A writer by any other name (Pen-names and numerology)

Welcome to the Summer (Lammas) edition of the Tarot Blog Hop.

Navigation links for the Hop: Previous blog/ MasterList/ Next blog

The subject for this Tarot Blog Hop is whether or not changing one's name, changes one's vibration enough to change one's destiny. Let's just say that I have been a guinea pig for this theme--given that I am now known more by one of my pen-names (professionally and socially). 

Why I had to use a pen-name as a writer

When I first become interested in becoming a writer, I studied the careers of the writers who inspired me. Many of them used pen-names--my favorite being Robert Heinlein, who used three besides his own name (Anson MacDonald, Caleb Saunders, and Lyle Monroe). Heinlein used his pseudonyms for branding purposes, to sell stories of lesser merit (at a discount, of course), and to allow himself to sell more material without seemingly flooding the market. Therefore, in my universe, a writer is allowed to use as many pen-names as they need.

And oh did I need them. After all, the first market that I submitted stuff to was the Dubious Erotica market. You know stories like Jesus' Forbidden and Quite Sexy Secret Lovechild. If one does not admit to one's mother what one is writing--and getting paid for--then the general rule is that perhaps one wants to hide it behind a pen-name. 

Oh I jest. My mother thought that writing itself was a sin. She told me that to my face. It did not matter what I wrote--I was going straight to hell for my offense.

Besides, it turns out that there is something even worse than dubious erotica. And that would be writing about the occult. Oh the horror that I was unleashing on the world.

Okay to be fair, my mom did not want anyone to even know that I was a witch. It made my high school years interesting--having moved to a small town. Sagebrush--the fighting tumbleweeds! Everyone knew everyone else. My mom forbid me from telling anyone my religion--she was a good Christian (yeah--right) and she did not want me to bring shame upon her.*

(*The joke being that everyone in town knew that I wasn't a Christian. They didn't know what religion I believed in, but they were fairly sure that I wasn't what my mom was forcing me to pretend to be. As a punchline, there was my mother's face when the preacher and his wife cornered me once when I was visiting and asked me what I was. Their answer did not please my mother--"Well, it is good that you believe in something." I suspect that answer was one of the reasons that about a year later, she was one of the church members who voted to fire the preacher--evil man saying that witchcraft was all right--how dare he!)

So it was only natural that when it came time for me to start writing about the occult, I took on a pen-name to do so.
Pythagorean (Agrippan) English letter values
I put a lot of thought into my occult pen-name. Well, I put a lot of thought into my magical motto that I took when I joined my first Golden Dawn lodge (hey, they claimed to be Golden Dawn--it is not my problem that there are those who claim that I have never belonged to a "real" Golden Dawn lodge ever). My mother was telling my siblings that they could not talk to me--because I was a Satanist. You should be so lucky to have a loving mom like mine. After all, she did not tell anyone outside of the family that I was a Satanist. No, she claimed that I was in prison whenever someone asked if she heard from me lately.

That might have played into my choice of motto: Morgana Draconis--if I was doomed to be a villain, I figured that I should become the best villain that I could be.

Honestly, I did not foresee me becoming an occult writer. But when it happened (an occult writer's group ran by an assistant editor from a small press Wiccan magazine, with me just randomly grabbing a topic out of the air and writing it up--just in case, the critics had time to look at my stuff. Turned out that I was the only writer who actually showed up with something to be worked on, and I picked a topic that the editor was going to pitch at the next editorial meeting. Suddenly I found myself in the need of a new pen-name. I went with a variation on my motto--the standard Golden Dawn answer to such a problem (I am looking at you, Dion Fortune).
Pythagorean Tarot Assignments (Method 1)
If I didn't expect to use a pen-name, then it was doubly unexpected that my new pen-name would become my handle for all my occult activities. It was the heady time of the Amateur Press Associations here in Denver, Colorado. Anyone who was anybody was cranking out a magazine from the comfort of their kitchen. And they were hungry for copy. Word quickly spread among some publishers that I could string a sentence together. I wasn't nimble and fast enough to get away from all of them--occasionally, I would get cornered, and a promise of an article would be chiseled out of me.

