What's in a name? I've often wondered what it feels like for people who change their names. How does the resonance shift inside you? Do you feel differently? Respond differently? Is it just a bit wanky? Being unmarried, I have never changed any part of my name except being referred to as Jess rather than Jessica. But those were really one in the same and changing my name and all the associated hassles (new ID! what about the mortgage?!) seems too hard basket. Besides, I liked my name!
Clearly spirit had other plans for me.
I recently went on Vision Quest, a magical, 10 day, wild and amazing experience. I thought I would blog about the whole thing, write pages and pages about how it was, how it felt, but those words want to stay in my heart. So you'll get a part of the story. The part that finds me here, forever changed and forever grateful.
My Quest began under a tree that took my breath away. The moment I came across her I felt the deepest and surest sense of belonging I have ever felt in my life. I knew that I would trade, fight or do anything to be able to quest in that spot. And so I set up my camp on a rocky ledge underneath the most magnificent tree that I only have a memory of. I overlooked a valley and mountain and the overarching sky. I was in a place I could have remained forever.
For three days and nights I sat solo. Fasting, drumming, journeying, crying, meditating, laughing, contemplating, sleeping, resting, screaming, despairing, and connecting. On the first day I was guided to remove all the things that held my identity, my jewellery, my clothes and finally my hair. Stripped back to the bare bones of myself I sank deeper and deeper into the experience of belonging to nature, to being nature, to knowing and being myself.
On the third night, Vigil Night, I cried for my vision and felt connected to all the people all through time who have done this before. And the message came to me that I was to have a new name. Sequoia whispered through the night and I claimed her as me. I claimed her as the name and the woman I have been carrying inside but haven't been ready to be.
Now I am. Now I know my power. Truly. I can survive and thrive in any situation. I am like the tree that gifted me her name. Strong, resilient and lasting no matter who tries to cut her down.
Coming home was an interesting experience both familiar and otherworldly. New names take a while to be remembered and everyone reacts to change in different ways. There has been some resistance in some people, but most people take it in their stride. Re-invention is not new in our society. It has been over 1 moon since my quest and my new name has taken on a familiar feeling. It doesn't surprise me anymore when people use it. It feels right and true. When I speak my intentions they feel correct, not like impostor intentions, they were just waiting for the right person to show up and read them.
But what of my old name? I don't get cranky if people use it, it's hard to remember everything! But It doesn't resonate with me at all anymore. It sometimes feels like people are talking about someone else. It has been amazing to experience and feel that change of energy.
And before I get to carried away rambling about name energies a little nearly four year old brings me right back to the present moment. "You are not Sequoia, you are MUMMY!!!" and thus I remember again my most important role and go hug my kids.