What’s in a Name…?

Previous posts in this space have probably made it clear enough that I spend a fair-sized chunk of my time these days looking at astrological birth charts.  The website I use for generating these has a set of defaults that it uses when cranking out a chart, but as a user, you can also gimmick these defaults so as to change parameters, thereby customizing the charts that you get.

The default settings will show you where the ten modern Planets are located in the chart based on the birth data you supply, but you can add in certain other astronomical bodies and/or mathematical points if you like, depending on your own tastes as an astrologer, and on what you happen to be looking for at a given time.  A very popular set of bodies that people like to select from in such instances is that of the many, many asteroids/planetoids that have joined us in orbiting our Sun.  Some of these are very well know among astrologers: Chiron, Vesta, Juno, Ceres, Pallas…  Based on their names, and on the names of the Planets themselves, you might draw the conclusion that all such bodies are allotted names drawn from classical mythology.  And while drawing that conclusion would be understandable…it doesn’t always hold true — not with the thousands upon thousands of chunks of rock floating about out there…

Asteroids!!  Each little point here is a distinct chunk of orbiting landscape that, at least in theory, merits a name of some sort...
Asteroids!! Each little point here is a distinct chunk of orbiting landscape that, at least in theory, merits a name of some sort…

The thing about naming the individual elements that make up this massive collection of bodies is that the discoverers of each puzzle-piece out there are given the chance to select the name that the specific space-rock they’ve discovered will bear.  And some of these people do stick to the time-honored and hallowed practice of choosing names from out of mythology.  For example, there are asteroids out there that have been named for such mythological figures as Selene, Sekhmet, Dionysus, Persephone, Tezcatlipoca, Odin, and Anubis.

Then again, there are also asteroids whose names have been drawn from less hallowed sources.  Some come from the ranks of popular modern entertainment.  Jimmy Page, guitarist extraordinaire of Led Zeppelin fame, has an asteroid named after him.  All six founding members of British comedy troupe Monty Python have namesake asteroids orbiting our Sun.  Two of the three members of Canadian prog-rock band Rush have seen their names copied and pasted onto asteroids (bassist/singer Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart have made the cut, while guitarist Alex Lifeson is still waiting…).  Singer Peter Gabriel now shares his name with yet another of these drifting bodies.  So does tennis star Roger Federer.  The character of James Bond has an asteroid that bears his name, as does his original portrayer, Sean Connery.  Even cartoon figures such as Donald Duck and the Roadrunner have been singled out for the honor of having their names attached to asteroids.  And this obviously says as much about the tastes of the naming parties as it does about the worthiness of the people and characters whose names have been co-opted for this purpose.

Or does “worthiness” even factor in here?  Was the work of seminal rock band The Rolling Stones so stellar that their group name should grace an asteroid, while Deities such as Inanna (perhaps the original descender into an Underworld that we have in our storehouses of world mythology) and Freyja (complex Norse Goddess of Love and Beauty and Magic) are still standing in line with their application forms filled out in triplicate?  Well…clearly, whoever it was that decided to name an asteroid “Bettiepage” was of the opinion that sex symbols, for instance, are as “worthy” of lending their names to asteroids as are Goddesses…or maybe in that person’s mind, the two categories are all but interchangeable…?

Bettie Page (photo by Irving Klaw).  You're welcome...
Bettie Page (photo by Irving Klaw). You’re welcome…

Anyway, the overall point in all this is that while we may tend to take names somewhat for granted in this modern world of ours, they’re actually things of great power.  In many mythologies and schools of Occult thought, granting someone knowledge of your true name can be a very dangerous undertaking, as this also opens the door to them gaining power over you.  And practically speaking, naming things is a way of forcing them into our own mental filing systems — to some extent, it displaces any name that they might have borne on their own, and obscures it with the name that we’ve slapped onto them, quite possibly without their permission.

So the message here is: think carefully before naming or not naming something, even within the privacy of your own head!  There are always possibilities for consequences to ensue in one direction or another, and so naming is an act that shouldn’t be taken lightly…  Something to think on as the current year winds down…

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