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Author Topic: Giving a pet the name of a deity  (Read 4665 times)

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amber

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Giving a pet the name of a deity
« on: February 11, 2011, 05:10:09 AM »

I don't know exactly what section to put this in, so let's start here and see if someone can help. There's quite a bit of relevant background:

I'm eclectic pagan. My path is strongly but not completely Celtic in nature. My sister is spiritually similar but she doesn't use the term pagan to describe her beliefs and doesn't have a particular path or tradition at all, though she does have an interest in mythology, esp Norse, and has read a lot about runes though she doesn't use the runes for divination.

She's just got a new dog and wants to name him Loki. I feel that she is taking a risk by picking a deity with such a questionable reputation. I also feel uncomfortable yelling the name aloud as it feels like summoning to me. I would only name my pet 'Isis' for example, if I could find a way to make it into 'servant of', 'beloved of' or 'daughter/son of Isis'. She feels summoning would involve more ritual than just saying the name out loud, which to a large extent I agree with. I still feel uncomfortable with this.

This is important to me; it deals with my beliefs. My sister and I are very close, and I adore her existing dog (I refer to her sometimes as my 'doggy-niece') and I've seen and adore the new arrival.

Some questions, just answer those you have an opinion on :)

Have you/would you name your pet after a deity?

If so, would you choose names only from your path/tradition?

If so, would you only choose deities you wished to honour or felt had desirable qualities or would any name you liked within the pantheon be okay with you?

Is saying a deity name out loud a form of invoking or summoning in your opinion?

How do you feel about deities from other traditions? That is, do you accept they exist but have no influence in your life even if you tried summoning them; or do you not feel they truly exist?

Since Loki isn't part of 'my pantheon', am I worrying over nothing? Should I just try and disconnect my beliefs around Loki-as-deity from Loki-beloved-pet? Any ideas on this?

And, if you're familiar with Norse mythology, do you feel that Loki has enough redeemable qualities that he shouldn't be considered evil so much as mischievous? Do you see his connection to chaos as being just a necessary form of change?

Thank you in advance for any ideas and opinions.
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 07:32:44 AM »


Taking your questions out of order... No, using a name is not a summoning. (Not that one can summon a God in the first place) If it were, you could convert atheists by calling "Here, Goddy Goddy", having your God show up, and proving to the atheist your God exists. Many religions have varying beliefs concerning the names of Gods, from not permitting it to be spoken aloud at all to invoking the name in every endeavor. Personally, I think the issue of names bother people a lot more than it does the Gods themselves; I wouldn't worry. Another thing to consider is that names are not always unique to a God- for example, there are millions of boys named "Jesus" or "Mohammed", and their mothers do not feel uneasy about saying, "Jesus, you get in here right now!"

I have not named a pet for a diety, primarily because it never occured to me. I name pets after a characteristic they display, and none of mine have seemed very God-like! For example, I have a pair of cats, brothers from a litter. One is short and sleek; the other is tall and frizzy haired, so I named them Simon and Garfunkle.

How do I feel about dieties from other traditions? I treat them all with respect, without trying to determine any demesnes or hierarchies, they same way I respect the inherent worth and dignity of all life. My personal relationships to them are exactly that- personal.

As to Loki, I've always felt an attraction to him, or any trickster God- Coyote is another. Things ought to be turned upside down now and then; it lets air and light get in, and keeps things from getting stale.

peace,
ES



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amber

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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 08:17:00 AM »

Thank you for such a well considered response :D
I suppose when I say "summon" I mean "invite" as you might invite or invoke the elements while in circle, though if I wanted to work with a particular element or deity I would at least mentally cast circle and make it a ritual. So I suppose just speaking the name out loud isn't the same thing at all.
I lol'd at "Here, Goddy, goddy."  :D I'm wondering if I do have a holdover from my earlier, somewhat Christian upbringing about this because while Jesus may be acceptable in many countries, English speakers still tend to shy away from it. I remember reading that Mary was at one point in the early church considered to be too sacred to use as a given name; and the 'speak of the Devil' implies strongly that to speak the devil's name aloud is to gain his attention.
So I do believe that names have power. But in this case I probably am over reacting, and I needed someone else to point it out to me reasonably. And without any chaos the world would stagnate, so even chaotic deities have their place :D
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 08:40:30 AM »

I feel that names are much like words and don't have much significance unless there is a specific intent or context behind it.  If you have a pet with the same name as a deity and you call that pet, you know you are calling to that pet.  Just as if you had two friends with the same name.  When you speak their name, you know which friend you are talking to.  You aren't going to insult either one by using the name because it is shared.  In both situations, your intent is clear.

