Finding Your Druid Name

by Adam Robersmith, Géag Dharach agus Roís
Druid Adept, Bishop in the GCC, Past Preceptor of the GCC, Archdruid Emeritus

In the AODA, we have a tradition of taking “Druid names” that can become part of our identities in small and large ways. When people first join us, some come with a magical name or craft name they’ve had for a long time. Others pick something while filling out the application. Some folks wait a bit, watching and listening and paying close attention to see what their awen will offer.

Once we have our Druid names, we may change them over time. Perhaps we have outgrown the names we once loved, or the name needs to shift a touch in order to match our own evolution. Alternatively, we may find a name that is so central to who we are that it never changes.

However your Druid name comes to you and however it evolves is just fine! At the same time, there is something powerful about intentionally and thoughtfully seeking a name that connects you more deeply to the natural world, or to your innermost self, or to what you aspire and value. This short essay and set of exercises are designed to help you understand the AODA’s tradition of Druid names and present practices, as well as offer pathways to discern your own Druid name.

What is a name? What does it do? And when we take one/choose one/discern one, what does that do?

In The Witch’s Name, Storm Faerywolf writes,

A name is a statement. It says, “I am me” or, “you are you.” It expresses uniqueness. “I am not that.” Or, “I am like this.” It differentiates, it divides. But it also can group together; shared names drawing associations. Names are dynamic. They have momentum, spirit. Names are alive. Names can build us up, or they can tear us down. Names are the most magical words that any language can ever produce. Names have power. And each of them possesses an essence of intention, of history, of aspiration, or in some cases, even of warning. (p.14)

A name is a way we can be known to others or known to ourselves. A name is an identifier that can conceal or express an identity. In the larger tradition of magical names, sometimes they are used for protection of the everyday self (job, family, reputation, and even life) when one’s spiritual path is not safe in the world. Sometimes people use them to align the magical or spiritual self with an archetype or an energy; with a plant, animal, stone, or type of weather; and with imagination, story, awen, or divinity. Of course, a name can do both these things at once.

When we are given a name, we are told by others how we will be known. When we find a name of our own, one that connects deeply with us or simply delights us, we declare ourselves to be a particular person. As Storm Faerywolf says, “A name is a statement…And each of them possesses an essence of intention, of history, of aspiration, or in some cases, even of warning.”

Many of us have already experienced what it is to name ourselves, choosing new names because of technology. The names we choose to use on social media or the email addresses we pick can be practical, meaningful, or whimsical. Our Druid names can be all those things as well.

So…what is a Druid name? And particularly, what is it in the AODA?

We have a bit of history around this that you can find on our website, but is worth repeating here:

It’s traditional but not required for members of the AODA to take a name or title, generally in a Celtic language. AODA Druid names tend to be longer than the “Craft names” used in some other modern traditions, and are rarely if ever the names of gods or legendary heroes; rather, they reflect aspects of the natural world. For example, as our order’s history suggests, past Grand Archdruids Dr. Rhodonn Starrus, Robert Johnson, and Dr. Betty Reeves all used the same Druid name: Aerach Crann Crithaec, “Great Quaking Aspen.” Past Grand Archdruid John Michael Greer’s Druid name is Creyr Glas Cynwyddon, “Blue Heron Loremaster.”

That history begins in 1974. It is not ancient tradition, but it has been a common practice for a while. I started with the AODA in 2007—definitely not starting when this practice took shape—but long enough ago that my Druid name is of a similar style. I am Géag Dharach agus Roís, or Scion of Oak and Rose. This name came about because oak trees and roses have long been important presences in my life, both the plants themselves as well as the folklore that incorporates them. I chose to use Irish as the language for my name because my Irish heritage is something I deeply value and because I have made a light study of Irish through the years. Knowing myself within this combined spiritual and energetic heritage has been a powerful part of my own self-knowledge and identity.

AODA Druid names these days take a wide variety of forms, often varying quite a bit from the style of AODA tradition. Some of them reference the natural world in a word or two. Some connect with deities or legendary figures. Some refer to places or histories or deeply personal revelations that do not carry obvious logic or meaning to anyone else. Some may follow the recent AODA tradition. It is my hope that your Druid name will be uniquely suited to you, no matter the tradition or form or meaning.

How do you find or change your own Druid name?

