What’s In A Name?
Within Radical Faeries there is somewhere between a tradition and habit of assuming a Faerie Name. Something that marks a transition of Self into Faerie Space. Perhaps it conveys a sense of the mystical, of whom one might wish to become, or like a super hero, it is the truest name that represents your innate special power, whilst your given or everyday name is the disguise.
There have at times been leanings towards flowers for names, evocative of the Victorian Flower Fairies. Others have felt a call towards some animal as a power totem and taking the name imbues them with its attributes. Some Faeries even assume the mantle of a deific name, or a choice from folktales and legends. Eco-centric (and sometimes ego-centric) names remain very much in vogue.
Others feel no such compulsion and of course should never be forced to relinquish their common name for a created one. It can become tiresome though when a group who know each other from similar events insist on calling everyone by their mundane name “because it’s easier”. There’s a special look I reserve for those types, often accompanied by a swift kick – just one, we’re all still chums after all.
There are a number of faeries whose names change periodically and it can be something of a test to stay abreast of alterations, though more of a challenge to remain congenial when someone refers to you by a name you no longer hold as being true to yourself. Worse yet, when someone steadfastly refuses to speak your Faerie name at all.
This brings us, gentle reader, to a small but hearty crew of Faeries who dare to take for themselves the Faerie Names Others Take Offence At.
There have been 2 Faerie Names that I have held. I count 2 because they are the ones I have spoken in Circle, and thus they are locked in to physical Faerie Space. There was a third, Roadkill, which was only ever filled out in a registration form and very much represented how I felt about myself coming back into Faeries after a period of estrangement.
My first Faerie name, which I took at my first gathering, was Titz. The full version was Hairy Tit Wank, as I felt that to be rather subversive but also empowering as a larger hirsute Faerie. I further felt that it fitted with being something natural and it’s a lovely thing to give someone (to this day I have had no complaints and even one letter of recommendation). The nomer of Titz was also brought to mind having read a wonderful tome called I Lick My Cheese, which was a collection of mostly passive-aggressive notes between flatmates (recommended to anyone engaged in communal living as a warning guide). There was a note left by someone who signed it as “Tits” and the author remarked “who would refer to themselves as Tits?” whereas I found it rather charming and somehow in my mind placed it on a par with Quaint Irene from EF Benson’s Mapp & Lucia novels. The Z was brought in to replace the S as a nod to my (vaguely) mundane name, Zander.
It was farewell to Titz after a few years though, as by that time I had garnered a reputation as a stressed-out, emotionally-removed and ill-tempered organising Faerie who was Not Having Fun Any More. The thing about Titz was that everyone seemed to get on them, including myself.
The ill-fated and speedily-aborted Roadkill could have worked out had I given the poor soul a chance but I fear he would have been a most dour Faerie, truth be told. Bitter, even.
As the wheel turns, so it is time to explore my current and most offensive nom de fey, Cunty. Princess Cuntmuscle for the more formal occasions but day-to-day Cunty is fine. Are you clutching your pearls or reaching for the holy water yet? For indeed, what would possess me to refer to myself as Cunty?
Again, inspiration came from an outside source. This time, a very dear friend who over the few years we have known each other taught me two standout terms “metric fuckton” and “cuntmuscle”. The unkind among us may infer the former is more appropriate to myself and they shall meet their fate in a dark alleyway someday, I’m sure. This friend has remained a staunch supporter of my endeavours and I am blessed to have her as a core member of my logical family, thus my Faerie name honours one of her favourite swearwords.
I quite imagine that the prefacing of Cuntmuscle with Princess is some innate intention to Disnefy the whole thing. To make it whimsical and thus soften the blow just a little. I must admit that when dealing with official Faerie business that necessitates minutes of meetings and such, there is a raw delight in hearing the words “I’d like to refer to the point Princess Cuntmuscle made a moment ago…” Truly priceless.
Mostly, though, my abbreviated Faerie name is a challenge. It’s a reclaiming of a word with many undertones and connotations. As a Faerie who strongly engages with his shadow energy, the implication of being shady, devious or a Dark Fey is something woven into the name. As a guttural word for a penetrable hole it intrinsically resonates with my being a shameless power bottom (hi, Mum!).
I find being Cunty a challenge within which I am both a student and teacher. With this name I present the opportunity for someone else to see past something that may offend, to see the gifts of friendship, healing, humour and solace that I am blessed to be able to pass along. I also learn how to fight for my right to my own name, to have it heard and honoured as any other would be. I discover more about my own comfort levels and the gifts conflict can bring in its own way. I find a gentle voice to discuss it when the most delicate and polite faerie i have ever encountered says “I just want something nice to call you”. This most recent gathering I have been stunned at the tenderness and affection that can be conveyed in my special 5 Letter Word.
The notion that people have the right to not be offended is ludicrous to me. How can we expect to grow and to learn if nothing challenges us or shocks us from our comfortable ingrained thought patterns? In the 5 years I have been a Faerie my comfort zone has relocated to another continent and I am glad of it. I am proud to take my part in the chaotic furry (rub me!) underbelly of Faeriedom, which is well meaning but often deeply misunderstood.
And here is the Lesson of the Day – so pay attention – if the worst thing that happens to you today is that you’re offended by what a little Scottish faerie calls himself, your day’s pretty fucking golden. Be glad that you can’t think of anything more important or traumatising. Everyone else is jealous of you right now. Isn’t that a nice present from your Auntie Cunty? You’re welcome.