Is there a chance that you will garner the attention of a deity you are unfamiliar with because you are using their name when speaking of or call to a pet?  I really don't think so.  If you are getting the attention of a deity, it isn't because you've been calling the family dog with the same name.  It is for an entirely different reason all together and one that bears examining and not discounted by the fact that you know a pet with the same name.
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amber

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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 10:14:13 AM »

While I do think names have power 'Just as if you had two friends with the same name.  When you speak their name, you know which friend you are talking to.' is a really helpful way of seeing this. Thank you :D
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 10:17:45 AM »

This is an interesting question. I cringe when I heard a woman named her boy Osiris. I similarly cringe when I heard a girl on American Idol was named Symphony -- sheesh, what if she was tone deaf? My husband (who is a veterinarian) says there's no such thing as a jinx-- except naming your dog Lucky. Apparently every dog named Lucky that he has seen has serious problems. In my world, Murphy's Law will pretty much ensure your kid/dog ends up either befitting the name if the connotation is bad or ironically being the opposite if the name is something wished for like Symphony or Chastity. Intellectually I don't actually believe this but on a visceral level I do have a bit of superstitious fear.

I don't worship specific deities or study mythologies in depth so I don't think naming a pet or person after a deity is a form of invoking. But I do think words affect our perceptions of and feelings toward people and things as my confession above points out. It's not so much magical as psychological; a name can influence how a person is treated and who they become as a result of those experiences. You wouldn't think this would affect a pet so much, but I did see an episode of the Dog Whisperer in which a woman had name her Rottweiler Cujo and the dog was acting viciously and people feared it. Cesar Milan recommended they rename the dog something friendly because he felt that calling the dog Cujo was reinforcing fearfulness toward the dog by owners and the others. He may have had a point. How many people do you know who would name their kid Damian after The Omen came out?

If it's going to drive you crazy to call your sister's dog Loki or hear it being called Loki and you spend a lot of time around the dog, I would politely suggest some alternatives or ask if you can give the dog your own nickname. Or maybe you just need a more well-rounded understanding of Loki and should get more comfortable with Loki and his good aspects.


 
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 10:24:18 AM »

I agree with both Fox and ES.  But I have a question for you ... is your sister naming her pet with a deity's name the true reason you are concerned?

I noticed that twice in your post you make reference to what you perceive as negative qualities with regard to this specific deity.  I'm getting a sense that this may be more about you being uncomfortable with Loki and the fact that your sister possibly identifies with him.

There cannot be light without dark, order without chaos ... what humans perceive as "negative" is needed to balance things out.  I think that this is more about your discomfort with what you believe to be negative and that you be well served to meditate on why you see some aspects or personality traits as negative.

I agree with EM that spending some time learning about Loki and why he is considered a trickster would be beneficial. ;)
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amber

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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2011, 11:55:05 AM »

She's really in love with the sound of the name and not concerned with my perceived negative qualities, but then she's much more comfortable with the idea of change than I am! A nickname might cut it, but it looks as if I'll just have to adjust my own sensibilities here, and maybe give the name in general and maybe even the deity in particular, a second look. I'd hate to subconsciously influence the dog as in the Cujo example, because I do adore him and will spend a lot of time with him. Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it :D
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amber

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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2011, 12:00:26 PM »

what you perceive as negative qualities with regard to this specific deity.  I'm getting a sense that this may be more about you being uncomfortable with Loki and the fact that your sister possibly identifies with him.
I agree with EM that spending some time learning about Loki and why he is considered a trickster would be beneficial. ;)
You are absolutely right. While I wouldn't name a pet directly in this way, I would have not had such a visceral reaction if she'd chosen Thor, for example. She did think about Tyr but there's the risk of people hearing it as "Tia" and assuming it's a girl - the girl dog already gets mistaken for a boy not for her name but because of how she looks being quite a big and boisterous animal. So she wanted to make sure it had a 'boy' name.
It's been a long time since I read the Norse myths, so maybe I do need to go back and re examine them. All deities have some traits that could be considerable undesirable by someone, after all. Thank you for your input. This is a really friendly and thoughtful community.
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2011, 12:04:36 PM »

I wouldn't do it.
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2011, 12:42:46 PM »

A thought - what about "Lokisson" ("Loki's Son")? It could be shortened to "Loki" for everyday use if she wanted, but isn't the dog's "given name". It doesn't "usurp" the name, and it also reinforces the gender thing. Semantics? Yes. But something to consider... :)
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2011, 01:26:13 PM »

She did think about Tyr...

Oh, the irony...  :whistle:

A thought - what about "Lokisson" ("Loki's Son")? It could be shortened to "Loki" for everyday use if she wanted, but isn't the dog's "given name". It doesn't "usurp" the name, and it also reinforces the gender thing. Semantics? Yes. But something to consider... :)

Personally, I'd feel safer with this than using the proper "stand-alone" version of his name. Without getting too worked up, I would warn that your sis would need to expect the unexpected from this dog if she actually names him after Laufeyson (as you can tell, I'm a little wary of even typing his name, due to personal experience). I've encountered people (virtually) who claim to have a close association with him, and they have to expect a whack with the WTF bat a lot. Car won't start, road closed the way to an important meeting, etc. Granted, they expect, welcome, and somehow stay sane long enough to thrive on it, but I couldn't handle it.

