I don’t think I have many followers of this blog right now, but keen observers may have noticed that my name here used to be Liss LeFay, and it’s now Kendria Madrone. This is because Liss LeFay was just a placeholder name until I could find a Druid name. Well, I have finally found it! This post details a bit of the process I went through to decide on the right name for myself. During this process I was looking for all the information I could find on how to choose the right name, so hopefully this will be helpful to others who may be looking for the same. This was my process and yours may look very different, but that’s very much okay! This is a very personal journey for any Druid.
Disclaimer: This post contains a link to a book that can be purchased. I get a commission for purchases made through this link.
What is a Druid Name?
If you do an internet search for “druid name”, you’ll get a bunch of baby name and name generator websites, and tips for naming your Dungeons & Dragons character. There’s not a lot of information available publicly about druid names specifically, but taking on a magical or craft name is fairly common in Pagan and Witchcraft communities for a variety of reasons. A craft name can be used for privacy reasons, for getting into the right mindset to raise energy or magic, as a confidence booster, or just because it’s fun! There’s something empowering about naming yourself. It adds a new layer of your own sovereignty, and Druidry encourages creating your own path.
A craft name or Druid name can also be given to you by an elder or higher ranking person in your grove or group, or a close friend or family member. Some traditions use it as part of their initiation process.
How I Chose My Druid Name
I started out by making a list of meaningful name elements and putting them together to see what sounded good and resonated with me. I also did some meditation on the subject and hoped that something would come to me from the universe or my subconscious or something. I came up with one name that I liked, but I wasn’t entirely sure if it was the right one. I mentioned to some other Druids that I thought I might have a name figured out but that I wasn’t sure, and one of them recommended the book The Witch’s Name: Crafting Identities of Magical Power by Storm Faerywolf as a possible guide to help in my self-naming journey. It’s written from a Witch’s perspective, but it can be applied for Druids. I bought the book and it gave me many insights and ideas for finding the right name. I didn’t do everything in the book, only what felt right for me, but ultimately it made me more confident in my final choice.
I have a difficult time with choices like this. I don’t know if it’s due to my ADHD, autism, or just my own self-confidence issues, but I tend to second guess myself… a LOT. I have a very hard time trusting myself and my instincts and I wasn’t sure if I would ever come to a final decision on my name. I’ve had many aliases over the years from various online endeavors, so coming up with an alternative name for myself was nothing new to me. But this wasn’t just an internet handle, this was something that was going to be a large part of my identity. I have no plans to legally change my name, but I do have big plans for my future as a Druid, so this was a very important decision for me. The more important something is, the more indecisive I get.
Gathering the Ingredients
I continued to collect and list name elements that I identified and resonated with from various sources, using some sources that were suggested by the book, and some from baby name sites. If it weren’t for ad blockers, I’m sure my targeted ads would be trying to sell me all kinds of baby and new mother stuff by now! I used translators to enter words that I wanted to incorporate and find the translations for those words in other languages that relate to Druidry and even my nerdy interests. I translated words into Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Irish, and Sindarin (one of Tolkien’s Elvish languages). I also looked up the scientific names of trees that are important to me, but those usually don’t translate well to names. Welsh, Scots Gaelic, and Irish can be difficult to pronounce, so I tried listing the phonetic spelling of some of those words to use as possible spellings for those names.
Some elements that I came up with from the translation exercise were coille (Scots Gaelic for forest), eòlas (Scots Gaelic for knowledge), afon (Welsh for river), glad (Sindarin for forest), and craban (Sindarin for crow). I then started trying combinations of the elements such as using Gladcraban as a last name, or combining coille and eòlas to make Coilleòlas, which I learned is Scots Gaelic for forestry, which makes sense since it is literally “forest knowledge”.
The book also recommends drawing inspiration from deities, animals, and fictional characters that inspire you. Some Goddesses from Welsh mythology that I’ve become quite fond of are Blodeuwedd, Branwen, and Arianrhod. Some animals I considered incorporating into my name were the crow and the owl. Ivy was another component that I considered because I’ve always been a fan of the character Poison Ivy from the Batman comics, and an eco-warrior would be appropriate for a nature based spirituality! But Druids are also about peace, and Ivy isn’t exactly peaceful. I also wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite characters from the Discworld novels, Granny Weatherwax, so I strongly considered using Weatherwax as my last name. It is a fairly common surname in magical communities.
Making a Decision
Some good advice from Faerywolf’s book is to make this a name that not only represents you as you are now, but also represents who you aspire to be. I definitely took that into consideration when deciding on my name. Another requirement that was important to me was making sure that the elements of fire and water were both represented. It was okay if neither of them were, but if one was, I wanted both of them to balance each other out. Another preference, but not a hard requirement, was that the full name have a total of five syllables. I’m pretty sure I have OCD in addition to my other neurodivergences (not just because of my preference for certain numbers, there are MANY other signs), and I tend to prefer odd numbers over even numbers, and I also have a love of haikus.
Ultimately, I found Kendria on a baby name site that allows filtering and searching based on origin and meaning. It has the meanings of keen leader, wise leader, greatest champion, and clear water. So that covers the water element and aspirational requirements. I also ended up settling on that one by unconsciously using the KonMari method. I was flipping through some of the options, and that one sparked joy, so I kept it! It feels feminine and beautiful, and those are aspects of myself that I’ve been trying to cultivate and embrace lately. The “wise leader” aspect, while aspirational, makes me feel empowered, which is a good thing for any craft name to do.
Madrone is a tree that I’ve recently connected very strongly with and have come to love. They don’t grow in many places, but there are hundreds of them on a plot of land in the Sierra Nevadas that my husband’s family recently purchased, and I have become enthralled with their strength and beauty. With their peeling, many-colored bark, they represent transformation. They represent fire with their bright red and gold bark. They’re resilient to fire, and it’s even a part of their life cycle! Transformation is another element that I wanted to be sure to incorporate into my name because I’m constantly evolving and transforming into, hopefully, a better version of myself. I feel that transformation and versatility are aspects of my ADHD that I wanted to embrace and highlight with my name. Change is a constant in life, and especially so in mine.
I nearly named myself Kendria Phoenix because the Phoenix is another symbol of fire and transformation, plus it just sounds badass! But I ultimately went with Madrone for three reasons: it flows better with Kendria, my best friend and husband both liked it better, and Madrones are so important to me that I wanted to make sure they were represented.
So there you have it, the long journey of crafting a Druid name for myself! This ended up getting more lengthy than I expected, but I wanted to detail as much of the process as I could. Both for my own journaling purposes, and because when I was searching for information for how people come up with their names, I wanted as much information, personal stories and anecdotes as I could find. I hope that some other neurodivergent (or neurotypical) Druid who also likes as much info as possible finds this helpful.
Yours from under the madrone trees,
/|\ Kendria Madrone
Header image by Johann Reinbacher.