“The naming of cats is a difficult matter, it isn’t just one of your holiday games….”
This first line of a whimsical poem by T.S. Eliot catches the gravity of names. I am recently reminded of this matter as I am taking a course on The Old Testament. Abram becomes Abraham after his covenant with G-d is made. Monarchs are renamed when they are crowned. History, fairy tales, and myths are chock-full of people who are get new names or titles after going through some numinous or alembic experience. “Wart” becomes “Arthur”; “Paul” becomes “Maud-dib”.
Novice writers often make themselves a pen-name. I have several friends made through blogging, who illustrate this when they tell me although they know my real name, they can only think of me as “Spo”.
Names are have profound psychologically importance; they reflect our transformations from one stage to another.
In three weeks I turn fifty, which seems a fitting event for a new name. In Jungian terms I cross the threshold into Elder Energy. I’ve often wondered where and what I would be like when I hit 50. In my youth I owned a children’s encyclopedia in which was an article about when a Japanese man turns 50 he dons a special cap. He also receives the title of “Ojiisan”. I think this means ‘Grandfather” or “Elder”. I recall the article conveyed the name was one of honor.
On that day I plan to have conduct a little ritual of my own, to honor this passage. I shall purchase some sort of new cap in Alaska. I will place it on my head, look in to a mirror, and bow a little bow of self-congratulation. For I will be Ojiisan.
A very good name, indeed.