The Naming of a Child

I’m back with my blog after a few weeks’ hiatus while I was gathering ideas, much as a squirrel gathers nuts for the winter.

When the latest Royal pregnancy was announced last week, bookies started taking bets on the name that would be bestowed upon the baby. Why such feverish interest in such a trivial matter as a baby name.

Naming a child is no trivial matter. A name brings a child into being. It gives them a shape, an identity, a history. Little wonder then that naming ceremonies form part of many of the world’s major religions. And in recent years, people with no fixed religion have begun to create their own rituals, with secular naming ceremonies.

Creating Naming Rituals

I was given the honour of presiding over the naming ceremony of a family member, the younger member of my own extended family. This ritual is often presided over by a secular celebrant, but as the ritual is so new, people are free to make their own rules. I was delighted to don druid’s garb and officially welcome this new and much treasured arrival into our clan.

Naming Ceremony
Me in druid garb at the naming ceremony


A secular naming ceremony is not so different from a christening, the naming ritual most of the gathering would have been familiar with. There were readings and a speech. Solemn promises were made. And two names were bestowed on the new arrival, names full of history and significance to both sides of the family. Old family names now brought back to life.

As I officially welcomed the child into the world and pronounced the names he had been given, the child made a sound, of delight, of recognition that a profound event had taken place, a ritual bordering on the sacred. A ritual that allowed the child to take his place in the world, with names that open the doorway to who he is.


2 thoughts on “The Naming of a Child

  1. Derbhile dhíl,
    Druids also sacrificed children to their gods, so maybe think more about going that road. A ‘bringing the child into being,’ is an act of creation and so possible only for the one creator God, – with parents as pro-creators, it happens at the moment of conception.

    Baptism, which some call Christening, is of a totally different order to ‘naming’ in pagan religions & rituals: there is no comparison. It confers (again only possible through the power of God) a super-natural life, with many essential benefits (including divine filiation, ‘adoption’ as a child of God, & heirs to heaven)
    all beyond the capacity of our nature alone to get or confer.
    Perhaps Derbhile something lost along the way here, or buried?
    LGDG, Máirtín


    1. A Mhairtin. Thank you for your comment. Baptism is indeed a wonderful ritual for those who believe in it. But to go through a ritual that people don’t believe in is an empty practise. I believe people who no longer follow the doctrines of Christianity still have a right to seek rituals elsewhere, and those rituals can be imbued with their own special meaning.

      Liked by 1 person

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