Saturday, October 3, 2009

Naming Ourselves & Our Journeys

If you are a first time visitor to this site, wish to "put your voice into the circle, " and be listed on my blog roll, please read this post. Then make a comment by choosing a "new name" for yourself as described below. That's it! Welcome to our circle of awakened women! (If you have questions or difficulties, use the "Contact" box on the site.)

We who bear the feminine qualities of compassion, intuition, and inclusion are called to awaken to our prodigious wisdom.
~Sue Patton Thoele, The Woman's Book of Soul 

When I formally open a women's gathering and begin to create a sacred circle in which all of us will feel welcome, I invite each woman to put her name into the circle. One of my favorite ways to do this comes from the Native American tradition.

I do this because, as Gary Null, writes, "Legal names are given, but Native American names are earned." Many of us on a spiritual path have grown out of our given names. We have become someone else along the way. We were born as someone's daughter, but, in time come into our own right as a woman—a unique woman with gifts, talents, and aspirations.

I have always admired the Native tradition of taking on a new name (though I have not formally done so myself). Gabriel Horn (White Deer of Autumn) writes about this:

"Indian names can be passed down, as western names often are. The distinction is that you are not stuck with one name all your life. This represents different beliefs about human potential, says White Deer of Autumn: "Crazy Horse passed on his name to his son, who took the name Worm as he got older. So, we can pass on names, too. The idea is that you’re not stuck with the name you were given at birth. In western society, it’s almost as if you can’t change; you can’t evolve; you can’t grow. From a native perspective, your name reflects who you are. White Deer of Autumn reflects what I’ve done. But as I go on in life, I may want to let go of that and take another name. I have that right. So, naming is the ability to evolve and change in your identity. I think this is healing, both physically and emotionally."

I think this is healing, too.

And so I invite you to put your thinking cap on and create a new name for yourself today. A name that reflects who you are in this moment; reflects your values, intentions, or dreams. 

We'll put our names into our sacred circle and get to know each other better. All are welcome here.

I'll start. 

She-Who-Lives-With Ease.

For so many years of my life, I have not been a peaceful woman. In 1994, all that changed when I became very clear about how I wanted to live my life—with grace and ease— not angst, stress, and worry. I had had enough of that to last a lifetime.

Today, my highest priority for myself is to be calm and peaceful inside. For when I am, my clarity shines through, my wisdom prevails, and my compassion moves out into the world. Not to mention I am one happy woman! And, yes, I do have my days when I am not living with ease, but now I have a healthy and helpful toolbox I can use to bring me back to that place of inner peace.

Using the form of a Native American name, who are you at this moment in time?

Image above of "Aphrodite" by Susan Seddon Boulet.
Learn more about her at
Text source:


Nina P. said...

She who Reaches Towards the Light

I have always felt there is more to life than what we see. Something just outside of the human body. Something outside yet inside at the same time. A force or Energy if you will that is there for each of us, showing us a New way. A Light that guides me/us to inner Peace, and fills me/us with Compassion, Hope and Love. As I/we reach Higher, the Light shines in me/us, with me/us, through me/us always encouraging me/us to go Higher, ask more,learn more, do more, share more...

What an inspiring post. Having us define ourselves with a name... for the moment... to be who we evolve into all we can be... Thank You Jan for encouraging me/us. Love and Light, Nina P. (aka She who Reaches Towards the Light)

Cheryl Wright said...

I am Serenity Seeker. A mildly restless spirit always seeking a quiet space to engage in quiet, soul-enriching activities in silence and solitude.

Jan said...

Oh, I will always think of you now with this light-filled name. :-) I love what you said here: As I/we reach higher, the Light shines in me/us. I am celebrating this journey of yours today. Welcome, She Who Reaches for the Light!

Perfect name. Today may you find the peace, silence, and solitude you desire. Sounds like a sacred rest period (nap!) might be in order. :-) Welcome, Serenity Seeker!

I am loving this, by the way. :-)

shiny mamaof6 said...

