Your Brand New Name

In some spiritual traditions, devotees attempt an arduous process of self-transformation as they retrain themselves to perceive the world from God’s point of view. If they succeed, they’re honored with an initiation ritual and given a new name to consecrate their altered state.

I have the same problem with this custom that I have with the idea of enlightenment: Once isn’t enough. Just as anyone in his or her right spiritual mind has a duty to keep claiming fresh varieties of enlightenment until the end of time, so should the initiations and re-namings continue forever.

In my opinion, these considerations apply to you. You may not have sequestered yourself for years in a mountaintop monastery, and you may not have risen every morning at 5 a.m. to say prayers for hours, but you are an authentic devotee who has undergone equivalent ordeals. Your spiritual transformation has unfolded as you’ve dealt with the challenges of daily life during our epic moment in history, when unprecedented levels of annihilation and resurrection are the norm.

You have earned the right, therefore, to enjoy enlightenment after enlightenment and initiation after initiation and renaming after renaming.

I invite you to get started with a do-it-yourself initiation ceremony. It doesn’t have to be long and complicated, and you can create it yourself.

As an example of what you might do, here’s a ritual that some Beauty and Truth Laboratory’s initiates have performed:
1. Eat a pinch of dirt to declare your solidarity with Mother Earth.
2. Burn a five-dollar bill to purify your relationship with symbols of wealth.
3. Kick yourself in the ass to affirm your ongoing intention to discipline your shadow.

As one of your initiatory rewards, consider adopting a fresh alias during this and every initiation you carry out in the future. You can abandon your existing name if you want, or simply add your new tag to the current mix.

To celebrate the occasion, I invoke on your behalf the inspiration of all shedding things.
Your tree of power will be the eucalyptus, whose bark peels away to reveal fresh layers beneath.
Your lucky symbol will be the molting snake.
Your sacred insect will be the silverfish, which bursts through its exoskeleton as it grows a new and bigger one.
Your role model will be Japanese artist Hokusai (1760-1849), who had such a passionate commitment to reinventing himself that he celebrated 60 births, each time giving himself a new name.

Below is a list of Native American-style titles and names you might want to steal for your own use. Feel free to dream up your own, of course.

Wild Face

Shadow Wrestler

Kiss Genius

Goal Thwacker

Boink Worthy

Fizzy Nectar

Thrill Witch

Rowdy Gusto

Bliss Mutator

Silky Banger

Phoenix Nectar

Mucho Gusto Coco Loco

Mango Sucker

Pain Killer

Fire Keeper

Wobble Binder


Wish Crayon

Pearly Thunder


Gut Stormer

Storm Tamer

Free Sigh

 — Robert Breszny

Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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