Sunday, June 24, 2012

WHAT’S IN A NAME

Today, PQ and I were on our way to the grocery store in Sedona and he brought up my name again. He knows that I don’t identify with my given name. The issue comes up often because I still haven’t changed my name since we got married.  Sometimes it really bothers him that my accounts still have my ex-husbands last name on them. I certainly understand his displeasure but I’m stuck.  I want to change my name but feel strange being Marti Standing Deer because Marti is short for Martha a name I’ve never liked. Marti isn't bad but should I make it permanent.  I keep putting a name change off because I don’t know what I want my name to be and I don’t want to keep changing it trying to find out. Now and then, He and I go through lists of names and I just can’t identify with any of them. Sometimes I think I’ll take back my maiden name but it feels like defeat.

I need a real name! My name is a constant bother. The name has never belonged on me.  It feels like an alias tagged on after a bout of amnesia. I’ve always know that my birth name was a compromise based on my Mother’s desire to please, not her preference.  She believed that there was great honor in being self-deprecating. In truth, it dominated her life and consequently my life as well. Earning admiration for her excessive modesty came with a constant struggle.  She tried very hard to avoid any action that might appear selfish or attention seeking and this troublesome concern actually ended up working in reverse (as the Leo nature intended). 
Wheel of the zodiac: This 6th century mosaic pavement
in a synagogue incorporates Greek-Byzantine elements
Beit Alpha, Israel

 Mom was born with the Sun in Leo conjunct Neptune and opposing Uranus. I’ll never know for sure, but I suspect she had Virgo rising, she tried so hard to match a fantasy standard of perfection. Since she was number five among seven children the time of her birth lay buried at the bottom of family events, and I became interested in astrology long after there was anyone left to remember. 

Here is a little basic astrology to bring the previous paragraph out of the clouds. Leo is the ultimate sign of self-importance and personal power and the Sun is its ruler.  Just as the Sun is the center of our Solar System and the other planets revolve around it so Leos feel most fulfilled when others revolve around them. Being highly regarded in the tribe is essential. Self-deprecation darkens and kills the life force in a child of the Sun. Neptune is such a different energy that only insanity or spiritual transcendence could bring them into cooperation. Neptune is selfless, cosmic, and easily attracted to a life of imagination, and spiritual sacrifice. On the down side, it has little tolerance for harsh realities, is prone to addictions and easily consumed by fantasy.  Uranus opposing the Sun is embarrassing. Leos want to be magnificent not weird.  Uranus loves to horrify authorities, is eons ahead of boring social conventions, and is definitely different.  Uranus is the only planet that spins vertically rather than horizontally. Uranians fraternize with ET’s.

Since she demonstrated many Virgo characteristics, I’ll also give my take on Virgo.  Virgo has very high standards. They want to be perfect and have little tolerance for people who don’t have the same goal. However, they sometimes become so frustrated in their pursuit of perfection that they decide, “to hell with it, if I can’t do it the right way, I’ll make a perfect mess of it.” Also, they may become obsessed by little things while neglecting the big ones. While pursuing one pesky mouse all day they may not see that a gang of rats are having their way. In addition, they are attracted to healing because they need to fix things. They are necessary in this world, but not easy.

Now back to the name. Mom wanted to name me Ruth Ann but my father wanted me named for his mother Lillian Martha. As usual, mom wanted, needed, absolutely had to make everyone happy except herself and me.  Especially she wanted to make Dad happy, after all, I was a girl not a boy, and she was guiltily pleased about that knowing that he would have liked to have a boy. So she felt obligated but she wanted to be fair and balanced. (Her Moon was in Libra, the sign of balance compromise and judgment) Her mother’s name was Kate Ruth.  Since she didn’t like the name Lillian, she decided to name me Martha Ruth, thus measuring the balance half and half for both grandmothers by giving me their middle names.  I could have been proud to carry their middle names but perhaps the element of compromise motivated by self-effacement turned into shame on my part.

When I was a child, I automatically disowned my name except for practical purposes. I would have preferred no name.  When a teacher called my name, it frequently took a few seconds to put the name and me together before responding. I was never Martha Ruth inside.  When I was in my early thirties, one of my best friends started calling me Marti, and I was relieved that someone cared enough to rescue me from my dorky fate. Before that, I assumed it would hurt my mother’s feelings and upset the delicate arrangement of our psychic cords.  With that simple act of friendship, I felt initiated into the world beyond my family.  

Words focus the light of our consciousness.  Without words to point here or there, we blindly stumble through an immense psychic forest .  Maybe I need more than one name, or maybe I haven’t taken the initiation that will reveal my true name.  While PQ and I were on the road, he said, “Maybe your name is an ancient name from your original people. Maybe that’s why all the Christian and popular names that we try don’t work.”  That felt right. But am I ready to take it on?

Names have the power to seize our essence.  That’s why the old Testament priests were not allowed to speak the name of God. When a shaman conjures a spirit he/she calls it’s name.   My name doesn't touch me because it alien to my essence. It's a key that doesn't fit the lock.

I don’t mean to bore anyone with technical astrology symbolism, but in my birth chart the Sun, Mercury, Jupiter and the Moon are in the 12th house.  People of the 12th house often are born with the key to the family stronghold in their hand.  From the beginning, I experienced my given name as I experienced the clothes forced on me as a child, an ill-fitting costume designed to hide my true nature from the world lest I blow our cover.  Maybe the key doesn’t fit the lock, I’m still trying to open the closet door, or maybe there never was anything to hide in the closet and all that cover up was in vain.