Wow. I have been thinking about this all day. I love the idea of naming myself to reflect who it is I truly am, today. I have settled on Shiny Wanderer. I strive to shine my Spirit light where ever I wander to. Thank you for the inspiration.

Kel said...

an interesting synchronicity saw me alter my profile this morning, then discover your invitation here

so in this moment of time I am Leaping Kangaroo

a name that refers not only to my national heritage, but my spiritual seeking as well

Jan said...

I am glad to hear you took real time today to discern a name. Your choice does seem fitting: a reflection of who you are and who you wish to be. Welcome, Shiny Wanderer!

Your name contains such joy. A name that reflects both your beginning and growth. Makes my heart dance. Welcome, Leaping Kangaroo!

joy said...


What a stimulating exercise. I thought long about this one. My first impulse was to go with my "ethereal" theme. But that seemed like
I take great pleasure in so many things--could be she who basks in life, love, harmony, peace, joy, nature, laughter, hugs, the elements, God's arms, the universe's glory....So, She-Who-Basks.

Thank you so much...opened up a whole new realm for me:)

Jan said...

What an amazing name for your soulful self. I celebrate your ability to savor what is here—all the beauty-filled things you list. Welcome, She-Who-Basks!

Hi Everyone,
Did you see what I did? I have now created a Blog Roll with our indigenous names, with a link back to each woman's site. Is that fun or what? Encourage your friends to jump into the conversation and join our circle of supportive women, OK?

"Heart to heart we share our stories, heart to heart we grow."


Nadia - Happy Lotus said...

Hi Jan,

I read this post yesterday and wanted to take time to figure out what would be an ideal name. Then I realized that it was in front of me the whole time.

My name would be Happy Lotus. A lotus grows through the mud and it takes eleven months for it to fully bloom. The lotus also represents spiritual wisdom.

Even though I am not all that wise (at least, not yet), I have been through my share of mud and I am happy. It took a lot of work but it was worth it. :)

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

For many years, I've considered Turtle to be my power animal:

Turtle images have always appeared and been present in my life. I've read a lot about Turtle and find that we share many qualities. I've always felt that I "straddle" - I'm partly here (earth) and partly there (Divine Conciousness), a soul with a body. Turtle is also a straddler, earth and water. Turtle retreats in uncomfortable settings, is content within her own shell, is grounded, craves freedom. So because I am so like Turtle and because I love the unbridled joy of movement and dance, for now, I am Turtle Dancer.

Jan said...

I am so glad that you took the time you did. :-) And how appropriate that we often come back full circle to where we were in the first place, coming back home...Welcome, Happy Lotus!

This turtle metaphor sounds like a very potent one for you. Straddling heaven and that. I've often resonated with turtle, myself, being invited to carry my home with me and be at peace wherever I am. (Though I still have some challenges with that one. ;-)
Welcome, Turtle Dancer!

Wilma Ham said...

Oh Jan. I love the idea that a name shows evolvement and how we westerns are so stuck.
Okay after some thinking I would love my name to be 'she who looks beyond' as I am really getting that we need to look past appearances.I do not see all that is and for me that has given me grief. I thought that what I saw was it and now I know it is not I see so many more possibilities.
For all of us, for the earth and that is so wonderful. It is lifting my spirit hugely.
So hence my name 'she who looks beyond'.
I appreciate doing this, thank you Jan, lots of love Wilma.
Thanks to the commentors as well, they are inspirational and I had to laugh at Nadia's.

twila said...

my spiritual journey has been twisted and turning...I have no idea where it will lead but have learned to relax in this place of unknowing. I choose the name "whimsical mystic" because my path has been so unpredictable yet my heart has never stopped its hungering.

Jan said...

Oh, you are so right about the freedom that comes with seeing beyond and through appearances. Congratulations on your journey with this. You—we—are enlightening. (I love this concept; a process not a once and for all state of being). Welcome, She Who Looks Beyond!

