Sunday, December 12, 2010

Who are We?

Astarte Moonsilver
I've been using the name "Astarte Moonsilver" now for over 7 years, mostly as an avatar name for the many message boards and websites I have visited since I started exploring Paganism. As a newly deprogrammed Christian, (or Mormon Christian, for those who have been following along), I was hesitant to use my real name, because I felt the need to keep myself "in the closet" for the sake of my family, and because of the small town I live in. There was a certain thrill in being secretive and cloaked, I would have to admit that.

I've been asked before, "why choose the name of a Goddess?" In some circles, I suppose this seemed rather haughty and high-and-mighty of me to adopt the name of a Goddess, sort of like going about with "Lord" or "Lady" titles or calling yourself a High Priestess when you just started a month ago. Well, my reasons are not very glamorous, and I was being rebellious at the time, but since then, I have found other reasons for keeping the name I chose since my journey began at Mabon of 2003.

When I left Mormonism in November of 2002 (wow, eight years!) my decision was not happily accepted by the Mormon side of my family. There were many email fights, many days of not speaking to each other, and a moody, sort of painful Christmas. By then, I had just about finished off being Christian altogether. My mother and I were in a heated discussion at some point, regarding Wicca, (I think she found some web pages I had browsed while staying with her), and she asked me why I would want to worship Ashtoreth instead of God. (I am shortening this story quite a bit, to spare the minutiae). I had literally no idea what she was talking about, though she was referring to a movie I had seen as a teenager, called The Seventh Sign. Somewhere in this movie, she remembered Ashtoreth was named as a demon, and she connected this with my new interest in Wicca, and asked me if I knew that it was common for Ashtoreth to be summoned during Wiccan ceremonies.

That assumption got my attention enough to go researching through Biblical references, watch the movie a couple more times, and try to find the connection she insisted was "common knowledge" that all Wiccans do this. And why would this be a big deal? Because, growing up Mormon meant that you usually accepted what your church leaders told you, and you didn't have to spend all your time doing your own research since it had already been done by church scholars and the Priesthood 'brethren', so it would be unnecessary to question their authority. Only, I was now of the mind to question everything. I left the church through intellectual inquiry, and I fully embraced that power to find out the truth of what my mother was saying. Turns out she was misinformed. (I would not go as far as saying she made it up, because she seemed very scared and worried for me at the time).

So, after having researched this question, I approached my mother, to tell her what I had learned. She was not open to hearing any opposing information, and the discussion soon ended. (rather badly, I'm afraid). I decided to adopt the Greek translation of the name, half in rebellion towards my mother, and half to be an inspiration to seek out truth and not to let others define your beliefs for you.

So, I adopted the first name, "Astarte". But I wanted to have more distinction, a name no one else had claimed on the internet, and could be my original 'nom de plume'. My given name begins with "A" as well, so I decided to try to find a last name with the same initial as my given last name. "Moonsilver" came to me as I was taking a full moon bath and meditating. Lots of people think of things like 'the silvery moon', but I didn't really care for using SilverMoon as a last name, it seemed too common. But, Moonsilver fit me, and it was useful at the time.

Now, when I use the name, I connect it more to the initials of my given name, but I keep it because it's been with me since the beginning, and has become a symbol of my passage from Mormonism/Christianity into Wicca and Paganism. So, I'm not trying to be haughty, or elevate myself to the level of Lady or High Priestess by using a Goddess name. I can understand how that might seem to others, especially if I was calling myself Lady Astarte Moonsilver H.P. I also stamped it all over numerous websites and forums in the past 7 years, and the story of why I left Christianity and became pagan is published with this chosen name.

As I continue on the journey, I will continue to use this name for continuity sake, and because it has become a living symbol of my transition out of the darkness of closed minds and into the open space of research and self determination.

Χερι της Αληθεας

So, I've only been using the name "Aletheas" for about a year, but I've been a practicing pagan since 1987. I've been through many paths in Paganism and Philosophy. I've used other names, none of them have been public personas and none of them have ever been shared with anyone. It just wasn't important for me to have a public persona. Recently, I've been convinced that after 23 years of researching various paths it's time to pass on some of what I've learned.

The name you see above is pronounced KYREE TEHS ALETHEAS and it is a Greek translation meaning "hands of truth".   I went through a period of self re-assessment and realized that most of the stress of my life had been caused by dishonesty of some sort. So a simple answer? Stop doing that. Keep things simple by always telling the truth, no matter what. I made a conscious decision to change a fundamental aspect of who I was. I did this through the psychological processes of alchemy, and that will be a continuing conversation throughout this blog. 

As for the "hands" part of the name, that's a little easier.  I'm a sculptor and I have always worked with my hands. 

Since our recent engagement, I have decided to take Astarte's name for my own. I will now be Aletheas Moonsilver. when we get married, she will be taking my mundane name, so I think it's a fair tradeoff. besides, In traditions of Alchemy, the association of the moon with the metal silver is an important phase of the Great Work.

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