About Red Witch
Red Witch is based in Melbourne, Australia.
I really like Gil Elvgren’s Riding High, and have been using this photo as an avatar since 2006.
I was once asked whether Red Witch was a “magical name.” This is my answer:
I think you are talking about Craft Names, the impressive-sounding names that Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders etc used for themselves only among other initiated witches, in their Book of Shadows etc, names that they were given or took on when initiated.
Gardner said that the practice of adopting such a name was to protect witches from their coven-mates when the said coven-mate was “questioned” (i.e. tortured) during the “Burning Times.” The idea was that you couldn’t reveal the real identity of your coven-mates because you’d only know their Craft Name. The amusing part of this story is that it was created by Gardner et al. at a time when everyone knew your true identity, but wanted to know your secret Craft Name!
Anyway, the Craft Names have two other functions: one really magical the other practical. Regarding the latter, some people, for various reasons, still find it necessary to conceal their identity and so they use magic-ish pseudonyms (like Red Witch), which may or may not be the Craft Name they took on when initiated.
As for the real magic of Craft Names, well that applies to names generally and is an ancient belief. Just bring to mind the folk tale of Rumpelstiltskin. As soon as you know the little guy’s name, you have power over him. The long, long history of this belief is a bit too much to cover here.
As for “True Names,” this comes up in A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), but is developed in Christopher Paolini’s Eragon/Eldest/Brisinger series. There is also a little in Lord of the Rings from memory, but I think it was Ursula Le Guin’s Jungian slant on it that you are talking about: by naming/recognising our other/dark self as part of us we become whole.