What wise words and the choice that supports them—to flow with what unfolds for you. Living into the Mystery, I call it. Wonderful. Welcome, Whimsical Mystic!

Annie said...

Thank you jan for inviting me, I pick Blissdweller. Life has not always been blissful, but more and more I take care to follow my bliss.

Anonymous said...

Well, for this month (at least) I am focusing on constancy. So how about 'True heart' because for me constancy is about being dependable, true and real. It chimes in with the last post when I realised I needed to be my authentic self.

Caroline said...

Oh I love love love this! I love reading the responses...such wise and beautiful names.

It took me awhile to think of something. I really wanted to find a name that really resonated with my soul. Easier said than done for sure! So after going within I came up with this:


In my life right now...I feel like I am really growing creatively and it's filling my spirit.

Julie G said...

"Thinking Brown" is my name.

I am grounded, I am part of the earth and I must remember humility when interacting with others.

I am thinking about the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare these days and the absolute service they gave to their community and to God.

Jan said...

You describe such an important awareness—that we fashion our lives by staying faithful to our intentions. Welcome, Blissdweller!

Constancy it is. So important to be faithful, steadfast, to our truest selves. Welcome, True Heart!

Your name definitely suits. A bundles of creative fire you are, these days. I can tell it fuels your spirit. Welcome, Blooming-Creative-Spirit!

Your focus these days is so grounded. I appreciate the humility and faithfulness you aspire to. These two saints you mention are, indeed, a source of inspiration. Welcome, Thinking Brown!

Anonymous said...

I need to spend time thinking of this, as naming oneself is such an important thing. Thanks for the invitation to get me thinking. At the moment, the name "Story Catcher" comes to mind, as lately I've been doing so many workshops and speaking on the topic of memoir writing and sharing family stories. As a writer, I love to catch my own stories, but also love to help other people "catch" their stories too ...

Anonymous said...

I am just getting caught up on your new project after being out of town this weekend. What a great start this gathering place has gotten off to. I love this naming idea, and all the beautiful names everyone has shared. Mine is 'She-Who-Seeks-Truth' as I think truth in any form has always been my internal 'driver', and shaped the kind of journey I have had, and the topic I am drawn too...

Anonymous said...

I feel very confident that beneath the surface of all that others may think they see, there lives a woman of great stillness and peace.
My name is Still Water and I am happy to be a part of this glorious group of women.

Jan said...

Your name truly suits you! You are a master storyteller and gatherer. So glad you have joined our circle. Welcome, Story Catcher!

Lisa (Mommy Mystic),
After reading your blog for nearly a year now, I concur, that Truth is at the core of who you are. Welcome, She-Who-Seeks-Truth!

Ingrid said...

My goodness, why does it feel so hard to choose a name? Does it mean I will be leaving something else of me out? After much pondering, I've settled on "Spring Tender," Which is short for "she-who-tends-a-holy-spring." Thank you for this, Jan. I will enjoy the tender awareness making a choice like this might bring.

Lisa @sacred circle said...

Thank you so much for the invitation, Jan! I'm so glad to have made it here... I've been taking the last couple of days to ponder my name, and many have moved through without sticking... but I think I finally found her... "She-Who-Is-Honoring-Her-Sparkle." With beginning my coaching business and connecting with my joy, I've realized how much of it is due to a newborn willingness to allow myself to shine....

I feel honored to be a part of your group!

Jan said...

You may be right here when you say it might feel challenging to pick one name because we absolutely do not want to leave any part of us out. I do love your choice. It exudes grace.

I will remind others of this elsewhere but when I got this brainy idea to give ourselves names, I wanted to make it clear that we could change our names when we needed to: when growth takes us in a new direction, or offers us an invitation, or challenge. We all need space and the freedom to grow!
Glad you are here with us...

I am glad to hear that you took your time deciding your name. It does seem to reflect the radiance you emit at your blog. :-) Love those mandalas!

Rebecca said...

