***: We acknowledge and release our own feelings regarding the name of old. Gratitude, for allowing us to meet this human. Maybe grief, for a shift in what we knew, what we expected. Maybe relief: that name hadn’t fit the way it was supposed to, and now we have space to know our love better. And above all, we hold onto our love and care for this human, regardless of how they are known.

Leader: Place the cup which represents the nothing down onto the altar. (Alternative option: hand the cup which is representative to ***, and allow them to break it upon the ground, releasing the nothing into the space created.) Hold stillness.


Leader: By what name shall you be known?

***: whisper. I am ___________.

All: You are _________!

***: speak. I am ___________!

All: You are _________!

***: shout. I am ___________!

All: You are _________!

***: I am _______! If desired, tell the story of your name, here! Why this name? What does it mean? What does it mean to you? What hopes do you have with this name?

Leader: _________ Be known and named in this space of your loves.

Participant 1: Be seen in the fullness of who you are, and who you intend to be.

Participant 2: Be held, and receive the power of stepping into your self, receive back the power left from all the old names.

Participant 3: Be loved, and affirmed, by your community of care and family.

All but ***: We witness your naming and your growing. As so many before throughout the centuries have changed their names as a testament to transformation, we witness your transformation and will support you along the way: holding energy and care, providing a shoulder to lean on when it gets hard, and trying our very best to accompany you each day along the way. In the presence of all the elements and in the witness of all that we call holy, we, your community celebrate you, __________, and welcome you into the world!

***: In the presence of the divine, those who have come before me throughout the generations, and my community, I, _________ gratefully receive your care and compassion, and know that it takes a community to help an individual live into the power of a name. I am ________, and I am wholly whole, holy.

Leader: While the sacred space continues, we end our moment of ritual by enthusiastically welcoming you as ________, and naming you as Good! Welcome, ________! A symbol of welcome is appropriate-- at whatever level of comfort/consent that *** needs. A hug, handshake, high five, or a wave. Something like that.

Every single participant, each individually and joyfully: Welcome, ________!

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