There are as many ways to do this are there are Druids! In “The Power of Words” from Trilithon vol 5, Síthearan NicLeòid gives us a hint:

As we walk a sacred path, we often encounter special words that evoke a strong feeling inside us. These could be deity names that inspire us to learn more about the myths and attributes of certain gods and goddesses, and perhaps draw us to form a sacred bond or relationship with them. Other words seem to evade definition, to hold within them some kind of meaning or mystery that is just beyond our grasp. (p.49)

The special words that can become our names may “evoke a strong feeling inside us” – that feeling might be joy, or recognition, or connection, or any number of other things…but when that feeling is powerful or settled, it is worth paying attention. Part of what you are doing is looking for something that feels right. Another part is looking for something that communicates what you want to say. You are looking for the combination of special words that tells yourself, other Druids, and the world what sort of Druid you are, what sort of person you are.

Here are some exercises that you can use to discover your own Druid name:

One: Observation. Spend 15 minutes minimum in close observation of something outside of your home. These instructions from “The Earth Path: Developing Nature Connection, Nature Knowledge, and Nature Reciprocation” can give you a good starting point.

At least once each week during your Candidate studies, spend fifteen minutes or more in direct contact with the natural world. Part of your time in nature should be spent in the practice of stillness, which simply involves sitting, keeping your mind empty of thoughts and distractions, and being wordlessly aware of everything around you. Part should be spent in the practice of focus, which involves detailed attention to some specific thing – a tide pool, a wild plant, the living things in a six-inch-square patch of grass, or the like. Note: This may be in a wild place (such as a forest or a seashore), in a place recovered by nature (such as an overgrown vacant lot), or in a place created by humanity and nature together (such as a garden or a park).”

Two: Generate lists/diagrams/collages. Using words, drawings, images or a combination of them, pull together a collection of things that call to you that could become part of your Druid name. See what patterns or repetitions or associations turn up in your collection. In a few days or weeks, try it again. Compare the results. Try this a few times and see what is new, what is consistent, and what is developing over time.

Three: The Song of Amergin. Extending the idea of a list into poetry, take a look at various versions of the Song of Amergin. It is an ancient Irish poem that has been translated again and again into English. (You can see a variety of translations here). The poet names himself again and again as a variety of things, both non-human and human, starting each line with “I am…” Using this poetic form as inspiration, describe yourself, again and again in similar fashion. Who are you? What in our world are you like? Once you are finished, come back to this again and again to see if anything strikes you as your Druid name or something on the way to it. Add more or change it as you wish over time. It can be both poetry and a tool for your discernment.

Four: Discursive Meditation. Here’s a short explanation of discursive meditation from “Three Things Indispensible” by the author in Trilithon 5, 2018:

“Discursive meditation asks us to choose an idea, a reading, a phrase, or a question and then explore it as an inner dialogue. We may let the language roll through our minds and ponder what the words call forward within us, dissect phrases into their component parts and explore their meanings, or seek to understand what the whole thing means when taken all together.

In discursive meditation, our task is to keep our minds focused on the material we have chosen and not stray into irrelevant tangents or disconnected lines of thought. Like most meditative practices, it is more difficult than it sounds. In The Druidry Handbook, John Michael Greer writes, “there is one essential rule: be aware of exactly what you’re thinking while you’re thinking it.” When we find ourselves wandering away from our chosen material, we then retrace our path, like following a trail of breadcrumbs back to where we intended to be.” (p.13)

Five: Trying it on. When you have found a name, use it for yourself for a little while. Try it out! Share it with a trusted person or two, perhaps your mentor or another AODA member you’ve come to know. See how it feels. If you find that it’s not quite right, that is good information and an opportunity to keep figuring it out. Eventually, when you’ve got something that works, share it more widely! Use it on the Forums or other social media. Use it in your ritual and spiritual practices. And, should that name someday no longer suit you so well, come back to these practices (or others that work for you) and find your Druid name again.

If you need additional exercises or another resource, Storm Faerywolf wrote a whole book on magical/spiritual names called The Witch’s Name—it’s quoted above. There are some differences between the AODA tradition and his witchcraft, of course, but the book might be useful to you either in thinking or in exercises. It’s not necessary to read or use it, but there are some useful methods in the book should you want additional information and practice.

May you discover a good and true name! And, if you need to, may you discover them again and again.


Faerywolf, Storm. 2022. The Witch’s Name: Crafting Identities of Magical Power. Woodbury, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications.

NicLeòid, Síthearan. 2018. “The Power of Words.” Trilithon 5: 49.

Robersmith, Adam. 2018. “Three Things Indispensible” Trilithon 5: 13.