Thank you, Jan, this invitation caused me to stop and ponder and come back to post today. While I have always been aware of my dreams and occasional archetypal dreams that I know are trying to teach me something, I have never given them the attention they deserve. I have just recently begun to keep a dream journal. So at this moment in time, I will choose the name "Dream Dancer." I believe this will help me with my intention to faithfully do this dream work. Thank you!

Jan said...

How wonderful that you find yourself in this place of paying attention to your dreams. Such a profound way to get in touch with "you" on so many levels. I hope you have lovely discoveries. Welcome, Dream Dancer!

Sharon said...

My life is upside down right now in that nothing is what it used to be. I choose "Questioning Heart" because I have no answers, only questions, and I long to follow my heart so I am listening very carefully....

Another Quirky Finn said...

Unfolding Rose. I've always loved roses...the song by Bette Midler called the Rose...midlife has felt like the petals are finally opening...thanks to all who blog about our shared journey!

Jan said...

Such a perceptive name! And questioning does bring us home to our truest selves in time. As Rilke said, can we live into the questions? Welcome, Questioning Heart!

Quirky Finn,
Here's to mid-life awakening. Isn't it grand! And the rose metaphor is perfect. Welcome, Unfolding Rose!

Jan said...

Questiong Heart and Unfolding Rose,
I am traveling with poor computer access, so I will add your links on the home page (Voices in the Circle) in a few days when I get back to my own computer. Thank you for your patience!

Sandi Delia said...

Dear Jan,

I hereby put my name in the circle. I sat quietly to hear my name. Whenever I sense something good, true, and uplifting a space between my shoulder blades starts to tingle and I sense a fluttering movement.

I use this sensation as a guide post that can be relied on without fail.

My name is Angel Wings.

Jan said...

I love your story and am so glad that you listen to those gentle nudges. Welcome, Angel Wings!

Jan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


Thanks for the invite! :)

First, legal name changes can be a wonderfully healing thing for adult children of abuse. I did this for myself about 4 years ago, changing my middle and last names.

Something poetic: name changes are finished up in Orphan's Court.

Second, name for this?

Dancing Queen


Jan said...

Thank you for sharing your story. A new name does sound like something any of us might consider when we come from an upbringing laced with hurt and pain. New beginnings call! May you dance on. Welcome Dancing Queen! (Love the song, by the way!)

Rachel said...

What an amazing idea. Thank you :)

I am Joyful Sugarglider - small but perfectly formed and always aware of the joy deep within.

Jan said...

Hi Rachel,
What a lovely and interesting name you have chosen for yourself. :-) It just speaks of ease and love for life. Welcome, Joyful Sugarglider! Looking forward to getting to know you better. :-)

Rachel said...

Thanks Jan - the sugarglider is actually my Australian animal zodiac symbol and it expresses breakthrough and self change. I have a deep connection with Australia and lived there for a while when I was younger so it means a lot to me. And the joyful bit, well, I think that's something we are all looking for :)

Jan said...

Thank you for explaining this further. Fascinating! Australia does have its magic and allure and I hope to go there too, someday. Sounds like you were very blessed to live there. Yes, may we all intend more Joy for ourselves. :-)

Sharmila said...

Dear Jan, what a beautiful invitation! I've always adored names and have chosen many to help me expand on my spiritual journey the last few years especially! So, to pick one, I first had one but then felt to dig deeper as lately I am really being called upon to be courageous and to 'unveil' myself to the world with a bold spirit of love, and honor the divine! Recently,'the black bear' spoke to me; known as 'great wind' and who I think of as very courageous! [Real bears, on their hind legs, dancing in the golden rays of the sun.] I want to be Real, and no longer hide behind anything to be less than who I am born to be *Spirit. I want to participate with the whole, in all that I do. So, my new name for this part of my journey is 'Soft Winds' ~I used to fear *the response; overwhelming the world with my immense passion, and huge heart, but now I see it is the very healing light and love that we all need and I want to honor this messenger role: north, south, west, east in the new days to come! ;) ~Sharmila

Jan said...