He is certainly an enigma, so I can't give you a definate yea/nay, but I would caution you to be fully aware of what you might be getting into. :couchhide:
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2011, 01:35:42 PM »

This thread got me thinking. Is there the same trepidtion about driving a Mercury or a Saturn? Wearing Nike shoes? There are a lot of things out there named after deities, just wondering if it was more "the specific deity" than "the idea overall". I have an affinity with Coyote and accept his presence in my life, so maybe the chaos/trickster element doesn't faze me as much. :)
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2011, 01:52:11 PM »

The Roman and Greek deity names have become common usage over the centuries, and don't seem to have the same effect that use of the Northern deities do. Although our names for the days of the week (excepting Saturday = Saturn's day) are in honor of the Northern Gods, that is more in the form of honoring them (and which, incidentally, has kept them "alive" throughout the centuries of suppression under Xianity), which is a remnant of our languages Anglo-Saxon/Germanic roots.

I agree with Vision as to using the name of Laufey's son, things have a way of going haywire to those who honor him, as he is an agent of chaos, chance and change. All necessary elements in the grand scheme of things, but there is no sense in tempting one's Wyrd.  ;)
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2011, 04:05:42 PM »

This thread got me thinking. Is there the same trepidtion about driving a Mercury or a Saturn? Wearing Nike shoes? There are a lot of things out there named after deities, just wondering if it was more "the specific deity" than "the idea overall". I have an affinity with Coyote and accept his presence in my life, so maybe the chaos/trickster element doesn't faze me as much. :)
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2011, 06:36:10 PM »


"The Roman and Greek deity names have become common usage over the centuries, and don't seem to have the same effect that use of the Northern deities do." The Norse names are scarcely less used. Their names- sometimes their likenesses- are used in every Viking movie or comic strip. They have been the subject of operas, plays, and as Marvel comic characters, in both comic books and newspaper comic strips for more than 40 years. Norse demigods- Valkyries and heroes and narns, especially, have just as long a popculture history. The element Thorium was named after Thor, and it was discovered almost 200 years ago.

peace,
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2011, 07:43:52 PM »

A former coworker of mine named his dog Thor. The dog was big but kind of a wuss in personality.
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2011, 08:56:09 PM »


"The Roman and Greek deity names have become common usage over the centuries, and don't seem to have the same effect that use of the Northern deities do." The Norse names are scarcely less used. Their names- sometimes their likenesses- are used in every Viking movie or comic strip. They have been the subject of operas, plays, and as Marvel comic characters, in both comic books and newspaper comic strips for more than 40 years. Norse demigods- Valkyries and heroes and narns, especially, have just as long a popculture history. The element Thorium was named after Thor, and it was discovered almost 200 years ago.

peace,
ES


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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2011, 01:27:58 AM »

My sister in law has a cat named Loki. In her case it was not the Norse Mythos that got her conjuring the name of Loki for the cat.

It was the Kevin Smith movie "Dogma". She got two kittens and she named them Bartleby and Loki after the characters played by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2011, 04:24:37 AM »

I once considered getting a Norwegian Elkhound and naming him Thor. Still might. Even though I have since formed a sort of relationship with Thor, I wouldn't have a problem naming a dog Thor. And I honestly don't think Thor would get mad at me, although I guess if I thought he did when I got this hypothetical dog, I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't name a pet after Loki, however. For some reason, that one bothers me. And it's not that I have anything against Loki. I love him, but I could never name a pet after him. I'm not entirely sure why though. Maybe Loki doesn't like that sort of thing. I also wouldn't name a pet after Odin or Freya, but that's because those two scare me.
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2011, 10:15:04 AM »

Amber, what ever happened? Did your sister name the dog Loki and if so, how is he and your relationship with him?
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2011, 12:21:54 PM »

I used to have two gerbils named Phobos and Deimos..... fearful and panicky they were, indeed :-P
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2011, 01:12:58 PM »

Are the names of the deities names they have specifically told us to call them by, or are they names we have given them? If we are the ones who are giving out all the names, then it stands to reason that we can give those names to animals, plants and planets if we so choose. I would only caution that names tend to emphasize particular aspects ... although I am rather fond of Odin, for example, I do not think I would name my dog after a storm god. A champion and protector of people, on the other hand, is in my opinion a perfectly good wight to name a dog after.

My mother had a cat named Kali, for example. When my mother died, and my wife and I inherited the cat, I changed the spelling of her name to Calleigh. Not to dishonor any deities or say that they weren't good enough to name a cat after, I just thought the changed spelling would be a wise move.
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Re: Giving a pet the name of a deity
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2011, 10:01:04 PM »

A party rather than the Great Destroyer... yeah, good call, Greybear. I have known a few animal Lokis.... and they all lived up to the Trickster. No, I will never name a pet of mine Loki.
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