How desperate were these publishers? Well, given the fact that even then I was showing tendencies to sound like Erma Bombeck had a forbidden lovechild with Wednesday Addams, I think it is safe to say that the publishers were quite desperate. Later, when I found myself being cornered for other community duties--"The discussion group needs a new moderator--Morgan is not busy on Saturdays--he can do it!"--I needed more than just a pen-name; I needed a whole secret identity to hide behind. Hence my piece of paper that says that I am an honest-to-goddess member of the clergy has the name Morgan on it.

Within a couple of years, no one knew what my real name was--I was simply known as Morgan.

It was with some amusement that my mom before she died, ended up having to tell people that she was proud of my membership on the board of a Wiccan church. Turns out that the people I went to high school with, thought that I was a success, and not quite the Satanist that my mom thought I was. "I have always supported his dreams and ambitions." That last bit still gets me.
Life Cycle Essence chart for Morgan Ecksetin
When the subject of this Tarot Blog Hop came up--the first thought through my head was that changing my name did change my life. After all, I would have never done half the things I have done in the occult community, if I would have had to do them under my legal name. But this is the Tarot Blog Hop, so let's look at something occultish.

Pythagorean Numerology and Tarot

One of the things I read once in a book was a method of using the values assigned to the English alphabet to determine the Major Arcana associated with your name. It is the standard values, except that rather then reducing down to nine or less, you reduce the value down to twenty-two or less. The book I borrowed the technique from used the French arrangement of the Tarot (Fool coming in the 21st position)--personally, I use the Golden Dawn arrangement (with the Fool being the first of the Major Arcana).

My life seen though three names

The last few years of my life been interesting--you know, in that annoying sense that requires personal growth to happen if you want to keep your head above water. I have gotten married, finished having a mental breakdown, came an inch of committing suicide, spent a couple of years with the doctor trying to get my bipolar meds correct, my mother-in-law committing suicide (health issues), putting my business on-hold, deciding to rebrand, putting up with remodelers, learning to tolerate my new (yet not so new) writing voice. As I write this, I am rounding the corner on finishing the first edition of a book about performing public Wiccan ritual, and completing the first science fiction novel under a new pen-name (the new pen-name is strictly for branding purposes in today's data-driven book-sale world).

One of my superstitions, because some people think that I am being paranoid about it, is that the universe provides me a new problem every year on (or around) my birthday--a problem that is going to take me an year to deal with. The list is rather long: Crazy girlfriend, unemployment, suddenly finding myself back in Denver, becoming unemployed, moving in with my future wife, starting college--you know the usual stuff.

Given that most people, well--anyone who is not a bill collector, know me as Morgan, I suspect that it is now more my real name than my legal birth-name. And the numerology seems to confirm this. (Please note that I have learned that using my primary pen-name--outside of MDE, that is--for a cycle tells me a hint of how the business year is going to go; only have of my writing output is occult.)

For instance, the time period (which starts on your birthday) during which my mother-in-law committed suicide has the Lovers (birth-name), Lightning Struck Tower (MDE!), and Chariot (my new sci-fi pen-name). Of the three, I want to say that the Tower is most that year--though it should be noted that I can, like any half-decent Tarot reader, see how the other possibilities could be applied to the events of that year.

In the future, I plan on doing a study of other writers whose work is published under pen-names to see if I can spot a larger pattern. I started to gather data.

So those were my thoughts about this subject. Well, I had other thoughts, but this is supposed to be a blog post--not a 50k book. Thanks for reading.

Navigation links for those moving on to read other posts on this topic done during this Tarot Blog Hop: Previous blog/ MasterList/ Next blog

Comments

  1. I love how you touch on the aspects of transformation, obscuring, and revealing parts of yourself through the name you are using at a given moment! I, as well, do all my tarot and occult activities under a chosen name as well and used to keep those lives very separate. Over time they've begun to merge, but I still maintain the separate names.

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  2. Hi Morgan--Thank you for telling your story and how you came to be Morgan at your very core :).

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