Beautifully put! I salute you for having the courage to step into your truest self--no matter what others say or how they might perceive your "gifts" or presence. Freedom is yours. :-) So welcome, Soft Winds!

Miche said...

Hi Jan,


would be my name. I like exploring, discovering, digging for deeper truths, and finding light in the dark. Digging down into the earth, exploring, and seeking in the dark all require a lantern, so the name works well I think. Thanks for the invitation to create it... That took a bit but was fun and sort of therapeutic!

I love you that you have this list and I've discovered a bunch of great women bloggers through it. And, I thoroughly enjoy the content you post here.

Thank you kindly, Miche :)

Angela Recada said...

Hi Jan,

I've been thinking about this one for a long time, and I finally found an actual Native American name that I think fits me right now. It's Hopi, and in their language it's Kuwanyauma. Translated into English it's "Butterfly showing beautiful wings."

That's the name I choose.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog today, and what a happy stumble it is! I think choosing new names is a wonderful practice; it really gets us to think about what it is we are searching for/striving for at the various stages of our lives.

I considered a few possibilities, but the one that seems to resonate most with me is "Joy Pilgrim."

Thank you for opening your blog space for sharing--the amazing generosity of so many bloggers and the sense of community created is one of the reasons I return to blogging again and again.

Jan said...

Beyond 39,
So glad you stumbled here, too! I hope that you will return often and imbibe in this wonderful community of supportive women. May the name you chose for yourself serve you well. Welcome, Joy Pilgrim!

Izzy said...

Wings on the Wind

I changed my last name after a very bad divorce about six years ago. What a wonderful healing process it was for me, made me feel at peace with myself again. I just recently lost my birth mother after only finding her seven months prior. Wings on the Wind probably best describes where I am with this healing. She only passed away two months ago. I feel worn out, tired, and heartbroken. I'm relying on the wind to carry me...

Thanks for allowing me to participate.

Izzy Winterhart

Jan said...

Glad you are here! Name changing certainly is very powerful and, despite your recent loss and big disappointment, your "new" name does seem to suit. May the days ahead find you making peace with what is. May you float effortlessly on the breezes of life. Welcome, Wings on the Wind!

Anonymous said...

I've been so busy I have been missing out :(

I think my name would be Grateful Spirit. :)

Jan said...

Very happy to have you here, Tabitha. I know how wonderfully busy you are with school, children and great charitable causes. Your grateful heart always buoys mine! Welcome, Grateful Spirit!

Davine said...

Thank you so much for your invitation. I found your blog weeks ago and then my system went down and I lost you. I am so glad I have found you again. My name is now "Full Moon Dreaming" because I have a huge fascination with a full moon and just looove dreaming.

mermaid said...

How do I add:
Open Heart - She is Whole

Jan said...

Your name speaks beautifully of your unfolding journey. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to embrace our wholeness—wholeheartedly.
Welcome, Open Heart - She is Whole! :-)

Lovely, pensive name. It sends out beautiful vibes of openness and wonder. Welcome, Full Moon Dreaming!

Anonymous said...

I am Sings to Horses. The three things I found I missed the most in my life were music, horses, and Spirit.

Jan said...

So glad to have your name here in the circle. I celebrate the "new" journey you are launching for yourself. I hope we will all be able to offer support. Welcome, Sings to Horses!

Jewel/Pink Ink said...

Hi Janice. I'd love to join your circle. I will be heretofore called

Radiant Little Rose

(I visualize a pink rose. "Little" because I have a lot more growth ahead of me, and yet "radiant" because I am already able to make an impact on the world, through my writings, words and actions.)

Jan said...

Hello Ms. Jewel,
Your intentions for yourself and others are simply lovely, just like the name you have chosen for yourself. It feels perfect! Welcome, Radiant Little Rose!

Jane said...

