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Giving a pet the name of a deity

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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.

Eternal Seeker:

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.


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

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.

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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