When you asked what our name would be at this time of our life - out of the blue came the name - Nurturing Ways - I kept trying to come up with a different name that would perhaps describe better where I am right now, but, Nurturing Ways was very insistent, so there you have it - Nurturing Ways is my name and it means nurturing you, nurturing me, nurturing all - hmmm I like it alot.

Jan said...

Your new chosen name certainly offers a powerful intention for all of us, especially as women, as we tend to nurture others but not ourselves. We will hope you will be a good guide who reminds us to do so. Welcome, Nurturing Ways!

Maryse said...

I am my inner child's name. It came to me in a dream : Blue Amaryllis.

Jan said...

What a beautiful thought, to name yourself as that which speaks to the essence of you—childhood, and all that is perfectly new and grand.So thought provoking. And it came in a dream, you say? Marvelous! Welcome, Blue Amaryllis!

cordieb said...

What a wonderful idea. I love the names all of the woman have renamed themselves. So meaningful. So spiritual. After contemplating this for some time, I've decided today I shall be "She Who Reflects Light" Thanks for the invitation to this most remarkable circle. I've visited some of the other sites, and all are a true blessing.

Peace, Light and Love,
She Who Reflects Light

Jan said...

The names and women you find here are indeed a reflection of light and compassion. So nice to meet you, too, a woman on the path to awakening. I appreciate you taking time to contemplate the name you have chosen. And an insightful name it is! Welcome She Who Reflects Light! May we all....

One Woman's Journey said...

Jan, I have been giving this a lot of thought. At this particular time in my life I would call myself
"Woods Spirit". I find peace in these woods that surround my new cottage. I see all stages of life in these woods - from the beginning to the end. Continued blessings and peace to you on your journey.
Hopefully this name has not been taken.

Jan said...

I love it when someone gives "renaming" a lot of thought. Your name definitely suits! Your relationship to the woods, to its glory and lessons, sounds very much like mine with the water. :-) And I am very glad you have found peace in that beautiful place....Welcome, Woods Spirit!

Sharmila II said...

Jan, I was wondering in this new year 2010 since I've expanded my site if I could have +another name that just feels so right! :)
"Lady of Clear Waters" -- it would mean so much! ;) thanks so much! I am focusing so much more on clarity and vision this year and I finally feel as a Mary follower that I am finding the soft, sacred winds inside of me wanting to birth through into the light of a new dawn! :) Blessings to you for such inspirational ideas that encourage the stretching of souls! ;) luv Jen

Jan said...

I will be very happy to change the name and am celebrating your unfolding journey. This name speaks volumes about clarity....And as you may already know, Mary is often associate with water. Her name is connected with the French "mer" meaning "mother" and also "sea. Somehow I think this must all connect back to birth and the waters of the womb. Marvelous! Welcome Lady of Clear Waters!

Anonymous said...

A new member has joined the circle, Pauline. She has chosen the name of "Little Flower." A beautiful name! Welcome to you. Glad you are in the sacred circle with us. Blessings!

(Posted by Jan for Pauline)

Lola England said...


How wonderful to encourage us to choose our own name ~ two years ago when I started my blog I wanted to use a name other than my own ~ not to mask my own identity but because it felt as if I needed to free myself to be someone new.

The name I chose was . . .

Lola England ~ the full explanation can be found


Jan said...

Welcome! I will look forward to visiting your site and learning about the choosing of this very special name. Glad you have decided to join us. I will enter your name into the circle with joy. Blessings!

Joni Golden said...

Jan, one of my most powerful intentions for this year centers around writing and reconnecting with it. I like the idea of choosing a name that speaks to what we want for ourselves, as you've done.

I have always, always loved birch trees more than any other and never understood why, until I learned the connection between birch bark and writing. With that in mind, I've chosen the name Sister-of-the-Birch.

I feel more like writing already. :)

Jan said...

Great to have you here in our growing circle of women. I just learned something new, that writing and birch bark have a deep connection. I'd like to know more. With that, welcome Sister-of-the-Birch! May the breezes caress your writing.